Why I’m Reading More into Braves Signing Tyler Matzek than Anyone on the Internet

In a move that won’t make headlines, but could have an impact on roster construction in September, and maybe beyond, the Braves purchased the contract of Tyler Matzek out of an Independent League on August 16. Matzek was drafted 11th overall in the 2009 draft by the Colorado Rockies. In 2014, Matzek had a very promising rookie year pitching 117.2 innings of 4.05 ERA ball that also boasted a near 50% groundball rate. Needless to say, that debut helped pencil his name in for the 2015 rotation and the future looked bright for Matzek. However, on April 21st, his 3rd start in 2015, Matzek walked 6 in 5 innings…and then the wheels fell off.

After 2 more starts, Matzek’s tenure in the MLB came to a close. It was May 6th, and Matzek only made it through 2 innings and walked 6. He made his next start at AAA where he walked 7 in 1 inning. It was a nightmare scenario that just continued for Matzek as he only pitched 12.2 innings the rest of that year, all in the minors, and never got over the hump of allowing hitters to walk freely to first. The free pass plague continued in 2016 as he allowed 33 walks in 26.2 innings, and then…

…he disappeared.

Unfortunately for Matzek, it was never about talent, rather a battle with performance anxiety that is said to be ongoing. I’m not going to pretend to know what that’s about nor try to diagnose Matzek myself, but from things I’ve read, it looks like he’s in a good spot mentally to get back to doing what he does best and that is sending people back to the dugout.

Matzek appeared in spring training for the Mariners in 2016, the White Sox in 2017 and the Diamondbacks earlier this year, but he’s yet to get close to being back to the majors and until this year, hasn’t even been given a shot in the minors since 2016. However, the Braves signed him and put him down in AA to get going. I’ve got reason to believe that Matzek might make a good case for himself to be considered for September, and all my reasoning comes from a decision that Matzek made at the turn of the year:

He went to Driveline.

Driveline, from the everyday viewer, seems mostly focused on righting mechanics to get better velo but that is not their mission in full. Driveline does focus on mechanics and velo but they also focus on the quality of pitch and spin rate by way of “Magnus Force”. They’ve nearly been solely responsible for spin rate talk making its way into MLB broadcasts. Matzek’s visit to Driveline this year produced a spike in his spin rate which is a wonderful turn of events for a pitcher that doesn’t rely on an upper-90s heater. To win in this current game, movement is key and if Matzek’s 2.1 innings at Mississippi with 5Ks and 0BBs is a reflection of this newly found spin rate, it might be worth keeping an eye or 2 on Matzek as the Braves sure do need an effective lefty or 2 in their bullpen.

Looking ahead to the September Roster

As of now, the Braves only have Jerry Blevins, AJ Minter, and Sean Newcomb from the 40-man as LH options out of the bullpen and that hardly leaves me in comfort, especially if the Braves end up facing the Dodgers in the NL Championship. There’s no doubt eyes will be on DFA’d lefties as well as internal guys such as Corbin Clouse, Thomas Burrows, and Tucker Davidson to fill potential needs.

And yes…add Tyler Matzek to that list.

Long live, Braves Journal!

Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

162 thoughts on “Why I’m Reading More into Braves Signing Tyler Matzek than Anyone on the Internet”

  1. Wow, that’s some interesting reading, Ryan. Will be watching the M-braves box scores. Thanks!

    A couple last Acuna thoughts:
    1) This isn’t the first time this has happened; he’s pimped doubles into singles before.
    2) IMO, Snit handled it promptly and appropriately, as did RA.
    3) Now, we can expect Snit to drop it and move on, and Ronald and the team will be better for it.

  2. I don’t remember anyone coming back from Steve Blass disease successfully with the exception of Oliver Perez and to a lesser extent Mark Wohlers. I’m rooting for him, though.

  3. I think we fans will talk and think about the Acuña benching a lot more than the players and coaches will. Feedback was given, he’s a smart, mature young man, and things will be fine. He was great before and he’ll be great tomorrow and onwards.

  4. Matzek could be a wildcard this year.

    Although… it’s hard to imagine taking someone who has battled with performance anxiety and dumping him into a playoff situation. LOL

  5. Me quoting me from 4-23 after a 7-6 loss to the Reds…

    “On another note, I’ve been a Donaldson fan until tonight. Errors happen though this was a pretty costly one, but to twice hit balls in the field of play and stand in the batters box watching was again, inexcusable. It certainly cost him a base on the pop up double. And if that ball in the 9th somehow dropped in, he could’ve been on third with 1 out in a tie game. If your gonna stand and watch you better be right that the ball is not in the field of play.”

