Feb. 20, 2021 –
BY KEVIN MCALPIN
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – As we get closer to full squad workouts and the first Grapefruit League game of the new year a week from tomorrow, the Braves don’t come into camp with a whole lot of roster questions. However, to me, the backup catcher position remains a very intriguing situation of Brian Snitker’s club. We know Travis d’Arnaud will serve as the team’s everyday catcher. But, who will serve as his backup? And who can be counted on to take an even bigger role, should something happen to d’Arnaud. Remember, catchers get beat up, so having a competent backstop in a pinch will be of utmost importance.
Both William Contreras and Alex Jackson were thrust into action at the start of the season in late July when both d’Arnaud and Flowers were sidelined with COVID symptoms. Neither ever tested positive, but it was quite a pivot for the team on Opening Day to start the season with both of their starting catchers unavailable. I think I’d feel a lot better knowing I had a veteran in the mix to try and win a spot. It’s not taking anything away from either of the youngsters, but game planning and going over hitters and scouting reports is a big part of the game that most fans don’t get a glimpse of.
It appears as though both Contreras and Shea Langeliers are the future of the organization behind the dish. But, that’s likely still a year away. For now, the club will have to determine if they feel confident in handing the keys over to Jackson or Contreras, or going outside the organization and looking for a qualified veteran to help bridge the gap. Games start in eight days, so it will be a major storyline to follow as camp evolves.
Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet.