How are Braves' key hitters faring in camp?

March 23rd, 2021

NORTH PORT, Fla. -- Braves manager Brian Snitker has repeatedly said he is not concerned about the results Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna have generated during the Grapefruit League season.

But it certainly didn’t hurt to see Acuña homer and Jake Lamb show some signs of life with his bat in a 7-6 loss to the Red Sox on Tuesday afternoon at CoolToday Park.

“The hitting thing is either here or there,” Snitker said. “You get hot and then you take a day off and it can totally change. That can happen during the year. You get hot and you don’t want an off-day. You get it and wish you could keep playing. Hitting is such and up-and-down thing.”

Here’s a look at some of the ups and downs the Braves' top hitters have experienced this spring:

Ronald Acuña Jr.
The outfielder displayed his strength with the solo homer he hit in the third off Red Sox starter Garrett Richards. Acuña also lined out to deep center field in the fifth.

As of Tuesday, Acuña has gone 6-for-34 with four home runs. The 23-year-old outfielder has tallied each of his homers within his past 20 at-bats. Acuña led the National League with 11.43 at-bats per home run last year.

It has been encouraging to see Acuña strike out just three times within his past 20 at-bats. He struck out five times within his first 14 at-bats of the spring.

Freddie Freeman
It almost seems to be a waste of time to point out that Freeman has hit just .154 with no extra-base hits through his first 12 games. The reigning NL MVP Award winner has eight strikeouts, which is three shy of his combined total from 2017 and '18 Spring Trainings.

Freeman did line out sharply during Friday night’s game against the Twins and he flew out to deep center before producing a bloop single in Tuesday’s loss.

It’s just been one of those springs for Freeman, who welcomed two sons to his family this winter and has spent the past few weeks without them and their mother, who remains at the family’s California residence.

Marcell Ozuna
Ozuna’s batting average dropped to .179 (5-for-28) after he went 0-for-3 on Tuesday. The outfielder showed some signs of encouragement as he hit a monstrous homer while playing on a third straight day last week against the Red Sox. The chance to get more regular at-bats over the final days of spring might help him get back to where he was last year when he led the NL with 18 homers and finished sixth in NL MVP Award balloting.

Ozzie Albies
The 24-year-old second baseman is hitting .233 (7-for-30) after he went 0-for-3 on Tuesday. Albies has surprisingly gone just 2-for-12 from the right side of the plate. But given the .950 career OPS he has against left-handers, nobody is worrying about this talented switch-hitter.

Jake Lamb
Lamb was 4-for-29 with nine strikeouts when he struck out in Tuesday’s second inning. But after recording an opposite-field RBI double in the fifth, he homered off Red Sox reliever Colten Brewer in the seventh.

Unlike the four players listed above him, Lamb needed to start producing. His struggles had already created reason to question whether the Braves should carry him on their season-opening 26-man roster or save some money by releasing him before Spring Training ends.