201415 Barves 2, Marlins 6

Despite the Johns’ attempted purge of all things Frank Wren, his ghost must still be haunting Turner Field, because it is pretty obvious he has put this team under the Imperius Curse. All winter the Braves insisted the new BravesWayTM was getting back to the old-old BravesWayTM, but after back-to-back games where the only Braves offense has come off of solo home runs, the new BravesWayTM has started to look suspiciously like Wren’s old BravesWayTM.

Dan Haren no-hit the Braves until the 5th inning, by which point Eric Stults had already pitched like himself and ensured the Marlins a win on getaway day. Considering his team swept these guys on their home field last week, Stults’s gesture was quite benevolent.

The Braves offense came on home runs by Cameron Maybin and Kelly Johnson, and if you’d like to see the new team looking suspiciously like the old team, you can check them out here and here.

This series will probably prove to be pretty typical for this team—pitching will determine if the Braves are in the game or not. Scoring 2-3 runs a game sounds about right. In what may also prove to be pretty typical, even when the dregs of the rotation are starting, the defensive highlights will be work checking out. The Jace Peterson/Andrelton Simmons double play combo is a pleasure to watch, and they turned a couple of good ones today. Also, in case you weren’t aware, Christian Bethancourt has a cannon.

Even after the first series loss of the season, take heart. Things could always be worse. We could always be the Phillies…who have Jeff Francoeur batting cleanup tonight.

97 thoughts on “201415 Barves 2, Marlins 6”

  1. I think some Phillies blog should take a page from Mac and dub him Francoeur, Ultimate Clean-up King.

  2. Wow. Wow. Wow. Francoeur in the Four-Hole. That’s not even a Double-A lineup. The Philedelphia Phillies are a proud, historically successful, large market franchise. How for the love of cheesesteak could they possible have gotten that bad? Maybe they think emulating the 76ers is the way to go. Hopefully no one from Fulton County tells me that only works in basketball.

    Oh, and as for the Braves? Yeah, I think we’ll be seeing our fair share of this.

    What’s the “timeline” if you will for new blood this year? I imagine at some points this season we’ll see Peraza, Folty, Wisler, and Banuelos, right? I’d imagine we’d also see Vizcaino once his sabbatical is complete.

    It would certainly seem appropriate this season for someone to do a weekly “Down on the Farm” to keep the spirits up.

  3. @8 – cosigned. I hope Bethancourt turns into a great player and I wish him all the best, but I see no evidence of anything but an arm tool so far. I feel like the Braves have rushed to anoint him for no empirical reason and it’s one of the weirder things about a weirdly constructed team.

    I mean, I get throwing him in the lineup and seeing if he can grow, but cleanup and 5 hole?

  4. @8

    Yes, but the big difference is that we are Rebuilding (TM). We’ve waived the white flag, and that’s why Bethancourt is the fourth best hitter in the lineup. The Phillies are actually trying.

  5. Amaro has said multiple times that the Phillies are now rebuilding. His problem is, he either can’t figure out that Hamels AND Hamels’ salary isn’t going to net him a couple top prospects. Or Phillies’ fans will hunt him down if the return for Hamels’ and his salary isn’t two top prospects.

  6. Or, Amaro believes that closer to the deadline, some team needing a front line starter will overpay those two prospects for Hamels. He may be rolling the dice looking for the home run. Meanwhile, the Johns settled for a solid double with the Kinbrel/Upton deal/salary dump for just one solid prospect.

  7. What I find most frustrating is the “we are rebuilding” mantra. Read between the lines. Hart is saying, “my cheap a$$ boss won’t spend money and let me to go after established players.” So now we must hope that the prospects will pan out. Good luck with that. With some money and baseball know how the Braves could compete and rebuild.

  8. Both of those double plays were just gorgeous. Tournament idea for next winter, ‘Rissa?

  9. @11

    He needs to hope the Dodgers/Yankees/Red Sox/Cubs are in contention and need a pitcher.

  10. How about a similar contest as this past off-season but limited to double plays only? It seems we are likely to pile up a bunch of double play candidates this year to choose from.

