South Carolina Gamecocks Preview (by Hambone)

Are the good times really over?

The South Carolina Gamecocks come into 2016 with a new coach, angry-man defensive guru and former gator head man, Will Muschamp. This will be the first season in a decade without Steve Spurrier at the helm, and to rub salt in the wound, he’s recently announced that he will leave Columbia entirely and take an “ambassador” position with UF. While the initial response to the Muschamp hire was less than enthusiastic, many fans have come around and are at least outwardly expressing confidence that we have the right man for the job.

Even during consecutive 11-win seasons from 2011-2013, featuring offensive greats Alshon Jefferey, Marcus Lattimore, Bruce Ellington, and Connor Shaw, among other future pros, the foundation for success under Spurrier was the defense. The beginning of the end of the most successful era in school history came when D coordinator Ellis Johnson left the program to become head coach at Southern Miss after the 2011 season. Defensive line coach Brad Lawing left the following year, taking the same position at UF. Key players, such as Jadeveon Clowney, experienced sudden drop-offs in production, and the 2013 team featured a bad defense propped up by the best offense in school history. The defensive slide continued, becoming almost comical in 2014 and culminating in a 3- win season in 2015 capped off with a loss to the Citadel. Our window under Spurrier had shut, with only one SEC-east title to show.

The Cocks have some returning talent on defense that didn’t produce squat under the old regime. Marquavius Lewis (#1 ranked JUCO transfer coming into last season) and Shameik Blackshear (5 star DE) were disappointments. Look for us to make big strides on D under the new coaching staff. Ellis Johnson is returning, along with fellow 2015 Auburn assistants (and ace recruiters) Travaris Robertson and Lance Thompson. Muschamp has put emphasis on recruiting, something Spurrier notoriously hated, and will bring about a big shift in culture from Spurrier’s laid-back style.

But what about the offense? Muschamp swears he has learned from his mistakes at Florida. New O coordinator Kurt Roper was with Muschamp for his last year at Florida only, and the story is that there was simply not enough time in one year to turn the putrid UF offense around. After a stint with the Cleveland Browns, Roper comes to Columbia with plans to institute a tempo offense centered around our highest rated recruit, incoming true freshman Brandon McIlwain.

McIlwain is a two-sport phenom. He was the Gatorade high school football player of the year in Pennsylvania, as well as a highly regarded baseball prospect, rated by Baseball America as the 16th-best high school baseball prospect last year. Disappointingly, he was not able to earn much playing time on the Gamecock baseball team this past season as an early enrollee, as he split his time between baseball and spring football. The O-line and receiver corps are question marks. Expectations are low-moderate for this year’s team among fans, low-low among media (picked dead last in the east).

If we can go a full season without any O-linemen pancaking each other, it will go down as a success.

127 thoughts on “South Carolina Gamecocks Preview (by Hambone)”

  1. JC’d

    A reminder that the park is MS is likely the top 2-3 pitchers park in the entire MILB and that Freeman had a .650 OPS there.

    Also, this place has become pretty dadgum depressing. It will always be my go to, but my word…

    On Demeritte: His K% has mostly to do with how hard he swings. However, like Braxton, his patience at the plate is also his plague and I’ve seen reports that suggest his K-rate would go down with better umpires. If I were Demeritte, I’d be smelling blood and looking at this opportunity as to take hold of my future. He’s coming home and he’s gotten out of an org that was abundant with hitters and put into an org that could use some hitters. Time will tell, but this could be a frickin’ steal.

  2. JC’s

    If MS is such a poor park for hitters, we need to be much more bullish on Dustin Peterson who is OPSing .807 there as a 21 yo.

    A player I’ve compared Dansby with mentally is Chase Utley. They had similar college success and similar builds (6’1″, 190). Course Dansby is a RHB, which we’d prefer anyway and he can play short. WELP, Utley had a mediocre 22 yo season at high A: .257/.324/.422 (.746). Hit 16 HR in 122 games for Clearwater. He skipped AA after that season and started mashing at AAA.

  3. Not to make it more depressing. But if you go check the stats of borderline HOF players you’ll find some comps to everyone. The question you really want to answer is, on average, how valuable were players at his level of production over their controllable years?

    It’s easy to point Glavine and Smoltz struggled early (which is why Chip does it). But the vast majority of players don’t have long and productive careers, and struggling early hints that a player falls into that group.

    I still think Swanson will be a productive player, but I don’t think working back from great player tells us much.

  4. I agree with both Ryan saying this place is a bit depressing and taking pause with comparing Swanson’s AA numbers with anyone’s. Swanson’s struggles at AA doesn’t point to him becoming Barry Larkin as much as his potential successes pointing to him being Derek Jeter. It seems there are way too many factors that go into why minor league numbers are what they are that I don’t think you can draw too many conclusions.

    A good current example are some things that Jace Peterson said. He said they told him to go down to AAA and work on one specific thing. He said he was told to not worry about the results, and just work on that one thing. His numbers at AAA were terrible accordingly, and he came back up and turned a corner. We have no idea what Swanson’s being told to work on, and we have no idea what effect that could be having on his numbers, and I would imagine the top-end prospects are treated differently from a developmental standpoint than a middling prospect. Dustin Peterson might be told to show them what he’s got, but they might have something specific for Dansby. Plus, the pressure could be playing a huge role. Geez, just leave the kid alone already.

    But back to the negativity, I’m really not sure what people are expecting. We’ve been playing pretty much .500 ball for a 1/3 of the season while young players are getting valuable reps. What’s not to like? Maybe Aaron Harang can come in, save our season, and everybody will be happy. But rebuilding teams can get good quickly without having Lucas Giolito, Alex Bregman, Yoan Moncada, and J.P. Crawford all knocking on the same team’s door. No team has that.

    Now, if our starting pitching pitches the way they did against the Nats for the rest of the season…

  5. @3, I think everybody knows that, or at least every intelligent baseball fan does (chip and joe are exempt). The reason we’re talking about it is that Chief Nocahoma asked if good players had struggled or been mediocre at Dansby’s level. Well, yes, some very good players have.

  6. Nocahoma didn’t ask. He wasted everyone’s time asking a rhetorical question that passive aggressively said that he didn’t think very highly of Dansby Swanson. Who the hell cares what he thinks? He thinks like 2 of our top 30 prospects are going to be major leaguers, and it drags down this page to continue to argue with that clown. Yeah, we get it, you don’t like any prospects we have. Call us next year. Next.

  7. Just saw Dustin Peterson’s spray chart on Twitter and I can say with utmost certainty that he would be sitting darned near 20 HRs right now if not for Trustmark, and if he were playing in the Texas League, it’d be 25. He’s got shots in LC that went 380 and shots in CF that went 400…they ended up doubles.

  8. Those will be doubles in WFF too, unless the altitude and atmospheric conditions are also vastly better in Atlanta (which they may be).

  9. Any altitude difference (assuming there even is one) will be virtually negligible…maybe a couple hundred feet max. As for the atmospheric conditions, Turner Field faces from more-or-less south to north (home plate to sraightaway center), while SunTrust Park appears to be positioned pretty much north to south. What that means, I have no idea. I do know the weather generally comes in from the west and that Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium was positioned west to east and was a ridiculous hitter’s park. Whether or not north to south or south to north makes a difference, who knows?

  10. I don’t know why someone didn’t just run a search for any player who accrued more than 30 career WAR or more than 4 WAR in one season and also had an AA batting average below .270. But Rob is totally right. Why pay attention to someone who thinks he’s better than a consensus of scouts because he thinks he found two predictive stats on the Internet?

  11. Over 700 ft in elevation difference between Atlanta and Jackson MS. That might be non-trivial. I have no idea. The park the M-Braves play is big, but not crazy big, so something else must also be conspiring to suppress HRs there.

  12. @ 14
    I didn’t do that because I don’t know how. Someone smarter than me should do that!

  13. Nick at 13,

    SunTrust will be close to the 1000 foot elevation at Turner Field. Thus about 700 feet above Trustmark and a slight advantage on hitting out.

    The wind in Georgia is predominantly out of the west. Just notice how often flights in and out of Hartsfield are landing from the east and taking off to the west (into the wind).

    Atlanta Fulton County had a “chimney effect” (apparently) from being circular. Air came in around the concourses and rose on the inside. Also, straight down the right and left field lines there was an opening that could serve as a wind tunnel. That plus when it was built it was the highest elevation ML stadium and the hottest ML stadium and the ball would jump.

  14. @15, @17

    Sorry, I’m a moron. I thought you were comparing SunTrust Park to Turner Field when, in fact (as I see obviously from reading your post again), you’re comparing it to Mississippi. My fault. Yes, the elevation drop between Atlanta and Jackson (approx. 1,000 to 275) might, in fact, be significant.

  15. I don’t know what suppresses the power in MS, but the MILB park factors that come out on a yearly basis shows a staggering disadvantage for the dinger at Trustmark. Like worst in professional baseball disadvantage.

  16. Well, he’s blocked by Matt Kemp so he’s got lots of time to hit the weight room, lol.

  17. If we’re lucky and Kemp is any good, he’ll be traded to an AL club next year, so that might not be too much of a roadblock.

  18. @19

    I hadn’t heard that anywhere. Very interested. Probably the most position player talent is there too. Conner Lien could end up being a Todd Cunningham, AAAA outfielder kinda guy. Of course, that might also explain why we have some of the best pitching performances in the system at AA.

  19. LOL, I don’t think I know more than scouts, for pete’s sake…

    However, someone said something above that I do actually agree with. Just looking at 140 years of baseball history, we’ll be doing good if 2-3 out of our current top 30 prospects are 20+ WAR players for their careers.

    Some of you are as ridiculous with your prospect envy as I am probably for being as down on some of them. If some of you believe that 15 of those guys are ever going to be anything other than Biff Pocoroba or never even make it out of the minors you’re deluded.

    Aaron Blair, I’m almost 100% certain, will never be a MLB pitcher. Ever. And there are many others on that list that won’t either. For every Kolby Allard that I do believe in, there are 5 Max Frieds that end up coaching HS baseball back home after 3-4 years.

    I get that this is very basic and nothing groundbreaking, AT ALL, but to be honest, I’m convinced that some people on here don’t really understand just how few of these guys are ever going to be anything. If 15 of them are, we’ll win multiple WS.

    And to the guy that called me a clown, I haven’t posted anything disrespectful, I haven’t shouted down anyone, I’ve simply contributed a counterbalancing opinion that probably while construed as negative is likely in a vacuum more realistic than negative.

    Do I think Dansby Swanson will ever be a MLB star or even a good/approaching great player, no I do not. I just don’t. He doesn’t have any elite skills. None. Maybe his range at SS, maybe. He’s probably at least average in all 5 tools, and for that he’ll get more than cups of coffee, but I doubt he’s remotely close to those guys mentioned in the other thread.

    As far as Albies, I suspect he’ll barely ever contribute at the MLB level. You can’t hit 1-5 HR per year and be worth much. I’m sorry, but you just can’t.

    People ‘fan’ differently. Just because I’m a grumbly realistic curmudgeon doesn’t mean I’m a clown or I don’t love the Braves. I’ve gone to games since around 1979 as a 4 year old. I was at the Padres Brawl game. Rinse, repeat.

  20. @24
    What I’ve read and heard about Lien in terms of scouting reports is that he’s an elite defensive outfielder with a good arm and plus speed and some pop in the bat. I think he’s still fairly raw for his age, but he has big tools. Cunningham was just sorta ok-solid at everything, but not very toolsy, While Lien and Cunningham may very well end up in the same fourth/fifth platoon OF and AAA depth guy role, I think they will have gotten there with very different games.

  21. @25

    elite skills
    an identifier that always will supersede our wills
    absent they weaken irrepressible hope
    exchanges thereafter, the slow decline to trope.

  22. @25 Chief – It looks like your pessimism is intended as a corrective to what you see as unrealistic pie-in-the-sky prospect optimism from some of the rest of the gang here. The thing of it is, we have many prospects who *could* be great, and that possibility helps distract us from the depressing reality of the current last-place Braves. Very few posters on here are predicting great things for the 2017 Braves, or suggesting that collectively we’re going to hit on ALL of these prospects. That said, we are dreaming on potential, because that’s what we’ve got in spades right now. I don’t think anyone really needs to be reminded that most prospects – even good ones – bust.

    I will say, however, that I understand your fears re: Albies. From what I’ve seen (just video clips) he appears to clearly have more power than, say, Billy Hamilton – not enough pop for his offensive game to likely transfer without harm from minors to majors, but enough to meet the minimum acceptable threshold beyond which he can survive on speed, grounders/line drives and gap power.

  23. At age 21 Jeff Blauser hit .286 with an 846 OPS at Durham. At age 23 in half a year at Richmond Blauser hit.284 with a 747 OPS. Those numbers were fairly predictive of how well he did in his prime years at ATL. Decent bat for a shortstop, but not a great defensive shortstop either. He was an all-star for one year, when he got off to a very strong start and ended up hitting over .300 for that one and only time.
    Swanson looks like a similar player to Blauser. He’s not a raw talent, he’s played college ball for years, not that young. He may be a productive big league SS, which has plenty of value, if you can put some actual stars in other positions.

    In contrast, Chipper Jones was slamming AA and AAA at ages 20 and 21, hitting about .330 with 900 OPS combined.

    However, the most statistically valid way to estimate Swanson’s future trajectory isn’t to start with actual MLB players and look back at their Minor league stats. The correct way would be to look at all of the stats of every 22 year old college-drafted minor league ballplayers playing at a similar level of competition, with the most similar stats, and then observe how many of those made it to the MLB and how productive they turned out to be.

  24. What rankles me most about the relentless prospect negativity (among some) is the idea that only superstar players matter. Winning teams are built with both stars and role players, and improvement comes at the margins. If you’re old enough, you know that a team can miss out on a WS championship because they can’t do better with a roster spot than Keith Lockhart. Even great teams need average players, and a farm system needs to be able to produce those players. Ripping on a guy who only becomes an average MLBer is offputting to me. (Also, I still think Dansby can be an above average MLB shortstop. Jeff Blauser with better defense would be an excellent outcome.)

  25. We all agree that this team needs a lot more talent to contend. I think I calculated that our team should finish with about 15 WAR. To win 90 games, we need about 43 WAR. We need to find 28 WAR. That is a tall order.

  26. @32 Very true – even great teams need a whole bunch of at-least-average players. Even the best player can’t do much on a team that lacks depth (see, Mike Trout and the 2016 Angels, Chris Sale and the 2013 White Sox). More to the point, many recent teams have won with across-the-board good rosters topped with a few stud guys (see, most of the successful Giants squads of the last 5-10 years). If Dansby turns out to be our Brandon Crawford instead of Buster Posey, well, that does not doom the Braves’ rebuild efforts.

  27. @35

    That’s the key point. When you started playing the WAR game, it’s cheaper and easier to have teams setup like the Royals and Giants that are deep top to bottom but don’t possess many top-20 players instead of trying to attract a couple top-10 players and lacking depth. I think you’re more likely to bridge that 43 WAR gap by adding more 3 WAR guys vs. less 5 WAR guys.

    I called Nocahoma a clown because I’m tired of hearing how bad our major league roster is and how bad our minor league prospects are. No one is saying there are even 3 future top-20 players on this prospect list. It’s been clear by almost everyone (if not everyone) that there’s no future top-5 player in this system. There’s no Derek Jeter, there’s no Chipper Jones, there’s no Ken Griffey Jr. or Bryce Harper. We got it. But when you hate the on-field product, then like Game, Blauser said, you look to the future in hopes that some (not all or even most) of these players become good. Frankly, if you’re so convinced that this system is barren of talent, then you’re essentially saying that the team won’t be good for the next 5-6 years, in which case, why be so actively following a train wreck?

  28. I would like to point out that some people think following a team *when* they are a train wreck is what differentiates real fans from the bandwagon bunch. If you only follow the team when they are successful then shame on you.

  29. @38

    I had a 12 y.old once who was like that – Cowboys one year, Niners the next. To his credit though he followed his Dad’s affliction and stuck with the Braves.

  30. One can be a fan and still question the future direction. Those aren’t mutually exclusive. I don’t know why it’s so hard for some here to accept that.

  31. @39: How did you end up with a Braves jones anyway, blazon? It seems an unlikely fixation.

    @40: Agree. Being a fan should make you neither blind nor stupid. Questioning authority was always deemed a good thing in our household, whereas blindly accepting what you were told was not.

  32. I am not convinced that this Braves administration will deliver a championship — or even a good team. I guess I’m cautiously optimistic — cautious because I’m not an idiot, optimistic because I’m still a fan. If you can’t look over the minor leagues and find anyone to dream on, that’s your prerogative. But I don’t think that optimism should be offensive to a pessimist, or vice versa.

    Just remember to keep the big guns pointed off the deck — the real enemy’s the Marlins.

  33. By the way, Albies is my #1 Braves prospect. Here’s my full list I submitted to Tomahawk Take for mid-season.
    Here’s mine!
    1. Albies
    2. Swanson
    3. Kevin Maitan, SS
    4. Newcomb
    5. Ian Anderson
    6. Kolby Allard
    7. Ronald Acuna
    8. Austin Riley
    9. Dustin Peterson
    10 Patrick Weigel
    11. Max Fried
    12. Lucas Sims
    13. Joey Wentz
    13. Kyle Muller
    14. Derian Cruz
    15. Travis Demerrite
    16. Touki Toussaint
    17. Mike Soroka
    18. A.J. Minter
    19 Christian Pache
    20. Rob Whalen
    21. Brett Cumberland
    22. Isranel Wilson
    23. Abraham Gutierrez
    24. Rio Ruiz
    25. Tyrell Jenkins
    26. John Gant
    27. Chris Ellis
    28. Akeel Morris
    29. Lucas Herbert
    30. Mauricio Cabrera

  34. I heavily favor our pitching prospects with a strikeout pitch and mid-90s velocity. I think Weigel is going to be a stud.

  35. I have tended to be more pessimistic, but I’m still annoyed by trollish pessimism. The Pollyanna optimism is at least loyalistic. Even so, the most optimistic takes–those that have us at .500 next year–are far from the homerist caricatures that Nocahoma is painting. Nobody takes for granted that Swanson is going to be a star. Most of us realize that the high-ceiling talent in our system is at rookie ball and single-A or is working on visas. Our next playoff rotation will not be led by Rob Whalen and Matt Wisler, but it might be led by Kolby Allard and Kyle Muller. It’s mighty tenuous to pin one’s hopes on 18-year old pitchers, but what are we supposed to do with our fandom? You’ve got to have something to daydream about.

  36. I’m dreaming of a season where the guys in Ryan’s list are actually in our lineup rather than names we track on, I don’t even care how they perform.

  37. I may be guilty of accepting constantly lowered expectations, and I don’t really think we’re going .500 next year, but I think “competitive” is still in reach. A year where we’re fielding an actual team, not composed of castoffs and never-were’s that we’re hoping to “flip” at the deadline, getting the young players some reps, maybe winning 75-ish games and not getting embarrassed routinely – that seems “competitive” to me.

  38. @50
    With money to spend and a plethora of prospects to trade, saying the club will or won’t be .500 is like trying to finish a 1000 piece puzzle that’s missing 300 pieces. The current team add Albies and Swanson, would likely finish at or below .500. We all know that’s not how it’s going to shake out.

    For me personally, I’m waiting until April to judge the team. I was happy with the moves last offseason, happy with the draft, happy with int’l signings, very disappointed in the trade deadline (meh on Kemp, but I’d love to see what a Kemp minus 25 pounds could do). IMO, this offseason is the final stage of the rebuild. Let’s all have a beer and wait and see.

  39. @49, To be fair, the .500 in 2017 camp is counting on a couple of acquisitions, including a catcher, to get us there.

  40. Guys, we would NOT be .500 if you add Albies and Swanson to this year’s roster. C’mon.

  41. @53 That’s what you chose to focus on? It was a generalization to show the ceiling is .500 at best. Many bad teams finish .500. The point was that adding those 2 singly aren’t going to make this team competitive and Front Office knows that.

  42. I definitely agree that we could add pieces in the off season to get us closer to .500. I don’t think .500 is within reach though. I also don’t think it should be the goal. I really want the kids to play and learn on the job.

  43. Neither optimism nor pessimism bother me. It’s all in the way it’s handled.

    I could do without the armchair scouting of players most actual scouts agree will be solid major leaguers at the least, but I could also do without hearing about how great our bullpen will look next season, like that’s really going to matter to the 2017 team or is even all that predictable anyway.

  44. My optimism lies in the fact that when I look at our roster, it’s the guys with negative WAR who will be replaced this off season. Will the team do a good job managing that turnover? I don’t know, but there is a clear path to improvement. Like ryan c, I’m going to reserve judgement until I see how next year’s team takes shape.

  45. I’m the pen guy. I’ve enjoyed the depth of the pen when you got a bunch of young pitchers going 5-6 innings. Pen’s been a strength this year, and it will be next year with more young kids.

  46. #Braves have traded INF Erick Aybar to the #Tigers for veteran INF/OF Mike Aviles and catcher Kade Scivicque.

  47. I guess it saves a little money, otherwise why bother? Aviles sucks, and a 23 year old in A ball isn’t much of a prospect.

  48. @62 High-A. One year older and one level below Dansby Swanson.

    Age and level aren’t alarming for college draft pick.

  49. The future starts tomorrow! This feels so much like the birth of my first son, nervous anticipation.

  50. @67 – He’s shown marked offensive improvement the second half of this year. Like the organization he’s joining, his overall numbers are are being weighted down by an abysmal April.

  51. Is this more about being able to trade a now decent shortstop for middling prospects or about Swanson being ready?

  52. Trading Aybar was about getting another warm body at catcher that might turn into something because our system is currently barren of catchers whose hitting skills are in evidence.

    Calling up DS2 is about a sneak preview for next season.

    Time to get your bets in: Does Dansby outperform Alex Bregman in his first 40 respective ABs and if so by how much?

  53. lol Coppy reads Braves Journal and is trolling Nocahoma hard, is what this means.

    Hi, Coppy!

  54. Nothing quantitative suggests he’s offensively ready, but Aybar set the bar so low overall, defensively alone he should be an upgrade. I just hope his bat can tread water enough he doesn’t mind f*ck himself and retard his development.

    Agree with Rob though, the timing is curious.

  55. This is odd. Albies is more accomplished but only 19. Swanson of course has the good makeup meaning, I guess he puts his eye liner on straighter, but his numbers suggest he isn’t ready. Why start his service clock in a lost season?

  56. The timing makes sense if you want to open SunTrust with Swanson…and they obviously do want that. Hell they probably have all the marketing collateral already made. He needs to get acclimated. I wanted that acclimation process to start this past June for both him and Albies. I’m definitely happy they aren’t waiting until next June, but a bit confused as to why they wouldn’t want Albies (and several other players on the M-Braves) to come up in the same wave.

    Maybe I’m reading this wrong and Ablies will be up in September too?

  57. Swanson seems like the kind of player that numbers won’t change much from MILB to MLB, so I’m going with a mid-700s OPS for this season and next.

  58. I am gonna need everyone on record here for whether this constitutes “rushing” Swanson or not. I say not in the least and don’t believe in the concept, but I know I’m in a minority (of one) on that front. But, I don’t want to hear about how he was rushed if he starts 5 for 40 or something. Go ahead and call it now.

  59. @84

    Put me on record for “rushing”. Also put me on record as thinking that doing this is incredibly freaking stupid.

  60. @84 My guess is that Swanson will be successful enough this season that we won’t apply the “rushed” label. On the other hand, why burn his service time now in a lost season, especially when there’s no pressure to call him up and 2016 wins mean nothing (and might actually harm the team if the Braves finish a game out of last place or something)?

    The most reasonable non-marketing-based rationale I can come up with for Swanson’s callup is that the Braves’ braintrust feels like giving Swanson some MLB time now will help accelerate his progress towards being a quality MLB regular. It certainly seems like there are skills Dansby could polish with some AAA reps, though.

  61. Obviously we are rushing him, but there’s no real reason to do so. It also seems really stupid to send Ozzie down to play with Dansby and then skip Dansby past AAA.

  62. Gwinnett seems like it’s always been the land of misfit toys. I would expect a lot of the studs on the M-Braves to skip it. We could insert most of their bullpen right now and it’d be pretty entertaining.

  63. @88

    That last thing you said is the main point here. If he were absolutely tearing it up, then maybe. But he hasn’t been. I could see calling him to AAA, but don’t you think he oughta see some pitching there before before he’s thrust into the big leagues?

  64. Dunno if Dans is ready to hit big-league pitching, but I can promise you that no one needs to worry about his mental state.

    And, for what it’s worth, I think Scivique will be a major-leaguer. He’s a much more interesting prospect than I thought they could get for Aybar. He can catch, and he can hit.

  65. I think it’s a lot better optics if he struggles some in the majors than if he finishes the year struggling at AAA (which could easily happen…imagine how that would fire up the fanbase!). Either he can play, or he can’t. 40 extra games in the minors isn’t going to make or break that.

  66. Word on the street was due to an incident between Albies and some miffed veterans in Gwinnett was that the Braves never planned on promoting anyone to Gwinnett after that, it was either going to be majors or stay at AA. Albies will be up soon, and we will see some of the Mississippi bullpen soon too.

  67. The optics are better if he struggles at Triple-A than if he struggles in the big leagues. If he struggles at Triple-A, us diehards will know about it, but know one else will think twice and us diehards know better than to commit harakiri over that. If he struggles in the majors, expect an avalanche of bullcrap to be heaped on him. Stu watched him play, so I’ll trust him @93, but even assuming he’s right, there’s no need for the fanbase-wide hand-wringing that’s about to happen in the fairly plausible event that he hits under .200 over the last month-and-a-half of the season. And if you pile the marketing/stadium-opening thing on him during the offseason in addition to that, it’s just not a good idea, no matter how resilient he is.

  68. @25 Albies reminds me of Luis Castillo who actually was a pretty useful player despite only hitting more than 3 home runs in a season twice (4 & 6). But you’re right: it is uncommon to be an impact player with so little pop.

    Swanson on the other hand, well, I’m not sure what he’ll be. I guess we should just hope he’s able to make adjustments and grow as he gains experience. I’m sure Jeff Francoeur will be a great influence on him….

  69. I think Albies will be called up very soon. I also think this isn’t a great idea. No real reason to bring them up right now

  70. Rushing

    Not to mention it will come back to bite them when he leaves earlier via free agency.

  71. We could have called him up in September, started him 2-3 times a week against any AAAA pitchers we might face, and sent him in as a pinch-hitter, pinch-runner, defensive sub whenever he’s riding the pine under the veteran infield mentorship of… Beckham, I guess? Nobody would have batted an eye. Instead we’re calling him up in mid-August after trading our starting shortstop, giving him a low-number jersey, and announcing to the world he’ll be starting on day one.

    Totally a rush job. No two ways about it.

    Maybe it’ll pay off and he’ll kick ass. Or maybe not. I still think it’s inherently a rush job by definition. To answer that question, the outcome doesn’t really matter to me more than the premise.

    As for Ozzie, well…he’s playing second base right now. The Braves want their shortstop of the future, which he is not. So Ozzie either understands that or he doesn’t. Not a big deal to me.

