Atlanta Braves to Field Platoons at Catcher and Third Base
I have never been one that necessarily liked the platoon system as it relates to Major League Baseball. If possible I always like to see one guy go out every day and play his position. The platoon system switches players out so that it is unclear which really is the best for the team. Honestly, the Atlanta Braves have two positions that will have a platoon and both of them make perfect sense. No one is more surprised than me.
Brian McCann looks to be out for most of April as he fully recovers from shoulder surgery that was long overdue. That leads to the backup catcher that was signed this off-season, Gerald Laird, seemingly getting most of the playing time. Then in spring training we saw the emergence of Evan Gattis at the catcher position as well as with his bat. He played well enough that Fredi Gonzalez just can’t keep him on the bench. All of that ends up in a Laird / Gattis share of the catcher position. It isn’t a standard platoon but still it is the same basic result.
The other is at third base. After Chipper Jones retired and Martin Prado was traded, that left newcomer Chris Johnson and prospect Juan Francisco fighting for the starting job. Nobody won. Luckily for the Braves nobody won because they both played great baseball. Neither has shown a reason not to play as much as possible so that will result in a straight lefty / righty platoon at the hot corner.
The catcher platoon makes good sense until McCann comes back. What happens then is up to Gattis’ play over the first month I would assume. It is the only sensible thing for Gonzalez to do. At third base, I like that as well. I think both players could handle everyday work at third but if both can handle a platoon and coming off of the bench in games they don’t start, there is no good reason not to play them both. I think under the circumstances, both catcher and third will be better off this season because of these platoons to start the season.