Snakes 10, Barves 2

I didn’t have the opportunity to watch this one (caught most of the early innings on the radio, though), but Aaron Blair‘s line was not very promising: 3 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 5 BB, 3 K. It’s not surprising that Blair pitched poorly for multiple reasons. He hasn’t ever pitched well consistently at the big league level, he hasn’t pitched well at AAA, and he hadn’t pitched a full outing in 12 days. His last start was July 15th.

I don’t think that Aaron Blair or Matt Wisler were ever locks to be major league pitchers, but at this point, it’s really hard to see how the organizations view them as anything more than organization filler and widgets to make spot starts while Coppy plays the trade market. But the ironic part is that it could be Atlanta’s own fault that this is the way it is. If young pitchers are, by description, difficult to develop and volatile, then why exacerbate that problem by forcing them to the big leagues when they had minimal upper minors time, send them back and forth between AAA and MLB, and throw off their rhythm and throwing schedules by having them pitch with weird rest and out of uncomfortable roles. Obviously someone had to pitch innings in 2015 and 2016, but wouldn’t it have been worth ruining someone else’s careers with less potential vs. assets you just acquired by giving up real talent?

But I digress. At the end of the day, Blair pitched poorly, and it could easily be his last opportunity to pitch in Atlanta. But the bad pitching wasn’t done with Blair. Luke Jackson continued his struggles after his early success by allowing 2 runs in his one inning, and Ian Krol continues to prove that middle reliever are fungible parts, unpredictable from year-to-year, and the athletic equivalent to underwear. His ERA is over 6, and if they had anyone better to plug into his spot, I’m sure they would.

And more importantly, Dansby Swanson was optioned to AAA after the game. As of this morning, no corresponding move as been announcced. The beat writers speculate either Jace Peterson or Micah Johnson getting the call.

Off day today. This concludes a difficult stretch of games against top tier teams by going 8-11. All told, there’s not much to be disappointed about there. This team was not meant to contend, and they held their own against the top teams in baseball. Julio Teheran vs. Jeremy Hellickson, and it’ll be streamed on Facebook Live. Neat.

87 thoughts on “Snakes 10, Barves 2”

  1. The Braves have now promoted a number of their pitching acquisitions from the great rebuild. Foltynewicz is the best by far, although the jury’s still out on whether he’s a future #2 starter or a future 7th-inning guy, with the likeliest outcome still looking like a sort of A.J. Burnett #3/#4 starter.

    Here are the starters the Braves have promoted, all of whom were acquired by trade in the teardown:

    • Mike Foltynewicz, 2015-2017: 4.52 ERA (4.57 FIP) in 320 2/3 IP
    • Sean Newcomb, 2017: 4.81 ERA (4.30 FIP) in 43 IP
    • Matt Wisler, 2015-2017: 5.12 ERA (4.93 FIP) in 284.2 IP
    • Aaron Blair, 2016-2017: 7.89 ERA (6.32 FIP) in 73 IP
    • Tyrell Jenkins, 2016: 5.88 ERA in 52 IP (traded for Luke Jackson)
    • John Gant, 2016: 4.86 ERA (4.39 FIP) in 50 IP (traded in the Jaime Garcia deal)
    • Rob Whalen, 2016: 6.57 ERA in 24.2 innings (traded in the Alex Jackson deal)

    I’m as excited for the Allard/Soroka/Wright era as anyone, but we seriously need to question whether the Braves are capable of developing pitching prospects into successful major league starters. Otherwise the great rebuild will have all been for naught.

  2. Future 7th-inning guy? WUT???

    Wisler and Blair were always viewed as mid-rotation guys at best. Same with Jenkins, and Gant and Whalen were never considered much of anything. Only Folty and Newcomb had that elusive top-of-the-rotation upside that so many of the younger guys in the system have; the present trend for Folty is encouraging, while it’s still just very early on Newcomb. What I’m tyring to say is that the fact that Rob Whalen didn’t amount to anything has nothing to do with with whether Kyle Wright will.

    My one complaint with the development is that they seem to rush these guys through the system — like today, when they promoted Gohara to AAA and Toussaint to AA — but then the leash for the early wave of these guys upon reaching the majors has been extremely short. Too short. Wisler and Blair have both sucked, but they’ve also been jerked around a good bit in the majors. Wisler has not been given a fighting chance this year at all. Blair never really has. They were even jerking Folty around at the beginning of the season.

    Just smacks of impatience. Wish they’d chill a bit, especially when it comes to the pitchers who, unlike Wisler and Blair, actually have the stuff and/or command to be frontline guys.

  3. Agreed on Toussaint. His k rate is good but that’s about it. 5.04 era and a 1.36 WHIP usually mean a demotion and not a promotion.

  4. Klaw speculated that Gohara over Soroka is because Gohara will have to be added to the 40 man this winter anyway or be subject to Rule 5.

    And on Touki:

    #Braves RHP prospect Touki Toussaint:

    Last night: 5 IP, 2ER, 0BB, 8K
    Last 3 GS: 20 IP, 4ER, 3BB, 29K
    Since 6/1: 3.33 ERA 24BB/63K in 54 IP

  5. @3

    They didn’t have enough 20 year olds in AA.

    Jenkins/Gant/Whalen were filler in deals to have SP to eat innings in ’15 and ’16. You could make an argument that, if given sufficient seasoning, all three of them could be cromulent long relievers. But they all suffered similar fate as Wisler and Blair that they only made about 20-25 high minors starts. They’re in their own category of insufficient talent and insufficient developmental time.

    Newcomb and Folty, IMO, are doing fine based on where they are. I think it’s becoming obvious that Folty is a mid-rotation starter. They were more careful with Newcomb, and he’s made the most high minors starts of any pitcher to debut in Atlanta in the last few years. And I think it’s showing considering his early numbers.

    Wisler and Blair fall into their own bucket of pitchers who had just enough talent to be successful, but needed to be in an environment more controlled. I think Newcomb and Folty have/had the benefit of not needing that to survive. And I think this shows that Atlanta is, at best, not uniquely good at developing pitchers vs. organization, and at worst, they don’t know what they’re doing. This is still the same organization that watched Medlen, Beachy, Minor, Venters, and EOF all go down on their watch. And the reason it was noteworthy is because they had no one else to slide in there. Looking back, with my continued desire to understand how players develop, I genuinely wonder what the Braves thought they were going to get from Blair and Wisler after such little time in the minors.

    With all that said, they do seem to be getting it right now. Sims is getting a lot of high minors time. Newcomb got a lot more than his predecessors. If Allard, Soroka, and Gohara get 40-50 starts in the high minors, that’s more than almost anyone except Sims and Newcomb. And if they continue to pitch as well as Gohara and Soroka have, then that puts them in a different bucket where maybe they don’t need the time the Wislers and Blairs needed but didn’t get. And with the big picture in mind, the innings pitched by Wisler, Blair, Dickey, Garcia, and Colon did bridge gaps to provide that time for the more talented pitchers. Doesn’t mean, though, that Wisler and Blair deserved that treatment.

  6. Wilser’s minor league stats aren’t bad at all. It’s revisionist history to now say that he wasn’t really ever a prospect. Our entire “rebuild” is made of guys just like him. If we can’t be patient and let them get knocked around a bit, then this whole thing is futile.

  7. Two short years ago, Wisler slotted in at #34 in BA’s Top 100 Prospects in between Steven Matz and Luis Severino. Blair was #40, in between Carl Edwards Jr, Aaron Nola, Austin Meadows, and Andrew Heaney.

    There are not so many busts on that list that it’s hard to not draw conclusions about how the Braves have handled their only 2 top 50’s on that list.

    If Wisler and Blair were sacrificial lambs during the rebuild to fill innings and make it seem like they were rebuilding, cool. But I don’t think one can assume that Wisler and Blair are pitchers with insufficient talent who would not have fared better in their previous organizations, or any other for that matter.

  8. My point is that nobody in this whole deal is a bust yet. You have to have more patience. There shouldn’t be pressure to win right now. The fact that there actually is pressure is the organization’s doing. How can it even be a “rebuild” if you won’t even let the kids play?

  9. Thanks for the recap, Rob.

    Sometimes off days come at the right time, and this trip to Philly is well timed. Who knows what news tomorrow may bring?

  10. Through 4 innings, the Nats have 8 HR and 4 2B and lead 15-1 over Mil. The ML record is 10 HR by a team in a game.

  11. Who said Wisler wasn’t really ever a prospect? I just said he was never projected to be a top-of-the-rotation guy.

    For the record, I still think he can pitch at this level and wish he’d get a more extended look as a starter.

  12. @8 I think that is why it was so ridiculous to spend money on Colon to get knocked around when most of us could have at least understood it if it was Wisler or Blair. At least we could look for progress in their starts as the season went along. But the way they have jerked them around for spot starts with no rhythm didn’t do them or the organization any good

  13. We were oversold on Wisler & Blair (and, for that matter, on Newcombe) to justify mediocre returns for very popular players. We gave away the best reliever and the best defensive shortstop in the history of the franchise (yes, all the way back to Boston) as well as Evan Gattis and one season of Jupton and Hayward. Blair and Wisler were touted as top prospects in their former organizations without noting that both organizations were virtually tapped out. Neither Blair nor Wisler had MiLB peropherals that indicated ace status.and Wisler were sold to us ss top prospects o us

  14. We were oversold on Wisler & Blair (and, for that matter, on Newcombe) to justify mediocre returns for very popular players. We gave away the best reliever and the best defensive shortstop in the history of the franchise (yes, all the way back to Boston) as well as Evan Gattis and one season of Jupton and Hayward. Blair and Wisler were touted as top prospects in their former organizations without noting that both organizations were virtually tapped out. Neither Blair nor Wisler had MiLB peropherals that indicated ace status.

  15. I’m just saying that Blair and Wisler were consensus top 100 prospects and after a couple of seasons they’ve become two guys that everyone wants to ship to Siberia. It seems like every week there’s an article about yet another re-ranking for the current top 100 – with 9 or so Braves prospects on that list. Everyone is just so damn sure that this list is somehow better than all the lists that have come before, and all our pitchers on it are way better than Blair and Wisler.

    When they come up and struggle, what are we going to do? Sign Jamie Moyer to eat innings? We need to let them pitch.

  16. The organization made a decision to rebuild and then was terrified of what the meant so have constantly done things to undermine that strategy. Promoting Wisler and Blair too early and then dropping them when they struggled are wholly indicative of that as are a dozen other things.

  17. This organization has been justifiably accused of rushing their guys for the last couple of years, and the early returns have been a lot more negative than positive with that strategy.

    I’m obviously not saying that the Braves are bad at player development because Ryan Weber failed. I’m saying that the Braves have graduated an awful lot of prospects the last few years and seen them struggle — not just the starting pitchers, but also just about all of the starting position players, including Swanson, Rio Ruiz, Mallex Smith, and Jace Peterson. Many of those guys weren’t top prospects, but all of them were prospects, and almost all of them struggled to perform at replacement level. It’s fair to question the Braves’ acuity at player development.

  18. the precocity of youth
    confirms an eternal truth
    while the race is for the young
    we are accountable when the bell is rung.

  19. @8/10/19

    Glad to see you back today at your constructive best. Under the dark cloud of yesterday’s schmozzle you seemed to be suggesting enough was enough of all this pitching nonsense and your temporary hiatus was imminent. Not a bit of it. The savant is more necessary than ever, see above.

  20. I have a theory that the stadium is causing a good bit of this. Not Park Factors but just that it was being built. IMO, unnecessarily so.

