Braves 8, Reds 1

Nothing 8 runs won’t cure.

The Reds Luis Castillo struck out 8 in his 4 innings, but his inability to go deeper was costly, as Tyler Flowers broke open a 2 – 0 game in the 5th with a grand slam off of Drew Storen. Brandon Phillips and Freddie Freeman added 3 hits apiece, and Sean Newcomb battled through 5 innings to get his 2nd win. Newcomb allowed 5 hits, 5 walks, and hit a batter, but did not allow a run. Matt Wisler added 3 uneventful innings of scoreless relief; Max Fried allowed the run in the 9th.

Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson added 2 hits apiece, as patience remains in order. It’s pretty well known that hitters can be expected to improve in performance up to a peak age, after which point they can be expected to decline. There is some debate over exactly what that peak age is, but ages 26 – 29 will catch the peak season of a lot of players. Here’s one of many pieces of research: http://www.hardballtimes.com/how-do-baseball-players-age-part-1/

There are exceptions (Tyler Flowers,) and few careers follow a perfect curve of annual improvement followed by annual decline, but anyhow, that’s the way to bet.

The Braves have a big gap in the age curve between prospects Albies, Swanson, Johan Camargo, and Ronald Acuna, and prime age players Freeman and Ender Inciarte.  There is really no one relevant in between the very young and the prime. It’s like a college team with only a couple of good Seniors and a promising Freshman class.

I’d like to see the Braves make a couple of bets on some players closer to their prime who are blocked, or otherwise out of favor in their organizations. I think it’s a cheaper way to accelerate the rebuild to gamble on this type of player to break through, and better odds. For example, the Reds just got Scooter Gennett off waivers. The Dodgers just sent Joc Pederson to the minors. The Mets won’t commit to a position for Wilmer Flores. Andrelton Simmons could be had for a couple of minor leaguers, probably. Insert your favorite candidate here: _______.

In any case, it sure would be nice if when the Braves make their next wave of moves for them to get someone on the right side of the age curve, rather than another Dan Uggla, Melvin Upton Jr., or Hector Olivera. Hey, Matt Adams has worked out pretty well.

The Braves salvage a game from the 3 game series and hope to carry that over when Seattle comes to town Monday.

God as my witness, the funniest thing I ever heard about anywhere.

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.

46 thoughts on “Braves 8, Reds 1”

  1. From the last thread…

    I think Ruiz at this point would be best utilized as a platoon player if he plays at the big league level. If we don’t get a third baseman in the offseason I wonder if a Camargo/Ruiz platoon would work. Though the Braves haven’t been willing to try platoons since Bobby Cox retired.

  2. Albies is now batting 206 and Swanson is at 222. A good poll question would be who will have the highest batting average at the end of the year. My bet would be Albies since Swanson has so many more at bats and batting average increases won’t come quickly.

  3. @3 and then there was this comment by someone below the Swanson stance article:

    “Apparently Dansby’s mom suggested that Dansby bat lefty during his BPs while in AAA to see how the breaking balls behave when they are breaking toward him. He credited that also with helping him discern breaking pitches that would be strikes and breaking pitches off the black.”

  4. @4

    They could have a kid named Chipsby Joneson. Ok that’s stupid.

    But really, I can’t imagine that story is true.

  5. @4/5

    Mrs S and Mister J
    plan everything the other way
    righties left, lefties right
    switch ’em back at 6 each night.

    The Lady is creative, the Gentleman brusque. A match made in Baseball heaven.

  6. Andrew Albers
    one moment he’s ours, now he’s their’s
    you will excuse his confusion
    already the Press with hints of collusion.

  7. Dansby S
    a better stance, gaw’d bless
    the right leg tho’, that lateral retreat
    subject of so many an early morning tweet.

  8. But really, though, there’s still a month and a half left in the season, and we have one of the youngest rosters in baseball. I count no less than 11 players on the roster whose performance could make a huge impact on how to proceed about 2018, and we have no idea how they’ll do. Basically the entire rotation, a big chunk of the bullpen, and about half of the lineup is completely uncertain. Now even more than last season, the team has to finish strong because that will have meant some long-term pieces have played well, and obviously this team really needs that. Obviously very generic, but like tfloyd, I do tend to derive some happiness from seeing this team play well, and this collection of players is becoming more and more influential of the future.

  9. He is an Ancient Mariner
    and he hitteth one in three
    where once he scorched the Yankee Porch
    he fancies STP

    We fear thee Ancient Mariner
    we fear thy calloused hand
    for thou art long and lank and brown
    as is the sea ribbed sand.

  10. Brandon Phil-Lips
    says don’t forget to watch the Eclipse
    if i could get to where it landed
    i’d catch both those balls bare handed.

    no more!

  11. Apparently Winkler has to be on the roster for 16 days into 2018 without losing him back to the Rockies. With all of the fuss with him, I hope that he turns out to be a good reliever. He’d be some nice found money in a rebuild. There are things that rebuilds produce, like cash and roster spots, and they clearly wanted him to occupy a roster spot in 2016.

