3 Braves Players Who Have a Make-or-Break Season Ahead in 2020

Tristan Jung
Felix Hernandez looks set to be the Braves' fifth starter to open 2020.
Felix Hernandez looks set to be the Braves' fifth starter to open 2020. / Joe Robbins/Getty Images
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The Atlanta Braves will be hoping to win their third consecutive NL East crown in 2020. Despite crashing out of the NLDS last year, the Braves have a great roster with young stars.

However, baseball is a game of depth, and their success in a tight division race will rely on several lesser-known players who are facing make-or-break years. While Ronald Acuña Jr. and Freddie Freeman are bankable, the Braves will be hoping for major results from three other players on their roster in 2020.

1. Dansby Swanson

Dansby Swanson is already entering his fourth full season in the majors.
Dansby Swanson is already entering his fourth full season in the majors. / Michael Reaves/Getty Images

When Dansby Swanson was selected No. 1 overall in the 2015 MLB Draft and made the majors just a year later, his potential seemed sky high. Three years into his career, there hasn't been as much to celebrate as Braves fans would have hoped. While this is not a question of Swanson will have a job in 2021, this year feels like the last year he can become a true superstar. Swanson is in his age-26 season and has had weighted runs created-plus (wRC+) numbers of 64, 60, and 92 in his three full major league seasons. All of those are below the league average of 100. While his defense has been useful, it's not Andrelton Simmons or Javier Baez-caliber. That leaves a decent defensive shortstop who has an OPS under .750, which would be quite disappointing for a No. 1 overall pick. There are promising signs in the way he has been making strong contact with his bat, but if Swanson doesn't blossom into a star in 2020, it's probably not going to happen.

2. Johan Camargo

Johan Camargo had a disappointing year in 2019.
Johan Camargo had a disappointing year in 2019. / Mark Brown/Getty Images

Johan Camargo was lost in the shuffle of the Braves' playoff run, but he had a truly disastrous 2019. After a breakout 2018 season in which he hit .272/.349/.457 over 134 games, Camargo lost his starting job to Josh Donaldson and never really recovered in 2020. His OPS dropped from .806 to .663, and he was even demoted to Triple-A in the second half. Camargo will get another shot with Donaldson going to the Twins, but if he can't win the starting third base job, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported that he will get optioned to the minors once again.

3. Félix Hernández

Félix Hernández made his Braves debut in Spring Training.
Félix Hernández made his Braves debut in Spring Training. / Joe Robbins/Getty Images

After 15 years with the Seattle Mariners, Félix Hernández is on another team. It's truly weird to see King Félix in a Braves uniform, but he has a legitimate shot to make the starting rotation at some point in 2020. Before the season was delayed due to COVID-19, new signing Cole Hamels suffered a shoulder injury, leaving a spot open for Hernández. The 33-year-old was quite good in spring training and will likely get the No. 5 spot in the rotation if Hamels isn't back by whenever Opening Day occurs. Although Hernández had a 6.40 ERA and a 6.00 FIP last year, it's hard not to believe that someone with his talent can't be a league-average starter once again. If he doesn't bounce back in 2020, however, it could be a sign that the end of his major league career could be looming.


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Tristan Jung is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Tristan Jung also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tristan1117. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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