Atlanta Braves: How Will Injuries Affect Their Postseason Chances?
For much of this season, the Atlanta Braves have had their DL stacked.
Obviously, this has affected their position in the standings, and it is likely to continue to do so.
Currently, the Braves have two starting position players, two important relievers and a starting pitcher on the disabled list.
If these players don't return soon to the lineup, the team will be majorly affected by their missing players.
The following slides will analyze the effects these injuries could have on the Braves' postseason chances.
Brian McCann, the main producer of the Braves offense, was placed on the 15-day DL about two weeks ago.
They have done surprisingly well without McCann but are not likely to be able to carry the team to the playoffs.
If McCann manages to return soon, the Braves will be in very good shape for a playoff run.
With Dan Uggla, Freddie Freeman and Jose Constanza on fire, along with the return of Martin Prado, the addition of Michael Bourn and the return of Brian McCann, the Braves' lineup will appear no less than formidable.
The return of McCann is very important to the success of the Braves.
Another Brave essential to the team's success who was recently placed on the DL is their ace, Jair Jurrjens.
Without Jurrjens, the Braves' pitching staff is not nearly as impressive.
His injury is an unfortunate blow to the team, and they could have trouble contending without him.
However, the loss of Jurrjens should not damage the team too much, thanks to the amazing depth of the Braves' pitching rotation.
Mike Minor seems prepared to handle the job until Jurrjens can return.
Tommy Hanson has a similar situation to Jurrjens.
The team could contend without him because of the great pitching prospects in the Braves' farm system.
However, the combination of both potential aces of the team on the disabled list could be too much to handle.
So, while Hanson is supposedly battling shoulder injuries, he continues to start games.
It seems necessary that Hanson rests. Later in the season, this could negatively affect his performance.
If Hanson and Jurrjens allow the team's top pitching prospects to take over their posts temporarily (while they return to full health), the Braves should be in good shape in terms of starting pitching once they return.
Peter Moylan and Scott Linebrink
Peter Moylan and Scott Linebrink are both very important to the Braves' bullpen.
Because of his injury, Moylan has only pitched 4.1 innings this season and is not likely to return to the Braves' roster for a long time.
Linebrink has pitched well for the Braves this season, and with yet another injured reliever, the overworked trio of Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters, and Eric O'Flaherty will see the mound even more.
Another unfortunate effect of this injury is the fact that Scott Proctor will be put into more games.
Hopefully, Linebrink will return soon and bring relief to the Braves' bullpen.
Nate McLouth is one of the rare cases where an injury may actually improve a team.
Because McLouth is unable to play, Jose Constanza will play much more frequently than he would have.
After 38 at-bats, Constanza is hitting .421.
His bat could be extremely helpful if the Braves decide to send Jason Heyward down to the minor leagues.
However, McLouth is unlikely to play for the remainder of this season, and it is unfortunate that his bat will not be available if the Braves are desperate.
Conclusion and Analysis
Even though they have top players injured, the Braves should still manage to make the playoffs.
As they have done all season long, they will battle through their injuries and end up pulling through.
Hopefully, many of their injured players will have a speedy return to help hold their lead for the wild card.
Because of the extreme depth on the Braves, they should not have much trouble competing for a playoff spot.