Kyle Wright – The 2017 first round pick has earned a spot in the rotation earlier than most had envisioned. He’s a good bet to at least be a serviceable 4th/5th starter this year, but he could surprise some people.
Max Fried – His health and success means that a pitcher who has been someone we thought could be a #3 starter the moment he becomes a fixture in the rotation is closer to happening. If he can keep his blisters in check (and remember, he’s already had TJ), it looks like he’ll have a successful season.
Bryse Wilson – He’s earned a spot in the Opening Day rotation, but with Gausman throwing yesterday and Wilson lined up to start Saturday, I think his spot will be short-lived. We shall see. But a successful spring.
Nick Markakis – Yes. 1.100 OPS and his first spring home run since 2016. I’m totally here for angry Nick Markakis wanting to prove all of you haters wrong and having another “contract” year, proving that you should avoid multi-year deals with aging contributors if for no other reason that it pisses them off and makes them play better.
Position Player Health – We came into the spring with the position player side of the roster mostly set, and not much has changed.
Pitching Health – Much has been made of the fact that Folty, Gausman, Soroka, O’Day, and Minter will all start the year on the IL. But it looks like Gausman will only miss one start, so that’s some silver lining. But 5 of the 13 pitchers projected to be on the roster at the beginning of the season being sidelined indefinitely is disappointing to say the least.
IL – What a stupid change. No one thought any of these players were actually being labeled “disabled”. Cheap parlor tricks.
Adam Duvall – Really hoped the guy that hit .244/.299/.489 across 3 seasons in Cincy (and even better against lefties) would have recovered this spring. But that has not happened, so a $3M outfielder will begin the year in AAA hoping to find something that will bring his value back.
Struggling Relievers – At various points, Sam Freeman, Chad Sobotka, and Dan Winkler struggled.
Not Signing Craig Kimbrel – This pen could use an elite presence at the top, like most pens in baseball right now. But the Braves will choose to right the hot hand like most teams with their closer spot.
Touki Toussaint – Considered to be one of the most exciting pitching prospects ready to stand out, he had a poor spring, couldn’t keep the ball in the zone, and he’ll go back to AAA to work on things.
Sean Newcomb – We keep hoping he will turn the corner, but with 15 walks in 17 innings, giving up 10 ER in those innings, confidence is eroding in Newcomb’s ability to be anything more than a frustrating, erratic 4th starter with potential that will probably always elude him.