I don’t believe in curses.
I’ll say it again. I don’t believe in superstitious, silly, stupid, bloody curses. So if you do and you think that I’m cursing our team merely for talking about my take for the Atlanta Braves playoff roster, don’t read this. In fact, if you, by happenstance, find that you’ve clumsily clicked and opened this article on your device, and you’re superstitious, burn your device, bury it, dig it up in 7 years, then burn it again, then re-bury. Repeat process till old age takes you.
For me, last night sealed the deal. Not the playoffs per se, but the feeling that I can finally talk about who I think should be on the 25-man roster for the playoffs. There’ll be no unneeded “veteran presents”, no Nick Markakis chauffeurs, and no ABSOLUTELY NO LUKE JACKSON! I’ll take this one step at a time, starting with the pitching staff (along with roles) and move to the catchers, infield, outfield, then bench. Let’s do this!
Atlanta Braves Playoff Roster: Pitchers
4 Starting Pitchers
Thought Process: Since coming over from the Orioles, Kevin Gausman has been the ace of the staff but small sample be damned in the playoffs and Game 1 goes to Folty. He’s flat out dominant right now with an ERA of 1.84 since August (so he’s got the small sample nod, too), and has gotten better as the season’s progressed.
Gausman gets the nod on Game 2. He’s been a rejuvenated talent on this team and if he can continue his ground ball ways, he’s going to be great in front of this elite infield defense.
Guesswork from Here….
Ask me next week and my answer might be Touki Toussaint, but at this point I’m going with Newcomb and Teheran as Game 3 and 4 pitchers. For me, Touki and Anibal Sanchez might be best used in a relief role that could call on them to go 3-4 innings should one of the starters falter. Then again, if Newk or Julio crap the bed sometime this week, things might change.
8 Bullpen Pitchers
- A.J. Minter
- Arodys Vizcaino
- Jonny Venters
- Brad Brach
- Touki Toussaint
- Jesse Biddle
- Anibal Sanchez
- Dan Winkler
Thought Process: While I’d love for the Braves to role the dice and put someone like Kyle Wright in the bullpen, I don’t think he’s going to get the opportunity these next few weeks under Snitker’s clubhouse, especially with the return of Vizcaino, who’s the obvious wild card at the moment.
The 8th spot was between Shane Carle, Dan Winkler, and Chad Sobotka and while he’s been pretty bad lately, Dan Winkler has some of the best stuff on the team and deserves the nod. I have no doubt he’ll return to form with rest. It could very well be that someone like Carle or Sobotka edges out Touki, but Touki’s stuff is light years better than those 2 and most on this list.
Atlanta Braves Playoff Roster: The Lineup
- Ronald Acuna
- Johan Camargo
- Freddie Freeman
- Nick Markakis
- Tyler Flowers
- Ender Inciarte
- Ozzie Albies
- Dansby Swanson
Thought Process: Albies could force a change if his bat is coming around and many things can happen between now and 3 weeks from now. The lineup could shift, but make no mistake that unless someone gets hurt, these will be the 8 people in the playoff lineup.
Atlanta Braves Playoff Roster: The Bench
Thought Process: There could very well be some sort of loophole the Braves can find that allows Preston Tucker to man the roster for the playoffs, and if that happens, he’s likely to take Rivera’s place. If that doesn’t occur, I think Rivera is the play the Braves make in order to utilize Suzuki or Flowers off the bench. It’s not ideal to only carry one LH bench bat off the bench, especially in the playoffs, but unless the Braves carry Rio Ruiz, I don’t see a way around it for now.
Adam Duvall is the obvious omission at this point and truly it only takes one hot week at the end of the year to change someone’s mind, but I just don’t see it happening. He’s a shadow of his former self at the plate and at this point, the trade looks like a loss that the Braves just cut bait with this offseason.