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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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.