This is the 2nd piece in this series as last week I looked at the pitching, both rotation and bullpen. If you missed that piece, find it here . I’m going to stay true to the original piece and assume that the Braves are going to carry 11 pitchers and 14 position players. The reasoning behind that is simple: I think they’ll carry 3 catchers (but I’m not 100% sure, and you’ll see in the list). This theory could be taking a hit as Francisco Cervelli hasn’t been seeing much time on the field, but as of now, I’ll stand behind it. In the playoffs, I feel like Billy Hamilton and the PH du jour will join forces as 1 superhero human-being where our own Flash joins with Hulk to create an ultimate bench force. From there, I think there’ll be 4 more bench players to battle in the last year that matchups, due to handedness, will sure to be exploited.
There are people that we don’t have to list here, but due to the total being the goal, they’ll be on here nonetheless. This list assumes that everyone who’s currently healthy will stay healthy, and everyone that’s injured will be healthy by the playoffs.
There’s little guesswork to do here, other than who catches who as the Braves have utilized nearly the same lineup all year. Inserting ⅔ of Markakis, Joyce and Inciarte into the lineup against RHP would give the Braves 4 to 5 LHHs in a lineup, however I more or less expect Snitker to carry the trio of Acuna, Ender, and Markakis no matter the handedness of the pitcher assuming both Markakis and Ender are healthy.
Breakdown on Bench
Adding Ender and Kakes back to the lineup leaves Culberson, Hamilton, and Joyce as shoo-ins on the bench and Riley, Duvall, Camargo, Hecchavaria, Ortega, and Cervelli to battle for the last 3 spots. I think it’s more likely than not that Ortega’s spot on the 40-man will be taken this weekend when Markakis is activated as the need for another pitcher could outweigh the need for another bench player (insert my plug for Phil Pfeifer). There’s no doubt that the Braves could use Riley’s power off the bench and that is much more valuable than a singles hitter like Hecchavaria, but Riley’s just not making contact. Camargo played well at Gwinnett and has hit well in his return, and his ability to hit from both sides most definitely makes him an attractive option off a bench where he’d be the only switch hitter. Cervelli has played well since being acquired to fill B-Mac’s role and I think the Braves really want him on the bench in the playoffs. Admittedly, I could be misguided but I’m sticking with it. In short, I think the Braves are going to go with the hot hand for those last few spots but, for now, Hech and Riley seem to be outside the glass.