“I’m not a smart man. But I do know what love is…” ~Gump
I just needed to get that out of the way as this might be a guess, but it’s an educated one based on studying patterns these past few months.
I love watching this team and in watching Alex Anthopoulos’s history in transactions, I feel like I know how he’ll build his postseason team. With added rest that the postseason provides, the Braves will likely go for quality over quantity on the pitching staff and take the best 11 to the postseason. In regards to position players, factoring in the additions to the roster in August (speed, 3rd veteran catcher), Anthopoulos put emphasis on certain skill-sets that were lacking on the bench and that likely molded October plans. With the current set of players and factoring in the expected healthy versions of Ender Inciarte and Nick Markakis, here’s how I see it working out:
Today’s focus will merely be on the pitching as I’ll likely tackle the position players sometime next week. Assuming 4 starting pitchers and 7 relief pitchers might look short-sighted by some, but my personal take is the Braves feel that carrying 3 catchers, 3 PHers, and Billy Hamilton is essentially like carrying a 5-man bench as Billy would no doubt be the legs for whichever catcher is used as a pinch hitter.
While the Braves can get by with only carrying 4 starting pitchers, I do feel that all 5 of them have proven worthy of a postseason roster spot. Depending on how the lefty situation works out in the bullpen, Fried, Julio, or Folty could come out of the bullpen. If there’s no lefty added to the likes of Jerry Blevins and Sean Newcomb, then Max Fried likely becomes the pitcher removed from the rotation. I don’t think Anthopoulos will worry about handedness too much in the rotation, other than he and Snit setting the order on 1-4.
Breakdown on Bullpen
With Greene, Melancon, Martin, Newcomb, and one of Fried, Folty, or Teheran in the bullpen, that leaves 2 spots up for grabs. My gut reaction thinks O’Day’s going to grab one of those last spots (and as I write this, he’s been recalled to MLB!), but he’s got to prove he can stay on the field. If Fried stays in the rotation, I think the percent chance swings toward the lefties on this list with Blevins and Dayton leading the way and Phil Pfeifer as the wild card.