Braves: How will the outfield look defensively?


If you believe Alex Anthopoulos, it looks like all the major moves have already taken place this offseason. He said yesterday the Braves aren’t close on any signings or trades. I do believe they could be in the market for rotation help if some comes along at the right price, but for the most part, this is the roster the Braves will head into Opening Day with.

The outfield was a concern the entire offseason. Atlanta had to add at least one body, and they did yesterday, inking Eddie Rosario to a two-year deal. They also signed Alex Dickerson to a one-year, non-guaranteed pack, leaving the group of outfielders on the 40-man roster looking like this:

Not all of these players will make the 26-man Opening Day roster. Drew Waters will begin the season in AAA, and it’s likely Demeritte will as well. Heredia and Dickerson will be fighting for roster spots, while the other four (if healthy) are locks to be on the field come Opening Day.

Acuña won’t be able to play defensively to begin the season, but there is the possibility he could DH. That leaves Ozuna, Rosario, and Duvall as the starting outfielders. Not exactly the world’s best defensive unit, but the Braves should be able to get by with Duvall playing centerfield, Rosario in right, and Ozuna in left.

Once Acuña returns, he’s an option to play center or right. I was a little skeptical whether the Braves would want him in centerfield coming off a torn ACL, but Alex Anthopoulos confirmed he could play there once he is cleared.

I think a lot of it will depend on how Adam Duvall handles centerfield while Acuña is not playing defense. If he handles it well, expect Acuña to stick in right, where he’s most comfortable, but if Duvall looks shaky out there, Acuña could end up taking over. I expect Duvall to be just fine. He’s a Gold Glove caliber outfielder and played capable centerfield for the Braves during their playoff run last year.

As far as left field is concerned, it’s between Rosario and Ozuna. Most might automatically assume that Ozuna will be the DH, and I can’t blame you. He looks lost defensively at times, but Rosario isn’t the best defensive option either. I imagine they will both spend some time in the field, but expect Ozuna to be the primary DH.


Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire


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