Other starting pitching possibilities

Unlike the outfield and infield, where the Braves have too many spots, they’re a little short of pitching considering that all five starters have at least some injury questions. With the Braves’ two most advanced pitching prospects traded, Kyle Davies is now the top prospect in the system and seemingly pencilled in to take over whenever someone goes down. There are many people (starting with Brad, Michael, and Flo) who can tell you much more about Davies than I, but his track record and the Braves’ refusal to trade him in this offseason make him look like a stud. Davies only has a half-season above A-Ball so far, though, and probably needs more seasoning in Richmond. The Braves have been willing to fast-track pitching prospects they really like, and they really like Davies.

The Braves don’t have many hot prospects other than Davies in the upper reaches of their farm system. (They have a pretty sizeable group trying to make the jump to AA, but it’s too early to count on them.) Zach Miner is maybe the next-most-ready pitcher. Miner didn’t pitch well in Greenville last season, though. I doubt he’s in any immediate plans.

What’s left in Richmond is pretty sorry. Sam McConnell pitched briefly as a reliever for the Braves last season. The lefty was pretty decent but it was obvious that Bobby didn’t think much of him. Adam Bernero, signed as a minor league free agent, has perhaps the worst Major League pitching stats of anyone, ever. He must have something going for him, because otherwise even desperate franchises like the Rockies and Tigers wouldn’t have kept giving chances to a guy who is 6-23 with a 5.82 ERA in 314 innings over five seasons.

I’ve said this before, but I still think that Chris Reitsma is miscast as a reliever and would be better suited to the rotation. Yes, he really only has two pitches, but his occasional gopherball tendencies and lack of a true strikeout pitch are less of a concern in the rotation than in the pen. I think it’s more likely he’ll come up with some sort of breaking ball than he’ll suddenly become a dominant reliever. I’ll talk about him more when I get to the bullpen.

There’s a good chance that the Braves will go dumpster-diving for another pitcher to fill out the Richmond rotation or take an injured starter’s place in Atlanta, someone I haven’t mentioned. Hey, who foresaw John Burkett? It’s also possible that someone will jump up out of seemingly nowhere like Horacio Ramirez two years ago. They’ve invited lots of pitchers to spring training.

Kyle Davies – MLB Minor League Statistics – Baseball Cube

Zach Miner – MLB Minor League Statistics – Baseball Cube

Adam Bernero Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

Sam McConnell – MLB Minor League Statistics – Baseball Cube

14 thoughts on “Other starting pitching possibilities”

  1. Juan Cruz lost his arbitration case today. The three-man panel doesn’t even think he’s worth $860K. Oakland ofered $600K, so for a difference of $260K they put Cruz through arbitration, likely causing him some embarassment and loss of self-esteem. Cruz is a guy who has a rep for having a fragile psyche already. Does that make sense? I know Oakland is penny-penching, but for $260K I think it’s worth it to show Cruz they believe in him. He had a great season last year and I miss the guy–what does he have to do to get some respect?

  2. About Cruz: the simple answer is he has to either pitch as a starter or be a closer for the arbitration panel to pay him. He was used — correctly or incorrectly — as a long reliever. In arbitration, a player will receive pay based almost 100% on what he has done and almost 0% on what one projects he will do in the future.

  3. My goodness, I don’t think Cruz is crying cause he lost his arbitration case. He’s not an infant. Self-esteem? Has political correctness really reached it’s ugly talons into the realm of baseball so far that people are now so concerned with self-esteem, especially from something as common as arbitration (and for a player, losing arbitration, since the owners win most of the time)?

  4. Grst, I tend to agree with you, simply because the players see it so much as a business thing. However, if Cruz actually cared, it does seem like a case of penny-wise, pound-foolish. Also, according to a recent Hardball Times study, the owners win more often than not, but I wouldn’t call 59% “most of the time” – it’s pretty close to even, especially given the small sample.

    BTW, the reason I’m posting so much tonight (if twice counts as “so much” :) is because I’m on the road for work, just got off, and have nothing better to do before bed. Anyone here live in Nashville, TN, and know of anything fun to do downtown after dark?

  5. Kyle,

    Go down to Broadway. There’s a lot of nightlife in that area. Plenty of guys dressed like cowboys trying to make it big playing covers.

  6. About Cruz’s self-esteem: All pitchers are highly dependent on their confidence in their own abilities to pitch effectively. If a team knows a guy has some self-confidence issues, how is publicly denigrating your own player’s value worth saving $260K? This is a guy the A’s want to give the ball to in late innings, but they can’t give him an ego boost in the form of a nice raise?

    I understand the arbitration process and normally root for the owners in these situations, but Cruz is a guy I pulled hard for last year and I guess I just feel like I need to defend his honor a bit. Anyway, next topic…

  7. RE: Cruz’s bruised ego.

    As a police officer, my department is presently going on almost 2 years without a contract. One of the main sticking points is that we (our union) would like a 4% raise annually. The city is offering between 0-1% annually. Granted, I chose this profession, but I do wear a bulletproof vest and carry a gun while I’m at work. He happens to throw a baseball 98 mph to make his living. If his ego is bruised due to him only getting $600,000, well he needs to grow up. If he could finally get his head straight and use his talent properly, he wouldn’t be in this position in the first place. It’s like that idiot Sprewell saying he “neds to feed his family”. Are they so irresponsible that they’ve pissed their earnings away? Or are they just plain ass holes pissing on the rest of us who essentially pay their salaries?

    OK, I’ll get off my soap box.

    Kyle, did you find anything fun to do Nashville? Doesn’t Ashley Judd live down that way??

  8. I’m sorry you don’t get paid very much but I fail to see how it has anything to do with baseball, other than it makes you mad that these guys (who are more talented than you at a rarer, more marketable skill) get paid more than you.

    Sure, Spree and the rest should not complain to the media, but ultimately it’s just a loudmouth writer writing down what some loudmouth ballplayer says. Who cares. Being jealous is irrational and childish, whether it’s Sprewell or a fan.

    Also, the owners pay the players, not the fans. The fans create the market. The owners employ the players. Every commodity has consumers who create revenue that goes to the company who pays the employees, but to say that means everyone is employed by the consumers is either hopelessly vague or nonsensically circular.

  9. A circular argument can make sense intuitively even though it is logically impossible.

    Thus, due to the disconnet between human “sense” and non-human “logic”, you can have both kinds of circular reasoning: sensical and nonsensical.

  10. Sorry. Didn’t mean to come off as jealous. Do I wish I was making that kind of money playing baseball? Damn skippy I do!! I just would like these guys to be a little more responsible regarding their words and actions. Wheter they like it or not, they are in the spotlight and should act like professionals. That’s all. I’m not jealous of Spreewell. I just think he’s an idiot.

  11. Thank you baldbrave for putting on that vest. we need you and appreciate it.
    Pitching is such a hard thing to value in dollar terms. When it’s good; it’s priceless.

  12. I think you are probably right about Reitsma, though without another pitch I see him struggling to be average. He got in a lot of trouble last year leaving pitches up in the zone, that’s often a symptom of inconsistent work.

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