Braves Sign Yasiel Puig

It was the Christmas holidays of 2014 as Fredi Gonzalez waltzed into a Honeybaked Ham humming the classic John Denver Christmas jingle “Please, Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk on Christmas)”. He was in line to grab the main course for his holiday celebrations when he heard a hark from behind: “Hey, you’re the manager of the Braves, right?” Fredi replied, “Sure am, and we just signed A.J. Pierzynski“. This is exactly how it happened. Who knew that ham could bring so much goodness to the world?

Now fast forward to July 14th and we get a tweet from a young man, not at a Honeybaked Ham, rather hanging out around Truist Park:

Wild speculation was abound on social media outlets for the next hour due to this young man’s tweet, then the news was confirmed:

And then, the hat tip from Ken:

Good on the young man and an additional hat tip to Ken for giving the kid his moment. Now let’s talk Puig.

Braves Sign Yasiel Puig: Impact

While I’ve been pretty adamant on the podcast that Puig wasn’t a fit, I should have done a little more research. Like many Cuban born players, Puig has career reverse splits: .845 OPS vs RHP, .762 OPS vs. LHP. In my opinion, this is the sole reason why Anthopoulos grabbed Puig. With Freddie Freeman out for what will likely be 2 weeks (at minimum) and Nick Markakis opting out of the season, the Braves were in desperate need to add to their lineup against RHP.

It’s my guess that Puig will slot in the 3rd or 4th spot of the order against RHP, and could sit vs. LHP if the Braves choose to use Duvall. However, with Freddie out, there’s likely spots for most of the big names to find playing time. Here’s my best guess for the Opening Day lineup against DeGrom:

  1. Ronald Acuña Jr.- RF
  2. Ozzie Albies– 2B
  3. Yasiel Puig- LF
  4. Marcell Ozuna-DH
  5. Johan Camargo– 3B
  6. Austin Riley– 1B
  7. Travis d’Arnaud/Tyler Flowers– C
  8. Dansby Swanson– SS
  9. Ender Inciarte– CF

And (what I hope we see) vs. LHP:

  1. Ronald Acuña Jr.- RF
  2. Ozzie Albies- 2B
  3. Marcell Ozuna- DH
  4. Adam Duvall– LF
  5. Austin Riley- 1B
  6. Johan Camargo- 3B
  7. Travis d’Arnaud/Tyler Flowers- C
  8. Dansby Swanson- SS
  9. Cristian Pache– CF

Note on Pache: Both he and William Contreras are impressing the people they need to impress in ST 2.0. Pache has really filled out and is the best defensive CF on the team. The Braves could choose to use Pache on the initial 30 for the first week of the season, then send him back to the player pool when the number drops to 28. While I don’t expect it, I would love to see the kid get his shot.

What Happens When Freddie’s Ready?

When/if Freddie returns, the Braves will likely have to start altering playing time for Camargo and Riley, which isn’t the worst scenario unless both of them are scorching hot. If that’s the case, it’s one of those good problems and we as fans would be fine with the depth in such a bizarre season.

Thanks for reading “Braves Sign Yasiel Puig”! If you enjoyed this piece, check out all of our offseason analysis here.

Author: Ryan Cothran

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

33 thoughts on “Braves Sign Yasiel Puig”

  1. Notes on Pache and option manipulation: In order for the Braves to get another year of service out of Pache, he’d have to stay on the player pool side for 20 days total. Here’s what I’d like to see:
    •Pache starts with team right away, is there for 2 weeks.
    •On August 7th, after 2 weeks, when rosters decrease to 28, Pache goes back down.
    •Assuming rosters expand in September (haven’t seen this addressed), Pache comes back up after spending the rest of August in the player pool. Even if rosters do not expand, he comes back up in September if he was good in July and August.

  2. I’d be happy with this playing time split. I really think duvall deserves at least 30-40 starts this year.

  3. If Snitker couldn’t find starts for his bench in a 162 game season, I doubt he’s going to do anything different in a 60 game season. He’s going to find his 9 and ride them.

  4. Yes but I think there are gonna be more people cycling through the roster than usual, with people quarantining after possible exposure.

    Ryan I had never seen that many Cubans had reverse platoon splits, any idea why that is?

  5. I hope Puig isn’t the latest version of Melky Cabrera, Bret Boone, etc. Dude seems like a headcase, and they haven’t done well with the Braves.

  6. I think that there have definitely been some personality clashes in the past with guys who did not mesh with the Braves “old school” persona. I’m hoping Snit can help ease some of that.

  7. If we’ve seen anything during Snitker’s tenure, I think it’s he has an extraordinary ability to support his players all the while balancing big egos.

  8. Pache went back to the player pool with a grade 2 sprain. That likely ends his candidacy for OD duties. Would still love to see him get some regular PT. I think we are going to be really surprised by his play.

  9. Jose Abreau has a normal split while Cespedes is a reverse platoon guy. Both Gurriel boys are reverse splits in limited play. There appears to be something to this…

  10. I was looking at this yesterday and I’m not sure about that. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is a righty who hits lefties 160 points better than righties, while Yuli Gurriel has a mild reverse split, hitting righties 40 points better than lefties.

    There certainly are a couple Cuban guys I saw with reverse splits, but the vast majority had normal opposite hand splits, when I zoomed out to look at their careers.

  11. As to opposite splits.

    My understanding is the statistical analysis indicates that a left handed hitter with reverse splits is unlikely to truly have those. The difference in the other direction overall is less.

    My view is if a hitter holds them for a 6 or so year (or more) interval, they are probably real. I remember Uggla having substantial reverse splits over 5 full years and the Braves saying they were getting him to get a good right handed bat and I went “huh?”

  12. @18

    The people who insist opposite splits aren’t really a thing have always struck me as a prime example of the “it shouldn’t be a thing, and I can’t figure out why it is…therefore it isn’t” school of thought that pops up on occasion among the more statistically-inclined crowd. As you seemed to suggest, if somebody statistically has them over their entire career, to imply that it’s just meaningless random noise is absurd on its face.

  13. @20, sure, but it’s fair to ask why. Why is it that these guys have a reverse split? And specifically, why is it that Ryan says that many Cubans have a reverse split?

  14. “Teams will play a modified regional slate of games, with clubs playing only four of their 14 intraleague opponents all regular season. For some idea of how radical that is: The Cubs and Braves aren’t scheduled to meet this year, a feat that hasn’t happened since 1873, or three years before the telephone was invented.”

    https://www.theringer.com/mlb/2020/7/13/21322137/all-mlb-tv-team-luis-robert-mookie-betts-aaron-judge-fernando-tatis

  15. @21

    Yeah, of course…all of those are relevant questions and would be good to find the answer to. My only point is that if you can’t figure out the answer, that doesn’t mean the phenomenon doesn’t exist (which is the conclusion a fair number of folks over on Talking Chop have come to, for instance).

  16. @23, my general posture is to agree with you, so long as we take Bayes into consideration.

  17. My statement on Cuban players doesn’t seem like it holds a lot of weight in these last few years, but let me find my source. Standby…

  18. @29
    “As for how the Braves will proceed without Hamels, Bowman lists touted young righty Kyle Wright, veteran RHP Josh Tomlin and lefty prospect Tucker Davidson as candidates for the last spot in their rotation.”

    Gotta be Wright over Tomlin and Davidson, right?

  19. I had not heard about it until today (from NY Post):

    “Howie Kendrick, Victor Robles and Washington’s best hitter, Juan Soto — had yet to attend camp with the Nats providing no reason to reporters. A club can only announce whether a player is absent for reasons associated with coronavirus with the player’s permission.”

  20. Oh yeah, definitely Wright over Tomlin and Davidson.

    Honestly, who cares about Hamels. I like our rotation. Soroka, Fried, Folty, Newcomb, and Wright is perfectly fine for the first couple weeks with Hamels soon joining. I just don’t know how you keep Wright off the mound if he’s pitching well. He’s your future. Hamels is a 9-start mercenary. And it’s much further complicated if Folty continues to struggle.

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