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Braves ranked 20th at shortstop, 13th at catcher in FanGraphs positional power rankings

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Pittsburgh Pirates v Atlanta Braves Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

The Braves have been ranked 20th at shortstop and 13th at catcher in FanGraphs’ positional power rankings.

At shortstop they expect Dansby Swanson to be worth 2.0 WAR, with Johan Camargo pitching in an additional 0.1 WAR. Their model projects Swanson to regress back to around his 2019 level of production, which is a below average offensive player at around a 90 wRC+. While his defense, speed, and non-disastrous offense are still worth 2.0 WAR, which is fine production, this is a big step down from Dansby’s career best 2020 season, especially at the plate. If Swanson can produce at an average or above average level offensively and stay healthy, that would be a huge boon to the Braves’ World Series hopes in 2021, and obviously would outperform this ranking.

At catcher, they project Travis d’Arnaud to take a step back offensively, but still to be a very good catcher, producing 2.2 WAR, while taking about 70% of the plate appearances among the catching staff. FanGraphs projects William Contreras to take the lion’s share of the backup catcher responsibilities, but don’t project him to be good, producing 0.0 WAR over 147 plate appearances with a slash line of .234/.284/.361. The strength of d’Arnaud alone should make this group of catchers a solid position group if he can stay healthy, given the barren landscape of the position league-wide, but if the team can get something better than replacement-level production from the backup catcher, that would help lessen the drop-off on the inevitable days that they need to give d’Arnaud a rest from what is a grueling job.