Opening Day 2019

Kevin Cox/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves 25-Man roster is officially set for 2019. Expectations are that the club will (much in the way they did last season) adjust these players, specifically in the bullpen, from series to series based on feedback from minor league success.

The Braves will open the 2019 season on the road in Philadelphia against division rival Phillies and newly acquired RF Bryce Harper.

Today’s Opening Day matchup will be televised locally on Fox Sports Southeast at 2pm EST with streaming options available on Fox Sports GO and MLB.tv.

What we already know from this team is that they are extremely young and every player that shows value at his position will be getting a chance at the big league level.

This is evidenced immediately when looking at the starting rotation.

Julio Teheran

Bryse Wilson (R)

Kyle Wright (R)

Sean Newcomb

Max Fried

The Braves veteran, Julio Teheran will get the nod after an elbow injury to Mike Foltynewicz has sidelined him until at least late April. Teheran will be making his 6th consecutive Opening Day start for the club.

There are a whirlwind of question marks for Teheran heading into he start, most notably, surrounding his 1st inning struggles. Julio continued to show signs of having these issues throughout Spring Training. However, the one bright spot for Teheran comes from his Opening Day history with the club, where Julio has proven to be at his best. Teheran’s numbers, in terms of wins, may not reflect dominance. However, he has garnered almost no run support over the last 5 seasons getting the ball on Opening Day and Braves fans are looking for that to change in 2019.

2014 – Lost to the Milwaukee Brewers. Received 0 runs of support giving up 7 hits and 2 earned runs in 6 innings of work.

2015 – Won against the Miami Marlins. 2 runs of support giving up 8 hits and 1 earned run in 6 innings of work.

2016 – Lost against the Washington Nationals. Received 2 runs of support in his 6 innings only giving up 5 hits and 2 earned runs.

2017 – Lost to the New York Mets. Received 0 runs of support and pitched a gem. 0 earned runs and only allowed 4 hits.

2018 – Beat the Phillies and the pitcher in Aaron Nola that he will be facing in Philadelphia on Opening Day. Teheran worked 5.2 innings and received a “No Decision” in the game as he left after the Phillies took the lead in the 5th.

Julio faces an incredibly tough test as the “Phollies” acquired left handed hitting RF Bryce Harper in the offseason with a Major League record 13yr / $330MIL contract. Harper’s career numbers against Teheran are extravagant, batting .450 with 3 doubles, 8 home runs and 19 RBIs.

Braves fans will be locked in to the start hoping that Teheran will be able to provide a quality start (at least 6 innings allowing no more than 3 earned runs) on Opening Day, before Snit has to move into the Braves bullpen.

Consisting of:

Shane Carle

Jesse Biddle

Wes Parsons (R)

Josh Tomlin

Luke Jackson

Chad Sobotka

Jonny Venters

Arodys Vizcaino

Heading in to the season the team still has needs to solidify the bullpen. With future Hall of Famer Craig Kimbrel still available in free agency, all hopes from Braves fans are that the front office will make a move to insert him into the back of the pen alleviating some of the added pressure on the younger bullpen arms.

This game hinges on a multitude of questions from Braves fans:

– Which Julio will we see?

– How well can the young bullpen handle what may be another large workload, given that so many rookies are getting opportunities to start?

– Will the offensive production from a newly restructured lineup take a step forward in production during the 2019 regular season?

That being said, the starting lineup is projected to be:

1 – Ender Inciarte – CF

2 – Josh Donaldson – 3B

3 – Freddie Freeman – 1B

4 – Ronald Acuña, Jr. – LF

5 – Nick Markakis – RF

6 – Ozzie Albies – 2B

7 – Brian McCann – C

8 – Dansby Swanson – SS

9 – Julio Teheran – P

Bench:

Johan Camargo – UTIL

Charlie Culberson- UTIL

Matt Joyce – OF

Spring Training notes:

We really can not be sure what version of Ender Inciarte we are getting to kick off the season. However, the entirety of Braves Country will be praying he can return to 2017 form.

Josh Donaldson has shown flashes of power on the back end of his rehabbed calf injury, but only time will tell if he can return to his 2015 MVP form.

Freddie Freeman has become the Wiley Veteran of the club with his ability to stay consistent with regards to offensive production and defensive efficiency and all bets are that we see more of the same from him in 2019.

Ronald Acuña, Jr. is hoping to maintain his momentum after his break out Rookie of the Year campaign in 2018. This will be his first season batting clean-up and may change depending on production from the rest of the lineup.

Nick Markakis is in a 1 yr / $6MIL contract after his production at the plate fell off a cliff in the waning months of last season’s NL East Championship bid. Kakes has great plate discipline and Snit expects that attribute will help to “protect” Acuña in order for him to see more hittable pitches.

This team really needs to see growth from the switch hitting Ozzie Albies in the right hand batters box if they hope to succeed in what will be a highly competitive NL East division.

Dansby Swanson’s struggles down the stretch in 2018 are well documented. However, after making adjustments to his stance and approach at the plate in the offseason, we are hoping that his most recent Spring Training successes will translate into the regular season.

Newly (re) acquired hometown favorite Brian McCann has said that he has been working hard in the offseason on beating the shift and says that his being healthy has been the highlight of his offseason. At any rate, it will be a welcomed addition for the young starters from behind the plate.

The Braves go up against a team in the Phillies that have tons of power on offense, but still have questions on the defense. They led the league in errors in the last month of their derailed 2018 campaign and Braves fans are looking for more of the same. The always dangerous Bryce Harper lurks, but we in Braves Country are ready to PLAY BALL!

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