In a move no one saw coming, it’s Charlie Culberson time in Atlanta again:
The #Braves today selected the contract of INF Charlie Culberson to Atlanta, returned INF Ehire Adrianza from his rehabilitation assignment and transferred him to the 60-day injured list with a left shoulder strain.— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) May 19, 2023
Note that Braden Shewmake was optioned to Triple-A during yesterday’s off day. It was assumed that Ehire Adrianza would be returning from his rehab assignment to take Shewmake’s spot, but apparently, it’s Culberson’s spot now.
Culberson has a career 77 wRC+ in 1,311 PAs and has been worth 0.1 fWAR in the process while playing every position other than catcher and center field. Yes, he’s pitched some. Most recently, he managed just -0.6 fWAR in 124 PAs for the Rangers last year, though he stuck on their roster pretty much the whole year. After becoming a free agent, he spent Spring Training 2023 with the Rays, was released towards the end of March, and then added by the Braves and assigned to Gwinnett on the second day of the season. Now 34, he wasn’t hitting at all at Gwinnett (16 wRC+ in 107 PAs).
On the plus side, there’s no real expectation he’ll play in Atlanta except in a pinch, as the Braves weren’t exactly mixing in Adrianza or Shewmake to this point anyway.
Culberson’s claim to fame is his wacky “ability” to outhit his xwOBA, which he’s done, often to a massive degree, in five of his seven seasons in the Statcast era. Since the start of the 2016 season, he has a .306 wOBA but a .267 xwOBA. He’s probably best remembered for his 2018 season in Atlanta, where he tallied 1.1 fWAR in 322 PAs while patching a bunch of injury holes and helped that team to a surprising playoff berth.