The Atlanta Braves need help on offense. Joey Gallo could be the main target to bolster this streaky offense
If we look strictly at the run differential, and total runs scored, it may seem like the Atlanta Braves are not in dire need of a boost in offense, even with the plethora of injuries they have. The truth is, if you dig deeper, it is an entirely different story.
At the time of this writing, the Atlanta Braves have played 84 games. Currently, through 84 games, only 4 teams in the National league have score more runs than the 391 that the Atlanta Braves have. The issue is, this number is inflated.
Of the 84 games played at the time of this writing, the Atlanta Braves have scored 21.2% of their runs in only 5 games
Needless to say, if the Atlanta Braves want to compete, they need a more consistent offense. If your number 5 hitter has an OBP of .287, your team is in trouble. In case you don’t know which player that is, it is Dansby Swanson.
Speaking of OBP, the Atlanta Braves need an upgrade in this area if they want to win. The more base runners you have, the higher probability of runs scoring. The Atlanta Braves are just barely above the middle of the pack being tied for 11th in MLB with a .320 OBP as a team.
The Atlanta Braves also could use an improvement in the walk department. They are currently 9th in the MLB with 307.
These rankings can also be deceiving if you are looking at them as a good thing. The lineup is extremely top heavy. Back to Swanson, who has consistently been the number 5 hitter as of late, his OBP is well below the team average, has only 23 walks, and only 6 players have struck out more than him.
The point is not to trash Swanson. His glove makes him worth a starting nod. The point is, that if this is the type of hitter that is your number 5 guy, your offense is in trouble. In this situation it would be a good idea to look for guys who get on base at a high clip to compensate.
The Atlanta Braves should seriously consider Joey Gallo (Rangers)
Joey Gallo is the perfect trade candidate to fill the needs for the Atlanta Braves. He leads the MLB in walks, has an exceptional OBP of .387, and is a lethal combination of getting on base and power with an OPS+ of 140 (40% better than league average).
He also has another year on his contract after this season, so if the Atlanta Braves can’t turn things around this year, he can help them next year as well. His contract cost is also palatable at the pro-rated amount of 6.2 million. He is arbitration-eligible in 2022, so his AAV will surely rise next year, but not enough to worry about.
Of course, there is a reason his contract is as low as it is this late in the arbitration process. Since 2015, he has only stayed healthy enough for a full season in twice (2017-2018). However, he is a superstar talent when healthy hitting 40 and 41 home runs in those 2 years, respectively.
The eye may go to his strikeouts this year, and his low batting average. He is one of those 6 players who has struck out more than Dansby Swanson. The difference is that he makes up for it tremendously well in other areas.
It is extremely important to not cherry-pick stats. If all that is looked at are his strikeouts and batting average, his overall offensive output will not be done justice. According to Fangraphs, his weighted Runs Created+ (wRC+) is 143. That means he is creating runs at a rate that is 43% better than league average.
A player’s goal as a hitter is ultimately to create runs over any single statistic, and Gallo is doing it exceptionally well. For reference, Ozzie Albies has a 123 wRC+.
Gallo is also extremely versatile on defense. He has 745.2 innings at 1st Base, 724.2 at 3rd Base, 1169.2 in Left Field, 410.2 in Center Field, and 1209.1 in Right Field.
With Gallo in the fold, it would give Brian Snitker plenty of options defensively. Gallo could play RF and shift Ronald Acuña to CF. Gallo could play LF and keep Guillermo Heredia in CF. Gallo can also play CF if needed as well.
If Swanson continues to struggle, and Orlando Arcia ends up doing well, then Arcia could shift from LF to SS, and let Gallo man LF. Gallo can even give Austin Riley or Freddie Freeman a rest in the corner infield spots.
This would also allow the lineup to play to their platoon strengths based on if the starting pitcher is left-handed or right-handed. Just adding Gallo would not only upgrade the lineup, but also add much-needed depth.
Here’s the proposal for an Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers swap
The Rangers are in a bad spot. They are not going to compete anytime soon. It would be wise for them to trade for prospects that can help them in the future when they are ready to compete again.
The Atlanta Braves have a strong core. Even if they don’t turn things around this year, they are in a position to compete next year. They also have hoarded prospects for far too long with many of them fizzling out.
· Joey Gallo
This may seem shocking that it would take this type of haul to acquire Joey Gallo with only a year and a half left on his contract. But, from a financial and talent standpoint, this is what it would take, at a minimum.
It may hurt to see the beloved Atlanta Braves prospect wearing a different jersey, but it is time for the front office to make a splash, and this would be a great starting point.