Odds on the Braves Postseason 25-man: Pitching

“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:

4 Starting Pitchers
7 Relief Pitchers
8 Position Players
6 Bench Players

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.

My Personal Roster Percentage Predictions

Dallas Keuchel– 100% on roster, 100% in rotation
Mike Soroka– 100% on roster, 100% in rotation
Max Fried– 100% on roster, 67% in rotation
Julio Teheran– 100% on roster, 67% in rotation
Mike Foltynewicz– 100% on roster, 67% in rotation
Shane Greene– 100%
Mark Melancon– 100%
Sean Newcomb– 100%
Chris Martin– 100%
Darren O’Day- 50%
Jerry Blevins 25%
Luke Jackson– 25%
Josh Tomlin– 20%
Anthony Swarzak– 15%
Grant Dayton– 15%
Chad Sobotka– 15%
Phil Pfiefer- 15%
Bryse Wilson– 5%
Jeremy Walker– 5%
Kyle Wright– 5%
Patrick Weigel– 5%
Tucker Davidson– 0%
Tyler Matzek– 0%
Caleb Thielbar– 0%
Touki Toussaint– 0%
Huascar Ynoa– 0%
Jacob Webb– 0%

Breakdown on Rotation

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.

Thanks for reading.

Long live Braves Journal!

Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

98 thoughts on “Odds on the Braves Postseason 25-man: Pitching”

  1. Darren O’Day and Adam Duvall recalled. Alex Jackson to the 60-day IL. Roster manipulation at its finest.

  2. @2
    Luke Jackson feels like the Shane Carle and Dan Winkler of 2018. He helped to get them there but is he the one to go to in the post season? I’m not so sure he is.

  3. Fried: rotation. Folty: pen or left off roster.

    I have been wrong.

    Meanwhile: GO Braves. Swat those gNats.

  4. I’m a bit confused as to why anyone would think Jackson would be left off the playoff roster. He’s very good.

  5. I voted to say “other” because I wasn’t greatly disappointed. I thought using money on a right fielder and not Neck and not Donaldson would have been better. Neck was so so, but not expensive. I thought Donaldson would be a 130 or so game 3 WAR player and thought we would get almost the same out of Camargo and if Camargo didn’t do it, by mid year we could get about the same out of Riley. I think the acquisitions have been timely, of quality, and reasonble of cost as to players and money on all. Great job by the FO.

  6. A whole lot of bullpen work is a “what have you done for me lately” situation. Luke has had a near 6 ERA in his last 22 games and that doesn’t factor in the inherited runners he’s allowed to score.

    Still, I think he’s one of the front runners for spot 7, and if the Braves went with 8, he’d likely be there.

  7. @blazon
    He sprained his knee. The Braves still have three catchers in McCann, flowers, and Cervelli.

  8. Great job, Ryan. I do agree with Dusty that your friendly neighborhood Slider Man will be there come October. Snit has a lot of confidence in him; he’s still using him in pretty high leverage situations. As good as Carle and Winkler were mid season last year, they had lost effectiveness by September. (Am I remembering that correctly? Don’t have time to look it up). Luke is still fairly effective.

  9. The Braves went with 12 pitchers just last year. In my opinion, I think they will go with 12 again for some bullpening to avoid the 3rd time through the order.

    I think the following pitchers have pretty much solidified a roster spot:



    The last 2 spots will go to either Folty, Tomlin, O’Day, or Swarzak. Folty likely has an edge for one of them.

  10. @9–shows what I get for relying on memory without looking it up. I did not realize Jackson’s numbers have been that poor in the last few weeks.
    But unless he really melts down in the next 3 weeks he is in.

  11. 12 — I should add Sobotka and Minter to the list of possibilities for the last 2 spots. But they are going to have to pitch really well as they have more ground to make up.

  12. Nigh on eight decades, I’ve loved baseball. The Dodgers were my team since Jackie, Roy, Newk One, PeeWee and the Duke chased those Damn Yankees. They caught them too, in 1955, but that was the exception. The rule was proven again and again.

    The Braves came to Georgia, and I am nothing if not provincial. They became my team then, and they’re my team now. Watching them and them bums all those years, I’ve seen stuff.

    Dansby chasing Joyce home was as exciting as any play I remember.

  13. @17,

    There is one of those double slides in Major League. Willie Mays Hayes: Runs like Hayes, plays like Mays.

  14. @14 About time someone mentioned Minter. If he gets some innings and shows, well, he may be in.

    Luke is 100%. His slider and strikeout stuff are required. He is stapled on the list as 6th/7th inning relief. And, as I mentioned before, Luke in tandem with O’Day will be a deadly combo.

    Anyone notice the kind of numbers O’Day has put up against the gNats (4Ks last two innings) and Dodgers and Yankees? They are some mighty good numbers although the best of them are a few years back. Big swingers are more susceptible to his arsenal than pecky singles hitters. He’s perfect to throw against the gNats and Dodgers.