    I contend it has disproportionately colored the organization’s decisionmaking an have led it to make basically dumb decisions.

    FWIW going all the way back to Vandy, I never believed in Dansby Swanson. But they did. What franchise do you know that makes a rookie that hit .260 in AA the face of a franchise?

    Oh you say, one that is building a shiny new stadium…

    The Braves ARE not focused on baseball, they are focused on shiny toys.

    The organization is IMO a joke. It is time to clean house and beg someone to buy the team.

  21. @6

    Touki Toussaint
    would like us to know what he is, what he ‘aint
    the rest of that nonsense you please throw away.

  22. This forum provides some of the most thoughtful analysis and discussion of MLB anywhere. But it also, on occasion, features some of the most amusing baseball-related hyperbole on the interwebs.

  23. Remember the Braves were so ready for him to be the “face of the franchise” they ran hype ads with him last year preseason before he’d ever hit above A-ball.

    I also agree with everything in 26.

  24. Chief…

    yes, passive ownership can be suffocating if left unchallenged. The last few weeks of last season my soccer team in London achieved notoriety by frustrated fans hiring small planes to trail banners across the skies above the stadium at home games demanding change at the top. To little effect it must be said.

    Five years ago the club was effectively up for sale, a controlling interest. Two contestants – a Russian oligarch, his money contaminated in the usual way…and…Stan Kroenke, Mr Clean, Mr Anonymity himself. Those of us who took the high moral ground at the time have, i’m rather ashamed to say, come to regret it. He checks the numbers at the end of the year, extracts a few millions for ‘consultancy fees’ but is otherwise totally focused on the other bottom line, the accelerating value of all such premium clubs.

    Meanwhile the only instructions to his acolytes below are don’t rock the boat. Take no chances, change is a chance. Oh the Turners and the Veecks of long ago!

  25. Arsenal at least have a history of actually developing young players. For all his faults, Wenger sticks with guys he believes in. If Wisler and Swanson were on Arsenal they’d still be playing U-21 or on loan to Fulham or something, no way they’d bring them up too fast.

  26. @29

    Oh, c’mon, you can’t just tease us like that. Examples! Who among us are over the deep end?!

  27. Very few here that aren’t, Rob…it would take an exhaustive reply…we don’t want to run him off.

  28. Kevin Maitan
    we tend to lose sight of the man
    what with all this dirty bulk
    at 285 we’re concerned he might start to sulk.

    What is going on here? Could someone with some sort of line into the FO, direct or otherwise, obtain some formal reassurance that :

    they are aware of the present situation
    they know what he weighs today
    it is what he has been told to do
    all this in under the control of some German wunderkind flown in and installed at the Danville Motel 6
    who will issue weekly bulletins and inform us of his target weight.
    there is a little too much at ‘steak’ here.

    and what exactly is ‘dirty bulk’?

  29. @26 You have a good point. It reminds me of the Francouer hype. I trust, however, that Swanson will eventually turn out to be a solid player.

  30. Worth noting that Jeff Francoeur was not selected #1 overall out of college. Bit of a different pedigree.

  31. We have no idea whether the current Braves organization is good or bad at developing pitching prospects into quality big league pitchers. And it will be several years before we have a better idea. The key word, once again, is patience. Most pitchers, even those who turn out to be all stars, struggle early. Folty is on track, and Newcomb has had a pretty good start. Even Wisler may turn out to be pretty good; stranger things have happened. With Blair its hard to imagine but it’s possible.

    And there’s a reason people keep saying TNSTAAPP–it’s not literally true that no prospects make it, but most don’t. So if 3 or 4 of the Braves 15 or so pitching prospects become very good starters in the big leagues for a few years they are in good shape. But we won’t know for several years.

  32. Considering literally everything about Dansby Swanson’s baseball career from his college career to his draft profile to his performance in professional baseball, it would be astonishing if he did not have a very good career as a first-division starting shortstop. He has as high a floor as anyone in the organization.

