Atlanta Braves highs and lows on the way to 81 games
Little brother steps up.
The Atlanta Braves cast their vote for William Contreras as the future of Braves’ catching when they traded Shea Langeliers to Oakland. The club planned for Contreras to start in AAA while Manny Pina backed up Travis d’Arnaud; then, Pina suffered a season-ending wrist injury.
Contreras stepped into the void, and it soon became apparent he was there to stay. In 94 PA as a catcher, he’s batting .293/.383/.659/1.042 with eight homers, and his defense is much improved over last season’s.
Contreras said he worked on his defense with his brother – Cubs’ catcher Willson Contreras – during the lockout, and I’m sure the Braves are glad he did.
Contreras the younger may go to the All-Star game as the DH, but for the Braves, he’s half of one of MLB’s best catching tandems.
Walk-year this way
Dansby Swanson entered his walk-year in a funk. After 22 games, he led MLB in strikeouts while batting .216/.293/.351/.644 with five doubles, one homer, a .286 wOBA, and 79 wRC+; then he woke up.
Since May 1, he’s batted .332/.383/.556/.939 with 13 doubles, 13 homers, a .404 wOBA, and 159 wRC+. Those numbers rank sixth in MLB among qualified batters since May 1, behind Paul Goldschmidt, Luis Arraez, Bryce Harper, Rafael Devers, and Alejandro Kirk.
- .507 slugging percentage, .868 OPS, 135 OPS+. 4.0 fWAR and .375 wOBA lead all 37 qualified shortstops,
- 139 wRC+ ranks second,
- 14 homers rank third.
- .361 OBP ranks fourth, and
- .303 average fifth.
Swanson’s once again been deadly with men on base and better with men in scoring position for the Atlanta Braves and continued to make the big plays on defense,
I wanna be like Mike
When Michael Harris II arrived from AA, all the Atlanta Braves wanted him to do was catch the ball in centerfield. He’s done that and a lot more. In his 35 games, Harris is batting .302/.338/.508/.846, with a 128 OPS+, five homers, seven doubles, and two triples. Oh, and about that defense. . .
Harris II won NL Rookie of the month for June and is odds-on to win NL Rookie of the Year.