The Braves wrapped up their season on Sunday afternoon with a loss to the Nationals. However, they did tie the major-league record for home runs in a season as a team behind Marcell Ozuna‘s two home runs on the afternoon. The two homers give the Big Bear 40 on the season, a career-high. It also gives the Braves three teammates with at least 40 homers.
Atlanta finished their 162-game campaign with 104 wins, just two shy of the franchise record, and the best record in baseball. However, all that goes out the window in October. As the players have said, this is where the fun begins, as the Braves prepare to take on either the Phillies or Marlins in less than a week in the NLDS.
I’ve done several of these postseason roster predictions for the Braves over the last month, and this will be my final one now that the season has concluded. There are a lot of difficult decisions Alex Anthopoulos and company will have to make in the coming days.
Assuming Max Fried is cleared to return, he and Spencer Strider are really the only locks in this group. I’m not sure who the Braves will turn to in Game 3. It could be Bryce Elder, Kyle Wright, or a bullpen game. However, I do have them carrying both Elder and Wright to keep their options open. Game 3 will likely be an all-hands-on-deck performance from the Braves pitching staff. I highly doubt anyone will be expected to go for more than a few innings.
- Raisel Iglesias
- A.J. Minter
- Joe Jimenez
- Pierce Johnson
- Kirby Yates
- Jesse Chavez
- Brad Hand
- Michael Tonkin
- AJ Smith-Shawver
The top seven spots on this list I would consider locks. After that, the final two are anybody’s best guess. Nick Anderson could get some consideration if he’s healthy enough, but I gave the nod to Tonkin. He hasn’t been great of late, but his entire body of work this season is why I went with him over some of the other guys.
I also included AJ Smith-Shawver. He may only be 20-years-old, but every time he appeared for the Braves this season, he’s been competitive. His stuff is fantastic, and the Braves might want him as an option to use for multiple innings if someone has a bad start. It’s a bit risky, but I think he’s up for the challenge.
As always, nothing to see here.
Perhaps Vaughn Grissom gets some consideration, but I think it’s most likely the Braves only roll with these five infielders.
The top five here do not need to be debated, but I decided to give the final roster spot to Forrest Wall. His ability to steal bases could be a weapon at the end of the game, and with the DH in place, there’s not much need for more bats off the bench.
Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire