Predicting Braves 20-Man Taxi Squad

Piggybacking off of yesterday’s piece on the Braves 30-man roster, MLB is discussing a plan of expansion on both the 26-man and 40-man roster to 30 and 50. The extra 20 will be kept fresh in a spring training facility ready to go should the team need their services. Today’s topic, Predicting Braves 20-Man Taxi Squad, is a tricky situation to navigate but I think I’ve got a pretty solid 20.

Predicting Braves 20-Man Taxi Squad: Things to Consider

While I’m not 100% this is accurate, it seems given that the 50-man roster will have to include all current players that are occupying the 40-man roster, unless moved to the 60-Day IL. The players that did not make my original 30-man roster from yesterday that occupy a spot on the 40-man Roster are as follows:

  1. Alex Jackson
  2. Ian Anderson
  3. William Contreras
  4. Tucker Davidson
  5. Jasseel De La Cruz
  6. A.J. Minter
  7. Chad Sobotka
  8. Touki Toussaint
  9. Jacob Webb
  10. Bryse Wilson
  11. Cristian Pache
  12. Huascar Ynoa
  13. Grant Dayton

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the above players will be part of the taxi squad, rather that they’re part of the 40-man, which I’d assume means that they’d have to be included on a 50-man roster. William Contreras seems to be the outlier here as he doesn’t have MLB experience and there’s a near 0% chance that the Braves would start his arb-clock. My point is that the taxi squad likely has to include the entire 40-man, but there are some that won’t see the MLB in 2020 no matter the necessity.

A Trade and/or Cut from the 50-Man

Grant Dayton has had a rough go health-wise. For me, it seems that he’s been bypassed by many other lefties in the organization, including some that are brand new to the org (Chris Nunn, Chris Rusin). I don’t expect Dayton to be a Brave when Spring Training 2.0 concludes. While I won’t include Sobotka in this conversation yet, he’s likely next in line. With the 30 from yesterday and the 12 from the above list, 42 of the 50 spots occupied. Let’s take a look at who could be the last 8.

Predicting Braves 20-Man Taxi Squad: The Final 8

Many think that the Braves will carry 3 catchers on the 30-man roster, and I’m just not certain that’s necessary considering players can likely shuffle back and forth from the taxi squad without much restriction. However, with 2 veteran catchers behind the dish, I think the Braves will carry 2 catchers, at least, on their taxi squad. The first is easy as Alex Jackson is already on the 40-man roster and listed above. The 2nd is also easy as he was raved about in Spring Training, and according to a fun little inside source that I have, he’s the prospect the Braves are most excited about, even over Pache. The first of the 8:

The next 3 seem to be the “break glass in case of emergency” veterans that will be readily available should they be needed. There’s one assumption that I’m making here that I have 0 clue of its validity. That assumption is these guys have signed MiLB deals without opt-outs and/or other teams did not show interest in carrying them on 30-man rosters. The next 3:

The next 3 are the “Lightning in a Bottle” types that every team brings into camp. All 3 of these guys showed pretty well in spring, but I’m guessing the Braves need to see more before placing on the 30-Man. The next 3:

The last addition is a personal favorite of mine because he came from nowhere and garnered a lot of attention in camp with his defensive versatility, speed, and a solid hit tool that has really developed last year. I’ve mentioned this before, but players like this were made for the 26th man on a 26-man roster, and I’m sure he’s thankful for the expansion. The final man on the 20-man taxi squad:

A Notable Exemption: Drew Waters

Drew Waters is not on the 40-man roster and I don’t know the implications of adding players to the 50-man roster quite yet, but I’d assume it’s the same as adding to the 40-man and I just don’t envision the Braves making that move for Drew Waters in a funky 2020 season…especially right away.

Thanks for reading Predicting Braves 20-Man Taxi Squad. If you enjoyed this, take a gander at all of Braves Journal’s 2019-20 Offseason Analysis where you’ll see many names above mentioned.

Author: Ryan Cothran

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

24 thoughts on “Predicting Braves 20-Man Taxi Squad”

  1. Unless I’m badly misunderstanding, if there’s no minor league season, it seems like any player not on the 50-man roster will lose a year of development time. Can they really afford not to put Waters on the taxi squad?

    Here’s the Fangraphs link from the last thread walking through the MLB revenue math. As always, you can’t take the league’s position at face value, especially considering that in recent years, multiple teams have already been caught lying about their finances and essentially pocketing revenue sharing money.

    https://blogs.fangraphs.com/parsing-mlbs-claim-of-a-4-billion-loss/

  2. @AAR

    I think any player that isn’t on the taxi squad will be at the Spring Training facility, should they choose to be.

