Resetting the Roster

Before each round of the play-offs teams are allowed to adjust their active roster. I wrote about this on October 2 and gave my predictions of what I thought Bob Melvin and Josh Byrnes would do. In a short 5 game series I thought it would be best for the Diamondbacks to carry an extra position player rather than a pitcher. I also expressed that in a 7 game series that might not make sense and therefore could be changed to eliminate one roster spot for a position player to bolster the bullpen. With the Diamondbacks making it out of the first round and into the NLCS, they have the opportunity to re-assess their roster and make changes to it. The finalized roster is due to Major League Baseball by 10 AM tomorrow. My predictions of who I would put on the roster for the first round were fairly close to what the Diamondbacks actually did. I had a disagreement on two players. I had chosen Brandon Medders over Dustin Nippert in the bullpen and I had selected Carlos Quentin over Robby Hammock for position players. What changes would I make (if any) for this round of the play-offs?

Thankfully there were no injuries during the first round of the play-offs so the same players are available to choose from for this series that were available last series. In a seven game series given the scheduling nuances it is possible to go with a three man rotation for starting pitchers. I don’t think that would be a wise idea since ace Brandon Webb has never pitched on short rest and he is coming off a season where he has thrown a career high number of innings. I would therefore stick with a 4 man rotation in this round as well. The only problem I see is that with the sweep of the Chicago Cubs, Diamondbacks starter Micah Owings missed his start meaning the rookie has not been in a game situation since September 27. It is unclear what impact if any this may have. For the National League Championship I would carry the following pitchers:

  • Starting Pitchers
    • Brandon Webb
    • Doug Davis
    • Livan Hernandez
    • Micah Owings
  • Relief Pitchers
    • Juan Cruz
    • Edgar Gonzalez
    • Brandon Lyon
    • Dustin Nippert
    • Tony Pena
    • Doug Slaten
    • Jose Valverde

This season MLB added an additional off-day into the schedule for the NLCS in part to overcome any potential weather issues similar to what was experienced in St. Louis and Detroit last season. The extra day not only helps the starting pitchers but also works in favor of the relievers allowing you to carry one less pitcher than you would normally have to. I have therefore gone with 11 pitchers for this series. I gave the nod to Dustin Nippert from the mere fact that I think his numbers are better against the Rockies. His height plays to his advantage as well as the ball appears to be on top of you as soon as he releases it.

With the pitchers set let’s turn our attention to the position players. Since I went with 11 pitchers; it allowed me to carry 14 position players for this seven game series. Those players are:

  • Catchers
    • Robby Hammock
    • Miguel Montero
    • Chris Snyder
  • Infielders
    • Emilio Bonifacio
    • Jeff Cirillo
    • Tony Clark
    • Stephen Drew
    • Conor Jackson
    • Augie Ojeda
    • Mark Reynolds
  • Outfielders
    • Eric Byrnes
    • Jeff Salazar
    • Justin Upton
    • Chris Young

I struggled a little bit picking the position players. I made three changes this round versus the series with the Cubs. First was the removal of Carlos Quentin from the roster. Quentin underwent surgery today to repair the partially torn labrum that has plagued him since Spring Training. The surgery was successful but recovery time for that procedure is approximately 6 months making the outfielder unavailable for the remainder of the post season. I added Robby Hammock to the roster giving Bob Melvin a versatile player who is capable of playing any position including catcher (although I hesitate to suggest that Hammock could play first since he looks very uncomfortable at that position). I also dropped Alberto Callaspo in exchange for Emilio Bonifacio. The reason for this change is that Callaspo still does not appear to be 100 percent. His leg injury continues to plague his season and with the cold rocky mountain temperatures in Denver I am worried about a potential aggravation of that injury. I replaced Callaspo on the roster with rookie Emilio Bonifacio. That move allows the Diamondbacks to still have a switch hitter coming off the bench but also gives you the added dimension of speed. With these teams being so closely matched a game may end up being decided by a single run. Having someone with Bonifacio’s speed could allow him to score from first on an outfield hit. I’m always a proponent of speed and manufacturing runs and this gives Melvin options to do that.

So there are my choices for the Arizona Diamondbacks National League Championship Series roster. It will be interesting to see how closely my choices match with those from Bob Melvin and Josh Byrnes. Hopefully at the end of this 7 game series we’ll revisit the roster again and make selections for the World Series roster. That might have an interesting twist since second baseman Orlando Hudson has announced that he could be ready to return from ligament surgery on his hand should the Diamondbacks make the World Series. That is definitely something to consider.

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