Pitchers and catchers reported to spring training earlier this week for the Atlanta Braves. Position players are scheduled to follow by February 20, although a number have already arrived. Previously, we took a closer look at all of the pitchers and catchers on Atlanta’s spring roster, next up are the other position players.
Below are some quick thoughts on the 24 infielders and outfielders that the Braves are bringing to camp.
(An asterisk denotes that the player is a non-roster invitee and is not on the 40-man roster)
Ehire Adrianza* - Adrianza split the 2022 season between the Nationals and the Braves and struggled at the plate, hitting just .175/.264/.206 in just 97 plate appearances. He re-signed with Atlanta on a minor league deal and will be competing for one of the final bench spots. Adrianza brings versatility defensively, but it remains to be seen just how much is left in the tank. He’s hit more than fine for a bench option in two of the last four years, but hasn’t done much in the other two.
Ozzie Albies - Albies was limited to just 64 games in 2022 due to a fractured foot and pinky finger. He will slot back in at second base in 2023 and could help provide some leadership after the departure of Dansby Swanson.
Orlando Arcia - Arcia will come to camp in a competition with Vaughn Grissom to be the starting shortstop on Opening Day. Arcia filled in capably at second base in place of Albies last season. He was a (barely) above league-average hitter for the first time in his career, posting a 104 wRC+ in 234 plate appearances. However, a good bit of that came in 14 games against the Nationals. Hit .203/.261/.328 in 17 games in Venezuela this winter.
Cal Conley* - Conley was the Braves’ fourth-round pick in 2021. He split last season between Augusta and Rome before ending the season in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .267/.376/.465 with 10 of his 23 hits going for extra bases.
Joe Dunand* - Dunand was claimed off waivers by the Braves from the Marlins last June. He finished the season with Gwinnett, where he hit .214/.313/342 with six homers in 340 plate appearances. He’s another player with some defensive versatility who will likely serve as depth at Gwinnett again.
Vaughn Grissom - The biggest storyline of the spring will revolve around Grissom, as he tries to secure the shortstop job for Opening Day. Grissom made a late splash in 2022, jumping from Double-A to the majors to fill in at second while Albies and Arcia both sat out with injuries. He held his own at the plate, but will need to show that he is capable enough defensively to land the job at short.
Adeiny Hechavarria* - Hechavarria returns to the Braves on a minor league deal after serving as the team’s reserve infielder in 2019 and 2020. He has spent the last two seasons playing in Japan and hit .322/.420/.458 in the Puerto Rican Winter League this offseason. Hechavarria will turn 34 in April and will be competing for one of the final bench spots.
Matt Olson - Olson hit 34 homers and posted a 120 wRC+ in his first season in Atlanta, but slumped during parts of August and September, which tanked some of his final numbers. With a full year in Atlanta under his belt, Olson comes to Spring Training in a more comfortable position. The restrictions on defensive shifting could (maybe) help his cause and a big season could be in order at the plate.
Austin Riley - Riley put up big numbers again at the plate for the Braves and signed a long-term extension. He set career highs with 38 home runs, a 142 wRC+ and 5.5 fWAR. Riley is going to be a staple in the middle of Atlanta’s order for many years to come.
Carlos Sanchez* - Sanchez spent the 2022 season with the Red Sox and the Mets and signed a minor league deal with Atlanta in January. He played the 2021 season at Gwinnett, where he hit .246/.372/.394 in 396 plate appearances. He brings some defensive flexibility, but looks more like Triple-A depth than someone that could crack the big league roster.
Braden Shewmake - A Braves first-round pick in the 2021 Draft, Shewmake was added to the 40-man roster this winter in order to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. He appeared in 76 games at Gwinnett before he was involved in a nasty collision in the outfield. He hit .259/.316/.399 with seven homers and an 89 wRC+.
Luke Waddell - Waddell was the Braves’ fifth-round pick in the 2021 Draft out of Georgia Tech. He is another utility infielder type who appeared in just 41 games at Mississippi last season due to injury.
