Braves’ 2020 BR Simulated Season: Johan Camargo has officially taken over third base

aav19080252 braves vs reds

This is the latest installment of our regular series covering the Braves’ season from Baseball Reference’s 2020 MLB Simulated League (powered by Out of the Park 21). Each post recaps the previous “week” of games, with each week consisting of 10 games. All stats and results from BR’s simulated league can be found at Baseball-Reference. Remember… none of this is real!

We’re now 30 games into what was supposed to be an exciting 2020 MLB regular season. However, the light at the end of the tunnel continues to move farther and farther away. Like the rest of American sports, Major League Baseball remains suspended and talks to change that have even started to fade away over the last week, save for another far-fetched arrangement proposed last Wednesday— this time featuring three states (Arizona, Texas and Florida) as possible hubs for the current regular season. It’s safe to say that a return date remains very much unlikely at this point.

Other than more news regarding plans to nationally broadcast the MLB The Show Players League playoffs (on ESPN, ESPN 2, FS1, and MLB Network), beginning May 1 on FS1, baseball news has been rather light. Oh yeah… there was a final verdict concerning the Red Sox sign-stealing scandal(which, basically resulted in a slap on the wrist), though it appears commissioner Rob Manfred was determined to sweep Boston’s wrongdoings under the rug. Get ready to see manager Alex Cora back with the Red Sox for the 2021 season.

In case you’ve missed the last two posts of our simulated season series…



19-11 overall record / 1st in NL East

  • 4/16: L, 2-1 @ NYM
  • 4/17: W, 7-6 vs. SFG
  • 4/18: W, 2-0 vs. SFG
  • 4/19: L, 8-4 vs. SFG
  • 4/21: W, 3-2 vs. ARI
  • 4/22: W, 5-0 vs. ARI
  • 4/23: W, 2-1 vs. ARI
  • 4/24: L, 7-5 vs. NYM
  • 4/25: L, 8-3 (12 inn.) vs. NYM
  • 4/26: L, 3-0 vs. NYM


NL East Standings

  1. Braves: 19-11
  2. Mets: 14-14
  3. Marlins: 14-14
  4. Nationals: 13-14
  5. Phillies: 10-18


After winning five of their first seven games this time around, the Braves stumbled and lost their last three versus the Mets in an ugly fashion. On Friday against New York, after starter Mike Foltynewicz went six innings and struck out eight, Braves’ shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and third baseman Austin Riley put three runs on the board in the 8th inning (a solo HR from Hech and a double by Riley), giving the Braves a 4-2 lead; however, closer Will Smith came in for the 9th and blew the game after surrendering five runs from three hits. Smith never recorded an out. Game 2 on Saturday was just as bad, as it was reliever Darren O’Day’s turn to blow it for the Braves. As both teams entered extra innings tied at one apiece (thanks to an Ozzie Albies solo-homer earlier in the game), both the Mets and Braves traded runs in the 11th. New York would route the Braves in the 12th, thanks to doubles by Michael Conforto and Ahmed Rosario, and homers by Pete Alonso and Jarrett Parker. All five runs were charged against O’Day, who’s final line looked miserable (1.2 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, BB, 2 K). Ouch.

But it wasn’t ALL bad for the Braves in Sim Land these past two weeks. Albies continues his bid for the National League’s MVP, now ranked fifth in the majors in AVG (.365), first in WPA (1.9) and tied for fifth in WAR (1.5). Albies also provided the Braves with another game-winner when he slapped a walk-off RBI-double in a victory over the Giants on April 17.

But now that players across the league have had time to accrue a decent sample-size worth of stats, it’s crazy the kind of seasons going on right now. To give you an idea of how incredible certain MLB stars are in this simulated league… the Indians’ Francisco Lindor has already tallied 2.4 WAR in his first 30 or so games, and Franmil Reyes is up to 12 home runs. Just ridiculous.

But back to the Braves: Albies and Johan Camargo lead the team with five homers apiece, while Ronald Acuna Jr. is still stuck on four, though RAJ has drastically improved his numbers over the last ten days, now hitting right at .300 with an .824 OPS (I told you he’d come around!). Acuna won the game for the Braves last Thursday against the Diamondbacks when he hit a go-ahead RBI double in the 8th inning off reliever Andrew Chafin.

The primary takeaway right now, though, is Camargo, who has essentially taken over the third base job… for good. Through 26 starts (out of a possible 30), Camargo is hitting .310 (.927 OPS) with the team’s second-most WAR (1.2). Meanwhile, first baseman Freddie Freeman is a week or so behind Acuna and appears to be following the same path performance-wise, sitting at a .252 AVG with three homers.

