Predicting the Braves Opening Day Roster 2.0

Posted on Apr 3 2015 - 4:56pm by Harrison Coburn

Starters:

Julio Teheran

Shelby Miller

Alex Wood

Eric Stults

Trevor Cahill

Summary: Obviously Teheran, Miller and Wood were locks here. The Braves announced earlier in Spring that Wandy Rodriguez would occupy the 4th starter spot, but ended up releasing him. Eric Stults beat out Wandy for his job, as apparently Atlanta only wanted one lefty at the end of their rotation. In response, the traded for RHP Trevor Cahill from Arizona.. When Mike Minor returns Stults and Cahill could become very attractive trade chips for Atlanta. Mike Foltynewicz will start the year in AAA to work on his mechanics.

DL: Mike Minor

 

Bullpen:

Craig Kimbrel

Jason Grilli

Jim Johnson

Luis Avilan

Juan Jaime

Andrew McKirahan

Cody Martin

Summary: A lot can change in a week. Arodys Vizcaino not only was assigned to AAA but was suspended 80 games for PED use. James Russell was released. Lefty Josh Outman has been having his shoulder evaluated all week. Kimbrel, Grilli, Johnson and Avilan are now all locks to make the bullpen. Juan Jaime is reportedly now expected to find his way into the bullpen as well, so hopefully Roger McDowell can help him with his awful control issues he has had. McKirahan is a lefty that the Braves claimed off waivers from Miami. With Outman hurt, he will probably start the season in the bullpen as he is a lefty. Donnie Veal may be a sleeper to occupy a lefty spot. Fredi Gonzalez stated that Foltynewicz and Cody Martin are both long relief candidates, and in this situation I think Martin is the best option for the team. He put up a solid Spring and I still think Folty needs to be starting all season.

 

DL: Josh Outman?

 

Catcher:

Christian Bethancourt

A.J Pierzynski

Summary: The Braves will likely only carry two catchers. While Bethancourt will be the starter, having Pierzynski come off the bench will allow him a lot of rest days. Expect to see Pierzynski get a start once or twice a week. He is a great insurance policy for the young Bethancourt.

 

First Base:

Freddie Freeman

Summary: Freddie is the Braves’ iron man, as he played in all 162 games last season. He will aim to do so for a second consecutive year. Expect Joey Terdoslavich to see time at first in case of a Freeman injury.

 

Second Base:

Jace Peterson

Alberto Callaspo

Summary: Peterson gets the starting nod here. Callaspo showed up to Spring Training overweight and has struggled while Peterson has made a great impression on manager Fredi Gonzalez. Fredi has made it clear that Jace will likely be the starter. Callaspo remains on my roster as he was signed to a major league deal. I think Callaspo is likely to be moved.

 

Third Base:

Chris Johnson

Phillip Gosselin

Summary: CJ is the clear cut starter as he looks to return to his 2013 form. Gosselin will assume his role as a backup infielder for Atlanta, and his versatility helps him substantially in making the roster.

Shortstop:

Andrelton Simmons

Summary: Simmons is the clear cut starter and has had a hot spring. Look for him to carry his great play over to Opening Day

 

Left Field:

Jonny Gomes
Kelly Johnson

Summary:

Gomes is the starter in left for Atlanta. He likely won’t play every day due to his struggles against righties but will play a large majority of their games.  Kelly Johnson earns a roster spot due to his ties with the organization, power, and ability to play both infield and outfield positions.

 

Center Field:

Eric Young Jr.

Todd Cunningham

Summary: Until Melvin Upton Jr. returns, EY Jr. will likely be the starter due to his MLB experience, with Todd Cunningham getting some starts as well. With Upton’s struggles, both of these guys could end up playing big roles for the team. Eury Perez  got some consideration here, but he got sent down to AAA earlier this week.

DL: Melvin Upton Jr.

 

Right Field:

Nick Markakis

Summary: Markakis will return to action this week and will be ready for Opening Day as predicted.

 

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