Nationals 10, Braves 5

It turned out that the Braves didn’t need an ark Thursday night, but they definitely ended the weekend treading water, as they split the 4 game series with the Nationals to remain 9.5 games back in the NL East.

Sean Newcomb and Joe Ross both left early, and the Braves lost the battle of the bullpens.  Ian Krol pitched like a L.A. radio station (KROL – all hits, all the time) allowing 3 of them plus a walk in his 1/3 inning, contributing 2 runs, and Sam Freeman allowed 3 more runs in his 2/3 of an inning.  Newcomb allowed 4 hits, 4 runs, and 4 walks, striking out 7 in his 4 innings. An unearned run off of Jose Ramirez rounded out the Nats scoring.

Among the good news, Freddie Freeman homered and drove in 3, and Johan Camargo went 3 – 3 with a double and homer. There is not much in Camargo’s 2000+ Minor League plate appearances that indicates he’s this good, but let’s enjoy the 111 Major League plate appearances that indicate he is.

A brief editorial.  There was once a team that had a hot young prospect recovering from a major injury. That team was pretty good, and looked to continue to be for the foreseeable future. Should that team have shut down or babied their prospect hoping he would lead them to multiple championships in future seasons, or should they have gambled everything on that single season? If the player you’re thinking about is Chipper Jones, then the answer is clear. The Braves won the World Series in that 1995 season in which Chipper came back from a major knee injury. And the punchline is that Chipper played 17 more seasons in Atlanta, and never won another one.

There is something wrong with the culture in Washington.

In fairness to Nationals management, we’ll never know how well or had badly the decision not to push Stephen Strasburg in 2012 would have turned out had they decided otherwise, and it’s certainly unfair to compare the decision concerning a position player like Chipper to a pitcher like Strasburg (there really was no decision regarding Chipper.) The point is that you never know when you’ll have a chance to win a championship, and the importance for management to set a tone for your clubhouse.

On Thursday, the Nationals, who had a 9.5 game lead in the division, were afraid to take on the below .500 Atlanta Braves. They manufactured a rain delay to hide their flammable bullpen from any possible extra exposure at the expense of paying fans, and their employees, many of whom work for tips. Nationals management runs scared, and it’s bound to have an effect in their clubhouse until it changes.

Natspos delenda est.

The Braves go into the All-Star break 42 – 45; Arizona comes to town Friday.

The 2nd funniest thing I ever heard about Washington: “Anthropogenic rain delays.” – Me.

Author: Rusty S.

Rusty S. is a Braves Journal reader since 2005 and an occasional innings-eater. It was my understanding that there would be no expectations.

222 thoughts on “Nationals 10, Braves 5”

  1. You really don’t what the fuck you are talking about with the “culture in Washington.” You’re just pretending to some kind of brilliant insight when all you are doing is talking through your ass. The situation between Chipper and Strasburg aren’t remotely the same. Strasburg was coming immediately after Tommy John surgery. The interesting thing is, if you are correct, the Braves risked Chipper’s career to win a championship. I would argue it’s the Braves that had the problematic culture, not the Nationals. As for taking advantage of fans, I would argue the Braves, having been in three cities, and having bilked both the city of Atlanta and the white flight suburbs for new stadiums, have little room to criticize anyone. Yeah, keep defending that great Braves culture, the one that has produced exactly three plaoff appearances since 2005. Frankly, if it wasn’t for Ted Turner, there’s probably a good chance the Braves wouldn’t be in Atlanta.

  2. @3 I agree with you, Washington clearly has no culture. Not sure what Rusty is talking about…

  3. @3 – I thought I was clear that it is unfair to Washington to directly compare the Chipper and Strasburg scenarios. My point was that you never know when you will have a chance to win a championship.

    I think it sends a bad signal to your clubhouse when your management is afraid to take on any competitor, let alone the Atlanta Braves. I think the organization will suffer as long as that their attitude. I can see how one could infer I think Atlanta’s culture is superior, but this post is not about Atlanta’s culture.

  4. Also, weren’t the Nats less than forthcoming about who today’s starter would be, this after the Braves made several requests for this information?

  5. I don’t think any team should apologize for being the beneficiary of a win-first owner. You could say the Yankees would be the stepchild of the Mets if not for Steinbrenner, the Dodgers would still be mired in McCourt’s funk if not for Magic’s group, and on the reverse, no team should have to endure what Loria has done to Miami and Montreal. I don’t understand how that relates to anything. But I also don’t know how Chipper relates to Strasburg.

    Washington has conducted themselves this season like disrespectful punks with how they’ve handled both the Orioles’ and Braves’ rain delays. Look, Rizzo, if you don’t want to build a bullpen, that’s your problem. Screwing your own fans and the rest of the league is not the way to solve that problem. I’m starting to hate the Nationals way more than I’ve ever hated the Mets, Phillies, Marlins, or Yankees (and for this Gator fan, the Noles). But they’ll get what’s coming to them: they have a bottom third payroll, some bad money coming down the pike, their star leaving for FA, and no one-sided Padres deals to stock their roster with. And seriously, how do you get the #1 pick two years in a row, get Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg, and never even win a playoff series? At least Atlanta won a WS after coming out of their barren years.

  6. Baseball America gave Acuna “best arm” in their Futures Game superlatives. I wasn’t able to see it, but apparently he made a head-turning throw to third during a tag up. Statcast says he had 95.2 and 96.7 MPH throws from the outfield.

    He also had a 9-pitch AB.

    There’s also this from

    In Sunday’s Futures Game, he connected for the only barreled ball of the game on a flyout that had an exit velocity of 112.3 mph, according to Statcast™, which is harder than any batted ball by the Braves this season. Atlanta’s hardest hit in 2017 came on a home run by Matt Kemp at 111.9 mph on April 6.

