The Atlanta Braves trimmed two more players from their spring roster Thursday and had another opt out of their minor league deal reducing their camp number to 37. Atlanta began Thursday with the announcement that they had optioned outfielder Guillermo Heredia to the alternate site and reassigned infielder Ryan Goins to minor league camp. Neither move was surprising and both will likely serve as depth once the minor league season gets underway.
Atlanta informed reliever Carl Edwards Jr. that he would not make the Opening Day roster and he elected to opt out and become a free agent with hopes of latching on somewhere else. Edwards allowed just one run over 8 1/3 innings but allowed seven hits and issued six walks.
Nate Jones is the remaining non-roster pitcher that appears to have a decent shot to land a spot in the bullpen. The Braves will also have to decide how to fill out their bench. Ehire Adrianza has impressed over the last week. William Contreras has continued to impress and is still locked in a battle with Alex Jackson for the back up catcher position.
More players around the league will be set free over the next few days and the Braves have shown a willingness in the past to add guys late. That will be something to monitor as the Grapefruit League season comes to a close over the next few days.
Drew Smyly pitched well while Marcell Ozuna connected on his second home run of the spring in a 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays Thursday.
The Braves made it official Thursday naming Max Fried as the team’s Opening Day starter.
This week’s Starting Nine has reasons for concern and optimism for every position.
FanGraphs continued its Positional Power Rankings for the 2021 season Thursday and the Braves and Marcell Ozuna came in second in left field which is pretty impressive given the sizable concerns about his outfield defense. Atlanta was just 26th in center field rankings thanks to the lack of experience of Cristian Pache and the decline of Ender Inciarte. They do note that no team in the bottom 10 has more upside than Atlanta and that Pache in particular could easily outperform his projections.
The Chicago White Sox will be without slugger Eloy Jimenez for five to six months after he suffered a rupture of his left pectoral tendon.
The Baltimore Orioles selected the contract of Matt Harvey Thursday ensuring that he will make the team’s Opening Day roster.