Other Relief Possibilities

Since I’ve already listed 13 pitchers, I don’t see how there’s room for anyone else unless more than one person goes, so earning your way onto the staff in spring is going to be tough. The most prominent other name is probably Joey Devine, who seemingly found himself in Mississippi last year but in very limited action. He hasn’t come close to staying healthy yet and still hasn’t pitched well in the majors, though he’s still young. Preferably, he will spend the entire season in Richmond where he will be allowed to mature.

Tanyon Sturtze is signed to a major league contract but had rotator cuff surgery last year, and won’t be available to start the season, thank God. He will get a $350K bonus if he spends one day on the active roster. Sheesh. Sturtze’s eleven-year major league career is essentially inexplicable, but not as inexplicable as Jonathan Johnson‘s inclusion on the 40-man. Johnson is worse than pitchers are.

Blaine Boyer was shut down in April of last season and needed shoulder surgery. He was supposed to miss three months but didn’t pitch at all on any level afterwards. From what I can tell, they never did figure out what was wrong. At this stage, anything we get from him is a bonus, which is a shame because he was turning into a very promising reliever. Unlike, say, Peter Moylan, the latest in a long line of failed sidearmers. Moylan was bad in the majors and abhorrent in AAA. His greatest value is as evidence of how low the level of play in Australia actually is, because he was essentially the Babe Ruth of Australia (the dominant pitcher and home run hitter) in his last season there.

A more interesting Australian (though he was actually born in England), Phillip Stockman, decimated the minor leagues last year, allowing all of three runs in 43 2/3 IP on three levels. He looked to be doing well in his major league callup, but then got hurt (a torn hamstring, requiring surgery) after four outings. The Braves apparently don’t take him seriously, and they know more than I do, but he certainly had AAA batters fooled and he isn’t Tanyon Sturtze. Nor is he Anthony Lerew, whose collapse I covered in the starters post. The odds are that any major league career of significance that Lerew has will be in the pen.

The Braves have been high on high on Jose Ascanio for some time, but there is little statistical evidence as to why. He supposedly has great stuff, and upon promotion to Mississippi did have good strikeout numbers. Maybe he’ll turn out to be something after all, but since he got such an early start to his career there’s not much time left for the Braves. After 25 awful innings (5.61 ERA) last year, Kevin Barry was removed from the 40-man, but has been asked back as an NRI. Unless the entire staff comes down with injuries — not impossible — he will start out in Richmond.

There are three other NRIs. Matt Harrison surely won’t be on the roster just to be a reliever. The other two are veteran journeymen. Steve Colyer is lefthanded, and presumably will be a candidate if anything happens to Gonzalez or McBride, neither of whom is exactly Charley Radbourn. Unfortunately, Colyer has spent the last three seasons doing his best impression of a batting practice machine, and there’s no evidence he’s worth keeping around. Buddy Carlyle has been around a long while (over 1100 minor league innings) and isn’t the worst pitcher in the world, but is still basically filler. He might get a spot start if all the other spot starter candidates are all unavailable, but is more likely to fill in in the bullpen.

Joey Devine Baseball Statistics
Tanyon Sturtze Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com
Jonathan Johnson Baseball Statistics
Blaine Boyer Baseball Statistics
peter moylan Baseball Statistics
Phil Stockman Baseball Statistics
Anthony Lerew Baseball Statistics
Jose Ascanio Baseball Statistics
Kevin Barry Baseball Statistics
Steve Colyer Baseball Statistics
Buddy Carlyle Baseball Statistics

68 thoughts on “Other Relief Possibilities”

  1. The bullpen looks extremely deep this year, assuming no injuries among the recently hired hands. This leads me to suspect that some of the Braves’ relief guys may get traded in Spring training. But what would they want in return? Now what the Braves really need is a potential 1 or 2 starter prospect, but nobody ever intentionally trades away those, do they?

