Atlanta Braves Take 5: More Questions for 2017
It’s another week in December, and there’s still a lot of questions to be had around the Atlanta Braves… key ones that will impact the team and its fans as we enter a brand new era of Braves’ baseball under Hart and Coppolella.
It’s almost Christmas, and there are still some gifts I’d like to see for the Atlanta Braves in 2017. But before that… and mind you, I’m not holding my breath that anything big will happen between now and April… I’m still wondering how this off-season is going to be finished…. and then what may lay ahead.
So with those questions, let’s jump into a this new feature I like to call “Take 5”.
As we’ve discussed on multiple occasions, it’s likely that Mallex Smith may go the ‘other way’ – back to Gwinnett to insure he gets more playing time.
But what about others?
The rotation is currently shaping up to be Teheran/Garcia/Dickey/Colon/… and… one other pitcher, so the chances that a Sean Newcomb or Aaron Blair will sneak in there are fairly remote at this point… Spring will not be enough to demonstrate that they belong in Atlanta. So 5 major leaguers – counting Folty or Wisler – are in the rotation.
With the 8 regular position players plus backup catcher Anthony Recker, that’s 9… 14 total so far.
Another 3 bench players are usually on the 25-man roster. Right now that appears to be either Sean Rodriguez or Jace Peterson, depending on who wins the 2B job. For now I’ll pencil in Chase d’Arnaud and an extra outfielder to be named later – we introduced Mel Rojas Jr. as one possibility recently.
Now we’re up to 17 names, leaving 8 for the bullpen. That’s fairly standard.
The bullpen is where we could see some real competition.
Jim Johnson is back, and we hope to see a healthy Arodys Vizcaino. Mauricio Cabrera makes three, Chaz Roe is four, Ian Krol makes five, and Shae Simmons six.
If all those positions go according to plan, then we really start crunching the numbers.
- Will Josh Collmenter make the bullpen for long relief?
- Will re-signed Eric O’Flaherty make a rebound?
- Will A.J. Minter jump up and be a force that can’t be ignored?
- Will Rule 5 draftee Armando Rivero make the team?
So there’s 4 pitchers for two spots… if indeed the first six actually hold their positions. For that matter, those 4 are simply the leading candidates. There are others, such as Dan Winkler (who may or may not be ready to throw again), Jason Hursh, et al.
For now, that leaves out Rio Ruiz for a platoon role at third base. And several others will be forced to bide their time and show their stuff from AAA.
So if you’re looking for somebody to ‘wow’ this team and become a major league player this Spring, that could come from the relief core or perhaps a spare outfielder… but not much more.