If one were to look around the horn at this team, you’ll not find many weaknesses:
- C: Travis d’Arnaud and William Contreras, combined 5.0 fWAR
- 1B: Matt Olson, 2.8 fWAR
- 2B: Ozzie Albies, 1 fWAR, Orlando Arcia, 0.5 fWAR, Vaughn Grissom, 0.8 fWAR
- SS: Dansby Swanson: 5.4 fWAR
- 3B: Austin Riley: 5.4 fWAR
- RF: Ronald Acuña Jr.: 1.9 fWAR
- CF: Michael Harris: 4.2 fWAR
- LF: Eddie Rosario, -1.3 fWAR, Marcell Ozuna, -0.8 fWAR, Adam Duvall, 0.9 fWAR
Every position has presented a case to stay the course outside of left field. Duvall had a horrible offensive start to the year, but was also being asked to play CF regularly, which, for a Type-1 Diabetic, likely wore his body down. When Michael Harris II was promoted, it allowed Duvall to move to LF, where he immediately started making up ground, carrying a .935 OPS until his season ending surgery. Unfortunately, Duvall isn’t here and the black hole in LF remains.
Early last week, we learned that both William Contreras and Vaughn Grissom were getting reps in left field. That doesn’t surprise me as there’s a real need there and both are young and remarkably athletic. If Contreras and Grissom can continue to hit at an above average level while playing serviceable defense in left field, that’s better than what anyone else has been able to do since Duvall.
Unfortunately, there’s another hurdle the Braves will have to jump. Both Ozzie and Acuña are still recovering from major injury and will either need time at DH of off days. While this creates challenges for the lineup, it might be the best thing that could happen for a manager that, in the past, hasn’t utilized DH to rest players.
When Ozzie returns, the Braves have 10 regulars that Snitker would likely want to get regular ABs (d’Arnaud, Willy, Olson, Ozzie, Grissom, Dansby, Riley, Acuña, Ozuna, and Harris). With LF being the biggest problem, Grissom can pull OF or 2B duties and Contreras can pull C or LF duties. Meanwhile, that leaves Rosario, Robbie Grossman, and Orlando Arica as the guys on the outside looking in, and Ehire Adrianza likely landing his ticket to Delta’s Final Airlines, DFA for short. If this setup doesn’t make Snitker finally move the DH position around to allow players field rest, I’m not sure anything will.