    I don’t question his talent at all. But I don’t think the Braves have demonstrated yet that they are capable of turning the Second Best Farm System in the History of Whatever into a championship 25-man roster.

  33. @40 Honestly it took the Royals couple years to convert that farm system into championship. Even the best bets took couple years to materialize. Honestly I don’t care about Jenkins, Gant and Whelan. Folty seems to have turned the corner, and Newcomb is still a TBD.

    Frankly the development of Wisler and Blair have been very disappointing. Those two are like Kyle Davies all over again.

  34. From Klaw chat yesterday:

    brian snitker: is Dansby’s demotion too early or too late?

    Keith Law: It is short-sighted and unnecessary. When you’re building, you don’t demote your long-term shortstop in favor of short-term assets (Phillips, Adams) or flashes in the pan (Camargo). It’s really out of character for Atlanta, who’ve done almost everything for the long term.

  35. ‘flash in the pan’
    d’ya read that young man?
    your chance at redemption
    Philly, sixteen at bats we might casually mention.

  36. After promoting Dansby too early, the Braves then demoted him too late.

    I think @26 is right, in broad strokes at least. I think the Braves underestimated the time to execute their rebuild, at least publicly. (I also have my doubts about a rebuild based on a path to success used once, 30 years ago.)

    Once they’d told everyone they would be competitive when the new stadium opened, they set a clock in motion. And when it became obvious that things weren’t moving as fast as they’d promised, then they started trying to force the issue. Using two hall-of-fame pitchers who succeeded after being beaten up in the majors as “proof that it works” while ignoring the large number of pitchers who washed out after being beaten up when they first made the majors is a sensible thing to push out in press conferences, but it’s not how to run a team.

  37. The Braves promoted him too quickly, marketed him wayyy too early, and demoted him too late. They benched him for about 2 weeks. Camargo needs to be playing and he may not or may not be a flash in the pan.

    Either way, I partially agree with Keith Law. The braves need to move Phillips and Adams then bring back Dansby and Albies at the same time. Ride out the rest of the season with them.

  38. The first marketing of Dansby that reached my eyes involved how fabulous his hair was. Upon the day of his demotion, recalling that makes me want to punch somebody in the Braves FO. Promoting a guy before his high-level minors numbers show he’s earned it isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the world, but don’t shine a g–damn spotlight on him when you do it.

  39. To be fair, nothing went wrong with his hair. His hair is still just as fabulous as advertised.

  40. IMO the process is working pretty well. New stadium a success, and 2017 is highest payroll in team history. They were able to put an improved, interesting team on the field at the new park while preserving their best-in-the business farm and without making long-term financial commitments. They have talent and financial flexibility going forward. This is a pretty good place to be, 2.5 years into the rebuild. Mistakes along the way, but hardly a joke.

    Worth pointing out that Coppy said from the outset that they know the success rate on pitching prospects is low — that’s the reason for the strategy of getting so many pitchers.

  41. The marketing of Dansby was excessive, ridiculous and unnecessary. With an awful team in a lame duck stadium, what exactly where they marketing anyway? The new stadium was always going to sell tickets this year, so I just don’t get what the need was. And now we have a mess on our hands.

    The problem with this whole “everybody needs to be patient…we probably need a few more years, and that’s OK” line of thinking is that we don’t have a few more years. The linchpin of this entire plan was to get an influx of money from the new stadium so that we could spend more on the club when it came time to shift to winning mode and add more payroll. That requires the “new stadium bump” and the shift to the next phase of the rebuild lining up. That’s why I’m so adamant about next year, because if those two things don’t line up, then people stop attending games en masse, there is no influx of cash, and we’re screwed. Aside from the fact that it shouldn’t take a rebuild five years and fans who expect everybody to be OK with it progressing at the pace of paint drying are being unrealistic, we just don’t have that much time. Their plan is contingent on the “new, winning Braves” being ready right about now, and it’s a serious problem if they can’t put a winning baseball team out on the field next year. If they need to speed up the process some to make sure it happens, then that’s what they need to do.

