Cole Hamels debuts, A Way Too Early 2021 Braves Payroll, Roster News, and Game Thread

It’s crazy…madness, but unfortunately the 2020 MLB season is already wrapping up. Our Atlanta Braves are 29-20 with 11 games to go and look in good position to advance in the playoffs for the first time in way too long. Unfortunately, advancing in the first round just means that they get to where they’ve been for years, part of the final 8. Hopefully the offense can outduel the pitching and carry the team deep into the postseason. But today is Cole Hamels day and no one can extinguish that fire….well, except Hamels.

Cole Hamels: What to Expect?

Today is a long-awaited day for Braves fans as Cole Hamels is expected to debut after a long bout with himself. He’ll be available for 55-60 pitches, but it wouldn’t surprise me that if things go well, they stretch that number out to 70. It’s important for Braves fans to temper expectations for today and live in a world of reality and that is Cole Hamels is good…but he’s not what he used to be.

Hamels is a 5-pitch starter that features a low-90s fastball that makes up about 40% of his arsenal, a cutter and change about 20%, and a curve and sinker about 10%. The key for Hamels has always been the ability to tunnel all of pitches, yet all have varying velocities ranging from 74 to 93. His fastball has lost a lot of its luster over the years, but his cutter and change are still plenty good and are used as his out-pitches. His ground-ball rate comes in at a shade under 50% and, unlike most pitchers, his HR/FB ratio did not spike in 2019 which is a good sign going forward. He’s not the Hamels of old, so the Braves should look at his last 3-years as a predictor of what he could provide over the course of the rest of the season and the playoffs. If the Braves can get 5-6 innings of 3.50-4.00 ERA baseball out of Hamels, that should put them in good position to win every time he throws.

A WAY too Early Look at the 2021 Braves Payroll

players under contract for 2021

Approximately 70.5 MM for 8 players

Arb-Eligible Players for 2021

Arb-1: A.J. Minter, Mike Soroka, Max Fried, Sean Newcomb

Arb-2: Grant Dayton, Johan Camargo, Luke Jackson, Dansby Swanson

Arb-3: Adam Duvall (Add Mike Foltynewicz if you like…I’m not)

Sean Newcomb, Johan Camargo, Luke Jackson, and Mike Foltynewicz are all trade/non-tender candidates.

Let’s not get into specific salaries for each, but this group could run the team upwards of ~$30MM and I’d expect at least 2 from this list to not be with the team.

Pre Arb Players

There are a lot of guys that could be traded from this list, but 10 is a good round number of guys to be on the 28-man rosters that’s pre-arb eligible which would add ~$5.8 MM in salary.

Total: 106.3 MM for ~25 players

Hypothetical Offseason Outlook

The Braves will definitely be in the starting pitching market, rather it be via trade and/or free agency. My money is on a guy like Marcus Stroman or someone else that would be willing to take a 1-year ballon contract. Here’s a tweet I sent a week back on guys that could be in the market for that type of deal.

I know that most of Braves Country wants Marcell Ozuna to re-sign with the Braves, but I find that option to be less likely as the day goes by. The Braves likely won’t have a lot of $ to spend in 2021 and with Cristian Pache ready, Drew Waters in the queue, and Adam Duvall breaking out, Ozuna seems more like a luxury and less like a need. For my money, the Braves need 2 starters, a LH bench bat (Matt Joyce, you ready?), and maybe 1 reliever to join the core of Chris Martin, Tyler Matzek, Darren O’Day, Jacob Webb, A.J. Minter, and Will Smith.

I also feel like (yes, again) that the Braves will try to trade Ender Inciarte and could even add one or 2 of the failed pitching prospects in the deal so the team acquiring Ender would take on the full contract which would provide the Braves the ever sought after financial flexibility.

Braves Lineup

We’ve been waiting too long Hamels. Time to shine.

Author: Ryan Cothran

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

34 thoughts on “Cole Hamels debuts, A Way Too Early 2021 Braves Payroll, Roster News, and Game Thread”

  1. Site went down for a few for some important updates. We are back. Just got some interesting updates that I need to share.

  2. Not so much JC’d but shut down by the new thread (and no worries, Ryan, and truly thanks for keeping things moving) but I was enjoying the Freddie for the Hall talk. I agree he likely needs some of that black ink on his resume though he has already been damn close with nothing to show for it thanks to injuries and great years by others…see Tatis Jr. this year. That said, if he continues to compile, he gets damn close.

    And let’s go Hamels. I’ll take pre-injury Hampton rather than post-injury Hampton, please and thank you.

  3. I agree with James’ point about postseason credit for a HOF resume — it should be able to put you over the top if you have a borderline case. Conversely, I wouldn’t dock anyone for not performing particularly well in the postseason. Fame can only accrue in the postseason.

  4. #5
    Case in point, Willie Mays… Ted Williams.

    #6
    FWIW, Morris’ overall post-season numbers aren’t even that great. Yes, he had some legendary outings, which everyone remembers (we sure do), but his last 3 games for Toronto (23 IP/19 ER) were disastrous.

  5. @12 but he makes up for it with bad instincts!

    (I love Ozuna and given our roster it should have always been clear that he was the every-day DH; his playing the field is not his fault)

  6. 410 career games in CF. Maybe he was a little faster a few years ago, and I guess the arm wouldn’t have been any more of a problem in center than in left (though he also has 67 games in right).

  7. Anyone else watching the O’s broadcast? I don’t know where they just had Jim Palmer call in from, but it had this crazy audio like he was in a large room and the sound was echoing. It was weird.

  8. @16 He lost a lot of speed. He was an all-around athlete when he came up, perhaps not quite a true CF considering everything, but certainly with more than CF speed. People couldn’t quite understand that he wasn’t a great CF with those wheels, but for whatever reason, in whatever way, he traded them in for substantial plate prowess as he aged.

  9. @21. Thanks. I thought they would let him try to finish the inning, at least until he allowed a baserunner, or until he got to 60 pitches.

  10. I’m a little surprised he didn’t finish the fourth inning, but yeah, he was on a 50-55 pitch count.

    For the record, I thought he was fine. Not super sharp, but this was basically the equivalent of his second minor-league rehab start. Let’s get him ready for his next start to ramp him up to 75 pitches or so.

  11. Given these funky mixed league regional alignment divisions and the very truncated season, does anyone know if MLB is still going to recognize all of the traditional individual awards? I assume so but don’t recall seeing it for sure. The reason I bring it up goes back to the Freeman discussion and the Black Ink and awards portion in particular. With 10 games to play after this he leads the NL* in batting average and RBI. And is just 5 pts behind Soto in OBP.

  12. I think that they are, @26.

    I could be annoyed by the team totally hibernating against another horsebleep pitcher, but I think I’m just gonna have a Coke and a smile. Some days you eat the bear and some days the bear eats you.

  13. Without looking it up anybody want to guess who is second on the team in WAR, BRef version, after Freeman? And has a big enough lead on 3rd place with 10 games left it’s probably insurmountable.

  14. You are correct fine sir! Playing every game with good base running, above average defense at SS, while OPSing .808 is incredibly valuable. He’s at 2.2 WAR while Acuna is at 1.6, albeit in 13 less games.

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