With the hamstring injury to Ender Inciarte, speculation came quickly about speedy prospect Mallex Smith coming up to Atlanta to replace Ender as his hamstring heals. Well, after it was unofficially announces yesterday, it’s official today.
On Monday afternoon, the Atlanta Braves made the roster move official. And, to make it even sweeter, he’s hitting leadoff against the Washington Nationals Monday night in Washington.
OF Mallex Smith has been recalled from @GwinnettBraves.pic.twitter.com/YGuwYKuXZX
Mallex has batted .400/.438/.667 thus far (3 games) in Gwinnett in 2016 and combined for a .306/.373/.386 line in 2015 with 57 steals across two levels of the minors.
The Braves acquired Mallex Smith via the Justin Upton trade. He had an okay 2012 and 2013, but then he broke out in 2014, which made it difficult for the Padres to part ways. As mentioned before, he ended up finishing the 2015 season in AAA with a .306/.373/.386 slash line. Granted a bulk of these strong numbers are actually attributed to his 57 games in AA Mississippi, before his slight regression in AAA Gwinnett. After the conclusion of the 2015 minor league season, the Atlanta Braves awarded Mallex Smith with the MiLB Player of the Year Award, generating a buzz about the speedy outfielder.
The last time the Braves had a consistently lethal leadoff hitter was Rafael Furcal. They’ve had speedy “okay” guys here and there since, like Michael Bourn, and Jason Heyward (back when he didn’t know how to play baseball before the Cardinals taught him), Jace Peterson, B.J. Upton, Nate McClouth and Gregor Blanco. But, the Braves haven’t had a real long-term leadoff solution since Furcal.