Two Braves starters that need to be replaced


The Atlanta Braves seem to be turning things around. The pitching was never a problem, and the group continues to perform like one of the top units in the league. Now, the offense seems to be catching up, led by recent surges from Austin Riley, Matt Olson, Jarred Kelenic, and Ozzie Albies.

If the offensive production continues, the Braves are going to win a lot of games in the second half of the season, and there are a couple of upgrades Alex Anthopoulos can make ahead of the trade deadline that could make it a lot easier.

Orlando Arcia

Orlando Arcia was a fun story a season ago. Once acquired for pennies from the Brewers at the beginning of the 2022 campaign, Arcia proved to be a viable replacement for Ozzie Albies and then won the job as the team’s starting shortstop following the departure of Dansby Swanson. That alone was a surprise, but nobody saw an All-Star campaign coming, which he was more than deserving of based on his performance over the first half of last season.

However, severe regression has followed ever since. After a scorching hot start to the season, Orlando Arcia has hit a pitiful .163 batting average with a .477 OPS over his last 50 games. His average for the year is now flirting with the Mendoza Line and his OPS has dipped below .600, but this really is an issue that has persisted since the All-Star break last season. Since July 15th of last year, he is hitting just .221 with a 73 wRC+ (27% below league average).

A couple of months ago, an argument could be made that Arcia’s defense was so good that it made up for his offensive warts, but that hasn’t necessarily been the case as of late. Over the last calendar year, he’s essentially been a slightly above average defensive player that’s an automatic out at the plate, which is what he was most of his career with the Brewers.

The Braves took a gamble trusting Arcia to be their starting shortstop again in 2024 after the way he ended last season. It hasn’t worked out, and the time to begin evaluating other options was a month ago.

There may not be an attainable shortstop available at the trade deadline. Bo Bichette is a name to keep a close eye on, but the Braves’ best choice may be to trust what they have internally in Nacho Alvarez. He’s one of the team’s top prospects that’s been on a tear since his recent promotion to Gwinnett, hitting .375 with a 1.080 OPS over 11 games. If these trends continue, I would expect to see Alvarez at some point.

Adam Duvall

For as abysmal as Orlando Arcia has been at the plate over the last 50 games, Adam Duvall’s 2024 experience has been equally as miserable. He’s hitting just .170 with six homers and a .564 OPS over 57 games this season, accruing -0.7 WAR.

The numbers have been especially disgusting against right-handed pitching. In 95 at-bats, Duvall is hitting .095 with a .247 OPS. Against lefties, he’s actually been quite formidable, hitting .263 with six homers and a .900 OPS over 91 plate appearances.

At this point, Adam Duvall can’t be viewed as anything more than a platoon option, which is all he was brought in to be, but things have changed due to Ronald Acuña Jr.‘s season-ending injury. Upgrading the outfield is a no-brainer. It shouldn’t surprise anybody if Duvall breaks out of this slump to some degree, but even then, he shouldn’t be seeing many at-bats against right-handed pitchers.

Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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