  11. @15 Right, good point. Good point. But they were awfully nice. Even if I feel a little silly now.

  12. So, naturally we lead the NL East in runs scored through the first 3 series. Why wouldn’t we?

  13. Lots of talk about the Yanks wanting Peraza. What do they have that we would want? The speculation at MLBTR suggests Sanchez their catching prospect but that makes no sense right? I could see Judge, but that wouldn’t be enough for me and I’m not sure they have any other pieces that I’d want enough to part with Peraza.

  14. Well, if we’re looking to start a negative FIP club, Luis Severino has one for 2015. I don’t know why the Yankees would be interested in shuffling deck chairs, or why we’d trade a position player for another pitching prospect. Unless we secretly suspect Peraza will bust.

  15. If the Braves think that Ozhaino Albies (I think that’s the spelling) can be ready by 2018 or so, then they may feel Peraza is expendable all else being equal. And if Jace can hold down 2b until Albies arrives, then why not flip Peraza for an area of need?

    Of course, I haven’t heard what the Yankees have in their system that we’d be interested in.

  16. The work done by W.C.G. and Adam R. toward the end of the last thread should not go unrecognized.

  17. Albies turned 18 in January and has played six games above rookie ball; the best that one can say about him is that he is at least three years away. Depending on injuries, struggles with adjustment to higher levels, or other complicating factors, it could be six.

    Any decision on Peraza should be made independently of what the Braves believe they can get from Albies.

  18. Severino would be a great get. Jorge Mateo wouldn’t be bad either, but I wouldn’t give up Peraza for him.

  19. An interesting new thing at Yankee Stadium this year: A couple times during the game, the big board in CF plays a minute-long “prospect spotlight” & shows highlights of a single-A guy playing in front of 11 people hitting one into the gap or striking out a 158-pound shortstop.

    It wouldn’t be a big deal for any other club, except that the Yankees have never done that. But with a roster full of aging & injured vets, plus a fragile starting rotation, it’s like they’re saying to the fans, “We know this team ain’t all that… but just wait.”

  20. @24 – thank you, thank you…

    @29 – bro do you even Atlanta? The connector doesn’t start for another ten miles from where that stadium’s going! You have to use the I-285 bicycle lane (third lane from the left, they just restriped it last year), or the Silver Comet Trail’s Galleria extension. Duh.

  21. Plant even went so far as to provide ” rel=”nofollow”>artist’s renditions of what biking to the park would be like for fans.

    @24, De nada.

  22. Kyle Kubitza watch: .333/353/.576 with 6 XBH in 33 AB at AAA Salt Lake

    I would say we should trade for that guy, but we’re set at 3B for the next 3 years with Dorn and Callaspo.

  23. Salt Lake’s a bandbox. It’s a good thing there’s so much salt there, because you need it with the hitting statistics compiled there.

  24. @33 – PCL warning. Or what @34 said.

    Biking in Atlanta? Wouldn’t you have to drink ceremonial sake, tie a special head band around your head and say good bye to your loved ones first?

  25. Hah, I don’t Atlanta any more, actually — haven’t lived there full time since I left for college in 2002. (And, apart from one summer day in 1995, I’ve never ridden a bicycle at all.)

    Do people actually use the I-285 bicycle lane? That sounds legitimately terrifying.

    Also, yeah: Salt Lake epitomizes the hitter-happy Pacific Coast League, which is full of high-altitude desert ballparks which many have said is like hitting on the moon.

  26. @34, it may be a bandbox, but if small park dimensions were affecting his stats, wouldn’t we expect him to have a bunch of homers instead of doubles and triples (he has 4 2B, 2 3B vs zero HR)?

  27. Not necessarily. The PCL is a good league for hitting in general, not just power. People routinely misevaluate prospects that come through there based solely on the numbers. There was a period of time where everyone said the Angels had a monster farm system, but the only actual good hitters to come out of it were Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar, who are only reasonable hitters if you adjust for position.

    That’s not to say Kubitza can’t be a useful piece, but it’s unlikely the Braves traded away a fledgling MVP candidate here. Those numbers need some air let out of them.