    The ’91 Braves did not have these sorts of constraints. They were bankrolled by Ted Turner, who was used to losing money on them and didn’t really care. They played in a crappy old stadium that had almost no attendance and no hope of attendance and no new stadium coming down the pike until at least the Olympics, which was five years away (and I honestly don’t know at what point it was known that the Braves would move into Centennial Olympic Stadium after the Olympics were over…they might not have even known that yet at that point). So they did have time to be patient there. It’s just not the same situation at all.

  42. I’m ambivalent about Swanson going to AAA. You know who’s a good comp for Johan Camargo offensively (minor and major league records?) 2016 Dansby Swanson.

    I like Camargo, I think he can be a useful part of a good team, and I hope he continues to do well. But I bought into Swanson on 100+ at bats, and I won’t do the same with Camargo.

    If you don’t want to go to the minors, then don’t hit .215, but the bottom line is if Dansby can play, he’ll be back. I don’t see it making a huge difference in the long run where he spends the next couple of months.

  43. @49, Atl is currently 12th in per game attendance, and school starts early in Atlanta – 1 Aug metro-wide. Last year the total was 2.02M and they currently sit at 1.5M with 34 home dates left. They are not going to see much improvement at all over last year’s numbers

  44. If he can play. I think and hope he can, but please let him earn the position by being the best we have at shortstop.

  45. Rushing him is making him play poorly? Or is poor play creating the rushing accusations?

    Let’s keep everyone in the minors until they are 28.

  46. 52—Still raking in the dough, though, given the ownership of the surrounding venues.

    49—I agree; well said.

  47. @54

    Yes, because there’s no difference between letting him play two months in Triple-A at the end of last season and leaving him in the minors until he’s 28…

  48. @50–I’m one of those “everybody needs to be patient, it will probably take a few more years” guys. My point is that when your rebuild is primarily based on prospects who are not yet 21, it will necessarily take a few years before you know who will be good major leaguers and who won’t.

    But I’m not really in the “that’s ok” camp either. If the team is going to be competitive as early as next year, they will need to add proven big leaguers (especially a starting pitcher or two and a corner outfielder who is better than Kemp and Markakis). That’s where Coppy faces the biggest challenge. Which of the top ten prospects do you trade this off season to get a proven hitter and a proven pitcher?

    The alternative to that is to just play the young guys and see who works out and who doesn’t. But if that’s what you do, you’ve got to be committed to patience when the young guys struggle, and you’re not likely to be competitive next year either.

  49. @56, neither you nor anybody on this earth can know if those 2 months misssed in AAA in 2016 matter or not. I tire of this mindset. Learning on the job at the highest level is always better than not. If he’s good, he’ll be back.

    I’m not complaining that he was rushed, and certainly not complaining that he was sent down. The only thing to bitch about is that he sat the bench for 2 weeks until they realized they can’t move Phillips.

  50. Attendance is up 27% on a per game basis over last year. I know some people hate the stadium, but it seems to be working from the team’s perspective.

  51. The stadium is a success for sure. And it would have been the same success had we fielded a younger team and lost 95 games.

  52. @59

    Sun Trust Park
    hark the herald angels, hark
    charlie freeman said it best
    if they’ll come for this, let’s charge more to park and all the rest.

  53. @59, the per game number is high right now because there is historically a drop off after school starts back. I’m not arguing whether it is a success per se, just noting that there will not be much of a jump in attendance when the final numbers are counted, either in per game or aggregate. I’ll leave it to others to argue what performance metrics constitute success.

