Kolby Allard to get start in Braves' Grapefruit League opener on Saturday
With spring training for the Atlanta Braves about to go into full exhibition game time, the question has turned to who will we see play, for how long, and when. Early on in spring, we will typically see the every day guys short looks here and there while we get a LOT of playing time for prospects, non-roster invitees, etc.
Things may look slightly different than that this spring because the team has already said that guys that are playing in the World Baseball Classic, such as Ronald Acuna Jr., may play more in the early part of the spring schedule than they normally would just because the team won't have them in camp for as long. While we don't know what exactly that will look like, we do at least know now who is going to be starting the Braves' first spring training game and it is a familiar face.
Kolby Allard returns for the Braves
For Kolby Allard, this is a homecoming of sorts after the Braves re-acquired him from the Rangers to shed Jake Odorizzi. Kolby Allard was the Braves' first pick in the 2015 draft that also saw Mike Soroka, Austin Riley, and AJ Minter get drafted. Kolby got to the major leagues reasonably quickly, but was unable to stick in the Braves rotation as the shine on his prospectdom came off due to his fastball not developing as was hoped it would and he ended up getting dealt to the Rangers for reliever Chris Martin.
Kolby is likely to spend the year at Triple-A Gwinnett unless things go pretty sideways for guys ahead of him on the depth chart, but he does provide some nice left-handed depth at pitcher and is obviously a guy the Braves are familiar with. He was also pretty good for the Rangers in 2019 before being, well, less good the past three seasons.
It will be interesting to see who else we see appear in the game, although a healthy helping of non-roster invites and guys coming over from minor league camp seems like a safe bet.