July 21, 2024

The Braves will face the Rays in their Grapefruit League opener today, with Spencer Strider taking the mound for Atlanta.

On Sunday, the Braves will return to North Port to face the Red Sox at CoolToday Park. According to David O’Brien of The Athletic, Bryce Elder will start the home opener.

The 2023 All-Star will compete for the final position in the rotation, and a strong spring performance will help secure it.

Reynaldo Lopez is Elder’s main rival, but a plethora of young players will also be battling for the position, including A.J. Smith-Shawever, Hurston Waldrep, Darius Vines, and others. Last season, the Braves had 16 pitchers make at least one start, so Elder is expected to be on the Opening Day roster even if Lopez edges him out.


Braves recall Bryce Elder, place Max Fried on IL - Battery Power

Because of roster management, Lopez appears to be the front-runner, but Elder will still have an impact. The Texas product has a 2.45 ERA through 17 starts, but he have an awful 5.26 ERA over his final 10.

It would be unusual for an NL All-Star to start the next season in Triple-A, but this is a good thing for the Braves. Bryce Elder’s scenario exemplifies Atlanta’s excellent starting pitching depth.

As previously noted, more than a dozen pitchers are expected to start games for the Braves this season; depth is required.

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