  54. @58, I’m generally with you on your curmudgeonliness re: the Braves and the rebuild, but statements like “Learning on the job at the highest level is always better than not.” If ones believes there is a thing such as player development that’s more complex than merely “throw a guy into the deep end of the pool”, and if one believes that a complex system of minor leagues exists for a reason, then I’m not quite sure I follow the logic that “nothing really matters and so what if it did”, to paraphrase John Mellencamp.*

    My thing is: Throw a guy in the deep end of the pool if you want. Just don’t make a big ding dong deal out of it. You’re asking for trouble in that case.

    As far as replaying last year, you know what I think would have been cool besides letting Dansby play out the season at AAA was having him play out the season on the other side of Albies. They could have learned together. I think there’s comfort in that kind of arrangement, but we forsook that by moving Dansby up so quick. It’s weird: Dansby’s been graduated far past Albies despite not (in my mind) earning it, and meanwhile Albies just keeps smacking the ball in the minors and hasn’t even been given a taste. Hell, he’s almost treated like an unwanted stepchild the way these trade rumors float.

    * Not really a fan of his but quoting him anyway.

  55. @63, I mean I’m not in favor of randomly promoting 19 year olds to the majors…they need to show success at the lower levels first. The younger they are, and the more accelerated the promotion schedule, the more success they need to exhibit.

    I do agree that Albies and Swanson have been handled the opposite way from how it should have been done. If anyone was to be rushed it should have been Albies. But he got hurt, so there’s that.

    I just don’t agree that rushing, by itself, is a developmental killer. Swanson hit .300 in the bigs last season. I didn’t hear much grumbling about rushing then. It’s only when they struggle that the chorus starts to pick up…

    If he had hit .300 in AAA to close out last season, and sucked ass this season after his callup, would it have still been rushing? I don’t get it. He’s struggling for sure, but the reasons for the struggles are bad hitting mechanics and possible bad mental processes. How can you blame everything on missing 2 months of AAA?

    He’s going to get those 2 months back, so hopefully all will be right with the universe.

  56. I don’t care where Swanson plays. I just prefer that he plays. What I really care about is that they know what’s wrong and are working on a fix.

    Is it really a balance issue, with how he’s kicking his rear leg outward away from the plate? Ive read that his backside is bailing, and lowering his head and reducing his coverage while the pitch is in the air. I’ve also read that this is a reversal of cause and effect, and that the bailing is just the result of being fooled by the pitch.

    Anyway. He can’t hit a major league slider and he apparently doesn’t identify them either, so as to stop swinging at them. He’s not going to see many major league sliders in AAA, but at least he’ll get some experience in identifying a slider out of the pitchers hand. So that’s a plus.

    I just hope there’s an identifiable problem and there’s a plan to fix it. I don’t hold out a lot of hope for our hitting coaches though. Has never seemed to be a strong suit.

    In any case, since he lost his job, he’s been a mess. Even if he comes back and still can’t hit a slider, he should at least come back in a better mental place, and more ready to work.

  57. I worry that being hit in the face is part of the issue still. I mean it has to be, at least a little.

  58. That worries me too. I’ve always wondered if that was why Heyward never was able to put it all together offensively.

  59. 62 — I got curious, so I checked attendance numbers going back to 2010. Over that span home per-game attendance is only 2% lower after the calendar turns to August. In many years it actually goes up after school starts. I think competitiveness is probably a better variable to look at. Will be interesting to see where they end the year.

    60 — Attendance would absolutely have suffered with a 95-loss team.

  60. 68 — Heyward already had disappointing power numbers and poor swing mechanics. I don’t think him getting hit in the face made him worse long term. Major league pitchers learned how to pitch to him and he didn’t adjust as well as expected, probably because of his mechanics.

  61. @70
    I’m not so sure. The two highest slugging pct. and HR years of his career so far were 2010 and 2012, both before his jaw was broken in 2013

  62. The Mets traded 2 prospects for AJ Ramos, even though they aren’t contenders. I thought Sandy Alderson was supposed to be smart.

    The Phillies traded Howie Kendrick to the Nationals for a low level prospect.

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