    Soroka went an inning and gave up one unearned run.

  7. I used to just kinda generally dislike the Nats because division rivals and all that, but I think @3 put them next to Florida and Auburn on my Mt. Hatemore. That’s some good internettin’ Marc!

  8. Yes, we know the Acuna numbers now from the Futures and it is fair game to draw whatever inferences we consider appropriate from them. I’m in the vanguard on that, believe he should be up. now. He’s no fragile flower. Might you agree there’s a certain type of young player who hits better NOT worse after a month up? Why? Because he is stimulated, not bored. We have one outstanding example of this with us right now. Relishes the opportunity to play on the bigger stage, challenge the big name pitchers, 30K crowds etc etc.

    So, yesterday, he hits a 422 feet home run. Seems to have gone pretty much unremarked upon here. Did you mistake it for another wall scraper? I would posit this adds a whole new dimension to our understanding of Mr. Camargo and what he might be able to do for us. Add power to what he has already shown and maybe the quasi doubters here about his long term value for us will shut up.

    Which brings us back to Mr. Acuna. I read somewhere yesterday that his actual numbers at the Future game were nothing much to shout about but what was vastly impressive were his at bats against this hot shot pitcher who was making a fool of Vlad Jr. and the Mets ss phenom. That’s character.I remember Chipper saying, two years ago at ST, the sound of his bat stood out among the crowded throng. I’m a sound guy, an eyes guy, not particularly a stat guy. And a character guy. It is as much a crime to leave a special talent whistling in the wind down below as it would be bringing him up still wet behind the ears. All of us can be placed somewhere along the Risk/Reward scale. It is the fascination in baseball life to position that mark for another and stand by its consequences. 19 has absolutely nothing to do with it. We have two gems and they are both ready. The fear of being proved wrong is not an admirable quality.

  9. Nice post, blazon. Even Henry Aaron had slumps. There will be days Johan can’t find his posterior with either hand. Ask the anointed one how his rookie of the year season’s going.

  10. Who would the Braves trade that anyone else wants? Julio and R.A. maybe. BP would be attractive because he’s relatively cheap, but Kemp’s gimpy. The players teams would want are pretty much the ones we need to keep. Thoughts that I’ve not thunk would be appreciated.

    Thanks for the recap, Rusty. My apologies to all I offended. I’m good at being a grumpy asshole.

  11. It wont happen, but now might be a good opportunity to send Dansby down for about a month and let Camargo play everyday. I have a feeling that BP will get traded and Camargo will be at 2nd for the remainder of the year and not Albies.

  12. I already loathed the Nationals organization. Have for several years. I don’t care if they win 100 games or only 60, I feel that organization has already revealed its character, and I don’t accept that there is space for that kind of team in MLB. :)

  13. Is Marc a Nats fan lurker or just a self-loathing Braves fan?

    Also, I thought we were angry at the suburbanites for taking flight. Are we also angry at ownership and local governance for screwing those same people out of tax dollars? Or was it just the privileged getting their comeuppance? Maybe it will drive them back to the city and then we can be angry at them for gentrification. I guess the key is not wasting an opportunity for righteous indignation. I do understand the appeal for the insecure and existentially preoccupied.

  14. Braves Fan Hate Index (BFHI)

    1) Nats
    2) Mets
    3) Dodgers
    4) Cards
    5) Yankees
    6) Giants
    7) Phillies
    8) Twins
    9) Marlins
    10) Blue Jays

  15. @17, Adams is the one piece that might get us something. I don’t think Teheran will provide much in the way of return, but you have to listen. The problem with trading him is that he’s still probably our 2nd best pitcher (maybe? i dunno).

    The reality is that we need to add 100M to payroll if we want to make the playoffs “right now”. That’s not happening. So we wait for Maitan.

  16. @23 I think the only way they trade Teheran is in a deal for another starter (Archer, Quintana, Gray?) and that doesn’t really solve the immediate problem which is the pitching staff. Maybe gain more consistency by trading Julio, but we need to replace Jaime as well

  17. Now that the Marlins are entertaining offers for Bour, Adams is not as valuable a trade chip as he was before.

  18. The return of longtime Nats superfan Marc Schneider!!!

    I know Nick will be as excited as I am to see that comment. #NATITUDE

  19. Sorry guys, I came here to pretend to be brilliant and talk through my ass, and I’m all out of pretend to be brilliant.

  20. @25

    Really just depends on the buyer pool. You also have Yonder Alonso who could get dealt, and if the Rays deal Archer, they would easily deal Logan Morrison. There are actually quite a few LH 1B on the market having out of nowhere career years right now.

    I’d think that they’ll be looking to deal all expiring contracts as long as there’s interest, unless we do really well (like 9-6 or 10-5) in this next stretch before the deadline. At this point, I think it’s silly to trade anyone controlled past this year, especially Adams if Freddie is handling third. Hold onto everyone and decide what you want to do in the offseason.

    The only expiring contract I’d think they might stick with is Dickey, and that’s why I said “as long as there’s interest”. If you’re looking at some of the returns the Braves have gotten over the last couple years for fledgling players, then he may simply have more value to us. But Phillips and Garcia should absolutely get dealt unless we’re right in the hunt at the end of this month.

    I don’t really see any point in trying to acquire a frontline starter right now. Just wait until the offseason, and re-evaluate. Hopefully you’ll have a fuller picture of the offense (Albies will have been called up, Adams and Flowers will have had an opportunity to come back to earth, and Swanson may have shown improvement), and we’ll know if Newcomb, Folty, and Teheran are ready to contribute to a playoff starting rotation. I don’t know what you accomplish by dealing for an Archer or Quintana right now. All things being equal, would you rather have a half-season of team control now or a full season of team control down the road?

