Since the series began, we’ve hired a new GM and lived through the Acoppolypse. For your shopping convenience, here’s an overview of the position players in one shot. First, a brief look at where we (think) we know we’re going, followed by a summary of my earlier thoughts on the question marks.
Freddie Freeman turned 28 in September, and as he continues through his prime years, it is logical to pencil him in for another .300/.400/.570 slash line, such as he turned in at ages 26 and 27.
Ozzie Albies posted a .286/.354/.456 in 244 plate appearances in his major league season. We’ve been burned before on small sample sizes, but a couple of things separate Albies. At age 20, Albies is years ahead of most prospects. However, despite his youth, Albies also has a decently sized minor league record to parse, including significant AAA time. Albies has 695 career AAA plate appearances, batting .272. I see Ozzie batting around .265 in his first full MLB season, and increasing from there.
Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki will be 32 and 34 respectively in 2018, and combined for 31 home runs in 2017 (12 for Flowers, 19 for Suzuki.) At least one internet rando could not have been more wrong in assessing the Braves catching for 2017. There are enough other problems to address that it makes sense to continue with these 2 for 2018, but at the ages involved, the catching position will have to be addressed before too many more seasons.
One possibility for addressing that is Alex Jackson. Jackson will play the 2018 season as a 22 year old, and in 2017 hit 19 home runs in 402 at bats, mostly at the A+ level. Let’s watch what kind of on base rate he can produce in this first full season above A+, and if he can continue to develop defensively. He looked good in the Arizona Fall League, which is better than looking bad in the Arizona Fall League, and that’s all I’ve got to say about the Arizona Fall League.
Previously on “Where Do We Go From Here?”:
- The Braves finished 11th in the National League in runs scored, and need to get better offensively in right and left field, and at 3rd base.
- If you think a Johan Camargo / Rio Ruiz platoon looks good, it is only because you have been watching the Braves for too long. For comparison, these are the 3rd basemen on the National League playoff teams: Justin Turner. Kris Bryant. Anthony Rendon. Jake Lamb. Nolan Arenado.
- I think the Braves should be prepared for the possibility that Austin Riley is not ready for 2019 and should make a 2 year plan accordingly. I would like the Braves to gamble on a 3rd baseman with upside, even if it means through a trade. I like Wilmer Flores and Maikel Franco, among others.
- I do believe that Ronald Acuna will be ready to solve one corner outfield spot in 2018. See Alex’s thoughts here.
- I would love to see the Braves bring in more players in Freddie and Ender Inciarte‘s cohort, and rumors are that Christian Yelich or Marcell Ozuna are available.
- Dansby Swanson now has 696 career Major League plate appearances with a .246/.322/.348 career line, which I feel represents the 24 year old’s floor.
- Johan Camargo’s offensive career to date mimics Swanson’s, with their initial MLB seasons exceeding their minor league records. Camargo took the shortstop job temporarily before injury, and it will be interesting to see how much leash Swanson has with Coppolella gone.
The Braves top shortstop prospect is Kevin Maitan. Hopefully, he is also the Braves top shortstop prospect in 2019.(Narrator voice:) He wasn’t.
Make a move, make it soon, it’s too quiet in this room.