Pre Season Predictions (by Smitty)

We only have one more week until November without meaningful baseball. So let’s have some fun as we run out the clock. I went to see my barber and he gave me a rundown of how all this will fold out, along with a straight shave.

Let’s have your prediction on the following (my predictions in italics):

Braves Record: 75-87

Date we see Ozzie Albies: July 31

Braves Team Leaders in:

Division winners:

  • NL East:    Mets 
  • NL Central:   Cubs 
  • NL West:   Dodgers 
  • AL East: Red Sox
  • AL Central: Indians
  • AL West:  Rangers
  • NL WCs:   Nats, Giants
  • AL Wild Cards:  Yankees, Astros

NL MVP:  Anthony Rizzo 
AL MVP: Gary Sanchez

NL Cy Young:   Jon Lester
AL Cy Young: Corey Kluber

NL ROY: Dansby Swanson
AL ROY: Andrew Benintendi

NLCS- Cubs over Mets
ALCS- Astros over Indians

World Series- Cubs over Astros in 6 games

212 thoughts on “Pre Season Predictions (by Smitty)”

  1. Okay, I’ll bite.

    Record: 76-86
    Braves leaders:

    HR: Freeman, 30
    RBI: Freeman, 98
    OPS: Freeman, .900
    Runs: Freeman, 95
    Wins: Teheran 13
    Losses: Teheran 13
    Saves: Vizcaino 20

    NL East: Washington
    NL Central: Chicago
    NL West: L.A.
    AL East: Boston
    AL Central: Cleveland
    AL West: Houston
    NL WC: New York, Pittsburgh
    AL WC: Texas, Toronto

    NL MVP: Giancarlo Stanton
    AL MVP: Mookie Betts

    NL Cy Young: Noah Syndergaard
    AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez

    NL ROY: Dansby Swanson
    AL ROY: Andrew Benintendi

    NLCS: Chicago over Washington
    ALCS: Boston over Cleveland

    WS: Chicago over Boston

  2. Giancarlo Stanton. Interesting. I do think a slugger will have a bounce-back year and win the MVP, but I think it’ll be Harper instead.

    Fun little fact for everyone: Of the 20 top bWAR single season totals, only one occurred within the last 30 years by a player not rumored to be on steroids (so Barry Bonds is excluded). Who is that player? You guessed it. Cal Ripken Jr. (1991).

    Interestingly, while clocking in at #11 on B-Ref’s WAR calculation, he slides all the way to #35 in FanGraph’s, still having the highest non-Bonds fWAR total in the last 30 years. I’d love it if a more learned WAR-rior could tell me why there’s such a disparity.

  3. Braves Record: 81-81
    Date we see Ozzie Albies: June 20
    Braves Team Leaders in:
    Home Runs: FF 36
    RBI: FF 109
    OPS: FF .982
    Runs: Inciarte 98
    Wins: Julio 15
    Losses: Bartolo 12
    Saves: Jim Johnson 25

    Division winners:
    NL East: Nats
    NL Central: Cubs
    NL West: Dodgers
    AL East: Red Sox
    AL Central: Indians
    AL West: Stros
    NL WCs: Pirates, Giants
    AL Wild Cards: Mariners, Jays

    NL MVP: FF
    AL MVP: Mike Trout, duh

    NL Cy Young: Kershaw
    AL Cy Young: Kluber

    NL ROY: Dansby Swanson
    AL ROY: Andrew Benintendi

    NLCS- Cubs over Nats
    ALCS- Indians over Red Sox

    World Series- Indians over Cubs in 7

  4. @2 There is actually one non-steroid-suspect player in the last 30 years with a higher single season fWAR than Cal Ripken’s 10.6 fWAR in 1991… and that season belongs to Pedro Martinez, 1999. As a matter of fact, Pedro Martinez in 1999 recorded the highest *ever* single season pitcher fWAR (11.6).

  5. Well I’ll be. I should have said position players because that’s how I was searching. How presumptive of me to think that a pitcher couldn’t match the season of a guy who plays in the field. Pedro also did that in only 29 GS. His K/9 for those who qualify was only bested by Randy Johnson’s 2001 season in the last 30 years.

    And on another note, Jose Fernandez’s season last year was the 5th highest K/9 in a season in the last 30 years among those who qualify. The list is full of people you’ve expect (Pedro, Big Unit, Kerry Wood, Nolan Ryan, Chris Sale, etc.) until you get down to #20, Robbie Ray in 2016. Only pitcher in the top 20 to also have a losing record, and he was 8-15. Weird.

  6. I’ll give it a go:

    Braves record: 78-84
    Date we see Albies: Aug 1

    Braves Leaders:
    HR: Freeman 39
    RBI: Freeman 117
    OPS: Freeman 1.026
    Runs: Enciarte 111
    Wins: Teheran 17
    Losses: Dickey 15
    Saves: Johnson 31

    East: Nationals
    Central: Cubs
    West: Giants
    East: Blue-Jays
    Central: Indians
    West: Angels
    NL Wild Cards: Cards, Dodgers
    AL Wild Cards: Astros, Red Sox

    NL MVP: Kershaw
    AL MVP: Trout

    NL Cy Young: Kershaw
    AL Cy Young: Sale

    NL ROY: Swanson
    AL ROY: No idea, Benetendi I guess

    NLCS: Dodgers over Cubs
    ALCS: Blue-Jays over Indians

    WS: Dodgers over Blue-Jays

  7. I hope we can get someone to break out this summer along the lines of Tim Keefe’s age-26 season.

  8. If only we could get Troy to trade us a modern day version. Of course I must mention that Folty is only 25…

  9. Fun. Here’s my guess.

    Record: 75-87
    Braves leaders:
    HR: Freeman, 29
    RBI: Freeman, 102
    OPS: Freeman, .908
    Runs: Inciarte, 97
    Wins: Teheran 13
    Losses: Dickey 14
    Saves: Johnson 17

    NL East: Washington
    NL Central: Chicago
    NL West: L.A.
    AL East: Boston
    AL Central: Cleveland
    AL West: Houston
    NL WC: San Francisco, Pittsburgh
    AL WC: Toronto, Seattle

    NL MVP: Giancarlo Stanton
    AL MVP: Manny Machado
    NL Cy Young: Noah Syndergaard
    AL Cy Young: Yu Darvish
    NL ROY: Dansby Swanson
    AL ROY: Andrew Benintendi

    NLCS: Los Angeles over Chicago
    ALCS: Boston over Cleveland
    WS: Boston over LA

    Albies watch: July 14

  10. Record: 80-82

    Braves leaders:

    HR: Kemp, 34
    RBI: Freeman, 105
    OPS: Freeman, .940
    Runs: Inciarte, 95
    Wins: Teheran 16
    Losses: Folty 10 (Teheran and Folty pitch well, and Dickey/Colon/Garcia get traded before they can amass loss totals)
    Saves: Johnson 20

    NL East: Washington
    NL Central: Chicago
    NL West: L.A.
    AL East: Boston
    AL Central: Cleveland
    AL West: Houston
    NL WC: Pittsburgh
    AL WC: Texas

    NL MVP: Bryce Harper
    AL MVP: Mike Trout (Don’t over-think it)
    NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
    AL Cy Young: Chris Sale
    NL ROY: Dansby Swanson
    AL ROY: Andrew Benintendi

    NLCS: Chicago over Washington
    ALCS: Boston over Cleveland
    WS: Boston over Chicago
    Albies watch: July 1

    Date First Old SP Is Traded: June 1

  11. HR: Kemp, 36
    RBI: Freeman, 99
    OPS: Freeman, .913
    Runs: Swanson, 89
    Wins: Garcia 14
    Losses: Dickey 12
    Saves: Johnson 31

    NL MVP: Bryce Harper
    AL MVP: Jose Altuve
    NL Cy Young: Max Scherzer
    AL Cy Young: Yu Darvish
    NL ROY: Dansby Swanson
    AL ROY: Andrew Benintendi

    Albies watch: August 15

    NL East

    WAS 94-68
    NYM 85-77
    ATL 80-82
    MIA 75-87
    PHI 73-89

    NL Central

    CHC 97-65
    PIT 88-74
    STL 84-78
    MIL 70-92
    CIN 69-93

    NL West

    LAD 94-68
    SFG 87-75
    COL 81-81
    ARZ 77-85
    SDP 62-100

    AL East

    BOS 92-70
    NYY 85-77
    TOR 85-77
    TAM 82-80
    BAL 81-81

    AL Central

    CLE 93-69
    DET 79-83
    KCR 75-87
    MIN 72-90
    CHW 68-94

    AL West

    HOU 91-71
    SEA 88-74
    TEX 82-80
    OAK 71-91
    LAA 70-92

    ALCS Astros over Indians 4-3
    NLCS Nats over Cubs 4-2
    WS Nats over Astros 4-1

  12. Braves record: 71-91

    I would have gone with a 60s win total but I’m thinking that we’ll see some very young pitching in the 2nd half that turns out half decent.

    Otherwise this is a worse team than last year.

  13. Record: 78-84
    Braves leaders:
    HR: Freeman, 27
    RBI: Freeman, 104
    OPS: Freeman, .925
    Runs: Swanson, 93
    Wins: Teheran 15
    Losses: Dickey 14
    Saves: Johnson 19
    NL East: Washington
    NL Central: Chicago
    NL West: San Fran
    AL East: Boston
    AL Central: Cleveland
    AL West: Texas
    NL WC: New York, L.A
    AL WC: Houston, Toronto
    NL MVP: Bryce Harper
    AL MVP: Mike Trout
    NL Cy Young: Max Scherzer
    AL Cy Young: Chris Sele
    NL ROY: Dansby Swanson
    AL ROY: Andrew Benintendi
    NLCS: Washington over Chicago
    ALCS: Boston over Texas
    WS: Boston over Washington

  14. Comparing teams 2016-2017

    C: Push

    1: slight decline. I love me some Freeman, but last year was insane.

    2: Huge upgrade. Close to 4 wins if Phillips is decent and Albies has an average debut.

    SS: Huge upgrade

    3: push/slight upgrade. Still our weakest position

    L: Upgrade. Our non-Kemp LF’ers were atrocious last year

    C: push. Ender wont miss as much time but he wont babip .390 again either. Besides, Mallex was good

    R: slight decline with age

    1: push. Julio could be better than 2016, but on average is a push.

    2.uncertain. either huge upgrade (Garcia is healthy and productive) or not.

