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Braves Spring Training Preview: Thoughts on every pitcher and catcher headed to camp

Quick thoughts on the Braves pitchers and catchers entering camp

Atlanta Braves v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Pitchers and catchers for the Atlanta Braves are due to report to North Port on Wednesday, although a number are already there. Position players are due in by Monday, with the first full squad working out scheduled for February 21. The Braves come to camp with an intriguing young roster that is projected to be one of the best in the league. They do have some questions that will need to be answered during the Grapefruit League season.

Atlanta is bringing a group of 35 pitchers to camp along with seven catchers. Below are some quick thoughts on each. We will follow up with the rest of the position players later this week.

(An asterisk denotes that the player is a non-roster invitee and is not on the 40-man roster)


Travis d’Arnaud - d’Arnaud returns for his fourth season with the Braves behind the plate. He will pair with Sean Murphy to give Atlanta one of the best catching tandems in the league. Depending on what happens with Marcell Ozuna, d’Arnaud could see time at DH as well. He is entering the final guaranteed year of his deal although the team holds an $8 million club option for 2024.

Drake Baldwin* - Atlanta’s third-round pick from the 2022 MLB Draft, Baldwin appeared in 24 games between the Florida Complex League and Low-A Augusta. He hit .376/.430/.546 over his last 10 games or the GreenJackets.

Ryan Casteel* - Casteel spent the last two seasons at Gwinnett and re-signed again this past November. He will turn 32 in June and appeared in 69 games at Triple-A last season, where he had a 102 wRC+ in 264 plate appearances.

Joe Hudson* - Hudson signed a minor league deal with Atlanta in December. He will turn 32 in May and has been somewhat of a journeyman while playing in six different organizations. He spent the 2022 season at Triple-A for the Rays, where he hit .226/.345/.489 with 11 home runs and a 119 wRC+ in 165 plate appearances.

Sean Murphy - Acquired from Oakland in a three-team trade this winter, Murphy will bring a strong defensive pedigree to the Braves and the National League. While defense is his calling card, Murphy produced a 122 wRC+ for the Athletics in 2022 and should benefit from getting out of the Coliseum and moving to Truist Park. True to recent form, Atlanta locked Murphy up on a six-year deal shortly after the deal was made.

Tyler Tolve* - Atlanta drafted Tolve in the 17th round of the 2021 Draft. He spent last season at Rome, where he hit .261/.338/.470 with 12 home runs, and a 118 wRC+.

Chadwick Tromp - Claimed off waivers from the Giants in 2021, Tromp will serve as catching depth at Gwinnett behind d’Arnaud and Murphy. He made one appearance for the Braves in 2022 with a three-hit performance against the Marlins. Tromp will take part in the World Baseball Classic as part of The Netherlands’ roster.


Kolby Allard, LHP - Acquired from the Rangers this offseason in exchange for Jake Odorizzi, Atlanta originally drafted Allard with the 14th pick in the 2015 MLB Draft. He was dealt to Texas in 2019 in exchange for reliever Chris Martin. Allard has worked as a starter and a reliever during his career and could figure into the picture for Atlanta in either capacity at some point in 2023.

Ian Anderson, RHP - Anderson will be looking for a bounceback season after losing his rotation spot and finishing the 2023 season on the Injured List at Gwinnett. He spent some time this offseason working at Wake Forest’s pitching lab and is expected to compete with Michael Soroka for the final spot in the team’s Opening Day rotation.

Nick Anderson - RHP - Anderson signed a split deal with the Braves in November. He enjoyed a breakout season in 2019, but has been severely hampered by injuries since. He logged just 16 innings last year at Triple-A and hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2021. Anderson will likely be in Gwinnett to begin the season and could be something of a lottery ticket, as he offers high relief upside if he can regain his form.

Blake Burkhalter* RHP - Burkhalter was Atlanta’s second-round pick in 2022 out of Auburn, where he served as their closer. He appeared in three games after being drafted and there has been talk of the Braves using him as a starter. He is a player to watch, as he could move quickly if utilized in a relief role.

Jesse Chavez* RHP - Chavez returned to the Braves on a minor league deal this offseason. He will have to earn his way onto the roster, but has pitched well in a variety of roles for the Braves over the last couple of seasons.

