Archive for February, 2020

#190: Hope Springs Eternal – Again

Gil
Mechanicsville

By the time this is posted, the pitchers and catchers will have likely reported to the Braves new spring training home in North Port, Florida. It is again that time of year for the players to shake off any rust which may have accumulated but with year round training programs employed by players today, little rust is expected.

The biggest stories going in this spring will be the losses of Josh Donaldson’s presence, and the absence of his bat and glove. The hope is the combination of Johan Camargo and Austin Riley at third will be potent enough to at least occasionally say “What Rain”?

Johan Camargo

Johan has worked hard during the off season to cut down on the bulk and increase the tone of his body in hopes of recapturing his agility afield. Who knows what caused him to fall in such a funk after being regulated to a bench role but he looked awful and played poorly both with his glove and his bat. It was only after his short stint in Gwinnett that his bat returned to play. That at least can give us some hope.

Austin Riley

Riley was the second coming of Roy Hobbs when he was first promoted but as soon as the book was out on him, his hitting dropped off and at times he looked completely lost. The thing every rookie goes thru is discovering when pitchers make adjustments, it is up to him to do the same. In an interview with Dave O’Brien he has indicated that he has worked on his pitch recognition. He is a young kid so I have hope he will return to his deep ball hitting prowess early in the season. The extra player allotted this season should open a spot for him on the roster.

Ozuna

The pick up of Marcell Ozuna for one year may or may not work out. We will have to see if his hitting philosophy adapts to the Braves hitting coaches and he can get past the urge to upper cut the ball. He is big and strong and doesn’t need to depend on tricks to hit home runs. To me, the only real question mark is the health of his right shoulder. If it hasn’t healed sufficiently, we will see a lot of teams run on him to take an extra base on balls hit to left.

Enders Incarte

Pache

Another question mark is if Ender Inciarte’s hamstrings will hold up. Any blip on the radar by Ender and he may find himself Wally Pipped and swapping places Cristian Pache’ in Triple A. Ender may still be in line as part of a trade package to make room on the 40 man roster.

Hernandez

The pen looks solid and it should be fun to watch Felix Hernandez try to earn a spot in the starting five against Sean Newcomb. Throw in highly touted prospect Ian Anderson, Kyle Wright, Bryse Wilson and Touki Toussaint will make it fun to watch how they perform this spring. At least the Atlanta area folks will get a chance to see how they perform with 8 games schedule for TV this spring.

So kick back and watch the show, a new story everyday and remember, nothing happens in a vacuum. The rest of the NL East will still be looking to dethrone the Braves from the in season championship and the Braves will be playing with a chip on their shoulder thinking they missed their chance last year.



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