The Braves announced their 26-man roster for a National League Division Series faceoff with the Brewers, notably omitting right-handers Richard Rodriguez and Chris Martin from the group. They’ll carry some extra speed in the form of Terrance Gore, and rookie left-hander Dylan Lee is a somewhat surprising choice for an southpaw in the bullpen. Here’s how the roster breaks down…
Rodriguez was one of the Braves’ most notable acquisitions prior to the trade deadline, and he posted a strong 3.12 ERA in 26 innings with Atlanta. However, he’s also surrendered five home runs in his past 10 appearances and, more concerning, has seen his strikeout rate absolutely crater with the Braves. Rodriguez had a 22.8 percent strikeout rate and 10.7 percent swinging-strike rate in Pittsburgh, but he’s fanned just 8.5 percent of his opponents and posted a diminished 8.2 percent swinging-strike rate since the trade. He’s still managed a solid ERA due to a .200 average on balls in play and a 97.1 percent strand rate, but neither of those is sustainable in the long run and the Braves apparently didn’t want to chance it in a short postseason series.
Martin, 35, is in the second season of a two-year, $14MM contract, making his omission something of a surprise as well. He’s pitched to a 3.95 ERA in 43 1/3 innings, but the right-hander has also seen his strikeout rate fall from 30.1 percent in 2019-20 to 18.2 percent this season. Martin has done well to keep runs off the board despite becoming more hittable, but he’s yielded a .312/.347/.447 batting line since June 1.
The 27-year-old Lee only made his Major League debut a week ago, but he’ll now be penciled in as a part of manager Brian Snitker’s relief corps for at least this round of play. Lee allowed a pair of runs in two innings at the end of the regular season, but he dominated in 46 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level in 2021: 1.54 ERA, 30.9 percent strikeout rate, 3.4 percent walk rate. The Braves signed Lee to a minor league contract after he was released by the Marlins late in Spring Training, and his rapid ascension to the Majors with a division-rival undoubtedly stings for Miami. Fellow rookie Spencer Strider was surely considered for a spot as well, but the Braves ultimately opted for an additional lefty.
Gore finds himself in a familiar role as a postseason pinch-running/defensive specialist. He won’t find himself in the starting lineup for any of the upcoming games, but he’ll give Snitker and the Braves one of the game’s fastest baserunners if they need some speed later in a game. Some fans may have preferred to see longtime top prospect Cristian Pache in this role, but Gore was more prolific and more efficient in terms of stolen bases this season.
Both Arcia and Johan Camargo had big seasons in Triple-A this year, but it’ll be Arcia who gets the nod for the Division Series as a versatile infield option off the bench. That seemed like the more probable outcome after Arcia received a September call-up, while Camargo remained in Gwinnett. Arcia, acquired from the Brewers early in the season, only received three starts in September but will provide some insurance at shortstop, second base and third base. The Braves also gave him a look in left field down the stretch.