  21. 20—Marc used to be a Braves fan and was a regular on this site, and then, for a few years after the Expos moved to his place of residence, he was a “Braves fan” who would become extremely defensive anytime any Braves fan at made any derogatory remark about the division-rival Nationals — or dared to refer to them as the “Natspos.” A couple of us suggested to him that, hey, maybe he wasn’t a Braves fan anymore, which is totally cool and understandable, but maybe he’d find more like-minded fans at and wouldn’t stay so worked up all the time — and after a while (a relatively long while), he finally realized that about himself and bailed.

    But he’s back! (At least for one comment.) With a hilarious vengeance!

  22. Braves actually hold an $8 million option on Dickey for next year, so I could see them holding on to him unless the price is right.

  23. Cubs are interested in moving a young player for a controlled starter. What would Teheran for Ian Happ and Caratini look like for both sides?

  24. Happ is a more versatile and more consistent performer than Schwarber. No way the Cubs trade him. Almora, maybe.

  25. #31 – Gotcha. Didn’t know if his power was a fluke or not. Teheran would still have to be one of the top arms available. I think the Braves will be selling hard on his road splits.

  26. I don’t think we have a use for Almora. We have a similar player to Almora at SS, 2B, and CF at this point.

    Teheran is dirt cheap. I don’t see any point in trading him until there are 5 other SPs that comprise a playoff rotation and one of them is a top-15 pitcher.

  27. Also, Teheran is likely to pitch better going forward. We need to trade him after he’s had a dazzling first half, if at all. I agree with Rob that this team is short PITCHING, so if we trade from a position of weakness, we need to be blown away, as we were for Shelby Miller.

  28. Right, and he’s making 4/5th starter money. He’s been a disappointment, but if he rebounds even slightly, he’s well-worth his contract, and he’s basically the ceiling of what the most of our upper minors prospects would project to anyway. If you’re trying to win in 2018, you need him on the team vs. whatever you’d trade him for.

  29. @1 – Thanks for that. @12 – There are players who’ve exceeded their minor league numbers over the long term, it’s just not the way to bet. On Camargo’s side is that he did hit pretty good in his limited time at AAA, and he’s been young for his leagues all the way up. I certainly have no problem running him out there until we see which way it goes.

  30. @21: That’s a pretty good list, Dusty, but, besides reordering the list a bit to reflect personal animus, I’d get the Phillies out of there and put the Cubs in. All the Phillies have really done is have a stupid ballpark and a now retired player (retiring in a Gwinnett Braves uniform!) who hit 783 home runs against us. And the Dark Lord Utley as well, I guess. I mean, sure, they had a run there in the late 00’s in which they beat the Braves pretty good, but there weren’t too many close standings battles… other than last year of course.

    And why the Cubs? Because their correct judgment as to announcing talent keeps Chip here instead of with his favorite team.

  31. 42

    I thought about the Cubs and the Astros, but I’m still bitter over the 1993 Phillies, not to mention that even though they seem irrelevant now, PHI is actually the most recent NL East team to win the WS.

    I do think I should bump the Jays for the Cubs at #10 for 2003.

  32. Not for nothing, but Teheran has rebounded. Sort of.

    First 12 starts: 66 2/3 IP, 51 K, 28 BB, 14 HR, 5.40 ERA, .296 BABIP
    Last 6 starts: 36 2/3 IP, 24 K, 12 BB, 6 HR, 3.68 ERA, .229 BABIP

    Basically, he’s cut his walk rate and his homer rate by decent amounts, and he started getting pretty hit-lucky. (His career BABIP is .279, so he was actually quite hit-unlucky earlier in the year. Of course, a high home run rate is going to correlate with a low career BABIP.)

    Unfortunately… he’s also seen his strikeout rate drop under 6.0 K/9, which is horrible, and his home run rate is still fairly catastrophic, and that BABIP is not sustainable. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if he can give up fewer homers he can be good. If he can’t, he won’t. Same with Folty.

  33. @Stu

    I laughed so hard at Marc’s triumphant return that I literally had to semi-explain what was happening to co-workers who were wondering why I had completely lost my mind! The memory of that post might get me through the All-Star break all by itself!

    Come back anytime, Marc! Seeing you twist yourself in knots to defend a team that would waste three hours of everyone’s time and thousands of dollars in their fans’ money to fake a rain delay to cover up their crappy bullpen (not to mention wasting probably their only chance to win a World Series because Scott Boras succeeded in using a jedi-mind trick on their GM) won’t get old anytime soon!

  34. Glad we were able to draft Jason Hutsh in that draft ahead of Aaron Judge .. lol … 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣😥😥😥😥😥😥

  35. Empirical Data
    can cause a fellow’s prospects to crater
    he will find it all so visceral
    when they insist on including each peripheral.

  36. Hindsight is 20/20 — a lot of teams are kicking themselves for passing up Judge. And to be fair, he’s hit another gear this year. Nothing in his MiLB career suggested 30 HRs and .329/.448/.691 as a rookie by the ASB.

  37. the latest Pyongyang missile
    initially so vertical, it still does not warrant our dismissal
    said Andrelton Simmons
    exactly like my pop ups, which some have dared compare to wimmens.

  38. Aaron Judge
    we should not begrudge
    all tall movers and shakers
    eventually sign for the Lakers.

  39. I thoroughly enjoyed this write-up, and couldn’t agree more with your assessment of the Nationals.

  40. Grant McAuley has Acuna as his #1 Braves prospect. Perhaps he’s just trying to deviate from the pack, but I think Acuna is starting to see his status rise, and I think that will cue more calls to call him up. These 19-year olds in AA are mighty impressive.