    I’m still standing by my roster battles from a couple of threads ago. I do not think Folty is a lock for the roster. But I do think they may carry three LH relievers.

  15. Here’s how I see the pitching roster playing out.

    Starters – Soroka, Keuchel, Fried, Teheran
    Relievers – Melancon, Greene, Newk, Luke

    Martin vs. Sobotka vs. Swarzak vs. O’Day (vs. Walker?) (2 spots)
    Folty vs. Tomlin (0-1 spot) – 0 spots for this group if Braves carry 7 relievers and three lefties
    Minter vs Dayton vs Blevins (1-2 spots) – 2 spots if Braves carry 3 lefties and/or 8 relievers

    One of my criteria would be who is least likely to give up a walk as soon as they come in (assume based loaded and two outs, who do you want) – that makes me lean to Martin, O’Day, Tomlin, Blevins.

    Another criteria is who is most likely to get you a shutdown inning – that makes me lean O’Day, Folty, Tomlin, and ??? (Swarzak/Martin/Minter/Tomlin/Dayton all about the same)

    And there’s always the hot hand. No idea who that will be yet.

    With regards to my criticism of Folty, I saw what I saw. A guy who wriggled out of a lot of situations against a lesser-hitting, free-swinging team, who would not have had the same results in a playoff atmosphere against a playoff hitting team.

  16. I really like the discussion here, even the disagreements as groupthink is dangerous and it’s something that’s never been present here.

    With that said, I’m not swaying on my opinion of Luke. He has been more bad than good these last 2 months and building a bullpen for the postseason is about feeding the hot hand, outside of the vets. Luke isn’t that right now.

    I’ll revisit in a week, though.

    The position players are going to be really tricky. I do believe that they’ll carry 3 catchers, Billy Hamilton, Matt Joyce, Charlie Culberson, and one of Austin Riley or Johan Camargo.

    If Braves went with 12 pitchers, who would you leave off? The 3rd catcher? 2 of Culberson, Camargo, or Riley?

    Those decisions will be tougher than the bullpen.

  17. It wouldn’t be unheard of for someone like Jackson to be left off the roster. Last year, Dan Winkler and his 3.43 ERA and 2.76 FIP was left off the NLDS roster. He was another RHP RP that really faded down the stretch. Jesse Biddle, Sam Freeman, and Shane Carle were also left off the roster, and guys like Biddle and Carle performed better overall last year than Jackson has performed this year.

    With that said: 12.4. That’s Luke Jackson’s K/9. None of those guys I mentioned had Jackson’s strikeout ability. I agree with the folks on here that like strikeout ability and home run power in the playoffs, and Jackson is a K machine when he’s been on this year. Luke’s given up a run in his last 2 outings, but for the month of August, he’s got a 1.88 ERA in 14 appearances. It’s definitely possible he could be left off for a more situational guy like O’Day, but he’s probably above 50% if I’m wagering a guess.

  18. Soto can still corner outfield for my team. And if the mulleted scamp goes elsewhere, Rendon can too.

  19. Watching Max dominating through 3 this time it’s hard to conceive of him struggling after 5.

    Let’s hope not. This could be the one that turns him around.

  20. @39 I’m not ready for that. They said that Zuk has thrown out 3 of 45 stolen base attempts. Our pitchers deserve better.

  21. Wow Max Fried! have a night! do the Nats bring in their good bullpen arms tonight? do they even have any?

  22. There has been obvious animus tonight between Max and Soto – you might arguably call them the poster boys of their respective teams at their positions. Max killed him tonight(as he did Turner).

    Two out in the seventh, 2 strikes, Max needed one more for a resounding finale. I can’t be sure of this but Soto must have mouthed FU at this critical juncture, maybe even with a smile.

    How did i figure this. Because as the camera shot went back to Max he, with no attempt to cover his mouth, said ‘and you’. Lovely moment, the young lads having fun. And tonight our boy was better than theirs.

    And he got his 7 complete.

  23. That was Fried’s best start ever, and the best performance by any Braves starter this year. Talk about rising to the occasion!

  24. Let it be known that Billy Hamilton saw a PH appearance when Cervelli, Flowers, Culberson, Camargo, Hechavarria, and Duvall were available.

  25. BMac is well off match fitness at this point back from the IL. His AB’s unconvincing.

    But defensively also he cost Greene, 2 outs, strike 3 by dropping a pitch which brought up Eaton to pinch hit with Adams on deck as the tying run. Greene handled it very well and k’d Eaton. But it was unnecessary pressure at a crucial moment.

  26. @59–duly noted. Many of us were reassured when Hamilton was signed that he would be strictly a pinch runner and defensive replacement. I’m glad to have him in those roles. But if Snit turns to him to pinch hit in the playoffs my tv won’t be safe.

  27. Thank goodness for JD. Nice play to end it. First time I can remember when Kendrick didn’t kill us.

    Melancon shaky. Greene better.

    Max at the top of his game. There can be no doubt that he will be in the rotation for the playoffs.