    3. Likely upgrade. Bartolo

    4. Huge upgrade. Folty

    5. ??? don’t try to predict 43 year old knuckleballers

    Bullpen: slight improvement.

    bench: push. Sucks both years

    Injury replacements: I like our pitching depth much more than last year (still a Blair and Newcombe believer). Albies is a great Dansby insurance policy. Wish we could count on S Rod :(

    Overall we are better at 2nd, short, LF and the starting rotation, worse at 1st and RF. This is a much improved team from 2016.

  15. @20 – Not that Snitker has fully proven himself yet, but you forgot the most important thing. We don’t have Fredi at manager. That should at least make double digit losing streaks to start the year less likely.

  16. He’s just trolling. Only guy coming in with less than 75 wins. You rascal, krussell.

    On the whole, I think centerfield regresses. We have no backup, and while I’ve outgrown my days of “Incifarte” and have grown to fully appreciate Ender’s Game, he will miss time. And at that point, someone not nearly as good as Mallex will be manning CF. And while Inciarte’s ISO discipline improved last year, he stole less bags, hit for less power, and his overall OPS declined.

    But I think the 5th starter is a LOCK to be a huge upgrade. Our rotation was a smorgasbord last year, so it’s hard to determine who fit into each numbered slot, but we had some absolute garbage in the 5th starter spot. The 5th starter spot was Blair, De La Cruz, Jenkins, Whalen, Chacin, Bills, etc. Just doing some rough and dirty math, they accounted for about a six and a quarter ERA. Just awful. Brutal. Guys shouldn’t even be on the club. If Dickey has an ERA of even 5, I think he gets traded or released, and one of the four from AAA replaces him.

    The Braves didn’t have a single guy get 100 PAs and have a 80 OPS+ off the bench last year other than Recker. You’d think they could have easily upgraded this, but nope, failed. The bench could have been a source of one or two more wins, and they’ve crapped the bed on this.

  17. “Only guy coming in with less than 75 wins.”

    Not quite the only one, filling this out for real I’d say we’re shy of 70. Give me 68 – 94.

    I believe in: Freeman, Swanson, Teheran, Foltynewicz, Mauricio Cabrera, Inciarte, one of Colon/Dickey

    I do not believe in: the combined health of all the players listed above, 3rd Base, Kemp, Markakis, Catcher, Vizcaino, Ozzie coming back full strength this year, Jaime Garcia, both of Colon/Dickey, any of the young starters coming up and making an impact *this* season.

    I probably believe in: the 2018 Braves

  18. Barely spring and you guys are talking in the 70s. You’re probably right, but damn! Mix in some sun with that gloom. Too much realism will kill you.

    Braves win 92 as nothing that could go wrong does. Ender, Freddie and Swanson each play 150+ games. Each is an all star, as are Julio, Folty and Garcia. Teheran wins the Cy Young and Freddie the MVP. Folty and Garcia each get votes for the Cy. Big Sexy wins 15. Swanson is unanimous ROY, and Albies is unanimously second following his May 15 call up.

    Skipper of the year Snit manages the Braves to their second world series title while playing somewhere in Georgia. Executive and GM of the year give all credit to the process. Got to trust it, they say.

    You gotta believe.

  19. My totally unbiased and realistic predictions:-)

    Braves Record: 102-60
    Date we see Ozzie Albies: September 5 (Brandon Philips is MVP runner up)
    Braves Team Leaders in:
    Home Runs: Tie Freeman/ Kemp 43
    RBI: Kemp 132
    OPS: FF 1.198
    Runs: Inciarte 125
    Wins: Julio 23
    Losses: Bartolo 6
    Saves: Jim Johnson 56
    (Freeman wins Triple Crown)

    Division winners:
    NL East: Braves
    NL Central: Pirates
    NL West: Diamondbacks
    AL East: Blue Jays
    AL Central: White Sox
    AL West: Astros
    NL WCs: Nationals, Mets
    AL Wild Cards: Mariners, Indians

    NL MVP: Freeman
    AL MVP: Mike Trout

    NL Cy Young: Teheran
    AL Cy Young: Price

    NL ROY: Dansby Swanson
    AL ROY: Bradley Zimmer

    NLCS- Braves over Pirates
    ALCS- Astros over White Sox

    World Series- Braves over Astros in 5

  20. Correction – on the last day of the season Freeman hits 2 home runs to edge out Kemp in hrs. He also has 4 rbis to Kemp’s 3 to edge him out in that category. This is the only way he can win the triple crown.

  21. @21 — We could hardly do any worse than Fredi at manager given his obvious indifference over the last two or three seasons, but the record for upjumped interim managers is not good. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Snitker’s fairy dust ran out at some point over the summer and the Braves were looking for an excuse to replace him with Washington or Pendleton by the fall. Hope I’m wrong, of course. But I doubt Snitker is The Solution at manager.

  22. @25

    Impressive that FF5 wins the Triple Crown while not even leading his team in RBIs.

    Must be an analytics thing that I don’t get.

    Braves Record: 80-82
    Date we see Ozzie Albies: July 23

    Braves Team Leaders in:
    Home Runs: Freeman 33
    RBI: Kemp 104
    OPS: FF .982
    Runs: Inciarte 93
    Wins: Julio 14
    Losses: Dickey 11
    Saves: Jim Johnson 26

    Division winners:
    NL East: Nats
    NL Central: Cubs
    NL West: Dodgers
    AL East: Red Sox
    AL Central: Indians
    AL West: Astros
    NL WCs: Giants, Mets
    AL Wild Cards: Mariners, Yankees (ugh)

    NL MVP: Seager
    AL MVP-Non-Trout Division: Carlos Correa
    NL Cy Young: Kershaw
    AL Cy Young: Verlander
    NL ROY: Dansby Swanson
    AL ROY: Andrew Bientendi

    NLCS- Cubs over Dodgers
    ALCS- Indians over Astros
    World Series- Indians over Cubs in 6

  23. @30 – That is why I made a correction at 26. The 4 rbis on the final day of the season gives him the Triple Crown.

  24. Really hoping we trade for a bench bat this week. We’re mediocre at a few positions, and that’s fine, but a bat off the bench keeps Jace from being that. If Jace is the first bat off the bench, then that’s still better than some of the players we’ve had in the role in year’s past (including playoff teams), but that then means that you can’t use Jace in a super sub role, which he’s clearly optimal for. Just imagine if Martin Prado never got consistent playing time because he had to be a pinch hitter. I think Bonifacio is fine as the 5th OF on a 5-man bench, and Jace, Chase, and Suzuki are a good bench. But you need someone who can backup corner OF/1B and can hit a little. An Eric Hinske type would be really helpful. And with Mauricio Cabrera injured to start the year, Boyer released and potentially coming back as a minor leaguer, EOF giving us a second lefty and sending Paco, who as options, to AAA, then we might not have the bullpen crunch that necessitates an 8th reliever.

  25. Simply put, this is how I think the bench and pen should shake out:

    RH OF/1B


    That pen is plenty big enough. I definitely don’t agree with the 8 man pen.

  26. Not a good day for marginal ex-Braves today: Michael Bourn, Chris Johnson, and Gregor Blanco all got released by their respective teams. Peter Moylan appears to have made the Royals, though (remember when he was transitioning into coaching?), and Alex Wood is still battling for the Dodgers’ number five starter job.

  27. Paco Rodriguez released and thus solidifying the Olivera trade as the worst of the Coppy era. (As if it wasn’t already).

  28. Pretty sure he did have an option year remaining. But they needed a 40-man spot and obviously liked him less than at least 40 other guys. The mouthpieces immediately started tweeting about lack of motivation/work ethic/whatever…surprising, but I suppose it is what it is. And, yeah, they did save about $470K by dumping him instead of some other guys on the 40-man.

  29. What’s the point in releasing him? His numbers aren’t bad and he needs a chance to see some action after the surgery

  30. Hard to understand on the surface why they wouldn’t want him on the 40-man. They clearly aren’t too concerned about their ability to have a strong bullpen, so I guess we’ll see. I don’t see how you’d keep Chapman and EOF and let Paco go. After an offseason of them talking about an 8-man pen and how good their pen is going to be, they better come through.

  31. Hello! I just saw the record 8-21. Well it’s only ST. They would clearly not start the regular season in that fashion would they. Teheran, Folty and Garcia are ready to go – as is FF. He will have a monster season. Paco cut? Meh. Bonifacio making the team? Now that bothers me. Get a bench bat, Coppy.

  32. Seeing Bonifacio (and likely Chase d’Arnaud) on the Opening Day roster is disappointing, but it doesn’t feel like a symbol of desperation the way that bringing Frenchy back felt. They’re just replacement-level guys and I don’t doubt Coppy’s willingness to drop them like a bad habit.

  33. I’m supposed to believe that we are trying to win now with Chase and Bonerface and a couple soon-to-be-retired pitchers in the starting rotation? I have absolutely no idea what we’re doing, but if winning is the goal, then we’re still doing it wrong.

    Hey look over there! Is that WFF?!

  34. Since we are going to have an 8 man bullpen, hopefully Snitker will not be shy about bringing the hook when a starter is struggling or is tiring in the middle innings.

  35. On a totally unrelated point…. Does anyone have insight on Kris Medlen’s status with the Braves? Haven’t heard or read anything about him.

  36. Medlen was released. Not sure what exactly went down–it doesn’t seem he threw a pitch this spring.

  37. “The Braves are serious about being contenders.”

    “Emilio Bonifocio is your fourth outfielder. We are excited about what he brings to the locker room.”

    Just tell us to come see the new stadium

  38. I’m only ok with Bonifacio if he’s the 5th man on the bench and the super-utility guy that only sees defensive innings and pinch runs. Unfortunately, I don’t think that will happen.

    And the 4-man bench still continues to be a thing…in the NL…with 3 light hitters and a catcher. Holy butts.

  39. The four-man bench is the stupidest idea the Braves have dreamed up in quite some time. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt, but no team in the history of baseball has ever needed or will ever need a thirteen-man pitching staff.

  40. Our games will be longer due to the 6 pitching changes, and that means more concession sales. Could be good for the hotels in The Battery as well when your average weeknight game ends at 2am.

  41. A 4-man bench is fine if that 4-man bench is defensively and offensively interchangeable. The Cubs could easily get by with it since they have guys like Baez, Zobrist, Kris Bryant, La Stella, and Schwarber that can all hit AND play multiple positions. Where it doesn’t work is when your core lineup is essentially relegated to their 1 position and the bench is mostly glorified pinch runners.

  42. I’m convinced you’ll win notably more games with a 5-man bench vs. a 13-man staff. I was willing to give the benefit of the doubt, but now that the roster is getting set, I don’t like it.

  43. I remain calm by telling myself that the opening day roster will not look anything like the August 1 roster but yes the bench and bullpen are uninspiring at this point.

  44. Looks like Infante might be released. He had a good spring and would definitely be an upgrade to D’Arnaud if we could snag him.

  45. The 4 we have right now, if used properly, are totally fine. Bonifacio is a perfectly acceptable 5th OF that gets minimal playing time, can play center field, and can pinch run. Great. Jace is a really good super sub that, as he enters his peak, should hit enough to be an asset. d’Arnaud is a good backup SS/3B/2B/OF, though not the best caddy for a young phenom like Dansby, and Suzuki is a cromulent backup catcher. The problem is that the bench needs to provide an authoritative bat off the bench, so you can’t carry just these 4 guys, and doing that so that you can get an extra middle reliever is a huge waste of resources. And you’ll inevitably have Bonifacio appear in high-leverage situations that a 5th OF otherwise would not, which will infuriate Braves fans. Bottom of the 7th, two runners on, and Bonifacio is at the dish. Blech.

    Plus, losing Cabrera and Paco takes some wind out of the bullpen on paper. Cabrera is just injured, of course, but both appeared to be potentially dominant relievers, and we have neither for different reasons.

  46. @71
    A diverse bench doesn’t have to cost much. Take a Coghlan, KJ, Pagan, Suzuki, Jace bench. Likely cost around 10MM, the cost of RA Dickey.

  47. Matthew, O how most of you clings.

    your silhouette that wears a few meals’ traces
    so many gappers that are finding spaces
    and still our hope for you clings
    those wayward swings defined it was you.

    that wrinkling visage that suggests you’re forty
    those jealous rumors that you can’t hit Folty
    how rare your tainted swings
    we want some rings, we’ll pander to you.

    You came, you saw you conquered me
    you sure did that to me
    first i saw you hit off a tee.

    the winds of March it seems have much to answer
    you started slow but lately look a dancer
    O may your drives have wings
    those foolish swings remind us it’s you.

  48. $10M is a lot for a bench. I don’t think we can afford a $10M bench until we have more young players on the roster. Frankly, just one of Coghlan, KJ, or Pagan would be a huge improvement in roster construction.

    And then you don’t have RA Dickey. Say what you want, but they feel like RA Dickey will help. It’s concerning that he’s the only SP that didn’t pitch well in ST, but I think they’ll trade him if someone else is demanding his spot. I put in my predictions that the first veteran SP gets traded by June 1st, and I stand by that.

  49. Coghlan, KJ, and Pagan aren’t actually good; they’re just more famous and more expensive. If the Braves signed all three (which they theoretically could, as all three are still looking for work — telling in and of itself), we’d still be whining about how bad the bench is (at least, I would).

  50. Thank God spring training is almost over! We’ve reached the point of the proceedings where people start talking themselves out of spring training being completely and entirely meaningless as far as results go. There is not one single thing that happened in spring training that means a single solitary thing. I don’t care about our record, I don’t care that RA Dickey has looked bad, I don’t care that whoever can’t hit the broad side of a barn…none of it matters. None of it. Not even a little bit.

    The 13-man bullpen is a stupid idea, that’s something to complain about. The team still doesn’t appear to be very good from a roster construction standpoint, that’s an issue. Nothing that happened during a spring training game or a series of them or whatever is of the slightest concern, though.

  51. They released him before having to pay that $100,000 retention bonus; he could very well re-sign on a MiLB deal. That’s what guys like Blanco (Arizona) and Bourn (Baltimore) have done, too.

  52. I have realized that my trade summary on the Hector Oliveira trade is inaccurate. Joey Wentz, not Austin Riley, was the player taken with the draft pick received in the trade. Joey Wentz is now the only player from the trade who can make an impact on the trade (unless Paco is re-signed). It is hard for me to acknowledge that I could’ve possibly been wrong about something, but I am ready to face the facts. This was the first time I was wrong, and it will be the last. Thank you. Cordially, Rob Cope.

  53. Edward, thanks.

    Ender Inciarte
    has signed a five year extension, ex parte
    a certain flexibility he has found
    may enable him to run another enderound.

  54. Just in case you thought the Braves and Cobb County had kind-of, sort-of, maybe figured this traffic situation out (I know, cue the laugh track), let’s make sure that one of the two major arteries in an out of town is completely shut down indefinitely, possibly for the entire baseball season. This is gonna be fun!

  55. Imagine north Perimeter today! I figure they are out on 85 for at least 6 months. MAYBE get “old 85 / Buford Highway” running in 30 days. But it only has 2 lanes and the big boy on top has 4 or 5 each way. A CHANCE that the two sections joining on either side of the down section weren’t so compromised by fire as to require replacement. Some days it is good not to live in Metro.

  56. Just in case you thought the Braves and Cobb County had kind-of, sort-of, maybe figured this traffic situation out (I know, cue the laugh track), let’s make sure that one of the two major arteries in an out of town is completely shut down indefinitely, possibly for the entire baseball season.

    2 of 3, actually. GA 400 is also effectively closed as a southbound route (the collapse was south of the 400/85 merge, north of the 75/85 merge.)

    Google/Waze is currently giving directions from Hartsfield to John’s Creek (Gwinnett County) via 285E. So thru traffic from the south side to 85N proper maybe won’t push terribly hard into the stadium mess. But the suggested route to Alpharetta – all traffic that would normally take the Connector to 400N – is being directed to 75N >> 285 >> 400. Which is to say, all northbound and southbound traffic that would normally use GA 400 is now being routed directly through the 75/285 interchange where the new stadium is opening.

  57. Today won’t be indicative of the real traffic situation since half the city stayed home. 75 will have to bear a good portion of the re-routed load, and it’s already the most congested interstate in the city. 85 will probably be closed in both directions until late summer – though there will be incentives for whoever wins the rebuild contract to work 3 shifts around the clock, so it’s possible they can get it done in a couple months. Maybe the Buford Spring connector can play the role of 85 at some point…I dunno. I guess it will depend on how much room they need to repair both bridges.


    Also in the Q&A, Coppolella touches on the late acquisition of Brandon Phillips and how that will (or won’t) impact the timeline for top-rated infield prospect Ozzie Albies to crack the Majors. “We expect a big year for Brandon and also expect it will have very little impact on when we call up Ozzie,” says the GM. “Ozzie is going to tell us when he is ready, and he needs to play, be completely healthy, and dominate Triple-A.” Coppolella also suggests that Albies doesn’t immediately need to be locked into one position upon arriving in the Majors due to his athleticism and versatility. “Ask the Cubs about Javier Baez,” says Coppolella when explaining how a versatile young talent can mesh with veteran pieces.

    Well, that’s the first I’ve heard of that. So obviously he would take some time at SS, his natural position, but where else? Third, OF? That’ll be interesting. More and more versatility, especially in 2018 when Phillips is gone and Rodriguez is back.

  59. Braves are now saying they will probably go with a 7 man bullpen now that they just figured out that they have 3 off days in their first 11. They should have asked Smitty about 2 weeks ago. Question is will the Braves call up a prospect like Ruiz to add to their below average bench or will they get another bad player for the final spot?

  60. Some team is going to build a winning marketing campaign around Balbino Fuenmayor. Probably a minor league team.

  61. Of all the things.

    81 x 10,000 x $50 c. 40 Million short fall.

    Business liability insurance coverage for this? Surely not. Uninsurable?

    Appalling piece of luck and timing…Jobian.

    Could our Atlanta members comment/disagree on the middle number guess of lost attendance. More like 5,000?

  62. @97 this only took a month..and a stretch.

    ‘Bambino’ Fuenmayor
    he certainly flew in greyer
    than his name might suggest
    so flew out in a package with the worst of the rest.

  63. @100

    Sam, yes but…when will we get to know when that is? A ‘settled’ number.

    August 2018 I’d guess – and that would assume we’re not chopped liver.

    We will never know now what a brand new ballpark in Atlanta would have drawn in 2017.

  64. I do t know that we can set a baseline until next year now. The 85 collapse is cataclysmic. It will skew transit and the economy of the entire southeast.

    In other news, Nick Franklin is available.

  65. Complaints about STP on Twitter:

    1. It’s not a Wrigley or Fenway
    2. Burgers were expensive
    3. Parking was a shitshow
    4. Didn’t feel like Atlanta

  66. Former Braves:

    Melvin Upton Jr. will not make Jays’ roster. Among other teams, the Rays are interested, who could conceivably take playing time from Mallex, aka Rock Raines, to put Melvin on the field.

    Christian Bethancourt has made the Padres’ roster as RP/C/OF. He’ll pitch in middle relief, play catcher, outfield, and hit lefties. Very cool.

  67. One game sample size, but the ball seems to A. carry well at STP and B. the grass as currently cut makes for a FAST track.

    I suspect there will be a lot of HRs and 3Bs hit there.

  68. I have it on very good authority that the overwhelming majority of game-attending fans live north of the city; QED the highway closure should have minimal impact on ticket sales.

  69. Re: 110

    Taking a look at a topographical map of the Atlanta area (, I get an elevation of just over 1000 feet for SunTrust Park, not counting any excavation that may have been done during construction.

    The map is old. By comparison, Fulton County Stadium (on the map) is at 958 feet and Turner Field is listed at 939 feet.
    All things considered, I wouldn’t mind seeing Launching Pad: the Return. Chicks dig the long ball.

  70. Soroka and Allard, both of whom are 19 years old and were drafted in 2015, are starting the year in AA Mississippi. Some are saying this is the first time since 1978 that two teenage SPs are in a AA rotation. I have no idea if that’s true, but it’s significant nonetheless. I was excited that I may see a lot of Rome’s rotation playing locally here in the high-A Florida State League, but Soroka, Allard, Fried, and Weigel, all of whom spent most of the year at low-A, will be in AA.

    Touki, Ricardo Sanchez (Kyle Kubitza trade, stock has fallen), and Luis Gohara (from the Mallex trade) are in high-A Florida. Anderson, Muller, Wentz (eventually), all from the beginning of the 2016 draft, and Bryse Wilson (taken in the 4th round of the 2016 draft as well) will be in low-A Rome.

    Newcomb, Wisler, Blair, and Sims, all of whom really should be ready for a major league callup at some point this year, are in AAA. To be fair, Sims is still only 22. Wisler and Blair being 24, with Blair turning 25 next month, and Newcomb turning 24 in June means that the shine will be rubbing off all of them pretty quickly, IMO.

    Obviously there’s a lot more to this than how I’m going to simplify it (age, physical scouting, circumstances, etc.), but I looked at how some of our top position player prospects were performing when they got the call. Furcal, Giles, McCann, KJ, Francoeur, Dansby, and Langerhans. Aside from Giles, who had almost .900+ OPS’es at every stop up the ladder, most of these guys were pushed hard and never had much more than a high-.700s/low-.800s OPS at their minor league stops. A lot of them never spent any time at AAA, except for Giles, and once they showed they could handle AA, they got the call.

    Pitching side is a little different. Interestingly, the Braves really have not produced that many pitching prospects in the last 15 years. I’ve got Jurrjens, Medlen, Beachy, Teheran, Folty, and Minor. Folty and Teheran both spent extended time in AAA. Minor had 16 starts in AAA before he was up for good. Beachy, Jurrjens, and Medlen largely made the jump from AA to Atlanta. Teheran actually tore up AAA at age-20, then repeated AAA with an ERA over 5, but found himself in the rotation next year on OD for good.

    If the Braves follow this blueprint, I could see Newcomb, Fried and maybe even Allard (crazy, I know) in Atlanta this year on the pitching side, and Peterson and Ruiz on the position player side.

  71. The greatest con the Braves ever pulled was convincing the world at large that they could develop pitching. They’ve never been notably good at it, and have tended to have much better results by packaging prospects at the peak of their value for established players than trying to build up a base of young pitching from scratch.

    Currently they seem to have bought into their own hype, that the Braves as an organization are foundationally built on homegrown pitching, so we’ll have to see if they can stick the landing. I won’t be really confident in the team until two or three of these guys are established major leaguers. Prospect lists are cheap.

  72. Tom Glavine. John Smoltz. Steve Avery. Kevin Millwood. Kent Mercker. Oxalis Perez. Jair Jurrjens. Kris Medlen. Tommy Hanson. Brandon Beachy. Just off the top of my head. The braves excel at developing pitching talent.

  73. Yeah, but they really didn’t. Though I didn’t include Odalis and Hanson, the rest are on my list that developed in the last 15 years. But 5 of those names developed as far back as 25-30 years ago, and no pitcher on your list had more than 3-4 seasons of success. In fact, Odalis was out of baseball at 30, and had exactly 2 seasons with an ERA under 4. Jurrjens had 2 strong full seasons, and the rest had no more than 3 full seasons of success. Adam Wainwright got as high as AA for Atlanta, so I think you can include him in pitching that Atlanta developed. But besides Wainwright, Atlanta really hasn’t developed a pitcher who’s had extended success in the bigs in almost 20 years. I think you have to go back to Kevin Millwood to get that pitcher.

    But going forward, I give Atlanta the benefit of the doubt that they have a GM who seems to be continued to developing home grown players, and they’ve taken specific steps towards development with a revamped scouting and development department and minor league pitching coaches. And it’s really hard to argue with the pitching results in the organization since 2015. We have a lot of guys young for their level pitching really well including at the major league level.

  74. Bumgarner has gone yard twice today. Don’t think we’ll see two homers from Braves pitchers all year. He could almost hit for them in the everyday lineup. What a player.

  75. Bruce Chen pitched 18 yrs in the bigs and was developed by the Braves. Jason Schmidt for 15 and was a 3 time all star and has an ERA title. Those certainly qualify as having extended success. Jason Marquis pitched 15 years. Matt Belisle is at 15 and counting. Charlie Morton is at 8 yrs and counting. There are others. It’s easy to forget because most had their success for other teams.

  76. They traded all of those guys before they did anything. Chen and Morton are journeymen filler types, Belisle was never more than a middle reliever, and Jason Schmidt had to completely reinvent himself before he put in a good year. Marquis, in particular, had nothing but complaints about the Braves after he left, and credited the Cardinals with letting him pitch like he wanted.

    I mean, if the standard for “excels at developing pitching” is “a handul of guys had a few good years,” no team is bad at developing pitching. Hell, the Rockies have had a few decent guys here and there. The Reds had the best staff in baseball for a few years.

  77. I excluded relievers whose primarily skill was throwing hard. John Rocker and Craig Kimbrel don’t really fall in here. “If you can make it to the big leagues before your arm falls off” seems to be the key point there. And it’s not like Atlanta has had a unique skill of staving off elbow disaster.

    These examples almost highlight the problem. Chen threw for 18 years because he did it with the opposite arm. Charlie Morton, like Chen, has/had a career north of four and a half. You stayed healthy. Great job. It doesn’t mean Atlanta gets credit for that. In the last 20 years, I think Wainwright, Jason Schmidt, and Millwood are the only pitchers I think the Braves can take credit for turning into above average pitchers for more than a few seasons. And really, there were way more legitimate opportunities. Minor, Medlen, Beachy, and Hanson all saw their arms turn to mush and were all essentially out of baseball by 28. 28! If not for Julio Teheran, the Braves could not say they have developed a pitching prospect in the last FIFTEEN years. I think Tanto is exactly right that “a handful of guys having a few good years” is not the results of a team that’s a pitching factory. This all came from Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz.

  78. “Madison Bumgarner? Never heard of her”…. is something you will never hear someone say.

  79. @116 Thanks, Rob, for the link. Impressive starting roatations in all levels. The moniors will be fun to follow this season.

  80. They really should move tax season so this CPA could enjoy opening day more. Exciting times nonetheless. When do they announce minor league rosters?

  81. Re: Pitching Development

    We done good when we developed Shelby Miller into a #1 draft pick with great hair

  82. Play ball.

    Play freakin’ ball.

    Offseasons teach patience. I’ve struggled with patience well into my eighth decade. Still ain’t good at it. Makes me irritable. Better half disapproves of snippy attitude.

