O'Brien: Braves could move Ender Inciarte to make room for Austin Riley

Dukes & Bell
May 14, 2019 - 5:34 pm
Atlanta Braves third baseman prospect Austin Riley

© Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

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The Athletic’s Dave O’Brien joined Dukes & Bell to talk about the team making moves in the bullpen, Acuna back at the top of the lineup, and could the Braves be close to making a move?

O’Brien talked about the recent moves to the bullpen.

 “The Bullpen shuffle continues.” O’Brien said “They want to keep fresh arms in there, I’m a little surprised with Blevins who was doing good in situational roles, Biddle pitched well in his rehab so they’re bringing him back and hopefully he’s got it figured out.”

When asked about Mike Foltynewicz’s struggles.

 “The velocity is not back where it was last year. O’Brien said 2 miles per hour is a back deal when you’re a power pitcher like he is, it’s probably from missing all of spring. Where he’s at right now would be like he’s at the end of spring training, but he does not look like the same guy as last year, the slider isn’t biting and the velocity isn’t there.”

Dave said he liked Ronald Acuna jr. being back at the top of the lineup.

 “They’ve been a different team since they moved him to back to the top of the lineup. O’Brien said It wasn’t a hard and fast rule that Donaldson was at second, and he agreed that if it was best for the team he would do that. In the leadoff spot Acuña is more aggressive, and it scares the pitcher because he has to be on his toes, I just think he gives them a different dynamic in the leadoff spot. Dansby Swanson is the wildcard, he’s surpassed all expectations this year and he really profiles as a guy in the second spot of your lineup.”

O’Brien told the guys that Ender Inciarte could be moved to make room for Austin Riley.

 “It’s more Ender’s slow start coupled with Austin Riley’s amazing start at triple A.” O’Brien said “Sometimes you have to shuffle the plans a little bit, like last year the Braves were ahead of the rebuilding plan so they had to make some moves at the trade deadline. Right now Austin Riley is showing he’s ready, and Ender is really struggling like he has every year seemingly, I didn’t think Ender was going to be here next year anyway because they have two outfielders that will be ready next year. You could move Acuna to center field and Riley to left field, so I think that could make some sense, they’re trying to get his bat here that’s why they moved him to outfield last week.”

When asked if he liked Madison Bumgarner as a fit for the Braves.

 “Yep, I like it.” O’Brien said “I think the Braves like it also, I think he would be absolutely perfect for this rotation, he brings so much leadership to this rotation and that’s exactly what these young guys need. If they could have a bell cow type starter to set the tone, I think Madison Bumgarner would be perfect for that role.”