Dylan Dodd* LHP - The Braves took Dodd in the third round of the 2021 MLB Draft. He advanced three levels in 2022, ending the season with a one-start appearance at Gwinnett. He will likely return to Triple-A to start the season, but could be called upon at some point in 2023 if needed.

Bryce Elder - RHP - While Anderson and Soroka are the big names competing for the fifth starter spot, Elder will be involved as well. He made his major league debut in April of last season and struggled for a few turns through the rotation. He was called upon again down the stretch and pitched much better while finishing the season in Atlanta’s rotation.

Seth Elledge, RHP - The Braves added Elledge to the 40-man roster in November in order to keep him from minor league free agency. He spent the 2022 season at Gwinnett where he pitched well, posting a 3.88 ERA and a 2.80 FIP while racking up 63 strikeouts in just 46 1/3 innings.

Max Fried, LHP - Fried lost his arbitration case with the Braves this winter, but will still see a hefty raise to $13.5 million. He’ll be penciled in as Atlanta’s No. 1 starter and most of the story around him heading into the spring has to do with his contract situation, as he is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2024 season.

Raisel Iglesias, RHP - Acquired from the Angels at the TTrade DDeadline last season, Iglesias is expected to take over as the team’s closer after the departure of Kenley Jansen to Boston in free agency. Iglesias allowed just one run in 26 1/3 innings after the trade and is under contract through the 2025 season.

Joe Jimenez, RHP - Acquired from Detroit this offseason, Jimenez will give the Braves another power right-handed relief arm. Jimenez turned in a career-best season with the Tigers in 2022, upping his strikeout rate to over 33 percent while cutting his walk rate to 5.6 percent. Jimenez avoided arbitration this winter by agreeing to a one-year deal and will be a free agent at the end of the season.

Dylan Lee, LHP - After playing a part in the Braves’ run to the World Series in 2021, Lee emerged as one of Atlanta’s key bullpen pieces in 2022. Lee posted a miniscule 2.13 ERA and limited left-handed hitters to a .158 average and a .172 wOBA.

Lucas Luetge, LHP - Acquired in a deal with the Yankees this offseason, Luetge is expected to give the Braves another left-handed option to help offset the loss of Tyler Matzek. Luetge was great in his two seasons in New York, appearing in 107 games and totaling 2.3 fWAR.

Tyler Matzek, LHP - Matzek will miss all of the 2023 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He avoided arbitration this winter by agreeing to a two-year deal.

Collin McHugh, RHP - One of the most unsung signings of last offseason, McHugh filled a variety of roles as a multi-inning option out of the bullpen. He appeared in 58 games and logged 69 1/3 innings while posting a 2.60 ERA and a 2.71 FIP. McHugh will be entering the final year of his deal in 2023, although Atlanta does hold a club option for the 2024 season. Between Chavez, Luetge, and McHugh, the Braves have a number of change-of-pace relief options that have had proven success in the past to pair with their fireballers.

A.J. Minter, LHP - Minter was not only Atlanta’s best reliever in 2022, but one of the best in the majors. He posted a 2.06 ERA and a 2.13 FIP while appearing in 75 games. His 2.1 fWAR was by far the most out of anyone in Atlanta’s bullpen corps. Minter avoided arbitration this winter by agreeing to a one-year deal worth just over $4.2 million. He will be a free agent after the 2024 season.

Brian Moran* RHP - Moran agreed to a minor league deal with Atlanta at the end of January. He spent the 2022 season in the Angels organization while making one appearance at the major league level.

Charlie Morton, RHP - Morton will come to camp looking to bounce back after an up-and-down season in 2022. The Braves are banking that Morton has something left in the tank and that last year’s struggles were in part due to a shortened spring and an offseason spent recovering from a broken leg that he suffered in the 2021 World Series. Morton will come to camp with a roster spot secured and is under contract through the end of the season although the Braves do hold a $20 million option for 2024.

Roddery Munoz, RHP - Atlanta added Munoz to the 40-man roster in November in order to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. He spent most of last season at Rome before ending the season with Mississippi.

Roel Ramirez* RHP - Ramirez spent the 2022 season with Gwinnett, where he had a 4.91 ERA and a 2.69 FIP in 22 innings. He will pitch for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.

