MLB Atlanta BravesMLB Playoffs

Predicting the Atlanta Braves Roster for 2013 NLDS

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Predicting Atlanta Braves Postseason Roster

Dale Zanine - USA Today Sports

The success of the Atlanta Braves this season hinged on their pitching, both starters and bullpen. They have the best ERA in all of baseball and pretty much any pitcher they put on their postseason roster will be successful.

The question marks about the roster and about this team heading into their NLDS matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers surround the lineup. Both BJ Upton and Dan Uggla have struggled mightily this year, hitting well under .200 for the entire season. Jason Heyward has battled injuries and Justin Upton has gone through hot and cold streaks. The consistent performers have been Chris Johnson and Freddie Freeman, so look for them to continue leading the lineup in terms of production.

Rumors have been swirling that Dan Uggla might be left off the postseason roster because of his poor play and losing playing time recently to Elliot Johnson. I understand the concerns, but to me it’s hard to leave a guy off that hit 22 home runs and that you have so much financial obligation to.

If the Braves are going to beat the Dodgers in this series they will have to rely on starting pitching. The starters for Games 1-3 have been announced, and Kris Medlen will get the ball in the opener. It has yet to be determined who will start Game 4, but it is likely down to Paul Maholm or Alex Wood.

As you can see many roster questions remain before Thursday’s game. Here is my prediction for who will make the postseason roster.

Zach Slotter is a contributor for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @zslot6, Like his Facebook page and add him on Google.

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Starting Lineup

Dale Zanine - USA Today Sports

C – Brian McCann

1st base – Freeman

2nd base – E. Johnson

Shortstop – Andrelton Simmons

3rd base – Chris Johnson

Left Field – Evan Gattis

Center Field – Jason Heyward

Right Field – Justin Upton

Gattis gets the nod here over BJ Upton because he is swinging a hot bad and I think Upton would be more useful as a defensive replacement/pinch runner at this point. Elliot Johnson will get the start at 2nd over Uggla.

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Starting Rotation

Brett Davis - USA Today Sports

Kris Medlen

Julio Teheran

Mike Minor

Paul Maholm

I think Maholm gets the nod over Wood because of the veteran presence needed in the rotation as well as I feel Wood would be more successful in the bullpen.

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Daniel Shirey - USA Today Sports

Craig Kimbrel

Luis Avilan

Jordan Walden

Alex Wood

David Carpenter

Luis Ayala

Anthony Varvaro

There are seven bullpen guys here. Wood gives the Braves a second lefty, and Carpenter and Avilan will bridge the gap to Kimbrel.

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Evan Habeeb - USA Today Sports

Gerald Laird

Reed Johnson

BJ Upton

Dan Uggla

Paul Janish

Jordan Schafer

Schafer and Upton can be used late in games for pinch running and defense. Janish has versatility in the infield, and Johnson has been serviceable as a backup outfielder.