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Inbox: Which Braves prospects are close?

Beat reporter Mark Bowman answers questions from fans
MLB.com @mlbbowman

A lot of pitching talent jumped to Double-A Mississippi this season. Is it possible we will get a taste of the future late in the year?
-- @MatthewCirkovic

There's definitely a chance we could see Max Fried during the latter portion of the season, but by promoting Kolby Allard and Mike Soroka to Double-A, the Braves have simply enhanced the possibility of both of these talented young hurlers being in the rotation discussion at some point next year.

A lot of pitching talent jumped to Double-A Mississippi this season. Is it possible we will get a taste of the future late in the year?
-- @MatthewCirkovic

There's definitely a chance we could see Max Fried during the latter portion of the season, but by promoting Kolby Allard and Mike Soroka to Double-A, the Braves have simply enhanced the possibility of both of these talented young hurlers being in the rotation discussion at some point next year.

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Since Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey and Jaime Garcia might not remain with the Braves beyond this season, they have to plan to fill three rotation spots. If Fried continues his progression, he could certainly fill one of those voids. We'll have to see what Sean Newcomb, Patrick Weigel, Aaron Blair and Matt Wisler do this year before confidently projecting them for one of those spots.

Atlanta was aggressive with its promotion of Allard, but both he and Soroka are capable of having success at the Double-A level.

Video: Top Prospects: Kolby Allard, LHP, Braves

Many Braves fans feel the roster was filled, in terms of both the bullpen and bench, in a repetitive and incomplete manner. What are your thoughts?
-- @baldheaded1der

Without dwelling too much on what the bullpen did on Opening Day, the limited bench creates the most concern. It's nice to have the defensive versatility Jace Peterson, Chase d'Arnaud and Emilio Bonifacio provide, but none of them are striking fear in the opposing manager when they're lurking on the bench in late innings. By adding Anthony Recker, the Braves at least made either Tyler Flowers or Kurt Suzuki a pinch-hit option. Suzuki has 43 plate appearances as a pinch-hitter and Flowers has three, but as far as late-inning pop goes, they're the closest qualifiers on Atlanta's bench.

The Braves have never really shown interest in Angel Pagan, who is asking for much more than they're willing to offer, but they will likely attempt to strengthen the bench at some point. And certainly there's a desire to win as much as possible right now, but it doesn't necessarily make sense to do so by carrying Ozzie Albies, Rio Ruiz and Dustin Peterson (when he returns from hamate surgery), and simultaneously influencing their future value by not allowing them to play on an everyday basis in the Minors.

Video: Top Prospects: Ozzie Albies, 2B, Braves

Should we expect to see Mauricio Cabrera in the big leagues soon? If so, who do you think he will replace? Anthony Recker or a pitcher?
-- @JK_Rodgers

Before Monday's Opening Day game, manager Brian Snitker said Cabrera should be cleared to begin throwing soon. But given that he hasn't pitched in more than two weeks, I wouldn't expect to see him back in Atlanta's bullpen before the latter portion of this month. When he returns, I'm guessing the Braves will opt to go with an eight-man bullpen, but in doing so, they'll obviously create even more concern about their bench.

Has there been any more info on why Paco Rodriguez was released? Seems like more than a coincidence he still hasn't signed on with another team.
-- @mddl_eezturn

When a team releases a controllable left-handed reliever like Rodriguez, you have to assume it has something to do with health, attitude or personality. Rodriguez was healthy enough to make four Grapefruit League appearances for the Braves this year, but Atlanta never grew comfortable enough to reserve a spot for him on its 40-man roster.

Because Rodriguez chose to rehab on his own in Miami last year, the Braves' medical staff didn't get an extended opportunity to evaluate him until Spring Training. Then as camp progressed, it seemed like the team and pitcher never got on the same page. With A.J. Minter, Jesse Biddle and other left-handed relievers rapidly advancing toward Atlanta and Rodriguez's immediate future somewhat uncertain, the team made this move. And in doing so, the Braves indicated they'd prefer to give future opportunities to younger pitchers with higher upsides.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves