Atlanta Braves outfielder Ender Inciarte has hardly had the most conventional of seasons. He was the Opening Day starter in center field, and manager Brian Snitker had hopes he would prove to be a serviceable leadoff man.
Inciarte struggled immensely in the first half, posting a .623 OPS while ultimately giving way to Braves rookie Austin Riley in the outfield. However, Riley’s high strikeout would once again give Inciarte a chance, one he seized immediately.
Through 25 games in the second half, Inciarte had a .931 OPS and 142 wRC+, asserting himself as yet another dangerous bat in a loaded lineup. Unfortunately for Atlanta, there is a chance that Inciarte will miss the rest of the season.
Inciarte suffered a hamstring injury in last night’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and will face further evaluation on Saturday:
Inciarte could barely walk as he left the clubhouse tonight. It appears to be a significant hamstring injury. He'll be further evaluated tomorrow.
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) August 17, 2019
Losing Inciarte would be yet another setback for a Braves team that is in a rather tenuous position.
Despite seemingly addressing their bullpen needs by adding the likes of Shane Greene and Mark Melancon prior to the trade deadline, both guys have struggled to settle in with the Braves.
To make matters worse, three major contributors–Riley, fellow outfielder Nick Markakis and shortstop Dansby Swanson–are all currently on the Injured List, and the Washington Nationals are slowly starting to cut into Atlanta’s lead in the National League East.
Aside from his recent success at the plate, Inciarte is one of the best defensive centerfielders in baseball. Although some of his metrics have struggled as playing time has been rather inconsistent, the Braves are likely to miss his glove in addition to his production if he is indeed forced to miss the rest of the season.