Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve broken down guys who have been hot throughout Spring Training. Now that we have a large enough sample size, it’s time to look at some players that are still looking to find their groove before the season begins. However, before we get started, it’s imperative to understand that Spring Training stats aren’t always a good indicator of how a player might perform come Opening Day. Many guys, especially pitchers, are working on specific aspects of their game, and everything can change once the lights come on and the games begin to count.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Cristian Pache should be in center field on Opening Day, but he’s not off to the hottest start this spring. The Braves top prospect only has two hits compared to seven strikeouts in 18 at-bats. Defensively, however, he has looked as advertised.
Right now, it seems like Alex Jackson will begin the season as the backup to Travis d’Arnaud. Well… the Braves better hope d’Arnaud stays healthy because Jackson has continued to look lost at the plate. He has just one hit in 16 at-bats with five strikeouts. If this continues, the Braves might be forced to call up William Contreras much earlier than they would like.
Considering Lamb had a nice end to his 2020 campaign and is on a major-league contract, I imagine he will begin the season on the Opening Day roster. How long he stays there will depend on his production, though. So far in Spring Training, he’s been uninspiring, recording just three hits in 21 at-bats.
Camargo has to be one of the most frustrating Braves. He was a 3+ WAR player in 2018 as the starting third baseman but just hasn’t been able to find a groove since. I think the Braves will give him another shot to begin the season on the major-league roster, but if he continues to struggle early on, he will be sent down, just as he has been in the past two seasons, and we may never hear from him again in Atlanta.
When healthy, Arano has been a terrific major-league reliever. Unfortunately, he’s only appeared in three games since 2019. I could eventually see him returning to form, but the Braves may not want to wait. Even though it’s a small sample size, he’s given up four earned runs in just two innings.
I’m not worried about Smyly at all. He tossed two scoreless innings in his first appearance of the spring and was rocked in his second outing. However, after the poor performance, he said he was tweaking some things with his off-speed offerings, making him predictable. I imagine Smyly will be just fine for the start of the season.