Braves postseason FAQ: What comes next?

September 27th, 2020

ATLANTA -- The Braves will make a third consecutive trip to the postseason, their longest streak since 2005, when they captured their record 14th straight division title. Here are the answers to questions about how the schedule, roster and rotation might look during the postseason.

What could the postseason roster look like?

C: Travis d’Arnaud, Tyler Flowers
1B: Freddie Freeman
2B: Ozzie Albies
3B: Austin Riley
SS: Dansby Swanson
LF: Adam Duvall
CF: Ronald Acuña Jr., Ender Inciarte
RF: Nick Markakis
DH: Marcell Ozuna
INF: Adeiny Hechavarría, Pablo Sandoval, Johan Camargo

Starters: LHP Max Fried, RHP Ian Anderson, RHP Kyle Wright, RHP Huascar Ynoa

Bullpen: RHP Mark Melancon, RHP Shane Greene, RHP Chris Martin, LHP Will Smith, LHP A.J. Minter, RHP Darren O’Day, LHP Tyler Matzek, RHP Jacob Webb, RHP Josh Tomlin, LHP Grant Dayton, RHP Luke Jackson

What are the roster limits?

Teams can continue to carry a 28-man roster over the remainder of the postseason. The roster can change from round to round.

What are some tough roster decisions?

The Braves have recently been carrying 12 position players. It can be argued there will be less of a need to carry a surplus of pitchers once the postseason begins. But that argument was stronger when Cole Hamels still factored into the playoff plans. The left-hander’s season ended on Monday when he was placed on the injured list with left shoulder fatigue.

Pablo Sandoval recently signed a Minor League deal with the hope that he will be a part of the playoff roster. The 2012 World Series MVP’s experience makes him a better switch-hitting option than Johan Camargo, who brings significantly more from a defensive perspective, however.

If the Braves carry both Sandoval and Camargo, there’s room for 14 pitchers, which should be sufficient, especially in the Wild Card Series. The battle for that last pitching spot could come down to either Tomlin or Dayton. Tomlin provides a long-relief option. Dayton has been great against lefties, but the three-batter minimum enhances the risk of carrying him.

For now, the Braves have not shown any indication they will be bringing Mike Foltynewicz or Sean Newcomb back to the Majors to account for Hamels’ absence.

When will the Wild Card Series be played?

The Wild Card Series is a best-of-three set that will be played over three consecutive days from Sept. 30-Oct. 2. The games will be played at the home park of the higher seed.

Who might Atlanta’s opponent be in the first round?

The Braves, who secured the No. 2 seed in the National League on Friday, will square off with the Reds, who claimed the No. 7 seed on Sunday.

Who might be in the Wild Card Series rotation?

Fried, Anderson and Wright will almost certainly serve as Atlanta’s starters during the best-of-three first round. Wright has emerged over the season’s final weeks, and Anderson has had a few impressive outings to begin his big league career. But beyond those three hurlers, two of whom have combined for fewer than 20 career starts, the Braves do not have a strong option to put in the rotation. This would prove to be more of a problem during the NL Division Series and the NL Championship Series, both of which will be played without any off-days.