Charlie Culberson is missing in action for the Braves. What does the Development List have to do with it?

Since signing back with the Braves organization on August 4, Charlie Culberson has yet to appear in a game with the Gwinnett Stripers.

Chicago White Sox v Atlanta Braves
Chicago White Sox v Atlanta Braves / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

On August 4, the Charlie Culberson Saga took what seemed to be one of its final turns. After electing free agency, the infielder re-signed with the Braves on a minor league deal and looked to be heading back to Gwinnett, where he started the season.

Ten days later, however, Culberson still hasn't appeared in a game with the Gwinnett Stripers, meaning that the Braves' fan favorite's most recent game action was almost a month ago when he entered the game as a pinch-hitter.

But why hasn't the Georgia native found his way into a game with the Stripers, and what does the "development list" have to do with it?

Why Charlie Culberson is AWOL in Gwinnett

The short answer is that Charlie Culberson isn't even on the Stripers' active roster. He's currently listed on the team's Development List, along with Beau Burrows, Kodi Whitley, and Dominic Miroglio.

What you might be wondering, as I was when I saw that Culberson was on the Development List, is what is the Development List, to begin with? After all, it's not like Culberson is a prospect (and neither is Burrows, Whitley, or Miroglio), so what are they going off the active roster to develop?

Turns out, the Development List is for healthy players in the minor leagues to go to an alternate site and train at a team-approved location instead of playing in games with the team. The player can also stay at the team's site and participate in pre-game activities, like batting practice and bullpens, but cannot play in actual games. Teams must get the player's approval before they put them on the Development List.

So what does that mean for Charlie Culberson? There could be a few possibilities. The first is that he's hanging around Truist Park and going with the Braves on road trips, waiting in case an emergency strikes. Essentially, he's on the Braves taxi squad.

The second possibility is that the Braves have him acting as an extra coach with the Stripers, where they like him enough that they want him in the organization, but they don't have the room to give him playing time.

The final possibility is that he's simply ramping back up. After all, in the last three months, he's hardly played in more professional games than you! Since being called up, he's appeared in one professional game in the last 87 days.

But, whatever the reason is, one thing's for certain: just when you think the 2023 Charlie Culberson Saga has reached its final chapter, you will find a few extra pages to turn.