The Atlanta Braves are likely to have some major surprises on their Opening Day roster, starting with an interesting prospect.
Brian Snitker admitted his Opening Day roster was pretty much set as of last Thursday. While he didn’t name names, those who cover the team daily can presume at this point.
So, what should Braves fans expect?
There are three surprises on the Braves’ Opening Day roster, as there usually are for contending teams with some turnover.
William Contreras, Spencer Strider and Tucker Davidson should all make the Braves big-league squad to start the campaign. Whether they’ll be in Atlanta long-term remains to be seen, but it’s still a big step for said young players.
Braves Opening Day roster: 3 Surprises
Contreras’ spot is definitely a surprise, as Atlanta already had two catchers guaranteed to make the roster in Travis d’Arnaud and Manny Piña. Yet, Contreras has one of the final bench spots on lock, so the brother of Cubs catcher Willson Contreras will receive a major-league opportunity.
“Catching is his main thing,” Snitker said, per MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. “We still view him as a catcher. But with his athleticism, you could potentially move him around the diamond.”
With the Braves going to a six-man rotation to start the season, Davidson won the final spot from Kyle Muller. Atlanta doesn’t have a day off for the first two weeks of the season, so they need fresh arms. That’s where Davidson — and his counterpart Strider — fit in.
The Braves haven’t determined whether Strider or Davidson will get the No. 6 rotation spot, but Snitker loves the former’s potential as a starter and long reliever. Strider throws 101 MPH, but needs to develop his breaking stuff before he can be a dependable starting pitcher at the big-league level.
For now, Atlanta will have him pitch to his strengths.
“I like the progress [Strider] has made,” Snitker said. “Like [Saturday], every time he goes out there will be a learning experience because he’s going to face competition he’s never faced before. He’s got weapons, and I’ve seen a lot of improvement in his secondary stuff.”
The Braves play the Reds at Truist Park on Opening Day.