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Braves Making the Team Meter: Week 5

Week 5 of the half-marathon that is spring training. All of our players should be back in camp on Tuesday, and by the end of the week when Garret Anderson returns, we might just see some lineups that will resemble regular season lineups -- I'd say beginning with our homestand on Thursday, and continuing Friday and Saturday (by the way, the Friday and Saturday games are going to be on Sports South, and Wednesday and Sunday's games will be on the MLB network).

Here are the players that are on the team, with the spots being competed for in bold:

Catcher (2) - Brian McCann, David Ross
Starting Infield (4) - Casey Kotchman, Kelly Johnson, Yunel Escobar, Chipper Jones
Backup / Bench (5) - Greg Norton, Matt Diaz, Omar Infante, Martin Prado, Backup Outfielder
Right Field (1) - Jeff Francoeur
Center Field (1)
Left Field (1) - Garret Anderson

Rotation (Note: to start the season we will only need 4 starters for the first two times through the rotation.) - Derek Lowe, Javier Vazquez, Jair Jurrjens, Kenshin Kawakami
Bullpen (7) - Mike Gonzalez, Rafael Soriano, Peter Moylan, Blaine Boyer, Reliever, Reliever, Reliever

Go here for last week's MTM.

Player, Position Chance Notes
Josh Anderson, OF
Anderson's been heating up the last week, hitting with frequency and hitting for power. The center field race is certainly tightening, and will come down to the final day or week.
Gregor Blanco, OF
He'll be back in camp this week to strut his stuff and confuse the center field mix even more. I like Blanco, but I think he's a good trade chip for some of these teams that might need center fielders or lead-off men. Ultimately, something will probably have to give between Anderson, Blanco, and Schafer; would Blanco be the odd man out instead of Schafer?
Brooks Conrad, INF
He's started to hit a little better, but he's still firmly ticketed for triple-A.
Diory Hernandez, INF
Five errors this spring, and a lot lately are really hurting his chances of being the first go-to utility infielder. He's trying to expance his presence at other positions, but he's having a rough go of it.
Brandon Jones, LF
As a young kid he might get exposed during a full baseball season, but I think he'd probably end up being just as good as Garret Anderson, and for a lot less, and with the added bonus of expected improvement.
Jordan Schafer, OF
I really like the speed he's shown this spring, and the willingness to steal a base. He's a guy who relishes the lead-off role and has the patience and speed to handle it and improve at it in the majors. I say give the kid the center field job, you know you will eventually, and his upside is a whole lot more than Anderson or Blanco's.
Player, Position Chance Notes
Manny Acosta, RHP
He's one of the trade chips the Braves seem to be dangling.
Jeff Bennett, RHP
At this point, Bennett might get waived. Of course, there are still two weeks for him to turn it around. Still, I think he either gets demoted or traded.
Blaine Boyer, RHP
Let's go ahead and say that he's made the team. I don't think they'd trade him right now.
Jorge Campillo, RHP
Could he be a trade chip? I could see a team like the Pirates, who need bullpen help, trading for a guy like this for the added flexibility. Of course, the Braves could use his flexibility too.
Buddy Carlyle, RHP
Speaking of flexibile, Carlyle is that guy. He's still in a battle for a spot, but he might have the edge over Bennett and Campillo.
Tommy Hanson, RHP
It looks like he's losing major league spring time in games to Javier Vazquez, who is back from the WBC. The good outing by Tom Glavine may have written Hanson's ticket to triple-A. I think that's the right move, let's take it one level at a time with this kid, he's too special to spoil.
Boone Logan, LHP
He got roughed up some this week, but he's still the front-runner for the LOOGY role, especially since the other contenders also got roughed up this week.
Kris Medlen, RHP
He may have snuck into the mix for a bullpen spot. I'd like to see him continue starting at triple-A and see where that leads.
Peter Moylan, RHP
I'm going to go ahead and declare him ready for the season. With the ability to carry an extra bullpen arm early in the season, there's no reason that Moylan can't be coddled early in the year and not used on back-to-back days.
Eric O'Flaherty, LHP
One reeeeaaalllly bad outing against the Mets is the only blackmark on an otherwise terrific spring. But if you can't get the Mets out, then you shouldn't be on this team.
Jo-Jo Reyes, LHP
Still pitching great this spring, and he is still likely headed to triple-A. With the successful return of Glavine, his stock drops a bit.
Jeff Ridgway, LHP
I don't think there's any reason to keep him on this list as Logan and/or O'Flaherty are going to be the lefties.
Rafael Soriano, RHP
Like Moylan, I'm going to declare Raffy ready for the season. I hope the nasty Soriano is back this year.
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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