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How potential D-backs playoff roster may look

@SteveGilbertMLB
September 8, 2019

In the week since we first posted what a potential postseason roster could look like for the D-backs, they’ve greatly enhanced their chances of grabbing one of the National League’s two Wild Card spots. There’s still work to be done, of course, as the D-backs do still trail the Cubs,

In the week since we first posted what a potential postseason roster could look like for the D-backs, they’ve greatly enhanced their chances of grabbing one of the National League’s two Wild Card spots.

There’s still work to be done, of course, as the D-backs do still trail the Cubs, but they’ve continued to gain ground on them.

A couple of quick reminders before we get to the projected roster -- this is how a potential roster could look like for a Division Series because the Wild Card Games are a completely different animal.

For the D-backs, we’re going to go with a split of 14 position players and 11 pitchers -- which is what they used in 2017 in the NL Division Series against the Dodgers.

Here's how the playoff rosters might look

Catchers (2): Carson Kelly, Alex Avila

No changes here from last week, because of all the position groups, this one is the easiest to predict. The D-backs have gotten away from using a three-catcher alignment this year, thanks to the emergence of Kelly.

Infielders (7): Nick Ahmed, Kevin Cron, Eduardo Escobar, Wilmer Flores, Jake Lamb, Ildemaro Vargas, Christian Walker

Sticking with the same group here as well, but it remains to be seen if Vargas ends up sticking here. For purposes of this exercise, we’ve got Ketel Marte listed among the outfielders, though he has rotated from center field to second base to shortstop during the season. Marte’s versatility, along with Escobar’s ability to play second and third, really gives D-backs manager Torey Lovullo options. Escobar can start at second and Lamb at third against righties, while Flores can get the nod at second with Escobar shifting to third against lefties. That would leave Lamb as a nice option off the bench against a tough right-handed reliever.

Cron would give the D-backs a power bat off the bench -- particularly against lefties -- while Vargas would provide additional coverage at third, short and second. That could be important as Lovullo has often replaced Flores late in games for defensive purposes.

Outfielders (5): Jarrod Dyson, Adam Jones, Tim Locastro, Marte, Josh Rojas

Again, nothing changes here, yet. Abraham Almonte was a surprise September callup, and Lovullo has not been afraid to give him the occasional start and use him off the bench. If that continues, he may end up getting the nod on the roster over Vargas. The D-backs will be without the services of left fielder David Peralta, who had surgery on his right AC joint on Aug. 30. With Marte starting in center and Jones in right, Lovullo has alternated between using the right-handed-hitting Locastro and the lefty Rojas -- depending on whether a lefty or righty starts.

Dyson and Locastro both bring tremendous speed and basestealing ability, which can certainly come in handy late in games during the postseason.

Starting pitchers (4): Robbie Ray, Mike Leake, Zac Gallen, Alex Young

Young was really impressive in his start against the Reds on Saturday, when he struck out 12 over eight shutout innings. We’re still giving him the nod over Merrill Kelly and Taylor Clarke for right now.

Ray would be the Game 1 starter, unless he’s needed in an NL Wild Card Game, while the team got Leake to provide innings and experience. Gallen has pitched well since coming over from the Marlins before the Trade Deadline.

Relief pitchers (7): Archie Bradley, Andrew Chafin, Kevin Ginkel, Yoshihisa Hirano, Yoan Lopez, T.J. McFarland, Jimmie Sherfy

The bullpen is the hardest position group to pick because it is the most volatile and it depends so much on possible matchups. One notable change is the removal of Luke Weaver this time. Weaver, who has been out since May with a mild right flexor pronator strain and a mild right UCL sprain, is still working his way back to the active roster. If he does show that he’s healthy, there’s still a good chance the team finds a way to use him, either in the bullpen or as an opener in the playoffs.

Hirano probably makes the roster if he shows that he is healthy and pitching well. He was activated off the injured list on Sunday.

One name to keep an eye on is Sherfy. The right-hander, who pitched well enough in September 2017 to make the postseason roster that year, was called up at the beginning of September and Lovullo has shown a great amount of trust in him to this point.

Ginkel and Chafin have become the left-right setup men that Lovullo trusts the most to get the ball to closer Bradley.

McFarland would likely be kept if there are a bunch of lefties on the opposing team. Matt Andriese has had some good outings in relief lately and could land a spot. Clarke has pitched well in relief and is an option here, as well.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.