    I get the veteran vs. youngster thing and even giving JD a break for nursing the hammies a bit but this wasn’t that at all, I just went back and watched the video of the pop up double. I just wish the same standard applied to all the players. Maybe it will going forward…

  6. @5 If it doesn’t this year, it might next season if the league goes to a slightly better baseball that doesn’t carry as much as this one. There is going to be quite a few grown men standing at home plate looking like idiots when those hard hits bounce off the walls instead of landing in the stands!

  7. Russo, inevitably, was on things Acuna this morning, general approval of what we did but said it should have been done immediately.

    Which presumably would have meant sending out Duval to first base as pinch runner for him. Sounds about right.

  8. @2
    That’s a good point and one that I’ve considered. However, through an inside conversation (that I can’t disclose), I think he’s in a really good position mentally and, if he excels in the MILB appearances, he could get a real look.

  9. I just wish Snitker hadn’t revealed the contents of his message to/discussion with Ronald. Love that he benched him, but I don’t see the value in publicly airing the deets. Would seem to open a door for hard feelings. (Not saying I expect hard feelings.)

    “That’ll stay between Ronald and me; we’re on the same page, and I can’t wait to watch him play the rest of the season.” <–something like that would have been much better.

  10. Ryan, I love your optimism here, and Lord knows I’d feel better if there was another reliable lefty option in the pen. What a great story this would be if he overcomes his history and pitches well in a pennant race.

    But this is the longest of long shots. The chance of AJ Minter contributing in September is a much better bet; of course I would not bet anything at all on that. .But I can hope.

  11. I thought for sure someone would scoop Gohara up after we released him. There must be something else going on as it appears he is still a free agent. Could just be that he’d eventually have to have a 40-man roster spot and those are valuable, but you could just 60-day IL him right?

  12. Agreed, Stu.

    I do also think Minter is a better bet. But if you like what Driveline is doing, then you have to like anyone that comes out of there. Though I would also say that you’re probably not going to hear that he’s indeed struggling with performance anxiety. I would think you’d have to let them matriculate the minor leagues a little bit and see if any meltdowns on the mound or other symptoms occur.

    Then you would have to try him out in Atlanta. A lot would have to happen, but I like that they’re not leaving any stone unturned.

  13. Big Driveline fan (going waaaaaaaaaaaaay back), but it’s not like their record is perfect. Still, while I would estimate there’s less than a 1% chance Matzek appears in an Atlanta uniform this year, his arm has always been loaded with talent. An intriguing move, for sure.

  14. @10 When you approach Brian Snitker to talk to him, it’s your call whether he shares it with everyone else, but if Snitker has to approach you to have a talk then it’s up to him whether he wants to share it with rest of the world.

    I was glad to get the whole thing, because when I turned the TV off I knew it was no longer an issue. He painted Acuna in a very positive light. Most importantly that conversation became an announcement to a team full of young players who should be paying attention to that presser. It’s out there for the whole world to hear it.

  15. Yes…I’m aware it was up to Snitker. Which I why I said I wish he’d made a different choice.

    And the conversation was an announcement to the team, no matter whether Snitker told the media about it. The players get their clubhouse info in the clubhouse, not from beat reporters.

  16. @5 Donaldson really should get more rope on that, as he did. If I’m a manager (or even as a fan) I don’t want my former league MVP, coming off of major leg issues, pushing it in April when the weather’s a bit cold, and guys still aren’t loose.

    Honest take though, the Acuna thing really doesn’t bother me that much. It’s a 162 game season, which is 1,458 innings of baseball if they all stay 9- if I had that type of talent, I’d probably stand and watch a few balls sail too because I’m sure those guys are tired. Ideally you do that against a team like the Marlins versus in a high profile game like the Dodgers, but eh…

  17. @10 thought the same.

    Here’s a really cool thing: We just beat the Dodgers in a three-game series. When we meet them again in October, it is not unimportant for the guys to know that they can beat them. And what a game by Max after that first inning.
    Go Braves!

    Can’t wait for the shirt, Ryan. Will watch the Braves the weekend after next at STP. In Chips words: Let’s see… how many Braves Journal shirts are in attendance that weekend.

