A good problem to have…gosh, I’m sick of hearing it. Having both Johan Camargo and Austin Riley performing well above average this spring and looking like both fixed flaws, Camargo of the physical, Riley, the mental, these words have been uttered by too many that have surveyed the situation. Screw it in the dadgum dirt. We have a Braves Dilemma: Camargo or Riley?
Play them both. Carry them both.
Braves Dilemma: Riley and Camargo have Adjusted. Now it’s Snitker’s turn
Some will look at this piece and see it as a bash on Brian Snitker. It’s not. At least it’s not intended to be, but ALL CAPS me to death if it makes you feel better. Brian Snitker is a player’s manager. The players love him. That’s apparent. I think that’s why most Braves fans love him. The clubhouse dynamic he’s built since taking over has been exactly what the Braves needed after the Coppy debacle, and has been exactly what the Braves needed these past 2 years in back to back division titles.
Nothing’s changed. The Braves still need Snitker. However, they need him in a slightly altered form of his 2018 and 2019 self. They need a manager open to longevity through and beyond a 162 game season. They need a manager willing to say no to a player’s demand of playing everyday (here’s looking at you, Freddie Freeman). And they need a manager that will find a way to let Anthopoulos build the best 26-man roster in the organization, and find playing time and rest for all 26 men. That means carrying both Johan Camargo and Austin Riley.
Finding Playing Time for both Johan Camargo and Austin Riley
There are 162 starts/year at Third Base. That’s pretty simple, right? Now let’s divide that number directly in ½ to get our starting point:
- 81 starts for Riley.
- 81 starts for Camargo.
Finding Rest for Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, and Freddie Freeman
Ozzie is in ridiculous shape and doesn’t need many off days, but for this hypothetical, let’s say that each everyday player has been asked to rest 8 games in the year with pinch hitting capabilities on rest days. In this hypothetical, we’re also assuming health to get a “worst-case scenario” as far as starts for Riley and Camargo.
Like Ozzie, Dansby receives the allotted 8 games off, however Adeiny Hechavarria grabs those starts, but Camargo gets Ozzie’s off days.
While he might go kicking, screaming, and pouting, Freddie Freeman is also in this mandatory time off, and will sit 8 games over the course of the year and Austin Riley will take over 1B duties.
- 89 starts for Riley.
- 89 starts for Camargo.
The Braves will have the privilege of using the DH 10 times in the 2020 season, and while I wouldn’t expect all 10 of those to go to Riley or Camargo, I’d expect at least 6 if they’re trying to keep them fresh, which would add 3 each to this hypothetica.
- 92 starts for Riley
- 92 starts for Camargo
Adding it All Up
If this scenario were to work itself out, the Braves would be giving both Riley and Camargo about 360-380 plate appearances should they bat 5th or 6th in the lineup. Add another 40-50 in pinch-hitting appearances, and we’d be looking at 400+ plate appearances for each player.
Now tell me something…which would be the bigger injustice? Sending one of these guys down to get everyday playing time at a level they’ve nothing to prove, or giving each 400 plate appearances in the MLB?
Your move, Anthopoulos
And make it work, Snitker.
Thanks for reading on the Braves Dilemma of Camargo or Riley! If you enjoyed this piece, check out this piece on hard decisions coming for the Braves 40-man Roster.