NL East Preview: Spring Training Week 1

Roughly one month from our previous installment, here, not much has changed. A few small moves, mainly on the bench and bullpen sides of each team, with the biggest upgrades coming in the form of Marcell Ozuna to the Braves and Taijuan Walker to the Mets. The Mets remain the favorites to win the division based on projected fWAR, but it’s a tight race and every team has taken a slight jump since our last edition.

Rotation

The only addition here is Taijuan Walker replacing Joey Luchessi in the Mets rotation, but fangraphs must’ve updated their projections as every teams projected WAR for their rotation group increased slightly. The Braves jumped from 10.8 to 12.2 due to jumps in Morton, Fried and Soroka’s projections.

Lineup

The Braves and Marlins made the most notable changes in the lineup category, Ozuna returning to Atlanta pushes Ender Inciarte to the bench, a huge upgrade for Atlanta’s lineup. Also if the DH is added the Braves most likely candidate is Jake Lamb, an upgrade over Johan Camargo. The only other notable change here is Adam Duvall has crossed the division to join forces with the fish, strengthening their lineup significantly. It is also worth noting the projections on all 4 of the Braves NLE opponents decreased in this area since the last projections.

Bullpen

As of now, the Braves bullpen is projected to be the same cast of characters as it was prior to Spring Training. Shane Greene remains unsigned. The Phillies have attempted to sure up their pen with the additions of Kintzler and Watson, while the Marlins made a splash trading for John Curtiss. The Braves bullpen still projects to be a strength, but my guess would be we’ll see a new name or two on this list in the next few weeks as games play out.

Bench

Most teams movement came on their bench. The Braves notable addition here is Jake Lamb, as well as Ender being moved to the bench. These two changes moved the Braves out of negative bench WAR. The Mets added three new names which added more than 1 WAR to their bench unit. Parra and Miller were both interesting pickups for the Nats and Phils that should help them over the course of the season. Keep an eye on Adrianza, he’s looked good early in Spring Training but this bench spot will surely be a battle.

Summary

The Braves were able to tighten the gap on the Mets, moving to a deficit of 2.2 projected fWAR from 4.5. There are still moves to be made, but I’d expect these numbers to be fairly close to projections just before Opening Day when we update this list. The Nationals and Phillies still can’t be counted out, and I’ll reiterate that this young Marlins club won’t go down without a fight. Spring Training truly is a wonderful time in the baseball year, with new hopes and championship aspirations abound. I like what I see coming from the Braves camp thus far.

Author: Matt P

Hello, I’m Matt Pocza! I am a 4th year finance and economics student at the University of Florida and I love the Atlanta Braves. I’ve played baseball my entire life, and I am a sidearm pitcher for the club team at Florida. I also enjoy scuba diving, football and business. Follow me on twitter @braves_rumors!

53 thoughts on “NL East Preview: Spring Training Week 1”

  1. @2

    I do believe every time I turn on the TV to catch a Braves game, Trea Turner is standing on second base.

  2. I’d swap shortstops with the gNats. Or just about anybody. Thanks for the link, blazon.

    And the post, Matt.

  3. Speaking of shortstops, I’ve been impressed with Braden Shewmakes athleticism. I don’t know why but I wasn’t expecting that.

  4. @5 I hate that so many people are down on Dansby. He may never be Trevor Story but he sure looks like a reasonable facsimile of Jeff Blauser, except a better defender and a bit less injury prone. I can live with that.

    I do like the analysis given – thanks, Matt. Gives a full perspective of where we potentially stand right now. To me, it looks like our worst case group is the starters and I think that’s only because the younger guys are undervalued due to limited track record. I feel good that both Soroka and Anderson can easily exceed projections.

    The other deficits are so much less glaring overall in comparison to the rest of the division. I’d sure like to see one of those make good contracts go to Cespedes or even Puig. Those are guys that would be great off the bench and hugely good insurance against injury plans and excellent additions for interleague. That really is the role that Duvall was playing already.

    The other area is the bullpen which could be even better with Shane Greene in it.

  5. @7 I didn’t like Swanson when he first came up. He seemed to me to be a poor man’s Blauser who would be given fawning, Francouer-like treatment by the organization.

    Blauser did one thing exceptionally well: hitting fastballs. He was probably the best on the team doing that for a long time. His hands were made of stone. He had no range.

    Swanson is pretty good.

  6. @7 I actually think that Swanson is a bit of a late bloomer. To this point, his best season was basically last season, but his work with Chipper Jones may be paying off. Last year is the first time since A ball that Swanson has posted an ISO of .190. Provided he doesn’t play significant chunks of every “full” season beat up or injured, I think quite a few accomplishments are possible for him, like hitting 30 homers, making the all-star team, and finishing in the top 10 of MVP voting.

