With two days until Opening Day and the last Spring Training game complete, the Atlanta Braves organization and coaching staff have made a flurry of moves lately. Some I could see coming, but others I was not expecting at all.
Ian Anderson and Bryce Elder Optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett:
Honestly, sending Ian Anderson down didn’t really surprise me. He did not pitch well at all during his starts in Spring Training and even toward the end of the 2022 season he didn’t have his best stuff. It was a bummer to watch him go down at the end of the 2022 season, but overall I think it was much needed. He will continue to work in Triple-A during the beginning of the season, and I’m sure will be back in the majors before the All-Star Break.
Bryce Elder had a good year for the Braves last season, but this Spring he didn’t seem as sharp as he was. He couldn’t get his pitch location quite where he wanted it and the opposing teams were beating up on him. I think a couple weeks in Triple-A is what he needs because that will allow him to really find himself and get into a good groove before he comes back up.
Because Anderson and Elder got send down, this has given minor leaguers Dylan Dodd and Jared Shuster the opportunity to make their Major League debuts this season.
They both produced really good numbers this Spring. Dodd had a solid 2.00 ERA over 18 innings with 20 strikeouts, and Shuster had a 1.74 ERA over 20.2 innings and he had 19 strikeouts. Their numbers are very similar to each other and they gave pretty much the same velocity range. I think it’s really great that they are getting to come up and prove just what they are capable of. That’s one of the many things that makes baseball such a great sport- when one player doesn’t do as well as he is known to, a younger player gets to make a name for himself early on in his career.
Mike Soroka Gets Sent to Triple-A:
This move was kinda a no-brainer. Soroka faced a hamstring injury early this Spring and only made one start. In that start he pitched 1.1 inning and had a boat load of pitches.
It has been so long since Soroka has pitched that it it’s obviously going to take him a little while to get fully comfortable again on the pitcher’s mound. Once he gets back to where he was, I’m confident that he will be a force to be reckoned with.
Vaughn Grissom and Braden Shewmake Sent Down to Triple-A Gwinnett:
This move honestly blew my mind. Vaughn Grissom put in so much work this spring (and in the offseason), not to mention the amount of attention he was getting from the coaches and the media, so that made it seem like he was getting the go ahead as the Braves Opening Day shortstop.
However, just because he was sent down to make way for Orlando Arcia, does not mean that he won’t be called up during the 2023 season to play shortstop.
Personally, I think the reason that they sent Grissom down and gave Arcia the nod at shortstop is because Arcia has more experience in the Majors and has played a full 162. The same goes for Shewmake – I think that he was put back in Triple-A because he has a lack of experience in the Majors.
I do think that Shewmake will be called up at some point and used as a bench player because, with Arcia playing shortstop and Grissom down in Gwinnett, that only leaves Ehire Adrianza as Atlanta’s bench player, and one bench player isn’t enough to cover all 9 positions.
Regardless of who is playing shortstop or in the starting rotation, the Braves are set to be a really REALLY good team this year, and with Opening Day on Thursday, the fun is about to get started!