October 4, 2010 at 8:00 am by Capitol Avenue Club under Atlanta Braves
The Braves will carry 11 pitchers and 14 position players on their post season roster. Some of the spots are obvious, the three main starting pitchers (Tim Hudson, Derek Lowe, Tommy Hanson), the eight starting position players (Brian McCann, Derrek Lee, Brooks Conrad, Alex Gonzalez, Omar Infante, Nate McLouth, Rick Ankiel, Jason Heyward), and the five big relievers (Billy Wagner, Takashi Saito, Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters, Peter Moylan).
This leaves six bench spots and three pitching staff roles up in the air. Diory Hernandez has to make the roster because he’s the only back-up infielder on the roster. David Ross makes the roster as the back-up catcher. Matt Diaz will be on the roster to bolster the line-up against left-handed pitching. Eric Hinske will make the roster as a pinch-hitting threat, possible DH, four-corners insurance, and proverbial ‘good luck charm’. There are three candidates for the final two bench spots: Troy Glaus, Melky Cabrera, and Freddie Freeman. With Hinske and Diaz already in the fold, the team could opt to go with two more pinch-hitters in Freeman and Glaus–and that’s what I would do. Freeman could also be used as a late-innings defensive replacement. They’d like to have Troy Glaus as a right-handed power threat off the bench, I’d think. But then again Bobby seems to like having Melky around, so I don’t know if they’d prefer to have him, rather than Glaus or Freeman, on the roster. With how infrequently they’ve been inclined to use Glaus as of late, he may be the odd man out. Or given Freeman’s lack of experience and the presence of a LH-pinch-hitter and back-up first baseman in Hinske, he may be the odd man out. But I’m guessing they’ll roll with Glaus and Freeman so they can pinch-hit early and showcase their impressive relief corps, rather than carrying a sixth (read: unnecessary) outfielder whose really a useless player.
It seems like Eric O’Flaherty won’t be fit to pitch in the postseason, at least not the NLDS, so they’ll use Michael Dunn as their third lefthander out of the bullpen. That leaves seven candidates for the final pair of roster spots:
You can go ahead and cross Kenshin Kawakami, Mike Minor, and Scott Proctor off the list, they’re not making the postseason roster. If Jurrjens is healthy enough to pitch, he’ll make the roster as the ‘emergency NLDS starter’ and 4th starter if they make it past the NLDS. If not, Brandon Beachy will get the call. But either way, there’s a great chance Beachy will make the roster as the seventh reliever, the long man so to speak. Kyle Farnsworth has pitched well enough on a fielding-independent basis (25 K’s, 7 BB’s, 2 HR in 20 IP), but his 5.40 ERA and the memories of 2005 likely mean he doesn’t make the cut. The story is much the same for Christhian Martinez, whose 22-to-6 K/BB ratio and 1.0 HR/9 in 26 innings make him a serviceable option, but his 4.85 ERA and lack of MLB experience is probably enough to keep him off the roster. Regardless, it’s nice to know two somewhat competent options are waiting in the wings should a pitcher injure himself.
Here’s my roster prediction: