Billy Wagner (Lock)
Takashi Saito (Lock)
Peter Moylan (Lock)
Eric O’Flaherty (Lock)
Kris Medlen (Lock)
Once again, the bullpen is the area where there seems to be the most room for disagreement.
I have moved Medlen up to lock status, as he has done nothing but impress this spring.
Last time (I believe on March 8th) I had Jesse Chavez and Scott Proctor in the final two spots, but I believe that has changed.
Chavez has continued to struggle, including an implosion today against the Pirates in which he gave up six hits, a walk, and five earned runs while recording just one out. I still think Chavez will be in the Braves bullpen at some point this season, but I think he needs some time in the minors first.
Proctor has pitched only two innings this spring. His first was a perfect inning, but he gave up two runs in the second. I am still on the fence about whether or not he makes the team on opening day. As of right now, I think he has a 50-50 shot of making the roster, but I’m guessing the Braves will allow him a week or two to pitch in the minors.
Assuming Proctor and Chavez aren’t in the bullpen, the remaining candidates would be Reyes, Acosta, Jonny Venters, Craig Kimbrel, and Cory Gearrin.
Venters and Reyes are likely battling it out to be the third lefty in the bullpen. At this point, I give the edge to Reyes. Both have similar numbers (Reyes with a 3.00 ERA in nine innings and Venters with a 3.24 ERA in 8.1 innings) so I think that experience (Reyes) wins out.
Kimbrel has struggled with control this spring, so, although he has six scoreless innings, I think the Braves will allow him to get a little more seasoning. Gearrin has seemingly come out of nowhere, as he isn’t on the 40-man roster or the list of non-roster invitees, but I also think he will be ticketed to the minors.
That leaves Acosta, who has been okay this spring, and would only be in the bullpen until Proctor got enough rust off after a year off due to surgery.