22 September 2014

Postseason Roster Crunch: The Final Roster

Photo by Keith Allison

Over the past couple of weeks, I've offered my thoughts on the battles for the last spots on the postseason roster.

The Pitching Staff
David Lough or Alejandro De Aza
On Chris Davis, Kelly Johnson, Jimmy Paredes, and Expanded Roles

I wanted to bring everything full circle with a post on the final roster and a quick thought or two about the role I think each guy will play.

Catchers

Caleb Joseph: I expect Joseph to get most of the starts behind the plate because of his ability to throw out potential base stealers and to frame pitches.

Nick Hundley: Hundley will see the bulk of his time when Chris Tillman is on the mound. He's essentially his personal catcher, whether Buck will admit that or not.

Infielders

Steve Pearce: Pearce will be the everyday 1B, just as he has been since Manny Machado was lost to a knee injury.

Jonathan Schoop: While I don't think Schoop will start every game, he will get the majority of the playing time at 2B. When he doesn't start, expect to see him as a late game defensive sub.

J.J. Hardy: Assuming his back holds up, Hardy will be the everyday SS.

Kelly Johnson: As I talked about in my earlier post linked to above, I think Johnson should get the majority of the starts at 3B. However, he hasn't gotten a lot of playing time since arriving, so maybe Flaherty or Paredes will get more of the playing time at the hot corner.

Ryan Flaherty: Flaherty will get starts at both 2B and 3B. Based off of how he's been used recently, I'd expect him as a defensive sub at 3B in games where he's on the bench, or shifting over from 2B in games he starts there.

Jimmy Paredes: I'd be surprised if he got much playing time, even with how well he has hit lately. I think Johnson and Flaherty are both ahead of him on the 3B depth chart.

Outfielders

Nelson Cruz: He will be in the lineup every day, mainly at DH. I'd expect him to get time in LF vs LHP.

Adam Jones: CF. Every. Single. Game.

Nick Markakis: RF. Every. Single. Game.

Alejandro De Aza: I think De Aza will be the starting LF against RHP.

Delmon Young: His primary role will be as a pinch hitter, but he'll probably start in place of De Aza vs. LHP (hopefully as the DH).

LHP

Wei-Yin Chen: Chen will be part of the 4-man rotiation. I'd expect him to be the Game 2 starter of the ALDS

Brian Matusz: Matusz won't have the late-inning role he's had in recent years, but he'll be especially valuable against specific hitters that he dominates, such as Josh Hamilton, if the O's happens to play the Angels.

Andrew Miller: Miller will be used late in games, in high-leverage situations. While he is a lefty, Buck won't hesitate to use him against lefties or righties.

Zach Britton: Your closer, ladies and gentlemen

RHP

Chris Tillman: For my money, he'll be the Game 1 starter of the ALDS

Bud Norris: Norris will be in the rotation, I expect him to start Game 3.

Kevin Gausman: I'm hopeful that Gausman is in the rotation, but he has shown the ability to pitch effectively in relief. The Orioles are expected to announce their ALDS rotation this week and I expect Gausman to end up in the bullpen.

Miguel Gonzalez: If I'm managing this team, he'd replace T.J. McFarland as the long man out of the bullpen. If I'm guessing what Buck is going to do, I think he'll be the #4 starter

Darren O'Day: Will be used much the same way Miller is, in late game, high-leverage situations.

Tommy Hunter: If need be, Big Game will bridge the gap between the starter and the O'Day/Miller/Britton combo at the back of the bullpen.

Brad Brach: Brach will probably be used much the same way as Hunter. If it comes down to Hunter or Brach in a high-leverage situation, I think Brach will get the nod

Ryan Webb: He is one of the better relievers on the team and should make the roster. Going with a 4-man rotation allows the team the luxury to carry Webb instead of McFarland, since the 5th starter can serve as the long man.

There's the 2014 Orioles postseason roster as I see it. Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments.

17 comments:

Michael said...

Nice article. I would choose Gonzalez over Norris as the #3. Any concern about the high-leverage situation home runs O'Day has given up to McCann and Ortiz in the last week?

Graham said...

