JT Realmuto’s Team 9, JT Fakemuto’s Team 3

With Sam’s permission, since I forgot what day it was. Retirement does stuff like that to you.

So it’s a long season, and 1966 was no different. The 98th game saw the Braves drop a 4-3 game to the Cardinals at Atlanta Stadium to bring their record to 45-53. Every game has something to discuss, like Hank Aaron’s 30th, and an eventual game winning homer from Tim McCarver, who was to become a highly polarizing figure in color commentary. (He never bothered me, but in the right bar in the right era, pro- and anti-Tim McCarver talk caused bartenders to put the local constabulary on speed-dial. Note to Chip: that’s how you use that trope: ironically) Interesting 1966 stuff in a week or so, so let’s leave it now.

It was, as Charles Dickens memorably put it, A Tale of Two JT’s.

So I missed the first two innings of this game because I didn’t know the start time, but apparently JT Realmuto was trying to convince AA to close the deal by, first, hitting a two run homer for the Fish in the first, half-matched by a solo shot from Camargo in the 2nd.

The third saw Inciarte eventually give up 2 runs when a single got by him for 1 and a weak throw by Acuna gave up the second on a sac fly by Realmuto for his 3rd RBI. The Braves got back in it in the top of the 5th, the Folk Hero knocked in two with a double.

But Julio, the JT apparently not on the trading block today (so he had no interest in looking competent,) was uninterested in keeping the game close. He wasn’t helped by the obligatory replay denied, but in this case, I think they got it right the first time, a fielder’s choice that gave Realmuto his 4th RBI. Giving up another two wasn’t quite bad enough – the Braves had already showed they could come back from that—so a 3 run dinger from Starlin Castro ended Julio’s day, if not his career, and he left the game at 9-3, confident that he had secured the loss.

At that point, the baseball game needed to continue, because there’s a roof, so both sides continued to play, and nobody scored. Freddie made a couple of good plays, I spent some time remembering how much I liked Martin Prado, and I vowed to remember from now on that Wednesday doesn’t come until we’ve had Tuesday.

You guys are all way better about trade speculation than I am, but for this game, I’d have been happier with a JT-JT trade, even one that reversed tomorrow. We might have won.

Author: JonathanF

Alive since 1956. Braves fan since 1966. The first ten years were pretty much wasted. Exiled to Yankees/Mets territory in 1974 --- bearable only with TBS followed by MLB.TV.

114 thoughts on “JT Realmuto’s Team 9, JT Fakemuto’s Team 3”

  1. Tuesday writers are going to have to pull up the slack.

    One thing this team doesn’t have is replacement level every day position players. From 2007 on we have had one or two almost all of the time. FanGraphs is running a series on the sub replacement players of contending teams. Our sub replacement was the pitcher today, apparently.

  2. This was obviously down to Julio pretty much all the scary way (‘ I am not a morning person???’) but in a sense we should be just as upset with that throw from Swanson. It could not have come at a worse time with us just having closed within one in a middle innings. At that time you might just have bet on the Braves.

    It was a choke throw that should have been called an error. With no real pressure on him and the pitcher running he missed a large target by five feet starting the 5 run avalanche. I’ve been very up here on Dansby’s defense recently, that was deeply disappointing.

  3. Yeah, I would say this was a collection of sub-optimal plays from the usual suspects (Enciarte, Swanson, and Teheran).

    I’m pulling for these guys, but I wouldn’t feel bad if they weren’t playing for the Braves in the near future.

  4. Sub optimal plays from the usual suspects? ? ? I understand Teheran, but the other 2 have played extremely well defensively. I share your concerns on offense, but I don’t see them as the usual suspects defensively. They both just screwed up, which happens to even the best players over 162 games.

  5. Hot from the Farm.

    Ynoa up to the Frogs. Gourmet dining.

    Bacon’s ‘off ‘ down to Rome, must have smoked him.

  6. @6 As you said, I’m looking at both offense and defense. Those two have been plus defenders, but it does kinda suck when a guy like that makes a defensive blunder during a high leverage situation and he also doesn’t hit worth a lick.

  7. Hey gang, what is the opinion on Archer? I see his ERA is meh but FIP seems okay. I am still learning these advanced stats. Is he really worth what he will probably be paid/cost or more living off of 3 seasons ago?

  8. I don’t know what he will be paid or will cost, but his 2017 fWAR was his second highest (4.6). 3 seasons ago, he had a 5.2 WAR, a much prettier ERA and FIP, but one of the reasons fWAR still liked him a lot last year is his K/bb was 4.14 vs 2015’s 3.82. Archer has seen a few more balls find the gaps and the fences, but one could say he was just a bit unlucky last year.

    It’s rare to find any starting pitcher who has logged 190+ innings the past 4 seasons. He’s valuable.

  9. oldtimer @ 12,

    Problem with Archer is that for this year, he helps maybe a win by himself, maybe another win with the bullpen relief (2 wins is VERY generous). After that, the progress on the guys we have makes them as good. You could then trade one of them and get a position player, but he doesn’t provide long term value for the Braves. And the Rays will want a bundle and will not move him without that.

  10. “When asked to describe his approach to the Trade Deadline, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told MLB.com, “[We are] still optimistic about the division, and we will do what’s necessary to win this year and beyond in any deals we make.””

    Bummer. I guess Harper isn’t coming to the Braves before the deadline…

  11. “[We are] still optimistic about the division, and we will do what’s necessary to win this year and beyond in any deals we make.””

    The object of baseball is not to rebuild your team but to make the other bastard rebuild his.

    I smell blood. Let’s do this, boys. #HugWatch

  12. I thought the “and beyond” caveat was interesting as well. They probably see their impending lack of talent and want to avoid short-sighted moves as well.

  13. Phillies-Dodgers game is on MLB Network tonight, for those interested. Grandal just homered to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the fourth.

    The whole obsession with projected wins as gospel is just about to drive me up a wall. The thought that we know Archer would only improve us by two wins, and we know that Gohara (for instance) will be better than him next year because the win projections say so (assuming that’s even the case, just as example…sub for Soroka or whoever it works for), strike me as utterly absurd. It doesn’t work like that. Archer would probably immediately be the best pitcher on our staff (maaaaaaybe second with Folty as the best, but that’s a stretch IMO). You can be super sure that acquiring the guy who would be the best pitcher on our staff would only bump our win total up by two, and that Gohara (et al) will be as good as a guy who would be this year’s staff ace next year, if you want, but you can count me out on taking projected wins with anything remotely close to that level of seriousness.

  14. The 5th starter spot is on pace for about 150 IP and an ERA of 5. Adding Archer and shifting everyone down a rung would be a big improvement. And getting Archer out of the AL East would help his numbers tremendously. But even if they didn’t improve, the balance of Archer’s innings and FIP would make him the best pitcher on the staff. If the Braves felt like they didn’t want to give up what was necessary to get him, then I can live with that, but he will definitely be an improvement more than a couple wins.

  15. I don’t understand the mania for requiring the acquisitions to be controllable. I know we don’t want to put faith in prospects and prefer established performance but the whole concept of the rebuild was to build through pitching especially and if you have some amount of faith in what you have then trade from excess to bridge the gap to when the farm is ready to produce more established assets.

    What I think everyone (esp AA) is saying is that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, but my question is what if you have four in the bush….. or six?

  16. Braves are too passive to make moves .. I get so tired watching teams like Yanks and Dodgers have the gonads to make trades and not worry bout it ..

  17. Teheran is done .. period.. hangs too many pitches.. no longer has the power stuff… trade him to AL…

  18. @9 Donny, take a good hard look at Dansby’s defensive numbers and compare to Simba. Dansby is doing a reasonable facsimile. And, at Dansby’s age, Simba was a much worse hitter. Dansby is our most valuable defender. And Ender is second. The Braves are the fourth best defensive team in the majors. Take those two out and Braves are just so-so.

    It’s real easy to gloss over the good plays and highlight the bad. This game was all “Bad Julio”.

  19. @21 I really hope they are just working on something that we’ll really like and just haven’t told us yet. I’d just like to see them say out loud that there are reasonable deals to be made for rentals as well as controllable players.

    I think the Yankees gave way more for Britton than the Braves ever should have. It was predictable, but, eventually, what the Braves are willing to pay will match with what someone is willing to take.

    The waiting is the hardest part.

  20. I’m not gonna slag on Dansby for slightly overcooking a throw to the plate. It happens.

    Ender, on the other hand, needs to pull his head out of his rear end. He was benched for not hustling just before the break, and since the break he’s thrown to the wrong base multiple times and had that disaster today. If he continues playing like this on defense and on the base paths in addition to his already paltry hitting, he’s not doing much to help us. I wouldn’t be quite so emphatic about it if it were just today, but it’s not.

  21. Outciarte is the 4th worst qualified CF in Fangraphs OFF rating. He’s about the 5th or 6th best defensively. If he were 1st or 2nd in CF DEF, I think it *might* be OK to be that bad offensively. But his defense, as it currently is, is not good enough to carry his putrid offense.

    He also is 4th worst at hitting the ball hard, which isn’t surprising watching him game in and game out.

    We have other issues, but to just say that CF isn’t one (I’m not saying anyone is saying that) isn’t justified.

  22. Also… it’s only been a handful of games post AB but the bullpen has been somewhat better. Obviously they were tired, worn down, from overuse in the first half, but we still can upgrade, and should.

  23. @28 I’d sure like to see Reed get a few starts as opposed to putrid PH appearances. It’d be nice to know if he can be a contributor. Also, playing Acuna in CF and Culberson in LF could have some merits.

    It seems to me like Snitker likes to roll out the same lineup every day and that may not be the smartest thing to do when you’d like to keep 12-13 players engaged and productive.

  24. @24 I knew Swanson was a little good defensively, but aside from the obvious range differences, he’s making a lot of plays. He’s coming along nicely. I think more likely it’s the case that I had higher expectations of him at the plate than I should have (ie. got a little ahead of myself when he started the season strong). I really want Swansby to be a little bit more like Derek Jeter after the way he arrived at the big leagues in 2016.

    Yeah, I know that’s unfair and unreasonable. Simmons has very steadily improved at the plate year-after-year since leaving the Braves. It would not be unfathomable for Swansby to have a string of bad years at the plate before figuring it out — but neither does he have the same defensive value as Andrelton Simmons, whose glove alone would make him an all-star, yeah?

    Point is, I lumped him in with Enciarte because these are the guys who are most frequently not doing much of anything at the plate. I also thought I had recalled Swanson throwing to the wrong base a game or two ago. Not sure what I was remembering, since Enciarte has been the frequent offender of late.

  25. Today would be a great day for a Braves trade.

    Unless, you know, the front office is holding out for this team to fade away into obscurity so they don’t have to trade away any future controllable cost-effective players.

  26. Crappy game, but excellent recap, JF.

    I continue to enjoy reliving the 1966 season; thanks again for keeping that up. Spoiler alert, so stop reading if you want to be in suspense, but that season, so frustrating so far, is about to get a good deal better.

  27. Eovaldi to the Red Sox. The return was so insignificant, MLB.com got his freaking name wrong.

  28. Sickels has him as a B-/C+ at the beginning of the year, but he’s had a really good year in AAA.

  29. Basically, Eovaldi is a rental.

    Would I prefer him over a trade for Mike Fiers? Yeah.

    But that doesn’t appear to be what’s important to AA. Eovaldi would cost quite a bit more to retain beyond this season.

  30. I think Archer is going to end up in Milwaukee. They’re in the middle of their “window”, and they need Archer a lot more than we do. They’d be silly to not offer more than we would.

  31. Do they need Archer more than we do? Because I’m not sure about that right now. I’m starting to think we need him pretty badly.

  32. We need him pretty badly only if we actually believe we’re even in our window.

    I’d like to have Archer in this rotation. He fits the billing, but what is this team willing to trade to get him?

  33. If they don’t believe we’re in our window, sitting a game out of first after the bad three weeks we’ve had, I don’t even know what to say. If I hear one more person say, “Well, we’re really not a contender this year,” my head’s gonna explode. Have you even been watching this season?

  34. It’s getting close to time to at least get the knives out TO sharpen the pitchforks. IMO. Not to sharpen them, but to know which junk drawer the knives are in.

  35. Milwaukee is in a tough division, and is Trying(TM) to win the World Series. They are probably one Chris Archer short from having a really good postseason team. We are not. That’s why I say they need him more.

  36. Chris Archer is basically Julio Teheran. Yesterday, you guys were running down the one we have for a bad outing. Today you’re demanding we go get the other one.

  37. The problem for me is understanding why, exactly, the Brewers are such a swaggering juggernaut this year. Aguilar’s having a great season and is probably a good slugger, Yelich is great, and Josh Hader strikes everybody out all the time. But… half the lineup looks really pretty crappy, and the rotation is anchored by the legendary Jhoulys Chacin and Junior Guerra.

    Seriously, what am I missing? How the hell are they this good?

    (Also, no, Archer is not Teheran. He strikes a bunch more guys out, his fastball is faster than peak Julio, and unlike current Julio, he isn’t struggling through a mysterious velocity outage and home run spike that’s throwing his future in the major leagues into question. He’s just a guy whose ERA is higher than his FIP. The real comparison you should be making is Javy Vazquez.)

  38. JJ Cooper said Beeks would not be in the Rays’ deep farm’s BA top 10.

  39. I was about to write a whole paragraph about how ridiculous it is to think Chris Archer is Julio Teheran, but instead I’ll just refer to the paragraph Alex just posted, as it’s better written than mine likely would’ve been, anyway.

  40. I think I have a mental block about Cain that’s very similar to the block I used to have about Michael Bourn, before he came to the Braves. You’re right, he’s a real good player. I guess they generally have a very good bullpen, which is how those banjo-hitting mid-2000s Twins teams wound up winning 90 games a year with Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and seven Nick Punto clones.

  41. I could be wrong—I often am!—but I’ve been convinced that AA will make at least one deadline trade that will substantially improve the team. I put no stock in statements made and rumors passed along and speculation asserted that says we don’t want to win and don’t want to improve the team.
    I have no doubt that AA would like to make the postseason and advance in October this year. It will take a trade or two to get there, and I expect we’ll hear about one that surprises us between now and the fast approaching deadline.

    If, however, they don’t make such a trade please reserve a pitchfork for me.

  42. I’m with Alex—I have a hard time believing the Brewers are really that good. It may be that an excellent bullpen (their one area of excellence) is enough to get you 90 wins.
    Hmmm—what does that suggest about the Braves, the playoffs, and possible trades?

  43. At this point, I think a deal with either the Tigers or the Rays is very likely. I’ll be surprised if we don’t make a trade with either team.

  44. Brewers are 11th in hitting fWAR and 6th in pitching fWAR. Starters are 15th; relievers 3rd. Shortstops and catchers are bottom 5 according to B-Ref’s position breakdown. They can shore up those 2 areas and add a SP, and they’re dangerous.

  45. Boston .. Yankess .. Dodgers … all these teams not afraid to make moves when they are in pennant races … Braves …. hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  46. @45 Agree. Same thing I said about Familia. And everyone pounced on me for not knowing the mysterious inside ways of different organizations. Beeks will be about #15, I think, in MLB Pipeline for the Rays. That’s not nothing.

    What really galls me is the idea (and the different thought process) between “we want someone better than a rental” and “we don’t want anyone who’s just a rental”. That second mindset is one that should get someone fired. You just do not have to give up your best prospects for a rental – any rental short of a Machado type.

    Eovaldi or Tyson Ross or someone like that would be a positive addition. Archer would be even better. I have always been suspicious of Archer because every time I see him pitch. he gets hit hard. The K’s get him his xFIP, he does not give you elite run prevention, but what he does give you is elite length and consistency. He will regularly give 7 innings of competitive run prevention. On a team that scores runs at an elite level, he will look like a world-beater.

  47. As far as I can tell, the O’s have done pretty well with Machado and Britton. They traded away two months of two really good MLB players for 5 prospects added to their top 30 in MLB pipeline – an 18% increase in valuable future players.

    Being an O’s fan as well as Braves, I think the Machado return may eventually compare favorably to the Erik Bedard trade that built the 2012-2016 O’s.

    Please reserve me a pitchfork. The Braves must make a positive move in the next six days.

  48. Tad, you’ve reached your quota for the day. Stop back by tomorrow when the Braves haven’t made any moves.

  49. Reports are that the Phillies are interested in Adam Jones. Getting him would be a very smart move on their part.

  50. Mike Fiers wouldn’t be a sexy addition but he could help us. I bet he could be had for, say, Lucas Sims.

  51. The Braves would seem to only want Moose as a bench bat.

  52. @77

    I would say pitching needs to be the focus, so I’m OK with not going full-in on Moustakas. The thought that having him come off the bench is a better idea than having him start at third and moving to a shortstop platoon with Camargo and Dansby is a little silly, though. The latter would be the obvious play if we were to acquire him.

  53. Murph visited our church way back when. My 50 year old son still has the picture of him and Dale on his bedroom mirror.

  54. 78 — Fiers is a proven veteran and decent 3-4 starter. Sims is a fringe prospect who isn’t going to get a chance in Atlanta.

  55. I once read that Dale Murphy went out of his way to hide the fact that he was a smoker from the public, because he worried that he’d have a negative impact on The Childrens, and I always thought “man, how rough is it to live your life hiding some basic sheet like that just cause you’re worried about some other schmuck’s kids?”

  56. I just misposted this on the last thread.

    It is time to bring Touki up for a bullpen reinforcement, now. one inning every other day or two every 3 to 4 days. He can maintain that all of the way through October. And on September 1, there is no reason for tired back end bullpen guys. Paired start the innings slackers once or twice through and have rested sharp guys ready to go.

  57. @84 You sound like a really awesome swell guy to invite to family gatherings. You probably say every kind of foul word you can think of within ear shot of anyone and don’t think twice about it.

  58. @86 But if Happ went to the Brewers, it could actually mean they’re not in on the Archer talks. At the very least, I would think that would make them less likely competition if the Braves are serious on that front.

  59. I’d wouldn’t call it ‘grooming.’ But let’s be honest, right? Family time is horrifically boring and tedious on the soul.

  60. @83 Fiers was a subpar pitcher that couldn’t hardly get a job over the winter. Negative WAR for the last two years. He has to be using smoke and mirrors to look good this year – in fact, it’s all Comerica driven. He’s great at Comerica and terrible everywhere else. He would be a STP disaster.

  61. I would like to see a trade, but a useful trade not just a trade for appearances sake. I want either decent rental players (mos likely relievers) or a long-term player for 3B or corner outfield (unless we are getting Harper now or later).

    Cincinnati still seems to make a lot of sense.
    Could we expand an Iglesias/setup reliever deal to include Senzel? Probably just dreaming, but we’ve talked before about how well ATL and CIN line up. Any idea how far Senzel’s stock has fallen?

  62. The Braves will not need a 5th starter one turn through in August and two turns through in September. And there’s the possibility they’re going to want to give Soroka, Gohara, or Fried (or TOUKI?!) a turn or two at some point in those months as well. If you add a starter, Julio Teheran — your Opening Day starter the last 37 years — goes to the pen. Unless Anibal turns into a pumpkin between now and then, there isn’t anyone else you would dare put there if you added a legitimate starter. That’s interesting.

    The schedule is manageable through the end of August:

    4 @ LAD
    3 vs. Marlins
    4 @ NYM
    4 @ WAS (including a double header — both have days off before)
    3 vs. MIL
    3 vs. MIA
    4 vs. COL
    3 @ PIT
    4 @ MIA
    2 vs. Rays
    1 vs. Cubs (Make-up)

    12 of 35 games against playoff contenders, and while inconsistent logic, I’m including the Nationals. 7 against tweeners like Colorado and Pittsburgh. 17 against teams that will not make the playoffs this year. If you say the Nats are not a playoff team, then you’re looking at only 8 of 35 games against bonafide playoff contenders. If you think Washington continues to tread water, and Colorado or Pittsburg fade, you could say as many as 25 of 35 games will be against teams you legitimately need to beat.

  63. And call me crazy, but I sympathize with the Braves throwing Anibal, McCarthy, Gohara, Fried, Soroka, Wisler, and Sims (does Kazmir count?) at the 4th and 5th starter spots, and only Anibal has been above average. You can’t say they didn’t throw enough legitimate bodies at the problem. They could even still throw Parsons, Allard, and Touki at it too, and you wouldn’t say they were being disingenuous with expecting some quality performances. If Folty and Newcomb hadn’t turned a corner and Anibal did his Aniballing, this season would have been completely lost.

  64. @102 @103 Rob, the real issue is going to be August. Not sure if anyone’s really looked but the Braves have played anywhere from 3 to 7 (I think) fewer games than any other team in the league. It made me wonder how in heck did we get a day off today when virtually no one else is off.

    What that means is that sometime this year we are going to have games stacked so tight we might need a sixth starter. If we get through August, we can augment the number of arms with September callups. I hope some of our pitchers get well before the games crunch comes.

    That’s what makes a decent rental (could be acquired after August 1st, too) a good idea. We must find another reliable starter among our own existing pitchers in addition to adding one. Personally, I think Fried is “IT”. And I think some of the others you mention need additional opportunities. I am not at all confident that Anibal won’t regress. We just plain need more depth at the MLB level.

    The Rockies deal for Oh and the D’Backs deal for Andriese show just how deep the reliever market is and either of those would have been super additions for the Braves even though they have not really been topics of discussion for trades. And they were both cheaply acquired and controllable. The Braves (and Phillies and Astros and Brewers) are about the only team that hasn’t struck some sort of deal for something already. I am sharpening my pitchfork.

  65. Seeing some radar blips around the Tigers’ Castellanos. I actually find that believable.

    As we creep towards the deadline, I find myself hoping that unless we trade for a bonafide staff ace that the Braves will just pass on the available SP and keep their prospects. I would be happy with another relief pitcher and a bat.

  66. I’d still be happy with a trade for Archer provided the Braves didn’t have to overpay in prospects to acquire him.

  67. @110 & 111
    I agree. Archer is the only SP I would be happy with, and a bat and relief help would be most beneficial

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