  18. It was actually opened as of the date he was DFA’d (Friday)…and immediately filled by Hechavarría.

    Good luck to Parsons. He’s a great story, but it’s hard to feel like the Braves will really miss a right-handed, low-velo middle reliever.

  19. I think in an ideal world, at least one of Kolby Allard, Joey Wentz, Kyle Muller, Corbin Clouse, Thomas Burrows, or Tucker Davidson would have established themselves as a reliable MLB lefty, whether as a starter or reliever. The fact that the only lefty reliever we have in our pen is someone we had been relying on for the rotation (Newcomb) is a bad thing.

  20. @21 no it doesn’t. That was Hechavarria’s spot.

    I’m sorry to see Parsons go but his DFA was inevitable. There are more to come. The only position player with an option (not counting Ozzie and Ronald) is Duvall. The only pitchers with realistic options are Bryse and Newk and Martin. Dayton could end up on the 60 day IL.

    If we are going to add anyone, whether it be Pache, Davidson, Clouse, or Matzek, only Dayton’s spot is available and any others will involve DFAs.

    When Swanson comes back, Duvall will go down until Sept 1st. If Riley comes back, he’ll go to AAA until Sept 1st. If Nick comes back….. someone will be DFA’d (Ortega?). Same with Ender (Hechavarria?).

  21. Timo
    Rob C
    Big D
    Joel K

    Your shirts have been shipped! Thanks for being the firsts of what I hope to be many that order Braves Journal merchandise!

  22. IMO, there needed to be more 40-man trades at the deadline. Parsons was an easy pickup for a non-contending team and was near first in the pecking order to be DFA’d. He could’ve been traded for a lower leveled lottery ticket, instead he’s on another team for free.

  23. With regards to Acuna, I know I’m late in throwing in my two cents. My opinion is that, of course, Snitker did the right thing. I think Freddie was agreeing with him on the steps.

    I though I could see something like that coming from the time he missed the catch over the wall. I thought the whole throwing the glove down and sulking was a bit over the top. Maybe even from the time he made that one the other day and just sat down on the track. He was letting events carry him instead of him managing events. When a person chooses the wrong direction to act, it usually leads to a subsequent wrong direction and snowballs. The SB attempt was the snowball hitting the bottom of the hill. Snitker acted less like a manager and more like a good parent in breaking the chain of escalating poor behavioral decision making.

    To me, the difference between a 21 yo and a 6 yo is the amount of time, the 21 yo acts like a 6 yo. Acuna spent one day acting like a 6 yo and he needed someone to show him that along with the consequences. I’ve had enough days like this myself that I hope Acuna has the sense and intelligence to see it and learn. I feel quite sure he will. And he will be better for it.

  24. @26 I absolutely agree. Was there really no trade interest in Gausman that we had to just let him go? We could have taken anyone not on a 40-man roster in exchange. We could have even thrown in his remaining salary this year since that was the result anyway.

    AA did it once with Biddle and Viz for Swarzak. It’s hard to believe there weren’t more opportunities.

  25. @ 29,

    Roger, when Cincinnati claimed Gausman, they took on his prorated salary. If he had cleared waivers, then Braves are on the hook and a signing club only has to pay prorated major league minimum.

  26. @cliff
    If Gausman would’ve passed through waivers, he could elect free agency but he would’ve forfeited his remaining salary. If he wanted to get paid, he’d have to accept his MiLB assignment.

    But it didn’t happen so it’s just knowledge to store in one’s pocket.

  27. Also, @ 32,

    Reds also have the right to offer arb for next year, but are not obligated to do that. That would be an absolute minimum of 80% of this year’s salary and probably higher than that, so I only think they do that if they think they’ve “fixed” Gausman.

  28. Inciarte and Markakis won’t be back until at least mid-September. I suspect that Riley is activated if he is ready on September 1. They shouldn’t have to DFA anyone else barring any more external pickups before the end of the season.

    If Dansby comes back before September they can option Duvall or a pitcher.

  29. @36 Unless you want to add someone like Pache, Davidson, Clouse or Matzek. Or anyone else at AAA that is not currently on the 40-man. Then there will be DFAs.

  30. I was not expecting that one.

    37 — I might be wrong, but with the roster crunch I don’t expect them to add any minor leaguers who aren’t already on the 40 man to the roster.

  31. Nobody is going to notice with the Hamilton signing, but Webb was ineffective at Gwinnett and went back on the IL with the same elbow problem as before. There’s a non-zero chance he eventually has to go under the knife.

