2019 Atlanta Braves Player Review: Grant Dayton

Grant Dayton doesn’t have enough career major league innings to draw significant conclusions from. At age 32, that fact may be the significant conclusion. However, what little we have to go on is promising.

Dayton was 28 before he hit the majors in 2016. The left handed reliever combined for 50 innings in 2 seasons with the Dodgers before undergoing Tommy John surgery. The Braves claimed him off waivers in November of 2017, and he missed the entire 2018 season recovering from that surgery.

Grant made his Atlanta debut in late April, and bounced back and forth between Atlanta and Gwinnett before a broken toe in July cost him 2 months. His final contribution consisted of just 12 major league innings. He struck out 14 batters in those 12 innings, but also allowed 4 home runs.

At Gwinnett, Dayton struck out 41 batters in 26 2/3 innings, with a 3.04 ERA and 0.900 WHIP. In his major league career, he has struck out 73 batters in 62 innings. It’s only 142 and 112 plate appearances respectively, but Grant has been pretty effective against both right handed and left handed batters. He has a career .220/.284/.433 BA/OBP/SLG line against righties, and against lefties it is .170/.250/.340.

Dayton’s arbitration eligible for the 2020 season at an estimated $800K via MLBTR and could be useful in a certain role if he can stay healthy for a full season.

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Author: Rusty S.

Rusty S. is a Braves Journal reader since 2005 and an occasional innings-eater. It was my understanding that there would be no expectations.

53 thoughts on “2019 Atlanta Braves Player Review: Grant Dayton”

  1. This is a tiny nitpick for Ryan: do you think we could do something about the official Braves news feed on the side bar? I’m kinda tired of Kakes reaping the rewards of his dedication, especially as a below average contributor…

  2. @ 1 and 2,

    Apparently that has not been updating (or updated). Also has Gohara setting the bar high (bad taste jokes omitted).

  3. ::”F” bombs::

  4. Couple folks told me about the side bar, and I couldn’t fix it. It is annoying. I was hoping it would fix itself. If it’s not updating, then may as yet just delete it, which is quite simple.

  5. @4,

    Seems like a bad idea to me.

    Whichever way, good luck to Charlie. He was definitely a stand up guy for the Braves.

  6. @4 I’m not a fan of non-tendering Culby. That’s not a large salary for such a useful player. Really, do you replace him THAT much cheaper than that, given it might take 2 guys?

  7. As to Dayton, Cot’s has him with no options. So, it is make the 25 (or 26) or get released.

    That means the obvious thing is to make a qualifying offer and decide between now and end of spring training as to what you have.

    He could be an effective pitcher if he stays healthy. We will just have to see.

  8. Hmm, when I asked a couple of days ago if the Braves would non-tender Culberson, I was met with nos here. People on MLBTradeRumors were giving the writer grief for listing Culberson as a non-tender candidate too.

    Edit: It’s official.

  9. Dayton has one of the more bizarre and interesting slider usages in baseball. A lefty, he exclusively throws his slider to righties, and the vast majority of them are out of the zone, but high. In fact, he didn’t throw a single slider all year that was below the strike zone (he uses the curve for that effect).

    It’s really weird, but it seemed to work. Righties whiffed on 40% of their swings against the pitch. Here he is striking out Juan Lagares with the pitch: https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/sporty-videos?playId=f0c1053b-1b18-4a5f-b8dc-5e8f47c88ca3

    It’s even easy to wonder if Statcast is misidentifying the pitch. It isn’t used like a slider, and doesn’t even really look like one. Dayton uses it the way a pitcher would use a high fastball. It sits at 90-91 and stays up in the zone. I still think it is a slider, but it’s a weird one, one of the weirdest things I’ve seen on Statcast.

  10. Unpopular opinion: the Braves are worried that Charlie’s injury is going to affect his confidence and performance. Will it be on the back of his mind? Will it cause some sort of stress reaction? I’m not sure why they’re pulling the trigger without checking to see if he’s ok, but maybe they don’t want to gamble based on the medical information they know and we don’t.

  11. Great, Braves non-tendering my favorite player. At least I’ll always have my #8 Culberson shirsey. I suppose it’s a good thing that I didn’t get his likeness tattooed on my face.

