Braves Keep Streaking and Second Base In-House Options and Trade Targets

With homeruns to fill a hand’s appendages, the Braves continue streaking, running it to 13 straight wins. Unfortunately, win number 13 was accompanied with bad news as Ozzie broke his foot on an awkward swing and will likely be out a month and a half. At his current production, the Braves won’t miss him, but his value goes much further than the field.

Ian Anderson struggled once again and his outings continue to be swayed by how much other teams will swing outside the zone. Bullpen work continues to be solid as Dylan Lee, Darren O’Day, Jesse Chavez, and Will Smith combined for 5 innings of 1 run ball with 1 walk and 4 strikeouts.

The best part of the night was Michael Harris getting his first fence-flyer. I think the kid can stick around.

Max Fried takes the mound tonight and I always like the chances when he’s in charge.

In-House Options and Trade Targets

Ozzie Albies is a loved fellow. When teams line up across the diamond to play the Braves, Ozzie is the one guy in the spotlight. He’s fun, jovial, a little bit mischievous, and it’s been well documented that he’s universally loved across baseball. So when Ozzie went down in a heap yesterday after an awkward swing, it wasn’t a question if he was seriously injured, but how long would he have to stay sidelined. The news came fast:

Timelines for a simple fracture range between 4-6 weeks to fully heal. From there, the Braves, especially if continuing their winning ways, will not want to rush him back. My expectation is Albies will be back come August, whether it be the first or second week. With the expectation that Ozzie will be back with 6-7 weeks left in the season, I cannot imagine Anthopoulos will go looking for a permanent replacement. The current plan seems to be to give Orlando Arcia 2B starts and I’d wager a guess that newly acquired (and 40-man rostered) Kramer Robertson gets the call today to fill the immediate need of backup. However, it would seem best practice to grab a LHH 2B to create a platoon with Arcia. Many on social media immediately wanted to go for the jugular and grab Jazz Chisholm from the Marlins. That’s not happening. It would be silly for the Braves and Marlins. Make no mistake, if shopping, the Braves are looking on the discount aisle.

In-House 2B Options for the Braves

  1. Kramer Robertson: The 40-man roster contains 1 dude, the aforementioned Kramer Robertson, that can play 2B. He’s received 1 cup of coffee with the Cardinals before being DFA’d and claimed by the Braves. He’s shown good on-base skills and was a polished player for the LSU Tigers. However, he’s not an ideal fit as he’s a RH batter. If the Braves can’t pull off a trade today, I’d wager we see him get the call on a temporary basis.
  2. Joe Dunand: The Braves claimed slugging 1B Mike Ford after he was DFA’d from the Yankees and had to place him on the 40-man roster. Joe Dunand was the 40-man casualty. AA, who seemingly knows when to make moves like this, was able to keep Dunand in the system, and outrighted him to AAA. Dunand, like Robertson, isn’t an ideal fit as he also hits from the right side.
  3. Pat Valaika, Phil Gosselin, Hernan Perez: Take these 3 dudes, shake’em in a dice cup, spill’em on a table, and you’d basically get the same thing. They’re the definition of a replacement player and have the same thing in common as the 2 other in-house options…they hit right handed.
  4. Braden Shewmake: The only guy in the system that bats LH that could handle 2B, Shewmake could finally get the call, but it wouldn’t be the type of call that the Braves would’ve expected from a 1st round pick. Overall, Shewmake has never lived up to his 1st round potential, carrying a .715 OPS in 815 MILB PAs. I don’t think he’s ready, but at 24 years old, will he ever be?

Braves 2B Trade Targets

It’s my opinion that the Braves will go the trade route. And while the trade route will likely be at an inflated cost as it’s so early in the season, the players the Braves would want to acquire wouldn’t cost too much.

  1. Ehire Adrianza: In my opinion, the ideal fit. He seemed like a good clubhouse fit last year and swung a pretty decent stick.
  2. Roughned Odor: He’s not very good anymore, but he did punch the shit out of Jose Bautista once so that counts for something. I don’t think he’s a realistic target.
  3. Brandon Drury: A former Braves farmhand, Drury is having a good season but it’s a season inflated by his home stats in Cinci. He also bats RH and that isn’t an ideal fit.
  4. Cesar Hernandez: Bigger name, but basically the same production as Adrianza.
  5. Kyle Farmer: Will be a free agent in ’23 and is a Georgia boy. I’m sure he could be had.
  6. Whit Merrifield: If the Braves wanted to work out a deal to buy low on Whit Merrifield, I’m sure they could as he’s been the opposite of good for quite a while. Still, there’s speed in his legs and if the Royals would depart with him AND send significant amounts of cash to offset his ’22 and ’23 salary. If he could hit a little, Merrifield is an ideal 26th man on a playoff team.
  7. Tony Kemp: Kemp has been putrid with the A’s, but has had a serviceable career.

