How does Fangraphs see the Braves left field situation working out?

MLB: SEP 20 Mariners at Athletics

The Braves didn’t have many positional needs this offseason, but they did need to replace Eddie Rosario and Kevin Pillar, who split time in left field this past season. Pillar was a free agent, and the Braves opted not to pick up Rosario’s club option.

Without any more additions, the Braves two options seem to be Jarred Kelenic and Vaughn Grissom. Kelenic, a natural outfielder, was acquired from the Mariners in a trade this offseason. He’s oozing with upside, but he’s yet to realize his full potential at the major-league level since being drafted 6th overall back in 2018. The Braves are betting that a change of scenery induces better results, and FanGraphs sees him as a viable replacement for Eddie Rosario.

Jarred Kelenic 2024 Projections: 441 plate appearances, .245 AVG, .756 OPS, 1.0 fWAR

Based on what Kelenic has been to this point in his career, this is a fair projection, but he’s one of those players that is almost impossible to predict. His talent is undeniable, and there’s just something about the Braves when it comes to developing players. Once Kevin Seitzer gets his hands on him, Kelenic could start finding a lot more consistency. With improved results, comes confidence, and then the Braves could really have something special.

But even if Kelenic provides what FanGraphs projects, it’s not necessarily a bad result for the Braves, who have him under team control through 2028 for pennies compared to Eddie Rosario.

FanGraphs actually projects Vaughn Grissom to be as good, if not a better option than Kelenic.

Vaughn Grissom 2024 Projections: 189 plate appearances, .280 AVG, .761 OPS, 0.5 fWAR

There’s no question that Grissom has the hit tool to be a well-above average major-leaguer. It’s all about finding him the opportunities, and left field may be his shot in 2024. If Grissom remains with the team this offseason, I’m expecting this to be a legitimate competition between him and Kelenic that could last the entirety of Spring Training. Grissom has proven at every level that he has elite ability with the stick. He just needs a chance to prove it at the major-league level, and while Kelenic will be given every opportunity to win the job, nobody should be surprised if Grissom comes out of camp the starting left fielder.

Photo: Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire

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