Alright folks, we're two weeks done with Spring Training, and man have there been some changes here in the rosters. Granted we invited a small country to camp, so you knew there would be some cuts, but I'm honestly sort of flummoxed at a few of them. Let's take a look at the list:
David Carpenter - released
Ryan Kelly - released
Kyle Kendrick - released
Chris Volstad - released
Danny Burawa - optioned to AAA
Tyrell Jenkins - optioned to AAA
Casey Kelly - optioned to AAA
Daniel Castro - optioned to AAA
Mauricio Cabrera - optioned to AAA
Matt Marksberry - optioned to AAA
Chris Withrow - optioned to AAA
That's the damage. I'm surprised we released Carpenter when we need more arms, but I guess that means the Braves front office feels set in that category. And I'm also shocked we optioned Marksberry given how much time he had at the MLB level last year for better or worse. The rest are just pitchers we don't think are ready yet. I believe Sean Newcomb has also been optioned down, but he's not on the official transaction feed as of now. He just never really got his feet under him as he was walking the ballpark.
If you're watching the young hitters I think you're likely noticed how Hector Olivera is swinging the bat. The 30 year old Cuban we traded Alex Wood for is really raking with a 13/30 (.433 average) and two doubles. He's really hitting for average, which is a good thing for a guy in the middle of the lineup looking to drive in runs. We'll need those RISP hits when they really matter.
Eric Aybar is really impressing me as well with his 10/24, 4 doubles, and an OPS of 1.023 in the short season. In a battle for a starting slot with the other SS's, his hitting would absolutely be the difference along with his veteran presence.
After coming out of the gate really strong, the Braves have backed off letting Mallex Smith hit a ton, giving him only 11 ABs in the last week. Still, in the one game he started, he went 2/4 against the Mets, so he's still a strong choice for the starting CF spot. Don't sleep on Ender Inciarte though as another OF choice as he's really making great contact as well 10/25 on the spring.
Also, I have to address the fact that Freddie hurt his hand again in a game. He says it's not the wrist and it's actually some scar tissue on top of his hand, but I'm not exactly thrilled that he's already having issues with his hands. You need those hands to play, or so I'm told. Especially to swing a bat. I'm starting to believe that no matter what he says, it's always going to be day to day with Freddie until he gets used to the pain or has surgery. That's the hard truth.
Most of the cuts you saw above were pitchers, so it stands to reason that if you're a pitcher and you're not having a good spring, your days are numbered. Right now if I'm going to highlight one guy I like going in to the season as part of the rotation, it's Matt Wisler. Wisler is a 23 year old righty who has started 2 spring games with a 1.93 ERA in 4.2 innings and a WHIP of 1.07 which is very respectable. I'd expect him to get the starting slot nod if this continues.
And that's pretty much it for right now. I'd continue to expect more cuts in the pitching staff as we go along and the roster continues to shape up. In the meantime, just enjoy the nice spring weather and keep trying to learn all these guys names.