clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Who should be the last man on Orioles roster for ALCS?

Chris Davis is out. Who should be in?

Mitchell Layton

So Buck Showalter broke the news that Chris Davis would not be on the ALCS roster just when I was ready to argue for his inclusion. Instead, I will look at the last spot on the roster currently occupied by Jimmy Paredes, and argue for another player who failed to crack the roster for ALDS, Quintin Berry.

First, take a look at the ALDS roster. Of the 25 men on the roster, three did not make a single appearance in the series against the Tigers. Miguel Gonzalez clearly would have started game 4 had there been one. So the very deep end of the bench really consists of only Paredes and Ubaldo Jimenez. I would be very surprised if Jimenez is not replaced by Brian Matusz in the ALCS, given that the Royals have three key left-handed bats and that there is no suitable spot for Jimenez to enter the game unless the O's are down by more than eight runs in the first five innings. Realistically, Paredes's roster spot is the only one up for grabs, and there are three potential candidates for it. The three are Paredes, Quintin Berry and another southpaw in the bullpen, T.J. McFarland.

Let me address the odd man out first. McFarland has his uses as a long man from the bullpen in the regular season, but in the playoff, Kevin Gausman will be the first man in when the starter is chased and the game is still within reach. Against the Royals, who are not a good-hitting team by any stretch, the possibility seems remote that the O's starters would be knocked out of the games more than once in any three-game stretch. Without those situations, it's difficult to imagine McFarland entering a single game in the series, and it would be a waste of roster spot.

What about Paredes? In which situations would you put Paredes in the game? He is a third baseman, but only in name. There are two players ahead of him at third, so he would not enter the game as a defensive replacement even when one of them is pinch hit for, as it was the case in game 2 of the ALDS. Can he be a pinch hitter? Which player in the lineup would you insert him for? Despite hitting over .300 for the O's in 55 PA, Paredes has been a league-average hitter for the last three years in AAA where he has spent the majority of the seasons. By Steamer projection, Paredes is barely ahead of Berry in terms of projected wOBA. Delmon Young and Kelly Johnson are both superior options for PH, and Paredes is simply not much better than the players he would pinch hit for to earn a spot on the roster.

There is one thing Berry would be on the roster for, to pinch run. We have seen what speed can do for a team in the AL wild card game between the Royals and the A's. Berry is famously 25 for 25 in steal attempts in his major league career. He has also stolen 55 bases out of 65 attempts in AAA over the last two seasons. Berry certainly has the opportunity to enter the game, considering the lack of speed the O's have in general. Even if Buck would like to keep his key players in the game, Berry could still run for Ryan Flaherty, the catcher, Jonathan Schoop or any pinch hitter. It seems much more likely for a situation in need of a pinch runner to occur than one with a need of Paredes as a pinch hitter. For that reason alone, Berry should replace Paredes on the ALCS roster.