“The Braves 40-man roster was full as a tick, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of this bulging was signed by the clergyman Cole Hamels , the clerk Terry McGuirk, the undertaker Nick Markakis, and the chief mourner Ender Inciarte. Anthopoulos signed it. And Anthopoulos’s name was good upon ‘Change for anything he chose to put his hand to. The 40-man roster was full as a tick.”
Braves 40-Man Roster: Who Goes?
We’ve seen full Braves 40-man rosters of the past. But we’ve also seen scrap-heap players sitting in 2-3 of those spots; guys like Rafael Ortega, “Generic 3rd Catcher”, “Throwaway Reliever”, or even the classic “Fill-in Veteran SP that will immediately be DFA’d when good SP is healthy”. But this is not that 40-man roster.
If I had to put a guess on it, here is the pecking order of players on the 40-man roster that could be first to go should Braves need a spot:
Both of these guys have value. Both have MLB ceilings and while Sobotka is more of a wild card, he’s also an arm that’s hard to give up on. Losing anyone on this 40-man without getting some form of compensation will hurt.
Braves 40-Man Roster: Others of Note
There’s been discussion on the blog about players like Huascar Ynoa and Alex Jackson being disposable. Sure, the Braves will likely be fine without either one of these players, but that does not mean they’re disposable. They have value in a trade. Alex Jackson projects as an above average backup catcher with pop, good receiving skills, and a great arm, and Huascar Ynoa is a SP turned RP, due to necessity, that was rushed through the system from High-A all the way to the MLB because of a fastball that reaches triple digits. Don’t discount his ceiling merely because the Braves were the goofball that pushed him through 4 levels in 1 year as a 21 year old. He’s got back-end relief potential with 2 seriously plus pitches.
The Hamels Injury Creates Conundrum
The Starting Pitching
There’s a trickle down effect that comes with a Cole Hamels injury. If everything goes peachy for Hamels in his recovery, he could be pitching at the end of April, but who fills his spot AND the vacant 5th starter position. If I had to put money on it today, those 2 would be Sean Newcomb and Felix Hernandez. Guess what?
Felix needs a roster spot.
Then we get to the relief. Taking the info above, there are 6 spots occupied by Will Smith, Mark Melancon, Darren O’Day, Chris Martin, Luke Jackson, and Shane Greene which leaves 2 spots available. Looking at the above 6 and knowing Snitker’s mindset when it comes to mop-up duty, there’s only 1 person in camp that fits the mold: Josh Tomlin. Sure, Snitker could choose to use a young pitcher in this role, but that would go against everything we’ve seen in his tenure as manager. Guess what?
Tomlin needs a roster spot.
Now we get to the bench. All eyes are going to be on Austin Riley and Johan Camargo‘s batter for the 3B spot. It’s going to be fun to watch. And while I’m holding out hope that Riley will land the spot and prove that he’s capable of holding down the position for the next 1/2 decade, I think it’s Camargo’s to lose. If Camargo wins the position, my crystal ball tells me that Riley will go get regular AB’s at AAA, creating a need for a backup infielder. This leads me back to a player that was removed from the 40-man roster and signed an MiLB contract with a ST invite. Yes, I’m talking about Charlie Culberson. Guess what?
Culberson needs a roster spot.
While all 3 of these could happen, it’s more plausible to think that 2 of them happen. And with injuries popping up all of the time, this situation could get resolved by way of a 60-day IL stint. Or, there’s another scenario that could happen and that is that the Braves package a few of these guys in a trade to free up some space. But what would be unacceptable to me, as a fan of everyone on this 40-man, would be to lose them for nothing.
Thanks for reading on the Braves 40-Man Roster Conundrum. If you enjoyed this piece, check out this piece on the Bottlenecking of Braves Starting Pitchers.