Atlanta Braves Roster Talk #5: Opening Day

Courtesy of @680TheFan

Gosh…I hope there’s an Opening Day so all this Atlanta Braves Roster Talk isn’t for naught. This coronavirus crap is getting in the way of my favorite time of the year.

Here are our previous 4 pieces in this series:

Since our last piece, there’s been a lot of players sent to Minor League Camp, and/or optioned back to Gwinnett.



While a lot of these guys % chance of making the Opening Day Roster was about as high as me walking into a Tom Thumb and grabbing one of those hot dogs that’s been churning on those warmers for a few days, it’s still worth noting that our list has shrunk and other guys now have a better shot at cracking the 26.

I’m also adding Jeremy Walker to the list of omissions of Opening Day candidates, and the why sucks.

Atlanta Braves Roster Talk: The Locks

Unless any unforeseen circumstances such as trades and/or injuries, there are still likely 21 locks on the roster.



Starting Pitchers: Mike Soroka, Mike Foltynewicz, Max Fried

Relief Pitchers: Mark Melancon, Will Smith, Shane Greene, Chris Martin, Luke Jackson, Darren O’Day

Lock, but role undetermined: Sean Newcomb


Braves Roster Talk: 4th & 5th Starting Pitchers

I recently had Phil Pfeifer and Tucker Davidson on this list, but they have been limited to 2 innings per outing, and that likely indicates they’ll not be stretched out to starter status during camp, so their position on this list has been revoked. And while I’d like to keep Ian Anderson on this list, he’s only thrown 2.2 innings and likely only gets one more start before being sent to Minor League camp. Vamoose.

  • Sean Newcomb– 75% (2.00 ERA through 9 IP, 2BB, 11K)
  • Felix Hernandez-75% (1.98 ERA through 13.2 IP, 5BB, 14K)
  • Kyle Wright-40% (2.16 ERA through 8.1 IPS, 2BB, 12K)
  • Touki Toussaint– 10% (2.08 ERA through 8.2 IP, 3BB, 8K)

Breakdown: Newk and the King look like the guys that’ll be given the 2 spots and I’ve come to terms with it. Still, the Braves could choose to let Felix pitch elsewhere or that they need Newk in the bullpen, which would create a spot for Wright. Touki is on the outside looking in, and that’s likely due to a rotten 2019, but we should be happy that he’s back to throwing strikes and keeping the ball in the park.

Braves Roster Talk: Reliever(s)

*Reminder that if Newcomb makes the team as a starter, his vacancy will create 2 spots needed in the bullpen. Along with the aforementioned players that won’t be in camp anymore, I’m going to remove both Kyle Wright and Felix Hernandez from this list as I don’t foresee the Braves asking either to be the long man out of the bullpen.

  • Sean Newcomb-25%
  • Tucker Davidson- 5% (1.69 ERA through 5.1 IP, 4BB, 4K)
  • Phil Pfeifer-30% (0.00 ERA through 5.2 IP, 1BB, 9K)
  • Touki Toussaint-20%
  • Patrick Weigel– 25% (0.00 ERA through 6.1 IP, 1BB, 6K)
  • Grant Dayton– 10% (8.31 ERA through 4.1 IP, 2BB, 3K)
  • Josh Tomlin– 25% (3.18 ERA through 5.2 IP, 1BB, 4K)
  • Tyler Matzek– 30% (0.00 ERA through 3.2 IP, 1BB, 7K)
  • Chris Rusin– 30% (2.35 ERA through 7.2 IP, 0BB, 11 K)

Breakdown: If what’s expected happens and Newk goes to the rotation, the Braves will need a LH option out of the bullpen to go along with Will Smith. Right now, I think that battle is in between Phil Pfeifer, Tyler Matzek, and Chris Rusin and I think it’s neck and neck. They’ve all looked remarkable.

Braves will also need a long man out of the bullpen, and there’s value in keeping Tomlin down at AAA for a rainy day and letting Weigel be that guy, but I don’t think we’ve seen a candidate lag behind the pack yet. Touki is right there with them, but I still feel the organization wants him starting every 5th day somewhere.