  12. I will eat crow on this one as I couldn’t imagine the team not offering arb and then negotiating something in the $1.5M range. we payed Duvall twice that amount not to play for us last year. The injury might be lingering/worse than anticipated. If he signs as a coach…

  13. If I’m not mistaken, the arb estimates for Culberson were around $2.9M. Not a huge sum, but this is akin to non-tendering a decent but not very good reliever as he starts making money. I would expect the Braves to do the same with, say, Luke Jackson.

  14. Moustakas to the Reds. One less 3B on the market. Hopefully this makes the Donaldson market more a little faster now.

    I like how briskly the offseason is going. Last year was just so brutal. If you thought the owners were acting nefarious last year, you’re probably not happy to hear that they seem to have won.

  15. @16

    Most of what I had seen as far as estimates was a shade under $2M. But either way, even before the injury, Culberson was playing pretty terribly. He had a bad year when healthy, and that year had more in common with his career than the beautiful outlier that was 2018.

  16. Ok…going to respond.

    1. Dansby becomes SU guy to replace Culberson after Braves trade for Lindor. Highly speculative, not likely to happen, but it’s an “if”.

    2. Bench becomes RH heavy if Culberson is on the team and he can’t really backup SS.

    3. Dayton could get non-tendered (or traded today) as the Braves really need options for their bottom 2 relievers.

    4. @Brent…that seemed to be Kranitz’s M.O. last year, combatting opposite handed hitters with high and tight (or away) fastballs.

  17. There are only two free agents we need concern ourselves with this winter and neither is named Cole. It is our good fortune he displayed his true colors, live, on the field,10 minutes after game 7 ended. Yuk.

    Solution – Wheeler 5/100. We will have to move fast to keep it at that number, there are many sniffing around. HOWEVER, it is obvious he will give us our due for bringing him home to Georgia and the the family, friends and Varsity Onion Rings he craves(see AAR)). So nine figures will suffice if it comes from us. Quickly.

    As to our other addition it just has to be the nicest guy in the game, Anthony Rendon. So obvious if we can afford him. The older a baseball fan gets the more he understands how important character is in the evaluation of a bedrock long term player. If you doubt that’s worth money just compare him and Machado in the field, at the plate. There was no warm buzz i noticed at Petco this year for Mr. Surly. Rendon is special AA, try really hard.

    Footnote. No tables or data of any kind were used and/or looked up in the writing of this pearl of wisdom. Age alone, lots of it, grants me wisdom beyond your youthful comprehension. Cheers.

    Wheeler and Rendon
    where have all the flowers gone?
    gone to Georgia for a pittance
    to unsuccessful suitors we bid good riddance.

  18. @19

    64 Million for 4 years of Moustakas to play second.

    35 Million for 7 years of Ozzie Albies .

    Is there anyone still not embarrassed by this piece of work? If so you must have a very thick skin.

  19. @21 I know Rendon has a heap of talent, but I’m not in the let’s sign any more “nice” guys camp. Freddie meets the quota there. I think part of the reason the Braves get bounced early, and often, in the playoffs is that they’re too nice.

    Give me Donaldson, and the swagger.

  20. @22 Ozzie’s young though, without much of a track record. Had he hit .220, that goes from a bargain to an anchor. That could’ve gone either way. I look at it as he must’ve been happy with it, otherwise he wouldn’t have signed it. He didn’t have to. He could’ve gone arb. If he’s happy, how can I really have an issue?

  21. Without looking at the numbers, I remember Culberson being pretty horrible offensively after the All-Star Break. And he can’t really play the middle infield anymore.

  22. I think that’s probably about the going rate for Moose, but the Reds want him to play second base since they already have Suarez. I don’t think he will be very good defensively at second.

  23. 26 — Peraza was really bad offensively last season, but he might be a useful glove first utility guy.

  24. @23/24/25

    Donaldson and the swagger failed totally when it mattered most – twice, with a lead off runner at second, another at third, he failed to move them for the tying run. Yes, so did Freddie but we know now why.

    With Rendon your priorities come close to evaluating his ‘niceness’ as a negative. For Pete’s sake.

    With Ozzie’s contract you are placing all the responsibility on his young, unsophisticated shoulders. What sort of life experience did he have in dealing with a 7 year commitment? How do we know he’s happy now the dust has settled? Do we as fans not have a responsibility to speak out in a case as this? Just check your comfort button.

