Examining the Braves Opening Day roster

dkb180921038 braves vs phillies

The Braves wrapped up spring training on Tuesday with a walk-off grand slam from Pedro Florimon. Now, they will head to Philadelphia for Opening Day set to take place on Thursday at 3:05 Eastern Time. There is still the opportunity for a late addition (Craig Kimbrel, anyone?), but for now, the Braves have their Opening Day roster set.

  1. Ender Inciarte
  2. Josh Donaldson
  3. Freddie Freeman
  4. Ronald Acuña Jr.
  5. Nick Markakis
  6. Ozzie Albies
  7. Brian McCann
  8. Dansby Swanson
  9. Julio Teheran

Bench: Tyler Flowers, Johan Camargo, Matt Joyce, and Charlie Culberson

Starting Rotation: (Teheran), Bryse Wilson, Kyle Wright, Sean Newcomb, Max Fried

Bullpen: Josh Tomlin, Wes Parsons, Chad Sobotka, Jonny Venters, Luke Jackson, Jesse Biddle, Shane Carle, Arodys Vizcaino


Notable Moves

The main surprises occurred when the Braves announced that Bryse Wilson and Kyle Wright would be pitching in the first series against the Phillies. Following that is the inclusion of Wes Parsons to the bullpen. Parsons, a former undrafted free agent, had an unreal spring in which he threw fifteen scoreless innings, striking out 17 while only walking a single batter. He will have the opportunity to earn a permanent spot on the big league roster to open the season. At least two relievers will have to make way in the coming weeks when A.J. Minter and Darren O’Day – both of whom are dealing with minor arm issues – come off the injured list.

On the bench, there are not going to be many complaining about Adam Duvall beginning the year in AAA. The former All-Star for the Cincinnati  Reds slashed .132/.193/.151 in 57 plate appearances for the Braves after they acquired him mid-season and managed to hit .171 in spring training. The Braves could outright cut Duvall to save salary, but as has been noted, because of their lack of outfield depth, they probably will keep Duvall in the organization.

In his place, the Braves will bring Matt Joyce with them to Philadelphia. The 11-year veteran was acquired by the Braves from the San Francisco Giants for cash considerations. Joyce has not had a stellar spring training but has been much more consistent with the bat over his career than Duvall. He will hit around .250 and bring some added left-handed pop off the bench, something the Braves lacked.

Fans may be disheartened by Christian Pache and Austin Riley being left off the roster, but this was always the plan in the first place. Pache has yet to play 30 games at the AA level. While he is rising up the Braves’ system and prospect charts, he’s going to have to prove it at the minor league level for at least another half of a season. Riley is much closer to the majors and is probably a better choice than Matt Joyce off the bench. However, his non-existent experience in the outfield, along with the Braves wanting to get him more playing time made it an obvious decision for him to remain in AAA.

The next thing to look for is how the roster shapes up because this is far from the one that the Braves will end the season with. Mike Foltynewicz and Kevin Gausman are both expected to be in the rotation by the end of April. That will force two of these players back to AAA. I’ve already mentioned the upcoming returns of A.J. Minter and Darren O’Day to the bullpen. Plus, there are potential risers like Touki Touissant, Mike Soroka (when healthy), Daniel Winkler and Austin Riley – all of whom could find themselves permanently on the major league roster by season’s end.

Atlanta is not entering 2019 as healthy as they’d like, but come Thursday, it’s officially baseball season, and I don’t think anybody in the organization or the fan base can complain about that.

Go Braves! Chop On!

Acuña Matata Cool-Dri T-Shirt



Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: