Baseball is such a strange sport. I have followed baseball for 31 years now. Sure, when I was a little tot, I wasn’t that interested in the rules of the game or the statistical analysis side. Regardless, I was at the ballpark because my father was an usher for the local Carolina League team and I got in for free. As I have gotten older, my understanding of the sport has increased in many areas…from the background of the sport, the implementation of statistics, and the strange rules that govern a variety of truly mundane features. But just when I think I have a handle on my shit, I get slapped in the face by new knowledge.
For instance, you may have heard that Evan Gattis was demoted to Gwinnett for three days in effort to get the guy some at-bats. Gattis seems happy about it. Sitting on the bench probably hurt his bum. Now, my immediate thought was why waste an option to try to get Gattis some regular playing time for all of three games?
I learned something new!…to be considered an option, the stint in the minors needs to be at least 20 days. Why 20? No effin clue. However, Gattis currently has a full collection of his options due to the fact his contract was purchased when he made the team out of spring training and a brief appearance in Gwinnett won’t change that.
With the date being August 31st, we start to think about the playoff roster rules. For a refresher, players are eligible for the playoff roster if they are, as of midnight this evening, on either the 25 man active roster, the disabled list, the bereavement list, or the suspended list. That list of players can be referred to as the pool of playoff roster possibilities. But wait, there’s more.
I learned something else that’s new (to me)!…there can be substitutions made that can increase your pool of players. If a player is injured when the playoffs begin, that player can be substituted by anyone in the organization, regardless of position, as long as that substitute player was in the organization by midnight tonight. Seems like a funky rule? It is and it’s also now limited to players who are injured next month. This weird little rule is also why Gattis, who will not fulfill any of the four conditions from the preceding paragraph, will be eligible for the postseason roster.
So, let’s recap. You have your active 25 man roster. At the moment, I am not sure who will replace Gattis, but the smart money is on Jose Constanza simply because Todd Cunningham was just demoted and (I think) needs to stay in the minors for ten days or until the end of Gwinnett’s season (whichever comes first) before being eligible to be promoted. But let’s just say it’s Constanza. That gives you the 25 man roster. There are 9 (count ’em, NINE!) players on the disabled list. That potentially increases the playoff pool to 34 players, but hopefully Reed Johnson and Jason Heyward return along with maybe Brandon Beachy to take three of those spots back. With Gattis, the All-Return Group would be four-people big. Add the All-Return Group to the 25 man active roster as of 11:59 PM on August 31st and you have 29 total slots already reserved of a potential 34 man expanded playoff roster. That leaves five extra spots that could be utilized by the Braves if they so chose.
That means if the Braves wanted to be a little crazy and add a player like Jose Peraza or Kyle Wren to the team for speed, they could do that. Now, they probably wouldn’t because of the unknown variables like being on a super big stage. A more likely option would be adding Cunningham for his switch-hitting capability, defense, and speed. Or adding Ernesto Mejia for a little extra right-handed power off the bench. Or if Freddy Garcia is promoted in September and puts up wonderful numbers as a long reliever…he can be added to the playoff roster…however, I think there is a bigger chance of Wren being on the playoff roster than Garcia.
I hope you learned a few things. I hope I did, too.