Braves

Braves Playoff Roster Predictions

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With the magic number in the division shrinking by the day, and the magic number even smaller for a playoff spot – the Braves look to be a factor in October. After activating Austin Riley from the 10-day IL, Atlanta’s current roster sits at 33 players. We could see a couple of more faces added as well – like Bryse Wilson and Kyle Wright – once Gwinnet’s playoff run concludes, but I’d be shocked if either of them made the playoff roster. When the postseason begins, the Braves will have to trim their roster back down to 25. With so many faces playing a critical role in what has been a magical season, that isn’t going to be easy to do, but I’m going to give it a crack here in early September and will be updating it as we approach October.

Starting Pitchers

  1. Mike Soroka
  2. Dallas Keuchel
  3. Max Fried
  4. Julio Teheran
  5. Mike Foltynewicz

The rankings represent how I would throw them out there in order as well. Since the Braves will only use four starters in the postseason, that means Folty will be subject to a bullpen role. As of now, I think he’s done enough to earn a spot because there will be some opportunities for long relief in October where he could help the team. He will have a chance over the next few weeks to earn that fourth starting spot over Teheran. Teheran’s been a fantastic all season, but Folty’s upside as a fourth-starter would be tough to pass up if he’s rolling.

Bullpen

  1. Mark Melancon
  2. Shane Greene
  3. Chris Martin
  4. Sean Newcomb
  5. Luke Jackson
  6. Jerry Blevins
  7. Darren O’Day

The first six here are locks. While Jerry Blevins isn’t the sexy name, he’s been dynamite against left-handed batters, and the Braves can’t have Sean Newcomb as the only southpaw in the pen. Darren O’Day finally received the call yesterday, returning to the big leagues for the first time in over a year due to injury. We will have to see what he can give the Braves, but I’m fairly confident he will do enough to warrant a spot on the playoff roster.

Catchers

  1. Brian McCann
  2. Francisco Cervelli
  3. Tyler Flowers

Tyler Flowers has been better of late, and I think the Braves probably roll with three catchers. Brian McCann and Francisco Cervelli are locks.

Infielders

  1. Freddie Freeman
  2. Ozzie Albies
  3. Josh Donaldson
  4. Dansby Swanson
  5. Johan Camargo

The first four will be starting. The fifth spot will come down to Johan Camargo or Adeiny Hechavarria. Hechavarria had a remarkable stretch replacing Camargo, but I’ve defended Camargo all season, and I’m not stopping now. He dominated in Gwinnett after being demoted and has carried that success with him in his return to Atlanta. Camargo still has some work to do to cement his roster spot, but I think he will do that over these next three-plus weeks.

Outfielders

  1. Ronald Acuña Jr.
  2. Austin Riley
  3. Nick Markakis
  4. Matt Joyce
  5. Charlie Culberson

Providing that Nick Markakis returns healthy and looks like himself, he belongs on the playoff roster. Austin Riley should be a lock, but if he continues to chase breaking balls out of the zone like he was before his injury, he could find himself left off for a guy like Billy Hamilton, Rafael Ortega, or Adam Duvall. Charlie Culberson has struggled at the plate of late, but this roster would seem wrong without him on it, and I still trust him as a pinch-hitter with the game on the line. We haven’t heard much in regards to Ender Inciarte’s injury. It doesn’t look like he’s coming back any time soon and might miss the rest of the season. If he does return healthy, he could warrant a roster spot over Charlie Culberson.

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