Well by now you all have probably heard about Andrelton Simmons breaking his right pinky finger after turning a single up the middle into a double on Sunday. I love to see the hustle, but clearly the team is going to struggle a bit after losing their promising young shortstop for around a month.
In his first 33 major league baseball games (ever) Simmons has hit .296/.336/.452 with a 6.4 BB%, 11.2 K%, 3 home runs, and a stolen base all while playing elite defense in the most premium defensive position.
Once again the Braves are in a need for a shortstop who can play everyday. Granted, the need isn’t as great as it was at the beginning of the year, but with the Braves 4 months behind a strong Washington team it will be important to come out of the gate strong once the All-Star Break is over.
The rest of July will be an extremely important month for the NL East standings as both the Braves and Nationals have 15 games against divisional teams, including 4 against each other. Like Ben Duronio said earlier today, the Braves need help with run prevention and a trade for someone like Brendan Ryan could be warranted.
But the All-Star break won’t be all bad news for Braves fans as it looks like Brian McCann is finally putting it together at the plate. In his past 6 games (24 plate appearances) he is absolutely throttling the ball, with a line of .364/.375/.909, 4 home runs, and a wOBA of .517.
According to McCann he is feeling great right now:
“I’m in a place I feel like now that I haven’t been in three years, I’m excited for the second half. I’m excited for everything that comes after this. I’ve just got to keep pushing.”
I can definitely tell you that Braves fans are excited as well Brian. If he truly is back to being the Brian McCann we all know, it could help take a lot of pressure off of the starting rotation, bullpen, Bourn, Prado, and Chipper as well. Martin Prado and Michael Bourn should know that so far they have pretty much carried the offense (the past month Heyward could be included as well) thus far, and with a resurgent McCann in the second half, they will have much less pressure to do everything at the plate.
As Brian continues to find success at the plate, his walk rate will likely follow suit and climb back up to career norms as well. Right now it is at 8.5%, his lowest mark since 2006. Obviously that will also help pull up his lowly .301 OBP and the Braves offensive production throughout the season.