Braves 2, Phillies 1 (by coop)

It was a dark and scoreless game. Finally, a shot rang out, and the Braves were scoreless no Jeff Francouer’s home run in the seventh followed Nick Markakis’s single.The Braves led 2-0.

Chris Withrow cut the margin in half, yielding a solo home run to Jimmy Paredes and becoming the sole member of the Braves parade of pitchers —Joel De La Cruz, Ian Krol, Jose Ramirez, and Mauricio Cabrera preceded him — to yield a run.

That’s all Chris gave up though, so Jim Johnson inherited the 2-1 lead going into the ninth in perhaps his last Braves appearance of the year. JJ promptly increased the degree of difficulty for both the save and his trade. Fortunately, he enticed a 6-4-3 double play to erase the leadoff walk. Carlos Ruiz fanned to end the game, and now Jim has to wait with the rest of us to see if he has a tomorrow in Atlanta.

139 thoughts on “Braves 2, Phillies 1 (by coop)”

  1. im late to the party, but there is no way we sign trumbo. We got our trumbo in kemp. Why pay more for longer AND give up a pick to get the same immobile slugger? I doubt we sign anyone of consequence, but if we do, it will be Ramos all day long. Coppy reads it like this: we don’t want to give up draft picks, but if you’re going to give one up, do it in a year when it’s a 2nd (meaning you draft top 15). Also if you’re going to overpay someone and give up a pick, make it a position that is hard as balls to fill, e.g. Catcher.

    So there it is. My prediction is we will go Ramos or bust. If we don’t land him, we’ll see bargain signings. But we won’t break the bank and our draft for Trumbo or Bautista.

  2. Derian Cruz and Christian Pache both had muti-hit games in their first Danville game today. For those that don’t know, they were our 2 top international signings from 2015.

  3. Hart is saying that McCann, the 7th best hitting catcher in baseball, is not that attractive because Ramos and Wieters are available in the offseason. Uhhh, BS. With all of the articles saying it’s down to money with this McCann, I think Hart is posturing to get more cash sent back with McCann. It would seem like a deal could get done.

  4. If the choice is signing Ramos vs trading a bad contract (Markakis???) for McCann, then we need to be all over McCann.

  5. Ramos will be bid up too high for us. Wieters kinda sucks. I definitely don’t want McCann unless he’s practically free. Surely there’s some middle of the road catchers out there that can play defense and manage a young staff. We don’t need tons out of this position if we can shore up some of the others. Let Flowers start for a year and see what happens.

    You can also get Lucroy right now if you really want him…

  6. My expectations for a catcher: .250 10 HR 55 RBI, 35% CS rate, 1.7 to 2.0 WAR, handle pitchers well.

    We should be able to find that, somewhat cheaply, no?

  7. Just a quick look, but the only NL catchers I see who hit .250 10 HR and 55 RBI in 2015 were Derek Norris and Buster Posey.

  8. @8 – Yeah but it SHOULD be easy to find. It isn’t, necessarily. But it SHOULD be.

  9. On the subject of McCann: I know nothing about “receiving,” and “framing,” or how accurately things like that are meaured, but I do recall that when McCann was here he was consistently top 2 or 3 in stealing strikes, and I recall seeing that Flowers supposedly looked good earlier this season, too.

    I’d be on board for a McCann/Flowers tandem for a couple years, as we break in young pitching and eventually young catching, especially if it only costs money.

    Regarding draft picks: top 10 are protected, but we’d lose our 2nd round pick, which when you pick first every round is still a great pick. And for the 10,000th time now, it isn’t the player you get with a pick, but the financial flexibility the slot money provides.

    In a draft where we might just pick 1-1, I gotta believe we are less likely to use that pick on a value over-draft like Anderson and more likely to take a player that gets a higher percentage of his slot money. In that case, the 2nd pick becomes that much more valuable as far as spreading out the spending goes.

    Further complicating the situation is that the lottery picks won’t be handed out until January because of the impending CBA negotiations. Previously the lottery picks were handed out ahead of the trade deadline. The Braves will have a harder time acquiring another teams lottery picks without the added pressure of a pennant race.

    I just can’t see Coppy picking number 1 and sitting around until 90 or so, just so he can get two good years out of Ramos and then have to dump him in his overpaid decline like the Yankees are doing with McCann.

  10. Ok, just so we’re clear, it’s not the financial flexibility you gain, but who you specifically pick is the important part. Right?

    Right?!

  11. I think if you go through the misery of a 50 win season you need to make sure you maximize the following draft in all possible facets.

  12. How about if we get lucky for a change and get awarded our own lottery pick? No? Ok just keep giving one to St Louis every year because what a downtrodden franchise they are.

  13. Double Drecker
    you will have noted his contribution to the exchequer
    high value, pro rata
    he now assures there will be a complete absence of errata.

  14. My barber says the following deal is being discussed:

    O’s get Jim Johnson and Matt Kemp

    Mets get Withrow, Hunter Harvey and Beckham

    Braves get Wieters and Thomas Szapucki

  15. I think Ramos would be a good way to spend all these dollars that we currently aren’t. I don’t think the Nats can keep him with all the stuff they’ve got on the books and Harper coming up. He likes the Nats and may give a home town discount, but I don’t think this season is a fluke. He can finally see the baseball after Lasik.

  16. I’d move Aybar for.. well… virtually anything that doesn’t cost money. Johnson seems like a good bet to fetch at least a middling prospect so I’d move him too.

    Franceour, Beckham.. eh.. unless someone wants to give up a legit prospect for those guys I’d just hang onto them. The value of having established pros around for two months of meaningless games isn’t huge but it’s not zero either.

    McCann’s probably cheaper than Ramos if NYY will eat some $.

  17. I like Ramos too. I don’t think we will be able to pull him in though.

    I think the Braves should start developing catchers that also can play another position like left, third or first. That way we can keep them fresher.

    The Giants and Cubs do stuff like that and it works well.

    I really think that being able to play two positions is something we should teach all our position players coming up. Diversity creates value.

  18. Aybar should be released.
    Johnson, Frenchy, and Beckham should be traded.

    We have enough vets on the team with AJ, Markakis, Kemp, Freeman, to help with leadership.

  19. There is no trade market for Aybad. The only team that could find value in him might be the Twins in their race with us for the worst record in MLB.

  20. The team is pretty much all veterans except for the pitchers. Acquiring more washed-up veterans is going to make me insane. We need better players.

  21. It still boggles my mind that the FO is talking about how Matt Kemp ticks all their boxes for them. The guy cannot run anymore and has an OBP south of .300 and is on the hook for 3 more years. It’s just the time commitment here I don’t understand more than anything. They go into full rebuild and somehow end up with Nick Markakis, Matt Kemp and Jeff Francouer in their outfield for multiple years and they tell us these guys will be great.

    Just drop Olivera, sign someone who can actually still play this winter and stop coming out trying to justify doing stupid shit. How was that so hard?

  22. @25

    Who are the position players who are on The Next Great Braves Team out there now? It’s just such a missed opportunity that they’ve spent 2 seasons no where near contending and haven’t uncovered any young player worth keeping because they’ve kept running out the same tired old vets who will absolutely not be part of that process. Perhaps it was the self-delusion of the “rebuild on the fly” thing and they actually thought they could squeeze some more baseball out of these guys but if that’s the case then we’re in for a long 5 years or so before anyone actually gets fired.

  23. Hey guys—I’m going to be traveling over the next two weeks, so would anyone be able to recap tomorrow’s game and next Tuesday’s? I might be able to do next week, but tomorrow’s would be really tricky for me.

  24. Relax. Painting is half done. You should have been this mad when we traded every position player for pitchers.

    I’m sure by 4PM today someone over the age of 30 will be gone.

  25. @27, after Swanson and Albies there’s really nothing for a couple of years. I’ve joked that the Braves Journal tagline needs to be changed to “waiting for Maitan…”, but it’s sadly more true than not.

    This entire thing requires some of this pitching to be elite performers. The timeline for the high ceiling guys is still a couple years for some, and several years for the really young ones. I think this is why you see 3-year deals for guys about to retire, the truth is that it probably doesn’t matter who we run out there until the pitching is ready.

    I would expect them to spend most of the money on starting pitching. It’s the only way we won’t be horrible in 2017.

  26. @26 Kemp is a RH-hitting corner OF who can OPS about .800 if things go well, and he’s only 31. He’s got warts to be sure – my personal concern is that he’s a more expensive version of Gattis.

    I guess the issue (one of them, at least) I’ve had with the rebuild is that we keep saying we’ll acquire a “big bat” as if that’s something that can be ordered off a menu. There’s a reason we haven’t been able to trade for a 25-YO stud bat with 4+ years of team control – there aren’t many of those guys and teams aren’t parting with the few who exist. You’ve got to either develop those guys internally (which takes more than 1.5 years) or take chances on guys with warts. Kemp seems like as good a gamble as any. He makes a horrible lineup better, though still not good. As one piece of a larger plan… eh.. we could do worse (and have).

  27. I’m well aware that Dustin Peterson and Rio Ruiz may turn out to be useful, but blocking any of the marginal prospects with expensive and un-tradeable veterans isn’t my idea of a good plan. I really think the fanbase would rather lose with youngsters and see if we can develop something, but I guess the front office violently disagrees.

  28. @31

    Read some comments from Padre fans about Kemp. He’s not a useful player at this point, and they just committed to making him a large portion of the payroll for 3 years.

    @32

    I agree completely. They are still pushing the “we can contend soon” narrative but it seems like they really have believed it all along.

  29. Committing to Kemp for 3 years isn’t a long term deal. Productive young FA’s are signing 7-8 year deals. Jason Heyward isn’t an impact bat and he just signed 8/184. Trout and Harper might get $350mil from someone. Kemp is a gamble worth taking.

    I wouldn’t be overly worried about blocking marginal prospects.

  30. Kemp is worse than Markakis. We need better players in the OF. 3 years isn’t the end of the world but *when* do we actually start trying to get better? Is this them trying? If so…doom.

  31. We’ve got two guys on our roster with higher OPS than Kemp, and one of them has 24 AB. And Kemp’s been playing in a pitcher’s park. Kemp is horrible defensively, granted, but we have a good defensive CF who can mask that to a degree. Kemp clearly helps fill a need for us, whereas he was blocking a stud prospect in SD. I’m all for letting kids play but only if we think they’re close to ML ready, and I don’t get that sense from most of our position player prospects.

    He may very well not be a useful player by the end of his contract, no argument there. I’m not entirely sold on him by any means but I think a reasonable case can be made for him.

  32. I think you are correct about the scarcity of good power bats. Those don’t come on the market often, and when they do the price is almost crippling. The ones we are developing in house won’t be close to the majors for a long time. Let’s hope they actually do develop.

  33. Where was all of this critique when the Braves didn’t win a playoff series for 12 years? Where was all of this critique when we had to pray for a miracle with Aaron Harang? Where was all of this critique when we won 79 games after the 2014 season? Where was all of this critique when no one was aware that 1/4 of our position players were FAs after the 2015 season, we had a catcher who couldn’t catch, a centerfielder and second baseman who were the worst players at their position, and we had one of the worst farms systems in baseball?

    Let the process play out. We just added a slightly above average outfielder for $8.5M per year. You ain’t getting that on the FA market. We had the ghost of Jeff Francoeur playing left field. It pushes Jace to second, Aybar mostly to the bench, and puts a Beckham/d’Arnaud share at SS. We still have position players to deal, relievers to deal, prospects that are still developing, and cash to put to use. Step back from the ledge and wait for the all of the moves to be complete.

  34. We’re paying Kemp around 18 mil a year to play LF, as opposed to paying Olivera 6m(?) a year to do nothing. Who cares about the extra money? Not long ago the major complaint was that we weren’t spending any money. Kemp might actually contribute something and isn’t known primarily for beating women.

  35. “We just added a slightly above average outfielder for $8.5M per year.”

    No, we’re paying Matt Kemp $15 million more than Alex Wood and Jose Peraza make.

  36. @40

    The problem is that if this is the extent that the FO does spend money then that is gonna be a problem.

  37. We paid an extra $8.5M per year for him to go away. We could’ve just cut him and spent the money elsewhere. Instead we locked ourselves into Kemp, who’s an asset that literally nobody else wanted.

  38. Someone above said that Markakis is better than Kemp. Are you out of your mind? NO WAY.

    Kemp, if he only just continues playing/hitting at the level he is this season is our second best player, **on the entire team**, maybe 3rd behind Teheran.

    Defense just doesn’t matter much guys. Look at the difference between the best defensive team and the worst in FLD PCT. It’s negligible at best. How many slow footed sluggers that could barely field are in the HOF? How many great fielding 5 HR guys are in the HOF?

    Here’s a question that I have for some of the more connected folks on here and the answer to my ? will shape my thought processes even more. How much of our revenue projections are based on ticket sales/attendance? If its minimal due to television contracts being the lions’ share, then I’d literally trade everyone that’s even being mentioned above, today. Francouer, Beckham, Johnson, etc. If they can be traded, trade them. I suspect Teheran’s arm is about to go, so if you can ruse someone into taking him, go for it.

  39. Kemp doesn’t walk. I don’t care about defense either and get slammed on here all the time for that, but a good hitter has to be able to take a walk. I love that SLG, but a .285 OBP is just awful. Both Markakis and Kemp are the same player in that they aren’t that valuable. We have to upgrade those two corner OF spots. My fear is that the front office thinks that we’ve already upgraded one of them with Kemp.

  40. And I know what the WARs are for Markakis and Kemp. My opinion is that the contribution that dWAR makes to WAR should be reduced by probably 75%. For example, if Andrelton Simmons hits .242 with 8HR and 55 RBI and 100K to 37BB, even if his dWAR is 4.0 and his oWAR is 1.0, then his overall WAR should be much closer to 1.0 than it would be to 3.5, etc.

    I just do not believe in defensive contributions or metrics being that valuable.

  41. Braves Journal and the discussion on here is fun. But because we really just don’t know the financial possibilities and outlook for Liberty Media, it makes everything that we discuss moot. To be honest, this aspect is the single most important ‘reality’ for the Braves going forward.

    None of these trades really matter, who we release now, what fringe prospect we get for Jim Johnson or Frenchy.

    Until the Braves get off their wallets in a meaningful way NONE of this stuff really matters.

  42. We might have a lot of money to spend, and nobody great to spend it on. It makes more sense to break the bank when we’re a couple of players away from a title. We’re like 10 players away, so I’m not sure what they can realistically do to change things quickly.

  43. The 2017 lineup probably has Mallex, Swanson, and Albies, who are all under 24. Freddie is 26. Inciarte, if he stays, is 24. That’s 5 of 8 position players all very young. The rotation will have Teheran, 26, and four starters under 25. The bullpen will probably have 5 of its 7 members under the age of 26. How much more youth do you need before you let Matt Kemp roam the outfield for a few years? Sheesh. The 2016 Braves are full of veteran rentals. Get over it. Things will be changing very quickly.

  44. @53 – Better be this way thatn to be outta money and have a bunch of over priced underacheiving players .. like Heyward .. wow did the Cubs over pay for him …..

  45. There are some very informed and articulate fans on here, but comments about dWAR “weighting” and discounting guesstimations are insufferable. What I read is “my emotions tell me the following, so I believe it”.

  46. I was hoping for someone more Klesko-esque. Slow, clumsy, but can actually run for short durations.

  47. @56 What does that even mean? I love stats and sabermetrics, but my opinion is that the defensive portions of them have become too skewed. What’s wrong with saying that? We have two outfielders in the top 10 in MLB defensive rankings THIS year in Inciarte and Markakis. I looked this morning on every stat category on BR. I seem to recall that Mallex Smith was up there too before he got hurt.

    Our team freaking sucks. If we had Simmons on THIS team, we’d have three and we may be worse to only slightly better.

    We’re on pace to be the furthest back in a major category (HR) as any team in modern times. It’s comical how little power the Braves have in the entire organization. And I’m tired of it because I am convinced that there’s no way to consistently win these days with pitching and defense. You might win for a year or two (KC Royals) but you won’t win long. To win consistently IMO, you need power and strikeout pitching. I thought this comment section was to share your opinions, no?

  48. Well emotions can be instructive when it comes to evaluating numbers. For instance, Kemp’s .285 OBP makes me feel complete terror at the prospect of paying him to get 3 years older and worse.

  49. With the current weighting Fangraph’s has the three best teams by combined WAR as the Cubs, the Red Sox, and the Dodgers. The worst teams are the Reds, the Braves, and the A’s.

    I don’t know enough about the calculations to defend or dispute them, but they seem to be in the ballpark.

  50. Here are the possibilities:

    dWAR undervalues defense

    dWAR values defense more or less correctly

    dWAR overvalues defense*

    *This last one is the only one that people are stridently insisting on here.

    Modern baseball metrics reflect a thoughtful, thorough, and iterative analysis. They may be flawed, but flawed is a lot better than *hunches*, which is how the Braves made decisions for years. By the way, I’m open to any of the three possibilities above. I’d just like more than a hunch if you’re going to insist on one of them.

  51. I think the minimized gaps between the non-sabermetric stats for the MLB teams as it pertains to fielding vs. the gaps in the other categories are very telling.

    I may not articulate it well, but if Team A hits 250 HR in a season and Team B hits 100 HR in a season, that to me is infinitely more meaningful than if Team A’s FLD PCT is .989 and Team B’s is .981. And these are pretty much the gaps.

    I think the slight flaw in your argument are that my opinions are just hunches. They are not. I spend hours of time per week on BR pouring over combinations of stats and looking at the way players in historical contexts have varied, both improving and declining.

    I believe a team with 8 bashers will beat a team of 8 great defenders 6-7 out of 10 times. And I’ll take that WIN PCT every time.

    And War Eagle.

  52. Lemme add one thing. Defense is already limited (or weighted) in the sense that you have to be superhuman to generate more than a couple of wins defensively. Simmons is a generational talent at the most important position (in terms of opportunities) and in his career year he generated 5 dWAR. Compare that with Bryce Harper’s 10 oWAR last year.

    The Royals generated 4.8 dWAR as a team last year, which was the most in baseball, but they had 21 oWAR. Defense matters, but you can’t save enough runs to offset a total lack of run creation. But for a given player, such as Kemp, he can certainly give away enough runs in the field to totally cancel out his run creation.

    P.S. @65, because of what I said above, it is true that a team of bashers will beat a team of 8 slick fielders. Andrelton Simmons at first base wouldn’t have the opportunity to save enough runs to equal Freddie Freeman’s offensive output. Defensive value is limited because there aren’t enough chances for it to matter. That is entirely different than saying a defensive WAR is worth less than an offensive WAR. It’s more accurate (I think) to say there can never be a comparable amount of dWAR on the field to match up with potential oWAR. Also, forgive me for accusing you of operating on hunches–that’s just the way it seemed.

  53. If Matt Kemp starts dating Rihanna again, I think we have to factor that into his value to the team.

  54. Amen.

    Thing is, Matt Kemp might be worth more to us than he is to nearly any other team. We badly need right-handed power, which is literally the only skill that he still possesses. And our roster is so thin that he’s still probably one of our three best outfielders, at least until Mallex Smith returns.

    He isn’t good, but he’s good enough to start for the worst team in baseball. And maybe after moving out of Chavez Ravine and PETCO Park, his offensive numbers will tick slightly upward. Maybe not by much, but every little bit will help.

  55. Only thing is, if Matt Kemp plays well for us, we should trade him at the first opportunity.

  56. @64, For the first time on this blog all year, I teared up over something that had nothing to do with Erick Aybar. Thanks.

  57. #66 should be read prior to any future posts about defensive metrics.

    As for Kemp, the team is still early in the rebuild stage, centered on building a pitching staff that won’t be fully operational until at least 2019. There are reasons to not like bringing in Kemp, but wasting money shouldn’t be one of them. If your standard of enjoyment is competitiveness, every dollar of major league salary the Braves pay out over the next couple of years is technically “wasted”, so who cares how much of it Liberty throws around?

  58. We can always put Johnson on waivers, but I would think it would be a harder deal. No way he clears waivers.

  59. We should still be squarely in the middle of fire sale mode. I don’t get hanging on to Krol/JJ/Cervenka/Beckham etc. Big let down.

  60. I’m betting that they were trying to get a decent return for Johnson, but there were a LOT of relievers flying around, and he just isn’t nearly as interesting as Vizcaino. It looks like there aren’t a lot of teams that are willing to pay a premium for a “true closer” when there are that many great setup men available.

  61. @80 Which is something only the Braves would think is a good idea. Following this franchise is like listening to clown music that seems to sometimes pause or stop only to begin again and again.

  62. @80, they are trying to finish last but look like they are trying not to. It’s a delicate operation.

  63. Acquiring expensive replacement level players who hit 35 HR is a good way to lose while looking like you’re trying to win.

  64. If he hits 35 HR next year I’ll be completely amazed. To quote beloved fan-favorite Nick Swisher, “I’d take that in a cocaine heartbeat”.

  65. Former Brave Lucas Harrell had one of those “quality starts” for Texas in his first game for them: 6 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 2 K, 3 ER, 2 dingers allowed. Not bad, really. He got a Win for his troubles.

  66. Would sticking Kemp in leftfield rather than right field improves the dWAR issue? Kemp’s bat still has good value. Among all fans, we should know better that power doesn’t grow on trees.

  67. Aaron Blair should have Twitter tirades more often: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 7 K, 3 ER. He was cruising through 7 and then gave up all those runs in the 8th.

    Joey Wentz had a nice start in Danville: 4 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 0 ER. That’s two good starts in a row after he got torched in his inaugural start for Danville, which is still his only poor outing in pro ball. May he continue…

  68. The jump to Danville is one of the harder ones he’ll make. Really good sign if we see the three high schoolers pitch decently there.

  69. @92, that is an interesting question, but I’m not sure you want to go down that rabbit trail. To ask whether RF defense is more important than LF defense is to suggest either is somewhat important, which refutes your entire thesis.

    To be clear, I think Kemp’s bat still has value even with a .285 OBP. I’m just not sure it can offset giving away 40-50 runs in the outfield. I think he’d make a solid DH.

  70. Does he give away 40-50 Petco runs or Turner Field? Is that a thing? I don’t know advanced defensive stats.

  71. It’s a relative measure, not an absolute one, so it should improve (LFs typically being poorer fielders than RFs as a group).

  72. You guys think I’m being hyperbolic. Sorry to disappoint. Matt Kemp was -37 Rfield, or 37 runs below average in left field in 2010 for the Dodgers. Is it inconceivable he will give away more runs as he ages? Adam Dunn gave away -43 Rfield in 2009 for the Nats, mostly in the outfield. That season, Dunn was 4 oWAR and -5.2 dWAR for -0.4 total WAR. WHOOPS! It is possible to field so badly that you negate any contribution from the bat. Matt Kemp has done that more than once in his career.

  73. See!?! There it is! Another mindless nobody trying to prove that a .008 point edge in fielding percentage is more helpful than 150 extra home runs!

  74. Remember that dWAR is a relative measure, so if we stick him in LF he won’t have to be competing against Heyward.

  75. @101 Whatever. I stand by my baseball beliefs that trying to win with a bunch of Markakises and Inciartes, Mallex Smiths is never going to work.

    Try something else.

  76. @105, the fact that this is the team we field when we’re trying to lose 110 games is kinda making your point for you.

  77. I like the idea of having Kemp straddle the left field line, taking ten feet in each direction, and letting Mallex and Ender take care of the rest of the playing field.

    Bonus: We can lay off the left field ballboy/girl and put the savings towards Kemp’s contract.

  78. Is Kemp really this bad defensively? This is the first I’m hearing of this.

    By the way, to think that many on here (myself included) waited an outfield with Hector Olivera and Yusiel Puig in it. Sheesh. All we need is Dennis Rodman managing the team and we’re set.

  79. @100

    It’s numbers like those that cause reasonable people to doubt defensive OF metrics. It just does not sound valid on its face.

  80. Matt Kemp is a DH. At some point over the next 3 years he will be traded to an AL team. If he continues to destroy LH pitching someone will take him.

  81. krussell says the Braves are short 10 players. I think that’s about right (maybe more, to be honest). So if we add Swanson, Albies, and Kemp to that list, then we’re down to 7 players. We’ll probably be able to pull 3 of those players out of injured or developing pitching prospects between now and next year, then you have free agency and trades.

    So, really, in krussell’s owm terms, we’re good. Great news, folks.

  82. I have no idea if Swanson and Albies will be good. I’m fairly afraid of the answer, but I just want to find out. If they can put a respectable team together at the other spots then all they need to do is be “ok” (rather than Aybad-f’ing-terrible).

    We need 3 starting pitchers, a catcher, a 3B, and an OF. Maybe then we can talk .500

  83. The cool thing about being anti-dWAR is you can insist things don’t exist and then when someone shows you they do exist, you can insist that proves your point somehow. This is fun.

  84. They’ll probably need another bullpen guy or two. But I think you’re right. Jace/Beckham might be able to hack 3B. And you’ve got two outfielders (Markakis and Ender) to turn into one outfielder, so I like our chances there.

    Three starting pitchers will be tough. I’m assuming you mean Teheran and Folty can stay. I’d really like for one of them to be Wisler based on the investment made so far. The Braves will sign a Bud Norris/Aaron Harang type for one of them, and that will probably work out.

    I think that team could be respectable into August, and Heaven forbid, even September.

  85. Albies is 19 and has a .434 on base percentage at AA. I’m fairly confident is saying he will be good.

    It’s a safe bet that we will try and resign Bud Norris

  86. I’m flexible on the catcher upgrade, it’s not clear to me that a Flowers / anyone tandem wouldn’t be serviceable. We need some good luck, that would help.

  87. According to Fangraphs UZR/150, Kemp is “bad”…however, he’s not as bad as either Andrew McCutchen or Adam Jones (obviously both DH in waiting as well)…and none of those guys are nearly as good as one Nick Markakis…

    I appreciate the attempt for Defensive Metrics, and hope they continue to refine them, but even the most ardent supporters basically say: we know they’re not perfect, but they’re better than nothing. That’s fine, but to pretend they can actually be used to quantify performance as an accurate basis for winning at this point seems ambitious. Fortunately Coppy seems to agree:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/Braves/status/746404504619388932?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

  88. Watching Kimbrel back tonight. It’s awesome watching him embarrass hitters. Thanks goodness we were stupid enough to sign BJ so we could we get rid of them both and have Matt Wisler.

  89. @118, nobody is pretending they are flawless. People are pretending they know with certainty how flawed they are and in what direction and to what degree they should be discounted. Those are the people who are pretending to be certain about something. Why not respond to them?

  90. JohnWDB, I engage you warily, as I use the words “doubt” and “seem” and you call it certainty. Doubt is the essence of science, so a doctrinaire adherence doesn’t get you as far in a debate as you may hope, but anyway…I am not agnostic on the topic of outfield defense. I believe it matters, can be measured within some range, and that Matt Kemp is bad at it. But I look at a number like “36 runs below replacement level”, filter it through my admittedly imperfect understanding of how often it would require a play not be made in order to have such an impact (acknowledging that a play not made in the outfield is worse on average than a play not made on the infield, in terms of runner advancement), try to remember that the measure isn’t comparing Kemp to Jason Heyward, but to someone FAR WORSE than Jason Heyward, and end up doubting the number.

    Many years ago, Bill James wrote about the challenges of creating a defensive metric. One of the biggest obstacles is how to incorporate the choices a fielder makes. Bill Buckner’s annual assist numbers as a 1B were far greater than Steve Garvey’s every year. Was he that much better? Well, yes and no. Buckner had a good arm for a 1B — he came up as a corner OF, but chronic bad knees eventually forced him to first base. Garvey was in better condition — he came up as a rangy 3B, but developed trouble making throws, hastening his move across the diamond. So each developed a strategy to mask his weakness, and this could be witnessed on grounders to first. Buckner with his bad wheels demanded that the pitcher always cover the bag. Garvey with his yips would only throw to the pitcher if absolutely necessary. Hence the difference, but the thing to remember is the play usually got made either way.

    OF defense is even more dynamic than IF defense. Kemp has been a star player for years, but injuries have robbed him of his speed. However, his power bat remains important to his team, and so to keep himself in the lineup he is strongly incentivized to let his CF handle 50-50 balls. How many flyballs per season do you think could be handled by either of two outfielders? I’ll bet it’s 500, and probably more. He has a weakness, the team develops a strategy to cover for said weakness, thus exacerbating the measurement of HIS weakness while being relatively zero sum for the team. Now, say his team signed Greg Luzinski (a historically bad fielder, and now in his mid-60s) to play LF, Kemp’s CF would have to leave those balls to him. Suddenly he looks a lot better, but the team suffers gravely, and he’d get hurt. According to the measurement, he morphs from a mediocre player who stays in the lineup into a still effective one who can’t. And so when you say you’ve shown me that “36 runs before replacement” exists, I have to reply that what you’ve really shown is merely that the metric is capable of spitting out that number.

  91. @119 I think the Braves are done with Cuba projects. I think they are also done with Japanese projects. They will stay with their strength which is scouting in North and Latin American.

  92. I think hiding Kemp’s fielding deficiency with Mallex and Ender is a workable plan. Honestly, we survived through the Klesko years. Don’t throw me the stats, Matt Kemp can’t be worse than Ryan Klesko. I don’t believe it.

  93. I seriously think we should track every ball hit near Kemp and keep a tally of which plays should have been made that weren’t, and correspondingly how many runs those missed plays led to.

  94. @128, For science!

    @105, My point is that outside of arguing that Matt Kemp is better than Nick Markakis, you’re not actually engaging with what any of us are saying. Who on earth are you talking to? I don’t think you’ve gotten the hang of us yet.

  95. The thing about all of this Kemp-Markakis-Heyward(?)-et al. offense v. defense argument is that the basic outlines of the truth are not in any real dispute – it appears everyone’s getting worked up about the details and conflating that as more like full disagreement.

    There is no question (whether you are a traditionalist or a SABR member) that as far as position players go, the range of offensive contributions to total value between the best and worst players are considerably larger than the range for defensive or base running contributions. There are different estimates of the relative value of these facets of the game, but (for instance) Fangraphs has the MVP-caliber players in 2015 worth 5-7 wins at the plate, +/- 1 win in the field and between .5 – 1 win on the base paths.

    Intuitively (at the stats agree), offense is the most important determinant of position player value, but defense matters too – when choosing between two players of equal offensive output, you’d rather take the guy who plays better D. The only question is, how much do we adjust our overall value estimate for a given player’s defense? Questions like that animate the discussion regarding the relative value of players like Jason Heyward or Andrelton Simmons – excellent defenders with questionable bats – versus guys like Matt Kemp (or Evan Gattis), who have middle-of-the-order power but compromise that offensive value with bad OBP and further reduce their overall value with poor defense.

    All of that said – if Kemp can bat behind Freddie and put up a .800+ OPS, I’ll happily put up with him bumbling around in LF/RF until we sell him off to an AL team. $25.5M for 3 years seems like a decent bet for the guy, unless his hip problems start impacting his ability to stay healthy or hit. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

  96. I’ve been away for a week with no internet access. Can anyone tell me our pitching rotation as it stands now? I know Teheran is in it and Folty, along with Jenkins appear to have spots. Do the final two spots go to De La Cruz and Weber? That is one ugly rotation if so.

  97. There is substantial disagreement between MLB.com and ESPN on the Braves’ projected starters going forward, but beyond Teheran, Jenkins and Folty, it appears than Wisler and Whalen may get some starts too. I haven’t seen Blair listed as a probable starter but what the hey, why not roll the dice and give him another shot?

  98. Last year Kemp averaged 1 walk every 15 plate appearances. For his career, it is a respectable 1 walk per 12 PAs. This year he has averaged 1 walk every 25.5 PAs. This is even worse than Francouer’s 1 walk in 18.5 PAs over his career.

    Kemp hasn’t seen his K numbers increase a lot and his slugging percentage has remained consistent in the .450 to .500 range or above, except for an injury plagued 2013. Can anyone explain his lack of walks this year? If it was bat speed, it would seem like Ks would rise and HRs would decrease. If it had to do with his eyesight (remember McCann’s constant trouble with his contacts and the excuses for Uggla?), again it would seem like his K rate should increase. Does anyone have a baseball explanation for Kemp’s recent struggles with walks?

  99. @131

    The last two spots seem TBD. De La Cruz has been making starts. I don’t think Weber will make any starts. It seems he was brought up to be the long reliever.

    I think the 4/5th spots in the rotation going forward are completely reactive to what happens at AAA. It does indeed sound like it will be Blair, but Rob Whalen has pitched well and could get a shot. Wisler could only make a couple starts and be back up.

    We could also see John Gant back up in the next couple weeks. He begins rehab at Rome. Chris Ellis hasn’t transitioned to AAA well at all. Manny Banuelos continues to “rehab” at AA, but he hasn’t done anything to justify moving back up. It would sure be nice if some of this spaghetti would stick to the wall.

  100. Peanut: Like during his past couple starts with Gwinnett, Blair hit 95 mph multiple times last night. He’s primarily been 90-92 with Atlanta

    This really confuses me. Most guys reaching the bigs tend to overthrow and try to overpower. Maybe Blair was trying to locate too much. Either way, he wasn’t fooling anyone or missing any bats during his first stint

  101. sansho, I only produced specific Rfield numbers because Nocahoma was incredulous that a player could give away 40 runs in the outfield. Granted, those numbers might be overestimates, but they might be underestimates, too. Having watched Adam Dunn play in the field, I would not be surprised if he gave away 43 runs with his glove in a season. Frequently, when outfielders don’t get to balls, they become doubles or triples instead of outs. Take one of those every 4-5 games, add in a booted grounder here and there and a few bloop singles that drop in, and you’ve got a mess of runs. I realize the problems with defensive metrics, and you’ve done a good job of raising a few of them. I don’t disagree with anything you said.

  102. I’m not sure why Matt Kemp has become a bit of a whipping boy for some. The problem isn’t with Matt Kemp playing left field for the Atlanta Braves. We’ve had plenty of guys playing left field on contending teams that haven’t been great. The problem is that the Braves only have $61M plus arb raises committed to the 2017 roster right now. The problem is we have a RF under contract that shouldn’t be regardless of who plays left. The problem is that we have about 8-9 pitching prospects in the high-minors, and a few of them need to take a step in the next couple months, winter ball, and Spring Training.

    You can win with Matt Kemp in LF and as your 5 or 6 hole hitter, but if the Braves go from $61M to even $110M (which would still only be 22nd in all of baseball in 2016), then Matt Kemp won’t need to be what many people here seem to think he needs to be to be successful. He’s not meant to be the main power bat but simply a power bat.

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