Atlanta Braves fans must be doing double-takes as they watch Tommy La Stella have a consistent impact at second base day in and day out. While no one could be said to believe that La Stella will hit .400 for the remainder of the season, his approach at the plate does something that no one else in the batting order has been able to do in his position. The Braves needed someone else to be able to get on base and now they have that.
Few understand just how important the consistent hits of Chris Johnson were last season but that impact was way underestimated as we have seen so far this season. Not having Johnson there to get on base every three or four times at the plate has been a big gap. He didn’t hit that many home runs or drive in a thousand runs but that ability to get hits all the time matters. With La Stella in the batting order, the Braves have someone else that is able to do that.
It will give Johnson and the rest of the team a chance to get fully through their early season funk. Less pressure is on B.J. Upton. Actually he and Jason Heyward have been clearly helped by the presence of someone else on base in the last few games. This addition has been nothing short of absolutely huge so far. Thankfully, the fact that he is taking over at a position that has been terrible offensively over the past few years should mean that his impact is not overlooked the way Johnson’s was last season.