Braves World Series Roster: Be BOLD

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Do you know how fun it was to type those first 4 words? Braves World Series Roster. Wow. It has been over two decades since the last time we’ve been presented that opportunity, and I’ll not let the chance go by without giving my hope that the Braves will be BOLD with their 26. First, we’ll take a look at the locks for the roster, assuming health. Then we’ll look at some of the players that have shown they belong, and some that have shown little semblance that they belong.

Braves World Series Roster: The Guaranteed

  1. Ian Anderson
  2. Jesse Chavez
  3. Max Fried
  4. Luke Jackson
  5. Tyler Matzek (did you know he was out of baseball for 5 years with performance anxiety?)
  6. A.J. Minter
  7. Charlie Morton
  8. Will Smith
  9. Drew Smyly
  10. Travis d’Arnaud
  11. Ozzie Albies
  12. Freddie Freeman
  13. Austin Riley
  14. Dansby Swanson
  15. Ehire Adrianza
  16. Adam Duvall
  17. Joc Pederson
  18. Eddie Rosario
  19. Jorge Soler

Breakdown: I could’ve probably included a few more, but looking at this list, these are the players that have made an impact on the games (Luke Jackson, an exception) and will definitely be part of the next round, health intact. This leaves us with a potential seven sports for the World Series Roster. While many might seem obvious, I’m not 100% sold they are at this point.

A Look at Houston’s Strengths

The Astros are a good hitting club, and while their season splits are slightly different, it’s likely not enough for the Braves to change their approach:

  • LHBs vs. LHP: .776 OPS
  • RHB vs. LHP: .834 OPS
  • LHB vs. RHP: .794 OPS
  • RHB vs. RHP: .754 OPS

Unlike the Dodgers, the Astros don’t really have a big split to exploit. The Braves loaded their roster with left-handed pitchers because there was an outlier statistic: Los Angeles’ left-handed batters carried a combined .701 OPS against left-handed pitchers. The closest to an outlier is the RHB vs. RHP, and I think that will sway Atlanta’s way a little in terms of their reliever choices.

Starting Rotation

With the structure of the World Series being two games, off day, three games, off day, and two games — the Braves can roll with Charlie Morton on Tuesday for Game 1, Max Fried on Wednesday for Game 2, and Ian Anderson on Friday for Game 3. A fourth starter will be needed for Game 4. Sure, the Braves could go with a bullpen game and that wouldn’t surprise me, but I’ve got an outside-the-box idea that seems plausible. Spencer Strider. With the Astros being slightly less successful against right-handed pitchers, what better way to get through the first 3-4 innings in Houston than to throw a dude that’s downright filthy when right and can run it up to 100 MPH? Yes, my Game 4 starter is Spencer Strider.

Regardless of whether they go with Strider or a bullpen game, the rotation can reset after Game 4, and both Morton and Fried can be ready to roll in Games 5 and 6 with Anderson for Game 7.

The Bullpen

In a series where four of seven games are played with the DH, how do you prepare your team? My guess is we see the same structure, 14 position players and 12 pitchers. With 5 already covered above, here’s my guess for the seven bullpen arms.

  1. Tyler Matzek
  2. Will Smith
  3. A.J. Minter
  4. Drew Smyly
  5. Jesse Chavez
  6. Luke Jackson
  7. Richard Rodriguez
  8. Touki Toussaint

Breakdown: Look, it’s a pure guess, but an educated one. Chris Martin threw the best two pitches of the game on Thursday night before throwing a bloody awful 0-2 pitch to Chris Taylor. Since the sticky ban, Chris Martin has looked broken. However, so has Richard Rodriguez. It might be rearranging deck chairs, but it seems like the best guess at the current stage…and the Braves need another righty. It’s either Touki Toussaint or Jacob Webb, and Webb has failed more recently than Touki.

The Bench

Assuming that Jorge Soler is the starting DH in Houston and the primary pinch hitter in Atlanta, he takes the first bench spot. While the Braves could very well go with only five bench pieces, I expect to see some specialization on our bench, or maybe a 3rd catcher (though I won’t predict that). With Ehire Adrianza, William Contreras, and Jorge Soler already locked in, let’s look at our last 3:

  1. Terrance Gore: Considering 4 of the 7 games likely won’t see a PH, I think we see the return of the specialist speedster.
  2. Guillermo Heredia: I’d like to see Cristian Pache here, but I think Snitker values Heredia’s bat more at this point, and I can’t really blame him.
  3. Orlando Arcia: He’s here because he can play SS and is likely a better hitter and fielder than Johan Camargo.

What are your thoughts on the roster? What have I gotten right? Wrong? Let’s hear it in the comments section.

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