  32. Yes, that’s disappointing news about Webb. If he were healthy he could be valuable in September. Mainly I fear what this could mean for his career.

    As to Billy Hamilton, he could provide value in September as a pinch runner and defensive replacement. As far as hitting goes, I wouldn’t expect any more from him than they would get from HOFer Sliding Billy Hamilton. Even from the grave the latter may have more potential than the current Billy Hamilton.

  33. Dayton is on the 7-day minor league IL isn’t he? That means he can’t move to the 60-day?

    There’s really no spots right now. I guess you could cut Hamilton loose before the end of the month if you change your mind and want Pache instead.

  34. Real question: if you could PH Fried or Hamilton, who would you choose? I’d PH Fried and then let Hamilton then PR.

  35. Webb was moved to 60-day IL so Hamilton takes that spot.

    If Braves want to open a 40-man spot, it would likely come at the cost of someone like Rafael Ortega or Hecchavaria when reinforcements return.

  36. I agree with the Acuna benching and feel that Snit handled it well both with respect to Ronnie and Duvall. Did any of you hear Acuna’s Q&A after the game. It was extremely disappointing! Instead of seizing on the perfect opportunity to apologize to his teammates and fans, Acuna never owned his mistakes…he basically just said he agreed that it was Snit’s decision. Not one word about lack of hustle or possibly costing the team a huge potential win. He doesn’t get it. Hopefully Ozzie, Freddie and Andruw will take him aside. GO BRAVES!

  37. Rick Ankiel was another talented lefty whose pitching career was derailed by Steve Blass disease. As with so many afflicted with that dreaded malady, he never overcame it.
    Fortunately for Braves fans, his career was born again as an outfielder. Not that he was ever very good in that role, but he did win a playoff game for the Braves in SF with an 11th inning HR into McCovey Cove.
    Can Matzek hit?

  38. Billy Hamilton will be our Dave Roberts to beat the Dodgers….like what Dave Roberts did for the Red Sox.

  39. @49 @51 They could do the same thing for Dayton. Activate him and put him on the 60 day IL. I think they’re not doing that because they expect him to return and don’t expect Webb to. Dayton would be another effective lefty.

    But I do think – lacking another injury *knock on wood* – is that we won’t see any prospects or other minor leaguers added to the 40 man. Adding Hamilton allows the Braves to avoid starting Pache’s clock.

    This year’s August strategy seems to be completely different than last years. Oddly, I think AA is being very smart with the current strategy. He is adding guys to not only fill a need but also adding them for the gap-filling skills they have as opposed to trying to add “complete” players.

    I wonder how much the Acuna benching had to do with the Hamilton add.

  40. @Roger
    I cannot imagine the Acuña benching and the Hamilton signing have anything to do with each other. I’m sure the Ender injury and the coin flip that he’ll be ready for the postseason was the driving force. That partnered with the strategy in place since the Royals took the World Series of having a 25th man in the playoffs be a speedster and AA was just praying Hamilton made it to the Braves. If you squint, one could see Hamilton running for McCann in the 8th, then staying in at CF for the 9th allowing Acuña to slide to a corner.

  41. Hamilton is ineligible for the postseason now under the new rules, correct? I’ve seen conflicting opinions there.

  42. I know this might not matter much to you guys but it does to us behind the scenes people. Braves Journal had a 25% increase in hits when comparing the last 2 increments of 30 calendar days.

    Thanks for keeping this place awesome.

  43. @59 Wow, wonderful news! Thank you, Rob and everyone else who writes and keeps the site going.

  44. @59 This place just seems to get better and better. I love the new look and content you guys keep putting up. By far my favorite place to go

  45. Extending the netting to the foul poles sounds totally ridiculous. It looks totally ridiculous in concept. Is this happening across all of MLB?

  46. 68 – You and I agree a lot, but we couldn’t be further apart here. It’s a welcome move and overdue. The netting does nothing to impact my enjoyment of going to a game and increases fan safety. Really a no-brainer.

  47. Agreed with @70. I truly believe that the eyes adjust to the point that you don’t see the netting any more. That’s what happens if you’re ever lucky enough to sit behind home plate!

    Also thanks for posting that link @69 — very interesting! We seem to have overlapped at Yale, but I never knew him.

  48. @70 Have you seen the concept art? Don’t you think that peering through a net will take away some from the actual experience? Won’t that thing also block a lot of the pop fouls that make for good souvenirs?

