The Braves have been crushed by injuries this season, with multiple key pieces spending significant time off the field. Ronald Acuna will not return in 2021, but several other contributors are reportedly nearing returns. Ian Anderson, Huascar Ynoa, and Travis d’Arnaud could each make their returns within the next week, with d’Arnaud expected to rejoin the club as soon as today. While the pitching staff could certainly benefit from the added value that Anderson and Ynoa bring, d’Arnaud may be among the most important players in the organization given the current makeup of the major league roster.
Kevan Smith, Stephen Vogt, Alex Jackson, and William Contreras have all attempted to fill the void left since d’Arnaud broke his hand earlier this season, but all have failed. Contreras showed flashes with the bat but the position has been an abject disaster without the two-way ability that d’Arnaud brings to the table. Adding his bat to an already improved lineup inspires some hope that Atlanta can carry their recent momentum into a second-half run toward a fourth-consecutive division title. Time will tell just how much difference d’Arnaud makes, but the major league roster should certainly be improved in the coming days.
Demetrius takes a look at the road ahead for the Braves, who have remained competitive despite all the challenges they have faced this season.
With the Mets in the rearview (for now), the Braves can focus on their singular target: the first-place Philadelphia Phillies.
This will be one of the coolest things baseball does in 2021.
Vladdy is just impossibly cool.
Will the Giants bat flip after homering off Bumgarner?