Time to make one last 25-man roster prediction for the season. By this time next week, we will know what the roster is finally. It’s been as wide-open as any spring in recent memory and I am willing to bet at least two of the guys I have on the 25-man won’t be there when the season opens. But…hey, gotta try to guess. Although, the Braves threw me a curveball when a guy I thought was pretty safe, James Russell, was released.
My Take? No change here unless we see a trade open up things. Michael Foltynewicz had a bat outing and Manny Banuelos was optioned. Cody Martin is still around, but at this point, I think the Braves are going with these five until Mike Minor returns.
My Take? Mark Bowman talked this week about what it would take to release Outman or Russell, which is implies something was going to happen. I figured it would be Outman getting the heave-ho, but instead, it was Russell, who has forced me to edit this from the original draft from last night. I still think that a trade will add a buy-low, high-reward guy to this mix and Cunniff won’t be there when the season opens, but with Russell gone, Cunniff has made a good case to be the best internal option. Martin still could drop into this role for a long guy. Of course, the Braves could also cut Outman.
1. Eric Young Jr., CF
2. Nick Markakis, RF
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Chris Johnson, 3B
5. Jonny Gomes / Zoilo Almonte, LF
6. Andrelton Simmons, SS
7. Jace Peterson, 2B
8. Christian Bethancourt, C
My Take? With the season so close, I want to talk a little bit more about the lineup. It’s hard to ever get a feel for how Fredi Gonzalez, or really any manager, wants to use the lineup in spring training because you rarely see all of the regular starters together. I’ve seen C-Beth clean up and we’ve seen a lot of Jace batting second. We’ve also seen Markakis hit second and third with Freeman pushed to cleanup. Above represents my best guess, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jace leadoff rather than hit second. I don’t think Fredi wants to go with a trio of lefties following Young.
My Take? The bench got a little cleared up with the demotion of Eury this week. For the time being, I’ve added The Goose to the bench and I think it’s a pretty reasonable addition. Obviously, Pedro Ciriaco has been hitting the lights out of the ball and I could easily put him there, but I still think the sheer amount of the spots that would have to be cleared on the 40-man roster for non-roster guys might play a role before the beginning of the year. From this roster, I am looking at finding room for two starting pitchers, a reliever, a starting player, and a bench guy. That’s five spots total. Not that the 40-man roster is packed with irreplaceable talent, but do the Braves want to move on from so many guys? Something might get cleared up by a trade and there are reports the Braves are in the market for an outfielder. Of course, Russell getting cut helped out a little.