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Braves Mailbag: Marcell Ozuna’s struggles, Drew Waters and more

Will the Braves drop Marcell Ozuna out of the cleanup spot, could Drew Waters fit in the 2022 outfield and more in this week’s mailbag.

Atlanta Braves v. New York Mets Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Thanks to everyone that sent in questions for this week’s mailbag. It was a quick turnaround this week, but we will do it again soon. Let’s get to it!

Will there be any changes to the baseball going forward, maybe a change to the positive?

Maybe? Possibly? Major League Baseball hasn’t admitted that they intentionally deadened the ball this season. They simply confirmed the use of a humidor at all stadiums. There are some reports that suggest two different baseballs are currently in play. They have made unannounced changes to the baseball before so there is no reason to think that they won’t do so again. It will be interesting to see if offense comes back somewhat once summer temperatures are here.

Will the Braves consider taking Marcell Ozuna out of cleanup and maybe Adam Duvall there, he is hitting well over .300 with runners in scoring position?

Brian Snitker was asked about Ozuna’s struggles and whether he would consider dropping him out of the cleanup spot in the order. His answer was essentially when someone else in the lineup is producing well enough to justify the move. I don’t think Adam Duvall and his 61 wRC+ is the answer, but Travis d’Arnaud who homered Tuesday and is hitting .299/.325/.455 with a 122 wRC+ might be.

When will Spencer Strider start a game and why do you think it will be next week? How long would it take to stretch him out?

Will be interesting to see how they handle the fifth starter spot the next time they need it. Personally, I would not be surprised if they used an opener again with maybe Jesse Chavez starting before giving way to Strider. Still, it is a worthy question as Strider has been pretty much lights out. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last 7 2/3 innings and if you throw out the ugly appearance against Miami where he allowed three runs and didn’t retire a batter, he has allowed just one other run all season. As far as being stretched out, he threw 69 pitches in his last appearance and 71 is his season high. If the Braves want to use him regularly, I think it might take a couple of turns to stretch him out properly.

Does William Woods have an injury?

Woods returned to the mound Tuesday night for the first time since leaving the game with apparent injury on May 6. There was initially an erroneous report that suggested that it was an arm injury, however it turned out that he was dealing with some ankle soreness.

At what point in the season is Drew Waters in center field for the Braves? Makes for a much better defensive situation and gets a second switch hitter in the lineup. I believe that this is what AA expected the lineup to be when he traded for Olson, but Waters had the injury in the Spring.

That is an interesting assumption especially given the season that Drew Waters had in 2021. I think Waters was always going to start the season at Gwinnett. I don’t think trading for Olson had anything to do with the plan for Waters. It is possible that he could play his way into the mix at the major league level, but I don’t think it is a certainty either. Right now he needs to get himself healthy and show improvement. He’s looked good in his first three games, but it is too small of a sample to draw any serious conclusions from.