Atlanta Braves: 3 bold predictions in spring training

We give our three bold predictions for the Atlanta Braves in spring training with games set to get underway this weekend.

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Austin Riley #27 of the Atlanta Braves.

The roster for the Atlanta Braves is set for the most part going into spring training unless any more injuries occur.

That mostly takes the guesswork out of things over the next month-and-a-half.

But as we know in baseball, nothing ever happens the way we think. Something crazy is bound to happen that will shake things up.

Josh Tomlin and Matt Joyce didn't even begin last spring training with the Braves and ended up being huge parts of the team in 2019.

Here are three bold predictions that I think could happen in spring training.

 

Austin  Riley hits 5 home runs, takes the third base job

I think most would agree that going into spring training the third base job is Johan Camargo's to lose.

In order for Austin Riley to take that job from him, he's going to need to have a big Spring.

You know he's going to get a ton of at-bats as the coaching staff tries to see what kind of adjustments he's made.

After doubting Riley as a prospect, I've actually become a big believer in him and think he's going to have a huge 2020 season.

And I think he gets it going from the jump with a huge spring training. I wouldn' be surprised to see him hit at least 5 home runs and finish with an average around. 280.

Now I know spring training numbers don't mean much, but if he puts up that type of Spring it will be hard for the Braves not to give him the job.

Tucker  Davidson makes the Opening Day rotation

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A glove and the rosin bag sit on the mound. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

A lot of fans are probably focussed on Ian Anderson in spring training and wondering if he could break camp in the starting rotation, but I'm here to tell you that Tucker Davidson is the one to keep an eye on.

I've been talking Davidson up all offseason and have mentioned in various areas that he's my dark horse candidate to earn a spot in the starting rotation.

One of the main reasons for that is because he's already on the 40-man roster -- unlike Anderson -- so his path to the big leagues is a lot easier.

But it's still an uphill battle for the soon-to-be 24-year-old who posted a 2.03 ERA in 21 starts in Double-A last year with 122 strikeouts in 110.2 innings.

He finished the season at Triple-A where he had a 2.84 ERA in 19 innings with 12 strikeouts.

With Cole Hamels out through at least April, there are two open spots in the starting rotation.

Sean Newcomb is likely destined to take on of those spots, but if he continues to struggle with walks I could see the Braves moving him back to the bullpen.

I'm sure the Braves would love to see Felix Hernandez find some magic and make a couple of starts for the team in April, but that would also require a 40-man move.

And then there is Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson who are likely ahead of Davidson in the pecking order. But those two have a lot to prove this Spring as well.

While I certainly hope it doesn't happen, there's a chance that another Braves pitcher gets banged up in spring training, making the chances of Davidson being on the opening day roster even better.

I just really feel like Davidson is a mature pitcher who the Braves can count on to give you some quality starts at the big league level this year if needed.

It would not surprise me at all if he has a good Spring that he's in the team's starting rotation to start the season.

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Adam  Duvall is traded

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Adam  Duvall #23 of the Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

I feel like Alex Anthopoulos will make another move in spring training. Maybe not a big one, but I do think a minor move is coming.

And it makes sense for the Braves to part ways with one of their outfielders.

We know Nick Markakis isn't getting moved, so that leaves Adam Duvall.

I know, I know -- I've been trying to get Duvall off this team for over a year now. But I honestly don't see a need for him and his $3.25 million contract on this team.

The 31-year-old righty has pretty much become a platoon player at this point in his career hitting .333 against lefties last year compared to just .235 against righties.

With Marcell Ozuna being a righty, and with the lefty Markakis on the bench when you want to give Ozuna a break, I don't really see the need for Duvall.

Plus, when you figure the bench could have Johan Camargo, Charlie Culberson, and possibly Riley -- all able to bat from the right side and can play left field -- it makes even more sense to move Duvall.

And it's not that I don't like Duvall, I think he could still be a fine everyday player for a Major League team -- just not the Braves.

As injuries happen during spring training and a team finds themselves in need of an outfielder, look for Duvall to get traded.

Next: What we need to see from Felix

What are your bold predictions for spring training? Let us know in the comments below and enjoy the games this weekend!