Predicting the 2022 Atlanta Braves Roster after the Trade Deadline

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 08: Dansby Swanson #7, Ozzie Albies #1 and Austin Riley #27 of the Atlanta Braves celebrate their 7 to 0 win over the Miami Marlins in Game Three of the National League Division Series at Minute Maid Park on October 08, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 08: Dansby Swanson #7, Ozzie Albies #1 and Austin Riley #27 of the Atlanta Braves celebrate their 7 to 0 win over the Miami Marlins in Game Three of the National League Division Series at Minute Maid Park on October 08, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Braves pinch hitter Adam Duvall. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

Now that we have gone through the infield, who will roam the Braves outfield in 2022? What about the DH and the bench? Here are my guesses for this area of the roster.

Outfield- Ronald Acuña Jr.

The injury to Ronald Acuña Jr. hurts for this year, but he is still the future of this franchise. The injury timeline is tricky, he could be back for the start of the season or he could miss a month or so.

Thankfully he is young and that should aid in the recovery process. Whenever he returns, he will be a major part of this Braves roster in 2022.

Confidence: Lock assuming he is healthy

Outfield- Adam Duvall

Here is where the rest of the outfield gets fun to put together. Adam Duvall can easily man one of the corner outfield positions and provide power in the middle to bottom of the Braves order.

Duvall has an option for 2022 worth seven million dollars that includes a buyout for four million. Being a year away from the pandemic, I doubt the Braves’ finances force their hands and let Duvall walk away again.

Confidence: Not a lock but pretty high

Outfield/Designated Hitter- Joc Pederson

A Joc Pederson and Adam Duvall platoon would be a beautiful thing. With the possibility of the universal DH, there would be room for both in the lineup on a regular basis.

Pederson has a ten-million-dollar mutual option that includes a $2.5 million buyout. Mutual options do not get picked up often, but Pederson mentioned wanting to come to Atlanta this past off-season. There might be interest in a deal to keep him in a Braves uniform.

Confidence: Fairly Confident

Outfield- Drew Waters

Here is a fun projection. I almost went with a free agent acquisition here, like a Starling Marte, but I ultimately decided to stay in house. I can say that I went back and forth on Drew Waters and Cristian Pache, but fellow contributor Sam Peebles predicts that Waters will win the spot.

Both guys will have opportunities to win the spot, but right now, we are leaning towards Waters winning the spot.

Confidence: Coinflip between two top prospects


William Contreras

One bench spot is reserved for the backup catcher. I am going with young William Contreras here. However, with the DH in this hypothetical scenario, there could be plenty of playing time for the young catcher.

The Braves could opt to give d’Arnaud time off from behind the plate and allow him to be the DH that day. This would not only serve to give d’Arnaud time off and Contreras some playing time, but it would allow the Braves to give Duvall and Pederson days off as well.

The Braves could opt to go with a veteran backstop to be the backup catcher, someone like Kurt Suzuki could make sense. Especially if Contreras gets used in a trade this off-season.

Confidence: Fairly Confident

Guillermo Heredia

Guillermo Heredia has won the hearts of Braves’ country. He may have been playing out of his mind this season, but he gave the Braves valuable time when they desperately needed it and they may reward that with an opportunity to fill the bench next season.

He has two more years of control and should be fairly cheap. It makes a lot of sense to bring him, and his toy swords, back as a fourth/fifth outfielder.

Confidence: High

Orlando Arcia

There were a few who thought Orlando Arcia might come in and take the starting shortstop position from Swanson. However, that has not worked out quite so well for Arcia.

He is still relatively young and under control for another season. Plus, he can play multiple positions in the field which will be valuable for the Braves. Maybe he figures it out and becomes a deadly option off the bench.

Confidence: Somewhat

Jorge Soler

I went back and forth between Jorge Soler and Eddie Rosario here. I ultimately decided on Soler by a hair and it was based on cost and not mean just financially. The Braves gave up a legit prospect in Kasey Kalich for Soler.

Rosario was acquired with cash for Pablo Sandoval. Soler was not in a lot of rumors at the trade deadline, but Alex Anthopoulos went out and gave up a prospect to acquire him. This cost makes me think there could be some interest in bringing him back to the team in 2022.

I know I have him listed in the bench section, but I think he would be given a chance to play somewhat regularly. With the projected outfield (and DH) alignment, I basically see it as four guys playing three positions. The Braves could use this depth to play matchup dependent. For example, they could play Soler and Duvall against a lefty while Pederson gets the night off.

This also gives the Braves a short-term replacement if Acuña is not ready to go at the start of the season.

Both Soler and Rosario are having down years in 2021, so they may be willing to take less on a shorter-term deal in an effort to rebuild their value.

Depth is important. Look at the Rays, Dodgers, Padres, and other top teams around the league, they have great depth and change their lineups based on matchups. This could be something the Braves consider employing next year.