Minor Leaguers that could help strengthen the Braves down the stretch

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I wrote yesterday about how the Pablo Sandoval era has run its course in Atlanta. He’s hitting just .103 since May 11th, and there’s really no reason he should continue to take up critical at-bats for the Braves. Unfortunately, the rest of the bench hasn’t offered much more. Perhaps Alex Anthopoulos makes some additions to improve this group before the trade deadline, but if he doesn’t do much, there are a few names I would like to see up from Gwinnett down the stretch that could make more of an impact.

Travis Demeritte

Demeritte was traded to Detroit back in 2019 in the move that resulted in Shane Greene. There, he made his MLB debut but did not have much success and was eventually DFA’d. The Braves picked him back up, and this year, he’s been electric for Gwinnett, boasting an 1.145 OPS with 11 homers in just 36 games. Frankly, I’m not really sure what else management has to see. Demeritte was a player who was thought to have some potential a few years ago. It’s about time the Braves gave him some at-bats at the major-league level to see if he can continue this hot stretch.

Johan Camargo

It’s crazy how far Johan Camargo has fallen since he posted a 3-WAR season with the Braves back in 2018. However, it’s time to see if he’s ever going to be a major-league player again. He’s been electric all year for Gwinnett, recording a .317 batting average and .916 OPS. I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing him get some spot starts in the outfield as well as some pinch-hit opportunities, especially if the Braves don’t add anybody of significance before the trade deadline.

William Contreras

With Contreras beginning to struggle mightily at the plate in the majors, I completely understand why the Braves began looking for other options and sent him back to Gwinnett for some development. However, I’m not sure how much longer I can take Kevan Smith seriously every time he steps into the box. He’s hitting .182 with a 38 OPS+, which is 68 percent below league average. Smith is actively preventing the team from winning every time he’s in the starting lineup. I understand why the Braves would want to keep Contreras in Gwinnett, especially with d’Arnaud expected to return soon, but Contreras has been red-hot ever since he was optioned to AAA, hitting .377 with seven homers in 14 games. Contreras is clearly the better option over Smith, and he’s probably better than Vogt too.

Jason Kipnis

I’m genuinely shocked we haven’t seen Kipnis at least once this year. He’s a veteran that has accrued 23.1 WAR over his career, and he’s performed pretty well for the Stripers this season, recording an .828 OPS over 36 games. Given how little production the Braves have gotten out of their bench, you would think Kipnis would have made an appearance in Atlanta by now. Perhaps that changes down the stretch.

Tanner Roark

Roark’s had some fantastic years as a starter back when he was with the Nationals. Nobody should expect those kinds of results out of him today, but when guys like Josh Tomlin are still taking up spots on the major-league roster, you wonder when Roark might get an opportunity. He’s been very good for Gwinnett this season, pitching to the tune of a 2.64 ERA over 30.2 innings.

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