Author: Ryan Cothran

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

46 thoughts on “Braves Keep Streaking and Second Base In-House Options and Trade Targets”

  1. Not to say that AA won’t make a trade to pick up someone else, but if Ozzie’s actually going to be back within 8 weeks, I’m not sure what the point would be (beyond the notion that if any useful piece can be picked up for spare parts, why not?).

    I don’t think the handedness matters very much because (a) we just added a left-handed starter in the outfield; and (b) most of Ozzie’s real value is right-handed. I think Arcia is perfectly cromulent, so unless he sucks when given an expanded workload, you’re talking about 40 at-bats or so over two months. If you had Joey Wendle instead of Kramer Robertson, how is that more than about 5 hits?

    Now if this injury is season-ending, you have to do something just to ensure than an oblique or something doesn’t leave you with Kramer Robertson as a regular second baseman. But otherwise, I don’t see it. Y’all convince me otherwise.

  2. AA has already talked about wanting another left-handed bat. With Ozzie going out, that makes that need grow. If the braves can find a decent left-handed bat that just so happens to be able to play second base, that is a double win.

    I thought about Joey Wendle as well for he is injured and the Marlins, if they were to sell him, would definitely not be selling low on him coming back from an injury. Also I don’t think that they would be selling him to the Braves this early. I feel the list I created were realistic options from teams that either don’t need to be player or teams that would be OK selling early if it meant they would get back greater value.

  3. @56 last thread…
    Jonathan, are you saying that peer leadership in MLB is meaningless nowadays? I’m just trying to understand your point.

  4. Gosselin’s contract purchased and Albies to 60-day IL, which is bizarre unless he’s in need of surgery. IMO, Goose up is a bandaid, but could a bandaid the Braves sport until the trade deadline.

  5. Ozzie to the 60day IL so it’s at least two months. Maybe we could get Merrifield and Benintendi as a package?

  6. As MLBTR notes, the 60-day DL makes Ozzie eligible to return on August 13.

    I hate that his response to my blog comment complaining about his low OBP was, first, to take his first walk in two weeks, and then to render himself incapable of walking for two months.

  7. @5: I’m just about to write something longer on this, which I think will appear Friday morning since there will be nothing to recap. Group culture is a thing, peer effects are a thing so I’m never going to say there’s nothing there. But the notion that a team neads a “leader,” or two “leaders” or seven “leaders,” some of them hortatory and some of them quiet, etc, etc, is an explanation in search of a problem, IMO. There’s still a lot we don’t know about how some teams (in general, not just sports) function better than others, but I strongly suspect that “teams need peer leaders” is the sort of thing created to give sportswriters and broadcasters something to talk about.

  8. @9

    I look forward to reading that.

    I probably come down on the opposite side as you. Is it overrated to a certain extent? Almost certainly. But for example, if you pressed me on the reasons for our subpar play over the first two months, the loss of Freddie Freeman’s clubhouse presence would be on my list. Would it be at the very top? Maybe not. But it wouldn’t be down in the honorable mentions, either.

  9. @10: I’m not sure I’m willing to go so far as to blame Freddie’s absence for the lackluster start. After all, they were pretty lackluster except for those two months last year, and they had Freddie all that time. But, in general, this captures my thinking.

    By the way, I didn’t way to be the one to mention it, but since no one else has, the streak is 12, not 13.

  10. #10
    And we were a sub-.500 team until the first week of August last year with Freddie.

    I don’t know the answer. I know that some teams (the early ’70s A’s, the mid-late ’70s Yankees) fought like cats & dogs, had guys who absolutely hated each other, and they won titles. (Of course, the best player on both teams was the same hated guy.) The ’86 Mets had a guy who thought he was the leader (Gary Carter), but everyone laughed at him behind his back, and they won a title.

    Each situation is different & I’m not sure the notion of needing a leader can be proven one way or another. I mean, it seems like the 2 best players on the Braves the last few years didn’t really dig each other and it wasn’t like Freddie ever really convinced Ronald to act like a pro.

  11. Should the Braves win today, then a lot is riding on Alex, Roger, and myself. We are all headed to the game tomorrow, and I do not want to be the jinx to end the streak.

  12. 12 — He hasn’t played the infield in 5 years. Apparently he wasn’t good enough there which is why he became an outfielder.

  13. I remain concerned that Ozzie’s fracture is a Lisfranc fracture, based on being immediately placed on the 60 day IL.

  14. Yeah, I completely incline to Ububba’s view @13.

    No pressure, Rob!

  15. Didn’t Shewmake start out doing really well this year in AAA? Whatever the case, his production this season in the minors is now pretty close to Gosselin’s major league numbers with a little higher slugging percentage. Unless something clicks for him, I don’t see a callup anytime soon.

    My guess is Arcia will be given every opportunity to win the starting role over the next 2 months. We’ll make a trade at the deadline. How good the player is and how much we give up for him will be determined by Arcia’s production and Ozzie’s health. I bet the Padres would give us Robinson Cano for extremely cheap- no thanks!

  16. Shewmake has not adapted well to better competition and that’s unfortunate.

    Demeritte was a remarkable (and highly touted in the system) infielder and I still have no clue why they moved him.

  17. I know errors aren’t a definitive stat, but in 2017 he committed 20 errors. My guess is that they didn’t think he could handle it.

  18. Some cool context on the streak: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/acunas-return-is-just-one-piece-of-braves-turnaround/

    I hadn’t noted that Harris’s swing had been changed by the major league coaches, and it is appearing to pay immediate dividends. Jaffe quotes Eric Longenhagen:

    Harris’ hands start and are loading much lower now, which may prevent him from cutting down at the baseball quite so much. It’s only been about two weeks since he’s made the change, and of the balls in play since, roughly 52% [now 57%] of them have been on the ground, which is still not great, but the fact that he’s continued to hit big league pitching as a 21-year-old who’s making a swing change on the fly is incredible. It’s too early to draw any real statistical conclusions about what kind of impact this swing change will actually have on Harris’ power output; it may enable him to hit more homers and/or exacerbate some of the issues Harris has already had with in-zone, letter-high fastballs.

    Seriously: Michael Harris has spent a grand total of about two months above High-A ball, and he’s making swing changes on the fly while playing major league center field and putting up a .780 OPS in his first cup of coffee in the big leagues, just a few months after his 21st birthday. There is almost no skill more important than the ability to make adjustments on the fly; it’s literally what impressed me most about Ronald Acuña, Jr. I don’t know how good Harris will be, but I genuinely couldn’t be more impressed with what he’s been able to do so far.

  19. I am watching through mlb.tv, and after the top of the first they did not go immediately to commercial. The mics in the booth were still live and BJ and Byrd were chatting without realizing they were on air. I missed the context, but they were talking about pitching and Jordan quoted Leo Mazzone (I missed what the quote was). Byrd came back and said “You just have to let some things Leo says go. I didn’t know that in my 20’s, but I’ve learned it since.”

  20. Dear Washington,

    When you bring up a guy from AAA to pitch to this lineup in his Major League debut, you and he will regret it.

    Sincerely,
    The Atlanta Braves

  21. Fried is getting BABIPed a bit this inning, but it’s clear he doesn’t have his best command tonight.

  22. @32–the broadcasters think he’s having a grip issue, perhaps the ball is moist. He did strike out the first five batters.

  23. Yeah, I heard Byrd speculate that the ball had some condensation in the heat after coming out of the humidor.

    Fried had a good comeback inning in the 4th.

  24. I predict that if the Braves continue to hit five home runs per game this winning streak will last a LONG time.

  25. I predict that the Nationals are gonna lose 95 games this year.

    I also predict that the Atlanta Falcons will not match the Atlanta Braves’ record win streak in 2022.

  26. Mikolas gives up a hit with 2 outs in the 9th. I still need someone to explain how the Pirates swept the Dodgers.

  27. @38 Yeah, that result flummoxes me. I guess regular season games in Dodger stadium are a crapshoot* :)

    *Except if you’re the Braves. Then you’ll never win a series there.

  28. Saying Jackson Stephens has been a huge surprise is a gigantic understatement. He has assumed the Josh Tomlin role, only effectively.

  29. And Stephens gets his 2nd save. I love the 3-innings save stat for some illogical reason. Yeah, having a long-man actually be effective is nice for a change.

  30. @14 Agreed. I have this same fear. Also, if the Braves manage at least 4 HR’s tomorrow, they will tie their record for most HRs in a 3 game series. A lot on the line. But the fans I’ve seen on the Nats feed behind the 3rd base dugout have been really rockin’! So it’ll be fun regardless.

    I think the last time I was a Nats stadium Fedde pitched and the game ended up 9-8 or something like that. Fedde maybe our good luck char and I’m am really looking forward to seeing “the moustache”.

  31. Funny thing is I think of McHugh as the Tomlin replacement and Jackson as an emerging Matzek. We all thought Matzek should be pitching multiple innings, too.

    Watching this team has been really fun for the last two weeks. I still can’t believe we blew two games in Arizona. And Harris has a two game HR streak. Arcia and Harris are two of our four highest OPS guys (along with Acuna and Contreras). Ozuna is approaching .700. These guys have been incredible at the plate.

  32. I owe Stephens a Coke. He’s been quite good for us.

    Harris’s two home runs, and his RBI double last night, all went to left-center. Power to the opposite field: that’s cool.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.