The 2019 Atlanta Braves have won multiple games with players that may not even be involved in their playoff journey. Brian Snitker will have some very tough decisions when filling out the playoff rosters.
It is obvious that approximately 18-20 players are locks to be on the roster. This means that 5-7 spots are still available. All this being said, who are the players fighting to be on the Atlanta Braves roster when October arrives?
Not Everyone Can Make The Playoff Roster
1. Austin Riley
Let’s go ahead and address the elephant in the room. Austin Riley was a star when he arrived in the majors this season. In his first fifteen games, Riley batted .356 with 7 HRs. In June, he slashed another 7 HR’s, but the average started to dip.
July was awful for Riley as he struggled at the plate with a .156 average and 30 strikeouts. Since he has returned to the lineup from the IL, Riley has stepped to the plate 13 times. He has one hit and nine strikeouts. Despite the roaring start to his MLB career, Austin Riley is in danger of being left off of the postseason roster.
Francisco Cervelli is batting .411 since joining the Braves. It’s not his play that may keep him off the roster. It comes down to whether Brian Snitker wants to carry three catchers into the playoffs.
Cervelli is a player with playoff experience and is a veteran catcher. All he can do at this time is to continue to play the game.
Since joining the Atlanta Braves, Francisco Cervelli has been an asset to the team. As stated earlier, Snitker’s decision whether to carry two or three catchers will seal Cervelli’s fate.
In the month of September, Billy Hamilton has stepped to the plate eight times. He has struck out five times and recorded zero hits.
It’s obvious that Hamilton was brought to the team for speed. However, one must get on base before the speed even matters. It also doesn’t help that he has been picked off twice recently. When Snitker develops the playoff roster, what will he value more: hitting or speed?
The Braves received Anthony Swarzak when they traded Jesse Biddle and Arodys Vizcaino to the Mariners. Many didn’t know what to expect from the 34-year-old reliever. That being said, he would later prove to be a major piece of Atlanta’s success in the month of June. He pitched 12 innings and didn’t allow an earned run.
Since then, Swarzak has been shaky; hitters are batting .329 against him since the All-Star break. Before Chris Martin, Shane Greene, and Mark Melancon were brought over, Swarzak seemed to be a lock for the playoff roster. However, his recent struggles have put his playoff roster hopes in jeopardy.
The Last Two Weeks Will Be Crucial
These five players have two more weeks of baseball to play. If they have any shot of making the postseason roster, it will be earned in these last few games.
Riley must begin making contact with the ball. Cervelli must make every opportunity behind the plate count. Hamilton must get on base and not get picked off, and Swarzak needs to have clean innings. Otherwise, these Atlanta Braves players will not be playing October baseball.