Braves make a couple of surprising cuts to Spring Training roster

MLB: AUG 27 Braves at Blue Jays

The Braves continue to trim down their Spring Training roster as Opening Day approaches, and this is the first time some players who had a legitimate chance were optioned.

Ray Kerr and Ken Giles are two really good arms that can help Atlanta’s bullpen. I would expect to see both of them in Atlanta at some point this season, and it could be in the first month. These decisions, however, give us a pretty good look at what the Braves might be thinking for their Opening Day roster.

Jackson Stephens, Dylan Lee, and Tyler Matzek now all look like they have the inside track, but it could also mean the Braves aren’t leaning toward using Reynaldo Lopez as a starter to begin the season. AJ Smith-Shawver and Hurston Waldrep have been incredibly impressive this Spring Training, and the Braves may feel like it’s best if one of them is the fifth starter. I would lean towards Smith-Shawver if that’s the case, as fun as it would be to see Waldrep begin the year in Atlanta.

J.P. Martinez was also in the running for the final bench spot. With him now in Gwinnett, someone like Jordan Luplow makes a lot of sense, who has performed well this Spring. In 17 at-bats, Luplow has a couple of homers and a 1.028 OPS. I also still think there’s a good chance the Braves final outfielder is currently with another organization or unsigned, which is something to watch for in the coming weeks.

Photo: Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire

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