It took a while, but Brian Snitker finally came around and put Jorge Soler in the leadoff spot. This is why it makes a ton of sense for the Atlanta Braves.
Let’s start by being honest, without Ronald Acuna Jr., the Atlanta Braves don’t really have a leadoff hitter on this team.
You could make a serious argument that Freddie Freeman is actually best suited for the role, but I still believe your best hitter needs to bat second or third.
And let’s also make the promise that we’ll never put Ozzie Albies in the leadoff spot again.
I know he has the typical size of your traditional leadoff hitter, but he may actually be the worst person for that spot based on his approach at the plate.
Braves: What Makes a Good Leadoff Hitter
This could probably be answered a bunch of different ways and is dependent on the manager or your opinion of what a true leadoff hitter is.
Since I’m writing the article, I’m obviously going to tell you what I think makes a good leadoff hitter.
These are my characteristics of a good leadoff hitter:
- Someone who works the count, makes the pitcher throw a lot of pitches
- Someone who has some speed and can cause disruption on the basepaths
- Someone with some pop to start the game with a bang
- And most importantly, someone who gets on base
Acuna checks all of those boxes, which is why he is the perfect leadoff candidate.
But as I said, no one else on the Braves can check all of those boxes.
Since joining the Braves, Jorge Soler at least checks three of those boxes with speed being the only tool he doesn’t possess.
He has a .352 OBP and 11 home runs and is seeing just over 4 pitches per plate appearance.
Just for reference, Ozzie is seeing 3.8 pitches per plate appearance this season, which is much higher than his typical mark of 3.5 in the previous three seasons.
Again, Freddie also checks the same boxes as Soler and is probably the best base runner on the team. But I think it shortens your lineup with Freeman hitting first.
As long as Soler keeps having the at-bats he’s had since coming to Atlanta, he is the most logical player on this roster to hit leadoff.