Remember that time when Travis D’Arnaud got hurt and the Braves had to fill his spot with 6 different catchers? Me either. What a buhhhhhrutal 3 months that was for Braves fans. All the catchers seemingly had the same disease: decent game calling and a plagued bat. We’ll go through this group as a timeline of 2021 that we’d like to forget.
April-May 2nd: Alex Jackson
Travis D’Arnaud and Alex Jackson got the nod out the gate and right away it was apparent that the Braves didn’t intend to rest D’Arnaud very often, In the 28 games before his injury, D’Arnaud had caught 22 full games and AJax 6. There was a reason for this as AJax was a black hole with the bat, carrying a .258 OPS through 28 PAs.
May 3rd-May 19th: Jeff Mathis
Well…that was fun. The Braves lost a catching tandem in one day and William Contreras carried the bulk while Jeff Mathis played at backup. Mathis ended his Braves big league career with 9 PAs and the dreaded .000 OPS. The good thing about a .000 OPS is it’s only up from there.
May 19-August 11th: Kevan Smith
Kevan Smith was known for a decent bat and a good game caller and only one of those travelled with him to Atlanta. Whether you’re a Catcher’s ERA believer or not, the reason why Kevan lasted so long was pretty simple: Braves pitchers performed better with him. Call it a fluke, if you like, but there was no other redeeming value.
July 7th-July 16th: Jonathan Lucroy
Jonathan Lucroy was a good surprise for a week and, for whatever reason, Anthopoulos let him go. It worked out in the end but not sure as to why they didn’t give him a longer leash.
July 18th-September 9: Stephen Vogt
Vogt was regarded as a clubhouse leader and still had some pop. Unfortunately, he didn’t last long due to injury. Still, his biggest impact might’ve been off the field as his alter ego “The Ref” kept the Braves loose during a rough stretch.
Vogt along with Joc Pederson played a huge part in lifting the team’s spirits as they struggled to turn things around. As outlined by Passan, Vogt’s alter ego, “The Ref”, made an appearance prior to a game on September 9. Somehow fittingly, Vogt pumped himself up as much as anyone else, as hit the only two homers of his Braves tenure before suffering a season-ending hip injury later in the game. Despite his injury, the Braves kept Vogt with the team throughout their postseason run. He was DFA’d on October 8 to make room for Terrance Gore on their NLDS roster.Jeff Passan