  2. OK, so since Japanese pitchers pitch on five days rest, does that mean they have a six-man rotation, or do they just have more days off than the MLB? I was wondering that as I was brushing my teeth just now. I had to spit and come type. I’m weird… I know.

  3. Some of these guys need to get a job and get on with their lives. Of course, if you make it into just one major league game, you’ve done something most guys only dream about, like Moonlight Graham. Just think about having your name in Total Baseball or some other baseball encyclopedia and being there forever. I guess that’s why guys are willing to stay in the minors for years and make peanuts.

  4. As I understand it, Japanese teams typically have 6-man rotations. You can ask Bobby Valentine if you want a more knowledgable answer. (Or Wikipedia. Either one :-) )

    I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the Braves trade one of their AAA arms if someone comes calling. All they’re likely to get in return, however, is a live, projectable arm from A-ball.

  5. I think Moylan is not that bad. His Atlanta statistics are not awful. I would say they are replacement level. He throws 96 side armed and if he develops a decent changeup, he could wear batters out (he supposedly has been working on a changeup this winter). A circle change from that release would be a partial sinker.

    K/BB was good (although walks were a little high). Remember, this guy just started throwing side arm in late 2004 or early 2005. He has significant possibility of improvement on pitch development, mechanics, and control. Also, he may one day be able to go over the top again without pain (a la Jimmy Morris a/k/a “The Rookie”). If you showcased over the top every once and a while, that would look guys up. Just look at what Smoltz and Pedro do when they change arm angles.

    Other than occasional wild streaks, I don’t see why the organization is not bigger on Stockman. He throws 98!!! He has the potential to be a monster. We need to showcase him big time in spring and either decide to use him or get somthing for him.

  6. http://www.wsvn.com/

    I can’t figure out how to do a link of just the video part, but check out this police chase in Miami from about an hour ago. Apparently the third guy got away – this is about as awful as I’ve ever seen any police agency be in a car chase.

  7. Actually, it looks like they did it about right. Why have 3, 4, 5 cop cars after the person when you can basically surround the community in police, allow the helicopter to pursue the vehicle (can’t outrun the helicopter), and wait til you have a shot at reprimanding them. They’ve got two, with a visual on the third.

  8. Rob, I was just noting the times the guy went into places (like the apartment complex) when it would have been easy to catch him there if you’re in hot pursuit.

  9. Yeah, I agree. There were times when they were basically confined where they had golden opportunities and I was just thinking, “Where the heck are the police?!” So yeah, that’s a good point. I’m just thinking about the times where he just basically didn’t get hit, you can pretty much guarantee more wrecks with 4 or 5 other vehicles in hot pursuit. Near the very end of the pursuit where the SUV just barely misses a bus, I was thinking that another car would have been hit by the bus, easily. I think it’s amazing that they were driving so fast for so long, and it took 16 whole minutes for them to wreck. Thank God it wasn’t worse.

  10. That is a good story. Bartram Trail High School was where my cousins graduated from. Very nice school. It’s good to see them helping that school in Alaska.

  11. Bama or Tennessee tonight? Tenn. is very strong at home, of course Bama is sloppy on the road. I have a funny feeling that Bama will win this game though…

  12. Georgia or Ole Miss? The game is in Oxford. I think I like Georgia. Does anyone know the spread?

  13. Virginia Tech or Boston College? BC won by 21 last time but both teams come in needing a win to stay towards the top of the ACC. VT coming off their worst loss of the season, losing by 25 against NC State and BC is coming off of back-to-back loses to at home against Duke and UNC. GO HOKIES!!!

  14. Um…Vandy or Mississippi State?

    It sure looks like a letdown game, it’s on the road, and the Bulldogs are pretty athletic.

    My heart says Vandy keeps it going, but my head says MSU knocks us off. I do think we’ll beat Kentucky on Saturday, though.

  15. Non Roster Invitee. A player who isn’t signed to a major-league contract and isn’t on the 40-man roster, but is invited to spring training. There are three types:

    1. Players who have only been in the system a brief time and are in the big league camp so the manager and coaches can see them and get acquainted.
    2. Veteran players, often with major league experience, signed to a contract that gives them a chance to make the big club.
    3. Players who are there just to fill a role in spring training — mainly meaning catchers so that pitchers don’t have to wait around.

    The Braves have only a couple of the first type this year. There are a few veteran types who might make it if there’s a rash of injuries. Most are just filler players.

  16. well then, look what I started. All questions and no answers. so here you go.

    #14 – Bama
    #15 – Ole Miss
    Spread Ole Miss -3.0
    #16 – UCONN
    #17 – Plastic
    Briefs
    Potatoes
    #18 – VT
    #20 – ???
    #21 – MSU

  17. It won’t be easy, but I’m hoping UGA can get to 20 wins: Go 3-1 down the stretch & pick up at least one conference tourney win.

  18. Oh, by the way, I think it’s hilarious we’re both checking the board at the exact same time.

  19. Alright, going to Subway. Can’t argue.

    Here’s a new poll:

    Subway
    Larry’s Giant Subs
    Firehouse Subs
    Other

  20. Great article on Chuckie. I had not heard (read?) either story about the snake or jumping off the roof. From all accounts, the dude sounds like a hoot!

  21. Stu,

    I am very concerned about this game tonight. My gut is with yours. A very tough game on the road after a huge win – we seem due for a let down.

    I am just going to take one last look at the college sports rankings while I can enjoy them:

    Vandy Men #17
    Vandy Women #12
    Vandy Baseball #3

  22. From the Chuck James story: “He only throws 88, but it’s a hard 88, a deceptive 88. You can’t teach that.”

    Speaking from extensive batting practice experience facing Smitty, I can vouch for the fact that while he only throws 73, it’s a hard 73, a deceptive 73. And you definitely can’t teach that.

  23. got food poisoning from Subway, so therefore they suck. Publix and Quizno’s have good subs. Dont like Firehouse either

  24. I would vote Quizno’s over the others anyday. Jersey Mike’s might be the worst thing I’ve ever eaten in my life.

  25. Me and Smitty are #1 in the other two. Smitty pitches and plays infield; I catch and play the outfield. I think I got it harder. But hey, we’re playing well. And I will vouch for Smitty too. Not only does Smitty throw a hard, deceptive 73 mph heater, he’s got a wicked 12 foot arc on his lob ball. When the wind is going his way, you just gotta pray for rain.

  26. Stu, are you serious? It seems appropriate considering the teams we have beaten so far. I was just looking at Baseball America.

    Have we ever been #1 in anything?

  27. Last Sunday Steve Philips suggested that the Braves should trade Chuck James to Tampa for 2B Jorge Cantu. I wonder why the Mets fired him, I mean, he seems like a very, very smart GM.

  28. Not only is Steve Philips a very smart man, he also has ESPN’s most immaculately coiffed goatee. I’d be willing to bet they have 2-3 interns dedicated to that facial structure alone.

  29. I wouldn’t trade Chuck James to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for anything less than…. the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, including Tropicana Field and Lou Pinella’s old razor.

  30. Parish,

    This is the first time in any men’s sport that Vandy’s ever been ranked #1. That tells a sad story — but I’m enjoying the present!

    Wryn,

    You can’t be serious. Have you ever had the #13? You literally have no taste if you can’t appreciate that sandwich.

  31. RotoWire had Hernandez on the Mississippi roster last year, so it doesn’t look like he’s formally given up.

    And the Hogs are stinking it up at Auburn, almost as bad as Vandy is in Starkville. That I can kind of understand; being in Starkville makes one lose the will to live.

  32. Rob,

    Remember when I said to lighten up? Yeah, this would be another time where that applies.

    We’re talking about sandwiches. Taste-less? Get it? Please? Sheesh.

  33. “Preferably, he will spend the entire season in Richmond where he will be allowed to mature.”

    That is completely pointless. They drafted Devine for the sole purpose that he was the nearest thing to the majors. I highly doubt a full year in AAA will do him any good.

    Yates and Paronto are probably going to block out Devine and Stockman. What a world.

  34. I’m lightened. I’m feather-weight baby. Who said I wasn’t? Oh yeah, you just don’t wanna be held accountable for what you say.

  35. Looks like ‘Bama and Tennessee are in a close game. Florida probably will win by 10 or so against USC. Mississippi State, third in the struggling SEC West, is beating Vanderbilt by 20.

  36. Rob,

    How could you forget about Va Tech destroying BC…79-62 ;)

    oh and I can’t forget to mention UCONN beat Rutgers again, 65-55. Next year we’ll be back to our regular winning ways. Don’t forget we only have 1 senior and only 1 junior on our roster but neither play.

  37. Okay, Rob, I’m going to try this one more time before I give up on you completely.

    The discussion was about sandwich preferences. Sandwiches are edible. Things that are edible are often judged on how they taste. To Wryn, I said, “You literally have no taste if you can’t appreciate that sandwich.” It was a joke revolving around the word, “taste.” Get it? It may not have been a very funny or clever joke — although it was apparently sufficiently clever to keep you from realizing it even was a joke — but, nonetheless, a joke it was.

    I’m sure everyone here appreciates your attempts to respond to every single one of my posts, thereby keeping me and my dangerous tongue-in-cheek rhetoric in check, but seriously, dude, lighten up. There was nothing there for which I need anyone “holding me accountable.”

    On a completely unrelated note, I was (unfortunately) right about the Vandy-MSU game. What is strange is the fact that they beat us by exactly the same score we beat Florida. I’m confident that we’ll bounce back at home against Kentucky.

  38. Too bad for Vandy–but it is not surprising. Miss State at home would have been tough even if Vandy had not beaten Florida. I agree with Stu–Vandy should win on Saturday and I would love to be in Memorial Gym to see it….

  39. I’m light dude. I don’t know what to tell ya. You seem to have Rob Disease. Taking everything seriously…

  40. Mac–good list, but here are a few more names to consider. Trey Hodges and Jeff Bennett are both working with the Braves in the hopes of resurfacing in the Major Leagues. Now, I would hardly jump up and down for joy to see them put on Braves’ uniforms this season, but I certainly prefer either to Jonathan Johnson.

    Also, Will Startup (he is far more advanced than Ascanio) pitched brilliantly last season until his weaknesses were exposed in Richmond. While I would not expect him to start the season in Atlanta, he could be there by the second half if circumstances warrant. Startup has the chance to be a useful pitcher–and more important,he has a name which will be fun to play with…I can already hear “Start Me Up”…

  41. Mac already listed a ton of options, so guys like Hodges and Bennett aren’t really necessary. I liked Trey Hodges a lot, but I don’t he has a shot. Startup, however, seems to have a better shot than Jonathan Johnson.

    I love the depth we have in the bullpen when we’re listing other decent options in our pen after we’ve named a good ten or so.

  42. Is Johnathan Johnson predominantly a reliever or is he a guy that just doesn’t have the stamina to start? Perhaps he’s a guy that’s decent, but doesn’t have stamina to be a reliable starting pitching option. In that case, he could be a Lance Cormier/Vulture type that may be able to give you 5 innings of competitive pitching. Perhaps that’s why he’s on the 40 man?

  43. Kind of a spot-starter type, IIRC? I believe I saw where the Braves’ scouts were high on him or something (I know, I know). That’s probably your reason for the roster spot.

    WRT a couple posts ago, Yates is a little better than it may seem, IMO. When Scott Proctor came up in rumors for Betemit last year, I thought Yates didn’t compare too unfavorably there (I guess Yates went a bit south and Proctor’s arm held up through the overwork – look out for 2007). Yates is roughly at the prime age, doesn’t have too much mileage on his arm (due mostly to injuries), is coming off TJ a couple years ago, and throws pretty hard. He’s not exactly the typical retread soft-tossing tweener that we usually have – more of a injury-plagued hard thrower without significant injury risks going forward (that I know of). That doesn’t necessarily guarantee success or suggest a spot in the pen, but he could be decent.

  44. Actually, many of these guys do not have ‘a shot’ unless their are injuries. However, it is a long season so some of the guys who will be on Richmond’s roster may well do stints in Atlanta. I might add that if Tanyon Sturtze is plausible, so too, might be Bennett–who if healthy has a far greater upside.

    Otherwise, I agree: we have lots of depth for the bullpen. It may be that Johnson and Hodges (or even Kevin Barry) become stop gap starters if we cannot find a 5th starter. That might well be better than ‘devining’ Harrison by rushing him to the majors before he is ready….

  45. Right. Under normal circumstances, these guys don’t have a shot. But if you have Paronto, Yates, Villarreal, McBride, Cormier, etc. (the back end of the bullpen), you’re more likely to see the guys Mac mentioned instead of Trey Hodges, Johnathon Johnson, or Bennett.

    As for Sturtze, I still don’t understand why he was signed. To me, he’s not going to be any better than Moyland, Stockman, or even Devine or Lerew. Why potentially commit, what is it, $1.3M if he makes the roster to a guy that has 8 or so guys ahead of him in quality that would be serviceable in any impact innings, most if not all of which make around the league minimum. I really don’t understand it.

    What I would really like to see is somehow making a package of these young, decent-upside relievers/starters for an inning-eating 4th or 5th starter. That would be the one trade I would like to see happening. Don’t touch the lineup, don’t touch the Wickman/Soriano/Gonzalez/Yates/Paronto/McBride part of the bullpen, just somehow upgrade the back end of the rotation.

  46. That would be great if it was possible–but I rather suspect that it is easier to imagine than to realize.

    Instead, I would not be surprised to see us try to make use of whatever retreads surface (assuming that Davies and Cormier are not up to the job). To be fair, the Braves have had some luck with this before and it is inexpensive.

    I suspect that they signed Sturtze as part of a larger strategy of collecting potential arms. This holds for Johnson as well. The Braves like veterans so they spent money on Sturtze and allowed Matt Wright to walk and did not protect Sean White. Now neither is great, but I woud rather have the 1 million or so and Wright and White (hard to say as it might be) than Sturtze and Johnson….

  47. Sturtze was mystifying at the time, and with the recent amassing of bullpen arms, it has yet to make any more sense. Chalk it up to scouts, or maybe JS drew a line in the sand and said, “Our pitching this year will only get as bad as Sturtze, no worse!”. I guess you know what you’re getting if he’s healthy.

    Bennett can be better than Yates, I think. Problem with him seems to be that the injuries are ongoing and still a concern. Definitely worth keeping around, though, and if he does well, he’ll jump some guys IMO. We would have likely seen him last year if not for more arm problems.

  48. I agree with you about Bennett, but if you are right about Sturtze that ‘line in the sand’ ought to be redrawn.

    Since I am biased towards the farm and since we are throwing around a number of names let me add three from Mississippi: Dan Smith, Francisely Bueno and Arthur Santos. All three have shown some flashes of real ability. Smith has a great K rate, Bueno, who apparently was regarded as one of Cuba’s best pitchers, battled some minor injuries in his first year in the U.S. but his numbers are still ok, and Santos was simply lights out. Now Bueno and Santos are older than most, but once you starting investing in Tanyon and Jonthan Johnson, I hardly see the danger in favoring relatively young arms.

    The nice thing is that for once we really have some bullpen depth….

  49. I think we lost a few games last year for want of a couple run-of-the-mill bad pitchers. Granted, 1.3 million is quite a bit to pay for someone you expect to be bad (but consistent!). I’m guessing that’s where scouting comes in, though Sturtze has been hurt (shoulder? not a great sign…). Hard to get a read on any late-blooming.

    I have his autograph. Not sure if him pitching for the Braves in ’07 would help the non-existent value or hurt it, and I’m also not sure I want to find out.

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