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Braves: Predicting the 2025 Opening Day roster

At this point in this series, all the wheels are unhinged. Most of the Braves that are currently under contract in 2022 won’t be under contract in 2025, and several current prospects will be making a significant impact at the major-league level — at least we hope. Nevertheless, that’s what makes this a fun exercise. This is part four of a five-part series where I attempt to predict the Braves’ Opening Day rosters from 2022-2026. If you missed any of the previous projections, click the links below.

Starting Lineup

  1. Ronald Acuña Jr. (RF)
  2. Michael Harris (LF)
  3. Freddie Freeman (1B)
  4. Austin Riley (3B)
  5. Ozzie Albies (2B)
  6. Shea Langeliers (C)
  7. Dansby Swanson (SS)
  8. Jesse Franklin (OF)
  9. Cristian Pache (CF)

The Braves will be busy locking up their core over the next few years. Freddie Freeman is up this season; Dansby Swanson is up next, and before you know it, Austin Riley, Ozzie Albies, and Ronald Acuña will be due new contracts. Because of this, Atlanta will have to rely on their prospects to round out the rest of the roster, but the promising thing is that they have some very talented ones that should be ready by 2025.

In this Opening Day lineup, I have Michael Harris booming into the top of the order in what I believe will be his second season in the majors. This moves Freddie Freeman and Austin Riley back a spot following the departure of Marcell Ozuna. The rest of the lineup remains very similar to 2024, with the only new addition being Jesse Franklin. Franklin was taken in the third round of the shortened 2020 draft out of Michigan and just wrapped up a very impressive first professional season. If he continues at this pace, he will be in the majors much sooner than 2025, but as we know, progression through the minors is very rarely linear, so 2025 is a realistic timeline for him to be in the starting lineup on Opening Day.

Rotation

  1. Max Fried
  2. Ian Anderson
  3. Kyle Wright
  4. Bryce Elder
  5. Ryan Cusick

If you’ve been following along in this series, you would know I have the Braves extending Max Fried. You would also know that I’m very high on Kyle Wright. I believe Fried, Anderson, and Wright will be the Braves’ three-headed monster of the future. Elder is another guy who very well could be a permanent member of the rotation for a while, and Cusick was the Braves’ first-round selection in 2021. He’s ways away from the majors, but his upside is undeniable. By 2025, Cusick should be in the bigs, if not sooner.

Bullpen

  1. A.J. Minter
  2. Spencer Strider
  3. Huascar Ynoa
  4. Kyle Muller
  5. Indigo Diaz
  6. Dylan Lee
  7. Jared Shuster
  8. Victor Vodnik

Following the 2024 season, the Braves will have to make several critical decisions regarding their bullpen. Kirby Yates, Tyler Matzek, and A.J. Minter are all scheduled to hit free agency. I have the Braves keeping one of them, A.J. Minter, who I believe will finally have put it all together at this point. I filled out the rest of the bullpen with young guys that I think will probably be best served as relievers.

Ynoa and Muller are two high-powered arms that the Braves are attempting to make starters. However, if it doesn’t pan out that way, they could have lengthy careers as high leverage relievers. The same can be said for Shuster and Vodnik. Diaz and Lee are both relievers already, and they could become staples of Atlanta’s relief core for years to come.

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