Gosh…I hope there’s an Opening Day so all this Atlanta Braves Roster Talk isn’t for naught. This coronavirus crap is getting in the way of my favorite time of the year.
Here are our previous 4 pieces in this series:
- Atlanta Braves Roster Talk: The Locks and the Battles
- Atlanta Braves Roster Talk 2: Opening Day
- Atlanta Braves Roster Talk 3: Opening Day
- Atlanta Braves Roster Talk 4: Opening Day
Since our last piece, there’s been a lot of players sent to Minor League Camp, and/or optioned back to Gwinnett.
While a lot of these guys % chance of making the Opening Day Roster was about as high as me walking into a Tom Thumb and grabbing one of those hot dogs that’s been churning on those warmers for a few days, it’s still worth noting that our list has shrunk and other guys now have a better shot at cracking the 26.
I’m also adding Jeremy Walker to the list of omissions of Opening Day candidates, and the why sucks.
Atlanta Braves Roster Talk: The Locks
Unless any unforeseen circumstances such as trades and/or injuries, there are still likely 21 locks on the roster.
- Catcher: Travis d’Arnaud
- 1st Baseman: Freddie Freeman
- 2nd Baseman: Ozzie Albies
- Shortstop: Dansby Swanson
- Left Field: Marcell Ozuna
- Center Field: Ender Inciarte
- Right Field: Ronald Acuña Jr.
- Bench: Nick Markakis, Tyler Flowers, Adeiny Hechavarria, Adam Duvall
Lock, but role undetermined: Sean Newcomb
TOTAL LOCKS: 21
Braves Roster Talk: 4th & 5th Starting Pitchers
I recently had Phil Pfeifer and Tucker Davidson on this list, but they have been limited to 2 innings per outing, and that likely indicates they’ll not be stretched out to starter status during camp, so their position on this list has been revoked. And while I’d like to keep Ian Anderson on this list, he’s only thrown 2.2 innings and likely only gets one more start before being sent to Minor League camp. Vamoose.
- Sean Newcomb– 75% (2.00 ERA through 9 IP, 2BB, 11K)
- Felix Hernandez-75% (1.98 ERA through 13.2 IP, 5BB, 14K)
- Kyle Wright-40% (2.16 ERA through 8.1 IPS, 2BB, 12K)
- Touki Toussaint– 10% (2.08 ERA through 8.2 IP, 3BB, 8K)
Breakdown: Newk and the King look like the guys that’ll be given the 2 spots and I’ve come to terms with it. Still, the Braves could choose to let Felix pitch elsewhere or that they need Newk in the bullpen, which would create a spot for Wright. Touki is on the outside looking in, and that’s likely due to a rotten 2019, but we should be happy that he’s back to throwing strikes and keeping the ball in the park.
Braves Roster Talk: Reliever(s)
*Reminder that if Newcomb makes the team as a starter, his vacancy will create 2 spots needed in the bullpen. Along with the aforementioned players that won’t be in camp anymore, I’m going to remove both Kyle Wright and Felix Hernandez from this list as I don’t foresee the Braves asking either to be the long man out of the bullpen.
- Sean Newcomb-25%
- Tucker Davidson- 5% (1.69 ERA through 5.1 IP, 4BB, 4K)
- Phil Pfeifer-30% (0.00 ERA through 5.2 IP, 1BB, 9K)
- Touki Toussaint-20%
- Patrick Weigel– 25% (0.00 ERA through 6.1 IP, 1BB, 6K)
- Grant Dayton– 10% (8.31 ERA through 4.1 IP, 2BB, 3K)
- Josh Tomlin– 25% (3.18 ERA through 5.2 IP, 1BB, 4K)
- Tyler Matzek– 30% (0.00 ERA through 3.2 IP, 1BB, 7K)
- Chris Rusin– 30% (2.35 ERA through 7.2 IP, 0BB, 11 K)
Breakdown: If what’s expected happens and Newk goes to the rotation, the Braves will need a LH option out of the bullpen to go along with Will Smith. Right now, I think that battle is in between Phil Pfeifer, Tyler Matzek, and Chris Rusin and I think it’s neck and neck. They’ve all looked remarkable.
Braves will also need a long man out of the bullpen, and there’s value in keeping Tomlin down at AAA for a rainy day and letting Weigel be that guy, but I don’t think we’ve seen a candidate lag behind the pack yet. Touki is right there with them, but I still feel the organization wants him starting every 5th day somewhere.
Starting 3rd Baseman
Y’all know my opinion on this matter as I shared it yesterday. I hope that Anthopoulos can help Snitker come to his senses and realize the value of carrying both of these guys and finding 400+ PAs for each…but until we hear differently, I’ll continue looking at an either/or scenario:
- Johan Camargo: 50%
- Austin Riley: 50%
Breakdown: Lots of chat about Riley lately has pulled this thing back to even, and I think it’ll be neck and neck until the end.
Bench Bats (1)
- Johan Camargo– (should he not be starting 3B) 50%
- Charlie Culberson– 50%
Breakdown: While no one is really lighting it on fire from this list, Solarte’s name has been tossed around a bit more in the past week, while Alonso’s presence hasn’t been felt at all. Alex Jackson continues to strike out at an alarming rate and I don’t think he’ll be an option for the MLB club.
Thanks for reading our Atlanta Braves Roster Talk #5. If you enjoyed this piece, check out this piece on Tyler Matzek that was written in August of last year.