Ronald Acuña Jr. - Acuña was one of the first players to show up at spring camp for the Braves and seems to finally be past the lingering knee issues that he dealt with in 2022. Acuña clearly wasn’t himself last season, but still put up a 114 wRC+ and 2.2 fWAR. If he is healthy, he could be in for a big season. He’ll take part in the World Baseball Classic with Team Venezuela.
Justin Dean* - Dean spent last season between Mississippi and Gwinnett. His offensive performance has been lacking at the higher levels of the minor leagues, but he is a good runner and an excellent defender. He hit .343/.431/.471 and stole 16 bases in Mexico this winter.
Michael Harris II - Harris made the jump from Double-A in late May and then won Rookie of the Year in the National League. Everyone (well, not everyone...) knew that he was ready for the majors defensively, but he also put up excellent offensive numbers, posting a 136 wRC+ to go along with 19 homers and 20 stolen bases. He was another player that signed a long-term extension and will no doubt play a big part in the Braves’ future going forward.
Sam Hilliard - Claimed off waivers from the Rockies in November, Hilliard is expected to compete for one of the final outfield spots. He has struggled at the plate in his career, hitting .212/.294/.423 with a 77 wRC+ in 639 plate appearances. However, he had a max exit velocity in the 97th percentile and despite being listed at 6’5”, 236, is a good athlete with good arm strength. It will be interesting to see if Atlanta can unlock some of his potential this spring.
Jordan Luplow - Luplow signed a one-year deal this offseason after spending the 2022 season with Arizona. He will be an option in the corner outfield spots and has a 125 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers for his career. However, most of that damage came back in 2019 and earlier. If he can recapture that form, he could be part of a platoon situation with Eddie Rosario in left.
Cody Milligan* - Milligan was the Braves’ ninth-round pick in the 2019 Draft. He began the 2022 season at Rome where he put up a blistering line of .329/.458/.423 and a 157 wRC+ in 55 games before getting the bump to Mississippi. He wasn’t quite as dominant after the promotion but his line was still respectable despite a drop-off in power production.
Marcell Ozuna - Since re-signing with the Braves before the 2021 season, Ozuna has hit .222/.278/.397 with 30 home runs and an 84 wRC+ in 715 plate appearances. Alex Anthopoulos was noncommittal earlier this winter when asked if Ozuna would have a spot on the Opening Day roster. He is still owed $37 million and it remains to be seen whether the Braves would just simply cut him loose.
Kevin Pillar* - Signed to a minor league deal in January, Pillar will come to camp and likely compete with Hilliard for one of the final bench spots. He started last season at Triple-A for the Dodgers and put up good numbers. He earned a call up to the majors but appeared in just four games before a shoulder injury ended his season.
Eddie Rosario - 2023 will be a big season for Rosario, who will be entering the final year of a two-year, $18 million deal, although Atlanta does hold a $9 million option for 2024. Last season was a disaster for Rosario, who was never able to get back on track after eye surgery. If he returns to form, then the Braves’ situation in left becomes reasonable. If not, they may be forced to look for help outside the organization.
Magneuris Sierra* - Sierra signed a minor league deal with Atlanta in February after spending last season with the Angels. He has good speed and is an adequate defender, but has struggled at the plate n his career, hitting just .228/.273/.272 with a 49 wRC+ in 636 career plate appearances.
Forrest Wall* - A former first-round pick of the Rockies from back in 2014, Wall spent last season in Triple-A in the Mariners organization, where he hit .255/.333/.354 with six homers and a 76 wRC+. 2023 will be his ninth season in pro ball, but he has never made an appearance in the majors.
Eli White - Acquired for cash considerations from the Rangers in January, White is another player that will be competing for a spot in the outfield mix. White is an excellent defender, but has struggled at the plate in his career with a 56 wRC+ in 389 plate appearances.