The Ideal 25-Man Roster, Part 1 of 7
The following pieces will discuss the ideal construction of the 25-man roster. Here’s the lineup for the first 3 posts in which we discuss position players and their chances, or lack thereof, to make an ideal 25-man roster. Fredi G., it’s your show so pull up those pants and make it happen!
In the National League, roster flexibility is of the utmost value. Whether the flexibility is needed for a pinch runner, a platoon partner, or a crucial pinch hitting opportunity, the last 2 players on the bench for National League teams have a much better shot at making an impact over the last 2 spots on American League team.
Why you might ask? Well, the most obvious reason being the use of the ever-loathed by National League people and ever-loved by American League people; the designated hitter. The other reasons seem to stem from the use of the DH; less pitching matchup needs, less use for a ROOGY/LOOGY, and lesser of a need for a “pure bat” on the bench. So, the 24th and 25th man on an American League team is normally a “clubhouse” guy that receives little to no playing time, or someone who has the uncanny ability to nail the other team’s 3rd base coach with a baseball-sized wad of Dubble Bubble.
In this post we will analyze the ideal 25-man roster and the flexibility it could provide in resting the regulars. Posts1-3 will strictly deal with the 13 ideal men that will make up the lineup and bench. The following players need not be discussed as they are shoo-ins for a starting/bench spot:
The following players have a shot, whether it be a legit shot or a long shot, at locking up one of the last 2 bench spots. I’ll provide my opinion on each individual’s chances for making the roster and what, if any, flexibility each player could provide the team.
Atlanta Braves’ Ramiro Pena
Ramiro has a 95% chance of making the roster. Unless Pena completely flops in Spring Training or shows he’s not yet fully healthy, he’ll break the year on the 25-man. Prior to injuring his shoulder, an injury that required major surgery, Ramiro Pena was playing the baseball of his life. He had become the 2013 version of Martin Prado, providing innings at 2b, SS, and 3b, and would have likely seen time in left field had he not tried to ram his shoulder into earth’s core.
It’s easy to look at the 2013 Pena and daydream that we stole our next Prado (he even resembles Prado in his movements and still wears the same number) but one doesn’t have to look too deep to see that we might have seen Pena’s peak last year. On June 3rd of 2013, Pena had an .871 OPS and many a Brave fan was wondering , “Who in tarnation is this rascal? He’s shore a good ‘un!” After June 3rd, Pena’s production told a different story, a .294 OPS story. It was obviously a small sample and he was evidently injured during some part of that span but his hot start was crumbling with a quickness that even Billy Hamilton would have trouble sprinting aside.
The questions… Is Pena a .773 OPS player? Is Pena a .294 OPS player? The sensical answer would be no to both. If Pena’s prior production provides us with any insight, including both his Minor and Major league numbers, Pena is not an above average hitter. However, like his predecessor Prado, Pena could just be a late bloomer, or maybe he just needed a chance to show his offensive quality (he also excelled in the Winter Leagues prior to his time in Atlanta). In all truth, Pena is probably a .650-.710 OPS player that can provide average defense around the horn and can hit much better from the left-hand side than the right. Does that provide value? My answer: YES!
Atlanta Braves’ Tyler Pastornicky
Tyler has a 50% chance of making the roster. 2013 saw Andrelton Simmons have one of the best defensive seasons that baseball has ever seen. 2012 was a different story for a Braves shortstop, a complete nightmare for he and all of us who had to watch and wince. I made a joke during the 2012 Spring Training concerning the quote I heard most often from the broadcasters, “The ball gets by a diving Pastornicky”. Forty starts and a -16 DRS was all it took for the Braves to realize that Tyler Pastornicky was not the “average” shortstop that they thought he’d be. In fact, his DRS was 2nd worst amongst SS in the entire Major Leagues, only topping Derek Jeter, whom collected 850 more innings than the Rev.
So, is Pastornicky really that bad? No…he’s not. However, he seems destined to become a utility player, not a starting shortstop, or even a starting 2nd baseman. His bat will likely fare better than Pena’s in the big leagues but the lack of a standout skill really hurts Pastornicky’s chances, especially considering Pena is a switch hitter, has shown success at the big league level, and has shown the ability to play average defense at 3 positions.
The question that would make him a “go” or a “no” would be, “Do the Braves envision Pastornicky as a legit pinch hitting option?” With the acquisition of Doumit to provide flexibility to use Gattis, Laird, or Doumit as the primary pinch hitters off the bench (depending on who’s behind the dish), I don’t think Pastornicky will see very many pinch hitting opportunities. Does Pastornicky provide value? My answer: No.
Part 2 Coming Soon
The next piece will discuss Tyler Greene, Joey Terdoslavich, Ernesto Mejia and whether they provide value to the Braves’ ideal 25-man roster.