  3. Thanks Alex and Nick for sharing the article.

    https://blogs.fangraphs.com/parsing-mlbs-claim-of-a-4-billion-loss/

    It’s in the middle of the article that I find most interesting:

    “Even without the postseason, playing the regular season games brings in more money than it loses, but even if it were a breakeven proposition or a slight loss, playing the regular season games and getting to the postseason gets MLB potentially a $1 billion or more to share. That certainly seems like a financial risk worth taking, and that’s before you even get to the potential marketing value of playing versus the potential backlash of not.

    Even if everything goes according to plan, will the owners lose money?

    Maybe. As I mentioned earlier, there are scenarios where the owners might not even lose money this year, but losses are definitely possible. Some teams are more likely to lose money than others, but the owners have the option of spreading money around to ensure that no team suffers massive losses while others profit.”

    (Italics and bold by me.)

    I think the $4B figure is totally bunk, and while maybe technically accurate, the article does a great job of showing where MLB is omitting and manipulating numbers. Owners lie, players lie, agents lie, they all lie. I don’t care.

    The underlined portion is what I have the most problem with. Take the zeroes off the numbers, and just look at the percentages. Why would they play a sport if there’s a chance they could either lose money, and best case, if they make it the entire season, they would make peanuts compared to what they normally make? Of course, peanuts to them is a filet to me, but it’s still peanuts to them.

    Tfloyd,

    Thanks for the explanation about the labor unrest from 1972 to 1994. Was it constant from year to year? Man, that would just get exhausting. The problem with then and now is that players made a lot less back then compared to us normal folk. In 1972, baseball’s highest paid player was Carl Yastrzemski at $172K. Adjusted for inflation, that’s a little over $1M. If today, the highest paid player was making $1M, I’d probably be a little more on the player’s side. IMO, once high school educated guys can make $30M a year, I lose sympathy for the player. Doesn’t make what the owners are doing right, but I lose sympathy for the victim a little bit.

    Was there any point where you said, “Fine, let’s just go ahead and have a strike?” When I heard Blake Snell say, “I gotta get mine,” a flip switched with me. It’s just how incredibly stupid he sounded, that a guy that has pitched one full major league season, has $40M in future earnings contractually agreed to, and he’s on the Twitch machine rambling like a complete idiot. If you’ve seen the movie Fun With Dick and Jane, that’s the real life of equivalent of Jack McCallister talking about having to sell his place in Martha’s Vineyard. And that was satire!

    Sorry for the long post, everyone.

  4. @1: Yeah, that’s in line with what I thought. And Rosenthal’s story in the Atlantic yesterday makes it sound bleak: https://theathletic.com/1821460/2020/05/18/salary-staredown-inside-the-high-stakes-negotiation-to-restart-the-mlb-season/?source=dailyemail But I’m not budging from my prediction yet: an agreement with a cap and a floor on total revenue and a fuller opening of the books by MLB. I still wouldn’t be entirely surprised, though, to see the season just called off over this, as both sides feel they could enhance their posture for the next CBA. I think that’s dumb, but that’s a fan talking… I’ve seen negotiations go worse in all sort of places.

  5. That’s very cool JonathanF. My very first really distinctive memory of attending a Braves game was the game in 1971 where Carty was presented an award for winning the NL batting title the year before. Of course he missed all of ’71 with a knee injury. This was before the Silver Slugger award was initiated but I distinctly recall where I was sitting and the short ceremony at the game recognizing his achievement and being disappointed he wasn’t able to play.

  6. My favorite BS number that the owners are citing is that, if they pay the players their prorated salaries, the players will reap 89 percent of total revenue from the season. I mean, that’s just absurd on its face. Also, that Rosenthal piece (cited by JonathanF @5) has a throwaway line that says the owners were forecasting a net loss of almost $100 million on the season even before the pandemic struck…also pretty much absurd on its face after a year of record revenues.

    Bottom line, the owners are continuing with their game of only publicizing the numbers that look bad for them and claiming that the sources where they’re getting all of their money don’t count (if they’re even telling the truth about those numbers at all, as AAR pointed out). The players might have a bit too much “we need to get ours” in some circles of the union, but if there’s a side that’s playing games and not really being serious right now, it’s definitely the owners.

  7. To lay my chips out, I’m generally more sympathetic to the millionaires than the billionaires. Clearly, given that other players have declined to agree with him (including, pointedly, Nolan Arenado), Blake Snell is speaking for himself and not for all of his coworkers, so I get how his comments rubbed some the wrong way but I would not take it as the general position of players.

