Bravos 9, Fish 2

The last three years, the Braves were not much fun to watch. In fact, it could be a desultory experience. Ah, but they were so much older then (Bartolo, Dickey, Kemp, AJ); they’re younger than that now (Ozzie, Acuña, Soroka, Gohara–more on him later) And it’s contagious: I’m no spring chicken, but this team is helping me stay forever young.

It was a one to one game going into the 6th inning. There was really no hint that a hard rain of Braves hits was gonna fall. On the other hand, perhaps we should have seen it coming: the top of the order has become desolation row for opposing pitchers. Ozzie came to the plate with 2 outs and the bases loaded in a tie game. With one swing of the bat, he put the Braves up 5-1. Two batters later, Freddie hits a two run homer, and the rout was on.

At that point in the game, Folty had gone 5 pretty effective innings, throwing only 83 pitches. The only run he surrendered was unearned. Snit made the tough call to pinch hit in the top of the sixth with two on and two out—turned out to be a good call. Tucker walked to load the bases, and Albies followed with his first career grand slam. (By the way, April heroes Tucker and Flaherty are still on the team—hadn’t seen them lately. Both made appearances, and both did something good.)

Freddie had the first five hit game of his careers, including the 2 run homer. He’s still the hub of this team, and this wheel’s on fire. He’s our rock; let’s hope he continues like a rolling stone. But it was Ozzie’s blow that changed the game. This kid has been phenomenal. He’s the youngest Brave to hit a grand slam since Andruw did it at age 20 in 1997. Let’s hope that Carribean wind still blows, from Curacao to the Atlanta Bravos.

Speaking of forever young, Neck Cakes had two more hits. I can’t believe him; he acts like a player we never have met.

This game saw the first 2018 appearance by Luiz Gohara. It was not exactly the ballad of a thin man—but he pitched three innings and got his first professional save.

It was good to see our old friend Martin Prado, who had two hits in the game to raise his average to .152. He’s quite the jokerman; it had been going so bad for him that after his first hit he had the ball retrieved and thrown to the dugout. The current version of Prado, young Camargo, had two hits of his own to break a long drought.

How excited should we be about this team? No doubt the times they are a changing—something new is blowin in the wind. In fact, I’m starting to think that when fall rolls around, this team could be knockin’ on heaven’s door. Yes, I know it’s still very early and there is a long season ahead of us; tomorrow is a long time. But sooner or later, one of us must know if this team is for real. As for me and my household, we are obviously five believers.

Tomorrow, the Braves try to hold on to first place again in Miami. Amanda’s husband takes the mound.

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66 thoughts on “Bravos 9, Fish 2”

  1. Nice work… and we have a number of young’uns who won’t be working on the farm no more.

  2. Thanks, JohnathanF.

    Was there another reason for pulling Folty other than it was a close game and his spot was up?

  3. Not really. Ender stole 2nd, and after Bautista crapped the bed, they intentionally walked Camargo to get to Folty and Snitker countered with Tucker as was still tied at that point.

    Can’t really argue with the result this time.

  4. The more I think about it, the more I think the whole Joey Bats thing is s shrewd move to buy time until a bigger move can be made. I think AA is giving Bautista a favor for past performance and hoping for a pleasant surprise. What we’re finding is that Joey is who we thought he was and I hope he’s learning the same thing. When it’s all said and done, we’ll be closer to the deadline and will have more ability to choose between rental and Riley. By the end of June, Riley should have enough ABs in AAA and it’s looking good so far. If Riley is brought up just before or after the ASB then, by the end of July, there will be enough information to move forward. And if Bautista totally tanks, there’s still Flaherty. It’s a lot easier to ascribe intelligence to someone (AA) if there really is a plan.

    Of course, there are a lot of players on this roster now who are trying very hard to make AA look like a genius.

  5. Thanks for the great recap. Great game all around. I’m probably happiest for Gohara. What this young man is enduring right now is so tough.

  6. I figure Bautista has until Dansby is healthy to figure it out. They’re not going to keep running him out there for another month.

  7. Thanks. I would note that those are not merely songs; according to the Nobel committee, they are literature.

  8. LOL You know LA is on the leading edge. Their PEDs are far out ahead of anything MLB’s testing can detect.

    I kid…

  9. Kemp was pretty doggone good for ATL last year for the first couple of months. Let’s see how he holds up.

  10. The dichotomy between Sims performance at AAA and MLB is baffling to me.

    Obviously, MLB is substantially harder, but his K rates and some other peripherals the past two seasons at AAA are close to elite.

    When I see him pitch in the majors (straight low 90’s FB, good but inconsistent curve, mediocre change), it’s not surprising to me he gets lit up, but I just don’t get the extent his stuff plays up at AAA when in comparison to someone like Wisler for example.

  11. Really good hitters don’t stay in AAA for very long. MLB has a lot of really good hitters.

  12. @18 That may be true, but how does it help explain why Sims should be more successful than Wisler at AAA despite the fact that Wisler (at the major leagues at least) appears to be a substantially better thrower of pitches?

  13. Small sample size? Sims has like 19 IP in AAA this year. Maybe his starts were against weak lineups. I dunno. They both seem interchangeable to me. AAAA starters that can help us when we need the help.

  14. @17 That’s not entirely true. You make it sound like Sims exhibits any of these qualities when the truth is that the guy can clearly throw a baseball pretty well, but if he exhibited guile he would probably be doing better.

    Teheran, now, has matured into a pitcher with some guts and guile.

  15. Sims had a FIP of 5 last year a the major league level in 14 games, 10 starts as a 23-year old. On its face, that’s not a damning initial result. He’s been riding the Gwinnett shuttle, and if a pitcher struggles under those circumstances, I can give some latitude. Accordingly, I’d also place a lot of stock in a pitcher being successful with that arrangement (i.e. Gohara last night). And in 4 AAA starts, he has a higher walk rate (4.7/9), but fantastic strike out (10.42/9) and HR rates (.5/9). But does anybody really expect him to have done significantly better in his small samples at the major leagues? The problem is we’re expecting way too many pitchers to dazzle in 10 start samples, and that was the inevitable by-product of rebuilding through pitching. It shouldn’t be shocking that we’re seeing some of these guys take a while. But we just don’t have the rotation spots (who does?) to give everyone an equal shot.

    Some team needs to let us fill up 3/5 of their rotation. It just seems so obvious. Some team needs to fall out of contention, decide to rebuild, and let us send them a blue chip SP prospect, Sims, and Wisler, and that team needs to give them 90 starts every year until they get 2 of them to pan out. It may not seem like that will happen, but a team will probably be willing to part with a cost-controlled player to do that. One of them will hit simply because it’s a new environment or they just figure out their weakness, and your blue chip (Allard? Fried?) will hit because they’re talented enough. Both teams win big.

  16. Hopefully a cost-controlled legit staff ace. Is that even a possibility (ie. who would the potential targets be)?

  17. Matt Kemp through 35 games 2018: 333/376/537

    Matt Kemp through 35 games 2017: 338/376/588

  18. The team trading said ace could potentially get better this year if they made that deal with us. Any team with a true #1 and a dumpster fire at 4 and 5 could immediately benefit from a July deal for Allard, Wisler, and Sims. If the Rockies were out of it, would they deal us Jon Gray? Archer with the Rays? Tigers’ Fulmer? It’s such an easy sell to your fans that you got back that many major league ready arms you’d have to wonder if we would even do it.

  19. Last night’s game, revisited:

    Thop said to the Braves again, “Score me some runs”
    Braves say, “Man you must be puttin’ me on”
    Thop said, “No.” Braves said, “What?”
    Thop said, “You can do what you want, Braves, but
    The next time you won’t be winnin if you just plate one.”
    Well the Braves said, “Where do you want this scorin done?”
    Thop says, “Cross the bay from Highway 41.”

  20. I dont think we trade for an ace starter as we may well have 3 of them (Newk, Soroka, and Gohara) on the roster already. We don’t have enough starting slots as is. The trade that should have been made this winter is Allard, Sims, Wisler and Fried for Nick Senzel and a couple of rookie ball lotto picks. Given Cinci’s gaping void on the mound this may still be possible.

  21. I don’t see why anyone would accept Wisler and Sims as meaningful pieces of a deal. I think you’d need another major piece other than Allard to get anywhere. Would you deal Allard, Soroka, and Austin Riley? Just look at what it took to get Quintana.

  22. @32 Absolutely not. At this point, I’m not certain anyone could pry Allard and Soroka away from the Braves. It would have to be Bryce Harper caliber talent coming back to the Braves.

  23. Exactly. But I don’t think a “cost-controlled legit staff ace” costs any less, and he could cost more. The Nats traded Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez for Adam Eaton, which is something like Gohara and Bryse Wilson.

    Quintana brought back Dylan Cease and Eloy Jimenez, who is closer to an Acuna-level prospect. And Quintana and Eaton have both turned into pumpkins. I’m not sure there’s a price that fans would be willing to pay.

    I’d be more interested in seeing if we could go get an expensive reclamation project who’d cost nothing but money, like Zack Greinke or David Price. I bet you could get Price from the Red Sox for a handshake, and I bet you could get them to throw in a fair amount of cash if you were willing to give them someone like Allard.

  24. I expect the Braves are going to trade away prospects in the next few years as they try to ramp up to full contention, but mostly focusing on swapping out pitching prospects at top value – rather than trading away high-ceiling position players like Riley (unless he’s totally blocked by trades/FA acquisitions).

  25. The free agent cycle last year has told me that perhaps prospect/younger player value has increased, and veteran player value has decreased. As an example, could Chicago get the same return for a players similar to Quintana and Eaton today?

    I’m also at a little bit of a loss on how to value players like Wisler and Sims, former top prospects who have struggled at the major league level. Do they have no value? I can’t imagine that’s the case, and shame on the Braves if that is so. Are they trade targets for low-minors lottery tickets? Can they be used to acquire bench players or low-leverage relievers? Can Sims be the second and the Wisler the third players in a deal for players like Eaton and Quintana? Is the answer in between the last two options there?

  26. If you are on the other side of these hypothetical deals, do you want Sims and Wisler? Why? If you are rebuilding then it doesn’t matter who occupies your 4th and 5th starter positions. So you’d want them because you think they are long-term pieces to build around? And you think the Braves have incorrectly identified their ceilings and have given up on them too soon? Maybe you can make a case for that.

    I just can’t see how the players that can’t really make our roster would be all that valuable to anyone else. If they were 5 years younger they’d be worth more in a trade. As is I think they are fungible with the dozens of other guys that are on the AAAA shuttle across both leagues.

  27. I could definitely see teams who are payroll-constrained being interested in guys like Wisler/Sims et al. (for instance – Marlins, Padres, Twins, Pirates, Rays, Reds); maybe they see someone who could blossom with a different coach or a changed role, maybe they simply want to get out from under a veteran’s contract and see a Wisler/Sims type as a chance to get similar production from a cheaper, younger, team-controller player.

  28. If you’re another GM, you would realistically have to look at all of our pitchers with varying degrees of skepticism. Are the good ones nearly as good, or are they getting some helium because the Braves are known as the pitching pipeline right now? Are the bad ones as bad as they seem? Have they been given the opportunity to be successful, and would a change of scenery and a clearer path to 30 starts be a help?

    Cincinnati might look at them and say, “Hell, I’d rather give them 30 starts than what we’ve got” when they have 3 SPs averaging a 6.20 ERA and just called up Matt Harvey — Matt Harvey! — to take the rubber because they’re so desperate.

  29. The truth is always somewhere in the middle when it comes to player value. Wisler and Sims aren’t worthless, but they’re also not proven. It may be hard to sell high on them to a team just starting a rebuild.

    The longer we’ve discussed this, the more I think Wisler and Sims are keys to completing our bullpen.

  30. “How excited should we be about this team?”

    They need another starter, then I’ll get excited.

  31. There are very few starters you should package Soroka or Allard for. Very, very few.

  32. @42 I’d been thinking the same and could still be true, but if you look around the league you’ll find that so far the Braves have no lacked in that department. Quite the opposite.

    I wouldn’t mind landing a proven staff ace, but they could stay put and very well not have that need.

  33. That post reminded me of a scorching hot cover of that Dylan tune by the late great Johnny Winter:

  34. @37 @48 Now, of course, Sims and Wisler have trade value. We turned Povse and Whalen into Alex Jackson. We turned John Gant into Jaime Garcia. We turned Juan Yepez into Matt Adams. It all depends upon what you want, who you trade with, and what you can get. We turned Mallex into Luiz. Even guys like Wisler and Sims – former top prospects who a merely serviceable – could be very valuable to a team that wants to dump salary or turn around perceived failed prospect. Wisler and Sims and guys ranking in the lower part of the top 30 are exactly the kind of guys you use to get a really good rental. The team is really really not far enough along to even consider trading any top prospects and we don’t really have any horrid holes right now thanks to some BABIP infused production.

  35. McCarthy appears to have exhausted his supply of pixie dust … 2.417 WHIP in his last three starts.

  36. McCarthy is indeed sucking. Maybe he is an example of someone that needs an extra days rest.

  37. This is getting to the territory with Ozzie that you have to consider he could truly be a unique talent. We’re almost a quarter of the way through the season and he’s on a pace for 52 homers. He showed unexpected power in his big league audition last year. Taken together it’s about half a season. He could regress and still be a 40 hr guy. Is it crazy to consider that could really be his typical production at this point? And he’s nowhere near his ‘prime’. Especially irt power.

  38. Amanda needs to have her husband get his shit together.

    There should be more than enough holes in this Marlins lineup to maneuver around.

  39. Biddle is beginning to get in a groove – 8 pitches, 6 strikes, 3 outs. That’s some efficient pitching even with a hit thrown in.

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