Braves MILB Week 2 Update and Game Thread

2 weeks into the minor league season, it’s exciting to see what some of the Braves top prospects or unexpected veterans are up to in the early going. Without the luxury of watching development or checking stats for the past 20 months, it was nearly impossible to guess how some of the prospects would perform; some are living up to the hype, while others are struggling a bit.

Gwinnett Stripers

Offense

Breakdown: Arcia and Demeritte are absolutely tearing the cover off the ball. Arcia continued his hot start with a walk off homer to win the Stripers the game Sunday afternoon. Almonte hasn’t been bad at all in his playing time, definitely good to have him ready to come up and play if needed with the slew of injuries to the big-league team lately. Waters has been playing very poorly. A lot of his ABs have ended early in the count with how aggressive he is (he only has 4 walks on the year and is striking out in 36% of his ABs). Waters loves to swing early and often and if he can’t maintain a BABIP in the .350-.400 range his stats are going to be ugly.

Pitching

Breakdown: Davidson has absolutely excelled in his 2 starts thus far, only allowing 1 run while striking out a batter an inning and carrying a BB/9 under 2, hence the callup to the bigs to replace Huascar Ynoa. Wright and Wilson have been up and down yet again. Wilson pitched yesterday, giving up 4 ER in 6 IP. Believe it or not, Muller’s ERA is 8.18 after throwing 4 1 run innings on Saturday. His first two starts were horrendous, but hopefully he can find a bit more command and become the guy most scouts project him to be. As a sidenote, Jasseel De La Cruz who spent a few days riding the pine in Atlanta made his first start the other day going 4.2 innings while giving up 1 ER with 0 walks and 5 Ks.

Mississippi Braves

Offense

Breakdown: Langeliers has been playing very well. With Contreras now on the MLB squad for the foreseeable future, it isn’t out of the question that he’s promoted to AAA sooner rather than later. Jenista is a guy that many had begun to cast aside, but I still really like. His average is low but he’s been off to a hot start and has come up with some big hits. Everyone’s been talking about Michael Harris, while Trey Harris has been doing what he does best. He leads the team in SB and has the least strikeouts on the team while simultaneously leading the team in ABs. He’s putting the ball in play and that is always better than striking out. Shewmake is in a massive slump. He had a stretch of games where it looked like he was turning the corner and since then just went ice cold. He’s hit well every stop until now, I’m not panicking yet.

Pitching

Breakdown: Vodnik was absolutely dealing on Thursday night before he hit some trouble in the 4th inning. Prior to that he had 7 Ks through 3 IP and clearly had all his pitches working. He ended up being pulled after giving up 3 ER in the 4th but I’d say a successful start for a guy developing. Withrow has been impressive out of the bullpen only allowing 1 ER in 9 IP.

Rome Braves

Offense

  • Michael Harris: .333/.375/.886, 2 HRs, 3 SB
  • Bryce Ball: .188/.400/.838, 2 HR, 12 BB, 17 Ks in 32 ABs

Breakdown: Harris and Ball have been carrying the offense, Ball’s average is low but his OBP is extremely high due to the 12 walks which leads the team by a landslide; but he has also struck out in more than half of his ABs. Harris has been playing very well and making plenty of defensive plays as well.

Pitching

  • Jared Shuster: 3.1 IP, 1 BB, 4 K, 5.40 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
  • Kasey Kalich: 6.2 IP, 3 BB, 5 K, 0.0 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
  • AJ Puckett: 11 IP, 7 BB, 9 K, 0.82 ERA, 1.09 WHIP

Breakdown: Shuster was decent in his first start of the year, giving up 2 ER in 3.1 IP. Kasey Kalich has yet to allow a run across 6.2 IP in 3 bullpen appearances. AJ Puckett has also been throwing well, giving up just 1 ER between a start and two long relief appearances.

Augusta Greenjackets

Offense

Breakdown: Valdez is off to a hot start. If Langeliers gets promoted he likely gets to move up and take his place, assuming he keeps up this performance. Grissom is also hitting well in the early going, it would be nice to see him take a leap in performance this year.

Pitching

Breakdown: Munoz was credited with a blown save after pitching 5 innings and giving up 5 ER in Sunday’s game. Not the best outing to follow up his 4 inning 1 hit performance, but he is still someone to definitely keep an eye on as he’s pumping a high 90s fastball and some electric off-speed. Spencer Strider burst onto the scene the other night with 7 Ks in 3 perfect innings.

Braves Lineup

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!

55 thoughts on “Braves MILB Week 2 Update and Game Thread”

  1. Thanks for the recap, Matt P.!

    AAA offense is probably still the most unexpected development at the moment.

    Hoping for T. Davidson to do well tonight especially against the lackluster Mets offense. Please throw strikes!

  2. Thanks Matt!

    With the bullpen ::fingers crossed: becoming more settled, hopefully De La Cruz, Wilson, and Wright can get settled in AAA and start logging some consistent innings. Not sure what that means for the big league club, but the Gwinnett shuttle is probably not doing them any good.

