Ladies and gentlemen, we made it. It is officially the week of Opening Day, and in just three short days, the Braves will take the field for the first time since winning the World Series. At times, because of the MLB lockout, it felt like we’d never get to this point, so for several reasons, Thursday will mean just a little bit more. The Braves don’t have to reveal their Opening Day roster for a couple of more days, but based on what Brian Snitker said over the weekend about William Contreras, Spencer Strider, and Tucker Davidson — we know what the 28-man roster will look like unless an injury takes place or the Braves make a last-minute addition.
These are the starting pitchers on the roster. The first five is how the Braves will roll them out for the first five games, with Game 6 being undecided. Davidson and Strider could both be used as starters for the first month of the season, but I have a feeling the Braves are leaning more towards Davidson. He’s the more polished starting pitcher, and with Luke Jackson now likely out for the season, Strider could end up being a permanent piece to Atlanta’s bullpen.
As I wrote over the weekend, the one thing that could hold the Braves back this season is their infield depth. Their starters might make up the best infield in baseball, but if one of them goes down, the options are limited. Arcia is the only seasoned infielder behind them that will make the Opening Day roster. However, the Braves do have some other options that could play first base, and Brian Snitker even hinted at the possibility of William Contreras playing some second and third base. Let’s just hope all the starters stay healthy.
- Travis d’Arnaud
- Manny Piña
- William Contreras
d’Arnaud will be the primary catcher, and Piña will back him up. With the DH, Piña will see time in about 75 games, but the third name on this list could steal some opportunities from him. I don’t know if we will see Contreras catch at all this year in Atlanta, but he might be the best option the team has as a DH to start the season. There is All-Star potential in his bat, and the Braves are going to do everything they can to let that part of his game shine.
Until Ronald Acuña returns, the Braves outfield depth isn’t great either. Ozuna, Duvall, and Rosario will start on Opening Day. Dickerson could DH and play some left field. Heredia will mostly be used as a defensive replacement.
- Kenley Jansen
- Collin McHugh
- Will Smith
- Tyler Matzek
- A.J. Minter
- Darren O’Day
- Tyler Thornburg
- Sean Newcomb
As I mentioned earlier in the piece, Strider or Davidson will also be used out of the bullpen — if not both of them. All of these guys look to be locks to make the roster; the only one I’m concerned about is Newcomb. He’s been shaky this Spring, but he’s on his final straw. Newk doesn’t have any options remaining, which is why the Braves will probably give him a little longer look in the regular season before cutting ties.
Photo: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire
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