Alan Rangel* RHP - Rangel was non-tendered by the Braves this offseason, but re-signed on a minor league deal. Rangel spent the majority of last season at Double-A where he had a 5.26 ERA and a 4.52 FIP in 114 2/3 innings. Like Ramirez, he is part of Mexico’s roster for the World Baseball Classic.

Yacksel Rios* RHP - Rios signed a minor league deal with the Braves in January after he spent last season in the White Sox organization. Rios has a big fastball, but hasn’t had much success at the major league level, and that’s being generous.

Dennis Santana, RHP - Santana was acquired from the Rangers in November in exchange for cash considerations. He avoided arbitration this winter with a one-year deal and will compete for one of the final bullpen spots during the spring.

Jared Shuster* LHP - Atlanta’s first pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, Shuster split the 2022 season between Mississippi and Gwinnett. He struggled with homers after his promotion, but will be among the group of pitchers that get a look during the spring. He should slot into what will be a really good rotation at Gwinnett.

Michael Soroka, RHP - Soroka returned to the mound in 2022 for the first time since tearing his Achilles tendon in his third start of the 2020 season. Soroka made six appearances in the minors for Atlanta and spent the offseason looking for consistency in his windup after two years away. He will come to camp without restriction and will compete for a rotation spot for Opening Day.

Jackson Stephens, RHP - Stephens was DFA’d and non-tendered this offseason by Atlanta, but re-signed to a split contract in December. He served as a multi-inning option with Atlanta in 2022 appearing in 39 games while logging 53 2/3 innings. He will be among the group vying for one of the final bullpen spots.

Spencer Strider, RHP - Atlanta’s fourth-round pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, Strider didn’t wait long to make an impact. He was originally slated to begin the 2022 season at Gwinnett, but impressed during the spring and landed a spot in the bullpen. He moved into the rotation at the end of May, broke John Smoltz’s franchise record for strikeouts in a game and became the fastest ever to 200 strikeouts. Atlanta locked him up to a big six-year extension at the end of the season and he will come to camp penciled in as one of the team’s top four starters.

Michael Tonkin, RHP - After not pitching in 2020 or 2021, Tonkin signed a minor league deal with the Braves in January of 2022 and put together an impressive season at Gwinnett appearing in 47 games while posting a 3.17 ERA and a 2.66 FIP to go along with a 36.5% strikeout rate in 48 1/3 innings. Atlanta added him to the 40-man roster this offseason to keep him away from minor league free agency.

Darius Vines, RHP - Vines split last season between Mississippi and Gwinnett and pitched well at both stops. He is likely ticketed to start the season back at Triple-A, but will be among the group of pitchers that Atlanta gives a look this spring. Atlanta added Vines to the 40-man roster in November in order to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.

Victor Vodnik* RHP - Vodnik wasn’t taken in the Rule 5 Draft despite being left unprotected by Atlanta. He spent the majority of last season at Gwinnett, where he had a 2.93 ERA and a 4.01 FIP despite command and injury issues.

Brooks Wilson* RHP - Wilson was non-tendered by the club this offseason, but re-signed on a minor league deal later in the winter. He put together a standout 2021 season between Mississippi and Gwinnett where he had 84 strikeouts in just 50 innings. He missed all of the 2022 season while recovering from Tommy John Surgery.

Kyle Wright, RHP - Wright turned in a breakout season in 2022, becoming the first Braves pitcher since Russ Ortiz to earn 20 “W”s. He will come to camp this spring with a rotation spot in hand and will be hoping to build off of last season’s success.

Kirby Yates, RHP - Yates returned to the mound for Atlanta after missing all of the 2021 season while recovering from Tommy John Surgery. His seven-game stint was full of ups and downs, but he entered the offseason healthy and will come to camp looking to nail down one of the final bullpen spots. Yates is entering the final year of his contract, but the Braves hold a team option for next season.

Huascar Ynoa, RHP - Ynoa began last season in the Braves’ rotation, but was banished to Gwinnett after struggling in his first two starts. He appeared in 18 games at Triple-A before getting hurt and undergoing Tommy John Surgery. He will miss all of the 2023 season.

Danny Young* LHP - Atlanta claimed Young off waivers from the Mariners last August and he appeared in three games. He re-signed on a minor league deal this winter and will again serve as left-handed relief depth.

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