It’s that time of the year again! As the temperatures slowly begin to rise, your favorite MLB players are getting ready for the 2018 baseball season. For the Atlanta Braves, the hard work of molding and building a potential playoff caliber team begins on Tuesday when pitchers and catchers report to Champion Stadium for the 21st edition of spring training at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Disney World.
The Braves, 72-90 in 2017 and third in the National League East division behind Washington and Miami, enter this season with baseball’s deepest farm system. Many of their top minor league stars will be on display at spring training, including left fielder Ronald Acuna, arguably the number one prospect in all of baseball.
Braves fans have a lot to be optimistic about in 2018 when you consider the positive attributes of their roster, which include one of baseball’s premier power hitters in first baseman Freddie Freeman (.307, 28 home runs and 71 RBIs last season) despite playing in only 117 games because of a fractured wrist; a veteran catching tandem (Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki) that was among the game’s best in 2017; and a Gold Glove National League All-Star centerfielder in Ender Inciarte. On the mound, multiple pitching prospects could provide a much-needed boost to Atlanta’s starting pitching rotation. Veteran Sean Newcomb, power thrower Luiz Gohara, and lefty Max Fried will add depth to a bullpen featuring veteran All-Star pitcher Julio Teheran and Brandon McCarthy, who joined the club in December via trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
As for Acuna, he will compete for a spot on the club’s opening day roster. Longtime MLB observers have already named Acuna, Gohara and Fried among the very early top candidates for National League Rookie of the Year honors, so watching them and the other young Braves develop on the big stage should be exciting this spring and throughout the season for Braves fans.
Braves fans will definitely be keeping close tabs on the working infield duo of second baseman Ozzie Albies (six home runs in 57 games last season) and home-grown shortstop Dansby Swanson (Kennesaw, Georgia), who is looking to regain the red-hot form of his rookie season in 2016 when he hit .302.
Atlanta will play 33 games before the start of the regular season with 18 taking place at Champion Stadium. Atlanta begins its home spring training schedule on Feb. 26 when it hosts the Washington Nationals at 1:05 p.m. The Braves will play their final home game at the Sports Complex on March 24 against the vaunted New York Yankees.
The 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros will also visit Champion Stadium later this spring. The Astros, who won their first World Series title in the team’s 56-year history last October and celebrated it afterward with a magical parade at Magic Kingdom Park, take on the Braves in an afternoon contest on March 8.
Atlanta Braves 2018 spring training arrival schedule:
Pitchers/catchers report: Tuesday, February 13
Pitchers/catchers first workout: Wednesday, February 14
Full squad first workout: Monday, February 19
First Home Game: Tuesday, February 26 vs. Washington Nationals
Disney character appearances and special moments such as kids running the bases after every game are some of the in-game entertainment opportunities that make Braves spring training at Disney World a unique experience.
For the complete 2018 Atlanta Braves Spring Training schedule, please CLICK HERE.
For information about purchasing your 2018 Atlanta Braves Spring Training tickets, please CLICK HERE.
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Source/Image Credit: Disney
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