When the Atlanta Braves take the field Monday in their series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers, they will do so with a new look outfield alignment. Adam Duvall will make his eighth career start in center field and will be flanked by Eddie Rosario in left and Jorge Soler in right.
“He’s played there. I just I kind of want to get a look at it,” Snitker said of the decision to play Duvall in center. “Really like what I saw on Rosario yesterday, especially against the lefties.”
Duvall is arguably Atlanta’s best all-around defensive outfielder at this point. He has been worth three Outs Above Average per Baseball Savant. Duvall made seven starts in center for the Marlins this season.
“I’ve seen a lot of guys a lot bigger than him playing centerfield this year,” Snitker said. “The way he runs and as good an outfielder as he is I think he’ll do really good out there.”
Rosario made his first start for the Braves in Sunday’s win over the Giants and went 2-for-4 including a sixth inning triple off lefty Sam Long. Rosario is hitting .272/.296/.379 with an 81 wRC+ in 110 plate appearances against left-handers this season. He has a .277/.303/.403 line with an 87 wRC+ against southpaws in his career.
“Now all of a sudden the outfield thing is real,” Snitker said. “We’ve been talking about getting everybody back and I’m still not 100% sure how we’re going to navigate this.”
Snitker added that who plays in the outfield is being decided on a daily basis for now. Having plenty of options is certainly better than the alternative.
Touki Toussaint worked a scoreless ninth in Sunday’s win over the Giants. For the moment, he appears to be the odd man out in Atlanta’s rotation with the return of Ian Anderson. However, Snitker said Monday that Toussaint could still make a start later this week, most likely in Colorado, if he isn’t needed before then.
“Yeah, probably in the Colorado series if we don’t need him up until then,” Snitker said of the plan for Toussaint. “It was good to get him in yesterday just in case.”
Toussaint has appeared in eight games this season (7 starts) and has a 3.60 ERA and a 4.86 FIP in 40 innings.
The Braves will face the Dodgers three best starters in the series in Julio Urias, Walker Buehler and Max Scherzer. That will no doubt be a tall task for any team but Snitker thinks that the pitching they have faced in the NL East has prepared Atlanta for situations like this.
“That three is about as good as it gets,” Snitker said of LA’s big three. “A former Cy Young Award winner and maybe a future one and the guy that finished the World Series. Pretty rough rides but it’s nothing that these guys aren’t used to. When you play in our division and you’re going up against the likes of all that type of pitching pretty regular, I think it’s just something these guys are accustomed to.”