  3. I am obliged to stretch a long since forgotten “Inner Space” quote

    The Tucker Davidson machine – zero defects

    Middle child and I are so excited that we are staying up way past bedtime on a school night because I have suitably primed my wife/her mum with some wine so that we can get away with it

  4. Touki is on the 60-day IL with a shoulder strain. Not really sure when we’ll see him.

    Davidson is a guy I’m really excited about and I hope he grabs this opportunity by the horns and doesn’t let it go.

  5. I’m late to comment, but kudos to Cliff for excellent riff on “mayhem.” Entirely apt.
    BTW, Pillar has multiple broken bones in his face.

  6. It would have been nice to see JDLC get a chance to pitch an inning or two. He couldn’t have been worse than Biddle and would have gotten some valuable experience.

    There’s no reason for Wilson to be at AAA either. He should be the swing man for the big league club.

  7. I know it seems worse, but coming into this game, Braves pitchers were giving up a .117/.172/.167 batting line to opposing pitchers. That’s appreciably worse than the league average of .101/.135/.135, but it’s also, in the grand scheme of things, not a huge problem.

  8. Acuña is now 9-48 in May
    Thats .187

    So he is, as of this month, just as bad as the rest of the offense.

    He has not been the same since the ab injury. I’m tired of our players playing hurt (with or without knowledge of the coaching staff). Freddy swinging wet newspapers, Acuña in the playoffs, etc.

  9. Davidson’s only allowed 4 baserunners and has 5 K’s in 5 innings. The home run is unfortunate, but he’s been great.

  10. Wright is getting rocked for Gwinnett tonight. What would a package involving Wright look like to land a first division position player starter?

  11. @13 yeah, he’s done well. The velocity is not as advertised, though.
    I don’t get why they gave 11 million to Smyly when Wilson or Davidson could do the same. Not Wright. That guy has disappointed.

    At the very least, Davidson can be a LH bullpen piece.

    And here comes the meltdown :(

  12. MLB.TV bugged out right before the Swanson catch. Just got to watch it. That’s a #1 pick catch right there.

  13. I would stay with Davidson one more inning. Guy is like at 70 pitches.

    Not like any of our “good” relievers are going to come in if we don’t have a lead.

  14. Davidson can hold his head up high for tonight — he pitched well. Feels like we’ve been saying this every other year for the past 20, but the offense has gotta stop treating runners in scoring position like they’re It in a game of freeze tag.

  15. I’d love to see a walk-off after this frustrating week of ball.

    EDIT: Aaaaand I spoke literally 2 seconds too early.

  16. Unreal…damn bullpen again. One of the idiots on any given night is going to be the culprit

  17. PLEASE STOP GIVING UP HOMERS ALL THE TIME WILL SMITH

  18. Can’t wait for Will Smith to piss off.

    Now future all star Peraza with a near HR.

    AA friggin sucks at signing pitchers.

  19. Melancon??? No we don’t want to resign him for change .. we got Will ” homer ” Smith

  20. @26 and he is one of the best we have, which illustrates how bad they are as a group

  21. I would say it is safe to say there aren’t many “in AA we trust” types around here anymore

  22. @29 I can’t forgive him for giving up the NLCS losing HR last year in the Will Smith vs will smith matchup.

    At least mark wohlers had been good for us before the jim leyritz HR.

  23. According to the radio broadcast, the Braves have been in 7 games that were tied in the 9th. They have lost all 7.

    Tonight could be 8.

  24. 2021 Atlanta Braves baseball- helping teams all over the league build confidence and feel good about themselves

  25. At some point, you can’t keep running the same lineup out there every day like things are going well.

  26. @37 It’s very understandable. I had to hold back from posting tonight to stop getting on people’s nerves.

    Lost twice to the mets AAA team. They should be embarrassed.

  27. @31 I had always thought that AA had overall done a fine job, but the roster construction this year, whether it was his fault or not, was a huge disappointment. With that said, the Covidness of the state of the franchise might have played a role.

    Earn your money, AA. You have a mess on your hands.

  28. @35, not doubting you but doubting the radio guys. The 9th/11th/12th-inning comeback game where Sandoval HR’d in the 9th was tied in the 9th. Maybe they meant tied at the start of the 9th. Still, ugh.

  29. The lineup is flawed for sure. I think we all agree Dansby is a 7th/8th hole type, yet Snit continues to bat him 5th with Riley and Contreras (both hitting much better) batting 6th and 7th. Like the fact we don’t use good relievers while trailing by a run, there are no logical reasons for this. A flawed lineup mixed with a flawed pitching staff and a flawed manager will produce what we are seeing.

  30. Some good news is Waters homered twice tonight after I bashed him this morning in this update

  31. I guess I’m basically where @41 is, but in general, I’m still on the “In AA I trust” boat.

    Remember, I’m the “buck stops here” guy. But I still like just about every individual move he’s made. Sometimes the breaks are beating the boys.

