The Brewers have a full 40-man roster, but are also bringing a slew of others to big league camp next week. Some of these players might end up making an impact in 2017, or even make the team out of spring training. Here's what you need to know about the group of guys who will try to head back north with the team at the end of March.
We already covered the slew of pitchers hoping to steal a spot, now it’s the position players’ turn.
C Rene Garcia
You always need plenty of catching in the early parts of spring training, and Garcia is returning for his second year in the Brewers system. He hit a combined .247/.277/.286 between Double-A Biloxi and Triple-A Colorado Springs as a 26-year-old last year, so he probably shouldn't be counted as anything other than an extra camp body this spring before heading back down to the minors again.
C Dustin Houle
Gets an invite because Doug Melvin changed the team charter to mandate one Canadian must be present every spring (alright, not really). Another camp body type this year, Houle is likely headed back to the mid-minors after advancing as high as Double-A last year. He's struggled to hit during the first four years of his career, amassing a career line of .231/.300/.306, but he did manage to throw out 36% of basestealers last season, playing 85 games for Brevard County and 2 for Biloxi.
C Jacob Nottingham
We've spent a lot of digital ink on Nottingham so far this winter, so you probably know the drill by now -- he's coming off a disappointing season in which he hit .234/.295/.347 as a 21-year-old in Double-A, but was still young for the level and will probably find himself back in Biloxi to start the 2017 season. As one of six catchers in camp, he likely won't see a lot of big league action, but could still benefit from a couple weeks in the big league environment.
INF Ivan De Jesus, Jr.
Trying to make the team as a utility infielder, De Jesus signed as a minor league free agent in mid-December. The soon-to-be 30-year-old spent the past two seasons in the majors with Cincinnati, hitting a combined .249/.311/.341 for the Reds. His main asset is defensive versatility, having played every infield position and left field during his big league career. He'll never hit for much power, but does provide the flexibility the Brewers have shown to prefer for their bench players in the Stearns era.
INF Eric Sogard
The former Face of MLB contest hero is also a versatile defender, having played at second, shortstop and third during his six seasons with Oakland. He's another one that won't hit much -- he has a career MLB line of .239/.295/.313, but he hits left-handed and has been worth +20 DRS defensively in his career, potentially making him a threat to Scooter Gennett's roster spot. He missed all of 2016 recovering from knee surgery and was a non-tender victim this winter before signing a minor league deal with the Brewers. It's also worth noting Sogard (well, Sogard's wife) has a rocky history with Matt Garza.
OF Corey Ray
Last year's first round pick will have a spot in big league camp, but is coming off a somewhat disappointing showing in his first taste of professional action, as well as offseason surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee that he suffered during fall instructionals. The Brewers aggressively promoted Ray to High-A as a 21-year-old, where he hit .247/.307/.385 in 57 games with 5 home runs and 13 doubles. With so many outfielders in the organization, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Ray returned to minor league camp fairly quickly.
Statistics courtesy Baseball-Reference