FanGraphs likes the Braves heading into the abbreviated 2020 season, projecting the club to finish 34-26, tied with the Nationals atop the NL East.
Alex Anthopoulos met with the media on on Wednesday to discuss the current state of the Braves as “Spring” Training approaches. The GM spoke on several topics, Cole Hamels:
Perhaps the most notable highlight of the call was the health of Cole Hamels’ shoulder. Hamels was sidelined in March with a shoulder strain and was expected to miss at least the first six weeks of the would-be season. Now, it seems Hamels will be ready for Opening Day on July 27, barring any setbacks. He is expected to throw a bullpen on Friday and has been throwing off flat ground comfortably in recent weeks. Needless to say, Hamels bolstering the rotation alongside Mike Soroka, Max Fried and Mike Foltynewicz would go a long way in helping the Braves win their third consecutive NL East title.
Kris Willis takes a look at the Braves’ roster ahead of camp, including the taxi squad that would come into play in the event of an injury.
While I still have some questions in regards to if some of the roster rules will be altered for this abbreviated season, I have put together my first guess at a 30-man active roster along with the 30 reserves. This attempt is really just to act as a conversation starter as I am sure things will become more in focus once players report on July 1. For this exercise, I am assuming that pitchers won’t be capped and have settled on 15. Also, I have listed the players that are currently not on the 40-man roster and I am guessing that moves will need to be made before they can be on the active roster.
Mark Bowman provides answers to many of the frequently asked questions around the Braves and baseball in general.
Which teams will be on the schedule?
Atlanta’s 60-game schedule will include 40 games against its National League East opponents and 20 games against teams from the American League East. So the Braves will play the Nationals, Phillies, Mets and Marlins 10 times each, and they will also have four-game series against the Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, Blue Jays and Rays.
The Braves rank near the middle of the pack among NL teams, with Marcell Ozuna projected as the primary DH. For much of the offseason, Austin Riley was considered the most likely candidate to DH, but Ozuna has apparently become the front-runner. With weeks of camp left to be completed, this projection could change at any time, but Ozuna would seem to make sense given his declining defensive abilities and weak throwing arm.