    Speaking of cash and rebuilds, what did the Braves gain by having the cash freed up from trading Simmons, Kimbrel, and BUpton? I say those three because JUpton and Heyward’s positions were filled with comparable cash. But Simmons was “about to become expensive”, Kimbrel was a “luxury” both in terms of talent usage and payroll, and of course, BUpton was just a straight payroll dump. Is it wise to include the opportunity costs of the salary dumps in with these trades? For instance, did freed up major league payroll cash go towards the glut of international talent the Braves picked up, like Maitan? Was there always going to be cash for Maitan, et al regardless of whether or not we rebuilt?

    The reason I ask is I watched a very depressing segment on MLB Network about how Simmons is the second best player in baseball right now per WAR. And they basically described the trade as “Simmons for Newcomb”, which is, of course, factually untrue, but we don’t tend to talk about the opportunity cost of the savings of Simmons to another, cheaper shortstop (in theory Dansby). So as his salary increases from 2018-2020, that money can also be spent elsewhere. And with player payroll significantly lower in 2015 and 2016 significantly lower, where did that money go? We didn’t/couldn’t spend more in the draft, we bought Touki, we bought international players, so I’m kind of running out of areas where the talent system was rebuilt because of that cleared payroll.

  12. @20 – Agreed, I don’t believe the organization is doing a good job of keeping the fanbase up to date on where those savings are going, if they are in fact going anywhere (other than to offset decreased revenues.)

    I don’t think anyone should be held accountable for not predicting Andrelton would have the kind of offensive season he is having, but it was highly predictable, if not certain that he was likely to get *better* (see above.) When you are putting a team together from scratch, and you have a young, generational talent, you pencil him in 8th, and you move on to the next part of your project.

    Of course, Newcomb could still become Koufax, and Andrelton might be an old man before the Braves are any good again anyway.

  13. At the opening of this thread it says that Andrelton Simmons could be had for a few minor leaguers. If that’s the case sign me up for just about anyone not named Acuna or Soroka.

  14. In his recap, Rusty makes a great point about the timing of the Braves’ next competitive window. In this rebuild, the FO has focused heavily on high school draftees and international signees (who are even younger than American HS draftees). Even if several of them turn out to be quality major league players, it’s likely to be another 3-5 years before they are good major leaguers, and a few more years after that before they hit their peak. If the Braves plan to compete in 2018 or even 2019, they will have to make some tough decisions about which prospects to hang onto and which ones to trade for established big leaguers (or at least prospects that are ready now).

  15. And being competitive in 2018-19 is complicated by the fact that the pitchers over the age of 20 that they’ve acquired through trade haven’t developed as we might have hoped. Folty, although he’s made strides, is still a big question mark. Wisler and Blair you know about. Fried’s recovery from TJ has taken some time. And it certainly doesn’t help that the one established starter we kept (Teheran) has taken such a step backwards. (I could mention the unloading of Alex Wood, but that would be too painful)
    You could say that the FO has had some bad luck as to these pitchers. But of course that is what you should expect from pitching prospects; they will break your heart.
    I think the collection of arms in the next wave is a good deal better than the ones mentioned above. But even the ones of that bunch who will make it are all still a few years away from becoming stars–and most won’t make it at all.

  16. Made a goofy throw?
    Got fat?
    Taunted Jason Heyward and Braves fans?
    Did steroids?

    You’re going a have to be more specific. (I hate Melky).

  17. Player A: 33 YR old hitting .269/.346/.527 with 13 HR in 212 PAs entering tonight’s play. Career .256/.313/.379 OPS
    Player B: 31 YR old hitting .270/.349/.510 with 18 HR in 342 PAs in 2016. Career .233/.304/.391 OPS

    Player A: Kurt Suzuki
    Player B: Sean Rodriguez

    So, for those that want to extend Suzuki, think about dat…

  18. For the record, that pickoff error should definitely have been on Dansby. Just in case it escaped everyone’s notice. All these runs are still earned, though, so the lion’s share of blame rests with Folty regardless.

  19. This is Folty’s first full season in the majors, so I guess it’s fair to wonder if he is hitting a wall.

  20. @30 – I’m just relieved to hear that he didn’t eat something off his bat.
    As for the Braves’ rebuild, I agree that our pitchers haven’t developed as quickly as I was hoping. However, the development of Acuna is huge. That is one less high dollar free agent we have to go after. Get a top flight starter and a 3rd baseman along with decent bullpen pieces and we’ve got a chance next year.

  21. I think we’re close to Dinner Minter time. He’s given up one run across mostly one inning outings on 7/24, 7/27, 7/29, 8/1, 8/6, 8/9, 8/13, 8/17, 8/21. He’s obviously not at back-to-back territory, but who cares? I think he gets a call in September.

  22. Josh Collmenter during his “rehab”: 3 G, 1 GS, 10 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 12 K. They’ll have to make a decision about him at some point.

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