My 2021 Atlanta Braves Opening Day Lineup Prediction

Well, here we are. Players have reported to Spring Training and baseball season is back! In terms of the Braves, we come out of the offseason with some questions to answer, and having to prove ourselves in order to win our 4th straight division title. What did we do this offseason and how will the team look on Opening Day?


Offseason Additions

The offseason wasn't as busy as I had predicted back in my dream offseason post back in October. Instead, it was more of small signings rather than big ones. Although, the Braves were the first team to make noise this offseason. First, we signed SP Drew Smyly from the Giants on a 1 year, $11 million deal. Smyly is coming off of a 2020 season where he pitched 26.1 innings, 7 appearances and 5 starts, with a 3.42 ERA, 42 K, and 9 BB. His 2019 season with the Rangers and Phillies was one to forget. To give him $11 million raises questions, but if he can put up a season similar to his 2020 season across a full, healthy year, I'd say it's worth it. Reminds me of the Cole Hamels signing last offseason, which backfired badly. Next signing was SP Charlie Morton from the Rays on a 1 year, $15 million deal. Morton returns to the Braves after we drafted him in 2002 and played his rookie season in Atlanta in 2008 before being shipped off to Pittsburgh. Although his 2020 regular season wasn't the greatest, a 2-2 record with a 4.74 ERA in 38 innings and 9 starts, he came up big for the Rays in the AL Playoffs, with a 3-0 record and a 0.59 ERA. Morton brings veteran leadership to the clubhouse, entering his Age-37 season. He is a 2x All-Star('18,'19), and finished 3rd in Cy Young voting in 2019. Smyly and Morton solidify the starting rotation, which was banged up with injuries last year, but returns Fried and Anderson, plus Soroka possibly back by Opening Day, April/early May at the latest. The last notable signing was none other than Marcell Ozuna on a 4 year, $64 million deal. There's not much to say about Ozuna and what he brings to this team, you saw what he did last year. 18 HRs 56 RBIs a .338 BA and finished 6th in MVP voting. The only concern is him not being able to play DH and the only option to play him is to put him in the field. With plenty of options to put in the field late in the game, I don't think it will be a big problem for us.


Those were some notable free agent signings, but we also made some small moves that could be low risk high reward for us. INFs Jack Mayfield, Pablo Sandoval, Jason Kipnis, Ehire Adrianza, and Jake Lamb, OFs Phillip Ervin, Travis Demeritte, and Abraham Almonte, and RPs Josh Tomlin, Carl Edwards Jr, and Victor Arano. Obviously a lot of signings, not all of them will make the Opening Day roster, but it will certainly provide some depth.


Offseason Departures

The Braves lost a couple of notable pieces this offseason. The first move came by surprise, OF Adam Duvall had his contract non-tendered. Although the Braves were in on resigning him, he ended up signing with the Marlins. Braves also lost some bullpen pieces. Mark Melancon, our closer, signed with the Padres. Darren O'Day signed with the Yankees. Shane Greene is still unsigned by surprise. He could sign with us or another team a couple days after I write this. INF Adeiny Hechavarria went to the NPB(Japanese Baseball League). Fan Favorite Charlie Culberson signed with the Rangers. Felix Hernandez signed with the Orioles, although he didn't play a single game for us due to opting out of the 2020 season. Bullpen is a bit of a question going into this year, it's pretty good, but a slight step down from last year.


Opening Day Lineup Prediction

1: Ronald Acuna Jr/RF

2: Ozzie Albies/2B

3: Freddie Freeman/1B

4: Marcell Ozuna/LF

5: Travis d'Arnuad/C

6: Dansby Swanson/SS

7: Austin Riley/3B

8: Cristian Pache/CF

9: Pitcher

Bench:

William Contreras/C

Jason Kipnis/INF

Jake Lamb/INF

Ender Inciarte/OF

Phillip Ervin/OF


Rotation

1: Max Fried

2: Mike Soroka

3: Charlie Morton

4: Ian Anderson

5: Drew Smyly

Bullpen

LR: Sean Newcomb

MR: Carl Edwards Jr

MR: Victor Arano MR: Will Smith MR: Jacob Webb/Greene if resigned MR: Tyler Matzek SU: AJ Minter CL: Chris Martin


There is my 2021 Opening Day Roster Predictions, thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more articles in the future for not only the Braves, but other Atlanta teams such as the Falcons, Hawks, Atlanta United, and Georgia Tech. Be sure to follow me on Instagram @thebraveshub for up-to-the-minute Braves news! Hope you enjoyed!

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