  28. Kubitza could be a useful part. He’s not likely to be Miggy Cabrera. That said, it’s reasonable to ask why we ditched him. They will need reasonably competent hitters too.

  29. It was a bit weird to see them trading a prospect for a prospect, but it makes sense to stockpile lottery tickets like Ricardo Sanchez — he has a very high upside, and if you can get that kind of upside in exchange for a person your scouts don’t believe will start in the majors, it makes total sense. If they thought Kubitza could start, they could have held onto him and gotten someone other than Rio Ruiz from the Astros.

  30. Just checked Heyward’s stats. Saw his .229 batting average and said to myself “man, he’s not doing very well”. Then I remembered how many April’s of his I’d wished he’d hit for so high an average.

    @42, yeah, Sanchez has a higher ceiling. It seems like you have to start accruing position talent at some point, though. If they trade Peraza for another pitcher, I will really start scratching my head.

  31. Ok, I’ll weigh in on this Peraza thing, because it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me yet.

    The only reasons to trade Peraza at this point would be if

    a.) we’re sure we have another good internal option. (Jace Peterson is likable as all get out, but there’s no way he has any kind of claim to the job long-term yet.)
    b.) we’ve lost confidence in Peraza. (Have we?)
    c.) there’s a prospect we like much, much better somewhere.

    Peraza isn’t blocked by anyone at this point. If we still think he’s a good player, we don’t have much to gain by trading him.

  32. @36 – two weeks late, but I might’ve just April Fools’d you.

    That whole subthread was just an arch joke about how tone-deaf this corporation is about what it’s attempting to do in a particular spot of the metro area that’s completely ill-equipped for it. (Do not attempt to bike the “Silver Comet Galleria Extension” either, as by that I mean Cobb Parkway.)

    It’s frustrating, because every time I want to just put old grievances away and watch some random guys with familiar logos on their chests play baseball, I’m reminded that behind the scenes are a ham-fisted bunch of out-of-towners who could really give a damn what sort of external costs they inflict. Maybe not even that they could give a damn so much as they’re so out of touch as to be legitimately clueless? Bike to the Cloverleaf. Let them eat Markakis.

    I dunno. I still like a lot of the individual players, although the organization itself has an insulting tendency to piss on my head and tell me it’s raining. Mostly I just like you guys, though. That’s what keeps me coming back. You’re good internet company, and that’s about all I’m invested in at this point.

  33. DOB is relaying a Braves official saying the Braves have no interest in moving Peraza, for what that’s worth. Of course, they had no interest in moving Kimbrel either… but now the Braves don’t have an Upton they’re desparate to get rid of.

    The interest in Peraza seems to be purely from the Yankees’ side, but they don’t seem to match up well. Not that this will stop the NY media from wishcasting, of course. (“The Braves should count themselves lucky to get the Yankees’ second-best catching prospect!”)

  34. They’ve been bringing in some position talent, but the position players they’ve gotten — both Petersons, Mallex Smith, Rio Ruiz — basically have the ceiling of an above-average starter. There are more potential blue chippers among the pitchers, but obviously correspondingly higher risk.

    I’d guess that the ultimate plan is to do what they’ve pretty much always done: assemble a lineup of decent position players, a good rotation, and trade pitching prospects to fill holes.

  35. @48 – Nick ‘Let them eat’ Markakis.

    Straight out of the 1980’s Chris Berman/Sports Center Playbook. Well done!

  36. @50 There just don’t seem to be many opportunities to trade for real blue-chip position player prospects these days… Samardzija and Hammel for Addison Russell last year stands out in my mind as an exception. Offense (and especially power hitting) is at such a premium these days that nobody wants to part with it.

  37. I wouldn’t trade Peraza just for the hell of it, but if someone offered a high upside power bat then I’d trade him. Maybe its just me but I wonder if Peraza’s great minor league career to date translates to MLB. But then again I have an aversion to players that walk little and are batting average dependent for their offensive value.

    Kubitza was a legit trade. Recall that his excellent 2014 was the result of a rather unsustainable BABIP.

    edit: @50 – The Braves Way!

