Kevin Gausman

The newest Brave, Kevin Gausman, is the biggest acquisition of Alex Anthopoulos’s brief Braves tenure, and I’m excited. Really excited. The reason I was so thrilled the Braves hired Anthopoulos was precisely the potential for trades like this — trading excess value for medium-risk high-reward major league talent. The risk is that Gausman is never becomes anything more than he is at this moment, a slightly above-average starter whose results are worse than his stuff.

But he’s 6’4″, was taken fourth overall in the draft out of LSU, and he’s got a fastball, splitter, and slider out of central casting, and you kind of have to wonder whether his disappointing results have anything to do with the fact that he plays 40 games against the Red Sox and Yankees, is in the league with the DH, and he toes the rubber in front of a gang of cellar-dwelling stonegloved basket cases. Sounds like a change of scenery guy if I ever saw one. (Of course, you could say the exact same about Chris Archer, but we paid a lot less for Gausman than Pittsburgh paid for Archer. More below.)

Gausman was drafted in the sixth round out of high school in Colorado, and in the first round as an LSU sophomore two years later. (He was taken three picks ahead of Max Fried, and 17 picks ahead of Lucas Sims!) That winter, MLB.com named him the 37th-best prospect in baseball.

He seems like a genuinely good guy. He’s got some superstitions, per a MASN Sports article from shortly after he was drafted:

Gausman’s first warm-up is not really a pitch. There is no wind-up. He goes to the back slope of the mound, hops in the air, then runs to the pitching rubber and while on the move fires a heater to his catcher.

“I put on one sock and then go get something to drink. Come back, take it off and then go get something to drink again. Put it back on, then put on my other one and go get something to drink. It’s kind of funny and different and it can take me a while to get dressed when I pitch.”

Guasman’s most famous superstition, or at least the one that has attracted the most attention, is that he eats four powdered donuts after every inning during his starts. He has done it a long time, but as reporters found out after Sunday’s game in Aberdeen, not every time out.

He didn’t eat any donuts during Sunday’s outing against Connecticut.

“I did in my first start,” he said. “Now it’s like just what I’m feeling that day. My last four starts at college, I didn’t do it. The first two starts after I stopped doing it, I threw back-to-back complete games and felt great. Our trainer at LSU said, ‘Really? You felt great after not eating donuts?’ Now, I guess I’m just doing it on feel. I wasn’t hungry, that was probably the biggest thing.”

He and his wife have also done fundraising for Louisiana flood victims. He’s also from Aurora, Colorado, the site of the 2012 movie theater shooting, which occurred six years ago in July. (His high school teammate, Greg Bird, was a catcher in high school and is now the first baseman for the New York Yankees.) Gausman changed his uniform number this year to honor the late Roy Halladay, a fellow Coloradan.

Gausman’s velocity is down this year, but that’s actually intentional. As Dan Szymborski writes at Fangraphs: “He doesn’t throw as hard as he used to, when he’d average 99 mph over full games at times, but he’s also been trying to take a few ticks off his pitches to try and improve his command, which occasionally failed him in 2017.”

So, for this underachieving first-rounder, who’d we give up? Basically, quantity over quality, or as former Braves scout Kiley McDaniel wrote in scout-speak, “a 45+, 40+ and two 40s.” (On the 20-to-80 scouting scale, 50 is average, so 40 is below-average and 45+ is basically what they call “fringe-average.”)

The four prospects we gave were Brett Cumberland, a bat-first catcher who faces some doubts that he’ll be able to stay behind the dish; Bruce Zimmermann, a 5th rounder in 2017 who put himself on the map with a breakout in Single-A and Double-A this year; Evan Phillips, a late-round 2015 draftee who’s having a great year as a Triple-A closer; and the wild card, Jean Carlos Encarnacion, a raw 20-year-old free swinger with some pop and also some on-base issues.

Here are the Fangraphs descriptions of them, along with a ranking of each of them, among all 68 of the prospects traded on July 31 (not including guys like Sims and Wisler who were traded earlier in July):

Brett Cumberland, 7th-best prospect: Cumberland was a college catcher with defensive issues but had an advanced hit tool and natural lift to his swing. His defense and pop times have improved to being playable in the big leagues. He’s a bat-first C/1B/DH.

Jean Carlos Encarnacion, 20th-best prospect: Was a low-bonus DSL addition who quickly grew into his frame and developed above-average raw power. Is having a breakout year and is a potential everyday player who’s a few years from the majors.

Evan Phillips, 35th-best prospect: Was a late-round, small-school find for the Braves. Had control issues but a plus fastball and above-average slider. Is throwing more strikes this year, making him a solid middle-relief option.

