The Atlanta Braves have the third-best OPS in the NL but the worst least production from the left-field position of any team in the NL. It’s past time to fix the problem.
Ozuna started sluggishly and was batting just .213/.288/.356/.645 when he landed on the IL. Players other than Ozuna are batting .192/.347/.273/.620 when playing left field, with Abraham Almonte’s 22.5% walk rate nudging OPS over .600.
Gwinnett’s outfielders don’t seem to offer an answer. Travis Demeritte is batting .308/.438/.654/1.091, but he hasn’t played since June 9th. Jason Kipnis played a little center field in 2017 and 2018, but he isn’t exactly scaring AAA pitching to death. The only player swinging a hot bat the Braves haven’t already tried is Orlando Arcia.
When breaking news like that isn’t great, it’s a good idea to sandwich it between a couple of bits of better news. In The Athletic today (subscription required), David O’Brien did that as he discussed the lack of thunder in the lineup, the left-field situation, and Arcia. First, the good news.
". . . offense has been a moribund mess for most of the past two weeks, and team officials might soon try to do something about it by adding a veteran who’s swinging a hot bat."
Then the caveat.
"They’re not ready to part with prospects in a trade for an impact bat — at least not yet. Stay tuned on that front."
Followed by a hopeful bit of news,
". . . there are indications that the Braves could soon bring up former Milwaukee Brewers infielder Orlando Arcia from Triple-A Gwinnett and have him play left field. . ."
He went on to reiterate that the Atlanta Braves only acquired Arcia as a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency infielder. However, with the departure of Ozuna and lack of pop the replacements used so far and the front office’s hesitancy to trade prospects has led the Braves to try one last Hail Mary before trying to deal for a bat.