Braves Make Surprise Cast Change With William Contreras: What Does It Mean?
The Atlanta Braves made a surprise roster change with William Contreras ahead of Monday night’s matchup against the Phillies.
According to MLB.com, the Braves beat writer Mark Bowman, the Braves will give young catcher William Contrera’s first-ever (major league) start in outfield as he will bat second and play on left field in tonight’s game.
This may not come as a shocking revelation to some, as Braves skipper Brian Snitker has hinted that this move could come early in the season…
(Contreras) gives you a little versatility. He can go outfield and we let him take a few balls from third place onwards. I mean, catching is his main thing; We still see him as a catcher. But with his athleticism and ability to potentially move him around the diamond, we’ll be training him in different places.
Contreras is currently the #2 catch option on the Braves depth chart behind reigning starter Travis d’Arnaud. Manny Piña was brought on board for the 2021-2022 off-season but he will have wrist surgery and miss the rest of the season.
What exactly does this move mean for the Braves, William Contreras?
The only other options remotely close to Major League-ready are Ryan Casteel and Chadwick Tromp, neither of whom are currently on the 40-man list. So there’s a high possibility that this surprise outfield start doesn’t mean much at all, it could just be a move to bring expanded versatility to Contreras.
On the other hand, Tromp has some major league experience under his belt and with Eddie Rosario out due to laser eye surgery, the Braves could easily move Tromp up the ranks and allow Contreras to test his newfound versatility in the position.
Contreras is bursting at the gate with six home runs and nine RBI in his first 10 major league games this season. He has five walks and only nine strikeouts and has an OPS of 1,130 during this hot period.
Behind Ronald Acuña Jr. (right field) and Adam Duvall (center field), there is little certainty in the Braves’ outfield/DH rotation. Marcell Ozuna has acted as the club’s primary left fielder in recent days but he is no longer significant in defense and best suits this Braves club as a designated hitter. Travis Demeritte and Guillermo Heredia are available as outfield options for the corner, but neither are bans to stay in this team for long.
The Braves have used a limited bench in the first month of the Major League season as the only other player available off the bench aside from Heredia and Demeritte is the versatile Orlando Arcia. Arcia is an excellent defender in infield and can also play down left field when needed, but the Braves need to capitalize on another player’s versatility and so are looking at Contreras on the left.
It’s worth nothing that tonight will not be Contreras’ first outfield appearance ever. The 24-year-old younger brother of Cubs catcher Willson Contreras made his first appearance in left field for the Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers on April 27 of this season. He also has one game in right field on April 20.
It remains to be seen whether the Braves will continue to give William Contreras occasional starts in corner outfield, but the replays certainly don’t hurt. If the club can field another catcher to allow Contreras to move defensively, he could carve out a significant role in left field.
https://fansided.com/2022/05/23/braves-william-contreras-outfield/ Braves Make Surprise Cast Change With William Contreras: What Does It Mean?