Roughly one-third of the way into Spring Training: good time to check on some Atlanta Braves notes from the field.
The Atlanta Braves will start their 'cuts' of minor leaguers who've been invited to camp with the major leaguers.
This doesn't imply any disrespect or other indication that their efforts have been fruitless, but as the major league players get more playing time, these kids will have to transition to their expected 2020 assignment teams to get their own playing time.
It's still been a time for them to get some longer looks and to learn a few things, but the development time continues.
One player who will probably be sticking around for another week or more is Peter O'Brien. He's not been a Brave for long, but he's definitely making sure that the coaches know his name.
It was only on January 22nd that O'Brien inked a minor league pact with Atlanta. At 29½ years old, he was originally a 2nd round pick of the Yankees in 2012 out of the University of Miami (and was born in nearby Hialeah).
That was only the beginning of O'Brien's travels, though. In 2017 alone, he was with four separate organizations: the Royals, Dodgers, Rangers, and Reds. None of them stuck. In 2018, it was the Dodgers and his hometown Marlins... sticking with the latter through most of the 2019 season.
O'Brien did get some cups of coffee along the way: 8 games with the D-Backs in 2015, 28 more in 2016, and another smattering with the Marlins in the last 2 seasons. He's cobbled together a full season of MLB service time in the process.
Now listed as a first baseman and outfielder, the right-hand hitting 6'4"/245 O'Brien does one thing well: he hits bombs. 11 in 200 major league plate appearances. That jives with a team-leading 3 homers in just 19 PA's this Spring - including a rare 2-homer game against the Pirates on Wednesday.
O'Brien has gotten this chance for extended playing time thanks to Freddie Freeman's barking elbow, and that has certainly worked in his favor.
O'Brien strikes out a bunch: he has seven of those already on his account this year, but if you're looking for a late-inning offensive threat... you could do worse. He's almost certainly destined for Gwinnett, but he's a fun one to keep track of... particularly if Freeman gets hurt again.
Speaking of Freeman, he's been back in the lineup this week and still feeling okay, it seems. For a while, he didn't even have to swing the bat thanks to walks, but did get a nice single on Wednesday.
Word is (Dave O'Brien) that he will go in back-to-back games Friday and Saturday as a means to test that elbow further.
Camargo vs. Riley
Let's line 'em up for early inspection:
- Johan Camargo: 7 for 18 (.389), 1 double, 1 homer, 5 RBI, 3K. 1.032 OPS
- Austin Riley: 6 for 19 (.316), 1 double, 1 homer, 3 RBI, 3K, .842 OPS
Neither of these guys is hurting their campaign for making the club to this point and if there was a reasonable way to play both, then there could be an argument for that instead... but almost certainly not.
In the field, there haven't been a lot of chances at the hot corner, but in 29 innings Camargo is error-free (12 chances) while Riley does have a lone error (13 chances in 31 innings).
Both players have been involved in 2 double plays.
Still gotta think 'Camargo' is getting the initial nod... though Riley will never be very far away.