  32. I think once a week or so I will track and document where Atlanta is in position player, pitching, and fielding fWAR and wRC+ as we continue to be a bad baseball team. Right now, Atlanta is 17th in wRC+ and 18th in position player fWAR. They are 22nd in that all-encompassing defensive stat that Fangraph has that I don’t understand. They are 25th in pitching fWAR. While the offense has been moving in the wrong direction, it would be fair to note that Atlanta is 14th in pitching fWAR for the month of May after being 27th in April.

    Notable position player fWAR paces:

    Acuna: 7.7
    Ozzie: 3.0
    Riley: 2.7
    Freddie: 2.3
    Swanson: -0.4
    Ozuna: -0.9

    Our CFs are 24th in MLB in fWAR with Ender being exactly replacement level in his 28 PAs, Cristian Pache a stunning -0.6 fWAR in only 22 games (a -4.4 fWAR pace across 162 games!), and Heredia’s miraculous 0.7 fWAR in 16 games and 59 PAs.

    The catchers have been replacement level, but there’s reason for optimism: while d’Arnaud was replacement level during his healthy time, Contreras has accumulated 0.5 fWAR in 47 PAs. We might be getting somewhere at the catcher position if we can find a backup catcher, but Mathis and Jackson have combined for a -0.5 fWAR after accumulating only ONE hit in 32 ABs. Alex Jackson somehow has 3 HBP to his one hit in 23 ABs. Mathis is 0-9.

    Johan Camargo, due to being 0-13, has a -0.3 fWAR. Adrianza has fallen back to earth and sits at exactly replacement level in now 75 PAs (8th-most on the team). By running into 4 home runs, Pablo has a 0.4 fWAR.

    In short, this season will be a long, agonizing torture if we don’t figure out how to fix what is truly unforeseen mass position player failure.

  33. @45

    I agree with the moves he’s made, but the ones he hasn’t made have hurt. The bullpen is awful. Trading a pitching prospect for something of value would have been nice.

    I also don’t get why Swanson is hitting 5th. He needs to sit a game or two.

  34. An epic give:

    The Angels are fools for not having traded Mike Trout, heretofore.

    They stink with him, they might not stink without him. Since 2015, they haven’t even finished .500 once and haven’t won a playoff game since his debut. They’ve finished 21, 21, 23, 35, and *10 (COVID) games back in that timespan. They aren’t competitive.

    I’d have long ago entertained a Herschel Walker level haul for him and they would have gotten it too.

    He’s now hurt and out 4-6 weeks. I’m sure they will sink even lower during his absence. He’s also 29 now.

  35. @46, BRef has Freddie on pace for only 0.7-0.8 WAR, which seems low for someone who’s co-leading the league in HR. I guess hitting .220 at first base will do that to you. His strikeout % is low by his standards, his walk % is about normal, and he’s hitting lots of HR, but his BABIP is only .190. His career BABIP is .337, and .295 is his lowest full-season total, so that suggests that he probably won’t finish the year batting .220.

    For what it’s worth, his batted ball profile so far has been different from his career norms, as he’s hitting fewer line drives and more GB and FB, and he’s hitting much more to center field where over his career he’s been pretty much average in terms of pull/center/opposite.

  36. Well, I agree with Chief about one thing: the Angels are fools. They’re still paying Pujols, and they have the old version of Justin Upton too. How many of these aging veterans are they going to pay out top dollar for? They’ve squandered Trout’s best years, probably, but I don’t know that they should consider trading him considering they have great attendance and market. He’s like the only thing those fans have to cheer for (besides Ohtani and a few others).

  37. This helps to illustrate a difference in viewpoint and values, I think.

    In my opinion, the entire point of having a baseball team, and the entire point of rooting for a baseball team, is the hope that one of your guys will magically turn into Mike Trout. The Angels have appallingly mismanaged their fortunes since winning the World Series, but drafting Mike Trout and backing up a truck full of money into his garage was about the best thing that they’ve done since hoisting the hardware.

    If you have the best player in baseball and you trade him for a rebuild, you have failed and your fans should come after you with pitchforks. From my viewpoint as a fan, there is literally nothing that the Angels could receive in a Mike Trout trade that would be worth having traded Mike Trout.

  38. @48, interesting thought, but who really has (or had a few years ago) a Herschel-level haul that they would give or have given for Trout? And if you’re a bad enough GM to give a Herschel-level haul, which is what the Angels would rightly demand, you’re probably not a good enough GM to have a Herschel-level haul available to give.

  39. @51

    I agree with Alex. It would be an awful business decision to trade Mike Trout no matter how bad they are, and if they did, they’d see that $ lost in revenue in 3 years. Do you know how many people buy his jersey and go to their stadium just to see him? I’d be at least 20-25% of every home game.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.