Bruce Zimmermann, 54th-best prospect: Fifth-round senior sign from a small college in 2017. Has been more consistently 90-93 this year with average secondary stuff and some pitchability.

By contrast, to get Chris Archer, the Pirates gave up the second and fourth-best prospects of deadline day, Austin Meadows (a 55 regular — above average) and Tyler Glasnow (45+), and a player to be named later, and the rumor is that the PTBNL will also wind up being a good prospect.

At the end of the day, Gausman’s 27 and he’s thrown 763 2/3 innings in the majors, so there’s a chance that the Braves will be able to unlock something and turn him into another Foltzie, but it’s also possible that he’s exactly as good as he’s shown: a pretty good #3 starter. Even if he’s just a #3, that’s well worth the guys we gave up, and it substantially improves our rotation and bullpen depth for the stretch run. If he can start pitching as good as his stuff, the Braves could become a team no one wants to face in a short series.

Getting a guy with that combination of present value and untapped potential is a pretty good use of B- and C+ prospects. Anthopoulos skillfully threaded the needle between preserving his strength on the farm and improving the major league roster. I’m excited to see what he does next.

210 thoughts on “Kevin Gausman”

  1. Yeah, well, the offense needs to do something to help. I think Wheeler is beginning to look better than DeGrom.

  2. Not keen on our shortstop though. He ain’t Ozzie Smith, and he ain’t Andrelton Simmons, even if he hits like they did in their early years.

  3. Looks like the Braves offense is just trying to make Gausman feel like he never left Baltimore.

  4. At least Gausman made Wheeler throw 7 pitches before grounding out. The answer is to get Wheeler’s pitch count up to get him out of there.

    @5 Will you change your mind when he wins his first Gold Glove?

  5. Gausman wore down pretty quickly there. But I like our offense vs their pen instead of vice versa.

  6. @13 All freaking singles. Carle did a really good job of limiting the damage. A deflection and a sac fly.

  7. Still, Gausman needs to do better on a regular basis. But it’s hard to say when the offense is so bad it can’t take advantage of a leadoff double.

  8. Just curious- would anyone else have liked to see Fried come in instead of Venters, with the intent of finishing the game out assuming the Braves don’t come back? Isn’t that sort of relief stint why he’s up anyway, or is he supposed to get a start soon?

  9. ::The comments before this one were from Saturday night. Just FYI::

    I agree with Alex that there’s a lot of upside in Gausman, and a lot of the same logic for Archer can be applied to Gausman, and Gausman was cheaper. I think he could play a big role down the street, if anything just going deeper into games and giving our pen a rest.

  10. From last thread, I don’t think there’s anything particularly noteworthy about the schedule going forward. It’s not easy. It’s not hard. it’s a typical schedule, in my opinion. We’ll need to beat the bad teams better than Washington and Philly and play as well as we can against the good teams better than Wash and Philly. I don’t think there’s that much to read into it. It will also probably come down to how well the teams are playing when we see them.

  11. As mentioned, the bullpen was MLB’s bullpen of the week. Some on Twitter have said that it’s simply the jettisoning of Freeman and Moylan, and while the floor of the pen is raised by simply replacing them with slightly above replacement level relievers, those two spots were significantly upgraded by Brach and Venters, and that’s a big swing.

  12. @29 ..Rob .. big difference in schedules of Braves and Phils … Braves play 27 games the rest of the way against contending teams … Phil’s play 9 …. Im just going by the stat on TV they put up but if thats true .. doesnt sound good for Braves … I think Philly has 10 games left with the Mets ….. I think that Nats creep back up and Braves finish 3rd .. JMO

  13. I think my point is fairly obvious. I haven’t been around as much lately so not sure how much ground y’all have covered on this but it seems like the Braves are closer to a .500 team than one that should be winning a division. It’s just that the division they’re in has two pretty awful teams in it they’re beating up on and have the ability to play 38 times. Against LA they looked pretty heavily outclassed then got 7 games against NY and Miami and suddenly everyone is feeling good again.

    That’s not to say this is bad. They’re still ahead of schedule and the GM managed to pull off some moves that made the team better, didn’t give up any assets and actually took on payroll which I think were solid moves. He managed to walk a line of not over committing to a team that’s pretty obviously overachieving but sent a message they’re taking this seriously still. So this isn’t a contrarian position here, I just think it’s fine if this team doesn’t make the playoffs.

    I do think the Nats eventually get off their asses and make their run. We’ll see though.

