JAUDON SPORTS: Predicting the 2023 Braves Opening Day Roster

North Port, Florida: A general view of the stadium before the start of a game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves during spring training at CoolToday Park.USATI

The Atlanta Braves began Grapefruit League Spring Training play last week in Florida. Manager Brian Snitker’s club will be seeking its sixth consecutive National League East Division championship this season, and the prep for that goal begins with the 33-game spring slate.

When Braves’ fans look at their team’s roster, it’s hard not to be excited about the potential. In the current and in the future, this club looks loaded. But the departure of Dansby Swanson this offseason does leave a void at shortstop and a void in the leadership department when it comes to clubhouse matters. Perhaps that’s the lone true question facing the team in the preseason: Who is the face of the Atlanta Braves in 2023?

Sure, position battles and roster decisions are out there. There are questions, to be certain.

click to enlarge JAUDON SPORTS: Predicting the 2023 Braves Opening Day Roster

Will it be Vaughn Grissom or Orlando Arcia at shortstop to start the season? Can Marcell Ozuna actually contribute enough on the field to offset his troubles off of it?Is Eddie Rosario ready to play 130+ games in left field? Will it be Ian Anderson, Mike Soroka or someone else to win the fifth spot in the starting rotation? How will Snitker manage his catching duo of Sean Murphy and Travis d’Arnaud with the use of the designated hitter? What will the bench look like?

These will require answering down the line, but for now, I’ll take a stab at projecting Atlanta’s March 30th Opening Day roster for Game 1 in Washington against the Nationals.

CATCHER: Sean Murphy, Travis d’Arnaud

Together, they form the best catching duo in the big-leagues. Murphy figures to catch three-four times per week with d’Arnaud catching one-two times and DH’ing another time or two.

INFIELD: Matt Olson, Ozzie Albies, Vaughn Grissom, Austin Riley

I think Grissom breaks camp with the big club, but that’s no guarantee. Albies, coming off hisn injury-filled 2022 season, could be used as the DH for a few games as the season gets going, pushing Grissom or Arcia to the 2B position. Riley and Olson are each MVP candidates on the corners and one or both of them could assume the leadership role discussed earlier in the wake of Swanson’s departure to the Cubs.

OUTFIELD: Ronald Acuña Jr., Michael Harris II, Eddie Rosario

The only real questions here are health and the left field rotation. Rosario should play most often against right-handers, but he isn’t the type of guy who can post every single day. So, whoever wins the fourth outfielder job will need to be able to hit lefties, one would think.


No comment.

BENCH: Orlando Arcia, Sam Hilliard, Jordan Luplow

This was tough for me, can’t imagine what it will be like for Snitker. All three can play the outfield if needed, and Luplow can handle all three outfield spots as well as first base should Olson ever need a day off. Other names in contention for the bench spots include: Kevin Pillar, Ehire Adrianza, Eli White and Adeiny Hechavarria.

STARTING ROTATION: Max Fried, Spencer Strider, Kyle Wright, Charlie Morton, Ian Anderson

Anderson was shelled in his Tuesday, February 28 spring training start versus the Twins. Take from that what you will, but he and Mike Soroka (pending his health) are the leaders to win the fifth rotation spot to start the season. Other names to watch include: Kolby Allard, Bryce Elder and Jared Shuster.

BULLPEN: Raisel Iglesias, A.J. Minter, Joe Jiménez, Collin McHugh, Nick Anderson, Kirby Yates, Dylan Lee, Lucas Luetge 

There are a few new names to monitor in the bullpen this spring, but if things shake out in Atlanta’s favor, this could be one of the top relief units in all of Major League Baseball this summer. Some staples already in place: Iglesias is the closer, Jiménez is the setup man and Minter is the go-to lefty in the late innings. From there, it’ll be up to Snitker and staff to fill out the remaining five bullpen spots.

Fan favorite Tyler Matzek is on the 60-day injured list to start the spring, and the lefty is unlikely to make an impact on the ‘pen anytime before the All-Star Break. Atlanta could opt to go with one of the back-end starter candidates as an extra arm in the bullpen to start the year while sending Lee to the minors to begin the year. If Lee or Luetge aren’t on the roster, the Braves would begin the season with just two left-handed arms out of the bullpen.

click to enlarge JAUDON SPORTS: Predicting the 2023 Braves Opening Day Roster


  1. Ronald Acuña Jr. – RF

  2. Michael Harris II – CF

  3. Austin Riley – 3B

  4. Matt Olson – 1B

  5. Sean Murphy – C

  6. Ozzie Albies – 2B

  7. Travis d’Arnaud – DH

  8. Eddie Rosario – LF

  9. Vaughn Grissom – SS

About The Author

Travis Jaudon

Travis Jaudon has been writing in Savannah since 2016 and is host of Hot Grits Podcast.
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