Regarding the rest of the Braves’ regulars, outfielder Marcell Ozuna has played every game but still hasn’t turned around his hitting, now batting just .222 (.646 OPS) with three homers. Ozuna hasn’t quite been the dangerous power-hitter the Braves were hoping for when they signed him to that one-year, $18 million deal. At catcher, Travis d’Arnaud is still performing head and shoulders better than Tyler Flowers. The two have split starts right down the middle at 15 apiece, but d’Arnaud’s flashing a .283 AVG with a couple of homers, while Flowers is hitting just .222. We should see Flowers receiving fewer starts as the season moves along. And in case you were hoping Dansby Swanson would eventually get involved, I hate to break it to you, but Hechavarria is now officially the Braves’ starting shortstop… at least in Sim Land. So far, through 30 games, Hech has started 27 at short, though his bat hasn’t made much of an impact (.222 AVG). Swanson has gotten into seven games, mostly as a pinch-hitter and is holding onto a .235 AVG with zero extra-base hits.

The Braves’ bench is still led by outfielder Adam Duvall, who, after coming up clutch in a few games in our last recap, is still hitting a healthy .375 in 10 games. Nick Markakis is playing well too as the Braves late-inning pinch-hitter, hitting .296 with a homer in 19 games. Unfortunately, Riley, his six starts (17 games), hasn’t made much of a contribution to the Braves yet. He’s hitting just .182 with a pair of doubles this season.

As far as the pitching goes, this is still Kyle Wright’s and Mike Soroka’s rotation, and the two rank 8th and 9th, respectively, in the majors in ERA (1.82 / 1.83). Wright turned in two quality starts over the last two weeks, striking out 12 in 12 innings combined and allowing just two runs. Soroka did the same in terms of quality starts, and he also tallied 12 innings pitched; however, last year’s Cy Young candidate surrendered a few too many hits (10) during his last two outings.

Bryse Wilson and Max Fried both had one blowup start and one decent outing, with Wilson allowing ten hits and six runs on April 19 against the Giants, before setting down and striking out six Mets in five innings on Saturday. Fried got walloped on April 17 versus the Giants, allowing six runs on six hits in just 2.1 innings, but he also bounced back this past week with a quality start against in the Braves’ shutout win over the Giants on Thursday.

Foltynewicz was the one who surprised this time around, somehow getting through two starts without allowing a single run, despite allowing nine hits and walking five in 13.2 innings. Folty is still bringing up the rear within the Braves’ starting rotation, but with his run-prevention and the rest of the rotation’s consistency, the group is looking pretty strong right now. Here’s are their stats after six starts apiece:

  1. Wright:1-2, 1.82 ERA, 35 SO
  2. Soroka:3-2, 1.83 ERA, 34 SO
  3. Wilson:3-2, 2.34 ERA, 32 SO
  4. Fried:2-2, 3.48 ERA, 31 SO
  5. Foltynewicz:2-1, 3.94 ERA, 27 SO


Those three blown games to end the week put a dent in the Braves’ bullpen as far as stats go. Will Smith has a firm grip on the closer’s role with nine saves, but his ERA blew up this past week and is now 4.35. Of the other high-leverage arms, reliever Mark Melancon has perhaps pitched the best, even though he hasn’t been used in 9th-inning situations. He sports a solid 1.98 ERA in 11 appearances. After a terrible start to the 2020 season, Shane Greene is still getting his share of innings, and has done much better… though he’s still stuck with a 4.76 ERA through 10 appearances. Here are the rest of the frequently-used relievers:

  • Luke Jackson: 12 app, 2.38 ERA, 1 save
  • Grant Dayton: 11 app, 3.07 ERA
  • Chris Martin: 13 app, 2.08 ERA

The headline performer this week out of the ‘pen goes to A.J. Minter, who’s now up to 17 strikeouts in 11.2 innings (9 appearances). More pitching like this, and he’ll most likely earn more innings going forward. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for O’Day, who after Sunday’s game is now up to a 5.54 ERA through 13 innings (9 appearances). The veteran reliever has allowed a whopping 17 hits already and doesn’t seem like a big-league caliber option anymore.

Also notable — after looking at the transactions within the simulated league today — the Braves signed pitcher Jason Vargas to a minor league deal a few weeks ago. With Felix Hernandez somehow non-existent in BR’s sim-league, maybe Vargas can pull a King Felix and earn a big-league start with the Braves. If it can happen in real life, perhaps it can in Sim Land.

Be sure to check back for our next recap!

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