ATLANTA -- As the Braves progressed through Spring Training, they were not forced to alter their plans for the lineup or starting rotation. But Eric O'Flaherty's emergence, Mauricio Cabrera's sore elbow and concerns about the bench have slightly altered the roster predictions made before camp.The Braves have a good feel
ATLANTA -- As the Braves progressed through Spring Training, they were not forced to alter their plans for the lineup or starting rotation. But Eric O'Flaherty's emergence, Mauricio Cabrera's sore elbow and concerns about the bench have slightly altered the roster predictions made before camp.
The Braves have a good feel for how their Opening Day lineup might look. But before submitting it ahead of Sunday's noon ET deadline, they continue to explore some bench options that might arise once other teams make some players available.
Braves manager Brian Snitker said Friday it looks like the team will open the season with a seven-man bullpen. This has altered the picture because in the past few weeks, it looked like they'd carry just four bench players. Below is my prediction of how Atlanta's roster will look with references to the predictions that were made before Spring Training and halfway through the Grapefruit League season.
Rotation projection: Julio Teheran, Bartolo Colon, Jaime Garcia, R.A. Dickey, Mike Foltynewicz.
The rotation has remained exactly as expected, unless you bought into the Braves' attempt to fabricate competition between Foltynewicz, Aaron Blair and Matt Wisler for the fifth spot.
Bullpen projection: Jim Johnson, Arodys Vizcaino, Jose Ramirez, Ian Krol, Eric O'Flaherty, Josh Collmenter, Chaz Roe.
Assuming they'll go with a seven-man bullpen and accounting for Cabrera (sore right elbow) starting the season on the 10-day disabled list, we'll predict the recently acquired David Hernandez will lose the battle for the final spot to Roe, who is out of options.
Roe was not included within my previous two predictions, both of which accounted for an eight-man bullpen, and O'Flaherty was added to the predictions that were updated a little more than two weeks ago. I was wrong with my pre-camp prediction that Blaine Boyer and lefty Paco Rodriguez would win spots. Both were released within the past week.
Bench projection:Jace Peterson, Chase d'Arnaud, Emilio Bonifacio, Kurt Suzuki and Anthony Recker.
Peterson, d'Arnaud, Bonifacio and Suzuki were included within both predictions, when it was projected the Braves would open with a four-man bench. Recker now joins the mix as I'm predicting a third catcher will be carried during the first two weeks of the season. After experiencing three off-days within the season's first 11 days, the Braves might revert to their plan to carry eight relievers.
Lineup projection: CF Ender Inciarte, SS Dansby Swanson, 1B Freddie Freeman, LF Matt Kemp, RF Nick Markakis, 2B Brandon Phillips, 3B Adonis Garcia, C Tyler Flowers.
This projection has remained the same since the start of Spring Training.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.