Will the Braves bring Ozzie Albies up when the rosters expand?
-- John F., Macon, Ga.
As I indicated with the story written this past weekend, Albies is not a lock to be added after Atlanta's roster expands on Thursday. In fact, right now I'd say it's questionable at best that we will see the highly regarded 19-year-old prospect at the big league level this season.
The Braves were comfortable with promoting Dansby Swanson from Double-A Mississippi to the Majors two weeks ago. But while these two players have been linked dating back to the start of Spring Training, it must be remembered Swanson is three years older and more mature from both a physical and social aspect.
Albies has batted .291/.358/.410 with Triple-A Gwinnett and Mississippi this season, and he has also transitioned to second base because the Braves determined Swanson was the better long-term fit at shortstop. The switch-hitting Albies has produced an .880 OPS in 156 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers and a .726 OPS in 431 plate appearances against right-handers.
When Spring Training begins, there is a chance Albies will be projected to begin next season as Atlanta's starting second baseman. But as things currently stand, he may not get a taste of the big leagues this year.
:: Submit a question to the Braves Inbox ::
Will the Braves keep Brian Snitker as their manager next season?
-- James P., Nashville
Snitker has done nothing but enhance his candidacy since he accepted the task of taking over after Fredi Gonzalez was dismissed in May. While essentially having to adapt to the role at the big league level on the fly, he he proven to be the steadying force the Braves needed to get through this season.
When Gonzalez was dismissed, it appeared Terry Pendleton or Eddie Perez would be the top internal options to be named Atlanta's manager entering the 2017 season. But Snitker has improved his stock to the point where it won't be a surprise if he remains in this role through at least next year.
Bo Porter is another internal candidate who will get consideration for the job. Mark DeRosa or Dave Martinez might be in the picture, but the Braves have not yet started any serious discussions about potential external candidates.
Is there still a chance the Braves will trade for Brian McCann?
-- Janelle D., Columbia, S.C.
Because the Yankees are still utilizing McCann as their designated hitter on a frequent basis and have suddenly regained legit postseason hopes, it's too early to gauge exactly what it would cost for the Braves to bring him back home. The current asking price is understandably too steep because the Yankees have no need to move him at this time.
But the landscape should change this winter and at that time, the Braves will get a better feel for how much of the $34 million McCann is owed through 2018 the Yankees are willing to eat. The Braves will want to get a good feel during the early portion of this offseason, because they view catching and starting pitching as two of their primary areas to be addressed this winter. Wilson Ramos will obviously get plenty of attention, but his cost may exceed comfort level, which is influenced by the rash of injuries he battled before the 2015 season.
Tyler Flowers has provided the Braves the comfort of knowing they'll have at least one solid veteran catcher in their stable next year. Whether or not he ends up teaming with McCann will be better understood once the offseason begins to evolve.
Who might the Braves use at third base next year?
-- Bradley J., Fairfax, Va.
This might be influenced by whether both Justin Turner and Martín Prado receive qualifying offers, which would lead to the Braves losing a Draft pick if they signed one of these free agents. Turner, who entered Monday ranked third among National League third basemen with 8.1 fWAR since the start of 2015, will almost certainly receive one and Prado has at least given the Marlins something to think about, as he has hit .320 with an .805 OPS this season.
Many Braves fans would certainly welcome the return of Prado, who could fill the second spot in Atlanta's lineup and enrich the clubhouse much like he did during his previous stint with the club.
The Braves may also get a chance to assess their needs at third base over the next few weeks as Rio Ruiz will likely be among the players added after the active roster expands on Thursday. The 22-year-old Ruiz's only .800-plus OPS season was completed at the Class A Advanced level, but he has done enough with Gwinnett this season to remain a possibility.
Adonis García has certainly made tremendous strides with the glove over the past few months and he has shown he can be a 10-15 homer guy. But there's certainly no guarantee he will begin next season as Atlanta's third baseman.