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Braves Making the Team Meter - One Week to Go

A lot of people fell off the list this week; Brandon Jones, Jordan Schafer, Javy Lopez, Jo-Jo Reyes, Francisley Bueno, Jorge Campillo, and Ryan Drese are all out of contention. This week I've combined the batters and pitchers lists and I have divided them up into position battles. Should be an interesting week, with battles at every position and the possibility of a trade or two taking place. Frank Wren was on today's broadcast and said that the Braves had called around to "every" major league club to ask about needs and possible interest, so I'm eager to see if we can go out and get another solid bullpen arm (maybe a two for one deal) and solidify our bench with a proven pinch hitter.

Backup Outfield -- one or two open spots behind Francoeur, Kotsay, and Diaz

Player, Position Chance Notes
Josh Anderson, OF
He's done everything he needs to do to make the team, but Blanco seems to be the flavor of the week and the favorite late in camp. The Braves could still carry two backup outfielders and that would bode well for Anderson.
Gregor Blanco, OF
Apparently it was his attitude that needed more work last spring, and he has apparently improved in that department -- enough that he is likely the frontrunner for the backup outfield spot.
Joe Borchard, OF
He's fallen off a bit of late, but he's still getting some hits and playing decent defense. If the Braves do carry two outfielders that helps his chance to make the team. The best outcome for him is if the team can't fine a veteran pinch hitter to come of the bench on the trade market -- that could catapult Borchard into the go-to pinch-hitter role. I find it a bit telling that we haven't heard as much about him lately as we have about Anderson or Blanco.

Backup Infield -- two or three open spots behind Teixeira, Johnson, Escobar, and Chipper

Player, Position Chance Notes
Martin Prado, INF
I would say he's made the team. His versatility will be invaluable to the club before Infante is ready to return.
Scott Thorman, 1B
Do they really "need" Thorman to back up Teixeira for five or six games? I still believe they are eager to move Thorman. If they can't move him they may designate him and try to sneak him back to the minors -- I wonder if anyone would bite.
Brent Lillibridge, SS
He likely makes the club as the second backup infielder, but that's still a bit iffy. They want to get him regular playing time and not retard his development, so the possible acquisition of any other infielders through trades that happen late in spring will determine if Lilli makes the team.

Backup Catcher -- one open spot behind McCann

Player, Position Chance Notes
Corky Miller, C
Yesterday I called Pena the frontrunner after Javy was let go, but with a lot of talk on today's telecast about Miller from both Frank Wren and the broadcasters, we might have to call Miller the guy they want in the backup role.
Brayan Pena, C/1B
I still think he has a good chance of making the club. He could also still be valuable trade bait.
Clint Sammons, C
As much as some people want Sammy to make the club, I see him as the third option and probably ticketed for either double-A or triple-A.

Bullpen -- four open spots behind Soriano, Moylan, and Ohman

Player, Position Chance Notes
Manny Acosta, RHP
I've come around to the thinking that he's got a spot in the bullpen, but if the team can't find any takers for their out of options relievers and they don't want to let them go for nothing, then Acosta could get a sacrificial demotion because he has options left.
Jeff Bennett, RHP
He "really" helped his cause when he filled in for Smoltz and went three innings in a spot start -- that could have been the clincher for him making the club (especially if Smoltz starts the season on the DL).
Blaine Boyer, RHP
He's had a great fastball all spring and his ability to go multiple innings if needed is an asset. I have to think he's one of the frontrunners for the last few bullpen spots.
Chris Resop, RHP
He throws hard and he's pitched good enough to make the club. He's has some of the best control in camp with only one walk and nine strikeouts in nine innings.
Jeff Ridgway, LHP
Ridge has actually pitched better than Ring or Ohman, so it will be interesting to see if he figures into the bullpen lefty mix. It may be telling that he didn't get cut during the last round of cuts.
Royce Ring, LHP
I still like this guy despite the inconsistent spring he's had. I don't know if we can predict if he'll make the club or not, we'll just have to wait and see.
Tyler Yates, RHP
If there's a guy who has pitched himself off the club this spring it's Yates. With the way the other guys are throwing I don't see how he makes the club, even with his "favorite of Cox" status.

Starting Rotation -- one spot open behind Smoltz, Hudson, Glavine, and Hampton

Player, Position Chance Notes
Jair Jurrjens, RHP
He's the presumptive front runner for the fifth spot, but the team could still opt to give him more time at triple-A. I hope that doesn't happen though, as Jurrjens needs to be on this team and grow as a starter with the help of Smoltz and Glavine.
Buddy Carlyle, RHP
He's thrown okay this spring -- surprisingly he hasn't walked anyone in eleven innings, but he has given up four homers. I believe he has an option left, so I say he should pack his bags for Richmond. The only way he makes it is if the team needs someone to fill in for Smoltz should he start the year on the DL.
Chuck James, LHP
He's thrown well when he's gotten in the game, but he needs more time to get up to speed -- extended spring training which may extend until someone gets injured in Atlanta. He'll be a great insurance policy in case of injury in our rotation -- part of the best depth in the starting rotation of any team in baseball.
Arrow Key:
= Chance of making the team is even.
= Chance of making the team is going down.
= Chance of making the team is going up.

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