Why do the Braves keep starting Ender Inciarte?

dkb190816018 lad vs atl

At this point, I think this is a question in the head of every Braves’ fan: Why in the hell does Ender Inciarte keep finding his way into Brian Snitker’s starting lineup — even after Atlanta called up their top prospect, Cristian Pache? The Braves manager was asked that before Sunday night’s game with the Phillies, and the answer he gave was… puzzling.

Now, I’m not sure if Snitker just wasn’t prepared for this question (he definitely should have been), but his answer makes absolutely no sense.

Inciarte is hands-down the worst offensive player on the roster and has been for several years. The only reason he’s kept his job is because of his defense, which is also Pache’s strong suit. The 21-year-old is already regarded as the best defensive player in the organization, which includes Inciarte.

On the year, Inciarte is hitting right at the Mendoza Line (.200), which is abysmal, but his .229 slugging percentage and .516 OPS are even more unsightly. He only has two extra-base hits all season, and his OPS+ is a pathetic 40.

Going further, the advanced stats show Inciarte is among the worst offensive players in the entire league. He is in the bottom 40% of every offensive category outside of K% and Whiff%, and is in the bottom 8% of Outs Above Average, xSLG, and Barrell%. Simply put, acting as if Inciarte positively affects the Braves’ offense in any way is one of the most asinine things that could have come out of Brian Snitker’s mouth.

It’s overwhelmingly apparent that the Braves do not believe Cristian Pache is ready to contribute offensively at the major league level. But if that’s the case, Alex Anthopoulos should have never even called him up and started his service clock. This whole debacle has been a mess from the start, and it will likely end much sooner than Braves’ fans would like.

Mark Bowman predicts the Braves will send Pache back down once Markakis is cleared to return, stating that Pache was only called up because he was the only position player on the 40-man that was not a catcher.

Even if that is the case, I still don’t understand why they would be hesitant to start Pache over Inciarte. There is literally no way Pache could be worse with the bat, and he is already just as good, if not better, defensively.

Even when prospects aren’t ready, how many times does a young player burst onto the major league scene scorching hot for the first month or two until pitchers figure them out(cough, cough, Austin Riley)? In a shortened season, that would take the Braves into the postseason.

Let’s be clear: absolutely none of this makes sense. The only excuse management has is that they could possibly be trying to up Inciarte’s value to move him in a salary dump at the trade deadline, but I still think that’s a bit of a stretch. This has been a mind-boggling situation, but if Inciarte is still receiving starts once Markakis returns, I might just have an aneurysm.

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: