Marlins 7, Braves 1

Miami Marlins vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – September 01, 2015 – ESPN

Hector Olivera made his debut and did absolutely nothing of note, which means he is already more competent than the average Braves player, these days. Banuelos wasn’t good, but at least he’s back on the mound. Some other guys did some stuff. The team lost again.

(Full disclosure: Before tonight’s game, I hadn’t watched a single live pitch this year. Additional, equally-full disclosure: After tonight’s game, I still haven’t watched a single live pitch this year. The Internet, and occasionally Jim and Don, keep me updated.)

So, you know, whatever. Anyway! I’m pretty excited about the 2016 chapter of The Great Farm System Rebuild, so I’m just going to ramble on a bit about that.

At this juncture, it’s hard to imagine the Braves not finishing with a bottom-five record (and top-five pick). It’s early, but while the upcoming draft class appears to have good depth, it doesn’t look like there’s going to be a David Price/Stephen Strasburg/Bryce Harper type at the top — I think that’s a good thing for the Braves. As with this past draft, the teams with the top few picks are going to be able to save a million or two on signing bonuses in those top slots. So, given the aforementioned draft-class depth and the probable savings on their first pick, the Braves should be able to add a second elite talent with that supplemental pick they acquired in the Wood, Olivera, et al. deal.

(Way-too-early favorite pitcher for the Braves’ first pick: AJ Puk, power lefty from – gross – the University of Florida. Way-too-early favorite hitter for the Braves’ first pick: Kyle Lewis, power-hitting corner outfielder from Mercer. [It’s a miracle that I’m not mentioning anyone with any ties to Vanderbilt in this paragraph.])

And then, beyond the draft, there’s the whole July 2nd period, which looks . . . promising.

I’m also still foolishly hoping for a David Price signing to speed up the rebuild — and even more foolishly hoping for a Yoenis Cespedes signing to really speed up the rebuild — but those are major-leaguers and therefore not part of what I said I was going to talk about, so I’ll stop.

Author: Stu

Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I've been married since July 17, 2004 to my beautiful wife, who also doubles as my best friend. We have an almost-three-years-old Boston Terrier named Lucy who's also pretty awesome. My wife and I both graduated from Vanderbilt University in May of 2004. I graduated from Law School at the University of Georgia in May of 2007 and am now practicing in Nashville, Tennessee. I really, really love the Atlanta Braves.

66 thoughts on “Marlins 7, Braves 1”

  1. It’d be a shame not to sign SOME front line FA in a season where our pick is protected. Despite the fact that they clearly have no respect for (open contempt for? What have we settled on there?) The Fans, The Johns have been playing basically every single angle on this thing, I think they’ll do it.

  2. It’d be nice to know what the plan is. It sure looks like the plan is to suck badly for a couple years and then around 2018 or so we’ll start seeing waves of really good young players ready to contribute on the big club. Actually hearing them say “yes, that’s our plan” would really help me deal with things better. I’ll just watch the Rome team for a couple of years.

    If the actual plan is to seriously compete in 2016/2017 then we’re back in the area of total cognitive dissonance — what’s going on right now doesn’t jibe at all with that plan.

  3. Stu, I watched a few pitches a couple of months ago — trust me, they’re not very good. Enjoy your prospect hawking…better tomorrows are your bailiwick.

  4. That is the damn truth, jjschiller.

    @blazon, on Heyward and Posey

    Actually, I think the big difference as far as WAR is concerned–because WAR is essentially a counting stat–is that Posey has played in 80 fewer games and has 400 fewer plate appearances. (Scott Cousins broke Posey’s femur on a very nasty play at the plate in 2011.) Buster Posey is a better hitter than Heyward, and the fact that he plays catcher helps him in the comparison as far as WAR is concerned. In an equal number of chances, Posey would be on top without a doubt, but Heyward has been good enough that 400 plate appearances is enough to give him the advantage–a pretty small advantage of a little more than a win over the span of 6 seasons.

