FanPost

Would this be the worst idea ever to round out the Braves' starting 9 position player group?

Now, what I'm about to lay out here might seem wacky, but give it a chance. It might just maximize the organization's current offensive & defensive capabilities, which means no going outside the current organization required (no FA signing or trade acquisition needed) & also means more money to dedicate to pitching.

Let's get a few background / basis of the argument things out of the way first:

  • How much are we really buying into Riley's seemingly "defensive renaissance" @ 3B in 2023, such that we're convinced 3B is his long term MLB home? He went from a negative OAA & Success Rate Added in every season of his MLB career @ 3B (-1 & -4% in '19, -5 & -2% in '20, -3 & -1% in '21, and -6 & -1% in '22) to an average as average can be of 0 & 0% in '23.
  • If a fairly recently graduated IF prospect, who has questions about his defensive marks going forward, has enough of an arm for the Braves to continue trying to develop him @ SS during the entire season following his graduation as a prospect (Grissom), then he has enough of an arm for 3B. Right? And, his seemingly range-related deficiencies @ SS would be not as much of an issues @ 3B. Right?
  • There's already been discussion of Grissom getting a look in LF during the Puerto Rican Winter League whenever it is that he ends up reporting to Cangrejeros de Santurce.
  • Why do that when in a small sample, & not exactly a lot of reps in the OF, Riley showed an ability at the big league level to post adequate enough defensive marks in LF & RF in '19, '20, & '21? So, w/ additional practice & reps in the OF, then it's quite possible that Riley could get proficient (maybe even above average) out there.
  • Lastly, I'll note that in 3 consecutive MLB seasons Riley's sprint speed numbers have been 27.8 ft/s & above & that the highest sprint speed numbers posted by Grissom in his two partial MLB seasons is 27.7 ft/s. So, Riley's faster & quite possibly more likely to cover more ground in the OF than Grissom.
So, between these two guys we've got:
  • a guy in Riley w/ more foot speed, at least some limited experience in the OF that includes reasonable enough marks, & who has defensive marks at 3B that left a lot to be desired until very recently
  • a guy in Grissom w/ less foot speed, no experience in the OF, & who the Braves have stuck w/ on the IF thru thick & thin thus far in his career.
Offensively Riley, being the pro that he is now, should hit the same while he finishes learning the ropes in LF as he would continuing @ 3B. And, Grissom, who is coming off setting Gwinnett's single season doubles record, would probably stand a better chance of getting his footing as a big leaguer offensively if he wasn't also trying to learn a completely new defensive position (he doesn't have a ton of 3B experience, but the transition from SS to 3B is much more straight forward than one from SS to LF).

So, if the Braves do end up sort of settling for a low cost (maybe even internal only) solution to rounding out its starting 9 position player group & one of the options being discussed for that involves Grissom in LF, then why not attempt to maximize things by putting Riley in LF & Grissom @ 3B?

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