  14. The Nats are in the midst of a mini-run: over the last week, they’re 5-1 with a 49-21 run differential. (Most of that was the 25-4 drubbing they administered to the IWOTM.) Tanner Roark, who sucked for a while, looks like he fixed something, and Adam Eaton and Daniel Murphy are healthy. But Washington Nationals fans are basically convinced that they’ll somehow manage to screw it all up.

    These guys are basically the Willie Randolph Mets.

  15. TAD, I really don’t understand your concern for the Braves’ schedule. When I look at the remaining schedule, I see 11 games against the Mets/Marlins, 4 games with Colorado, and 10 with the Phils/Nats — this equates to 25 games against teams they’ve so far totally owned. I didn’t even include 2 games with the Rays, 3 with STL, and a few others (6 games with Pittsburgh).

    It’s baseball. There’s no telling what condition we will receive any of these teams or what condition these Braves will be in. But if we’re looking at past results, then the Braves ought to win at least 30 more games this year.

  16. I nominate gaz and TAD to start writing college football previews, since they gave up in April.

  17. @32 I already responded to your post in the other comment section. You conveniently don’t bring up the Braves record against their division rivals (Nats/Phillies) when depicting the Braves as [really] a .500 team.

    Every team in baseball except for maybe 3 of them are .500 ballclubs outside of the few teams they totally own.

  18. The Braves aren’t as good as the Dodgers.

    The Braves can win their division and advance in the weird probability vectors of baseball playoffs.

    Tad and gaz dry clean their jorts.

  19. @36

    That stat is not wholly relevant to my point. It’s not about their record in the division but just the fact that they play two awful teams a lot and it’s boosting their record. I really don’t understand your point here.

    @37

    Pretty sure if you actually read my take you’ll see where I said it’s good they’re making the moves they are to play this out and see if they get lucky. Did this place become somewhere we can’t offer objective evaluations lately or something like the rest of Braves internet?

  20. I think most of us know the NL East is weak. But that’s also our ticket to the playoffs, if we take advantage of it. It’s why you don’t want to be tanking at the same time as 2 other teams are … glad we’re not.

    I think I don’t want to pencil in any more “sure thing” victories versus the Mets. We just scored 11 runs in a 4 games series and managed to come away with 3 wins – that’s *really* improbable if you think about it. Other teams are going to have to face Wheeler and deGrom too. We have to hope they throw a few complete game shutouts.

  21. @31 I wrote out the remaining schedules of Wash/Philly/ATL and there wasn’t that big of a discrepancy. I think it’s a little overblown.

  22. @33 And Bryce has been hot in the second half. Strasburg could be back by the end of the month. Roark looked good yesterday. They’re not a bad team at all, so perhaps the numbers Tad is citing don’t include Wash as a contender.

  23. I’m remembering this year after a long hiatus that one of the many reasons I hate fantasy baseball is it forces you to cheer for your team’s rivals. Since I don’t have the time, energy, or mental capital to study which two-start pitcher for Seattle is going to have a big week (read: excuses), I have a lot of NL East players. So I have Arrieta, Syndergaard, Turner, and Murphy. With that said, I also have Newk, FF5, Ender (who is finally rewarding my patience), and Kakes McKakes, so it’s not all bad.

  24. @38 The point @36 is making is that you can run the same statistic on just about any team in the league – especially considering the Braves are tied for second least losses in the entire league. Using that statistic to say the Braves are merely a .500 team is like saying the Dodgers and Phillies and Cubs are merely .500 teams if you pick and choose your statistics.

    Further, the recent swoon against the Dodgers happened wholly against lefty pitchers before we acquired Duvall. And all of the July mess happened before our bullpen got straightened out. AA didn’t just add assets to make everyone feel better, he filled specific holes very effectively.

    Just because “gaz says so” doesn’t make your opinion an “objective evaluation”.

    @37 Just like gaz’s use of statistics, the Braves poor performance against the Dodgers doesn’t necessarily make them worse than the Dodgers. The Dodgers are great on paper but they have not performed up to that level as their record is still worse than the Braves. Although if they face the Dodgers in the playoffs, I would not be thrilled about the Braves’ chances. In both of the Dodger series, the main difference was Dodger HRs vs. Braves singles. Dodgers’ injuries have been holding them back too. The Braves still need more power in the lineup.

    August is the critical month. Not only because of the next seven games, but because there is little possibility to improve the team. Because the Braves’ farm is the best among contenders, we have a lot more realistic potential to add high end capability to the team in September – easily improving bench hitting, bullpen, and defensive flexibility.

    One good statistic, I’d like to point to is that the Phillies have been a terrible road team while being an outstanding home team while the Braves are more balanced in road/home performance. This could play to the Braves’ advantage over time. Even in the recent runs, the Phils were at home against the Marlins and the Braves were on the road at the Mets.

  25. @43 Yes, exactly. For an exercise, subtract SDP and COL from LA’s schedule. These two teams have padded LA’s record. They would be 47-44 (barely over .500) without those two teams. Is LA merely a .516 team that is being boosted by COL and SDP? I don’t believe that at all, but when they played MIA and CIN they lost some very winnable games. It’s baseball–those teams got good vs LA.

  26. I think the Phillies have 26 games left on the road versus 25 at home. One could say that doesn’t look good for them, but if they take care of some bad teams in their schedule, their home/away splits even out some (which it really should).

  27. @46

    Colorado is a decent team how do they fit into this comparison? Cleveland is the team you could make the argument about being in a similar spot, but I don’t know who else.

  28. @51 The Mets are 5-25 against the Braves, Cubs, Dodgers, and Rockies. Excepting that, they’re a .500 team (40-39). Apparently, the Mets are really nearly as good as the Braves.

  29. Adam, it will come down to which team has the spark and fire of youth. Unless it comes down to which team has the best calming veteran influence.

    When we we dating, people would ask her why she was with me and she’s always say “I’m on a mission from god.” They’d all chuckle and eventually leave and she’s whisper “I didn’t say what god, you simpering fools…”

  30. Question: since neither the gNats nor the Braves are playing today, why are they playing a double header tomorrow?

  31. @57 I wondered that myself. Maybe the gNats valued their day off more than having a very long next day since they were already in town.

  32. In checking out the schedule, it’s a bummer that we have to play 3 more against the Red Sox. I think the Phillies have to play 2 against the Sox. It looks like the gNats have the easiest path remaining, but not by a lot. At least we don’t have to play the Orioles. Maybe the Red Sox will just be a tuneup for when we play them in the World Series.

  33. @61 Don’t forget that Bowman said it was Realmuto AA was still negotiating on at the deadline but that the deal didn’t get done.

    I’ve been thinking about what Bowman said the cost would be and it sounded pretty steep (naturally). I would hate to lose a top position prospect when the farm doesn’t have so many. I’d rather give something like Anderson, Gohara, Peterson, and Jackson. If that’s not enough I’d rather choose from Wentz/Muller/Wilson rather than the top position prospects.

  34. People are worried about the schedule, Washington heating up and so on.

    However, this is our chance to put the Nats away

  35. This guy McNeil…astounding he can be stuck in the minor leagues and only gets up when they are in crisis mode.

    …and then beats us in Game 3…and yesterday was the difference against the Reds…homers plus…

    but what really amazes about this guy is the contact he makes even with his outs with his crazy bat, the one without a knob at the end, which no one else uses and did i hear Chip muttering about bamboo handles or something. Wild stuff.

    SSS…hear the clarion calls assembling. Have you heard the ball off his bat? What do the Mets need most? Give it to them. Wish we knew this a month ago. Seriously.

    Realmuto. 3 weeks ago i suggested Contreras plus any 2 young arms(they pick them) or 3 (we pick the third). So i don’t think what Bowman is talking about is too heavy and might even be improved on.

    And McNeil for Riley. Get it done while the shine is still on his bat. Riley’s I mean. And order a gross of those bats.

  36. Braves have 3 open dates from now until the end of the year. Phillies have 6 and gNats have 5. That is a significant difference. Pitching depth and injuries will be key. Today is the 1st of 20 straight days with no break. Let’s hope our starters can go deep.

  37. @69 It only matters through August. In September we get reinforcements.

    @68 You may be right about Realmuto. I was hoping that since he only has two years of control that Contreras would be ready when that ends. Obviously, Realmuto could be extended but still. With regards to the arms, I agree that 2-3 top young arms could be offered but I’m not sure we want them to pick two off the top, but it may be necessary to get the deal done.

    With regards to McNeil, don’t get too excited about the SSS. He has only had one good year (this one) as a 26 yo career minor leaguer. He not on anyone’s charts and we have kind of a decent 2B right now. Not sure what position you’re getting him for. No reason to believe he has the arm for 3B. He has played all over the diamond in the minors but his fielding percentages are pretty ugly at 3B. It’s hard to believe that after being a 12th round pick and being in the minors for 6 years that some light bulb just came on. Once the major leaguers find his weak spot. he’ll turn into a pumpkin.

    If we’re going to try to get some rookie slugger, I’d rather go after Muncy but he’s not going to be available. Better to wait for Riley; he could easily be a McNeil or Muncy. And Riley’s six years younger performing at a higher level in the minors. Riley’s in AAA at 20 and McNeil was in the Appy League at 21.

  38. @68 Here’s a radical idea; make Inciarte the prime position player in a Realmuto deal instead of Pache. Inciarte could be controlled until 2023. Sign Harper as I’ve suggested and re-sign Markakis for Inciarte dollars – maybe a smidge more (say $7m per year over two years). That way our OF is Harper/Acuna/Markakis with Duvall as 4th or platoon with Nick. With Inciarte, you might be able to get a deal done with only two top pitchers (e.g. Anderson and Gohara). Then Pache is ready to take over for Nick when his contract is up.

  39. Jeff McNeil has played 12 games. Twelve. Let me help you out with that.

    Jeff Francouer through 12 games: 441/441/971

    Charles Thomas through 12 games: 387/424/645

  40. @71 I like where your head’s at with offering Inciarte as the major return for Realmuto – unfortunately, Ender’s stock is down a good bit right now what with him hitting about .250 and getting platooned. If Inciarte finishes the year on a hot streak maybe it’s worth pitching the idea to Jeets & Jorts & Co. over the offseason. Frankly, looking at the stats, it seems like Ender’s just been suffering some bad BABIP luck this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if he went on a run and got his average back up to .275+.

    As far as Markakis is concerned… I doubt he’d take a pay cut like 2 / $14M or something. Then again, the free agent market isn’t exactly kind to late career guys like him, so I doubt the Braves would have to pay a ton to resign him. However, I don’t see Neck agreeing taking much (if any) of a discount off the $11M annual pay he’s gotten in his Braves contract. Maybe something like 1 year / $11M with a team option for a second year at $11M that vests if Neck reaches 600 ABs?

    As a post script – I find it pretty funny that the Braves’ decision to sign Neck for 4 years instead of 3 turned a stupid idea (signing a declining player for too long) into a brilliant one when Neck decided to save his best season by far for Year #4. At the rate he’s going, Neck’s WAR for 2018 is going to about equal his WAR for 2015-17.

  41. @70 – That is why playing for 20 days in a row beginning with today’s double header is a little scary. I think our farm depth will help us in September, but I won’t be surprised if we pick up another reliever through waivers.

  42. It would be really difficult for Ender to match his career production with even a hot August and September, though we’d certainly take it. And it’s a really a shame too because he’s still grading out really well defensively, and he’s already exceeded his career stolen base total with better efficiency than in most years.

    He was on a 60+ stolen base pace with insane efficiency (he stole 13 bags in 15 chances in April), and then has only stolen 10 more bases with an inexcusable 6 caught stealing in the next 3 months. After April, he just stopped running. Even with his struggling production at the plate, he could have been considerably more valuable if he just kept running. He seems to be a bit of an odd guy — a headcase even — when stuff like that happens and then you read on Twitter that he will search out his name and block anyone who doesn’t say positive things. That’s just weird.

  43. Yeah, I won’t be surprised when Ender is no longer the Braves’ starting center fielder. In spite of what is reported through the media regarding the platoon situation, it just seems like Inciarte is either not hustling, not running out a grounder, or doing something you wouldn’t expect from a guy playing for a contender. If I didn’t hear differently from the media, I’d think something was wrong there.

    Re: Ender’s stolen bases… I don’t know what happened. His speed on the basepaths were really beneficial, and then it all just stopped one day like the rain in Forrest Gump.

    Re: Today’s double header… at least they play one at 1:05 pm and the other at 7:05. It’s kinda like playing on separate days…. nice break in between.

  44. The idea that Inciarte is struggling because he’s not trying hard enough is stupid and dumb. It’s the jorts of baseball “analysis” ideas.

  45. Inciarte’s position in the batting order may account, in part, for his lack of base stealing. Not as much room for error when he’s toward the end.

  46. Sam, I’m getting really tired of the way you’re talking to other people on this board. And it’s not about the jorts, which is just simply an overplayed joke. Treat people with respect, or go elsewhere. Simple as that. Is that clear?

  47. @77 I hope I didn’t say that he was struggling because of lack of effort. That’d be a stupid conclusion to take from what I wrote. I think the guy has primarily been in a slump most of this season on top of just not being a very good hitter. The hits will come.

  48. Before the 2018 season, I don’t really recall much “Ender is a headcase” talk on here (or elsewhere in Braves country). Ender was basically “that guy we basically stole from the DBacks, he’s a perfectly fine leadoff guy and a great piece for the team – if not a star – plus he’s on a cheap long term deal so all is well”. As we sit in 2018, Ender’s salary – while still quite cheap – is higher than it’s ever been and, at the same time, his production is down *and we have a legit in-house CF replacement for the first time*.

