The announcement came last night as most of the US population was busy watching voting polls. The Gold Gloves award to Ender Inciatre did come as a pleasant surprise. It goes to solidify that the formula in Atlanta is working. BJ Upton had been the Center Fielder (CF) for the Braves and his defensive skills were impressive. His struggles at the plate eventually lead to his departure from the Atlanta Braves. Unfortunately the Braves also parted ways with BJ’s brother Justin Upoton in Left Field(LF.) With both of those positions needed to be filled the General Manger John Coppolella did not panic. Then what seemed unthinkable, Jason Heyward signed a huge 4 year deal with the Chicago Cubs.
The Atlanta Braves went to their farm system which is one of the best in baseball. LF was played by several different players is 2016 including Jace Peterson, then the position found it’s player in Matt Kemp. The RF position was almost catered to Nick Markakis who had an exceptional 2016. Mallex Smith came in through the farm system and his speed and offense made the Braves organization happy. Smith had to go on the Disabled List (DL) and Ender Inciatre just wanted a chance to show the Braves what he could do. Not only was Inciatre the lead off man the Braves wanted but his defensive plays in the outfield were like watching a magic act. He appeared out of nowhere and with his speed he chased down line drives and deep fly balls.
Ender Inciatre also plays with very little fear of harming himself, he just wants to make outs. He is not reckless and runs head on into walls, but he has very little problems jumping over walls and stealing home runs from hitters. There are several highlights you can watch on MLB.com or on YouTube. One of my personal favorites was against the Washington Nationals as he caught what looked like a homerun from Bryce Harper. Even Harper had to sit in awe as he watched the replay on the scoreboard. This is why baseball is great. Baseball players respect other players abilities and they know when a remarkable play just occurred. We as fans may dislike other baseball teams and certain players, but at the end of the day we all love watching a great game.
Ender Inciatre is a walking highlight reel and the fact that Mallex Smith is healthy and wants to play again, leaving those difficult decisions is up to the Braves manager Brian Snitcker. There are only 9 positions on a baseball field, unless you play in the American League where there are 10 men in the batting order. Brian Snitcker will have a very busy off seasons with 4 proven players in the outfield with 3 positions to fill. What can be even more interesting is watching if the Braves sign more outfielders through free agency. It’s a great day to be a baseball fan, and even better time to be an Atanta Braves fan. Spring Training will start in March. That may seem like a long way off but as fast as times flies during the holidays, 2017 is only 7 weeks away. Enjoy the time off Braves fans, SunTrust Park has plenty of new seats to fill. GO BRAVES!!!