The Atlanta Braves recalled Chadwick Tromp and designated fan favorite Charlie Culberson for assignment. This move corresponds to give primary catcher Sean Murphy time to heal from his hamstring injury. He got the injury Saturday afternoon in the Braves win over the Rockies while running to first on a ball that went over the center fielders head and hit off the wall. Murphy is currently the leading vote getter for NL catchers, and is the midst of his best season in the big leagues.
Culberson has been beloved by Braves fans for a long time now, but in this stint with Atlanta he spent 28 days on the big league roster and not once made an appearance in a game. Given the back to back blow out victories over Colorado, and that still not warranting a Culberson appearance this move has to have been expected. Kolby Allard will begin his rehab assignment as well, which is a great sign for the Braves depth in the starting pitching department.
Sean Murphy is currently sixth in all of baseball in fWAR (3.0) and leads all qualified catchers in wRC+ (148) via Fangraphs. He has been the Braves second best position player all year behind MVP front runner Ronald Acuña Jr.
It looks like the Braves are going to roll with three catchers for now and wait a few days to see if Murphy’s hamstring warrants an IL stint. So Murphy isn’t exactly out of the woods yet.
Fortunately, The Braves are perhaps the best equipped team to handle an injury to their backstop. Travis d’Arnaud will step in and take on the bulk of the catching duties while Murphy is out. As of today d’Arnaud has a .272/.330/.466 slash line in 26 games thus far in 2023.
Travis has caught the majority of games since he came to Atlanta so we know he has an established relationship with our pitchers. His framing has also been among the best in baseball for a few years now so that part of the defensive catching won’t see too much of a drop off. However, he doesn’t throw baserunners out at nearly the same clip as Murphy so watch for teams to be aggressive on the basepaths with Murphy out.
Chadwick Tromp is set to take over the backup catcher role for the time being, in his second stint with Atlanta this season. Tromp was called up earlier in the season when d’Arnaud went on the IL with a concussion. In Tromp’s six games played in 2023 he is 2 for 16 at the plate with 7 K’s. In his 27 games with Gwinnett this season he has a slash line of .194/.331/.388 with 5 HR’s.
I wouldn’t expect Tromp to play much outside the day game after a night game type situations, so most likely just a couple times a week at most. With how deep Atlanta’s lineup is they will surely bat him 9th and just hope he doesn’t hurt the team defensively. And all of this is just if we get to the point Murphy hits the IL after the Braves wait a couple days to find out the severity of the injury.
This is certainly a blow for the Braves and hurts to see one of their best players go down. However, the season does go on and this team is plenty talented enough to continue winning ballgames. With the security blanket of Travis d’Arnaud and how fragile hamstring injuries can be, I would expect the Braves to be extremely cautious with the way they handle Murphy and this injury.
For now let’s just hope for Travis to keeps doing his thing and for the Braves to gradually get back to full strength as the season goes on. Stay tuned here at the site to find out any more developments regarding the Murphy injury.