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Bobby Cox has said that 11 players are battling for 4 roster spots. He did not say who they were.
But it is pretty certain that as far as position players go, he's debating on whether to carry 5 outfielders or 3 catchers.
Kelly Johnson, Todd Hollandsworth, and Brian Jordan will be battling for either 1 or 2 backup outfield spots.
Regular readers know my feelings about Jordan's current abilities. (I think he's washed up.) But he might make it just because he hits right-handed, and both of his, um, competitors (for lack of a better word) are left-handed. Oh, and he hit a sacrifice fly tonight on a 3-1 pitch. (He struck out later in the game in a similar situation.)
Todd Hollandsworth has done next to nothing as a Brave. Coming into the game he was batting below .150 since the trade. But would Bobby dare not put a veteran on the roster who Scheurholz traded for? And would he risk not having Hollandsworth's supposed pinch-hit abilities and past postseason experience?
Kelly Johnson has a good walk rate, but other than sporadic power and being very streaky he hasn't shown very much during his rookie season. He's easily been the best of these 3 outfielders this season, but you know, he's a rookie with no experience. Also, his defense (while not bad) is probably the weakest of the group. (Johnson is a converted shortstop, and he throws well.)
If the Braves decide to carry Brayan Pena so that they'll have 3 catchers, there will only be one spot for those 3 players. Likewise, if they carry only 2 catchers, there will be 2 openings.
That leaves the pitching staff. Smoltz, Hudson, Sosa, Thomson, Farnsworth, Reitsma, Foster, and McBride are certainties. That leaves 3 spots. If Blaine Boyer is healthy, he's a no-brainer to make the team, and that would leave 2 spots.
Horacio Ramirez, Kyle Davies, Jim Brower, Dan Kolb, and Joey Devine (who's entered the picture with 2 strong relief appearances since returning) are battling it out for the last spots.
Kolb, after his atrocious outing against Colorado, is probably out of the picture.
Horacio Ramirez is left-handed, so I think there's a good chance he'll make the staff. He can provide long relief to save the pitching staff if there's a blowout.
Kyle Davies has a good strikeout rate and can provide long relief, but has had frequent and serious problems with control. That combined with his rookieness will probably keep him off of the roster.
Jim Brower is a groundball pitcher, and has experience as a set-up man. He has pitched well of late in sporadic appearances, and I think he has a good chance at taking the last spot on the team.
2005 #1 pick Joey Devine, after giving up 2 grand slams in his first 2 big league appearances, went back to Richmond then to the DL with a hip flexor problem. After returning to the big leagues, he's had 2 dominant outings. He was unhittable earlier this year at High A Myrtle Beach and at Double A Mississippi. If he has one or two more dominant appearances over the next 2 days, he might sneak onto the team, and try to be like K-Rod circa 2002.
Your thoughts on this?