How the Braves 25-Man Roster Shakes Out

We did this a couple of weeks ago, but we've been told by Atlanta Braves General Manager Frank Wren that pretty much all the dealing and signing is done of for this off-season, so let's take a look at what the Braves 25-man roster will look like on opening day. This assumes no injuries between now and then, as well as several other assumptions listed below.

Lineup
1. Nate McLouth, CF
2. Martin Prado, 2B
3. Chipper Jones, 3B
4. Troy Glaus, 1B
5. Brian McCann, C
6. Yunel Escobar, SS
7. Jason Heyward, RF
8. Matt Diaz, LF

Rotation
1. Tim Hudson
2. Derek Lowe
3. Jair Jurrjens
4. Tommy Hanson
5. Kenshin Kawakami

Bench
1. David Ross, C
2. Omar Infante, IF
3. Melky Cabrera, OF
4. Eric Hinske, OF
5. Brooks Conrad, IF

Bullpen
1. Billy Wagner, LH
2. Takashi Saito, RH
3. Peter Moylan, RH
4. Eric O'Flaherty, LH
5. Kris Medlen, RH
6. Jesse Chavez, RH
7. Mike Dunn, LH

Here are some assumptions I'm making, as well as some comments:

  • Heyward will make the team. As long as he has a good spring, or at least finishes strong, this is the right move, as his presence will make the club better in the long term. Besides, he should be in the no pressure 7th spot in the lineup. This is also an assumption based on the hints we've heard from the Braves all off-season.
  • The bench probably has one open spot, and I've given that to Brooks Conrad. Hinske has the flexibility to play the corner infield positions, so it's just a matter of whether the team wants another backup middle infielder or another pure pinch hitter off the bench like Mitch Jones. Conrad may provide more flexibility, especially when factored in with Prado's flexibility.
  • The bullpen didn't change from the last time I did this, and why should it? The only ways in which I see it changing are from someone on the list above getting injured, or for some reason just being wildly ineffective in spring, then there might be a chance for one of the other kids to slip in. Note that Scott Proctor will likely not be used by the Braves until June (this is to preserve the club's control over him for another year).
  • With Heyward in the everyday lineup and Melky and Hinske on the bench I really like how strong our bench becomes. Both strong and extremely flexible. Flexible not only in the positions that can be played, but also in the combination of power and speed and good defense. This could be the strongest bench the Braves have had since the days of Gerald Williams.
  • I am uber-excited to have Glaus in the middle of this lineup. Not only does he add that right-handed bat we've been seeking, but he takes the pressure off of both Chipper and McCann, and moves guys like Escobar and Heyward into low pressure run producing spots. Glaus makes this entire lineup work. His health will be critical to the Braves success this season.
  • I could see Diaz and Prado swapping spots sometimes, especially when Diaz in the midst of one of his "hit everything" phases. I'm also eager to see how both of these guys handle what should be everyday roles, though I fear Diaz may fall back into a platoon with Melky and/or Hinske.

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