  38. The-jumping-on-the-announcers-for-the-touting-of-the-small-ball-notion thing (whether valid or not) is already getting fucking tiresome, too. It’s actually a bigger asschapper than having to listen to the announcers go on.

  39. @48
    I considered setting aside my Braves fandom, at least for a while, after this past offseason on top of the whole WFF thing. But then still I found myself here just about every day. I reckon I’ll always be a fan as long as Braves Journal is around.

  40. Yeah it sucks that we’ve disenfranchised the legions of fans that currently bike to Turner Field…

  41. @45

    I’m interested to hear how he’ll blame his team because of where they placed him in the order.

    “Well, they wanted me to hit clean up, so I had to swing for the fences every time and never take a walk.”

    Why am I so bitter towards Heyward? I really loved that guy. I guess that comment just irked me a little.

  42. No large percentage of Braves fans are ever going to bike to the stadium, either in Summerhill or Galleria. That said, arguing that the area that the Braves are directly rebuilding to resemble the walkable, livable, bikable Atlantic Station, which could be easily connected to the Beltline via a Silver Comet spur by 2017, doesn’t have that infrastructure today, is the epitome of refusing to even think about the issue at hand.

    Atlanta in 2017 will be a lot different, ITP (and in Galleria/Cumberland Mall) than it is today. You couldn’t walk/bike Atlantic Station when it was Atlantic Steel.

  43. Braves said they weren’t trading Gattis or Kimbrel. Now I fully expect Peraza to be moved because why not?

  44. @59 – you’re good internet company because you make creative arguments on behalf of uncreative people, and I respect that.

    So I’ll take you up on this. It’s five miles of prime Smyrna territory, none of which that I know of is abandoned rail right of way, from the Comet’s eastern terminus to WFF. Are you positing that in 23 months they’ll acquire and build out that path? You remember how long it took to build out the Eastside Trail, which was pretty much laid out on a pre-existing silver platter, no? (Bonus: this hypothetical thing traverses Cobb Parkway – where, how?)

    The optimistic explanation, such as you’ve posited, is that it’s all part of a broader community-minded local redevelopment strategy. The Occam’s Razor explanation is they’re just making this up as they go because Cobb threw a bag of money at them; World Cup urban planning at its finest. We’ll see who’s right in two years, I suppose.

  45. At the bottom of Peanut’s story:

    Former Braves scout Jeff Wren (@MLBGrapevine) was the first to report that the Yanks had sent a scout to watch Peraza.

    I love that Wren found a small way to make a little trouble and sow some more seeds of distrust, ala @61, amongst our fanbase. Look at the pains Peanut had to take to speak clearly and definitively:

    While the Braves also publicly said this past offseason that they did not plan to trade Craig Kimbrel, who was recently dealt to the Padres, this situation is different with Peraza.

  46. @58, I get that that kind of thing would irk you, but I’m still not convinced that’s what he said. I think that’s what the reporter wrote around a few sort of blank-ish-spring’s-here comments from Heyward.

  47. @63

    If I were the Wren’s I would try to troll the Braves as hard as I could for the forseeable future. The fact that this story came from a Wren is pretty hilarious.

  48. Imagine a world in which Wren gets the Phillies or Mets GM job. They could’ve just fired him, but no, they had to try to ruin his career…

  49. @59 – If I’m reading Plant’s comments correctly, he’s saying that the Braves are hoping to work with the other area CIDs to create a way to make that happen. Is that necessarily going to be a Beltline/Comet/Spur path through Vinings? No. Is it even definitely going to happen? No. But the top end Perimeter “communities” are themselves mirroring the CoA/ITP push to make themselves more bike/walk friendly. So I’m not going to simply laugh off the idea because “oh my god, have you seen Cobb Parkway today, man?!” We’re dumping millions, creeping into the billions if you combine Beltline and Streetcar and “Brookhaven City Center” and the new Cobb County development for WFF all together, into changing the character of Atlanta. Not the second ring suburbs, and not the exurbs. But Atlanta and the first ring suburbs? Yes. We’re doing that today. And if the Braves are even slightly part of that, even if it’s just for CID tax breaks around their new stadium, they’re on the side of the good for a minute or two at least.