    Ender’s offensive game doesn’t feature much in the way of walks or power, so his offensive success comes down to running out grounders, hitting line drives and keeping up a high BABIP. If and when he starts piling up a bunch of hits (and SBs) again, I bet public opinion of Ender will take a sudden upswing as well. Fans willfully conflate effort and success, even when it’s not fair to do so.

  49. Just in case anyone is still confused, I’m not conflating the two. At all. His not hitting and his not running are two completely different things. All I ever said is that I wondered if something could be wrong. Could be anything. Could just be that management didn’t want him attempting to steal when he’s not hitting 8th or 9th.

  50. @70

    Roger, thank you for all that homework, something i am disinclined to do when someone new turns me on. I go by sound, something that served me well with Camargo.

    Anyway, it will be fun to see what his line looks like at the end of September. Call me out then! Cheers.

  51. @82 Donny – my comments re: armchair critics / sports psychologists of Inciarte were not targeted towards you at all.

    Also, it may well be that Ender *isn’t* hustling at much this season as previous years, but it sure isn’t showing up in his stats, at least if you go by his defense and base running numbers. The point I was driving at in my last post was that fans/media often seem to find all kinds of character flaws with a guy when he’s struggling to produce on the field that were basically not mentioned when they were going well (see eg, Tommy Pham).

  52. On the remaining schedules, here are the winning % of all the NL contenders remaining games:

    COL .528
    ARI .508
    ATL .508
    STL .508
    WAS .501
    PIT .500
    SF .497
    PHI .496
    MIL .495
    LAD .492
    CHC .490

    Really not that big a spread especially in the NL East. As others have mentioned, the hardest part is the lack of rest for ATL.

  53. I would say Ender is an odd guy, and maybe a headcase, which is pretty much what I said in my original comment. I think compulsive blocking anyone who says a negative thing on Twitter is odd, but he’s perfectly ok to do it. Whatever keeps you confident is the name of the game. But I do think it’s odd. I can see not running out some groundballs as further evidence that maybe the failure gets to him a little bit. But this is, at best, speculative. He’s still a 3+ WAR player every year other than this one that fills a key role. Until there’s someone better than him ready to take over, then it’s just comments about a player.

    But yes, if it was Ender + a couple of non-elite prospects for Realmuto, I’d have to think that’s a deal you’d have to do.

  54. Kolby is the 26th man. So I guess he’d be your long reliever if the fit hit the shan, and then Jackson if it happens twice.

  55. @87 I think I’m more surprised that Ender has time for Twitter — I mean, I’m even questioning whether I should have time for Twitter. Twitter is the landfill of social media spaces (Facebook is that giant swirling garbage mess out in the ocean). As a matter of fact, internet has outlived its usefulness. Time to close it all down before the machines take it over and use it to eliminate us….

  56. There’s every reason to re-evaluate Ender’s performance and capability in light of being, hopefully, a WS contending top team next year. For a couple of years, Ender has been our second best player but the team has grown up around him so he doesn’t seem to be as capable as he used to even though his performance, at least defensively, is mostly the same. So relatively speaking, every time you upgrade a position some other position is the next place to look for an upgrade. With Pache and Waters on the horizon, it is time (i.e. in the offseason) to re-evaluate the CF position.

    Personally, I love what Ender has shown the last couple of years and early this year. With the A Team in place, we should be placing an emphasis on using our current best team tool – speed. I don’t care if he hits 1st or 7th, Ender should be aggressive on the basepaths. We probably have 4 of the top 10 speedy guys in either league according to Statcast (Albies, Acuna, Dansby, and Charlie) with Ender not far behind.

    When the gNats are on their game, they are tearing up the basepaths. We should be better than they are at it.

  57. We better win the first game with Scherzer looming in game 2.
    Will be interesting to see how Newk is recovering after his beauty.

  58. And according to the Washington radio guys, Fried took that liner off the lower back. Not watching so don’t know.

  59. Max took that one to the kidney. Not surprised he will not continue. 104 exit velocity. Hope he’s ok.

  60. Nick Green on the radio – – couldn’t quite name that voice. He’s paired up with Jim P on Game 1.

  61. In 2018, Ender has a career-high 23 SB (8 C)S in 457 PAs.

    In 2017, Ender had 22 SB (9 CS) in 718 PAs.

    Am I missing something?

  62. Um, the description of that last fly ball was kind of weird. How do you fly out to two OFs? Was someone hurt?

  63. The ball jumped out of Enders glove hitting the wall and Duvall caught it before the ball hit the ground.

  64. I’ve never seen a play like that in 40 years of watching baseball. I’m not sure whether they called it a fly ball out, or if they just tagged out the runner at first. For those who didn’t see, definitely track down a replay.

