The MLB offseason has flown by, and we are now closer to the start of the 2023 season than we are to the final game of the 2022 campaign. For the most part, the Braves were quiet. They did swing a blockbuster trade to land Sean Murphy, but as far as free agency goes, they were essentially dormant. They only spent a few million on free agents this offseason, and the most notable name of that group is Jordan Luplow, who the Braves need to be a productive piece in 2023.
With Adam Duvall officially heading to Boston, it doesn’t look like the Braves have any more tricks up their sleeve. Jurickson Profar is the final starting-caliber name on the market, but it would be a bit surprising for the Braves to sign him, given they haven’t shown any inclination they are willing to spend this offseason. The roster is likely set, and while there aren’t many holes, left field and the designated hitter spot leave a lot to be desired.
Marcell Ozuna and Eddie Rosario will battle it out for most of the at-bats in those two areas. I’m confident at least one of them will have a bounce back campaign this year, but relying on both every day is far-fetched. The Braves need someone else to step up, and Luplow will have plenty of opportunities to be that guy.
The way things look now, Luplow is set to take over the role Adam Duvall played. He’s a plus-defender with some pop that has mashed left-handed pitching in the past. Luplow’s .176 average from 2022 doesn’t tell the entire story. For his career, he’s slugged .505 against southpaws, recording 31 homers in 430 at-bats, leading to an .841 OPS. Luplow will likely be the team’s platoon option in left field against left-handed pitching, with Ozuna and d’Arnaud serving as the DH in such matchups.
The idea of Luplow being used in such a pivotal role for a team with World Series aspirations shouldn’t make any Braves fans feel comfortable, but if there’s one area where this organization has thrived in recent years, it’s seeing production where others don’t. There are countless examples, but Jorge Soler is one that sticks out the most. I’m not saying Luplow will be Soler, but the Braves see something they can work with in the former Arizona Diamondback, and it might work out better than we all expect.
Photographer: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire