Following up yesterday’s list of major league players that looked in mid-season form during Spring Training, here are the ones that appeared like they were still shaking off the rust. Spring stats are usually never something to fret over, as most players are working on specific aspects of their game, but Atlanta had several stars struggle mightily throughout the club’s brief exhibition period.
Ronald Acuña Jr.
The undisputed most talented player on the Braves may have had the worst performance on the team this spring. In 29 at-bats, the 22-year-old phenom only had four hits, and none of those went for extra bases. There’s absolutely no reason to panic whatsoever, but it looked like Acuña could have used those additional two weeks of Spring Training before the start of the season. Hopefully, that slump doesn’t carry into what will likely be a shortened 2020 campaign.
The newly acquired Marcell Ozuna made Ronald Acuña look like the late Tony Gwynn this spring. He came to the plate 24 times in total and struck out in half of them, picking up only two hits (.083 average). Once again, I’m not going to panic over a 24 at-bat sample size in meaningless exhibition games, but I wish Ozuna had some extra time — that he probably won’t get anymore — to find his mid-season form.
Unlike Acuña and Ozuna, who are locks to make the roster, Culberson is not, so his spring slump is much more noteworthy. Charlie Clutch only picked up 3 hits in 26 at-bats — good for a .115 average. On my most recent Opening Day roster prediction, I gave Culberson the last spot, but after a lackluster spring and this extended break, it’s far from a guarantee. It will probably come down to whether the Braves will opt to keep Camargo and Riley on the roster at the same time. I would, but I’m not the manager.
If Yonder Alonso was hoping to make a bid for the final roster spot this spring, he didn’t do a very good job making a case for himself. The journeyman only picked up one hit in 25 at-bats (.040 average). He’ll serve as quality minor league depth, but hopefully, the Braves never have to see him in Atlanta.
Inciarte has the starting center field job locked up — for now… However, if he slumps like this to begin the first couple of months this season, Cristian Pache could be up before you know it. Inciarte only racked up three hits in 19 at-bats this spring.
Hoping to land one of the bullpen’s final rotation spots, Grant Dayton looked horrible this spring. The southpaw surrendered 7 ER and 10 hits in just 5.2 innings. He’s out of options, so the Braves could potentially give him a shot if they are worried about losing him. But given the number of bullpen arms Anthopoulos has to choose from, I’d be puzzled if they gave him that opportunity.
Greene was much better in his last couple of outings than he was at the beginning of the spring. Still, he posted an 8.10 ERA in 6.2 innings pitched. Like most of these guys, I’m not worried about Greene, but I don’t think the Braves will ever get the guy who was an All-Star for the Tigers in the first half of last year.