Ozzie Albies hits cleanup as Travis d’Arnaud gets a day off
Well, the good news (and it is very good news) is that Ronald Acuña Jr. will be back in action against the Diamondbacks this evening:
The #Braves are back home tonight at Truist Park!
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) April 23, 2021
The rest of the lineup, though, is a little unexpected. Travis d’Arnaud is getting a day off given that Alex Jackson is apparently catching Huascar Ynoa at this point, so Ozzie Albies sidles into the cleanup spot. After him, the Braves have a procession of righties — the lineup from the five spot back up through leadof is R-R-R-R-pitcher’s spot-R, which is somewhat unfortunate if not that avoidable with this roster, either. This is actually the first time that Guillermo Heredia has been penciled in above the seven spot in the starting lineup since September 3, 2019 when he hit leadoff for a game; he hasn’t started in the six-hole since April of that year. Meanwhile, when Albies starts the game in the cleanup spot for the second time this season, it will be the first season of his career that he’s hit in that spot twice — he’s previously done it once in 2020 and once in 2019. (Also, weirdly enough, after this game, he will have hit cleanup four times, but on non-consecutive games against just two teams, the Marlins and Diamondbacks.)
Here’s your entirely useless historical-success-against-Luke-Weaver graphic for the Braves’ current lineup (not pictured = never faced Weaver in the majors):
The Diamondbacks, well, this lineup is not chock full of familiar names or faces:
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) April 23, 2021
You’re likely at least somewhat familiar with Kole Calhoun, David Peralta, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Eduardo Escobar. Cabrera is the only member of Arizona’s roster with any experience against Ynoa, the rest have never faced him at the major league level.
Pavin Smith is the rare 1B/CF type (hi Cody Bellinger) who hasn’t shown much power to date, but had elite plate discipline in the minors. Wyatt Mathisen is a 27-year-old who hit well in Triple-A in 2018-2019 and in a tiny sample in the majors in 2020, but is really only starting because Christian Walker is on the shelf. Josh Rojas has hit well in the minors, but it hasn’t translated into his 277 major league PAs thus far.
Overall, Arizona’s lineup is a mixed bag. Carson Kelly has an insane, Acuña-esque 226 wRC+ in 54 PAs so far, with more walks than strikeouts and four homers. Escobar somehow has six homers on the season and has a 131 wRC+, while Peralta (117) and Calhoun (110) join him with above-average marks so far this season, though both Peralta and Calhoun have pretty horrid xwOBAs thus far. Neither Mathisen (65 wRC+) nor Rojas (58) have hit well in the early going.