Atlanta Braves add bench bat sign third baseman Jake Lamb

Newest Atlanta Braves signing Jake Lamb dives to make the play. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Newest Atlanta Braves signing Jake Lamb dives to make the play. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /
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New Atlanta Braves’ infielder Jake Lamb hit a combined 59 homers in 2016 and 2017. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /

Braves land a broken hitting machine in Lamb

The Atlanta Braves didn’t see the Lamb in 2017, which was probably a good thing. Batting cleanup in 80 games – 354 PA – he put together a .283/.379/.533/.911 line that included 17 doubles and 17 homers

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Lamb earned an All-Star Game selection for his efforts as a key part of Arizona’s surge to finish second in the West with a 93-69 record. Lamb went four for five in the Wildcard game against Colorado but had only eight PA against in three games against the Dodgers in the NLDS.

Injuries, nothing but injuries.

Lamb appeared in the first four games of the 2018 campaign before injuring his left shoulder when he made a diving catch against the Dodgers on April second. He returned to the lineup on May 18th, but looking back, it appears he never fully recovered from that injury as he batted only .222/.307/.348/.655 with six homers and eight doubles before reinjuring the shoulder again on July 26th.

The Diamondbacks moved him to the 60-day IL In August when he had season-ending surgery on the shoulder.

DTD Injured list Days  Notes
9/13/2014 2 quadriceps injury (DTD)
9/17/2014 1 quadriceps injury (DTD)
4/21/2015 55 placed on 15-day DL with a stress reaction in his left foot
7/26/2016 2 hand injury (DTD)
4/3/2018 49 placed on 10-day DL with sprained AC joint in his left shoulder
7/27/2018 66 placed on 10-day DL with a bruised left shoulder
4/5/2019 83 placed on 10-day IL with strained left quadriceps
Injury data courtesy Pro Sports Transactions

He played five games at the beginning of the 2019 season before being sidelined for two months with a quad injury, a shadow of his 2017 self. The Diamondbacks released Lamb on September 12th; he finished the 2019 season batting .193/.323/.353/.676.

Good news for the Atlanta Braves

I’ve written about shoulder injuries in the past, and the bottom line is after a shoulder needs at least a full year to return to full strength following surgery. Lamb returned to Arizona in March 2019, eight months post-surgery, way too early to play at anything like full strength, and the quad injury set him back even further.

Lamb demonstrated his shoulder was closing in on its former strength in his brief stint with Oakland in 2020 when he batted .267/.556/.882, hit three homers and four doubles in only 49 PA, half of his 2019 total in twice as many PA.