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Atlanta Braves Spring Training Preview: Catchers

The catcher placement has quietly been an location of strength for the Atlanta Braves above the past two seasons. The blend of Tyler Bouquets and Kurt Suzuki has furnished a good deal of benefit for a very low price. Atlanta rated at the best of the league in fWAR for catchers in 2017 for each FanGraphs and have been in the best 10in 2018.

Having said that, the placement will have a new seem in 2019. Bouquets elected to adhere with the Braves agreeing to a a single-calendar year extension past August that also features a club choice for 2020. Suzuki on the other hand went on the lookout for a multi-calendar year give and uncovered a single with the Washington Nationals who inked him to a two-calendar year, $10 million contract this offseason.

With Suzuki departing, the Braves shifted gears, bringing back Brian McCann on a a single-calendar year offer. There is not a good deal of depth powering Bouquets and McCann so this could be an location that Atlanta seems to shore up among now and Opening Working day.

Roster Locks

Tyler Bouquets is moving into his fourth time with Atlanta and has strike .261/.360/.411 with 28 dwelling runs in 264 games in a Braves uniform. His benefit has long gone beyond his offensive contributions as he has founded himself as a single of the greatest pitch framers in the league. Bouquets has rated in the Leading 6 in Baseball Prospectus’ framing runs metric just about every time considering the fact that 2016. He led all catchers in 2017 and was 3rd past time trailing only Yasmani Grandal and Max Stassi. (Preserve in brain, much too, that Bouquets has done this whilst becoming only a part-time player, and the framing runs metric is a counting stat.) Owning a catcher like Bouquets who is adept at framing could assistance simplicity the changeover for a lot of of Atlanta’s pitching prospective customers as they progress to the Key Leagues.

Brian McCann past wore a Braves uniform back in 2013 just before signing a totally free agent contract with the New York Yankees. He has spent the past two seasons with the Houston Astros. He checks all of the bins when it comes to management each on and off the subject. Having said that, he was minimal to just 63 games with the Astros in 2018 many thanks in substantial part to a right knee personal injury which ultimately needed operation. When he was in the lineup he struggled hitting just .212/.301/.339 with 7 dwelling runs. How much of that was the knee and how much of that was just put on and tear from a very long catching profession that started back in 2005? For greater or even worse, the Braves are likely to come across out. At a single place, McCann was a ridiculously fantastic framer, as he finished first in the league in framing runs in each 2008 and 2009 and in the best 10 all the way through 2013. Having said that, he posted a adverse framing mark for the first time in above 10 years past calendar year, and has furnished mediocre-or-even worse framing in 3 of his past four seasons.

Triple-A Depth

Atlanta additional Alex Jackson to the 40-guy roster this offseason shielding him from the Rule-5 Draft. Jackson shifted back to catcher immediately after the Braves obtained him back in 2017 from the Mariners. The evaluations of his functionality powering the plate are blended but he has struggled at the dish as he has sophisticated through the higher ranges. Jackson strike just .200/.282/.329 with five dwelling runs in 64 games at Double-A in 2018 and noticed his strikeout fee climb to 31 per cent. He was promoted to Gwinnett in the second 50 % where he strike .204/.296/.426 whilst putting up a strikeout fee of 33.6 per cent. Jackson has slid off a lot of prospect lists and it stays to be witnessed where he fits into Atlanta’s plans very long expression.

The Braves claimed Raffy Lopez off waivers from San Diego before this offseason in hopes he can present a very little organizational depth. Lopez appeared in 37 games for the Padres where he strike just .176/.265/.284 with 3 dwelling runs. On the furthermore aspect, Lopez is viewed as an higher than-average framer, which may well demonstrate Atlanta’s desire in him for a depth position.

Non-Roster invitees

Atlanta is also bringing 3 catchers to spring as non-roster invitees which include prospect William Contreras who turned heads with his functionality in 2018. Contreras is the younger brother of Cubs’ catcher Willson and could come across himself cracking Leading 100 lists with one more fantastic functionality this time. Contreras strike .293/.360/.463 with 11 dwelling runs in 82 games for Rome. He moved up to Florida late in the time and will probably begin the time there once more.

Also invited to camp have been Carlos Martinez and Jonathan Morales. Martinez split past time among Rome and Mississippi and is a common organizational catcher. Morales was drafted back in 2015 and spent past time among Double-A and Triple-A. He brings some defensive equipment but very little to no electricity.

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