  25. @29

    Whatever happened to Senzel? Pre Spring it was all woe and grief with vertigo being widely discussed. But then he appeared in April at center and seemed to be doing a decent job. He seemed to tail off a bit in the second half but the v word was nowhere i could find it.

  26. @18 My bad, Brent. It must have been $1.9M, not 2.9.

    Slight nitpick on Culberson’s struggle before his injury: his struggles largely coincided with him getting more PAs as a starter. His second half, which was cut short by about 15 team games, included 10 games started and 75 PAs. In the first half, he was used much more sparingly as a starter and much more as a PH, 5 games started and 69 PAs. In the second half, to your point, he hit .208/.230/.319. In the first half, he hit .317/.362/.571. For his career, when the majority of his ABs have been as a PH, he has done well. When he’s played full-time or at least collected a lot of starts, he’s played like a replacement level hitter.

  27. @30 I’m not saying his “niceness” is a negative. I just think this franchise needs more fire, and attitude.

    Also to say Donaldson failed? It wasn’t as if he was alone there. It’s baseball. Everyone fails at times. He also had some big moments.

    Why does Freeman get a pass, but Donaldson not? The elbow? I’m certain some other players were probably hurting too. I’m not saying Freeman shouldn’t get some slack, just, ya know…

  28. @30 Also, with Ozzie, what experience does any guy that age have in making that type of commitment? There just comes a point where kids become men, and they make their own choices. It wasn’t as if he lacked alternatives. He could’ve easily gone year-to-year in arbitration, but for a guy who seems extremely happy, maybe he didn’t want that? I see your point that we don’t know he’s happy, but the counter argument is we don’t know he isn’t. Unless a story comes out where AA taped Albies to a chair, and forcibly made him sign it, I have no issue with it.

  29. I feel like Rendon will land with Texas (Go Owls!!). And that it makes more sense for Donaldson to land with the Braves. It’s possible that the Reds knew where the market was heading (i.e. that Rendon and Donaldson wanted to play elsewhere) and struck accordingly. Also, Moose’s value increases as a 2B. His kind of power at 2B is uncommon.

  30. @37 Aw, coop, you asked for it….

  31. @30: “Donaldson and the swagger failed totally when it mattered most – twice, with a lead off runner at second, another at third, he failed to move them for the tying run.”

    Say it with me, slowly and with emphasis the accented syllable of each word: Small. Sample. Size.

    Adam Duvall had five RBI in the series, so he’s totally earned a full-time, un-platooned starting job in 2020 on that basis, right?

    To quote you: for Pete’s sake.

  32. @38 I agree, although I could also see Rendon back in Washington too. Texas wants the splashy FA sign though, and that’d be it. Donaldson had a year of good health, meaning the training staff probably knows how to handle him. If the money is even close, I’d have to imagine that matters.

  33. Would anyone want to see the Braves take a chance on Jimmy Nelson on a 1yr, heavily incentive laden, prove it deal?

  34. @30. Except he didn’t make that decision all by his poor lonesome 22 yr old self. He has an agent who is certified by the mlbpa and advised him. And we also know the union wouldn’t have let him sign if it was a terrible deal that they felt was taking advantage of him or setting a bad precedent. Remember Ozzie is a great athlete but is also one of the smallest players in MLB. He plays hard and plays around the bag and is therefore subject to a lot of contact and potential career ending injury. He may never make it to the point where he makes really really big money. He took a guaranteed contract that will set him up for life. What’s wrong with that? And you act as if there’s an infinite amount of money. EVERY team has a budget. More money to Ozzie would necessarily mean less money to pay someone else on the roster. Are you going to be the one to decide who that will be? Give me a break. And in this country every yr we allow a few hundred thousand “unsophisticated” 18 yr olds, 18! to sign away 4 yrs or more of their lives to actually go into harm’s way for relative pennies compared to even the MLB minimum. Perspective. Check yourself for Pete’s sake.

  35. @30 Classic Blazon post! For everyone hoping to educate him on what “small sample size” is, or asking that he stop with his amateur psychological theorizing regarding players, you’re wasting your time. Blazon doesn’t understand baseball, he *feels* baseball.

    @38 and @50 – Rice grad also! Wiess ’01. Peck ’em Owls!

  36. My son thought the Rice mascot should be Crispies. To this day, that’s what we call you, not disparagingly, just part of our familial weirdness.

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