Predicting the Braves 26-man Opening Day roster

braves minter 2020

I took a stab at this after last season ended, attempting to predict how the offseason might go. Long story short, I was incorrect, but in this case, I’m happy to be wrong. The Braves spent more money than I expected and are substantially better this season than they were last year. That’s saying a lot, given the 2021 team won the World Series. The Braves are loaded in nearly every aspect, which means making this 26-man roster will be difficult for the younger players.

Starting Rotation

1. Max Fried

2. Charlie Morton

3. Ian Anderson

4. Huascar Ynoa

5. Kyle Wright

 

Assuming Morton is ready for the start of the season, the first three names on this list are locks. After that, the Braves could go in a number of different directions, but I view Ynoa and Wright as the favorites to win a spot out of camp. That could change if the likes of Tucker Davidson, Kyle Muller, and Touki Toussaint dominate over Spring Training, which is why I will make an updated roster prediction closer to Opening Day. For now, these are the five I expect to start the first five games of the season.

Starting Lineup

1. Eddie Rosario (RF)

2. Ozzie Albies (2B)

3. Matt Olson (1B)

4. Austin Riley (3B)

5. Marcell Ozuna (LF)

6. Adam Duvall (CF)

7. Travis d’Arnaud (C)

8. Manny Piña (DH)

9. Dansby Swanson (SS)

 

Once Ronald Acuña returns, this lineup will look a lot more deadly. He’ll take over in the lead-off spot, and things will shuffle around a bit. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Braves moved Olson into the two-hole, like they did with Freddie Freeman, and Riley to third. However, the only real question about this lineup is who will DH until Acuña is able to do so. I went with Manny Piña, but I think Alex Dickerson could also be an option if he performs well in Spring Training.

Bench

1. Orlando Arcia

2. Guillermo Heredia

3. Alex Dickerson

4. Brock Holt

 

With the DH coming to the NL, the bench becomes much less of a priority. That’s a good thing because the Braves’ backups leave much to be desired. Arcia and Heredia’s spots on the roster should be pretty safe. I also really liked the Alex Dickerson addition a lot and expect him to be a key piece to this team. After that, it’s anybody’s best guess, so I went with Brock Holt, even though he’s not yet on the 40-man roster. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Braves opened the season with a nine-man bullpen or six-man rotation, given the fact that Spring Training was shortened, and they start off the schedule with 14 games in 14 days.

Bullpen

1. Kenley Jansen

2. Will Smith

3. Tyler Matzek

4. Collin McHugh

5. A.J. Minter

6. Luke Jackson

7. Jacob Webb

8. Tyler Thornburg

 

The Braves’ roster is loaded, but this is the group I’m most excited to watch next season. The top-six on this list are absolutely electric, and they will more than make up for what the starting rotation currently lacks on paper. There are only two spots up for grabs, and I gave them to Jacob Webb and Tyler Thornburg. However, it will be a battle that takes place during Spring Training, and there are several other talented arms — like Sean Newcomb, Dylan Lee, and Touki Toussaint — who also could round out the relief core.

 

 

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