  50. I’m probably never going to bike to a Braves game, but it’s an decent intention that isn’t as unfeasible as some of you seem to think. There are a number of bike paths already in place in the neighborhood of the new stadium, none of which would require you to risk your life riding down Cobb Parkway. One could hypothetically already ride via existing Chattahoochee Recreation Area trails all the way from Johnson Ferry Road east of the stadium and from the Cobb/Fulton line south of the stadium to within a half-mile of the new stadium, without ever dealing with an actual road until you made it to Windy Ridge Pkwy. As for the Silver Comet, the city of Smyrna already has in place very wide, pretty bike-friendly sidewalks north of that trail alongside Atlanta Road and a good portion of Spring Road.
    Now, White Flight Field? There are far too many minorities in this zip code for that to be a proper nickname. The stadium backs up to Swapna, for God’s sake.

  51. @66, I would watch that movie.

    Proposed cast:

    The Clubhouse:
    Melvin “B.J.” Upton, Jr.: Derek Luke
    Justin Upton: Rob Brown
    David Wright: Jeremy Renner
    Terry Collins: William Forsythe
    Fredi Gonzalez: Miguel Ferrer

    The Executive Lounge:
    Frank Wren: William Fichtner
    John Hart: Ed Harris
    John Schuerholz: Michael Gambon
    Fred Wilpon: Beau Bridges

    Any other suggestions?

  52. I used to work for the distinguished* local paper in Marietta that obsessively covered development minutia, and you couldn’t drive a rocket motorcycle over the canyon disconnect between what the local elected this that and the other would say and then do when it came to planning. Every meeting: It would be great if people could bike! Man, wouldn’t a trolley be swell? Hey, there are some old warehouses we can reclaim for artists! This would be a great place for the whole family to walk! Every reality: Meh, just toss up a strip mall, widen this road a couple more lanes, and that’ll do ya.

    I laugh about Cobb Parkway because that’s all there is, and that’s all there will be, barring some The Day The Earth Stood Still intervention.

    * I mean, it thought it was.

  53. I understand the instinct to ignore any talk of livable communities in the Cobb/Marietta area. I really do. But it seems that when asking “will they ever stop talking and actually build a walkable community project at all?!” we might consider the fact that, good ol’ boy glad handing and tax commissioner shenanigans aside, the WFF project IS EXACTLY THAT. And the Braves, and more importantly Liberty, are the landlords who want very, very much for that investment/development to succeed along the lines of Atlantic Station.

  54. @70

    Gambon: “The time has come to make a choice between what is right and what is easy.”

    Brown: “Wait…that’s why you’re trading me to San Diego for a handful of muggles and squibs?”

    Actually, I’d prefer the Gosford Park Gambon character, carrying around a spoiled terrier and mock-casually brushing the dust off the young interns’ bosoms before pissing off the rest of his preening front office and locking himself in the study with whisky and a newspaper.

  55. Ed Harris: [Earpiece casually glinting in the fluorescent office lighting, looking out over the front office as an intern hands him a cup of coffee.] “We’ll use the Mound’s gravity to slingshot them around second-base. Let’s bring these guys home.”

  56. I read the Peanut article. Is the new Braves way also like the old Braves way in the sense that we can only have one good player at a give position at one time. Since Andrelton is entrenched at SS, does that mean every level has to have a SS that sucks, or can we have an extra on hand just in case, you know, Andrelton gets hurt or traded or leaves one day. Also, how is Peraza not already a better option for LF than what we have now?

    Obviously trade away if you think you can get a better player, but let’s hold off on the Jace Peterson “emergence” until he gets 100 ABs in the majors. BTW, Jace is OPS’ing .338 in his first 85 MLB ABs. Not quite emerging if you ask me.

  57. Minor league stuff:

    Peraza had back-to-back multi-hit games to get his OBP over .300 on the young season. That included a double and a triple, his first XBH’s. Maybe his bat is waking from its spring torpor.

    Eury Perez has 6 steals in 7 games and a .353 OBP. Todd Cunningham hasn’t carried his spring success to Gwinnett with him.

