It’s been a week since Spring Training games kicked off, and there have already been several promising signs, especially when talking about players competing for roster spots. I’ll be updating this weekly leading up to the start of the season. I’ll also have a separate list for players coming up short of expectations, so keep an eye out for that soon.
Coming into the offseason, I thought Eli White had a decent chance of making the roster because of his speed and elite defense. He could very easily fill a similar role to the one Guillermo Heredia played over the last couple of seasons. However, if White was going to win a spot, he needed to show he had improved with the stick. So far, he’s done that tremendously, collecting three hits in eight at-bats, including two home runs. That’s one fewer than he had in 47 games last season.
Olson doesn’t need to prove anything in Spring Training. He’ll play in all 162 games at first base if possible, but it’s nice to see him looking in mid-season form so soon. Olson has four hits in six Spring training at-bats, with a homer.
Dean won’t make the Opening Day roster, but this is likely a make-or-break year for him in the minors as a 26-year-old. In nine at-bats this Spring Training, he already has four hits. Hopefully, that success will carry over.
Grissom came into camp hoping to win the job as the starting shortstop. He’s making it look easy so far, racking up five hits in nine at-bats. At this point, I would be shocked if he wasn’t starting at shortstop on Opening Day.
Like Olson, Harris’ spot is solidified. I expect him to compete for the NL MVP this year, and he’s off to a good start in Spring Training, going 3-for-7 with a triple.
I didn’t think Allard had much of a chance of making the Opening Day roster out of camp. It’s still a long shot, but there is a path if he keeps pitching as well as he has. In five innings, he’s surrendered just one run while guys like Ian Anderson and Bryce Elder continue to struggle.
Shuster is the Braves top prospect, according to most outlets, and there’s a possibility he makes his MLB debut at some point this season. In his first appearance of this spring, he tossed a couple of scoreless innings.
Anderson’s only made one appearance, but it was impressive considering all he’s been through over the last couple of years in terms of injury. In his first outing, he worked a clean inning with two strikeouts.
Given the struggles of Ian Anderson and Bryce Elder through one Spring Training start, it’s fair to officially declare Dylan Dodd a dark horse to make the Opening Day roster. The 24-year-old doesn’t have much left to prove in the minors, and he’s shoving thus far through two outings in Spring Training, striking out seven over 4.1 shutout innings. It’ll take a lot for him to start the year in Atlanta, but regardless, we should see him at some point this season.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire