The Atlanta Braves officially released their playoff roster for the Wild Card round against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday morning. The Braves will carry 15 position players and 13 pitchers for the first round. The biggest surprises are the additions of Cristian Pache, William Contreras and Charlie Culberson. Ender Inciarte and Adeiny Hechavarria were not included.
Pache made his Major League debut this season but it was only a short stint on the active roster as he appeared in just two games and received four plate appearances. He was quickly returned to the alternate site and his debut was explained as having no other outfield options on the 40-man roster. While Pache is unproven at the plate, there is no questioning his defensive skills or his speed. He could add value as a late inning defensive replacement or as a pinch runner if needed.
The decision to go with a third catcher in William Contreras is interesting given Snitker said Monday morning that he intends to use Marcell Ozuna as the DH in all three games. Still, it will provide him some flexibility if he needs to use Tyler Flowers in a pinch hitting role or needs to pinch run late in the game. Contreras began the season on the active roster after both Flowers and d’Arnaud were held out due to Covid concerns. He played in four games and went 4-for-10 at the plate
The Braves also elected to add Pablo Sandoval, Culberson and Johan Camargo giving them a lot of flexibility. It is interesting that the team carried Adeiny Hechavarria on the roster the entire season but chose to leave him off. Ender Inciarte struggled for most of the season but continued to receive playing time so leaving him off is certainly a surprise. To make room on the roster for Culberson, the team released left-hander Tommy Milone.
Atlanta will carry 10 relievers and three starters for the best-of-three series.