  5. @1 & @2

    I’d imagine some part of the plan is to sign a front line FA or a couple second tier FA in this offseason. The team will hopefully be improved through health (TJ survivors making it to the ML rosters), youth developing, and increased depth. At that point, we might be looking at another .500 team in 2016 and then a real contender in 2017. Who knows at this point. Right now it seems like collecting middling relief prospects is the soup du jour.

  6. Unless we sign a big name pitcher, I’m not sure we go after a big name. It seems like the outfield and most of the in field are set for next year. Catcher, maybe?

  7. To me it appears their “plan” was to copy the Mets and stockpile pitching prospects with huge upside. But while the Mets hoarded studs like Harvey-deGrom-Syndegaard we came away with a gaggle of #3 starters.
    Oh, and we also got a 30 year old outfielder who needs time to develop. Awesome.

  8. stu…your style for an early morning read is clearly your own and most refreshing, thank you.

    …may i ask you about one name you dropped midway through? the Clerihews now featuring on this site place much emphasis on a first line of a proper name, so it matters..for whatever reason we’ve had a plethora of extraordinary names crop up here in the last week particularly since the football classes have started to get excited. Yesterday for example, quite as an aside, someone told us about a football player named Gurley which kept me awake half the night thinking about the other three lines.

    ..in your case you have informed us of a likely high draft choice, a pitcher called AJ Puk. Really? you didn’t make this up, did you? How can we not rhyme on about this guy…BTW is it Puk as in puke, or Puk as in duck? Did his granddaddy play hockey? If, like most of us, he comes to be referred to by just the first name initial then the name itself he would be listed as A. Puk..

    sorry, can’t help it…thank you again for such a lively start to the day.

  9. Second time in three years that the media told us the Nationals were going to be good, and they weren’t.

  10. @4…

    Edward, much appreciate the info, i’m learning…what i didn’t understand in the comparison was we were talking career WAR, not this single season..i knew about the leg of course but not its significance in the overall. Just as long as no one tries to equate them as hitters.

    I love Jason Heyward, that first home run, Chipper’s face, unforgettable. We all got so excited, redesign the parking lot etc..that body, he would walk over Posey…the Ivy DNA, is that still working?…where’s the beef, where’s the power? he had it, it’s gone.. he is still a mass of moving tics at the plate, he needs a sports shrink..meanwhile you give him 200, i’ll give him 80.

    Back to WAR, so much simpler isn’t it! thanks again.

  11. @4/13

    ..forgot to mention…there’s a fine mini-series just ended on HBO written by David Simon of Wired fame…the title he chose was a Fitzgerald quote…

    “Show me a hero…and I’ll write you a tragedy’.

    WAY over the top in this context, of course, but the point is taken.

  12. 11—Yeah, he’s a real person, and it’s pronounced like “puck.” Huge lefty who throws really hard and really came on (read: finally started showing some command) over the second half of this past college season.

  13. Another possible first round pick from my area.

    Robert Tyler will be a draft eligible University of Georgia pitcher. Power right hander. I think 94 to 95. He is in “the likely suspects” to be in the first 10 picks. He was “the Friday pitcher” as a freshman. He had minor arm issues this past season, so he fits the plan. Well, maybe his arm issues weren’t bad enough to fit the plan.

    Also, Blazon, a catcher can’t catch 155 games. But Posey has been playing first a lot to keep his bat in the lineup. On a “per plate appearance” basis, his WAR exceeds Heyward’s. But, this illustrates a great lesson from an article about 10 years ago on “underappreciated stats” from ESPN.com (think it was Neyer, but not sure). One was runs scored. Another was games played.

  14. And, yes, if either this or next year part of Hart’s “plan” is to sign one or more big free agents, this is the year. Losing an early second round pick to make up for and FA signing would be MUCH PREFERABLE.

    And, it should be either or both (a) an elite or near elite starting pitcher, and / or (b) a well above average left fielder (could be a 3 WAR ish guy and help this team a lot).

    I DON’T perceive that left is solid for next year. And IF they think Mallex is ready for center, then Maybin should be traded, not put in left. If the left fielder they get is a left handed hitter, then you can keep Maybin to play left and center as needed against lefties and he would be worth his money and then you can decide about the option.