  41. I think everyone has him there now (BA and TT do). MLB is due for an update to their list as Acuna is still #7. Law hasn’t published an update either I don’t think, but did mention that Acuna is now our top prospect and Wright is #3 for him

  42. Oh wow. Hadn’t seen that. I feel like Albies is getting a raw deal. The injury he sustained was due to his strength relative to his body. He’s recovered from that, and has demonstrated he’s a .850+ OPS guy at AAA at 20 years old. He steals bases and plays above average defense at a premium defensive position. Acuna is fantastic, but he’s only a year younger than Albies, and hasn’t demonstrated that same .850+ OPS at AAA. Simply put, Albies is doing everything Acuna is doing but at a higher level and only one year older. Really, though, it’s an embarrassment of riches that we’re even debating this.

  43. I will probably lose what little sanity I have left if Kemp/Markakis block Acuna until 2019.

    Albies is going to play for us soon, or be traded.

  44. I agree Rob that Albies deserves better as he appears to be falling in most rankings (from 8th to 25th at BA), especially given how he’s currently tearing up AAA as a 20 year old. I believe the thought process is that Acuna just has a higher ceiling and he is getting close to ML ready so there is more certainty he will reach his potential. That’s what makes it tough to really rank prospects. On ceiling I think Maitan is probably head and shoulders above even Albies and Acuna and that’s saying something, but he’s so far away the risk that he doesn’t reach his ceiling is much greater.

  45. Given that being a team’s No. 1 prospect (or baseball’s No. 1 prospect, for that matter) and $2.50 will be just enough to get you a cup of coffee, I’m not sure I’d worry too much about Albies falling in a couple of prospect lists.

    UPDATE: And yes, I meant a literal cup of coffee, not the baseball idiom.

  46. I think the deal with Albies is that he had nowhere to go but down — he was already in AAA, and he’s pretty much a known (as much as a prospect can be known) commodity. Guys passing him on these lists are just newer, “on the rise,” etc.

    I just traded four stars for the Albies-Acuna duo in my NL-only dynasty league — I know everyone cares! — so I’m officially hitched to the wagon of both.

  47. Albies also had a .659 OPS in a partial AAA season last year and a sub-.700 OPS in April/May 2017 before dominating (.900+ OPS) over the last 30 games in June/July. With a guy as small as Albies, I think scouts are going to have a ‘prove it’ attitude until Albies puts up a pretty decent track record at higher levels of play… there are only a few freakishly talented guys who are both short of stature and also strong enough to be valuable batters at the MLB level.

    I would love a Joe Morgan / Jose Altuve career for Ozzie, but if push came to shove I’d accept a Rafael Furcal-level output… probably not fair/rational for Braves fans to expect more than that.

  48. You don’t hit AAA at 19 without being freakishly talented. He’s better than Swanson as far as raw talent goes. Whether that potential gets realized fully or not…well…can’t wait to find out.

    He’s averaged out to around an .800 OPS while being 5 or 6 years younger than the guys he’s up against. That’s not something to scoff at. Will he be Altuve? Probably not. But I think it’s also unfair to assume he’s another Peraza clone.

  49. He’s obviously demonstrated he’s not a Peraza clone. Peraza has not cleared a .800 OPS since A+. We bet right with him.

    As for a “prove it” attitude, he’s kind of doing that right now. And if the ranking people aren’t able to parse April/May post-injury (remember all of the debates with ryan c about how long he would be out?) with his current production then, really, what good are the ranking people?

  50. I’m as high on Albies as anyone. If he has a career comparable to Furcal I’ll be thrilled. Jose Altuve is one of the top 10 position players in MLB today and Joe Morgan was one of the top 10 position players in MLB history. That might be a tad optimistic.

  51. I think everyone has him there now (BA and TT do). MLB is due for an update to their list as Acuna is still #7. Law hasn’t published an update either I don’t think, but did mention that Acuna is now our top prospect and Wright is #3 for him

    Here’s BA’s most reason Midseason Top 100. Acuna is the highest rated Brave at #10, up from his previous slot at #62. Albies slots in at #25, down from his previous best-in-system ranking at #8. They rank Kolby Allard as slightly ahead of Albies at #23.

  52. Yeah, Albies is a victim of prospect fatigue. He’s done nothing but hit everywhere he’s gone, he’s fast as blazes, he’s incredibly young, he’s already got gap power, and he’s five years younger than Aaron Judge — so, there’s a possibility that he’ll grow into a teensy bit more power, but he’s already got an ISO of .159, which isn’t awful by any means.

    The basic question is whether Albies will grow up to be a star or merely a regular. Scouts watching him this year seem a little less convinced that he’s going to be an out-and-out star, but right now his floor is a starting major league middle infielder, and his ceiling is still pretty special.

  53. Even if the Olivera trade had worked out, meaning he was a solid starting third baseman, we’d have a 33-year-old player next April. I guess maybe you could’ve traded him in 2016, but who do you hope to get back that’s better than what you gave up? I’ve never been so opposed to a trade at the time it was made. I’m happy for Alex Wood though.

  54. Olivera is just so head-scratching. In reference to that trade, Coppy said he wishes he could have done it over. Uhhh, you did. That was your second attempt in less than a year of acquiring him. At any rate, if Olivera was a solid third baseman, we’d not only look at the deal A LOT differently, but at the very least, you’d probably not have signed SRod, so that money would have gone elsewhere, and we’d be unloading Adams for prospects. And with Camargo’s emergence, you’d probably be looking at trading Olivera for prospects at some point as well. Three good things. It wouldn’t have made us a contender, but no one trade would have.

  55. This All-Star game has been great. They’re doing a great job of putting the players on display.

  56. Admittedly it was one inning in an exhibition, so probably a meaningless observation. But with that caveat, did anyone else think that Kimbrel was throwing a lot more high fastballs than he used to do when he pitched for the Braves? Curious if that’s a conscious decision and is contributing to his absurd performance this year.

    Also, sick of the AL winning every year. I’m ready for Maitan to win the first of his five AS MVPs.

  57. I’d forgotten how much I used to enjoy watching Kimbrel pitch. Yeah, I’d seen it a couple times when he was facing us directly with either the Padres or Red Sox, but it isn’t nearly as enjoyable then.

    That said, I was rooting for the National League, as I always do, and they lost again, as they always do. Turn turn turn.

  58. The All Star Game
    in one sense exactly the same
    in another, the new duality
    provided refreshing, welcome conviviality.

  59. The old men, both reserves, were the ones that mattered last night in the final extended search for a result.

    Molina/Cano – what do we know?

    While the young phenoms – Lindor, Judge, Correa, Springer –
    nary a hit, nary a dinger.

    Kimbrel went from Loser to Winner in the blink of an eye, leapt high in the dugout when it went out.

  60. Does anyone have any information about the Braves plans to play Kyle Wright this season? He is on the GCL roster, but hasn’t played. I would think he would be too advanced for the GCL.

  61. After a long college season, they’re not going to throw him much. I think he’ll probably start a couple of GCL games just to get some work in, but I wouldn’t expect anything more.

  62. Thanks Stu, I thought they might let him get a few starts at Danville (or Rome) to break the ice as a professional pitcher.

  63. My last post was a joke, BTW.

    I get trading off the rentals (Garcia and Phillips). I get even holding onto Dickey and exercising his option. But why trade Adams? He’s under club control, we don’t have a 3B, and if we were to do that, we’d be handing 3B over to a guy with a .279/.333/.370 line in 2,111 minor league PAs (Camargo) or a .234/.303/.390 line in 2,435 major league PAs (Rodriguez). It’s very possible they are filling Adonis Garcia’s position with… Adonis Garcia. You just don’t trade a 28-year old Matt Adams under club control when you’re rebuilding and hoping to contend the next season.

  64. @92

    Except that we have no place to play him, it being generally felt by everybody involved that starting Freeman at third base for any length of time is not a great idea. I’d love to keep him, but unless he can magically learn to play another position or the NL magically gets the DH, it’s not gonna work. You don’t take one of the best hitters in the league and jerk him around between positions like he’s a utility player.

  65. starting Freeman at third base for any length of time is not a great idea.

    Has that been established? He’s played 7 games at the hot corner. I haven’t seen anything negative other than the error he made.

    You don’t take one of the best hitters in the league and jerk him around between positions like he’s a utility player.

    Kris Bryant and his 7.7 WAR last year has played 5 positions this year. With that said, all but 7 games have been played at 3B, but last year, he played 60 G in LF, 100 G at 3B, 12 at RF. Perhaps he’s earning a right to play one position, and I get that, but is it the worst thing in the world for him to play 3B against righties and 1B against tough lefties?

    They’ve been talking Freddie-to-3B for almost a month, and I just don’t see why it’d be abandoned now.

  66. This is another opportunity to remind everyone that if Freeman plays 3B even remotely competently, then he becomes one of the best 3B in baseball and he fills a giant void in our system. It’s definitely worth a few months of experimentation just to find out.

  67. Rob,

    I think it depends on what someone will pay for him. If we get back a top 100 prospect or we package him for a starter, then we should do it.

    If all we get is a lottery ticket in A ball, then we should keep him.

    I think we can actually get something decent for him.

  68. @96 Agreed that Adams is eminently replaceable as a 1B; if they can get good value for him in trade they should go for it. That said, I suspect the Braves are going to hold him in an attempt to remain competitive this season, and that the supply of other available 1Bs is sufficient to meet market demand such that Adams wouldn’t really command a premium at the trade deadline anyway.

  69. @95, I agree. If Freddie can play 3B as well as Adonis Garcia, which is to say replacement-level or a shade below, then we should play him there.
    However, that shouldn’t preclude trading Adams. We could trade him and sign Eric Hosmer in the offseason.

  70. That’s true, the argument still holds water no matter who we have at 1B as long as they are good. I’m worried that @97 is pretty spot-on, and that we won’t get tons back even if we can sell high on Adams, because he’s not the only option out there for teams in need.

    I still want to wait until it’s clear we have zero chance this year. I mean some would say that’s already the case, but let’s at least let this month play out first.

  71. Except that waiting till the deadline will mean we probably won’t get the best return that we could get if we traded him soon. BP has our playoff odds at 2.4% with 10 teams in the NL having better odds. I’d love to see the Braves get there. But realistically it just doesn’t make sense we should hold on to assets on the very very slim chance if we can get a good return for them

  72. And in GCL action, Drew Waters 2 for 2 today with a BB. OPS is 1025 now. Not bad for an 18 yr old playing good CF defense

  73. @101, don’t forget switch-hitting. I hope his bat plays at higher levels. He would be a total stud with the glove, switch-hitting, and positional scarcity.

  74. @99 I don’t get why anyone would write off the Braves’ season right now. That’s some kind of negativity regarding something (baseball) that is meant to be fun.

  75. I dont think anyone is writing off the year yet. Personally, I believe we can trade Adams, Phillips, JJ, and any other veteran reliever + one of Kemp/Cakes and become a better team right now.

    Put Acuna in right, Albies at 2nd, platoon Rio and Johan at 3rd and bring up Minter and Dirks, maybe Sims and see what we have got. There will be growing pains, but there will be a lot more excitement too. By 2019 this could be a juggernaut.

  76. It does seem a little premature. 20 years old, only hitting .252/.310/.408 at A+. They must be intent on having as much 20 year olds at AA as possible.

