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Inbox: How will Braves handle Sept. callups?

Beat reporter Mark Bowman answers questions from fans
August 27, 2018

How will the Braves handle the impending 40-man roster crunch? Are there players they'll try to trade or outright to the Minors? -- @BravesAmerica Right-handers Brandon McCarthy and Kyle Wright, infielder Ryan Flaherty, third baseman Austin Riley and an internal catcher (Chris Stewart or Alex Jackson) would need to be added to the

How will the Braves handle the impending 40-man roster crunch? Are there players they'll try to trade or outright to the Minors?
-- @BravesAmerica

Right-handers Brandon McCarthy and Kyle Wright, infielder Ryan Flaherty, third baseman Austin Riley and an internal catcher (Chris Stewart or Alex Jackson) would need to be added to the 40-man roster if the Braves choose to carry any of them after rosters expand on Saturday.
Atlanta has two vacancies on the 40-man roster, but I think it's safe to assume at least three of these aforementioned players will be among the roster additions. Time will tell whether McCarthy can adapt to his modified delivery and capably handle a relief role. But it seems Atlanta is planning to go through the stretch run with him and Flaherty, who has gained the benefit of regular at-bats since being outrighted to Triple-A Gwinnett last week.
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Over the past couple weeks, there has been chatter about possibly of bringing Wright, who is ranked the Braves' No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline, to the Majors as a reliever. The 22-year-old right-hander got a taste the bullpen when he worked a scoreless sixth inning for Gwinnett on Saturday. I'm expecting to see him working out of Atlanta's 'pen in September.
Riley, who is ranked the club's No. 4 prospect by MLB Pipeline, has kept himself on the radar, as he has four home runs in his past eight games entering Monday. Since he could begin next season in the Majors, there could be some benefit to carrying him in September, but that decision might come down to whether the Braves feel they still have enough 40-man roster flexibility after possibly completing a waiver trade and deciding whether to carry a third catcher for the final month of the regular season.
If Atlanta ends up adding just three of the players mentioned above, they could designate pitcher Wes Parsons for assignment to create another spot. If in need of two 40-man spots, the club may have to choose whether to designate either Dustin Peterson or Michael Reed, a pair of right-handed-hitting outfielders. Given Peterson is a season removed from a significant hand injury, I think it's safe to assume he'd be safe.
When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.
The Braves cleaned their 40-man roster a month ago, when Lucas Sims, Matt Wisler and Preston Tucker were traded to the Reds for Adam Duvall. It seemed like a harmless deal at the time, but as Duvall has gone 4-for-33 (all singles) and has provided little value to a bench that could also benefit from adding a left-handed bat.
Last week, Atlanta put a waiver claim in on first baseman Matt Adams, who ended up with the Cardinals, and debated whether to bid on second baseman Daniel Murphy, who has quickly found comfort with the Cubs. The Braves have continued to evaluate waiver-wire deals that would enrich their bench and most likely require being creative with the 40-man roster.
While the Braves have held out hope that reliever Arodys Vizcaino might return this season, there is certainly reason to question how durable and effective he might be if he does come back. His durability would be less of an issue, because he could be given extended rest while Atlanta works with an expanded roster. But with 40-man spots at a premium, he may eventually be moved to the 60-day disabled list.
Were Bryse Wilson, Touki Toussaint and Kyle Wright all making relief appearances at Gwinnett an indication the front office plans to use them out of the 'pen once rosters expand?
-- @PatrickMollette

While we don't know whether Wright will be promoted as he nears the end of his second professional season, my expectation is that two of these highly-regarded prospects will be placed in the Braves' bullpen and the other will be used as a sixth starter in September.
Toussaint, who is ranked as the organization's No. 7 prospect by MLB Pipeline, seems to be the most likely to be used as a starter when necessary. Chad Sobotka's success since joining Atlanta's bullpen has seemingly only intensified interest regarding what Wright and Wilson could do with their respective power arsenals as a reliever.
The strides Toussaint, Wilson and Wright have made this year have provided both immediate and long-term benefits for the Braves.
Entering this year, we termed this a weeding-out season for the starting-pitching prospects. Luiz Gohara's value has dropped, and Kolby Allard has shown he is not physically ready to compete at the Major League level. We'll see what the future holds for Max Fried, who will certainly draw trade interest during the offseason.
Atlanta is still sitting pretty in the starting-pitching department. The Braves finally reached that point where Julio Teheran stands as their No. 4 or 5 starter. Mike Foltynewicz, Kevin Gausman and Sean Newcomb have looked like valuable anchors for a rotation that could include Wilson, Toussaint, Wright and eventually Ian Anderson at any point between now and next year's All-Star break.
Will the Braves acquire another infield bench bat before the waiver period expires? We all know Rio Ruiz is a placeholder.
-- @FoxHollowFilms

While Ozzie Albies' right hamstring has not been an issue in the second half, Atlanta really couldn't afford to continue carrying just one backup infielder, which it had done since Flaherty was designated for assignment last week. So from that perspective, it made sense to promote Ruiz, who was already on the 40-man roster.
There's no doubt the Braves will spend the next few days looking to add some offense to a bench that has lacked production beyond Charlie Culberson for much of the season. There was a preference for a left-handed bat, but with Duvall struggling, they won't be picky with their pursuit.
Who do you expect to see added in September?
-- @bravesfan549

Let's go with McCarthy, Wright, Wilson, Toussaint and Peter Moylan as the pitchers who will be added. Shane Carle will likely eventually be activated from the disabled list, but I have my doubts about Vizcaino returning this year.
As for the position players, let's go with Flaherty and Reed, unless there is a need for his 40-man roster spot. I think the 40-man roster crunch will lead to Riley not being promoted. Scouts have been down on Alex Jackson all season, but because we are talking about a third catcher, let's just say it's a coin flip between carrying him or Stewart.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.