Spring Training Position Battles: Atlanta Braves

Photo Credit: Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Photo Credit: Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Every Day Players: For better or for worse, the Braves appear to be relatively set with their regular players with the exception of a potential platoons at second base, third base.  Jace Peterson and Adonis Garcia head to camp as the odds on favorites to start at second and third base respectively, but they will have to play well this spring to keep their starting gigs.  Hector Olivera is certainly a question mark as he transitions to the outfield but the Braves are intent on giving him every opportunity to succeed in left field.

Infield Battles: Kelly Johnson, Gordon Beckham, and Emilio Bonifacio are all in camp and capable in playing second or third base.  Johnson’s roster spot should be safe as he provides additional versatility as he can play the corner outfield and also mix in around the infield.  Beckham has made it known to the media that he intends on winning the job at third base with his primary adversary will be Adonis Garcia.  Garcia performed well in winter league and also during his cup of coffee at the end of last year but his hold on the third base job is the most precarious of all of the position players.

Bench Spots: The Braves are saddled with the high dollar contracts of Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher for 2016, although the team would love to be able to unload either one of these players if they had any takers.  Bourne’s roster spot seems a bit safer as he is the only true center fielder capable of filling in long-term should something happen to Ender Inciarte. Old friend Jeff Francoeur also signed a minor league deal in an attempt to earn a job as a backup outfielder.

Prediction: Swisher and Francoeur are the odd men out as team favors lineup flexibility with players like Kelly Johnson and Bonifacio.  Once again we are a long way from the finish line as injuries or under performance could weigh heavily as the battle for the final spots on the 25 man roster carry on throughout March.

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