Atlanta Braves: The New Year is looking mighty bright!
Since Alex Anthopoulos took over as the Atlanta Braves GM, things have been looking very bright since former GM John Coppolella left Atlanta on the naughty list.
After seeing that Alex Anthopoulos has a penchant for using top prospects in blockbuster deals, you might be getting a bit concerned about some of the current Atlanta Braves. I can understand that… so let’s talk a bit about the future, trade value, and impact of current players on the Atlanta Braves roster.
1.) Ender Inciarte
Inciarte is one of the several players that fit into the Atlanta Braves long term plans. There were some suggestions that the Braves should trade Ender, as sparked by MLB scout and ESPN writer, Keith Law.
Just because Ronald Acuña can play center field does not mean Atlanta should get rid of Inciarte so Acuña can play CF. Law has an valid point that Inciarte has value in a trade scenario, but there are several other players with value on the Atlanta’s roster. Also, Law made this comment when John Coppolella was still the GM, and things have changed, A LOT, since then.
The Braves would first need things to fall in place before contemplating the decision to trade away a 200-hit player who is also a back-to-back Gold Glove winner in center field.
Braves new GM Alex Anthopoulos has stated that he highly values defensive skill, so trading away a center fielder with the skill set that Inciarte possesses has a low likelihood of happening. The only way Inciarte is traded is if an offer is too good to say no to.
Here is a list of Braves CF organized by their highest # of hits in a single season, and their # of Gold Gloves in CF (if they received any):
- Ender Inciarte (201 H in 2017) 2x GG with ATL
- Andruw Jones (199 H in 2000) 10x GG with ATL
- Dale Murphy (185 H in 1985) 5x GG with ATL
- Michael Bourn (171 H in 2012) 2x GG, without ATL
- Kenny Lofton (164 H in 1997) 4x GG, NO GG with ATL
- Cameron Maybin (135 H in 2015)
- Melvin Upton Jr. (108 H in 2014)
- Gregor Blanco (108 H in 2008)
- Marquis Grissom (106 H in 1996) 4x GG – 2x GG with ATL
- Deion Sanders (92 H in 1992)
- Nate McLouth (87 H in 2009)
Inciarte will already go down as one of the more prominent center fielders in Braves franchise history (outside of Andruw Jones and Dale Murphy) after playing ONLY 2 years in Atlanta. I say let Inciarte keep building his legacy not only as one of the top center fielders in the Braves franchise, but one of the more notable center fielders of this decade.
Inciarte is making a name for himself in the world of baseball, and boy is it fun to see him do it in a Braves uniform. He has shown some extra pop in his bat as he hit more home runs in 2017 than he did combined from 2014-2016. Yes, the short porch in right field at SunTrust Park has helped him and other Braves players knock a few extra homers, but more home runs is something to take note of regardless of stadium design.
With the number of hits Inciarte can tally combined with his speed, having a top-of-the-order of Inciarte and Albies is going to be a great asset for scoring runs. Having Inciarte get on base with the threat of the steal followed by a pitchers reluctance to throw a decent pitch to Albies will be a dangerous weapon for the Braves to possess. Not to mention that after having these 2 go up to bat, then the pitcher will have to deal with Freddie Freeman.