Braves mailbag: Awaiting a splash move, Fried's future, bullpen order, and more

In our fan mailbag we answer questions on various Braves topics asked by YOU the fan. In this edition we touch on Max Fried's future, the 2024 bullpen pecking order, and much more.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Atlanta Braves
Pittsburgh Pirates v Atlanta Braves / Alex Slitz/GettyImages
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Raisel Iglesias
Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

Who amongst the current bullpen makes the Opening Day roster?

This is a fun one to break down, as Atlanta has perhaps the deepest bullpen in all of baseball. It was already a strong unit prior to the offseason, and then AA traded for a couple lefties, as well as signed three right-handed options. With all that said I'm going to do my best to establish a pecking order amongst the guys I think will be on the Opening Day roster.

Typically the Braves prioritize pitching throughout the year in terms of roster construction. Most of their position players are in everyday roles, so having flexibility in the bullpen is a real desire for Atlanta. With that said I believe there are eight guys the Braves will carry out the bullpen on Opening Day. I divided those guys into a few categories below.

Locks (5) - Raisel Iglesias, A.J. Minter, Pierce Johnson, Joe Jimenez, Reynaldo Lopez.

Barring injury all of these guys will be on the opening day roster. Firstly, they all are making the most money in the bullpen, and secondly they are the most trusted options. The only caveat is if the Braves truly intend on using Lopez out the rotation or not. If that actually ends up coming to fruition another bullpen spot opens up.

Confident they'll be there (2) - Aaron Bummer, Ray Kerr.

These two pitchers are already linked by the fact they are left-handed, as well as being acquired via trade this offseason. To me it's been clear the Braves wanted to add more hard-throwing options, and left-handed options to this bullpen. Both of these guys fit that mold.

Fringe guys (4) - Tyler Matzek, Huascar Ynoa, Dylan Lee, Daysbel Hernandez.

When it's all said and done the Gwinnett Stripers are going to have the best bullpen in Triple-A. No organization can match the depth the Braves have built in terms of relief pitching. I think all of Braves country is rooting for Tyler Matzek to take this final spot, and look more like the postseason hero we know him to be.

However, because I have three lefties already on the roster, I went with Huascar Ynoa to take the last spot in the bullpen. Mainly because his velocity and plus slider play well out the 'pen. On top of that his experience as a starter grants Snit the ability to get multiple innings out of him.

In reality each of those fringe guys, as well as others, will be in Atlanta at some point in 2024. Nobody had Michael Tonkin making the Opening Day roster, but he did. Guys shuffle on and off the injured list all the time in the bullpen, so expect appearances from a plethora of guys again in 2024.