    But I agree with Snell’s basic point that the risks are unequally distributed — the owners can watch the games from home but the players have to break quarantine during a pandemic that will almost certainly lead to some of them getting sick. Potentially very seriously ill. Since the risks are unequally distributed, I get the argument that the rewards should also be unequally distributed.

    Moreover, there’s a serious information asymmetry: we know exactly what the players are making, and exactly what they are giving up. We have no idea what the owners are making, because they refuse to open their books, and on the rare occasions that a team’s financial documents are leaked, it becomes clear that baseball teams make vastly more money than they admit to making.

    I understand Rob’s argument that both sides are lying, but I think the owners are clearly lying more, and the players have more to lose. I’ll hate absolutely all of them if the season gets canceled, but they’re not all equally situated.

  8. @13

    Agreed.

    One more point and then I’ll stop for now…I know some folks get tired of reading stuff about labor strife.

    The real reason for the players never to accept a revenue split isn’t that it kinda sorta looks like a salary cap, or is at least starting to walk down the path toward one. The real reason is the owners cannot be trusted to accurately report what revenue actually is, and would try to and probably succeed in screwing the players out of a portion of their share of revenue with this mathematical voodoo they always pull where everything is constantly terrible supposedly.

    If the players ever agreed to something like this, they’d need some sort of ironclad guarantee that they could have access to the owners’ books at all times and some sort of neutral process for filing a complaint when they feel the owners aren’t being completely forthcoming.

  9. We are recording a new @3FlagsFlying pod tonight and got some fun things to discuss. Hit us up with your #Braves mailbag question!

  10. As others have alluded to ITT, the odds of there being MLB this season right now as of today are about 0.5%

    Almost no chance one game will be played. The players don’t want to play under these circumstances and therefore there aren’t going to be any games.

    It will be interesting to see if Langeliers ever hits enough to be really relevant. I have my doubts. A 22+ year old hitting .250 in A ball with a .310 OBP and very little power is very doubtful for longterm MLB success even given that it was his first foray into pro ball. Other than as a backup catcher defensive leader (David Ross) guy.

  11. Just got off the golf course (a note to Gov. Baker… let the old guys take carts! We’re in the high risk group!) but I want to chime in that I agree with Nick and AAR. As I keep saying, the big concession here, which inevitably needs to come as a part of the next CBA anyway, is a full opening of the MLB books. It’s frankly scandalous that this hasn’t happened before now. In return for a full accounting of all revenue streams, (and that means all, like whatever MLB gets from a 1970 Rico Carty Jersey) the players will inevitably accept a salary cap, one initially calibrated with some headroom. The Covid-19 season just gives that inevitability a chance to get a bit of a test.

  12. And by the way, the players are not generally above unhelpful, posturing stunts. There was plenty of that in the 1994-95 strike, for instance, and they didn’t cover themselves in glory during the steroid era at all. However, I just don’t see much of that from them right now. I think this is mostly on the owners, for the moment…at least until they present the players with some sort of actual plan instead of spouting questionable numbers at whoever will listen.

  13. The owners are selfish, dishonest, greedy bastards. You have to be that way to have 10-digit wealth. Personally, I don’t know if I have it in me to be that way, and I’ll undoubtedly end up with a few less zeroes. But the players knew what they were signing up for when they decided to form a union to fight the selfish, dishonest, greedy bastards, and if given the option, they too would probably be selfish, dishonest, greedy bastards. Most of them already are, but they have a few less zeroes to their net worth, so we’ve been told to not hate them as much. I guess.

    If they don’t like what they’re being paid, they should strike. I’ve already lost one half season to lunacy; what’s another half season? If it puts labor unrest to bed for another 20 years, then so be it. The players are supposed to be the macho ones, so they should grow an effing pair and do what they don’t want to do to get what they want in the end. But the reality is, they’re selfish, dishonest, greedy bastards themselves, and they won’t even strike for 80 COVID games because they would lose 80 COVID games worth of pay, so I’m supposed to believe I’m a cuck for the billionaires instead of being a cuck for the millionaires who won’t even do what they need to do to get a bigger share of the pie? Don’t like not having access to the books? Grow a pair and strike.

    Man, I’m just #MadOnline. Sorry, everyone.

  14. @Chief

    When you say these things, I actually shake my head at home. I’ve seen your twitter profile and it’s not near as negative as what you bring to Braves Journal. I don’t get it.

  15. Chief, I share your concern about Langeliers bat. But your comp of David Ross is way off. He was above league average offensively every year as a Brave with OPS+ ranging from 105 to 136.

  16. Yeah, Ross was an extraordinarily good hitter for us. Honestly, if Langeliers puts together a career like that, I’d be ecstatic.

    Rob, I’m not telling you how to feel, I’m just telling you how I feel. I get why you’re frustrated.

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