With Game 1 just hours away, the Phillies and Braves announced the rosters for the NL Division Series. The announcements come with some notable transactions, as Atlanta has placed Kyle Wright on the 60-day injured list due to a right shoulder strain. In other moves, Max Fried was activated from the 15-day injured list as expected, and rookie Daysbel Hernandez was also activated from the 60-day IL and included on the NLDS roster.
The news brings a disappointing season to an end for Wright, as shoulder problems limited him to only 31 innings and 6.97 ERA. After returning from the 60-day IL in September, Wright was hit hard in two starts before being moved into a multi-inning relief role, which would likely have been his role on a playoff roster. With Charlie Morton’s finger injury keeping him off the NLDS roster, the speculated plan was for the Braves to use Bryce Elder as the Game 3 starter and perhaps Wright as either a piggyback starter or more of a true reliever. AJ Smith-Shawver made the NLDS roster and now looks to likely step into that secondary starter role for Game 3.
Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported some of the Braves’ roster plans yesterday, including the somewhat surprising inclusion of Hernandez. The righty made his Major League debut on July 23, and threw 3 2/3 innings over four appearances before being sidelined due to forearm inflammation. Eventually moved to the 60-day injured list in September, Hernandez could now make his return in the postseason spotlight.
An international signing out of Cuba in 2017, Hernandez just turned 27 last month, and he has a history of missing bats in the minor leagues. With a 3.03 ERA over 157 2/3 innings in Atlanta’s farm system, Hernandez has a very impressive 30.35% strikeout rate, and his high-90s fastball could be an intriguing secret weapon for the Braves in the playoffs. However, it is possible the Phillies might benefit if Hernandez can’t harness his pitches, as he has a 12.44% walk rate during his minor league career.
Philadelphia will return 25 of the players from the group who defeated the Marlins in the NL Wild Card Series. The one change is Michael Lorenzen, as the Phillies will add an extra pitcher and remove a position player in Weston Wilson. Lorenzen posted a 5.51 ERA over 47 1/3 innings and 11 appearances after being acquired from the Tigers at the trade deadlne, and the last four of those outings came out of the bullpen due to Lorenzen’s struggles. Barring an emergency, Lorenzen will continue to work as a reliever during the NLDS.
There are three off-days during the series, so the unusual scheduling allows for extra rest for the top-choice starters. Ranger Suarez and Spencer Strider are today’s scheduled starter, Fried and Zack Wheeler are slated to face off in Monday’s Game 2, and Aaron Nola takes the hill for Philadelphia in Game 3 against a Braves starter TBD (likely Elder). Suarez and Strider figure to return in a potential Game 4, and then a Wheeler/Fried rematch awaits in a possible Game 5.
The full rosters…
- Right-handed pitchers: Seranthony Domínguez, Jeff Hoffman, Orion Kerkering, Craig Kimbrel, Michael Lorenzen, Aaron Nola, Taijuan Walker, Zack Wheeler
- Left-handed pitchers: José Alvarado, Cristopher Sánchez, Gregory Soto, Matt Strahm, Ranger Suárez.
- Catchers: J.T. Realmuto, Garrett Stubbs
- Infielders: Alec Bohm, Bryce Harper, Edmundo Sosa, Bryson Stott, Trea Turner
- Outfielders: Nick Castellanos, Jake Cave, Brandon Marsh, Cristian Pache, Johan Rojas, Kyle Schwarber
- Right-handed pitchers: Bryce Elder, Daysbel Hernandez, Raisel Iglesias, Joe Jimenez, Pierce Johnson, AJ Smith-Shawver, Spencer Strider, Michael Tonkin, Kirby Yates
- Left-handed pitchers: Max Fried, Brad Hand, A.J. Minter
- Catchers: Travis d’Arnaud, Sean Murphy
- Infielders: Ozzie Albies, Orlando Arcia, Vaughn Grissom, Nicky Lopez, Matt Olson, Austin Riley
- Outfielders: Ronald Acuna Jr., Michael Harris II, Marcell Ozuna, Kevin Pillar, Eddie Rosario, Forrest Wall