The Braves have a handful of areas on the roster that have yet to be settled, even with Opening Day only a little over a week away. The fifth starter competition has been upended since the beginning of spring, as Michael Soroka has once again struggled with injuries while early favorites Ian Anderson and Bryce Elder fell out of favor thanks to excellent springs from prospects Jared Shuster and Dylan Dodd. The final spot in the bullpen and the fourth outfielder position are other areas with uncertainty, but perhaps the most interesting camp battle at this point in the Spring is one few expected headed into the year.
As noted by Justin Toscano of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the shortstop position is still up for grabs, though most considered youngster Vaughn Grissom all but locked into the role as camp began last month. Since then, though, prospect Braden Shewmake has paired already-excellent defense with a torrid spring at the plate as he’s slashed .333/.400/.482 in 12 grapefruit league games. While it seems that the most likely conclusion to this remains Grissom as the starting shortstop, backed up by Orlando Arcia, Shewmake has made a case for himself this spring, and it’s worth noting that his left-handed bat could serve as a better complement to the right-handed Arcia than Grissom, who also bats righty. Toscano notes that it seems unlikely the Braves would roster both players to open the season, but it’s reasonable to expect that even if Shewmake fails to take the starting shortstop gig for himself to open the season, an opportunity to make his big league debut will open up at some point this season.
More from around the NL East…
- Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo tells reporters, including Joel Sherman of the New York Post, that he was “relieved” following his diagnosis with a sprained knee and ankle that there was no structural damage in either area. Nimmo believes he will still be ready for Opening Day next week, which is surely a relief for Mets fans who recently lost fellow high-dollar returning free agent signing Edwin Diaz for the season to knee surgery. Should Nimmo miss time, it seems likely that would open up playing time for the likes of Tommy Pham and Tim Locastro.
- Phillies GM Dave Dombrowski told reporters, including Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, that he still expects top prospect Andrew Painter to make his big league debut at some point this season. Painter was diagnosed with a UCL sprain earlier this spring which took him out of the fifth starter competition in Philadelphia, but the young right-hander has not been recommended for Tommy John surgery, instead attempting to rehab the injury after a four week shutdown. Should the rehab route prove successful, it’s no surprise that Painter would be in the mix to make his debut later this season, as he proved himself to be clearly MLB-ready with a dominant spring prior to the sprain.