It had been pretty curious that despite the Braves’ success in recent years, the team had only extended manager Brian Snitker in short increments after each season. Regardless of the reasons, it is pretty clear now that the front office likes Snit as the guy to lead this young group for a while as he signed a deal that keeps him as the club’s manager through at least 2023.
Now that Marcell Ozuna and his questionable defense is locked into Atlanta’s outfield (at least for now), the Braves have 2⁄3 of their outfield set with Ronald Acuna Jr. a dead certainty as well. The last spot is going to be interesting as we have Cristian Pache who is clearly the Braves’ centerfielder of the future and who has impressed last year and early in camp this year, or Ender Inciarte who is a veteran owed a not insignificant amount of money who was less than inspiring last season.
Even though Ronnie was a very valuable player last season, he dealt with injuries and didn’t quite get on a tear like he we have seen from him in the past. As JLew mentions in this article, Acuna’s talent could put him in some rare company in 2021.
We finally get to see some live baseball this weekend with the Braves making their Grapefruit League debut. It was announced yesterday that Kyle Wright will get the start on Sunday, but expect to see a whole bevy of pitchers as the team gets their evaluations underway.
As Kris pointed out in his outfield preview, there is going to be a real competition for the third outfield spot that Ender Inciarte has occupied for a few years now...some would even say that he is the underdog for that spot at this point. His time with the Braves being over is far from certain, but this article from DB reminds us that there was a lot of good that came from Ender’s time with the Braves.
Manny Machado put together an MVP caliber season last season with the Padres and, as it turns out, it was with less than stellar vision. After undergoing laser eye surgery, Machado thinks that his night vision is going to be improved...which could be bad news for opposing pitchers in 2021.
The league and MLBPA are continuing their reports from last season where they announce the general results of COVID testing each week. The results are largely good so far with a very small percentage of positive test results. Here’s hoping those hold.