It is time for the minor league season to kick off, and the Triple-A level will get a week head start on the rest. With that, we got the Gwinnett Stripers opening day roster which will feature a lot of names that we all know, including 9 members of the 40 man roster.
This is not the first we’ve written of the roster as we did previews of each level a couple of week’s ago, but it’s safe to say my prediction for Gwinnett weren’t entirely accurate. For starters, Jared Shuster and Dylan Dodd will both be making starts at the major league level to begin the season, taking away Gwinnett’s top two projected prospects. In their place is Ian Anderson, whose struggles last season and during spring lost him the fifth starter spot. Anderson’s further development at Triple-A carries over from last season when he posted a 5.40 ERA in four Triple-A starts. The most surprising exclusion from the roster is Darius Vines, who finished 2022 strong and was expected to be fighting to impress his way into the major league roster. Vines will be beginning the season on the injured list along with Kolby Allard
Offensively the preview mostly hit the nail on the head with the notable exception of Vaughn Grissom. Grissom was widely expected to be Atlanta’s opening day shortstop at the time of that preview but the Braves decided to shift directions and give that job to Orlando Arcia. Presumably Grissom will get the majority of the defensive innings at shortstop as that is the biggest need for his development, while fellow shortstop prospect Braden Shewmake will play more second base. Another interesting addition is Charlie Culberson who was signed to a late minor league contract to join the Braves organization.
A familiar name on the just-announced #Braves Triple-A Gwinnett roster: Charlie Culberson. Released by the Rays last week, Charlie signed a minor league deal earlier this week with the Braves. He was a fan favorite (and Dansby doppelganger) while playing for Atlanta in 2018-2020.— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) March 31, 2023
Culberson was a fan favorite utility player for the Braves between 2018 and 2020, racking up 1.1 fWAR and 17 home runs in 473 play appearances with Atlanta. Culberson will fill an important veteran role for the Gwinnett roster along with strengthening the depth that Alex Anthopoulos focuses much energy on. Gwinnett opens their season tonight at 7:05pm as part of a three game home series against the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimps. The starting rotation hasn’t yet been announced. Mmm