A few days ago, all of the reports on his progress were good, but its clear that the Braves are not going to rush Gohara as he is a highly prized prospect, probably is going to have to have his inning managed anyways, and the Braves will not need a fifth starter until mid-April. Today, the Braves had another update on his progress.
Gohara got through todays live BP without any discomfort. If he continues to progress, he should still have time to be ready by April 11, when the Braves will first need to carry five starters
Obviously this is good news as Gohara showed no ill effects from his work on the mound today. Due to off days early in the season, the Braves will not need to carry a fifth starter until April 11th and it appears as though that Luiz is going to land that job barring the unforeseen.
•Former MLB slugger Bob Watson, 73, to the New York Daily News, on doctors telling him 10 months ago that he has 2-12 years to live with his kidney failure: “I had a reputation for never giving up an at-bat, so Im still fouling em off as long as I can.”
In 29.1 innings during his MLB debut with the Braves in 2017, Gohara posted a 4.91 ERA and 2.75 FIP while striking out 31 batters against eight walks.
This years Deflategate/Taking the Air out of the Ball Award goes to the Marshall (Minn.) High School girls basketball team, which held the ball for up to three minutes at a time against heavily favoured Waseca in a post-season playoff game.
Still expect the Bears to play
Hitter Locks (7): Tyler Flowers, Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman, Dansby Swanson, Ender Inciarte, Nick Markakis, Johan Camargo
The Braves enter spring training with most of their starting lineup set with only question marks at third base and left field. Barring injury, it would be surprising to see any of this group not break camp on the opening day roster. I include Johan Camargo in this group because I am satisfied that he will be the Opening Day third baseman unless the Braves make some sort of move to acquire another option between now and the start of the season.
The competition for the left field job still appears to be developing. If the season started today it would likely be some combination of Lane Adams and Preston Tucker. Adams is off to a slow start offensively this spring but has the speed and defensive ability to play any of the three outfield positions. Tucker has hit well so far in camp but is lacking a bit defensively. You may have noticed that I have not mentioned Ronald Acuna whose presence in this equation would shut down this discussion quickly. More to come on him later.
Kurt Suzuki is assured his spot as the teams backup catcher and at this point it appears Charlie Culberson will get a shot to fill a utility role. His defensive versatility gives him value and any offensive production is a bonus in a bench role. Plus he was acquired by the new regime, and is out of options, so I expect him to get a long look.
Next Tier (7): Preston Tucker, Lane Adams, Rio Ruiz, Chris Stewart, Danny Santana, Dustin Peterson, Christian Colon
So if the Braves do ultimately decide to go with an eight-man bullpen as has been reported, then that leaves two bench jobs up for grabs on the opening day roster. Adams and Tucker still feel like a safe bet as a platoon option to begin the season. That would fill out the starting lineup with the other sliding onto the bench. Danny Santana is in camp as a non-roster invitee and brings speed and defensive versatility. He has hit well during the early part of camp so you probably shouldnt write him off just yet. Dustin Peterson is also trying to insert his name into the conversation but may need Adams or Tucker to fall off while also turning heads himself.
•RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com, on U.S. gold medalist Matt Hamiltons moustache boasting 262 Twitter followers: “He might be the only curler in America who carries a spare brush under his nose.”
That leaves one bench spot and my pick today would be Rio Ruiz. The Braves have run him out there a lot in the early days of camp and have used him not only at third base but also at first. Christian Colon is another non-roster invitee who had a huge 5-RBI day on Saturday against the Cardinals. Colon has altered his swing path and is hoping that it will pay dividends. It still feels like he has some work to do but has gotten himself off to a good start.
The Braves gave Christ Stewart a 40-man roster spot but he isnt likely to break camp with the club barring an injury to either Tyler Flowers or Kurt Suzuki. Atlanta is hoping that Stewart will be willing to accept an assignment to Triple-A where many of the teams top prospect pitchers will be and who would benefit from having an experienced defensive catcher with good framing skills.
•NBCs Jimmy Fallon, after Sweden conceded to gold-medal mens curling match with two stones left: “Yep, America made Sweden quit in frustration, or as we call that, the reverse Ikea.”
Lets just get this out of the way now. Ronald Acuna is likely good enough and talented enough to be in the outfield for the Braves on Opening Day. Atlanta, however, has a legit reason to delay his debut by at least a few weeks. The service time rules stink for players and fans alike, but until they are changed, this kind of thing is going to happen. If you are the Braves, there is no way you dont wait now in order to pick up an extra year of team control with Acuna down the road, especially given that essentially nothing has been done to upgrade the team this offseason.
Prospect Tier (4): Cristian Pache, Austin Riley, Alex Jackson, William Contreras
This group is all in camp and have all received playing time at various points but the reality has always been that they would be returning to the minors at some point.
Level Below (6): Ray-Patrick Didder, Jaff Decker, Sean Kazmar, Kade Scivicque, Tyler Marlette, Rob Brantley
Ray-Patrick Didder and Kade Scivicque are likely headed back to the minors for the Braves in time while the rest of the group is hoping to turn someones head even if it is another team.