The trade deadline is behind us and the homestretch is in front of us. With it, we also have a better idea of where the roster is and where it is going to be heading forward. Which is exactly what our new 40-man roster power ranking is for.
While Anthopolous may not have gone all-in with his pre-deadline deals, the work he did in shoring up the roster and at least improving the bit pieces at the bottom of the active roster is not to be ignored. He also managed to make those moves while not giving up any significant pieces or jeopardizing any of the future for a team which may or may not be ready for primetime come October. Another thing AA accomplished was clearing out some org guys who were taking up 40m spots which didn’t exactly have a future within the organization — assumingly so he can move forward with bringing up guys like Touki Toussaint for a boost.
So with our new roster power ranking, we’re breaking the current pieces down into a few different buckets — Locks, Probables, Free Agents, Arbitration Eligibles, Potential Trade Pieces, and the Unknowns — instead of doing your traditional top to bottom ranking. Let’s get going…
LOCKS (11 – 10 Occupying Spots)
They aren’t going anywhere. They are here for the long haul.
Mike Soroka (60-Day DL)
The obvious names are all here — Freeman, Acuña, Albies, Folty, Newk, Soroka, and Minter. You’ve also got those guys who may not be the superstars on the team, but are integral — Camargo and Winkler. Then you have the recent additions — Allard and Gausman.
PROBABLES (9 – 6 Occupying Spots)
These are the guys who are likely going to remain heading forward, but for whatever reason, I have my questions and doubts about.
Grant Dayton (60-Day DL)
Jacob Lindgren (60-Day DL)
Darren O’Day (60-Day DL coming)
Jose Ramirez (60-Day DL)
There’s a ton of injury questions here, which is what makes up the brunt of this section.
Currently, Dayton, Lindgren, and Ramirez (and assuming O’Day soon) are 60-day DL guys. I’d expect all four of them to have a roster spot going forward assuming some major setbacks, but if there’s a roster crunch they could also be the first ones cut free.
The next batch in this bucket is Biddle, Carle, and Jackson. Three more that I don’t expect to go anywhere, but if AA is going to reinvent the bullpen or bring in a core of younger arms they could also be cut free. Until we know what direction the bullpen is headed, however, they’re still floating around.
The other two names are Sanchez and McCreery. They were the two on the roster who I was most torn about because they could fall into a number of buckets. For now, they’re stuck as probables, but they could also be sent out if for nothing else than to clear 40m space.
FREE AGENTS (8 – 7 Occupying Spots)
They’ve got one foot out the door. For now, at least.
Brandon McCarthy (60-Day DL)
The only two on this list I could see something happening to before they file are Flaherty and Moylan, and that’s because they are likely the guys who are taking up the last spot on the bench and (when he’s activated from the DL) the last spot in the bullpen.
ARBITRATION ELIGIBLES (5)
Culberson and Duvall are good. Culberson maybe more so than Duvall, just depending on how the rest of the season goes. Culberson is a piece that could actually impress enough to bring back something of moderate value — one of those trades we saw out of Coppy that sees a replaceable piece who overperformed and was sold off at max value. If Duvall falls flat on his face before the end of the year he could end up as a non-tender candidate, but I wouldn’t bank on it with two questionable outfield pieces coming up this winter.
Freeman, Venters, and Whitley, not so much.
Sam Freeman is one of Snitker’s boys. Which means, unfortunately, AA is probably going to have to ride this one out until it is time to non-tender before he can just set the guy free and clear a roster spot.
Venters was a free pickup to provide Snitker with a veteran arm he could use down the stretch. While he still has some arbitration years left, he’s more likely to retire and potentially take a job with the Braves coaching staff than continue playing. He proved his point by making it back. Now it’s time for him to ride off into the sunset on a high note.
Whitley is one of those random waiver claims that is probably just there to be an arm with ML experience since Snitker isn’t comfortable using dudes fresh off the farm. Whitley has dealt with injuries all year and hasn’t thrown a pitch since May, so he likely won’t be sticking around.
