Atlanta Braves tough decisions: Johan Camargo does he stay or play AAA?
Batting from behind
Chosen to play third for the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean Series, Camargo rose to the occasion.
After hitting a homer to put the team ahead, he made a sterling play in the eighth to kill a rally and seal a Dominican victory in the series.
He’s done that for the Braves since he came up. Camargo’s proven himself a better hitter, not necessarily in clutch situations, but when the team isn’t ahead.
Maybe his concentration (focus) is sharper when his at-bat means more, or maybe he sees more fastballs, but as he struggled through 2019, he hit better than his season-ending .233/.279/.384/.663 when the Braves trailed.
Two things directly affect hitting: launch angle and exit velocity. A post at Six-Man Rotation led me to do some data scraping from Camargo’s career on Baseball Savant.
In his post Connor Kurcon posits something called a dynamic hard-hit ball. Over-simplified, that’s a combination of launch angle and exit velocity.
A 9° average LA isn’t going to generate a lot of home runs, but neither is a 12.6° average LA. Since changing his launch angle Camargo’s exit velocity, batting average, BAbip, and BAcon sank like a rock.
Maybe, he should go back to doing what got him to the majors in the first place.
That’s a wrap
I still believe Camargo makes the team out of camp, but that’s by no means certain, particularly if they carry 14 pitchers. We know the catcher-to-be-named-soon and Ender Inciarte will hold two of the bench spots.
Jake Lamb is on a Major League deal, and even though he hasn’t hit much that gives him an edge. Ehire Adrianza fills the same role as Camargo and has hit better this spring, though that could be a mirage.
Jason Kipnis and Pablo Sandoval are having better springs than Camargo as well, but they are less of a threat to him than they are to Lamb. I think Lamb wins because he’s a better third-baseman and has power, but it’s all a guess right now.
We should know soon, as more cuts are coming. When they do, we’ll let you know here on The Take.