    While they’re at it, they should drape it down over the dugout to protect the million dollar investments. Have the players crawl in and out from under that thing.

  49. @71 Yeah, you guys are right. People don’t see the net after they start watching the game. Still seems a shame as far as being close to the action (ie. players leaning into the stands to make a catch, pop fouls landing in the seats, etc), but it will at least protect children too young to stay focused or react to a line drive.

  50. Man, I missed out on all the talk about Ronald’s benching. I support it. But isn’t the larger issue that this kind of showboating behavior is what the league wants? Didn’t the league last year put Bryce Harper forward as the face of the “Let them play” type mentality, with “let them play” not meaning baseball fundamentals but strutting and preening? One of the more popular memes I’ve seen on social media this year is Josh Donaldson’s transfixed facial expression when he hits a homer. Is it any wonder that Ronald Acuna is striving for that kind of attention just like any other player who buys into that kind of mentality?

    So, yeah, bench him because his error was pretty egregious but how you can tutor him or any other player on what is the “right way” to showboat and what is the “wrong way”? To some of us, showboating is the milieu of douchebags and there’s really no fine way to parse it into the acceptable and unacceptable.

    PS: Apologies if everyone has moved on beyond this topic. I’ve been out of pocket the last couple days.

  51. Joe Maddon yelling for the kids to get off his damn lawn is pretty rich. Don’t know if the game has passed him by, but the Cubs farm system keeps handing him prospects who struggle as soon as they get to him – Ian Happ. Kyle Schwarber. Albert Almora. Domestic abuser Addison Russell, whose performance has also cratered.

    Maybe they should hire someone who knows how to manage their young players rather than just complaining about how launch angle swings are ruining the game.

  52. I don’t really have anything to contribute to the Acuna benching discussion other than to say that Snitker absolutely should have yanked him from the game and the comments I’ve seen from Ronald seem to suggest that he took it in stride, without being defensive about it, which is all you can ask.

  53. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Joe Girardi managing the Cubs next season, though he may belong to the same cohort as Maddon.

  54. Thoughts on a former Brave:

    Demeritte is striking out more and walking less which has decreased his overall OPS at the MLB level compared to his MiLB numbers, yet he’s still carrying an .848 OPS. Thus far, he’s rating as a well below average defensive RFer. With his history of stellar infield defense, one has to wonder if the Tigers will ask him to move back to the dirt.

  55. @68 I’m with you on hating the look of the netting, and I do feel it’s going to take away from the view of the game. If everybody in the stands were adults, I’d be raging. When you see how many kids go to ball games, I get it though. Expecting them to pay attention constantly is a big ask. It’s for their safety, and I’m okay with that.

  56. @73 I’m not sure how I feel about an automated strike zone yet. I’m torn between thinking I’ll maybe miss watching the pitchers trying to discover an umpires zone early, but maybe appreciating the consistency it’ll provide.

    I like the homeruns, though! Offense is fun. I’d also argue hitting isn’t so much a lost art as it is that it’s just harder now with the scouting, and the shifts…

  57. @82 I don’t think the problem is the cohort. I also don’t think the problem is the launch angle generation, nor do I think the problem is the data guiding them to prioritize it. What group does this place me in? (don’t answer just yet)

    No, I think the problem is who is leading MLB (think commissioner and executives) and it has roots in several areas such as the youth leagues and commissioners who are too blind to what the short attention span masses actually want–everybody wants to see a good fight between two forces.

    Alex prefers to attack the person while completely bypassing the idea. The idea is that current MLB is kinda frustrating to watch. It may not be true for all fans, but I get the sense that it is for some. I find truth in almost everything being said in the source article, regardless of whether it’s Joe Maddon yelling at kids or old has-been’s from decades ago. They weren’t yipping about the game being bad in the ’90s or the 00’s, but for some reason they’re yipping about it today.

    Today’s game just looks like a bunch of faces and a bunch of baseballs landing in bleachers. If they keep hitting them out like this, folks are gonna start asking why they don’t just push the fences back since outfielders are standing at them so much–I mean, it’s obvious these guys can keep running and catch those balls if you just remove the barrier!!

    But more realistically, the juiced ball was a lame response to a league that lost its PED’s and saw a problem with defense dominating offense. We have no idea if they see any problem with the current brand, but pitching has gotten hung out to dry.

