If baseball happens in 2020, it’s been widely reported that the divisions will be divided based on geography and for this one year (at least), the designated hitter will be universal. It’s my opinion that we’ve seen the last MLB baseball game without the DH and this year’s pandemic has created an avenue to implement something that’s been a desire of Manfred’s since becoming commissioner. The DH should work out well in the Braves favor as the team is built for depth. Today’s topic, “Braves: Utilizing the DH”, will look at options for the Braves to utilize the DH to give most players rest and a solid amount of playing time to stay fresh throughout the season.

Atlanta Braves Depth Chart

Before beginning this exercise, it’s important to see a breakdown of the players and the positions they’ve played over the course of their professional careers. However, I’m not going to include 3B aside Freddie Freeman‘s name or 1B for Tyler Flowers as it’s just unnecessary and highly unlikely that the Braves will reach that point of ridiculousness. It’s also implied that each player below is a DH candidate and therefore not needed to list.

With news being leaked, but not confirmed, that teams will have a 30-man active roster and a 50-man roster to pull from, I’m going to add a few players to this list who aren’t on the 40-man, but will likely make a 30-man or a 50-man roster.

  1. Freddie Freeman- 1B
  2. Ozzie Albies– 2B, SS (only in extreme emergency)
  3. Dansby Swanson– SS, 2B (only in extreme emergency)
  4. Austin Riley– 3B, 1B, LF, RF
  5. Johan Camargo– 3B, 1B, SS, LF, RF
  6. Marcell Ozuna– LF, RF
  7. Ender Inciarte– LF, CF, RF
  8. Ronald Acuña Jr- LF, CF, RF
  9. Tyler Flowers- C
  10. Travis d’Arnaud-C
  11. Adam Duvall– LF, RF
  12. Nick Markakis– LF, RF
  13. Adeiny Hechavarria– SS, 3B, 2B, 1B
  14. Charlie Culberson– Every frickin’ where
  15. Likely a LH bat (Rafael Ortega, Yonder Alonso, outside org)

Braves: Utilizing the DH

At this point, it seems pretty easy to find playing time for most of the players considering the circumstances. If the MLB is projecting 80-ish games, if healthy, Freeman, Albies, and Acuña should be in there everyday with Freeman getting a handful of DH slots.

From there, it feels like handedness should be considered. While it still looks as though this team needs a LHH (*cough* Ben Zobrist), there are options for great lineups against both LH and RH pitching. Here’s my regular lineup pitch followed by my pitch for DH utilization:

Braves Lineup vs. RHP

  1. Ronald Acuña Jr.
  2. Ozzie Albies
  3. Freddie Freeman
  4. Marcell Ozuna
  5. Nick Markakis
  6. Johan Camargo
  7. Travis d’Arnaud
  8. Ender Inciarte
  9. Dansby Swanson

Braves Lineup Vs. LHP

  1. Ronald Acuña Jr.
  2. Ozzie Albies
  3. Freddie Freeman
  4. Marcell Ozuna
  5. Adam Duvall
  6. Austin Riley
  7. Tyler Flowers
  8. Johan Camargo
  9. Dansby Swanson

Utilizing the DH

Players that make my list for DH candidates are categorized 2 ways:

  • A player worth hitting everyday that needs a break from the field or is a below average. Those players would be Freddie Freeman (needs break) and Marcell Ozuna (below average…according to many metrics).
  • A player whose handedness gives an advantage in the lineup. Those players would be Adam Duvall, Nick Markakis, Johan Camargo, and Austin Riley.

If Brian Snitker can get out of the mindset of an everyday lineup, especially with the insertion of the DH, the Braves could really benefit from the natural depth and defensive flexibility of the offense. Here’s how I see it:

  1. Freddie Freeman gets 7-8 games of rest over the course of the 82-game season with one of Johan Camargo or Austin Riley playing 1B.
  2. Marcell Ozuna gets 10-12 games of rest over the course of the 82-game season with Nick Markakis or Adam Duvall filling in at LF.
  3. Austin Riley and Johan Camargo split time at 3B and each sees time at DH 15-20 games.
  4. Nick Markakis sees a lot of DH starts against RHP.

In this scenario, it’s hard to find at-bats for guys like Charlie Culberson or Adeiny Hechavarria, and that’s the dilemma of the American League game. While I don’t have many answers for Culberson, I do believe Adeiny will receive a handful of starts at shortstop, but there’s not much justification in seeing either in a DH spot.

Thanks for reading on Braves, Utilizing the DH. Check out all of our offseason analysis here.