Atlanta Braves minors: 5 biggest offseason storylines
3. New MLB roster rules are coming
Starting next season, September roster expansion (as we know it) will no longer exist. Rosters during the regular season will simply extend from 25 to 26 active players and after August 31 teams are permitted to expand to 28 players, as opposed to the 40-man active rosters in seasons past.
I’m sure you know where I’m going with this, but it’s a situation that doesn’t help aid in the potential of us seeing Cristian Pache and/or Drew Waters in Atlanta this season. And it’s not just Pache and Waters… it will make promotions more difficult for others as well.
Contrary to how it has always been done, the Atlanta Braves won’t be able to load up on players during September, which means the organization will have to be much more stingy with who they choose to promote to the active roster (these changes do not impact the 40-man roster).
It’s not just changes to the number of active players, either. In 2020, there will be new rules regarding relievers and how teams are permitted to use them.
Pitchers will be required to face a minimum of three batters in a given appearance. Also, position-players will be prohibited from pitching in 9-inning games unless their team is ahead or behind by eight runs.
Just those two rules alone will greatly impact the way teams set up their bullpens. Teams will also have to make sure they have plenty of pitchers to handle blowout-type games since they won’t be able to use position-players to eat up meaningless innings.
That means a more conscious effort to keep up fresh arms at the big league level, which very well may negatively affect the promotions of Pache and Waters.
However, if either of the two superstar prospects post numbers similar to last year, I’m not sure the Braves will have a choice but to bring them up.