In a surprise, Daysbel Hernandez lands spot as Braves’ NLDS roster becomes clearer

Atlanta Braves pitcher Daysbel Hernandez delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the sixth inning of a MLB spring training baseball game at CoolToday Park on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in North Port. Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Atlanta Braves pitcher Daysbel Hernandez delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the sixth inning of a MLB spring training baseball game at CoolToday Park on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in North Port. Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

There is a surprise inclusion on the Braves’ National League Division series roster.

Right-handed reliever Daysbel Hernandez has been told he made the team, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation. A hard-throwing reliever, Hernandez has pitched in only four big-league games this season but has major strikeout stuff.

This is important to note: the Braves’ 26-man roster isn’t officially set until the club submits it to MLB by 10 a.m. Saturday before Game 1 of the NLDS against the Phillies. The Braves could change their mind, but it appears their roster picture is becoming clearer.

Kyle Wright and Jesse Chavez didn’t make it, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation. Neither did Nick Anderson.

There are a few benefits to carrying Hernandez.

First, he throws hard. On Sept. 24, in his final appearance for Triple-A Gwinnett, his fastball got up to 98 mph. In his MLB debut in July, it touched 97 mph.

But pair it with his nasty slider, and he strikes out a lot of batters. Before the Braves called him up in July, Hernandez had 32 strikeouts in 22 innings pitched. In the 2-2/3 innings for Gwinnett before the Braves brought him up, Hernandez struck out seven of nine batters. And in a five-outing span between Double-A and Triple-A, he fanned 17 of 23 batters.

Oh, and there’s this: Hernandez faced three different teams in his first major-league stint, and the Phillies were not one. They haven’t yet seen him.

Over 24-2/3 innings in the minors this season, Hernandez – who went from High-A to Double-A to Triple-A to the majors – posted a 2.19 ERA.

In 3-2/3 big-league innings, Hernandez allowed three earned runs. He struck out six batters, including three in one inning in his MLB debut. He hasn’t pitched in a big-league game since July 31.

On Aug. 2, the Braves placed Hernandez on the injured list with right forearm inflammation. On Sept. 11, they transferred him to the 60-day injured list. He eventually made three appearances for Gwinnett.

It seems like Raisel Iglesias, A.J. Minter, Joe Jiménez, Pierce Johnson, Brad Hand and Kirby Yates are locks to be part of the bullpen. Hernandez will take another spot. So, too, will top prospect AJ Smith-Shawver, who had an encouraging performance in Tuesday’s simulated game, throwing five shutout innings.

With Wright not making it, Bryce Elder could be a part of the team’s pitching plans for Game 3. Spencer Strider will start Game 1 and Max Fried will pitch Game 2.

The other major roster question: Would the Braves go with Vaughn Grissom or Luke Williams? Williams provides more speed, but Grissom is a better bat.

The Braves decided on Grissom. He spent almost the entire season in Triple A because the Braves felt he could benefit from playing every day, which he wouldn’t have done in the majors. But his bat could give the Braves one more dynamic in certain situations.

The Braves are expected to release their roster Saturday morning before Saturday’s Game 1, which begins at 6:07 p.m. at Truist Park.

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