Atlanta Braves Lineup Hot and Cold

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 30: Dansby Swanson
ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 30: Dansby Swanson /
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Atlanta Braves Centerfielder Ender Inciarte had a slow start but when the weather warms up he will too
ATLANTA, GA – AUGUST 04: Atlanta Braves Centerfielder Ender Inciarte had a slow start but when the weather warms up he will too /

The bounce back boys

Meanwhile Inciarte and Albies are struggling to find their stroke and Markakis is simply doing what Markakis does, albeit with slightly more oomph than usual.

I noted a few threads on Twitter Friday saying Ender’s past Aprils also produced slow starts; actually there’s not enough data to suggest that’s the case.

2015 84 .316 .357 .405 .762 .333
2016 10 .250 .400 .250 .650 .286
2017 105 .230 .267 .400 .667 .244

In 2015 he hit well in March/April but in 2016 he had on 10 PA, that’s not enough to consider relevant. Last season wasn’t great but the team in general wasn’t much to yell about either.

I believe both Ender and Ozzie will warm up with the weather. These are talented players who hail from warm climates; lets wait a bit before we declare either a slow starter.

That’s A Wrap

Please remember this is a small sample; roughly the first 120 pitches of the season. It’s way to small to predict anything except that it’s too early to make predictions. Swanson looks better mechanically at the plate and seems to recognize the slider better every day. This isn’t new, Seitzer said his pitch recognition improved in the second half last year. It’s early but I expect him to be a solid big league hitter.

Tucker’s power and on base are encouraging.  Once pitchers adjust we’ll see if he can adjust, that will determine his future. Flaherty is significantly better defensively than advertised at third base. Small sample size not withstanding, he was a nice add.

The research into the way the lineup’s hit so far turned up so interesting but mostly useless factoids. They aren’t throwing many off speed pitches to Freeman.  He’s seen 158 pitches, 101 of them fastballs of some ilk; 33 two seam, 49 four seam and 29 sinkers – he’s crushing all of them.

Once they saw Flaherty could hit a fastball they started throwing everything but a fastball at him. Sinkers and sliders gave him a lot of trouble so far, expect more of those.

Next: Trolling not just for fishing these days

The season’s been fun so far, remaining competitive the rest of the way depends on pitching and continuing to play smart baseball. We’ve already seen good teams fall apart when something goes wrong and disrupts their flow.  If the Braves keep an even keel – never too high, never too low – they’ll scare the pants of a lot of very good teams and win more games than many think.