  77. Acuna struck out after a 9 pitch at bat his 4th time up. He also stole a base. He is OPSing 894 now on the year. He is a right handed batter but has the biggest reverse platoon split I’ve ever seen. 660 vs lhp. 1000 vs rhp. The kid does need some more experience I’d say. He’s not on the 40 man. It would be good if we can get a glimpse of him in September tho

  78. OD18


    May it be so. MAY IT BE SO!!

    WARNING: Not a single prospect was traded in the making of that lineup.

  79. Where does one draw the line between prospect and minor leaguer? I had said at the time that Yepez was more than nothing and could turn into something good, but I wouldn’t say he is/was necessarily a prospect. No top 30 lists, but was in some team top 50’s.

  80. Swanson has no divine right to shortstop. Neither glove nor bat have convinced me he’s better than Johan or the farm lads. Albies has better range and arm. His move to second is not irreversible. Make squatting rights a competition and let demonstrated merit decide who plays.

    @117: Probably neither.

  81. Here’s a (true) Irish story about fake phenoms and the buzz they can generate in this credulous age.We actually have a goodly number of real ones so it should not be difficult to slip in a couple of fakes. Suitably vague international background from years back, hardscrabble sand lots high in the mountains etc. Rob could create suitably ‘exciting’ stat lines showing good but believable growth in the Chechen summer league. Who’s going to go there to chech them out? Sydd Finch in the fake news era – unstoppable. Plimpton would approve.

  82. @ 118

    Divine Right
    to keep it he will have to fight
    Dans on the road to Damascus
    ‘Tell us, O hairy one, what ’tis you would ask us.’

  83. @114

    Two or three weeks ago here Alex came on and declared he was a Riley man. But he ended with a conservative ML projection, ’20/’21 if i remember correctly.

    Would you settle for that?


    great name, Rob…our long summer slumber is over…gas up the limo.

  84. This is all exciting but I think next year’s contention depends on the promotion of at least one starting pitcher. Is it Sims or is it Soroka?

  85. @113 and @123–It’s fun to think about the Braves as a contender for the postseason next year.

    Offensively, the lineup Rob suggests is probably playoff quality, although there are a good many question marks: Will the aging and ailing Kemp’s production fall of the table? Can Flowers and Adams continue to produce at levels greater than they ever had before joining the Braves? Is Swanson’s sophomore slump just growing pains and adjustments, or is he not really a positive offensive player? Can the youngsters Albies and Acuna–no matter how talented they are– produce in their rookie years (recognizing that either or both may yet see substantial action in 2017)?

    But the bigger question marks are in the rotation. In addition to counting on continued improvement and maturity from Folty and a return to 2016-level performance from Teheran, they will likely be relying on several very young and inexperienced starters (Allard, Soroka, Wright, Sims, Gohara, etc.). Which is why there is a decent chance the FO goes after an established starter like Quintana, Archer, or Gray.

    In other words, a lot has to go right in 2018 for the team to play in October. By 2019 or 2020, though, this could be the best team in the league. The list @124 is pretty phenomenal.

  86. If you vote in the poll, Buttons is running away with it. I’d say it’s the odds on favorite at this point. They can’t all be Fire Frogs.

  87. @127

    Buttons’n Bows then? Dinah Shore..’Gimme eastern trimmin’ where women are women’

    is there anything fina’
    in the state of Carolina

    @128 or lamb chops.

    please excuse my musical memories.

  88. If Lamb Chops wins do we officially nickname every AAA lifer on the roster Shari Lewis?

    Actually, just “Chops” would be an awesome name.

  89. I don’t get the Riley promotion.

    I get the Acuna promotion but I do not want him on the 40 man before next April, hopefully not before April 10 or 15.

    I know that confidence is a thing, but Dansby needs to go down and learn how to hit a slider and Albies needs to be at short on the ML club.

    As to trades, we should be able to trade (if we want to) Phillips, and a few relievers. Kemp and Markakis might be able to be moved if the situation was right. And that may be part of why Acuna is in AAA. Dustin Peterson probably can’t do well enough for a “contending” (loosely) club until after he gets time to get some power back.

    FO is going to honor the commitment of the veteran players (specifically Freddie) by NOT doing much of a tear down. If Newcombe gets back on a roll, they might trade Garcia and bring up somebody (Sims?). If Minter gets rolling, they might trade Johnson, but I don’t think so. I strongly doubt they trade Dickey because his 4 to 4.5 FIP at net cost of about 7.5 (I think it is 8.5 with a 1 buyout) would be exercised by Braves.

  90. @133

    When Swanson was dashing through the minors did we at that time pick up on his vulnerability to the outside slider? Was it a known liability we were aware of when he made the big club at the end of last year? Or was it rather that it took ML sliders and a good intercom system to expose it?

  91. Swanson needs some days off. I think everyone can see this except the manager. Has he had a single game off this season?

  92. Keury Mella pitching against Soroka today

    we are keurier than ever
    though we must agree its clever
    how he got his name this Mella
    from a rather old novella.

  93. @137

    Wouldn’t disagree but he got a couple of single days off when Camargo achieved credibility.

  94. From klaw chat just now:


    1:03 Thoughts on Acuna’s bump to Gwinnett? Do the Braves see Andruw 2.0 in him?

    Keith Law

    1:04 I think they’re rushing him. He’s a hell of a prospect, but I don’t get the urgency here, and I’d like to see him struggle at a level and then have to stay there long enough to make adjustments at the plate, since he’s not very patient or selective.

  95. I’m pretty sure Swanson had 2 of the last 5 games off before the AS game. I agree that Camargo should get more pt, but after the 4 off days for the AS break, I don’t think Swanson being tired wil be an excuse if he continues to struggle.

