Atlanta Braves bats still looking for some balance

Can he hit enough for the Atlanta Braves? Jake Lamb from late 2020. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Can he hit enough for the Atlanta Braves? Jake Lamb from late 2020. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Right-handed heavy or left-handed leaning?  For the Atlanta Braves roster, the answer could depend on which bats we’re talking about.

A funny thing has happened since January for the Atlanta Braves.  But before we get to the details, let’s see where things stood with the projected starting lineup after the signing of Marcel Ozuna:

  • Acuna (RHH)
  • Albies (Switch)
  • Freeman (LHH)
  • Ozuna (RHH)
  • d’Arnaud (RHH)
  • RIley (RHH)
  • Swanson (RHH)
  • Pache (RHH)
  • pitcher’s spot (don’t care/doesn’t matter)

That’s at least 6 right-handed batters and at most 2 lefties.

Remember the days where the Braves would go R/L/R/L/R… all the way through the order?  That would be nice to have back… particularly in this era with 3-batter-minimum relievers and such.

Right now, the team looks a bit vulnerable (on paper, at least) to right-handed relief pitching with only Freddie Freeman really posing a wrench to such schemes of the enemy.

We had noted such a disparity in “handedness” earlier in the Winter.  But what’s interesting now is how Alex Anthopoulos appears to be trying to handle the problem for Brian Snitker:  he’s been recruiting a bushel of lefty bench bats:

Top Bench Candidates:

These in addition to the pair most likely to make the club for … other reasons:

  • Ender Inciarte (LHH)
  • William Contreras (RHH)

While there are 3 switch-hitters in that list… there’s a lot of lefties as well.

So would this work?  Right-heavy early and lefty-compensated late?

The real question about how to achieve this balance may just come down to “how many pitchers and position players will be carried?”

Atlanta Braves and the roster balance

With a roster size of 26, a 13/13 split makes most sense, though there’s noise that the Atlanta Braves might carry an extra reliever to start the year, thus creating a 14/12 split in favor of the pitchers.

That would limit the bench players to just 4 above the 8 “regulars“… and two of those 4 for the bench are likely named “Inciarte” and “Contreras”…. leaving five players for just 2 slots.

There are often surprises that happen during the last week of Spring Training as teams try to figure out how to manage the dance between their roster and their needs.

Given that, it is still quite possible that Atlanta will find their 26th man from outside the organization (and Jake thinks one such player could be a catcher).

But if you had to choose players from within right now, that choice could fall to Lamb and Sandoval… with Kipnis, Camargo, and Adrianza falling by the wayside.

Lamb is already on the 40-man roster.  His hitting has been spotty this Spring, but he also has the power that the rest lack.

Sandoval plays the same positions as Lamb, but his hitting and his affable nature may be an asset to the club as well.

The next choice?  Might be a coin-flip between Kipnis and Adrianza.  Either could hit from the left side, which would help to blunt the opposition’s right-handed relief that could pose problems otherwise.

Personally, I’d prefer a 13/13 split to add a 5th bench bat and use minor league options to move relievers back and forth to create that ‘extra’ bullpen slot.

Next. The Touki Entanglement. dark

Regardless:  it’s a creative approach to handling a right-hand heavy starting lineup.  We’ll just need to have these lefties on the bench hitting the ball well to make it work.