The calendar has struck the month of September, meaning that teams can expand their rosters up to 40 players. First and foremost, the Braves activated Manny Banuelos from the 15-Day Disabled List. Banuelos has perhaps been the most impressive rookie starter we have seen this season. However, injuries have derailed Banuelos’ young career. The team placed him on a pitch count at the beginning of the season, and it was announced that the team was going to have the southpaw work out of the bullpen for the remainder of the season. However, with Williams Perez getting demoted and Mike Foltynewicz getting scratched from his start on Monday, Banuelos finds himself starting Tuesday. He is expected to throw between 50-60 pitches.
The team has also called up their prized investment of 2015 in Cuban infielder Hector Olivera. The 30-year old was highly touted on the international market, and the Braves gave up one of their top starters and prospects in Alex Wood and Jose Peraza to get him at a fraction of what the Dodgers paid him. He is expected to start at third base and bat sixth in Tuesday night’s contest.
The Braves also receive some bullpen help in Danny Burawa and Brandon Cunniff. The Braves claimed Burawa off waivers from the Yankees, and he is an intriguing relief prospect. He has a 2.64 ERA across two levels in the minors this season and is trying out for a spot in the 2016 bullpen. Brandon Cunniff is a familiar face, as he served out of the bullpen earlier in the season. He was demoted and dealt with injuries this summer, but I’m still a believer in Cunniff having big league potential. He has a terrific track record in the minors and though he had a 4.23 ERA in 30 appearances for Atlanta, hitters only hit .202 off him. This suggests that bad luck could be a factor in Cunniff’s struggles this season. Like Burawa, he is competing for a spot in 2016, and step one for him should be reducing his free passes to first base.
Daniel Castro was not originally supposed to come up this early. Brian Snitker has done a terrific job with AAA Gwinnett this season, and their season is currently on the line. However, Andrelton Simmons is currently day-to-day, so Castro gets the call and the start on Tuesday. He has done a great job filling in for Simmons this season, and I think he is a prime candidate to take over Pedro Ciriaco’s role as an infield utility guy for us next season.
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