While the terms of the contract are unkown at this time, the Braves have reportedly signed 31 year-old third and second baseman Alberto Callaspo with the intention of starting him at 2nd base in 2015 and possibly using him at 3rd base vs. right-handed pitchers. This fills two important holes for the Braves at present: a second baseman with demonstrated success at the MLB level and a 3rd baseman to handle the large half of a platoon with Chris Johnson. Johnson could not carry over his BABIP fueled success against right-handed pitchers from 2013, hitting only .233 against them in 2014. Is Callaspo really the platoon partner the Braves need to pair with Johnson, though?

In 1089 career plate appearances batting left-handed against right-handed pitchers, Callaspo carries an 89 wRC+. Batting right-handed against left-handed pitching, on the other hand, he has a 101 wRC+ in 2606 plate appearances (he has batted 16 times against righties from the right-side per Fangraphs). In other words, over the course of his career, teams have clued-in to the fact that Callaspo’s talents favor using him mostly vs. left-handed pitching.

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In 2014, Callaspo changed tendencies but his 77 wRC+ vs. right-handed pitchers was hardly anything to cheer for. While some may see Callaspo as a rebound candidate, there is also reason to worry that this is the beginning of the end for Callaspo since his career low BABIP may have as much to do with a lack of quality ball contact as it does with bad luck. Callaspo’s career BABIP of .281 is below average for most position players but it’s an anomaly for players whose primary skill is not striking out. That ability to avoid strikeouts combined with a penchant for taking walks may have been a driver for adding a low risk/low reward player like Callaspo. In other words, the Braves may have just added a better fielding poor man’s Tommy La Stella on a more expensive contract.

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