(CBS) Right-hander Duane Underwood and outfielder Albert Almora, two of the Cubs’s top prospects, highlight the list of 18 non-roster players who have been invited to the the team’s spring training, which begins Feb. 19 in Mesa, Ariz.
The 21-year-old Underwood is rated as Chicago’s fourth-best prospect by Baseball America. He went 6-3 with a 2.41 ERA and 1.01 WHIP across two levels in 2015, when he finished at High-A Myrtle Beach.
The 21-year-old Almora is rated as organization’s sixth-best prospect by Baseball America. He hit .272 with six homers, 46 RBIs, 69 runs and a .727 OPS in 106 games at Double-A Tennessee last season. He struggled early in the year before finishing really strong.
Pitchers and catchers hold their first workout on Feb. 20, while the first full-squad workout is Feb. 24.
With a bevy of Cubs youngsters already making their mark at the big league level, there won’t be as much drama in spring training as last year, when Kris Bryant proved his was ready to be on the Opening Day roster and Javier Baez made a run at that as well.
Non-roster pitchers joining Underwood in camp are right-handers Stephen Fife, Brandon Gomes, Jean Machi, Felix Pena, Jonathan Pettibone, Armando Rivero, Drew Rucinski and left-handers Luis Cruz and Jack Leathersich.
Infielders Jesus Guzman, Munenori Kawasaki and Kristopher Negron will be going as well.
Non-roster outfielders joining Almora are John Andreoli and Juan Perez.
Catchers Taylor Davis and Tim Federowicz are the other two non-roster players invited.