The Braves have a much needed 2-day break from baseball before starting a 10-game stretch against the Giants, the Dodgers, and the Rockies. And while the Rockies, on paper, don’t seem like a threat, they play like the Dodgers when they’re at home. After the 5th game of this stretch, the calendar will turn to September and each team, if they so choose will get to expand their roster to 28. I fully expect the Braves to take advantage of the +2, but it might come as more of a +4-2 as I expect, at least, 4 new faces on the 28-man roster. First, let’s take a look at some players that might be out of an MLB job when September rolls around or even sooner.
The Ax is Calling
The mop-up men of the MLB will never have a WAR that reflects their value. Pitchers that come in and know their role is to make a loss a little less painful hold a lot of value to their teammates who can be held back for more valuable innings. Unfortunately for Josh Tomlin, he hasn’t been able to replicate 2020 and, if he is the mop man, he needs to file a suit against the mop company because he’s leaving the excrement all over the field when he leaves. Whether it’s September 1st or Sunday when Ian Anderson could be slotted in to pitch, I don’t foresee Tomlin sticking around.
- Subtract 1, Roster at 25
Abraham Almonte puts up some really good ABs. Truly. I’ve enjoyed watching him hit this year and have been pleasantly surprised by his production. Off the bench, a .735 OPS has real value and that’s where Almonte sits at this very moment. Unfortunately for him, he’s relegated to a corner OF spot and Guillermo Heredia is the only current OFer that can play CF at an above average clip (well, I think Adam Duvall could but the Braves seemingly have no desire to see that happen). Heredia will also have value off the bench as a RH hitter that hits LHP well and that could work out to the Braves advantage when Eddie Rosario gets added. Sorry Almonte…you’ve been a pretty good bench player, but there’s no room at this inn.
- Subtract 1, Roster at 24
Braves Roster, Party of 4
There are a 2 spots that seem self-explanatory and whether they happen Friday or 9/1, it’s a safe bet that Ian Anderson and Eddie Rosario will be added to the roster. Peanut thinks Rosario will not be added until roster expansion, which was my guess as well.
From there, it gets interesting and while I think there could be a few trials that the Braves could roll out, there are several on the 40-man that I don’t see making an appearance in September. Those are:
That leaves the following candidates:
The most obvious option on this list is William Contreras and I think that happens. However, I’m not sure that it happens right when September comes as they might want him to catch regularly to develop a little more before being added. Mid-September seems more likely.
I’m sure you’re seeing what I’m seeing. Who the heck comes up? Kyle Muller makes sense if Braves want to limit his innings. The rest of the list doesn’t do it for me and if forced to make a decision, I guess I’d give Yoan Lopez a shot. However, there’s a lot of spare change here and I don’t think anyone would be upset if Roark, Arcia, or Lopez were let go. In fact, they probably deserve MLB chances elsewhere. With that being said, I fully expect Sean Newcomb or Jacob Webb get the call but there are other options that aren’t on the 40-man.
Keeping Two Eyes on MILB Promotions
Bryce Elder got a surprise promotion last week to AAA and ’tis the season for promotions and cups of coffees for players. While I don’t expect the Braves to promote Bryce Elder to the bigs, there is an eye-popping force at AA that could get a shot at AAA soon. Until that happens, Indigo Diaz will be part of fantasy, not reality. However, if that AAA promotion happens, fantasy might come reality and that would be a fun September development.