Saturday night was a forgettable contest for the Braves. Not only did they fall to the lowly Marlins, they saw two of their catchers get injured in the same game.
Brian McCann strained his hamstring sliding into third base, and Tyler Flowers got hit on the hand by a 98 MPH fastball. McCann left, and per David O’ Brien, will hit the Injured List and will have his spot taken by Alex Jackson. Flowers would stay in the game to catch but was limited to one at-bat in which he tried to bunt, a clear indicator he was not quite okay. His hand looked very swollen and it is very possible he could join Brian McCann on the injured list.
In the meantime, the Braves will turn to wild card prospect Alex Jackson in their absence. Not only will he receive the call-up, but he will also be asked to make an impact immediately.
Jackson was the 6th overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft due to his power bat. However, he has had mixed results in the minor leagues. The Braves sent Rob Whalen and Max Povse to the Mariners to acquire Jackson and Tyler Pike. He followed that up in 2017 with his best professional season but was quite possibly the biggest disappointment in the entire farm system in 2018. Nevertheless, the Braves expressed a vote of confidence in him, promoting him to AAA midseason despite his struggles. Unfortunately, he did not perform much better.
After a nice Spring Training, Jackson will get his real chance to show the Braves what he is capable of, especially if Flowers hits the IL as well. The reality is that with the current state of catchers, he has the potential to be one of the best hitting catchers in the game if he can just hit for a decent average and put things together. However, we could also easily see him hit sub-.200 as well. This is the ultimate roll of the dice for the Braves, but they have been put in a tough spot where they will rely on A-Jax putting his 2018 woes behind him and hopefully living up to his high potential.