STARTING PITCHERS- John Smoltz, Tim Hudson, Chuck James, Mark Redman, Lance Cormier.The Braves announced the final round of cuts today to narrow the roster to 25 with opening day right around the corner. Tyler Yates, Pete Orr, and Lance Cormier are the players that were battling for spots and will be traveling with the team North to Philadelphia to kick off the 2007 season. Not surprisingly, Kyle Davies was optioned to Richmond and rightly so since he never really looked comfortable out of the stretch this spring. Also, as suspected, Brayan Pena beat out Corky Miller and Iker Franco for the backup catcher position. I wonder if this is the first time the two catchers on a team have been both named Brian/Brayan with two different spellings. I would probably have rather had Moylan than Yates for that last spot since Yates still seems to have the control problems that brought him down last year, but Yates is out of options and would have had to go on waivers and I'm sure someone would have snagged him. There was really only one surprise for me, and that was Pete Orr winning a spot. Willie Harris showed the same ability with the bat that Orr has had in the past two years and proved he would be a much better asset on the basepaths. I guess it is kind of a moot point though, since Aybar will knock Orr down once he comes back from the DL. Joining Aybar on the DL to begin the season is Mike Hampton and Tanyon Sturtze. I feel really good about how this team looks going into the season. Great pen, good offense, a lot of middle infield insurance in case Kelly Johnson fails, and Kyle Davies waiting in the wings if one of the starters falter. If you haven't noticed yet from my writing, I support much Davies much more than most fans and think he will turn out to be a good 2 or 3 starter. Here is how the 25-man roster looks:
RELIEVERS- Bob Wickman, Mike Gonzalez, Rafael Soriano, Macay McBride, Chad Paronto, Oscar Villareal, and Tyler Yates.
CATCHERS- Brian McCann and Brayan Pena.
INFIELDERS- Kelly Johnson, Chipper Jones, Edgar Renteria, Scott Thorman, Craig Wilson, Chris Woodward, and Pete Orr.
OUTFIELDERS- Andruw Jones, Jeff Francoeur, Ryan Langerhans, and Matt Diaz.
As a final note, the Mets included Ambiorix Burgos on their 25-man roster. I don't really get that since the NL East holds some of the best fastball hitters in baseball in Andruw Jones, Jeff Francouer, Ryan Howard, and Miguel Cabrera. Under or Over on his 5.52 ERA last year (tell me in the comment section).