Braves' Ideal 25-Man Roster, Part 4 of 7

Braves pitchers in the pen

The next 3 pieces in this series will discuss the pitchers that have potential to make up the ideal 25-man roster. If you’re new to the series, the position players were discussed in parts 1, 2, and 3 and can be found by clicking the number accordingly.  Many of the pitchers are shoo-ins, barring injury, for a spot and will not be discussed.  Those pitchers are as follows:

Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Brandon Beachy, Alex Wood, Craig Kimbrel, Jordan Walden, David Carpenter, Luis Avilan

That leaves 3 slots to discuss, either 1 starter and 2 relievers, or 3 relievers depending on how the Braves choose to use Alex Wood.  As pitchers tend to be behind the hitters at this point in Spring Training, I will not be measuring the pitchers based on early spring appearances (Garcia’s hot start, Buchter’s putrid appearances), but will reflect on numbers from previous years to determine the ideal 25-man roster.  Also, I will exclude players from this list who aren’t receiving early appearances in Spring Training games as, if history remains true, these types aren’t receiving real consideration for spots out of the gate.


Atlanta Braves’ Anthony Varvaro

Anthony Varvaro has a 50% chance to make the roster. Looking at pure numbers, Varvaro looks like he should be a lock in the 2014 bullpen, but his surface numbers are misleading.  Diving deeper into some advanced metrics, Varvaro has been much, much worse in high leverage situations and the Braves seem to know this:  Career: Faced 363 batters in low-leverage situations and only 70 in high-leverage.

Even though the mop-up man isn’t a desired position to be in, all bullpens have one. However, most of the time the mop-up man provides more than just useless innings at the end of a blowout.  Veteran leadership is something that tends to be coveted by the Braves and Varvaro doesn’t seem like the mentoring type.  Does Anthony Varvaro provide value to an ideal 25-man roster?  My answer: No.


Atlanta Braves’ Cory Gearrin

Cory Gearrin has a 50% chance to make the roster.  I’ve defended Cory Gearrin for many years and truthfully I think Cory is a much better pitcher than what his numbers show. FIP agrees with what my eyes tell me as it measures 1/2 run less than his ERA.  Cory has nothing to prove in AAA and will no doubt be claimed on waivers should he not make the roster.  However, if given a roster spot  Cory will be of limited use as he is no doubt a ROOGY and should only face lefties in dire need or when the bases are empty.

He had a reverse platoon split in ’13 but the results were fluky, much like the rest of his season.  In April and May, Cory was showing his value as he pitched to a 1.80 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 25 innings. His BABIP against was about league average so his success wasn’t fluky and only 27% of his inherited runners were scoring .  Then, something happened and he fell off the baseball cliff.  It was later revealed that Gearrin suffered shoulder fatigue and he didn’t pitch again, in the Minors or the Majors, after his July 3rd appearance.

A familiar Braves’ name,  Peter Moylan, made his name as a ROOGY and was one of the Braves most dependable relievers for half a decade and Cory is very much a pitcher in the Moylan mold. Could Cory Gearrin be the 2014 ROOGY of the year?  Does he provide value to an ideal 25-man roster?  My answer: Yes.


Atlanta Braves’ Ryan Buchter

Ryan Buchter has a 50% chance to make the roster.  It’s been ugly in camp thus far for Mr. Buchter, but make no mistake that this dude can pitch…he just doesn’t know where it’s going all the time.  Effectively wild has long been the description of a pitcher that brings the heat, plunks a few, walks a few, and strikes out a ton.  Buchter is not there yet.  His 15K/9 is an accomplishment that Aroldis Chapman never topped in the Minors, but on the contrary Aroldis never walked 7.4/9 either.

Buchter will have to show that he has harnessed his ball 4 tendencies enough to win the 2nd lefty spot in the ‘pen and make no doubt that the Braves will give he and any other lefty numerous opportunities to prove/disprove their worth.  Does Buchter provide value to an ideal 25-man roster?  My answer: No…but I sure would love to see “Buchter’s Butchers” make an appearance at Turner Field sometime this season!

Part 5 will be coming up in 2 days time.  Thanks for reading!

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Tags: Anthony Vararo Atlanta Braves Cory Gearrin FanSided Ryan Buchter

  • Ryan Cothran

    Defending Gearrin’s spot on the roster:
    3 potential sidearming ROOGYs,
    2 on the 40-man, 1 not.
    2 healthy, 1 working on getting healthy
    Gearrin is on the 40-man and healthy. Ideally, I think it should be his job.

  • fireboss

    Vavaro and Gearrin are out of options. If they aren’t on the 25 man roster the Braves will get nothing for them. I don;t think they’ll give them away until Venters and Floyd force their way on to the roster. Freddy Garcia makes it as the long man spot starter until Floyd arrives. Gearrin’s replacement is Luis Vasquez when he’s eventually DFA. Fredi G doesn’t trust Gearrin and misused him a lot so I they may let him go and use Vasquez. When/If Venters returns Gearrin is DFA or Vasquez is sent down.

  • Chris Headrick

    Lots of rumors floating around that FW and Co. are no longer, if they ever were, enamored with Gearrin. Read into that what you will, even if the rumors are true.

    • fireboss

      FG has never liked Gearrin. Set him up to fail and after he did stopped using him. Two seasons ago ago against the Phillies (Sunday before the ASG as I recall with every arm available) he brought in Gearrin instead of a lefty to face the left handed heart of the Phillies order. Howard, Utley and company did what they always did against ROOGYs beat him all over the ball park. After that Gearrin was a forgotten soul and rarely used. I’m not defending Gearrin’s spot, he’s Moylan with less stuff but the manager is supposed to put people in the best spot to win or at least not punish them for failing. I was surprised when Gearrin was still with the club but I found it a sad way to run things.

  • Lee Trocinski

    FG has Varvaro with a .286 wOBA allowed in 46 High Leverage BF and .296 in 380 Low Leverage BF. He hasn’t had many chances because the Braves, even last year, has had so many outstanding arms in the bullpen. He got away from his gyro-like fastball and threw a tweener fastball that was easier to hit, but he somehow limited power with it. He’ll be fine this year, not a back-end guy but not on the bubble.

    • Ryan Cothran

      The comparison of high-leverage/low-leverage innings that Varvaro has pitched is a tell-tale sign that Fredi doesn’t trust him. There’s no one else on the team that comes close to those splits. I’d rather have Garcia in the low-leverage, mop-up man role, but if Medlen really is down for the count, then Varvaro’s chances to make the roster just greatly increased. However, if Medlen is fine and Garcia ends up in the bullpen, keeping Varvaro seems redundant. I think both Gearrin and Varvaro are on the bubble and it was almost certain that one would not be on the roster prior to the Medlen injury. Now, I think both can make the team, but there’s still reason to believe their spot isn’t secure. Their chances of staying on the roster get very slim when Floyd and Venters are ready, but who knows when that’ll be.

  • Ryan Cothran

    On the other side…
    The Braves are going to need a reliever or 2 that they can jerk around a bit. They’ve been in the situation before when the relievers were tired but had no one to move back and forth from Gwinnett to bring a fresh arm in. Varvaro and Gearrin are both out of options and I’d be willing to bet that only 1 of the 2 will make the team…and my money’s on Gearrin. It’d be ideal for the team to have 2 relievers that could go up and down but that doesn’t seem possible if one of Gearrin /Varvaro and Garcia make the team. Then it gets really hairy when Floyd and Venters get back.I don’t see the Braves having that luxury at all without getting rid of someone. If all are healthy when they return the logjam will be severe and someone will have to be the sacrificial lamb.