The Boston Red Sox will open the 2017 season with as much talent as any team in baseball and among the favorites to win the AL pennant.
As a result, there won't be many roster spots up for grabs this spring.
However, that has not stopped the team from adding an interesting collection of non-roster invitees to the mix this offseason while also extending a spring training invite to a handful of top prospects not currently part of the 40-man roster.
Here's a look at the 17 non-roster players that will be in big league camp:
|Pitchers||2016 High Level||Age|
|RHP Jamie Callahan||A+||22|
|RHP Kyle Kendrick||AAA||32|
|RHP Austin Maddox||AA||25|
|LHP Edgar Olmos||MLB||26|
|RHP Chandler Shepherd||AAA||24|
|RHP Ben Taylor||AA||24|
|RHP Marcus Walden||AAA||28|
|Catchers||2016 High Level||Age|
|Infielders||2016 High Level||Age|
|Rafael Devers (No. 3 prospect)||A+||20|
|Sam Travis (No. 6 prospect)||AAA||23|
|Outfielders||2016 High Level||Age|
|Roster Resource and Baseball America|
Note: Carlos Quentin was signed to a minor league deal, but it did not include a spring training invite, per Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.
So who among that group has the best chance of breaking camp as part of the 25-man roster?
Barring an injury, there doesn't appear to be an opening on the pitching staff, so we'll focus on the position player side of things.
All-Star utility man Brock Holt, fourth outfielder Chris Young and whoever winds up serving as the backup catcher will occupy three of the reserve spots.
That leaves one up for grabs, and thanks to the versatility of Holt, the team won't need to specifically carry an infielder or outfielder in that role.
Marco Hernandez, Deven Marrero, Steve Selsky, Bryce Brentz and Rule 5 pick Josh Rutledge are among the options on the 40-man roster.
These four could have something to say about that, though:
1B/3B Matt Dominguez
There was a time when it looked like Matt Dominguez would develop into an everyday third baseman.
He tallied 25 doubles, 21 home runs and 77 RBI en route a 2.2 WAR playing for the rebuilding Houston Astros in 2013, and the two sides nearly came to terms on a five-year extension, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
However, the two sides never nailed down a long-term deal, and his OPS plummeted to .586 over 607 plate appearances the following season.
Now the 27-year-old has spent the bulk of the past two seasons playing in playing in Triple-A.
He posted a .736 OPS with 18 doubles, 18 home runs and 67 RBI as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays organization last season, and his ability to play a solid third base could be appealing to the Red Sox.
OF Junior Lake
Junior Lake was one of the first young players to arrive on the scene for the rebuilding Chicago Cubs.
He hit .284/.332/.428 with 16 doubles and six home runs over 254 plate appearances as a 23-year-old in 2013, and was penciled in as the starting left fielder and No. 2 hitter on Opening Day in 2014.
That early success proved unsustainable, though, and he quickly found himself in a reserve role before eventually being traded to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for reliever Tommy Hunter at the 2015 trade deadline.
The 26-year-old still has some intriguing tools, and a strong spring could convince the Red Sox to give him a look.
1B/OF Allen Craig and OF Rusney Castillo
With these two, it's all about the Red Sox trying to get something for their money.
Allen Craig will make $11 million this coming season with a $13 million option for 2018 that will almost certainly be bought out for $1 million.
The former St. Louis Cardinals standout has played in just 65 games with the Red Sox since joining them in a 2014 deadline deal, hitting .139/.236/.197 over 195 plate appearances.
The 32-year-old spent all of last season either injured or playing in Triple-A.
However, that's nothing compared to the money still owed to Rusney Castillo.
The 29-year-old still has four years and $49.086 million remaining on the seven-year, $72.5 million deal he signed after defecting from Cuba.
He hit an uninspired .263/.309/.354 with 27 extra-base hits in 429 plate appearances with Triple-A Pawtucket last season, and he was outrighted off the 40-man roster last June.
If either veteran shows signs of life this spring, the Red Sox could look to get something for their money.