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Acuña activated while McCarthy DLed, Parsons and Wisler swap roster spots

Braves pull double duty on off-day roster shuffling.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves have taken advantage of Thursday’s off day to make a few roster moves ahead of Friday’s series opener in St. Louis with the Cardinals.

The biggest news here is the activation of rookie phenom Ronald Acuña Jr. The outfielder ended up missing almost exactly a month with a leg injury suffered as he ran down the first base line in the series finale against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Acuña has spent the last six days on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett, where he collected three hits (all singles) and two walks in 23 PAs.

Acuña will be returning to a 111 wRC+ and 0.5 fWAR over 129 PAs that he has accumulated so far at the major league level. His return will mercifully free the Braves from having to use a rotation of bench players in his absence. While Charlie Culberson ended up getting the bulk of the opportunities and put up a 121 wRC+ over the last month in the process, it came courtesy of a .370 BABIP that the Braves are lucky to not tempt further through Acuña’s return. Both Preston Tucker and Danny Santana pitched in a handful of PAs of woeful, sub-80 wRC+ production during Acuña’s absence.

A corresponding Disabled List-related move is a bit of an inevitability: McCarthy now hits the shelf for the first time this season. McCarthy hasn’t pitched a full season since 2014 and has had his usage scaled down recently by the Braves, as he’s pitched just once in the past 13 days. That one outing was another middling start against the Orioles where he allowed three runs (both on homers) in five innings. The Braves’ rotation, however, grows more fraught with McCarthy’s absence. Behind Sean Newcomb and Mike Foltynewicz, the Braves now only have Anibal Sanchez and Julio Teheran, as McCarthy joins Mike Soroka on the DL. It is unclear what the Braves will do the next time they need a fifth rotation member, and they are currently embarking on a 10-day road trip with no off-days.

Despite a nice 3.68 xFIP, this has not been a great season for McCarthy, as he has been prone to all sorts of adverse variation with regards to HR/FB, BABIP, and strand rate that have saddled him with a 4.93 ERA and 4.72 FIP to account for just 0.2 fWAR over 15 starts.

The Braves also continued to shuffle their long relievers today. Wes Parsons was sent back to Gwinnett after his cup of coffee with the big league team in which he failed to get into a game. Matt Wisler has been recalled for, I kid you not, his fifth distinct stint with the team already this season. Going back to 2015, this is the 13th separate time that the Braves have recalled Wisler from Triple-A. The righty turned some heads with a surprisingly effective start at one point this season, but has otherwise been generically bad with a 4.32 ERA, 4.78 FIP, and 4.66 xFIP across three starts and three relief appearances.

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