BS Report: March 22nd
We’ve only got a couple more days before the Braves get out of here and head to Atlanta on Sunday night for their exhibition games on Monday and Tuesday against the Reds and then the season starts for good next Thursday in Philadelphia. This lineup is coming together and I think Brian Snitker, the manager, is still tinkering with the lineup just a little bit, having Ozzie Albies and Ender Inciarte hit lead-off.
But of course the most important part of this lineup will be two, three and four with Josh Donaldson, Freddie Freeman, and Ronald Acuna Jr. Josh Donaldson has played sparingly here in the month of March coming off his very injury-plagued 2018 season with Toronto and with Cleveland. The Braves hopefully will get him some consistent playing time this weekend in Friday night’s game, Saturday afternoon’s game here at Disney, the last two games at Disney, and then the game at North Port on Sunday before the two games in Atlanta on Monday and Tuesday. They need to get him in that lineup and that’s what you usually see in the last few games of spring training, is the regular lineup in play before the start of the regular season.
Freddie Freeman’s gonna be very important for this team, of course. He’s the leader of this team. Hopefully with a power hitter like Ronald Acuna behind him, he’s gonna be able to hit 30 home runs and drive in 100. That’s really what they need Donaldson, Freeman and Acuna to do, all three of them to hit 30 home runs and drive in 100 runs.
That’s why they want Ronald Acuna hitting fourth. They feel like with Josh Donaldson and Freddie Freeman on base a lot, as they have a very good career high on-base percentage, if they’re on base that Ronald Acuna Jr. will be able to drive them in, compared to if he was hitting first and had to rely on Dansby Swanson, the eighth place hitter and of course the pitcher batting ninth, to be on base when Acuna comes up. Those three are gonna be very important obviously to this lineup. If those three have very good years, the Braves are probably gonna have a very good chance at defending their National League East title.
The lineup has good potential. They’ve got to have production with the catcher, with Tyler Flowers, and Brian McCann who’s very good here in spring training. Of course Dansby Swanson’s got to hit better than .238, that’s for sure. If not, Johan Camargo will be knocking on that door wanting to get playing time at shortstop, and that could be a very vital part of the team. Of course, Ender Inciarte, whether he’s hitting first in the lineup or the latter part of the lineup, he’s got to be consistent and so does Ozzie Albies who of course had a very good first half last year for the Braves but not a good second half.
Consistency is the key for this team, and getting on base for Ronald Acuna Jr., that’s the other key for sure. But they’ve got a good lineup. They have a chance to have a really good offensive and productive lineup here. We’ve got to remember though, a rebuilding phase here of this team is still going on even though they won the Division last year. There’s still a lot of young players, especially Austin Reilly, Cristian Pache on offense and of course all the young pitchers who are gonna be coming up. That process is still going on, even though they are the defending National League East Champions. Opening Day now less than a week away, next Thursday in Philadelphia for the Bravos.