Braves: Predicting the NLCS roster

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For the second consecutive season, the Braves are advancing to the NLCS. However, for several reasons, this year feels so much more precious. Most importantly, fans are back in attendance. Secondly, when considering all that this team went through this season, it really is quite remarkable that they are back in this place, just four games away from the World Series again.

Playoff baseball is special, and what makes it so special is how much different it is from regular season baseball. Rosters change from series to series, pitchers get pulled faster than a melting snow cone in hell, and every at-bat comes with a decision. We had a few unexpected additions to the NLDS roster, and we could get more for the NLCS, especially with Jorge Soler slated to miss at least the first few games.

Starting Pitchers

  1. Charlie Morton
  2. Max Fried
  3. Ian Anderson

Judging by how Snitker approached the NLDS, these are the only three guys I will consider starting pitchers. Now, that doesn’t mean I expect Max Fried to pitch on short rest in Game 4 as Charlie Morton did in the NLDS. That’s not necessary for a seven-game series. However, at this point, I’m considering guys like Huascar Ynoa and Drew Smyly relievers.

Catchers

  1. Travis d’Arnaud
  2. William Contreras

No changes here. The Braves don’t have the catching depth to carry three catchers.

Infielders

  1. Dansby Swanson
  2. Freddie Freeman
  3. Ozzie Albies
  4. Orlando Arcia
  5. Austin Riley
  6. Ehire Adrianza

The Braves opted to go with a lot more bench players in the NLDS rather than more pitchers. Perhaps they change that up in the NLCS, given it is a seven-game series, but the Braves still didn’t use a bevy of arms out of the bullpen in the NLDS.

Outfielders

  1. Joc Pederson
  2. Eddie Rosario
  3. Adam Duvall
  4. Guillermo Heredia
  5. Cristian Pache (Jorge Soler)

I went with one less outfielder this time around, leaving off Terrance Gore, making room for one more pitcher. Gore was added to the NLDS roster for one reason — speed. I was surprised they did it, and maybe they do it again, but with Pache on the roster in place of Soler, I find it less likely. Our own Clint Manry did a piece on when we might see Soler again. He has to wait at least five days, be asymptomatic, and then test negative, so there’s a chance we don’t see him in the NLCS at all.

Bullpen

  1. Will Smith
  2. Luke Jackson
  3. Tyler Matzek
  4. Huascar Ynoa
  5. Drew Smyly
  6. A.J. Minter
  7. Jesse Chavez
  8. Jacob Webb
  9. Dylan Lee
  10. Spencer Strider

The first seven on these guys are locks, and the Braves may opt to just ride with nine relief arms like they did the last series, but since they are almost guaranteed to have a bullpen game in Game 4, I added an extra reliever. Choosing one was difficult, and it came down to three options — Richard Rodriguez, Sean Newcomb, and Spencer Strider. I wouldn’t be surprised if any of these guys landed on the roster. I also wouldn’t be surprised if none of them were. Perhaps it’s just wishful thinking, but I rode with Strider. I’ve seen enough of Rich Rod and Newcomb to know they aren’t the answer. Strider, on the other hand, has some upside that could prove valuable.

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