What would an Atlanta Braves 50-man roster look like?

30 active players, plus a 20-man taxi squad for the Atlanta Braves?

That’s one persistent proposal as part of an MLB restart:  while it appears the minor league season is dead for 2020, team depth would still be necessary, and thus it’s an interesting question about who the Atlanta Braves might pick.

The first forty names would likely be fairly easy:  the players already on the 40-man roster, barring injury.  Here’s that current list:

PITCHERS

  • Tucker Davidson
  • Grant Dayton
  • Jasseel De La Cruz
  • Mike Foltynewicz
  • Max Fried
  • Shane Greene
  • Cole Hamels
  • Luke Jackson
  • Chris Martin
  • Mark Melancon
  • A.J. Minter
  • Sean Newcomb
  • Darren O’Day
  • Philip Pfeifer
  • Will Smith
  • Chad Sobotka
  • Mike Soroka
  • Touki Toussaint
  • Jeremy Walker
  • Jacob Webb
  • Patrick Weigel
  • Bryse Wilson
  • Kyle Wright
  • Huascar Ynoa

CATCHERS

  • William Contreras
  • Travis d’Arnaud
  • Tyler Flowers
  • Alex Jackson

INFIELDERS

  • Ozzie Albies
  • Johan Camargo
  • Freddie Freeman
  • Adeiny Heckavarria
  • Dansby Swanson

OUTFIELDERS

  • Ronald Acuna Jr.
  • Adam Duvall
  • Ender Inciarte
  • Nick Markakis
  • Marcell Ozuna
  • Cristian Pache
  • Austin Riley

So who do you go out and add as the additional 10 guys to fill out the ‘taxi squad’?  The answer comes in based partly on the better prospects and partly via any needs for depth.

PITCHING (3).  Obviously, the Atlanta Braves are flush with pitchers, but there are two in particular that almost certainly will be added, plus one more that seems likely:

  • Felix Hernandez
  • Josh Tomlin
  • Ian Anderson

Both of these vets were signed to minor league deals with an opportunity to make the team.  One of the more interesting questions from February was whether King Felix would make the team outright (odds were good for that) and who might be bumped from the 40-list if that happened.

Tomlin was a bit more of a wild card depending on the performance of other bullpen candidates for the ‘long man’ role.  That’s still the case, but he at least would get a seat in the taxi.

Anderson’s chances of getting into a major league game might be more of a longshot, but having him hang around the locker room — at an appropriate physical distance, of course — wouldn’t be a terrible thing to see happen.

 

CATCHERS (1).  Having extra catching depth is never a bad thing, but there is exactly one candidate to add here:  2019 1st round draftee Shea Langeliers.  He might end up being the first guy up if either d’Arnaud or Flowers were to succumb to an injury.

 

INFIELDERS (7 candidates).  There really isn’t a lot of extra depth here in the organization, so there’s a fair chance the team reaches a bit deeper here.

  • Charlie Culberson
  • Braden Shewmake
  • Yonder Alonso
  • Sean Kazmar Jr
  • Yangervis Solarte
  • Pete Kozma
  • Bryce Ball

This is an interesting group — and some of these could well be chosen for their prior outfield experience, too.  In the end, probably only about 4 of these would be picked from here.  The guess is that Culberson, Shewmake, Ball, and one name from the Solarte/Kozma/Kazmar group makes it.

Bryce Ball is in my list because of (a) his power, and (b) his position:  Alonso would normally be the pick, but he’s not guaranteed past this season and Ball should have a future in the organization.

 

OUTFIELDERS (3 candidates).  The Atlanta Braves need more outfielders like they need more pitching.  Yet, there’s still a couple of possible choices here:

  • Cristian Pache
  • Peter O’Brien
  • Rafael Ortega

Ortega has MLB experience on his side; Pache is a defensive standout, and O’Brien could be a bench bat option.  Atlanta likely has enough bats and glove, so it’s a coin flip on Ortega vs. O’Brien for the second spot with Pache being a sure-fire inclusion.

So without considerations for either injury or simply dropping someone from the 40-man list, my selections to fill out the 20-man taxi squad are:

  • The non-active players from the 40-man roster
  • King Felix
  • Josh Tomlin
  • Ian Anderson
  • Shea Langeliers
  • Charlie Culberson
  • Braden Shewmake
  • Bryce Ball
  • Pete Kozma
  • Cristian Pache
  • Rafael Ortega

From here, the 40-man roster itself could see a couple of changes:  Hernandez or Culberson would have to be added to it before they could play as part of the 30-man active roster (assuming the rules stay the same).

Honorable mention wild card:  Drew Waters.  Sitting in the stands isn’t going to help his game:  he’d be better off at North Port, continuing to work out.

Next: "More Games!"

All that said, now we just need to get the owners and the union together and get this version of the  Atlanta Braves team on the field… but hey — what’s a $1 billion dollar gap in negotiations between friends?