Predicting the stats of every Braves player by position: Catcher

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The MLB lockout remains as strong as ever, but I’m an optimist. I still believe without a shadow of a doubt that there will be a season in 2022, and I have a hard time imagining that both sides will risk canceling a significant amount of games. As I’ve said many times before, these CBA negotiations are never linear. When one side finally decides to give in, a deal could come to fruition in a matter of days. It’s disappointing this needless back and forth has to take place, but thankfully, it typically only occurs once every ten years (baseball fans have had to deal with it twice in three years, thanks to COVID).

Within the next month, I’m expecting a deal to be in place and Spring Training to be underway, so I’m going to go ahead and start prepping like the start of the season is around the corner. In this series, I’ll be predicting the stats of every Braves player on the roster, starting with the catcher position. Of course, with a large portion of free agency still remaining once the lockout ends, all positions are not set in stone, so I’ll get creative and attempt to cover every possibility.

Travis d’Arnaud

99 G, .262/.343/.445, 15 home runs, 65 RBI

It’s been a tale of two seasons for Travis d’Arnaud in Atlanta. In year one (the COVID shortened campaign), d’Arnaud put together the best numbers of his career, hitting .321 with a .919 OPS on his way to a Silver Slugger award. Over the course of a 162-game campaign, regression was inevitable, but the injury bug also struck d’Arnaud in 2021, which has been an issue for him his entire career. In these stat predictions, I’m boldly saying he stays healthy for the majority of the season. With Manny Piña in the fold, d’Arnaud should get plenty of days off, which is a more important deal than most people realize. These offensive numbers will make him one of the better catchers in the league.

Manny Piña

67 G, .222/.310/.430, 10 home runs, 30 RBI

Piña was one of the few signings the Braves made before the lockout, and it’s because Alex Anthopoulos didn’t want to waste any time bringing in a backup catcher after what happened last season when d’Arnaud went down with a torn ligament in his hand. Piña was really the only worthwhile free agent catcher available, providing above-average defense behind the plate and some pop with the bat. He may have hit a career-low .189 for the Brew Crew last season, but his power made up for that, leading to 13 homers and a .732 OPS. If the Braves can get 25 homers and nearly 100 RBIs out of their catchers in 2022, that’s a massive upgrade over 2021.

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