    Alex Bregman hit 2 for his first 38 with 4 BB, 10 K and 0 extra base hits. I think DS2 will do better than that, but not by too terribly much. How about 8 for his first 38 with 4 BB, 11 K and a double for one of this hits. Throw him a SB, too. I think he’ll want to show off his “Hey, I can steal bases, guys!” cred early. I don’t think, however, he’ll match Bregman’s eight-game hitting streak after he broke his 2 for 38 slump. But we’ll see. You have to be excited even if you think it’s a dumb move.

  72. This is yet another thing that makes me question this management team. Reeks of “what the hey!”

  73. I’m just glad we finally have a reason to watch and get excited about something. The 627 people that have tickets for tomorrow’s game have to feel pretty good right now.

  74. @101, this is on DOB’s feed…

    #Braves boss Hart says Swanson ‘not quite ready’ but doesn’t expect him to be ‘overwhelmed’ in MLB

    It seems like Hart is saying exactly what you are, lol

  75. I don’t really understand the angst over caling Swanson up now. We need a shortstop and that’s his position. There is no need to overwhelm Swanson and if he doesn’t do very well, let D’Arnaud or Beckham play. It’s not like we’re depending on him to bat .350 in a pennant run. I don’t see any reason playing in the majors for the final month and a half can’t be a good experience and help him for next year.

    As for Albies, we don’t need a 2nd baseman and that is his primary position right now. If we bring him up in September, that will be great, but no rush before then.

  76. I like it. Gives a low pressure sample before next year.

    Via Martin Gondee on Twitter, Dans is hitting .293/.391/.445 away from his tough home hitter’s park.

    Also via Twitter, Jonathan Mayo on what to expect:

  77. Independent of everything else going on with this organization, a called-up prospect whose nickname is a Future album is a thing I am 100% behind.

  78. Hart must be planning to offer Swanson some kind of huge extension down the road. Free agency doesn’t appear to be a consideration.

  79. It’s sad that with all the nickname potential you get in a name like DANSBY SWANSON anybody would go with “DS2.”

  80. I’m excited. I’m tired of talking about WAR and Moneyball and arbitration years. If this is a pure marketing ploy to give fans something to cheer for, I’m down with that. It’s about time.

  81. How does Dansby Swanson = DS2? Just curious.

    So, I guess the prevailing line of thinking here is that failing in a cup of coffee in MLB doesn’t hurt a player’s development? It might hurt his trade value. I don’t know.

    The FO must have scouting reports that say that Swanson is better than his numbers and that he has been unlucky.

  82. I’ll go “no” to the callup. Slightly different reason. Swanson did not have to be on 40 man in November to be protected from Rule 5. So, one more player will have to be dangled.

    I do not believe developmentally Swanson is quite ready. I don’t think he is “bad” or it will “hurt” him. But I think Swanson 2016 and first 10 days of 2017 is less valuable than Swanson in 2023.

  83. I think if he shows he can play over the next two + years, we probably sign him to a long term deal. I’m not worried about the service time.

    I’m not sure he is ready for the jump, but I think he will be okay. It probably won’t hurt his growth. Actually, there is a chance it could be helpful.

  84. Is DS2 being rushed? I would say yes, but then again, I’m just this guy on teh intarwebz who doesn’t know as much as I claim I do. Obviously, the FO thinks he can handle himself in the Show, and it’s not like he’s getting called up in the middle of a pennant race.

    I’ll give Coppy et al the benefit of the doubt on this one.

  85. It’s obviously not a pure baseball decision. The real-estate empire needs something to drum up interest. I just don’t think it will matter at all to his development, since I think it was always an absolute lock that he’d open SunTrust at SS. We’re talking a month and a half here.

  86. @70, nope — Mike Aviles is not, as far as I’m aware, related to GM Al Avila. Al Avila’s son is Alex Avila, the catcher who had a great year in 2011 and then really fell off after that after receiving concussions. Alex is now with the White Sox, after leaving the Tigers as a free agent last year.

  87. I think the call up is a pretty good indication that the team plans to be competitive next year. They want Dansby to get his feet wet now and be ready to compete next year. Bolsters my expectations for significant additions this off season.

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