  15. Yeah, there are several guys in the current top-of-the-draft conversation: college righties Tyler, as you mention, and Alec Hanson (Oklahoma); high-school pitchers Jason Groome (LHP and SUPER-AWESOME VANDERBILT COMMIT) and Riley Pint (RHP); and college outfielders Corey Ray (Louisville), Buddy Reed (Florida), Nick Banks (Texas A&M), and Bryan Reynolds (SUPER-AWESOME VANDERBILT), among others. I was just pegging Puk and Lewis as the guys I think the Braves might be most interested in.

    Regarding free agency, neither Price nor Cespedes would cost a pick. I agree that if they’re going to pursue someone who would cost a pick, this would be the year to do it, but it would be even better to get quality FAs and keep that second-rounder (and the slot value that goes with it).

  16. A spending spree next year doesn’t mix well with the CJ salary dump trade. Anyone we get needs to be part of the long-term outlook. A rental for a year or two doesn’t help at all. We’re going to finish near last again next season.

    We need to replace the entire outfield. But we can’t. So there’s that.

  17. Stu at 18,

    I forgot the trades of Price and Cespedes takes out the potential “qualifying offer.”

    So, who is a fit for this team that will probably be tied to a pick loss?

  18. Heyward and Wieters would be the top candidates, IMO. There are guys like Upton and Alex Gordon, too, but I can’t see those happening. And I have trouble imagining the Braves spending big money on any starting pitcher not named David Price.

    Gerardo Parra is another guy who won’t cost a pick. Wouldn’t surprise me if the Braves are all over him.

  19. DL update.

    Foltynewicz
    has a reason to bitch
    his chest is imploding
    our greater concern, his control, that’s eroding.

  20. ’16 #Braves have 68.9MM committed to 10 guaranteed contracts:
    Swisher, Bourn, Markakis, FF5, Teheran, Simba, Maybin, Olivera, Grilli, Toscano

    From there, #Braves have only 5 arb-eligible: Withrow, Minor, Ciriaco, Shelby, Kohn.
    IMO, Ciriaco and Kohn aren’t offered contracts.

    Arb-estimates:
    Minor- 5.6MM (likely won’t get a raise)
    Miller- 5.5MM
    Withrow- 900K

    Updated Payroll: 80.9MM for 13 players.

    Pre-arb contracts:
    Paco, Shae, Bethancourt,Jace, Man-Ban, Folty, Wisler, Burawa, Arodys, Winkler, Marksberry, Lavarnway, Castro

    Add 7 MM

    Updated Payroll: 88 MM for 25 players

    Rotation: A mix of Miller, Teheran, Banuelos, Wisler, Folty, Minor
    Bullpen: A mix of Grilli, Simmons, Winkler, Marksberry, Burawa, Withrow, Vizzy, Paco

    Position Players: C-Beth, Lavarnway, FF5, Swisher, Jace, Castro, Simmons, Olivera, Maybin, Bourn, Markakis

    On the fringe of the 25-man: Moylan, McKirahan, R.Kelly

    On the cusp of the Bigs: Mallex, Jenkins

    Trade candidates- Swisher, Bourn, Maybin.

    Braves were given back around 15 million in the Bourn/Swisher trade. Depending on how they want to count the money, either Swisher or Bourn could be dealt and Braves could eat a lot of $ w/o it negatively affecting payroll.

    On Maybin, the Cubs might have a CF spot open for 2016, and could likely use another SP. I’d love for the Braves to put a package together to get Baez, moving Olivera to LF. Wishful thinking.

    On free agents: Braves have the money to go get 1 impact player, and a chance to get many more should they be active in the trade market.

    Shopping list:
    1. Frontline starter
    2. Impact catcher
    3. Left Fielder

    I think it’d be foolish to go pay top dollar for a ‘pen arm, even though the ‘pen has been the main problem this year. What’s this year’s problems shouldn’t be next year’s problems.