POTENTIAL TRADE PIECES (8)
Here we go. Time to kick the beehive a little bit. They may have a home here in 2019. They may not. But they just aren’t going to be set free.
Fried, Gohara, Hursh, and Ruiz are the easiest ones here.
I love Fried and Gohara, but there are a lot of arms creeping up behind them that could possibly pass them if they don’t step up and make big moves. If AA is going to go out and deal some pieces to improve the team, they are probably at the top of the list of the guys who have crossed over to the main roster. They could still headline a deal for a role player, but they aren’t going to net any true difference maker on their own. If anything, they’ll be the second tier in a deal that includes a legit prospect.
Hursh and Ruiz are two guys who have been passed over. It’s not necessarily that neither is incapable of becoming a Major League piece, but they’re holdovers who have been uprooted. They aren’t going to headline a deal, and have very little value on their own, so they are going to be throw-ins like a Tommy La Stella type if Alex sends them packing.
And then there is the controversial names — Inciarte, Swanson, Teheran, and Vizcaino.
Ender is probably the most unexpected on the list, but with the addition of Adam Duvall and the statements he’s going to enter into an interesting type of platoon with Acuña bouncing around the outfield certainly show there is a chance those within the org are maybe souring on the defensive specialist and his offensive struggles this season.
Dansby is in a very similar situation. There is still tons of value to be had with him, but you have to wonder just how much rope is going to be given to a guy who has been unable to turn the corner and continues to look lost at times. With the team looking to make the move from potential contender to legitimate contender, there may only be room for one defensive specialist with a troublesome bat in the lineup.
Teheran is regressing. Hard. It’s been a tough couple years, and with other arms waiting in the shadows and more on the way, he could still slot in as a #4 in a young rotation. The problem is his contract makes a big jump up next season and his buyout on the table until next winter. If money is an issue, which we still don’t have a definitive answer on, unloading Teheran’s contract could certainly be an option.
Vizcaino is just an enigma. He’s still electric. He still only 27. But he’s still not turned the corner into elite closer territory and has yet to prove he can stay healthy long-term with all the injuries he has battled over the past 8+ seasons. The Braves have given up on him once before, you have to wonder at this point just how leash he has at this point. He’s got one year of arbitration left, which should be very crucial in how the Braves determine how to treat Vizzy.
The “you forgot these guys are even here” list. Unfortunately, they could be dropped tomorrow and ultimately, you wouldn’t even notice.
Bell is probably closest related to Whitley in terms of where he sits right now. He’s a guy with a little bit of Major League experience, but probably won’t even see the roster until the Stripers season is over. He may stick around on the roster until next spring, but ultimately, he doesn’t play into any long-term plans. If there’s a roster crunch, the Braves likely try and pass him through waivers and outright him.
Parsons, Peterson, and Reed are likely just org fodder who because of one reason or another found themselves on the 40-man this year due to injuries or just plainly needing bodies.
Parsons is a guy who has bounced around our minor league system for years, he’s never been great, but he’s always been good enough to not remain stagnant at one level. He might end up sticking, but ultimately, he’s just going to be one of those guys who bounces between AAA and the Majors for a week at a time the rest of his career.
Peterson and Reed are two guys that everyone just sort of falls in love with but don’t really bring a lot to the table in terms of major league talent. They are currently occupying the Lane Adams spot on the 40m. The ceiling for both is as a 5th OF, which means if the Braves end up having to try and outright them off they are probably 50/50 on whether or not they get claimed.
A little something extra:
RULE 5 ELIGIBLE
There’s not a lot to be added here, but here are the key names that are coming up on being Rule 5 Draft eligible this year. Touki is the biggest name, and the only one any of us should really be overly concerned with, but he will probably be added to the 40-man before rosters even expand on September 1st. Weigel is probably the most interesting name on the list, as he’s coming off of Tommy John surgery next year and some team could definitely take a chance on him.