I’ve already delivered three editions of the Braves potential playoff roster, and I’ll have one final projection before the postseason begins, but now it’s time to talk about another important aspect of October. We know which four starting pitchers will make the roster, providing there are no injuries, but how Brian Snitker deploys his rotation is an entirely different conversation.
Unlike most teams, the Braves have four legitimate frontline options. Max Fried has been an ace for a couple of years now, but it’s the young stud Spencer Strider that’s been the most dominant force on the staff since joining the rotation in late May. He along with the emergence of Kyle Wright are the primary reasons why the Braves starting pitching is in a much better spot entering October than they were last season, and you can’t forget about Charlie Morton. Even though he’s had an up-and-down season, he’s a strikeout maestro with a ton of postseason experience.
There are a lot of different ways team approach postseason rotations, and matchups must play a part, but I have a firm philosophy on how to handle things — DO NOT MESS AROUND.
Now, there is a scenario where the Braves are in the Wild Card series, and neither Max Fried nor Spencer Strider is available for the first couple of games. The NL East race could very well come down to the final day, and if the Braves fall short, things will change. However, providing all the horses are fresh and ready to go, Brian Snitker’s job shouldn’t be too difficult.
Max Fried or Spencer Strider should start Game 1, and the other should start Game 2 — no questions asked. Because of the experience, I imagine Snitker will lean towards Fried, but I would have no problem if he went with the rookie. Strider has been arguably the most dominant pitcher in the league since joining the rotation, and something tells me he is going to relish the moment come October. Either way, those guys should start Games 1 and 2.
The more difficult decision for Brian Snitker is who gets the ball in a hypothetical Game 3 — Kyle Wright, who is amid a breakout campaign and could potentially win 20 games this season, or the veteran Charlie Morton. Again, this is a scenario where I wouldn’t blame Snitker either way. In my opinion, he can’t go wrong, but I would lean towards Morton because of his strikeout capability and postseason experience. Nobody should complain if he went with Wright, but at this point, I would expect him to go with Morton.
Potential Braves Playoff Rotation
- Max Fried
- Spencer Strider
- Charlie Morton
- Kyle Wright
Considering the starting pitching options Brian Snitker had at his availability last postseason, especially after Morton went down with a broken fibula, this October should feel like Christmas for the Braves manager. Now he doesn’t have to pick between Tucker Davidson and Dylan Lee. Snitker has four stallions at his disposal, which will be a significant advantage for the Braves this time around.
Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire