We don’t care about the Braves Spring Training record, but there was a wild game yesterday chock full of good stories once again.
Braves Spring Training Notes: Mark Melancon Puts up Blanks Again
Trademarked the closer for the Atlanta Braves in 2020, Mark Melancon was perfect in his 2nd outing, striking out 2, and allowing no baserunners. Many don’t truly appreciate how great Melancon was for the Braves in 2019. ‘Tis true that his 3.86 ERA wasn’t groundbreaking, but the 10.3 K/9 to go along with a 0.9 BB/9 is elite and should’ve produced elite numbers according to his peripherals.
Braves Spring Training Notes: Peter O’Brien Hits 2 Dingers
Peter O’Brien is an interesting ballplayer. He earned Dominican Winter League MVP honors for their 2019 season, has experience playing left field, right field, first base, third base, and catcher, and can demolish baseballs. If Seitzer could get him to cut his strikeouts to 30%, one could squint and see a Major Leaguer again.
Braves Relief Candidates Shine Again
Pfeifer has now pitched in 5 games (4.1 IP) with eggs for an ERA and has given up 3 hits, 1 walk and struck out 8! As a big fan of Pfilthy Phil Pfreaking Pfeifer, I cannot tell you how much this pleases me. The curve below is pure filth.
Rusin was a good pitcher for the Rockies a few years back and it just so happens that the Rockies manager at the time is current Braves bench coach Walt Weiss. Rusin has had a good spring and saved his best for Game 12 of Spring Training as he struck out 5 over 2 innings of work, bringing his spring ERA down to 2.70 and his strikeouts up to 10 in only 6.2 innings of work.
Not to be outdone by Pfeifer or Rusin, Weigel put up another dominating performance, striking out 2 and allowing 0 runs and only 1 hit in 1.1 innings of work. Ho-hum, his ERA is still 0.00.
Thoughts on the Braves Bench
The Braves bench battle has been a hot topic this offseason, and best case scenario could be that both Johan Camargo and Austin Riley continue to hit and force Anthopoulos to carry both on the 26-man roster, which would force Brian Snitker to find playing time for the duo.
Honestly, that’s best case scenario for another reason as the major players for that last bench spot in Charlie Culberson and Yonder Alonso are crapping the bed, leaving many to start paying attention to other players in Yangervis Solarte, Peter O’Brien, and Rafael Ortega.
Many have discussed that the last bench spot on the team should go to a left-handed hitter due to the bench being RH heavy. I don’t see it that way if the Braves play the outfield the way they should. Sure, Adeiny Hechavarria and one of Tyler Flowers and Travis d’Arnaud are RHHs, but when facing a LHP, there should be two LH bench bats available in Nick Markakis and Ender Inciarte. When facing a RHP, in all likelihood one of the 2 will be on the bench, leaving a RH heavy bench, unless Solarte or Camargo fill that last spot, then it would be fine. Either way, I don’t see it as a major problem.
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