  65. They could DL or option Fried and call up Gohara or Touki for game 2. Or, ya know, Wes Parsons or something. That’s a long ways away.

  66. The Nats broadcasters said just before the end of the inning that it was no catch, but because Turner turned back to first because he thought it was a catch, the Braves were able to tag out Soto, who had passed him on the basepath.

  67. Incredible play. Seems Allard has been lucky so far in his career. 89 mph fastball down the middle isn’t usually a recipe for success. Maybe he’s got one of those deceptive deliveries.

  68. @107 – on the radio, they said it was ruled a hit (the video must have showed conclusively from some angle that the ball did indeed pop out of Ender’s glove & hit the wall), but that Soto was ruled out b/c he passed Turner on the basepaths — Soto overran first after the hit & Turner ran back to first after Duvall caught the ricochet, thinking he might be doubled off. (edit – Askia @ 110 said this much more concisely.)

  69. @107: Neither. They ruled (I think incorrectly) that the ball hit the wall and that Soto passed the runner who was returning to first. Either way, the result is the same,though I think they got the call wrong. @112: There never was a replay, because neither manager had any reason to ask for one and the umpires don’t care if they got it right or not, since the result was the same either way.

  70. This chump has a 6 ERA and Albies swinging at 1st ..2nd pitches make him throw … dang … these guys making this guy look like Cy Young ..cant afford to loose a double header guys .. come on

  71. Anyone know what the deal is with Allard’s low fastball velocity? When he was drafted out of high school his fastball was 92-94 MPH, topping out at 96. His fastball is several MPH slower now than it was in high school, which is sort of unusual from a guy who’s only 20 years old at the moment. Possible answers – injury, strategic decision to throw softer?

    Also, Kolby’s headshot on Baseball America is possibly the most equine human photo I’ve come across.

  72. So much for Duval hitting RH hitters .. why is Acuna not in game ?? KId is 20 years old .. come on he can play all day ..hitting 360 in last few games .. ..what gives ???

  73. Better get ball down Allard … Ive seen enough of Allard to know he is a marginal prospect .. Touki .. Touki .. Touki ….. why would Snit break the momentum up by changing lineup ??? Mkaes no sense ..in a pennant race … guys had a day off … play your best players on the road … stupid

  74. Allard is throwing BP. We needed innings from him but can’t let this game get away. Pull him.

  75. Allard’s up to 91 but getting worse results. Maybe he needs to keep throwing the junk to succeed. Curve, changeup, cutter – no four-seamers. Every four-seamer over 90 got blasted.

  76. Allard’s velocity has been down from its peak for more than a full season, and his star has dimmed accordingly with prospect writers. Optimists will say he could regain what he once had, and pessimists will say he’s already past his peak. Either way, this state of affairs lowers his ceiling.

  77. Kolby needs to go back to AAA for a year or two.

    @134 maybe one of the guys we waited too long to trade?

  78. @135 ..exactly ….. I havent seen anything from him … I thought he would be more impressive .. he keeps dropping down the prospect list ..another blown 1st rd pick ……

  79. @137 I’m sure they would have done it the same all over again. Allard still has tremendous upside. Maybe wait until he’s old enough to drink before you label him a bust?

  80. Okay, so Ender, Fried, and Allard for Realmuto…

    Totally even trade. I wouldn’t do it for a penny more, because we’re all probably going to be empty-handed after this deal in about 3 years.

  81. If we cant hit this chump ..Sherzer will have a night ………… looks like a double header loss

  82. That’s Ender’s ball all day. I’ve said this before my comments today, but I continue to question his baseball IQ.

  83. Tad is transforming from mildly-amusing, once-a-night blast of pessimism to full-fledged, thread-killing troll. I don’t know how many times I have to read the exact same thing, everybody read it the first time.

  84. Is this thread Peak Tad? I say yes.

    @149 Your posts are the equivalent of ripping terrible farts on the mid-sized jetliner that is Bravesjournal. The rest of us passengers are super tired of smelling your output.

  85. @149

    The clarion call of the troll. Might have a point if we had an ignore function, but we don’t, so it doesn’t work that way.

  86. Yeah, well, if enough of you say you want something done about the trolling, I can make it a lot harder for him to post.

  87. @155

    Maybe he strained it while trying to dodge/recoiling from being hit by the baseball. Or maybe that diagnosis is complete BS. Those are pretty much your two options.

  88. @157 Well to be fair, as of two years ago Nick Markakis had batted 1,370 times for the Braves and hit only 16 HRs en route to a .740-ish OPS. A stud hitter batting line, that is not (especially not for a corner outfielder).

