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projecting-the-playoff-roster | October | 2010 Articles

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Projecting the Playoff Roster

Written by Joe Lucia on .

Everyone else is doing it, so how about I do the same thing? Alright, so the roster for the division series is due by 1 PM EST on Thursday, or a little more than 8 hours before the game starts. It is currently...2 PM EST on Tuesday, so we've got less than 48 hours before things get locked into place. There are a few tough decisions to make with the roster, most notably with the outfield and bullpen. Lets look at the position players first. LOCKS: Brian McCann, David Ross, Derrek Lee, Omar Infante, Alex Gonzalez, Brooks Conrad, Eric Hinske, Matt Diaz, Jason Heyward, Diory Hernandez These ten are pretty much guaranteed to be on the roster. I shifted Diaz to the locks side because I figure he'll be starting game 3 against lefty Jonathan Sanchez in Atlanta, and is a nice weapon to have off the bench against Javier Lopez and Jeremy Affeldt. Also, if Madison Bumgarner ends up starting game 4, there's another start for him. As for Hernandez, he's the only player on the roster that can play multiple infield positions in case of an injury, with Infante and Conrad forced into the starting lineup. He probably won't get used a whole lot (if at all), but its essential to have him on the roster. If the Braves go with a 12 man pitching staff, the Braves would have 3 slots left on the bench. If the Braves do a 13 man pitching staff, there are only 2 slots left. Thing is...there are only 2 outfielders currently on my roster. That means that someone is going to need to get bumped. There are essentially 5 guys competing for these slots: Nate McLouth, Rick Ankiel, Melky Cabrera, Troy Glaus, and Freddie Freeman. I'd count Freeman out from the getgo due to his relative inexperience on the roster and less than impressive September in his major league debut. That leaves us with 4 players. I'm going to assume that the Braves go with a 5 man bench instead of a 13 man pitching staff, so we have 3 spots left. I think Glaus will get a spot, almost by default, because of how well he played early in the season and the power he can provide off the bench. He's a pinch hitter and nothing more at this point, but Bobby is loyal to his veterans. So with Glaus on my squad, that leaves 2 spots for 3 outfielders: Ankiel, McLouth, and Cabrera. Lets look at some pros and cons for each one. Nate McLouth PROS: he's been great since getting recalled from Gwinnett (.894 OPS in September). Out of the 3 options, he's the most talented player. Has the most power of the 3 (.132 ISO on the season) CONS: Bobby hasn't shown confidence in him since he's come back, and he can't get regular playing time. Was horrible before being demoted to Gwinnett. Rick Ankiel PROS: fantastic defender. Great arm. CONS: hasn't been able to hit all season Melky Cabrera PROS: he has a ring CONS: he's the worst every day outfielder in baseball From my perspective, I'd choose Ankiel and McLouth, and roll the dice with left field, trotting a combination of Hinske, McLouth, and Diaz out there, with McLouth and Ankiel splitting time in center. But in reality...Cabrera is going to make the roster. Everyone knows it. We just have to live with it. I'd expect Cabrera and Ankiel to get the final slots, and McLouth to be left out in the cold. It sucks, but its life. Now, the pitching. Interesting situations here due to injuries: Jair Jurrjens and Eric O'Flaherty are both probably out for this round. Jurrjens is still having knee problems, and O'Flaherty is still battling dizziness and blurred vision from his attack of mono last month. Also, Takashi Saito's status is up in the air after his battle with shoulder tendinitis 2 weeks ago, and getting hammered in his subsequent return against the Phillies on Saturday. Let's look at the locks... LOCKS: Derek Lowe, Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Brandon Beachy, Billy Wagner, Peter Moylan, Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters The rotation for this series is likely to be Lowe in game 1, Hanson in game 2, Hudson in game 3, Lowe on 3 days rest or Beachy in game 4, and Hanson in game 5. Hopefully, it doesn't get that far and we can close things out in Atlanta. But regardless, it says something that Bobby is considering Beachy for a start in the playoffs when he was pitching in Gwinnett a month ago. Just because of that, he's gotta be a lock. I made Kimbrel a lock too after his stellar September. No way that a guy like that gets left off the roster. Since we decided we were gonna go with a 12 man rotation, that leaves 4 slots. I'll give one slot to Mike Dunn, who will replace O'Flaherty as the team's primary LOOGY. Kyle Farnsworth, you got acquired at the break and are striking out the world without walking a lot of guys...you're in! 2 slots left. Saito will be on the roster if he's healthy, so that takes care of one slot. That leaves one spot left, and the following guys fighting for it: Cristhian Martinez, Kenshin Kawakami, Mike Minor, and Scott Proctor. That...is not a pretty set of options. I'd give the slot to Martinez by default. Proctor is done as an effective pitcher, Minor has thrown the most innings in his career, is battling ineffectiveness, and has publicly talked about being exhausted, and Kawakami has been terrible this year. Martinez wins by default, despite allowing 7 runs in 5 1/3 innings pitched in September. He was doing just fine before this month. Hopefully, if the Braves advance to the NLCS, Jurrjens and/or O'Flaherty will be healthy so that the bullpen can get strengthened a little with their addition. Losing Martinez wouldn't be a huge loss, because you really don't need a rubber arm kind of guy in the playoffs. Anyway, my final roster.... Catcher (2): Brian McCann, David Ross Infielder (7): Troy Glaus, Derrek Lee, Omar Infante, Alex Gonzalez, Eric Hinske, Brooks Conrad, Diory Hernandez Outfielder (4): Matt Diaz, Jason Heyward, Nate McLouth, Rick Ankiel Left-handed pitcher (3): Mike Dunn, Jonny Venters, Billy Wagner Right-handed pitcher (9): Brandon Beachy, Tim Hudson, Derek Lowe, Tommy Hanson, Kyle Farnsworth, Takashi Saito, Cristhian Martinez, Peter Moylan, Craig Kimbrel Hopefully, this roster will be good enough for the Braves to advance to the NLCS and beyond. Again, these are just my projections, nothing official. The roster will be posted here once it becomes official, of course.

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