Braves: Building the Optimal Lineup and Playing Matchups

A lineup card of the Atlanta Braves vs. Red Sox might become common under this new plan. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
A lineup card of the Atlanta Braves vs. Red Sox might become common under this new plan. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /
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It may not be Brian Snitker’s forte, but we’re going to put together the most optimal lineup for the Atlanta Braves in any situation. 

First, let me start by saying that it’s so exciting to see an Atlanta Braves roster that has so many lineup options.

Earlier in the year, it was a struggle to try and find eight hitters you really wanted to put in the lineup each night — specifically in those last four or five spots.

But with the trade deadline acquisitions, Travis d’Arnaud coming back, and Dansby Swanson getting hot — the lineup possibilities are endless.

And as a fan, putting together a lineup is one of the best forms of debate/discussion. Everyone has the lineup they would put together, and now I’m going to give you mine.

In case you missed it, I wrote an article earlier on Monday detailing why Ozzie Albies should not be in the leadoff spot. If you haven’t already, make sure you go back and give that a read.

But here is my optimal lineup against right-handed and left-handed pitchers using hitters splits from the 2021 season.

Braves Optimal Lineup against RHP

1. Dansby Swanson (.271/.327/.493)

2. Freddie Freeman (.308/.413/.535)

3. Austin Riley (.317/.396/.581)

4. Travis d’Arnaud (.205/.245/.341 — 2020: .344/.415/.611)

5. Ozzie Albies (.234/.302/.432)

6. Eddie Rosario (.249/.299/.405 — 2020: .265/.333/.548)

7. Adam Duvall (.241/.292/.507)

8. Jorge Soler (.206/.302/.357)

I debated batting Freddie first here, but I want him to have more RBI chances, and it lengthens the lineup a little more having him bat second.

Jorge Soler has done a great job of getting on base since coming over. If you believe that remains, then I could see batting him second, Freddie first, and Swanson either fourth or fifth.

There is also the argument to having Joc Pederson in this lineup somewhere — likely either replacing Duvall or Soler. But I like Joc coming off the bench in big situations.

Ozzie is notoriously worse against right-handed pitchers — or rather hitting from the left side –however you want to view it.

I’d really be fine hitting Ozzie anywhere fourth through seventh against righties. But as I said in the article I wrote, Ozzie seems best suited in the fifth spot with his approach and power.

But I like the on-base ability from those at the top mixed with the power at the bottom of the lineup.

Braves Optimal Lineup against LHP

1. Jorge Soler (.227/.340/.523)

2. Freddie Freeman (.272/339/.437)

3. Ozzie Albies (.326/.357/.611)

4. Austin Riley (.267/.316/417)

5. Dansby Swanson (.246/.303/.475)

6. Travis d’Arnaud (.276/.382/.482 — 2020: .235/.270/235)

7. Adam Duvall (.172/.256/.371)

8. Guillermo Heredia (.280/.341/.463)

I think the top four in this lineup are pretty set, but you could scramble up the next four in many different ways.

Soler mashes lefties and gets on-bat at a high clip against them.

TDA’s splits are weird as he has crushed lefties this year — in a very small sample size — but wasn’t great against them last year.

This lineup in general is just odd because a lot of our righties are hitting better against righties than lefties this season.

That includes Duvall, who has typically been a lefty masher, but suddenly can’t hit them this season. I still think you have to go with the longer track record and continue to run him out against lefties.

And maybe the biggest surprise here is having Heredia in the lineup, but he’s been great against lefties this year.

Plus, that leaves some really solid options off the bench late in the game against righties with Rosario and Pederson.

Braves: Will Snitker Switch It Up

Snitker loves to roll out of the same lineup every day, and to some degree I understand. It can be good for players who are used to routine to know where they’re going to be slotted every day.

But in today’s game, with the data we have, he probably needs to start being a little more creative with his lineups.

As a fan, I know it’s fun. But as a manager, it’s almost becoming a necessity in today’s game.

You’ve seen what the Dodgers have been able to do over the years with their depth and lineup adjustments. It’s what makes them such a dangerous team.

While I don’t believe this Braves roster is quite to that level yet, there are a variety of ways you can try to maximize these splits to give the Braves the best chance to score a lot of runs every night.

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Let me know how you would put your lineups together in the comments below.