  58. It provides much relief to hear that Billy Hamilton will not be allowed a bat in his hand during his brief stay with us.

    Would that the same painless solution be available to his other shortcoming, his appearance. He is without equivocation the ugliest looking player in the League. At GABP grown men had been known to cry when the lights came on, young children clung to their mothers. Be advised.

  59. Things change in baseball without massive rules changes… That’s what’s good about it. Runs per game are still below the levels of 1993-2000. some of the increase in homers comes from the fact that pitchers are better than they used to be — an increased ability to strike out batters leads batters to adopt a higher risk strategy, and to prioritize players who can play that way. Let Pete Rose and Goose Gossage start their own leagues if they’re bored.

  60. I’m pretty happy that, according to AA, Liberty has gone over budget to grab Melancon and Hamilton. We’re basically paying $1.9M for a pinch runner, which says something about where the team views their emphasis on winning this year.

    With that said, it’s not without merit. Attendance last year was around 31,500 and this year it’s around 32,900, though kids are back in school and that’ll probably affect the attendance average (unless we’re in a pennant race). So you’ve got around a 5% increase in attendance and Lord knows how many additional White Claws are being sold in the Battery. Ratings are probably up too. So there shouldn’t be any parades being thrown to get the team closer to league average payroll after it dipped below that threshold with the Gausman departure.

    But after seeing the team doing douchey things like dumping Garcia’s salary to only get Huascar Ynoa back in return, and going into the playoffs last year with replacement level players on the bench, it’s nice to see these moves being made.

  61. @88

    the fact that pitchers are better than they used to be

    Educate me, JonathanF. I need numbers. I need proof. I’ve been complaining about pitching being worse than I’ve ever seen it. You’re saying it’s a fact that it’s better than it’s ever been.

  62. @86, my general rule is that I’m happy to attack just about anybody who isn’t on this board but I have no desire to attack fellow commenters.

    In all honesty, I’m a baseball traditionalist in a lot of ways. But Joe Maddon is on the managerial hot seat in Chicago because he has severely underperformed with his extremely expensive team, largely because a lot of highly regarded prospects have really struggled with him. I think it’s really ill-advised for him to be quoted alongside retirees like Goose Gossage in an article bemoaning the current state of the game — hey, buddy, you have a day job, and your players have to succeed in playing the game that you’re complaining about. If I were one of his young power hitters I might not be sure exactly what lessons I was supposed to draw from his quotes in that article.

    Look, to your broader point, I don’t think we disagree. A game that’s all about strikeouts and home runs is less fun than a game with more balls in play, more stolen bases, more triples, more defense. But I think that you and I have a lot more right to make those comments than one of the 30 major league managers.

    Scoreboard, Joe Maddon. Win the World Series and then tell me how the game should be played.

    (And yeah, I know that he won in 2016, but what has he done for me lately?)

  63. Finally, there are plenty of people who were yipping about the game in the ’90s and 2000s. There are always people yipping about the game. Goose Gossage has been complaining about the game pretty much since he retired.

    I’m not saying these complaints are wrong! But I don’t think they’re historically unique, either.

  64. @90. Strikeouts are up a lot more than homers. Is that cause, or effect? I’m not sure we know. What I do know is that the Great Strike Zone Synchronization, in which the Tom Glavine strike disappeared (except by accident) and was traded for the High Strike (where before anything above the waist was a ball) seems to have taken a lot of pitchers who didn’t have Glavine’s or Maddux’s control and turned them into guys who can strike people out. Many have attributed this to changes in what the *batters* were doing. That may be right, but the batter’s reactions may simply be the effect, not the cause.

  65. @91 I apologize if I attacked you. It doesn’t help that I accidentally looked at Twitter before coming back over here. My adrenaline was up. ;-)

    @93 It would most certainly be a combination of both at this point. Hitters are no longer guarding against strike outs and treating a 2-strike count like any other count.

    There are at least three factors at play in this matter. One, as you stated, is the strike zone synchronization. The second is the matter of hitters adjusting their approach at the plate. The third is the advent of data-driven defenses and shifts, which I think you would agree is reason enough to either adjust at the plate or sell out for the fences.

    Here are some good sets of data. I do know that you do like numbers!



    From my inexperienced vantage point, looking at these numbers, I’m inclined to side with you. K’s are up. BB’s aren’t especially higher than before. H/9 is down. WHIP is better than during the PED era. What’s different is the sheer number of pitchers it’s taking to do the same job, because runs/game aren’t really much different than before, although it’s noticeably higher than it was during the post-PED offensive ‘minimum.’

