September call-ups are upon us and the Atlanta Braves now have the luxury of resting some of their starters as the approach the postseason. The Braves outfield just may be the primary beneficiary of the 2013 roster expansion.
And while the Braves outfield certainly needs rest, they cannot afford to let up now, especially with home field advantage in the playoffs still at stake. However, one or two extra players between now and October will be enough to keep them fresh for the playoffs.
It does not appear that Jason Heyward will return for the regular season. With the Braves continuing to win with their existing crew, rushing Heyward back into the lineup would not be a smart move.
In addition to Heyward, Jordan Schafer is still not 100 percent, suffering from a lower back strain, and needs adequate rest down the stretch. Schafer has taken over duties in the leadoff spot while Heyward continues to heal.
The biggest surprise this past week has been the awakening of B.J. Upton’s bat. He has eleven hits in his last seven games and appears to be heating up when the Braves need him most.
The Braves have also called up Jose Constanza and Evan Gattis from Triple-A Gwinnett and their combination of speed and power provides flexibility in the lineup for manager Fredi Gonzalez.
Gattis, whose primary position is catcher, has seen significant playing time in left field this season. He homered Tuesday night in his first at-bat since being promoted, and while his defense may leave much to be desired, he remains an offensive weapon at the plate.
Rounding out the Braves outfield is power hitting Justin Upton, B.J.’s brother, and Joey Terdoslavich, who has spent most of the season in Atlanta since making his Major League debut on July 4. Upton has homered twenty-four times this year to lead the team in that category.
Atlanta’s outfield possesses a respectable combination of power and speed and will only get better upon the return of Heyward. With Heyward back in the leadoff spot to begin the postseason, the Braves will be an offensive force to be reckoned with.
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