  89. @160

    Also, in a cruel twist, ILoveEmmaStone turned out to be right about everything. It was by accident and he was a massive troll, so I don’t think he deserved congratulations or anything, but yeah…

  90. By saying it’s a strained groin, perhaps they can say he strained it on Sunday, and DL him retroactive to then. That way he only misses one start if they want to get someone else up here for game 2.

  91. @159 Tad, we’ve been nice about it so far. All we ask is that you knock it down a notch. It’s bad enough watching Allard toss home run derby earlier… we don’t need reminded that Scherzer is on deck for later tonight.

  92. @162 agree that it wasn’t the best choice of words but the man can square up a baseball.

    What an entertaining thread this has been…

  93. Oh well, Braves are going to blow their chance to bury the Nationals and probably start the whole “final run” meme for them.

    Always nice when the pitcher gives them two free base runners at the start of the inning.

  94. BREAKING: Tad has been DFA’ed. Only 7 in the history of Braves Journal to earn that honor.

  95. We’re just setting up a soul crushing comeback that will end the gnats hopes of competing for the division….

  96. Tad has a valid critique of Snitker today. How do you not start Acuna after an off day in the biggest series of the season so far? Is he hurt?

  97. @178 true, but he is a critique of everyone whenever the Braves lose though.
    Then again, I believe he is actually enjoying that.

  98. @178

    Yes, that was a valid critique, and if he’d posted just that and left out his other 50 posts in this game thread, he’d still be here.

    In answer to the question, I’m guessing it’s some goofy play to get him rest because he’s still “recovering” from spraining his knee and we’re playing two games today and blah blah blah. It doesn’t make any sense, but it’s a very Snitker move. He seems to like to double up on rest at the moment when it seems least likely a player would need rest (like right after an off-day, for example).

  99. Carle seems to be turning into a pumpkin. Maybe needs a DL stint for fatigue. Every time you think the bullpen is fixed, it unfixes itself. Three of the gNats runs were scored with two outs.

    So far every time we score one, they score four. I do not like that ratio, Sam-I-am (no relation to our Sam). I do not like green eggs and ham.

    And then to let a washed up Greg Holland score three straight Ks. This is soul crushing.

  100. @171 I never said I would ban. All that is up to Rob. I said I would make it more difficult…

  101. @180

    Yeah, if it’s clear that you’d actually rather the Braves lose so that you can come on here and shit barbs about how crappy they are all over this board, you don’t get a whole lot of credit for valid critiques therein IMO.

  102. @179

    To be honest, I don’t recognize any of them. Two are IP addresses, two are website URLs, one is actually a pharmaceutical keyword, and the others are e-mails that aren’t related to the user names, I don’t think.

  103. Get the Jet out in Atlanta…Touki VIP

    Carle sadly has to be considered now a dead duck. He is totally inept at keeping runners off base, awful.

  104. @179

    The aforementioned ILoveEmmaStone is one of them, and I also remember a Mets fan who pretty brazenly just came on here to stir up crap, but then would act like he was trying to start a dialogue or something when called on it before Mac eventually dropped the hammer. Those are the only two I can think of off the top of my head.

  105. Gadfly!

    Also, it’s seriously hot humid as hell here in DC. Makes sense to try to figure out how to shuffle the lineups on a day-night doubleheader with weather like this, and keep the 20-year-old face of the franchise from overexerting himself.

  106. Maybe don’t bring Acuna in to play CF in a blowout loss if your goal is to rest him…I dunno. I don’t want to get inside Snit’s head. It has to be a scary place.

  107. Tad was annoying, but I’m not sure he was ban worthy.

    I’m not crying any tears or anything, just saying.

  108. If you’re going to give Acuna a day off, not sure why bringing him in during a blowout makes sense. Maybe to give you a better chance to come back, I guess.

  109. @195

    If it makes you feel any better, I got the impression most of that was because of the move to Cobb County.

  110. I’ve been trying to get Mrs. Copenhaver on here, but all she’d do is talk about Kakes anyway.

  111. I wonder why he didn’t bring in Jackson in the fifth? Seems like that was what we were all expecting and he seems to be pitching OK. He might’ve been able to go three and save us a reliever. I think Snit was dead set on using lefties – Fried – Allard – Venters. Tonight probably the same Newcomb – Biddle – Minter.

  112. I would have started Newcomb in game 1 to maximize the chances for a split. But Snit does stuff in a different plane of existence that I don’t always comprehend.

    Now watch us beat up on Scherzer tonight.

  113. Just saw the replay of the Inciarte/Duvall out. I am not at all sure that ball hit the padding of the wall. Either way, there was going to be an out recorded because of Duvall’s great instincts. I doubt Acuna makes that play.

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