The Atlanta Braves Should Trade Mallex Smith

If the Atlanta Braves aren’t going to start Mallex Smith everyday, then they should trade him to a team that will. He deserves better.

I used to be excited about Mallex Smith being the future everyday center fielder for the Atlanta Braves. But I’m not anymore, because Mallex Smith is not the everyday center fielder for the Atlanta Braves. Nobody is. Nobody ever will be. Mallex Smith is the “center fielder whenever the Braves aren’t facing a left hander” for the Atlanta Braves.

Mallex Smith hit two home runs last night with 4 RBI against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In Pittsburgh. And tonight Mallex Smith is not in the starting lineup because Liriano is starting for Pittsburgh who’s allowed .182 BA and .272 slug% against left-handed batters. I don’t care.

In baseball there are right-handed pitchers and there are left-handed pitchers. Mallex Smith has yet to be given a chance to adjust to Major League left-handed pitching.

Here’s some fun stats. Here’s a look Mallex Smith versus left-handed pitching prior to 2016.

  • 2015:  .288 in 124 PA
  • 2014:  .302 in 143 PA
  • 2013:  .341 in 111 PA

I like Brian Snitker. But there’s a school of thought in this organization, which started with Bobby Cox, that platooning players is a good thing. Platooning players is ONLY a good thing when it’s appropriate. And benching a young Mallex Smith against lefties is not a good thing.

In Mallex Smith’s last 7 games he’s hitting .320 with 5 RBI and 3 home runs. There is no logical reason why Mallex Smith should not be in tonight’s lineup.

The AJC’s David O’Brien tried to ream me on Twitter when I pointed out Mallex’s career minor league numbers against left-handed pitching. So if Mallex Smith is not starting tonight because he’s a left-handed hitter, then why is Gordon Beckham not in the lineup tonight? And why is Erick Aybar who can’t hit PITCHERS?

Brian Snitker has said that Mallex will be in tomorrow’s lineup against Jeff Locke who is also a lefty.  So his reasoning is either:

  • He doesn’t want to start Mallex against Liriano because he’s a REALLY HARD lefty, or…
  • He’s giving Mallex Smith the night off.

I’m not okay with either reason.

Daniel Castro is starting at 3B tonight instead of Gordon Beckham. Both right-handers. Gordon Beckham last 7 games – .409 and .327 on the season. Daniel Castro last 7 games – .200 and .202 on the season. It makes zero sense not to start Gordon Beckham tonight.

Kelly Johnson hits lefties much better than he hits righties and is hitting .304 in his last 7 games, therefore Kelly Johnson should also be in the lineup tonight.

 

The Atlanta Braves need to win a baseball game. More so than perhaps ever. And literally three of the Atlanta Braves’ hottest hitters are not starting tonight.

Kelly Johnson and Gordon Beckham are 2nd and 4th on the Atlanta Braves in OPS versus left-handed pitching this season. And Mallex Smith hit two home runs last night. In Pittsburgh. I’ll keep beating this dead horse, I don’t care.

So Kelly Johnson and Mallex Smith are not starting tonight because a left-handed pitcher is starting for the Pirates while Erick Aybar who can’t hit both righties or lefties is starting?

I hope the Braves trade Mallex Smith to a team that uses him. Mallex Smith is only going to get better against left-handed pitching if he gets the opportunity to play against left-handed pitching.