This will serve as sort of a player preview for 2019 as well, but Ender also has found him amongst the 44 Greatest Atlanta Braves.
Ender wasnâ€™t exactly the headliner of the trade from our side â€” that distinction belonged to Dansby Swanson, the #1 pick in the draft the previous year â€” but Ender would prove to be the best piece we got back going in 2019. Aaron Blair ended up doing nothing in a Braves uniform, and Dansby has struggled to find his swing, though he has been stellar defensively.
Ender has been what people at least hoped Dansby would be: average offensively, significantly above average defensively, and a little bit of speed mixed in. And while that may not seem like much, that has made Ender one of the top 10 or so centerfielders in the game. For his Atlanta career, heâ€™s hit .287/.342/.391 with a little bit of pop (8 HRs, 26 2Bs on average), and some aforementioned speed (6 3Bs, 22 SBs, though 10 CS on average). His glaring offensive weakness for his career is his non-existent power against lefties (.337 career SLG).
But itâ€™s been his defense that has made him one of the greatest Braves and something the Braves will count on 2019. Since his first full season, Ender has ranked 9th amongst all defenders in defensive runs saved, and 8th last year. Heâ€™s amongst the yearly league leaders in outfield fielding percentage, arm rating, and UZR. He anchors the defense for a team that has become one of the best defenses in the league. He also passes the eye test with huge plays like this:
If he can develop a little bit of power against lefties, he could be a pretty special player. But heâ€™s not overly toolsy and heâ€™s now 28, so he may also not have that many good years left in him. But for now, heâ€™s doing just fine.