    Maybe you will see something in the numbers. I suspect defense is a bigger factor than it used to be thanks to actual defensive value tracking.

  66. @94: The problem with arguments here is that they are way too amiable. I’m not sure how you expect me to vituperatively reply to “I’m inclined to side with you.” But I’ll side with you. (Take that!) I left out defense and defensive prowess, whether shift-based or not, which I agree is clearly important as well.

    As to the number of pitchers, it’s quite clear that the new strike zone allowed guys to use power to a far greater extent than they used to, and that there are only so many 95 mph fastballs any pitcher can put together in one outing. This is one place I part company with Glavine, who is always concerned about the fact that pitchers today put max effort into every pitch. I kinda want everyone to put max effort in all the time! If that means you can’t pitch that long, so be it, so long as your bullpen is fresh enough to replace you. That’s a team decision — if you have no bullpen and you’re Scherzer, they should tell you to try and go 90 percent to last longer. Otherwise, get guys out!

  67. @95 Yeah, I was never out to try to prove you wrong. I wanted to be shown if I was wrong. I’ve been really down on modern day pitching, and I wasn’t inclined to dig into the numbers.

    You have done some excellent work with numbers in the past, so I figured you would be a good bet to show me I’m wrong. :)

    The conclusion I’ve gotten so far is: yes, the pitching is better but it takes a lot more arms to pitch a whole game. It’s not what I want to believe, but the numbers show an improvement (K/9 up, BB/9 steady, H/9 down with defensive help).

  68. Just like the last time we faced this dude…swing at everything. Way to let RAJ take advantage of the gutless hbp

  69. Throw the bum out. What’s the point of a warning of you don’t throw him out next time???

  70. Honestly, have we not now seen what the difference is between teams that have pitchers that can hit and the Braves who have the worst hitting pitchers in the league?

  71. With all the injuries, I think the Braves would be foolish to even think about not putting BMac on the IL. Give him 10 days, call up AJax.

  72. My guess is that they see how he is feeling tomorrow and if there’s no improvement they go ahead and IL him.

  73. @89
    1 million of billy Hamiltons money corresponds to next years budget.

    Melancon had about almost 5 million left this year when he was acquired.

    Take away the 3 million saved by letting Gausman go, and I’d be willing to bet the braves are back to the payroll budget limit as of this moment.

    In any case, they went over by million or two or so, should be no big deal. Bigger problem is the added salary for next year.

  74. BMac’s been slumping for awhile, so not at all upset to get him rest, just hope it’s not a serious problem.

  75. Ole Donnie Bushball is up to his dirty managing again. And Jeter must love it because you know… Yankee way and all.

  76. Wow! That may be the best Luke has ever looked. It’s a shame we have to pinch-hit for him.

  77. Braves announced they’ll extend netting down to the foul poles.

    It’s interesting watching all the balls bounce into the stands that you know won’t be doing so when this goes up.

    Personally, I’m not paying to sit behind the “only 10% impaired vision” netting. No thanks.

  78. Can’t imagine why they let Freddie hit there. After the Ozzie SB, they should have walked Freddie.

  79. Good lord! Mattingly probably has to occasionally have pitchers bean opposing hitters for his own amusement just so he doesn’t go insane!

  80. @142

    An added plus is that it’ll keep yahoos from interfering with fair balls or foul pops near the railing.

    Obviously that’s not the main reason to do it, but it is a positive side effect.

  81. This outfield alignment of Ortega, Hamilton and Acuna has to be one of the best defensively there is.

  82. I don’t mind the netting being extended, but would’ve preferred the netting stop at the end of the dugouts. I suspect this is being done more for insurance reasons than anything else. I’d love to see some numbers on injuries to fans due to foul balls plotted based on where they were sitting.

  83. Whoa! What a play by Hech! Saved a single; ended the game. I’ll give him a pass for the through the wickets error.

  84. Yeah, the foul pole just seems way too far.

    Wonder what happens if some inattentive kid gets smashed in the face by a line drive home run. Will they talk about netting there too?

  85. @157 The players know a hell of a lot more about this than we do, and every single one that has been asked about this thinks it’s a great idea. Slippery sloping doesn’t add anything to the conversation.

  86. Slippery sloping doesn’t add anything to the conversation.

    Neither do appeals to authority.

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