Braves will have outfield options aplenty in 2020

Bill Shanks

One thing is certain for the Braves outfield once they start playing in 2020. Marcell Ozuna will play left field.

Oh, and that Acuna kid will play either center field or right field.

The details are still to be determined, but the options should make the three positions a positive for the Braves and manager Brian Snitker.

If Snitker goes with Ender Inciarte in center field, Acuna will play right field. Inciarte needs to bounce back after playing in only 65 games last season. We’re three years removed from when Inciarte was an All-Star and had 201 hits and a .304 batting average and a .350 on base percentage.

Inciarte might hit eighth in the lineup when he starts, and of course, if he comes off the bench he can be a solid defensive replacement, perhaps for Ozuna, who is not a good defensive player anymore.

Veteran Nick Markakis, who is now 36 years old, returns for his sixth season with the Braves. He was limited to 116 games last season due to his broken wrist. Markakis hit .285 with a .356 OBP, nine home runs and 62 RBI. He hit .298 against right-handed pitchers and only .245 against left-handed pitchers.

That’s why many wonder if a platoon in right field with Adam Duvall would benefit Markakis and make the lineup stronger. Duvall hit 10 home runs last season in his 130 big league at bats, along with having a solid postseason series against the Cardinals.

Duvall, a right-handed hitter, hit .333 in 44 plate appearances against lefty pitchers and only .235 against right-handed pitchers. So, if Markakis and Duvall duplicate those numbers, a platoon could be effective.

If Markakis or Duvall are in right, then Acuna would play center field. The Braves would eventually prefer to have Acuna in right field, and that might not happen until Cristian Pache takes over in center field, possibly in 2021.

Listen to The Bill Shanks Show weekdays at 3:00 p.m. ET on Middle Georgia’s ESPN. You can listen online at TheSuperStations.com. Follow Bill on Twitter at @billshanks and you can email him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

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