  7. if Pache were to turn into another Soto who could also run and field…………..wow

  8. Arano looked pretty good too. You know; if Arano, Edwards, and Ynoa can show well all spring and we can sign Greene, I’m not sure why we would keep Tomlin, Jackson, and Dayton. Keep Ynoa as long man and Greene and Edwards/Arano. Webb, Arano, and Newk have options (as does Ynoa). Keeping Ynoa, Greene and Edwards means Tomlin would go. Either Jackson or Dayton or both might pass through waivers. Then either Webb or Arano could stick and the other go to AAA.

  9. @11 Having Chipper on staff sure won’t hurt. I agree that if he can avoid injuries, he’s going to have a hell of a five year run.

  10. LATE NIGHT BREAKING FINANCIAL NEWS .

    Mackenzie Bezos got remarried to day. But she still has 34 of the 38 billion Jeff coughed up so we must not lose our focus attempting to squeeze a modest 3 billion from her to become the new owner of the Braves. 2 billion for the initial purchase and misc expenses plus an annual Free Agent float of 1 billion a year for 5 years thereafter. That should do it.

    Additionally, our source in the ex-Bezos pad tells us the new hubby teaches high school
    science, exciting news so we should waste no time in prepping Ryan C to do his homework and have hubby soften her up for the formal putsch which of course I myself will be doing.

    Liberty be damned. We shall turn the National League on its ear.

  11. Sadly, I don’t think MacKenzie Bezos is interested in professional sports. The impression that I get from her new-found status in the world’s elites is that she doesn’t really want to be in the limelight. I could be wrong though.

  12. Your reaction is interesting, that she likely seeks the quiet life. I might guess/argue the opposite. That years/decades of living under the thrall of a corporate oppressor out from under whom she rarely emerged has blessedly gone and she seeks a new life of her own, she is still relatively young. Off to a good start she wasted no time in dispensing the first few billion -something she did that she made no attempt to disguise – and now she has a new husband, also not unheralded.

    So, time to make a move. No fancy lawyers yet, just an intriguing pitch from an outsider who loves the game, tells her about the ownership structure and how absurd it mostly is, talks about Ted and Jane and what fun they had – she, 82, still going strong. Never boring.

    Then there’s the city itself. Atlanta is growing, changing demographically, big time, and very much for the better. As the owner of the Braves she would be one of those central to all that if she chose to . Why not?

    Sometime before this Opening Day, a letter will hopefully arrive on her desk to start things off. Hopefully we will find she has an open mind and, most importantly a sense of humor. Fuck you Jeff. Thanks for the cash I had to grind out of you. Should all be done and dusted by the end of the season and that first billion dollars will be ready to drop into that Free Agent pool by Christmas. Woo hoo. I intend there to be a small, private ceremony – nobody will know of the coming onslaught. JonathanF will sit to my left(after much hesitancy he will have agreed to call me Sir), She on the right. No press, the Atlantic will be pissing itself. We will go public after we’ve allowed enough time for speculation to be boiling over.

    And the funny thing is, it could happen. Just.

  13. Mackenzie
    forget the BS and another black Benzie
    relax by the pool
    call the FO,
    Change pitchers, you fool!
    the crowd with those lights, i’m enjoying the frenzy.

  14. Is there any actual connection between Mackenzie Bezos and the Braves or even the city of Atlanta? I’m struggling to find anything that would suggest she would have an interest in owning this particular team or even just a sports franchise for that matter.

    Don’t get me wrong. I do wish to be out from under this corporate ownership. I long for another Ted Turner situation.

  15. @27

    If it is, Chief, you have made your contribution. Good to see you.

    @25
    Have no idea. The appeal is to the heart, to do something different now she is washed of what went before. There is no great need to be logical here.

  16. The Braves had leads entering the 6th inning in NLCS games 5 & 7.
    The leads were blown by the pitchers currently listed 1,2,3 on the bullpen depth chart.
    The current bullpen has less talent than last year’s pen.

    #1 & #2 are facts, and #3 is an opinion. Not saying Smith, Martin, or Minter are problems. Hell, Mo Rivera blew the occasional playoff save.
    But I’m nervous about #3.

  17. @30

    Thank you for that, brilliantly displayed. Words are inadequate so here’s two – Greek. Tragedy. How he has kept his head up and stayed in the game is a huge testament to his courage.

  18. What is the name of that crop he is now vested in growing commercially in Georgia – apparently successfully? New life, each year, the symbolism.


  19. BY RUDYARD KIPLING
    (‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies)

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

  20. @37 I’m liking the hats. I could conceivably rock that bad boy at the MLF weigh-in later this month.

  21. @39

    Rossy and I are tight!

    @40
    Shoot me an email if you want one. Only 9 left of first batch.

  22. This is one of those days we’ll have to tip our Hammers hats to the Pirates. We’re losing 10 to 0 and being outhit 17 to 0 in the 9th. Not a game we will want to remember.

  23. What are you guys coming up with?

    Get over: Brooks Conrad
    Never get over: Keeping Kimbrel in the pen.

  24. Umpire version:

    Sam Holbrooke (to me it looked like he had already started (just barely) to raise his hand to show that he had called the infield fly when the shortstop signaled that he had lost the ball)

    Drew Coble and Eric Gregg

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