  96. blazon @ 136,

    My feeling is it took Major League caliber sliders to really knock Swanson back. And, even though he had another down couple of weeks, after the first month or so, he hasn’t been disastrous. But 230 / 300 / 380 shouldn’t keep Albies and Camargo on the bench. AND, at those kinds of numbers, Swanson should have the base talent to learn his way forward. this problem could mean long term he is more like 260/ 320 / 400 than the 280 / 340 / 430 or so that looked more likely.

  97. @142

    Well… It’s not like Swanson was dominating AA when he came up. He was doing well, but not hitting like .330

    They brought him up more for need.

  98. @140 — uh, Keith, if you want to see him struggle at a level, they’ve gotta keep moving him up … it wasn’t happening at AA.

  99. And a klaw follow up:


    1:17 Do you agree with the aggressive promotion of Acuna to AAA? Think he sees the majors in 2017?

    Keith Law

    1:17 I assume this is the plan for them – probably was all along. It’s not like he dominated high-A to justify the first promotion, so this must be a “get him to the majors” agenda.

  100. klaw on Pache:


    1:25 How did Cristian Pache look last night?

    Keith Law

    1:25 Great in center, overwhelmed at the plate by the dude throwing 100.

  101. @143
    Acuna plus Newcomb plus filler seems a fair comparison, and if that’s what we would have needed to give them to get Quintana, I’m glad we didn’t.

  102. makes you wonder what the Braves could have gotten for Julio? Jimenez plus? Maybe not as much upside as Quintana but quality production with almost the exact same amount of money owed both through 3 more years of control after this. JT is 2 yrs younger

  103. Dusty,

    How do you find a KLaw chat? I can find his blogs but for several months have not been able to find the chats. Formerly, you could find them right on the MLB page. Then, they redesigned and I could eventually find them in SportsNation. Now, I have looked and looked.

  104. @126 tfloyd, I agree 100% with that entire assessment for 2018, for what it’s worth.

    @136 Not sure about the sliders, but we know he hit .261 in AA at least.

    @150 If you use Twitter, KLaw posts links to his chats there.

  105. getting carried away…

    Trout 2.0
    shout as we go
    watch his numbers spike
    as he lumbers past Mike.

  106. Abraham Gutierrez
    has thrown out 55% base stealers he sez
    son Isaac, the runt
    sees room for improvement ‘gainst the sacrifice bunt.

  107. This is take it to the bank type stuff obvs:

    Maitan for me in OOTP 18 as a 17 year old. .265 18 HR 70 RBI at GCL and Rome combined.

    Acuna is playing RF for me now at STP and hitting .280 with about 13-15 HR.

    So probably at least Rock Raines. IMO.

  108. The Quintana trade continues to prove that we will need to develop our own pitching prospects. Yes, we could get a great haul for Teheran, but what good does that do? If you sell a starting pitcher, you then have a starting pitching need. It’s like selling your house for top dollar. Sweet, now you need a place to live. Trading Teheran would either create an immediate need to fill or it would delay our competitive timeline.

  109. IMO if Swanson had not been drafted so high he wouldn’t have sniffed being a MiLB Top 100 prospect. He was rushed and will be lucky to be Jeff Blauser long term.

  110. Keith Law thinks there’s such a thing as rushing players. Obviously a mouth-breathing idiot.

  111. Freddie and Johan > Freddie and Matt Adams? Defense of the former is much better. I love what Johan has done, but Dansby hit well his first trip around the league too. I would like for Camargo to get enough at bats to prove he cannot do the job. You know, like Swanson got.

  112. I would prefer to see Acuna play the rest of the year at AAA, even if he has an OPS above 1.000. No need to put him in the Bigs this year.

  113. Johan is a super-sub and a very good one, though he could be a passable starter in the middle infield. I’d just keep using him to spell various players, especially Fatt Blemp.

  114. Tyler Neslony, a 23 year old senior sign from the 2016 draft who was hitting .309/.378/.442 at A+, was promoted to AA. I think he’d be a top 30 in many other systems.

  115. I really hope we don’t overpay for a supposed ace caliber pitcher. I don’t think Quintana, Gray, or the other pitchers we have been hearing rumors about are even ace caliber — they are #2 starters. I’d rather just fill the rotation with Folty, Julio, Newcomb, and the Dickey/Sims/Wisler combo until Allard and Soroka are ready in 2019.

  116. IMO if Swanson had not been a MiLB Top 100 prospect he wouldn’t have sniffed being drafted so high.

  117. @166, lol

    Also, Dustin Peterson finally hit a homer and he has his average up to .285 after being horrendous for 3 months.

  118. I fear that last season may have been the outlier for Dustin. Every season other than that one has been a sub 700 OPS. He’s still young and getting over the injury, but I’m still concerned that he just may not be that good.

  119. Prediction: I think Teheran has a really good 2nd half. His peripherals have sucked but his velocity is as good as ever of late. I think he turns it around, and trading him now would most likely be selling low. I wouldn’t deal him unless we got a package that couldn’t be turned down.

    Wisler had a good game tonight. 7 IP, 2 R, 2 BB, 8 K

  120. Acuna…first AAA

    3 for 4… BB/HR.. someone just posted elsewhere – ‘I cannot get more erect.’

    @160…every reason…some of us are aging, it’s tough to get it done.

  121. Saw Soroka shutout the Blue Wahoos in Pensacola tonight, 2-0. Seven full innings. Swing-and-miss stuff, though he looks like he doesn’t have that many pitches. Fastball and maybe a split-finger? He does a good job of keeping the ball down in the zone. Didn’t see any breaking stuff or change-ups, but I’m no expert. Seems like he’ll have to round out his repertoire before he advances.