  28. As Tfloyd would say, our best starting pitching of the season. With that performance, including taking the game to the 8th inning, he is now our Ace. Soroka sputtered last time after 3, nothing like that in evidence tonight.

  29. @Roger
    Postseason roster has a lot to do with recency bias so I’d bet you’re right and I’d be willing to bet that AA is going to view some more bullpen lefties.

  30. Wow, the Nats and Phillies destroyed us while sharing the Offseason Championship, but fortunately we’re finding a way to salvaging this other season where we play 162 games to see who wins these “divisions”. I guess we’ll just have to find a way to be happy.

  31. Max has now tied Strasburg for the league lead in wins at 16.

    The Braves now have 45 wins against .500+ teams – more than any other MLB team. Watching tonight, is there any doubt that the Braves ramp up their game for the best teams?

  32. JD at third has become a tower of strength. Fitting he should get the final out.

    He wasn’t this good there till comparatively recently. Word is he has been inspired by Eephus’ tomes of praise. More please.

  33. I am not going to search it, but Anthopoulos said before the season something to the effect of “yeah, the Phillies had a great offseason, but if it’s September and they’re out of it, who will care about their acquisitions?”

    Well, who cares?

  34. To repeat.

    Max Fried versus Trea Turner. NO CONTEST.

    Be honest, did you ever think an Atlanta starter could make that happen, make him look so overmatched ?

  35. @72 No way. We have all seen Kolby pitched in the major. I wish him all the best of luck but he is no where close to what Wainwright was….unless he can find his heater he has lost…

    Anybody mentioned that we are only 4.5 games behind the Dodgers?

  36. I am honestly so happy for Max….we finally have something to show for the JUpton trade!!!

    He was the best prospect in that trade and he has finally arrived!

  37. Muh-Lan-Son
    warmed up for a save, no pressure, his normal game was strong
    suddenly, lead is 4, no save available, he is clearly distraught
    6 balls, home run, collected himself, we had worried for naught.

  38. @72 If we’re “Chenned”, I’ll be happy for him, but I think it’s unlikely that he’ll be that successful.

  39. @86 You really think BMac is gonna become a pitcher at his ripe old age?? ;-)

    Seriously though, I totally love Max and fully agree with your sentiment.

  40. Alex R. I believe it was you last week who said there was no way the Braves would win 100. I felt like they had a decent chance as I said but also thought it was under 50%. At the time I think they were on pace for 97 or so but had a tougher schedule in September. The team has just won 7 straight and the pace is now 100. What do you feel are their chances now? Got to think it’s at least 50%

  41. @88: The only thing undercutting that argument is if it get locked up next week and Snit focuses on “keeping everyone sharp” instead of trying to win games. I still think we’ll fall short, so I’ll estimate the chances at 39.643%.

  42. bref is projecting ATL with 98.5 wins and that’s probably pretty accurate I’d say. I’ll say they finish 12-9 to go 99-63, meaning the Nats would need to go 21-2 to tie.

  43. #89. Sorry. sadly I don’t know how to look up old comments.
    #90,91. If I were to place a bet I’d say they will fall just short by a game or two for that very reason. However, one of the things in favor of this team and their chances for chasing wins till the end is it’s bench. Our playoff roster is not set, as this post points out, and we have several players fighting to make the postseason 25. That is going to keep the competition level high I think. And amazingly we are only 4 back of the Dodgers in the loss column and have been steadily gaining ground in the second half. We still have a chance for home field.
    I think Bref’s projection is based mostly from Expected WL by run differential and the remaining schedule. This team has outperformed it’s Pythag this season.

  44. It’s not completely clear why we’ve outperformed our Pythag, especially because you typically expect that a team that’s outperformed its Pythag to have a shutdown bullpen — and ours has been, to put it kindly, hit and miss.

    End of the day, this is a team that can win a game 6-1 even when Ronald Acuna goes 0-for-5, but if we’re going to go deep in October, we’re gonna need El De La Sabana to do his best impression of Luis Polonia.

  45. (Footnote to that comment: midway through 1995, in one of those minor August deals that doesn’t exist any more, the Braves acquired Luis Polonia — a journeyman outfielder who played for six teams in 14 years, finished his career with 4.3 WAR, and who in 1995 produced a grand total of -0.1 WAR.

    Across the NLDS, NLCS, and World Series, Polonia hit .316/.350/.526, and the Braves were the world champions.)

  46. It’s easy to forget (and now sort of hard to believe) that 6 weeks into this season the Braves were 18-20 and most of us were probably feeling very uneasy about this team. I know I was. Since May 10th they have gone 69-34 for a .670 winning %. That’s almost 2/3rds of the season at a 109 win pace. I don’t have the time to look it up but I wonder if the other ‘elite’ teams, Dodgers, Yankees, Astros, Twins have played at that pace since May 10th. I seem to remember most of them got off to very hot starts so the Braves may have actually won at a higher pace for the past 4 months or so.

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