Opening Day for the Atlanta Braves is less than three weeks away, so we need to start thinking about what this Braves roster is going to look like. The Braves are in the fortunate position of not having a lot of roster uncertainty going into 2023. Barring some sort of injury, most of the roster is set and the spots with some uncertainty either have some heavy favorites, will probably be some kind of a rotation, or are pretty low impact spots.
However, that doesn’t change the fact that there are some questions to answer before the team breaks camp. Below is our first crack at trying to predict who will be on the Braves’ Opening Day roster in 2023. After another week or two, we post an updated look as these things are always fluid.
Sean Murphy, Travis d'Arnaud
Pretty easy to project these two guys. The Braves spent a bunch of trade capital to bring Murphy into the fold as their catcher of the future and extended him shortly thereafter. With the running game being a focus with the new rules changes, Murphy should be a weapon there. d’Arnaud is a staple even if his time behind the plate will wane a bit with Murphy around, but TdA will also probably see plenty of time at DH this season as well.
Again, nothing shocking here. Olson is going to be manning first base for the Braves for the foreseeable future and has looked quite good this spring at the plate. Even with a pretty horrific slump last season and his defense not being up to his usual high standards, he was still a three WAR player last year.
There was a moment of concern earlier this spring when it was announced that Ozzie had offseason shoulder surgery, but all seems to be fine now. A healthy Ozzie was always a mortal lock to play second for the Braves. It is worth keeping an eye on the fact that his spring is not off to the best start at the plate, but that won't impact whether he starts at second.
I know there were rumblings that Orlando Arcia could have ended up being the Braves' shortstop in 2023, but that never made much sense to me unless Grissom was just atrocious defensively at short. He isn't a plus defender there, but he has looked good enough there to alleviate any doomsday scenarios.
When you have a potential MVP candidate that plays third base, you play him at third base. One thing is a little concerning is the left side of the infield's defense with both no shifts and swapping Vaughn Grissom for Dansby and having Austin over there, but hopefully Austin can make improvements coming in on grounders.