Atlanta Braves add bench bat sign third baseman Jake Lamb
The Atlanta Braves signing of a left-handed hitting corner infielder with 30-home run pop fills a void on the bench… if he does something he hasn’t done in three years – stay healthy.
Sunday morning Mark Bowman tweeted that the Atlanta Braves reached a major league deal with former Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb. The deal fits the Alex Anthopoulos model of looking for players needing a place to prove themselves and (elsewhere) find a long-term contract.
Lamb wasn’t highly-ranked when the Pirates selected him in the 38th round of the 2009 draft. He chose college at the University of Washington instead and earned a sixth-round selection by Arizona three years later.
Lamb destroyed pitching in rookie and A+ ball in his first full season in the Diamondbacks system, batting .302/.421/.548/.969, with 13 homers and 22 doubles in 304 PA. He followed that by wreaking havoc across AA and AAA ball in 2014, finishing with a combined .317/.407/.506/.973 line that included 39 doubles, five triples, and 15 home runs. His performance shot him into the top-100 prospect list heading into 2015.
Have the Atlanta Braves found their LH bench bat? Or More than that?
He broke camp with the D’Backs in 2015 and batted .414/.514/.690/.1.204 in his first 35 PA before a stress reaction in his left foot pushed him onto the IL. He returned on June sixth, and like Atlanta Braves, third-baseman Austin Riley found pitchers had a book on him that he needed to rewrite.
He batted only .249/.313/.358/.671 in the next 97 games and finished the year batting .263/.331/.386/.716. He knew he had work to do heading into the offseason; as it turned out, he did it very well.
Throughout his career, Lamb projected as a line drive, gap-to-gap hitter with occasional home-run power. After struggling in 2015, he returned in 2016 as a different hitter. The doubles and triples were still there, but the now 25-year-old Lamb added 29 homers to the mix.
Lamb enjoyed his 33 games against the Atlanta Braves in 2016, batting .290/.333/.548/.882, including five doubles and a homer in 31 AB.
His season average dropped as he began swinging for the fences, but he ended the 2016 campaign batting .249/.332/.509/.840, worth 114 wRC+, a .352 wOBA, and 2.4 fWAR.