I'd drop Webb or Brach and take Lough (or even Berry for that matter) as your speedster off the bench. We have too many slow dudes on this team to not have a pinch runner.

Pat Holden said...

Michael, I'm not concerned about O'Day. It's a blip on the radar screen and probably just a little regression more than anything else.

Pat Holden said...

Graham,
I think they could do that, given that it's a short series. However, in the 2012 ALDS, we still carried 12 pitcher, so we'll see.

Graham said...

Good call on referencing 2012. Buck is a genius but he's still pretty old school much of the time so I wouldn't be surprised if he uses the same roster construction as he did in 2012, then.

I could be wrong on this but I believe that none of our starters (or relievers?) are at new career highs for innings pitched right now. Not by a significant margin at all anyway. For me, that's a good reason to bring 1 more bat.

Bonzi said...

I think in a 5 game series with 2 off days, having an 8-man bullpen is overkill. Keeping Webb, for example, as the 4th right handed reliever is only justifiable if you think there is likely to be a need for a right handed reliever and ALL of O'Day, Hunter and Brach are unavailable. Possible, but very unlikely. It's much more likely to see a situation like Delmon Young on second in a tie game and we need a pinch runner to make sure he scores on a base hit.

Pat Holden said...

Bonzi, I don't disagree that it may be overkill, but I'm basing it off of what Buck did in 2012.

Nate Delong said...

Just a note on Quintin Berry and his place in the playoffs, I know I've been confused on postseason eligibility, but I don't think he's eligible, as his contract wasn't purchased (ie, he wasn't on the 40-man roster) until September 2.

Pat Holden said...

Nate, He should be okay, as he can replace an injured player (Manny), but I don't expect him to be used.

Bonzi said...

Fair enough, but the starting staff is sturdier than in 2012 and they don't have to burn innings in a play-in game so the circumstances are slightly different this time around.

If they do keep 12 pitchers, I would think McFarland makes more sense than Webb, as Gausman slides into the extra righty role.

Bonzi said...

Also, the 40 man roster rule changed a few years ago. The new rules it that they just have to be in the organization.

Jeremy said...

I think it would be a mistake to leave Lough off the postseason roster. He's our best defensive corner OF, a solid baserunner, and his second-half hitting numbers (.340/.377/.520) are superior to everyone on the team except maybe Pearce. When given the chance to play, quietly IMO he looks like the guy we thought we were getting at the beginning of the season.

Probably the easiest way to handle this is just leave Webb off and go with 11 pitchers. If they insist on carrying 12, I would lean toward subbing him in for Johnson, who as far as I can tell is basically an aging version of Flaherty.

philip said...

The idea of Delmon Young in the outfield is ridiculous. Dh or Ph or nothing.
Lough is a FAR better defender than De Aza( although De Aza is above average) and Lough is faster.
Lough will fill the role of late-inning defender or pinch runner better than De Aza. DeAza has hit well since coming to the Os, but Lough has also hit very well in the second half, and because his defense/speed are better, he should get the nod.

Johnson is mediocre. Wouldn't Flaherty be better at 3b?
Parades is pretty bad defensively. Jeremy pointed out that he's got potential, but I can't imagine him having any value at all at this point in his development.
An average pitching staff has done so well in large part because of superb defense. Parades woldn't help that at all.

And in what circumstances do your toes NOT curl with fear every time Matusz takes the mound? I just can't think of ever preferring him on the mound rather than Brach.

Pat Holden said...

Phillip, I agree that Young in the OF is scary. But he or Cruz will be in LF vs. LHP, as De Aza is poor against lefites and I don't think Lough will make the roster.

You may be right about Flaherty. I expected Johnson to be the regular 3B for this team, but playing time thus far suggests otherwise. I agree that Paredes is behind both of them on the depth chart.

Anonymous said...

The seven losses by Webb and Meek,clearly two inept and pathetic minor league "pitchers," cost the O's home field advantage in the playoffs. Get rid of them before they cost us the playoffs, too.

Anonymous said...

Lough should be one of the outfielders. He is a plus defender, has speed, and has been hitting well in September.

Robert Ricketts said...

Matusz was left off!?!?!?! What the hell?!?!?! Please explain!!!