Starting 3rd Baseman

Y’all know my opinion on this matter as I shared it yesterday. I hope that Anthopoulos can help Snitker come to his senses and realize the value of carrying both of these guys and finding 400+ PAs for each…but until we hear differently, I’ll continue looking at an either/or scenario:

  • Johan Camargo: 50%
  • Austin Riley: 50%

Breakdown: Lots of chat about Riley lately has pulled this thing back to even, and I think it’ll be neck and neck until the end.

Bench Bats (1)


Breakdown: While no one is really lighting it on fire from this list, Solarte’s name has been tossed around a bit more in the past week, while Alonso’s presence hasn’t been felt at all. Alex Jackson continues to strike out at an alarming rate and I don’t think he’ll be an option for the MLB club.

Thanks for reading our Atlanta Braves Roster Talk #5. If you enjoyed this piece, check out this piece on Tyler Matzek that was written in August of last year.

Long Live Braves Journal!

Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

22 thoughts on “Atlanta Braves Roster Talk #5: Opening Day”

  1. Well, I was the loudest voice against Felix, and it looks like he’s marching his way to a rotation spot. Good luck to him. He’ll need it.

  2. I feel like Touki’s bullpen chances are higher. I think he has as good a shot as anyone to be the LR, if he keeps throwing like this I’d be surprised to see someone DFAd for Tomlin to make the roster.

  3. @5
    Here’s my suggestion for anyone that wants a custom order:
    1. Go to Amazon and find a shirt that you prefer (pretty easy to find the exact color/style on there for $8-10). Send me the link and I’ll order it.
    2. Tell me the design you want and whether you’d want it in full color or whited out.
    3. I’ll order it and get it over to our printer (he lives down the road from me).

  4. From previous thread… thnx for the kind words.

    Are the t-shirts 50/50, or 100% cotton?

    Re: 4/5 starters
    Although I can’t say I’ve seen a lot to inspire too much confidence about King Felix, I’m rooting for the guy. Over the years, I’ve seen him pitch a buncha times in The Bronx & he was a stone-cold Yankee killer there. Always brought it to the big stage & he was one of the very few pitchers (Sawx-era Pedro was another, of course) for whom Pinstripe fans just threw up their hands and said, “That guy’s just too good.”

  5. @ububba

    Look at the design that you want and let me know and I’ll make sure you get the fabric you want. Email me with any questions.

  6. Bruce Shein
    his necessary presence essential to refine
    the Russo rants
    good friends but hardly sycophants.

    All is well again with the world of Baseball talk – Russo pleased to be back home from a month visiting clubs in ST was visibly salivating at engaging his friend, there being a particularly long list of ‘can you believe its’ alive from all quarters.

    Top topic…the Yankees and their bizarre medical staff , all fired today apparently, primarily due to the Judge situation – broke a rib diving for a ball in September, they never knew about the break, no X Ray till the other day, now likely missing till Memorial Day. Wow. Angst, real anger, Shein could find no excuses.

    Indians…Lindor pulls out of 5 year extension talks which he had always said he wanted etc etc.
    Couldn’t agree numbers etc…R, outraged.

    Yelich…rare agreement, 9 more years at 27M AV. Good deal for both sides to age 36. Special guy, idolized locally, small market etc.

    BRAVES! Hernandez spring numbers. Shein delighted how well he has shown up, R totally cynical. Useless for many years he says. Fun, the way they both go at it. Baseball is back.

  7. Is anybody interested in joining a fantasy league? I’ve got a couple spots opened up in an established league. Best of all – it’s free.

  8. ububba, glad to see you back and you’re doing well.

    I’ve met a few guys from Braves Journal, but ububba was the first. I must have been knee high to a grasshopper back then.

  9. #12-13
    Danke, y’all…

    “The people will survive, in their environment…” I certainly hope so.

    Thanks… Can’t remember the game, but it was @ Turner Field, right?

  10. Soroka… 4 IP, 1 H, 2 K, 3 BB… a grapefruit-league win. Well done.

    Today, a co-worker was telling me how his fantasy league guys were dogging Soroka & I just said, “Good… draft him.”

    Yeah, D. Boon was probably more prescient than we realized. Great song, though… & who knew that an entire generation would get to know the Minutemen (& this song) thru “Jackass”?

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