2019 Atlanta Braves Player Review: Charlie Culberson

Well, all good things must come to an end, and after two solid seasons for Charlie Culberson in Atlanta, he was non-tendered on December 2nd. As of this writing, I’m not aware of any free agent interest in Culberson, so a reunion at a lesser amount is possible. Regardless, it’s likely he’ll end up on someone’s roster in 2020.

Is there a player on the team that you makes you want to root for them any harder than Charlie Culberson? It’s almost like the guy had been born to be a utility player for the Atlanta Braves. Born in Rome, GA, Culberson kicked around the Giants, Rockies, and Dodgers organization with minimal success (.231/.272/.324 in 443 total PAs) until he came to Atlanta. In his two seasons with Atlanta, he hit .267/.316/.457 in 466 PAs.

He seems to have been exactly what the Braves needed when they need him. Last year, he played LF, RF, 3B, SS, and 1B. He started games at all of those positions except for third base. Two years ago, he covered DL stints for Ronald Acuna Jr., Dansby Swanson, and Johan Camargo. But what gets him the fan love is his work as a pinch-hitter. In 58 PAs last year, Charlie produced a .283/.333/.509 line with two doubles, two triples, and two home runs. For a guy to come off the bench cold and deliver at that rate, that was a huge boost to the team.

And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include his legend as a relief pitcher. Used in blow outs twice last year, he delivered two scoreless innings. Obviously a lot of guys have been able to keep teams off the board in the position-player-as-mop-up-reliever role. What gives Culberson some extra credibility is that he takes it seriously, and it genuinely looks like he could handle the role. He sports a 92MPH fastball, and he delivered a strikeout on a 79MPH curveball. That’s just good fun.

Charlie had two key moments in his 2019 season. First, there was the throw that cut Jorge Alfaro down at the plate to save a game in July. I’d love for you to watch it again here:

The second key moment of the season is much less enjoyable. On September 14th, Charlie squared around to bunt, but instead took a fastball to the chops. It was quite awful. If it wasn’t worse than Jason Heyward’s hit to the face, it was pretty close. If you care to watch it, you can find it here:

It ended Charlie’s season, and potentially his Atlanta career. If this is the end, he’ll finish with 466 PAs with defensive check-ins at every position except catcher but including pitcher. It’s nice to have this much to say about a utility player, but fortunately Charlie gave us enough to look back on.

35 thoughts on “2019 Atlanta Braves Player Review: Charlie Culberson”

  1. It would not surprise me if he wanted to retire after the beaning. We’ll always have the Alfaro throw though.

  2. Thank you, Rob.

    Charlie have us moments to remember and one last one to try to forget. Fair winds and following seas, Charlie Clutch.

  3. The Alfaro throw was perhaps my favorite play of the year.

    On mlb radio this morning Steve Phillips was predicting that the Braves would sign both Donaldson and MadBum, adding another $50 million to the payroll for next year. I got very excited about that, until I remembered it was Steve Phillips. Has he ever been right about anything?

  4. Gosh….I can’t talk about them because I’d lose my sources (I’ve got 2 of them, again!) , but they are throwing out haymakers that AA is in the works with right now. Don’t get discouraged, Braves fans, AA is on a frickin’ mission and this club is going to be fantastic in 2020.

  5. Man, if Matt could get those stupid YouTube embeds fixed, then he’d be in the Braves Journal Hall of Fame.

  6. @coop
    Those are being fixed as they were buggy. Matt should have them back later today. Behind the scenes, they were a bit of a nightmare.

  7. I was at the July game with the Culberson throw. I was sittin gbehind the plate and had just bought a Culberson shirsey. Twas a good day. How I wish we would resign him.

  8. I am still having to refresh each page I go to.

    I can’t imagine why we wouldn’t sign Culby on a minor league deal if we can. I understand it’s a business and all but throwing Culby under the bus after that injury is just cruel. He ought to have the chance to rehab at Gwinnett for as long as he needs (or retire on his own if he feels it’s best). I’m not really blaming the Braves but it burns me up when good, productive guys get screwed like that through no fault of their own – in any industry. I’ve seen it happen too many times.

  9. @8 I will get to work on those. First time I’ve seen what they look like.

    @9 Yep, those will be back and improved today.

    @12 If you’re on a computer, hold shift and refresh a few times on home page and this post. Should permanently fix issue. If some other device, email me at MLangford at PM dot me.

  10. @14

    I must have missed something. 10 minutes now allowed to tidy up our thoughts? Ideal for poets though who can never make up their mind.

    This one also! It must be true. Blessed be.

  11. @15

    Spoke too soon maybe. 10 minutes also on offer but in this instance, when put to use, no sign of the corrections/additions in the published product. Enough from me.

  12. Matt, sorry to be a drag, but I’ve done everything you suggested and I’m still having to refresh the page to see new comments.

  13. What would be the list of young player/prospects you’d be willing to trade this offseason? This is where I’m at: Wilson, Davidson, Mueller, Weigel, de la Cruz, Folty, Newcomb, Ender, Jackson, and one of Langeliers/Contreras. If any or all of them were traded to bring in true elite talent, I’d be ok with it.

  14. @18–if all of those are traded it better bring lots of elite talent. 😀

    I do agree that all of those are tradable for the right return. I’m fact, for true elite talent, you’d have to include Waters and Swanson in your list. Of course RAJ, Albies, and Soroka are untouchable, but who else? I’m especially excited to see what Pache can do, so I’d be very reluctant to part with him, and Fried’s potential is still so great that I can’t see including him in a package. Anderson is unproven at the big league level but I can’t imagine him being offered. He’s as close to can’t miss as a pitching prospect can be (but tnstaapp).

  15. @20 Mars Your issues are slightly different than everyone else, but it did help me find a bug caused by a comment on the Grant Dayton post from a few days ago. I responded to your email and hopefully have your fix.

  16. Bowman and DOB’s ticker is back up and we’ve added Rosenthal through the hot stove season. Guys and gals, I’ve probably talked to Matt 50 times via phone and well over 100 texts and he’s always willing to help! Hope all these bugs are in the past very soon!

  17. I provide the best takes of all the takes on the Internet.

  18. @26 My faith in humanity is restored. That is so much the right thing to do.

    On another vein, the Braves did a really fabulous job of warehousing talent at Gwinnett last year and providing it as a boost to the MLB club exactly when it was needed most. Partially regular talent development (Riley, Webb, Walker, etc…) but also veterans who needed redemption (Duvall, Ortega and some pitchers who did not get called up). I think that is an underrated part of developing a championship team.

  19. Culberson will make $1M if he makes the big league roster. I wonder if because of the injury, Culberson will take Spring Training and however much time is needed at Gwinnett to get comfortable. There has to be a significant mental and emotional adjustment needed to come back from taking a roundball to the schnoz, and being able to do that in low-leverage environments is a luxury that wasn’t afforded to a guy like Jason Heyward.

    This would also give them an opportunity to potentially try out some bench guys in the big league roster with the opportunity to cut bait and replace them with The Real Deal.

  20. Perfect timing with this player review today! I’m glad we got Charlie back, on a minor league deal is a big plus. I’m excited to see how AA handles the rest of the offseason, a lot of moves that could be made whether we bring JD back or not.

  21. @26 That’s really good to read.
    How fortunate did we get with AA?!

    And now give JD the rest of what is left of all the money.

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