  21. If we get David Price, then we will be contenders in 2017. I just don’t see us winning that bidding war.

  22. Gerardo Parra has accrued 1.2 WAR since the end of 2013. He had an amazing offensive first half of 2015 for Milwaukee (.328/.369/.489) driven by a .372 BABIP, but has returned to replacement level since Baltimore traded for him.

    He has been below replacement defensively since 2013, as well, which used to be the main source of his value. He is going into his age-29 season. I don’t think you can expect that defensive value to return.

    I think someone will likely overpay Parra for his fluky first half of 2015. I hope it’s not the Braves.

  23. @26, it’s so that Williams Perez could be called up to start today’s game. You need a DL situation to circumvent the rules about having to stay in the minors for X days before you are eligible to come back up.

  24. Not a pretty swing from Hector, but he Put The Ball In Play (TM) in a good spot. I’ll take it.

  25. @36..

    Betty Bethancourt
    we are all aware he is sometimes caught short
    the ball in the dirt
    not so much of a smother, as rather a squirt.

  26. I’m at work, but based on the box score, this game looks a lot like our last 14 games. If we hold on here for the loss, the Marlins will officially leapfrog us in the standings for 3rd place.

  27. Well first of all there’s his namesake, and second of all he’s keeping things from being very productive.

  28. Seasons like this would be more interesting if the bottom two teams in each league were kicked out and replaced with the top two independent league teams.

  29. I wonder why any free agent would sign with us after we inevitably finish with 58 wins. Can David Price want to play close to home that badly?

  30. So do we rechristen the team the Atlanta Apprehensives or rechristen the stadium Appomattox Field?

  31. Well to be honest most FA’s care about one thing, $$$. If we offer up the most cash we will get player X. Our problem now is that Liberty is losing $$ and that’s going to piss off some folks. There’s no chance at an increase in budget and we have some holes to fill. Hard to imagine this team was playing .500 ball a few games before the break. We moved KJ, Uribe, and Wood then the wheels fell off.

  32. I feel like the kid from “The Sixth Sense” watching this team every day: “I see dead people.”

  33. @34, I met Lenny Harris before a Reds game in the late 80’s. Lenny Harris, and later Bip Roberts, were two of my favorites.

  34. I just looked up Luis Valenzuela. Basically he was what I expected. The hitting this year is atypical and he is old to only be in Low A.

    BUT, when I did my search there was a “Fernando Valenzuela.” He was playing for Tijuana in the “OOC.” The little picture made me say “wait a minute.” I clicked and it was son of the other Fernando and the son is 32. Looks almost just like his Dad. If he could throw a screwball like that, hell he’d be worth a flyer.

  35. Cliff, you’re mostly right. Valenzuela is probably nothing special. however, he was 21 for most of the season, which makes him right at average for the league. Interestingly, his Lexington team played the Rome Braves a week ago and he went 4-5 (all singles I believe) and stole a base. Maybe somebody was impressed. He’s about what you’d expect for Gomes–not a C prospect even, but he has something encouraging about him that may turn him into an asset.

  36. @56

    We moved KJ, Uribe, and Wood then the wheels fell off.

    That’s precisely why I feel that this isn’t the talent level of the team. The departure of those three players (along with JJ and Avilan) shouldn’t mean the team turns into the Mississippi Braves. I’m 100% convinced the team has mailed it in and has nothing to play for. That’s the only way I can reconcile your thought, which is a difficult thing to understand.

  37. I’m more on the side of thinking the team team was just way overperforming coming into the wood/kj/uribe trades. The team was projected to be the second worst in the majors coming into the season, and that was before trading away the kinda averagish part of the roster. This is just about exactly what a replacement level team looks like, ie the MS Braves.

  38. The mere fact of all the turnover, particularly on the pitching side, would seem to make it unlikely that the overall performance would match the talent level (even the current modest talent level). How can a coach address a mechanical issue with a player he barely knows, and what’s the incentive given the short amount of time the player is likely to be around? If there’s any quitting going on, it’s most likely the result of overwhelmed exasperation. That’s not on Fredi, that’s on the plan.

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