  122. Viagra/Cialis
    4 hours and a chalice
    Sir Ronald on call
    we need no help at all.

    This is all so beautifully crazy…never, ever before – moments quite like this.

  123. Remy…

    You don’t know just how much we admire you – sticking to the facts – keeping your head when all around you are losing theirs.

  124. Euphoria
    no, not Longoria
    our very, very own
    100K sufficed, but millions more my friend to set you on your throne.

  125. @169 I like your prediction of Teheran pitching well in the 2nd half. My guess is that *if* the Braves were going to trade JT, it was going to be at the trade deadline last year. At this stage, the Braves are working back towards .500 and don’t really have a good candidate to fill a rotation vacancy (Medlen, Sims and Wisler seem most likely, but none are exciting options). I suspect JT only becomes a trade target if the Braves suddenly face a surplus of starting pitching – in other words, at the point next year when it looks like a bunch of the young hotshot starters in the minors might be ready for the big time.

  126. And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long
    Steals on the air the distant triumph song
    Acuna’s here, and here he will belong
    Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

    Hymns Ancient and Modern.

  127. I think it’s hard to comp the Quintana deal. Acuna is more advanced than Jimenez, IMO, and someone else said Gohara is a better comp than Newcomb, and even Gohara at AA could be more advanced than Cease at A+. I think any big deal we’d have to do would involve Acuna or Albies, so screw that.

  128. The Kershaw trade fell through when we wouldn’t include Bryce Wilson for Cody Bellinger.

  129. @180: that explains it.

    Did anyone hear why Ozzie was scratched by the Buttons last night? I feared the worst when csg reported it.

    With Acuna joining Albies, Gwinnet has the two youngest players in their league. The future looks bright.

  130. The 40 man roster is full and doesn’t include Sean Rodriguez. Either a trade or DFA are surely coming soon since it appears the team wants him up as soon as he is ready.

    @182. it sure appears he has not made much progress. To that point:
    The following are all picks in the Competitive Balance Round 2 or higher the last 3 yrs under Coppy.
    2017: Wright, Waters
    2016: Anderson, Wentz, Muller, Cumberland
    2015: Allard, Soroka, Riley, Herbert, Minter
    Every one still with the organization and everyone either meeting or exceeding reasonable expectations.

    The following are all the corresponding picks, (round 2 or higher since no CBB then) in the last 4 yrs under Wren.
    2014: Davidson, Fulenchek
    2013: Hursh, Caratini
    2012: Sims, Wood
    2011: Gilmartin, Ahmed
    Only Davidson, Hursh, and Sims still with the organization and most would probably agree have not met expectations. Only Wood has really done well from the traded bunch. Altho Caratini might yet turn out ok for the Cubs.
    What a difference!

  131. To be fair, Coppy traded major league assets, money, and had a higher draft position all of those years compared to Wren’s. Wren didn’t have the benefit of trading players for picks (Cumberland and Wentz), and drafting towards the front of each draft. But the point is right: Coppy is doing more with what he has than Wren did.

    I do wonder if Wren had permission to do these things and chose not to. For instance, in 2013, would Wren have been allowed to trade McCann instead of letting him leave for a comp pick? But even if he were to be “allowed”, will Coppy do the same if his team is on pace to win 96 games like in ’13? A lot of unanswerable questions, I suppose.

  132. The two best players we drafted under Wren, we traded for Hector Olivera and Emilio Bonifacio. Jesus.

  133. Acuna and Jimenez aren’t that comparable. Acuna’s more of an all-around player: a potential true center fielder with speed and some pop. Jimenez is more of a straight masher who doesn’t have a lot of defense so he can really only play a corner. It’s unfair to compare anyone to Manny, but: they think he’ll hit for tons of power with average. If he misses on that projection even a little bit, he’ll be average, because even guys like Evan Gattis and Kyle Schwarber sometimes struggle to hit their way into a lineup. Acuna probably has a higher floor. But Jimenez may have a higher likelihood of being truly elite, because his bat projection is truly that much higher than average.

  134. @185, funny, but here are the best players we drafted under Wren:

    2008: Craig Kimbrel (3rd round, 16.8 career WAR)
    2009: Mike Minor (1st round, 5.7 career WAR)
    2010: Andrelton Simmons (2nd round, 25.4 career WAR), Evan Gattis (23rd round, 7.9 career WAR)
    2012: Alex Wood (2nd round, 10.1 career WAR)

    Caratini and Wood clearly aren’t the best players we drafted under Wren.

  135. JohnWDB- yes it is nauseating to think about. Caratini/Bonerface was a Wren move but the Olivera disaster is on Coppy.

    Rob- your overall point is a fair one. But even just considering Waters, Wentz, Muller, Cumberland, Riley, Herbert, and Minter; these were all taken as lower overall picks than Davidson, Hursh, Sims, and Gilmartin, yet appear to collectively be better prospects. The Wren regime drafted horribly, especially it’s last few years after it seemed to run off much of the organizational scouting and player development people. And the above doesn’t go back one more year to consider Matt Lipka. Shudder…

  136. I would love to read a study on how the draft position plays out after the first round. Does consistently picking 10-15 spots ahead across 25 rounds make an impact?

  137. Thank you, csg. I am pleased. Any word on the Albies scratch last night? Just a day off, I hope, and not an injury or -shudder- trade.

  138. I saw something about Albies just being late getting back from the AAA All-Star game. Haven’t seen anything else.

  139. @187, you’re right. I meant from the players listed in the earlier post (1st and 2nd rounders from 2011 and on)

  140. Hope Matt Adams isn’t hurt. He came out of the game after the trainer checked on him after his AB.

  141. I’m worried about Freddie’s left wrist. Looked like he jammed it diving back to the bag at first.

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