The Braves are opening the season with a four-man bench. That group includes infielders Pablo Sandoval and Ehire Adrianza, catcher Alex Jackson and outfielder Ender Inciarte. It’s a temporary strategy, but it’s fair to be skeptical about the group offensively, especially regarding its power.
“We weren’t going to necessarily go anywhere and get that kind of power,” manager Brian Snitker said. “More than power, it’s about a good at-bat. Pablo gives us that. Adrianza has been swinging the bat well. It wasn’t a concern.”
To his credit, Jackson has immense power, though his struggles making contact have prevented it from shining through during his brief time in the majors. The team is banking on Sandoval, who’s had a nice spring but was ineffective last season with the Giants.
Adrianza carrying his spring performance into the regular season would be a helpful development, but history says he ultimately won’t provide much offense. Inciarte hasn’t provided much with the bat in recent seasons, but his contract situation ($8 million) means he’ll be on the roster. Utilityman Johan Camargo was optioned to start the season but he’ll eventually join the mix.
The bench is one of the few uncertainties surrounding the 2021 Braves. With the season beginning Thursday, they’ll have answers in the coming weeks and months.
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