The Braves added some left-handed pop to their infield on Monday, acquiring Ryan Schimpf from the Rays for what is reported to be cash considerations. Schimpf is the prototypical “three true outcomes” hitter who flashes power, a good eye, but a tendency to swing and miss too often. For Schimpf, the power really came into focus two years ago with San Diego, when he clubbed 20 home runs as a rookie. Schimpf posted a 2.5 fWAR in 2016, and now he is battling for a roster spot while being moved for cash. The good news is that even with an abysmal 2017 season, Schimpf still has power and draws his share of walks. With a little uptick in BABIP (.145 last season), a resurgence could certainly be in the cards.
The Braves picked up another Spring Training victory on Monday, beating the Pirates 7-5. Brandon McCarthy got the start for Atlanta, and worked four clean innings aside from a solo home run by Starling Marte. The Braves offense was led by Danny Santana, who went 4-for-4, and a collection of others like Ozzie Albies, Ender Inciarte, Johan Camargo, and Ronald Acuna (who left the game after being struck in the hip area by a Trevor Williams fastball).
After one full week of Spring Training games, our own Kris Willis takes a look at where each Braves pitcher stands with regards to making the Opening Day roster. The Braves are, of course, loaded with young arms, but many of them will not be ready to begin the season with the big club. The rotation options range from veterans like Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy to young phenoms like Luiz Gohara and Mike Soroka. It will be interesting to follow how the Braves approach the developments of their young arms in the coming weeks.
Braves beat writer Mark Bowman tackles fan questions in this week’s Inbox, including whether or not Ronald Acuna will be able to play his way onto the Opening Day roster. As I believe most would agree, the benefits of gaining an extra year of control in what will be Acuna’s age-27 season is much more valuable than having him up for the first two weeks of his rookie season. Bowman shares a similar sentiment, providing a pretty convincing argument that the decision has already been made.
Barring an agreement on an eight-year deal that currently doesn’t seem to make sense for either party, I’d say Acuna could go 40-for-40 with 20 home runs over the remainder of the exhibition season and still be destined to spend the first couple weeks of this season with Triple-A Gwinnett.
At 44 years old, Ichiro Suzuki is headed back to the place where his Hall of Fame career i the United States began. The Mariners announced on Monday that Suzuki, who won MVP and Rookie of the Year for Seattle in 2001, will return on a one-year deal.
The Braves are listed among the best of the rest with regards to this assortment, with Ozzie Albies being mentioned specifically as one to watch in 2018. The fastest team, according to team sprint speed, is the Twins, followed by the Nationals.