The Atlanta Braves were forced into a difficult situation early on at the catcher position.
The Atlanta Braves have been no different than any other team in the NL East so far this season through the fact that injuries have played a massive role. While the Braves have suffered injuries up and down their roster, catcher is the position that has arguably been hit the hardest.
Atlanta came into the year with one catcher set as the bona fide starter, Travis d’Arnaud. Coming off a phenomenal 2020 season, d’Arnaud was set in stone as the starter, but there was a question as to who would be his back-up. When d’Arnaud went down early this season with an injury, the back-up spot became even more important as whoever it was would now be forced into the starter role.
The Braves opted to go with Alex Jackson to begin over #6 prospect William Contreras, but Jackson struggled at the plate before suffering an injury himself. Now with Contreras having taken over as the full-time starter over the past couple of weeks, the future of Jackson in Atlanta now comes into question.
What should the Atlanta Braves do with Alex Jackson?
It is no secret that Jackson has struggled mightily in the big leagues so far during his young career. Since making his major league debut in 2019, Jackson has appeared in 19 games for the Braves since then where he has only collected 3 hits in 43 at-bats. This has also included only one extra-base hit, as well as 22 strikeouts in those 43 at-bats.
It’s evident that Jackson has struggled during his time in the big leagues so far, so what should the Braves do with Jackson? The still only 25-year old catcher clearly has power potential, as evident by his 28 HRs hit with Gwinnett back in 2019, but something clearly hasn’t translated so far during his time in the major leagues.
Currently on a rehab assignment in Gwinnett, Jackson just recently had a game where he hit 3 HRs with 7 RBIs in an impressive showing at the plate. Is it possible that Jackson’s bat could end up heating up like this when he is in Atlanta? It’s certainly possible.
With the MLB Trade Deadline looming in late-July, Jackson could be a name to monitor going forward.
With the Braves entire catching group fully healthy, d’Arnaud is the starter with Contreras appearing to have taken over as the back-up. With #3 prospect Shea Langeliers still a year away from the big leagues, and veterans such as Kevan Smith, Jeff Mathis, and Jonathan Lucroy also in the organization, Jackson’s role going forward becomes unknown.
Looking ahead, this will be a very important next couple of weeks for Jackson. Can the young catcher regain his role on Atlanta’s big league roster, or will he become a prime trade candidate as the odd man out in this deep position group?