2024 Braves Opening Day Roster Predictions 2.0

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With a couple of weeks of Spring Training in the books, it’s time to update my 2024 Braves Opening Day roster predictions. Not a ton has happened on the surface, as there have only been three games, but there have been some developments that have led to changes from my previous edition, which you can find in the link below.

As always, I’ll be updating these every week leading up to Opening Day.

2024 Braves Opening Day Roster Predictions

  1. Max Fried
  2. Spencer Strider
  3. Chris Sale
  4. Charlie Morton
  5. Reynaldo Lopez

This is where my most significant adjustment occurs. The first four spots are not going to change unless an injury arises, but the fifth spot is up in the air. Prior to Spring Training, I had Bryce Elder winning the competition. He didn’t look fantastic in his first Spring Training start, but that has nothing to do with the change. The reason I feel confident in saying Lopez will get the nod is for roster management purposes.

Elder has options and can be stashed in AAA. A lot of the Braves relievers do not, so using Lopez as a starter will allow the Braves to hang onto another reliever. I also believe the Braves are intrigued by the upside of Lopez as a starter because of his incredible arm, and if they want to try him out in that role, it has to happen at the beginning of the year. It’s much easier to stretch him out now, see what he can do, and then move him to the bullpen if it doesn’t work. Rather than starting Lopez in the bullpen and then attempting to stretch him out mid-season.

  1. Raisel Iglesias
  2. A.J. Minter
  3. Joe Jimenez
  4. Pierce Johnson
  5. Aaron Bummer
  6. Dylan Lee
  7. Ray Kerr
  8. Tyler Matzek

I mixed up some things with the Braves bullpen for various reasons. The top five are locks, assuming there are no injuries. Dylan Lee made his first appearance at Spring Training yesterday after dealing with some severe shoulder issues last season. Those can be tricky, and he has options remaining, but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt for now.

Ray Kerr joins the group to replace Reynaldo Lopez, who is now in my Opening Day rotation. He’s a high strikeout guy from the left side with tons of upside, and I rounded out the group with Tyler Matzek. There’s a chance Matzek begins the year on the 15-day IL coming off Tommy John surgery. That would give the Braves some more roster flexibility since he has no options remaining, but he pitched an inning yesterday without allowing a run. If he continues to progress throughout Spring Training, I imagine the Braves will roll with him rather than placing him on the IL to begin the year.

  1. Sean Murphy
  2. Travis d’Arnaud

As always, nothing to see here.

  1. Ozzie Albies
  2. Matt Olson
  3. Orlando Arcia
  4. Austin Riley
  5. Luis Guillorme

The Braves could decide to bring up David Fletcher as a utility guy, but he can be stashed in Gwinnett. As is the case with a lot of these decisions early on, that matters and will likely be the reason he does not begin the season on the Opening Day roster.

  1. Ronald Acuña Jr.
  2. Michael Harris II
  3. Jarred Kelenic
  4. Marcell Ozuna
  5. J.P. Martinez
  6. Forrest Wall

Alex Anthopoulos talked about how speed could play a factor in the final roster decisions when it comes to the Braves bench, because there won’t be any at-bats to go around. The Braves starters notoriously play every day, and that isn’t changing under Brian Snitker. For that reason, I gave Forrest Wall the nod, who can swipe a bag at any moment and play good defense in the outfield

The other bench spot I gave to J.P. Martinez, but as I stated in my first Braves Opening Day roster predictions, I still don’t think the team’s fourth outfielder is on the roster. There are a lot of quality options still available in free agency that are probably looking for everyday roles. However, as Opening Day approaches, some of those players may be more willing to settle for a lesser role on a contending team like the Braves. Keep an eye out for that between now and the start of the season.

Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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