    The Gwinnett Braves have zero HR in 8 games…

    which is 1 fewer than Mallex Smith who is slashing .320/.379/.440 with 3 steals for Miss. Rio Ruiz is continuing to lash doubles. Matt Lipka is either fluking or juicing.

    Sims got smacked around last night for the ‘cats, but Andrew Thurman (Gattis trade) pitched a nifty 6 inning shut out in his first start. He’s on the hill again today.

    Braxton Davison has a .417 OBP and a .125 batting average for Rome. Albies is hitting his weight.

  58. @70, And I think Richard Gere circa Chicago should be Frank Wren. For the off-putting personality, the hair, and for his timeless two-men-on-base musical number: “Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes, they both–oh yes, they both–oh yes, they both reached for the runs, the runs, the runs, the runs–oh yes, they both reach for the runs, for the runs.”

    @78, .085?

  59. Thanks for @78. I think we should find someone to do a weekly Farm Recap to post on off-days (or just every Friday.) At this point, farm progress is probably more important long term than MLB results.

  60. I thought about Gere, but I had to go with Fichtner — Gere just isn’t malevolent-crazy enough for me.

    Just imagine Frank Wren standing in an office with John Schuerholz and bug-eyed smiling at him right after hearing that he’s been fired, slowly walking forward.

  61. @78, 80

    Also, does anyone live in our minor league cities? Would people be willing to give insight based on what they see at the minor league games?

    Man, we are almost Full Rebuild here at Braves Journal. You never go Full Rebuild.

  62. @72- I assume LibertyMammothGloboDynaCorp. would, of course, rather not go through Atlantic Station’s first half-decade or so of issues.

    (disclosure: I work in a high-rise in Atlantic Station, hi Atlanta)

  63. Man, we are almost Full Rebuild here at Braves Journal. You never go Full Rebuild.

    John Hart in a bad Ahnold impersonation voice: “IT’S NOT A REBULID!”

  64. As long as I get my 10-story Waffle House I’m willing to put up with some growing pains at WFF.

    In all seriousness, as one that works in midtown and lives north of Marietta, the traffic impact is something that I can only deal with via bad jokes and cynicism. Is there a website that shows the finished product for what they’ve recently started doing on 75 and 575? Will that skyway-for-the-elite that they are building near the hwy 5 exit eventually get me to WFF?

  65. @83, I just like checking box scores and keeping track of Braxton Davidson’s prodigious walk rates. There is MiLB TV, though, so one doesn’t need to attend the games to see. I’d love to hear how our prospects are looking.

  66. I assume LibertyMammothGloboDynaCorp. would, of course, rather not go through Atlantic Station’s first half-decade or so of issues.

    I assume you’re right. I assume they’d like to learn from the mistakes of others.

    Note: I’m not saying they’re going to pull ANY of this off. I’m saying it’s rhetorically unsound to critique their comments and plans without at least acknowledging what is going on in the City itself these days, as well as what they’re actual plans are.

  67. @86, ABORT ABORT DO NOT WATCH DRIVE ANGRY. At least, not unless you’re able to convince someone to take Melvin Upton’s contract off your hands, or are able to extract a concession of similar degree in return for watching it.

    It is, without hyperbole, very possibly the worst movie that I’ve ever seen in my life. However, William Fichtner manages to have some really hilarious and awesome scenes, most of which you have now seen. The rest of it is complete, unmitigated garbage.

  68. I think the “skyway-for-the-elite” will be a bi-directional, limited access lane(s). Meaning, in the AM it will be southbound only and in the PM it will be northbound only and there will be few places to get onto/off of it. So if all of that is true then my guess is it will not help with getting to the game. OTOH, it might help people who are not trying to go to the game. AFAIK, it’s supposed to be completed in 2018.

  69. I have no idea what they’re building at Kennesaw. I live in the city. I don’t go to Kennesaw unless I’m driving through to somewhere that’s not Kennesaw.

  70. To answer my own question, there’s a concept video linked from here: http://www.nwcproject.com/Pages/pres.htm

    Seems like a nice way to waste a billion dollars. Hopefully enough fools will pay the $20 per day to use the lanes that us riff-raff will get some relief in the small-folk lanes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.