    Play ball.

    Guess what? I’m a spectator. Just found out myself, bit of a surprise. I mean, who knew? I always figured I was the smartest guy in the room until proven I wasn’t. Happened a lot over the years. Still does. Usually don’t take long for me to find my place, but boy! If I owned this place, you know?

    Turned out most of the time my place wasn’t all I wanted it to be. The Dude threw a lot of stuff at me that’s best aged and spread around the garden. Look what it got me, old enough to know better.

    So here I am, not on the field, or in the dugout, sitting here in my electronic bleacher seat. Just a fan.

    Ain’t it great?

    Let’s play us some ball, y’all.

    Play ball.

  83. I don’t give a doggone about anything negative anyone has to say about anything… I’m looking forward to today’s Braves game. It’s opening day for the Atlanta Braves. How can that not be awesome…just all by itself? Go Braves!

  84. Chacun Hasongou
    can it possibly be true?
    an Opening Day Starter
    somehow he must have got smarter.

  85. Joe making his first facepalm comment of the year: it’s Teheran’s fault the team went 10-20 in games he started.

  86. Admittedly, Teheran doesn’t go deep into games, and he’s not a #1. If he matches up against other #1s, his lack of being a #1 is… I dunno, kinda his fault, I guess. I understand what he’s saying, but he’s basically saying the Braves don’t have an ace, which is not what I think he’s trying to convey.

    With that said, as he enters his prime, improves his pitching, and goes deeper into games, he will single-handedly affect his team won-loss, which is a fair statement for Joe to imply.

  87. Teheran is so cheap. 2017: $6.3M, 2018: $8M, 2019: $11M, 2020 Unknown Option: $12M ($1M buyout). I’m glad we didn’t trade him.

    He looks good today. Fastball has good run, he’s locating. He’s just a little too inefficient.

  88. Neck makes a play! Redeems himself after giving up on Asdrubal’s lazy fly one batter earlier.

    Julio and Noah look sharp. Something’s gotta give, though.

  89. After a long absence, I’m making a return to bravesjournal. It’s Opening Day and a start of a new season.

    Go Braves.

  90. @152

    While he was in the game. I’m struggling to find innings per start data, but that’s why I said he doesn’t go deep into games. The deeper he goes, the more opportunities to get run support. Plus, you’re more likely to get to the other team’s pen, increasing the likelihood for more runs.

    That’s why the won-loss record has some value. If you’re in the game deeper into when it’s being decided, you’re likely to get more wins. We always point to run support as a bigger indicator, but if you throw 8, it’s a good likelihood that you’ve pitched well and your manager hasn’t pulled you, and you’re getting into the other team’s pen. And then there’s the ancillary benefit of resting your own pen, which has a trickle effect down the line.

  91. Who the hell taught the Braves to shift? You move Adonis to the other side of second base and give Dansby the run of the left side, ya dingbats.

  92. Man .. Kemp swinging at too many balls … thye gonna keep throwing it there until he lays off .. he has had 2 opportunities with runner on 3rd and 1 out and a big K .. 1st game hope he gets in groove .. Mets pitcher is tough .. Julio is matching though …

  93. I have a fairly strict “people should not be named Chaz” rule, but I hope Roe causes me to question it.

    And it does appear that Flowers should have received the throw a tick differently.

  94. I could see Suzuki taking PT from Flowers sooner rather than later. Flowers is not a good defensive catcher.

  95. EOF….Try as he might, that pitch in the dirt is never going to be called a strike but apparently it won’t be for lack of trying

  96. Pop goes the weasel.

    Julio pitched a heck of a game, Freeman’s a hitting fool, and the Braves are not quite there today. See you tomorrow at seven. 161-1 ain’t bad.

  97. Johnson, Vizzy, and pray for a 7 inning SP performance.

    Whaddaya know, Ender can’t bail out a crappy reliever this time.

  98. I wasn’t sure before today how Roe and EOF made the team and their performances today have only made this more confusing

  99. Great job by Flowers to play Ender’s throw 5 feet behind the plate.
    And a brilliant decision to keep OFlaherty on the roster.

  100. Roe wasn’t bad last year. Acceptance 6th reliever in a good bullpen. A Chad Paronto or Kevin Gryboski, if you will.

    EOF sucks, and 9 ST IP doesn’t change that.

    A Paco-less bullpen, based on what we had been told about Paco, is a gut-punch, IMO. And then a Mauricio-less bullpen means a lot of games being decided in the 7th inning.

  101. Bring in Suzuki, who knows how to catch the ball in front of the plate. Flowers’ defense makes Pierzynski look good.

  102. Rick Sutcliffe: “That might be the ugliest half-inning we’ve seen…all year!”

    He’s not one for either overstatement or irony.

  103. Really can’t see how a sentient being would keep EOF over Paco, but what do I know.

  104. With all the new faces on the roster, I was worried it would take me a few games before it felt like I was watching the Braves. I’m pleased to see that’s not the case at all. They have picked up right where they left off last year. This is familiar. This is comfortable. It’s good to have baseball back on again.

  105. For this relief no thanks.

    And in LA Chacun has given up a 2 out GS in the bottom of the third having just prior consulted with his starting shortstop, Erick Aybar.

    Hansel Robles
    Panso Dobles
    he pitches in heels
    flamenco, do it strictly, just as it feels.

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