Braves News: All-Stars, Trades and Transactions, OH MY!

The Braves beat the Nationals in extra innings yesterday and news has not stopped bopping since. In today’s game thread piece, let’s take a look at the Braves that were selected to the All-Star team, transactions that landed just in time to kick the Mets’ Ass, and a trade that seems meh at first glance, but could really prove beneficial.

Your Braves All-Stars

Ronald Acuña Jr. is the most talented player of the 4 above, and likely the player most undeserving. Dansby Swanson is on pace for a 6+ WAR season, Max Fried a 7+ WAR season, and Travis D’Arnaud a 4.5 WAR.

Shea who? William Contreras has been an absolute monster all year, boasting a .935 OPS on the year with 11 HRs. Also, when was the last time that 2 catchers from the same team made the All-Star game?

SNUBBED??

As a fan of a team that has 6 All-Stars, is it selfish to want more? Both Austin Riley and Spencer Strider are deserving and could be added at a later date. Like Dansby, Riley is on pace for a 6+WAR season. Meanwhile, Huckleberry Strider has appeared in 19 games, started 8, and holds a 2.60 ERA while averaging 14 K/9 to only 3.4 BB/9. You’d be hard pressed to find 14 more dominant pitchers in the league.

Robinson CanDo or Cannot?

While grabbing someone to replace Phil Gosselin wasn’t all the surprising, Robinson Cano was definitely not on my radar. This move reminds me of more desperate times when Anthopoulos brought Jose Bautista in to play 3B and he carried an OPS under .600. Cano will likely have a very short leash and if it doesn’t go well, he’ll be DFA’d. He was down on San Diego’s farm so it might not be too much of a stretch to see him accept an assignment to Gwinnett. Here’s the rest of the transaction:

Let’s Make a Deal!

In a deal that might be a head-scratcher at first for fans, the Braves traded away one of their former 1st round picks + some for…a first round pick.

It’s been 2 years since Drew Waters was a real prospect in my mind. Too much arrogance and too few results. Both he and C.J. Alexander have better shots making the bigs with the Royals. Andrew Hoffman might be the best prospect in this trio as he has good stuff that needs to be challenged at AA. There’s a lot to like about this kid and could be a solid back-end starter in a few years.

So…why did the Braves make this trade? In a series of tweets from my friend Andy Harris, who is co-owner over at Outfield Fly Rule (and has a great Braves farm podcast, in case you’re in the market) broke down the reasoning behind the deal:

VP of Scouting Dana Brown has conducted three drafts for Atlanta to date. His biggest obvious successes are the two MVP candidates on the roster, 2019 3rd-rounder Michael Harris II and 2020 4th-rounder Spencer Strider.

He also drafted six players who have been moved to other orgs to address urgent needs. Shea Langeliers (2019 1st round), Ryan Cusick (2021 1st round), and Joey Estes (2019 16th round) to Oakland for Matt Olson. Bryce Ball (2019 24th round) to the Cubs for Joc Pederson. Ricky DeVito (2019 8th rounder) to the Pirates for Richard Rodriguez. Kasey Kalich (2019 4th rounder) to Kansas City for Jorge Soler.

Another three draft picks still in the system have career minor league wRC+ of 115 or higher. Vaughn Grissom (2019 11th rounder) – 139 Justyn-Henry Malloy (2021 6th rounder) – 137 Jesse Franklin V (2020 3rd rounder) – 115.

Another five draft picks still in the system have career strikeout-to-walk ratios of greater than 4. Dylan Dodd (2021 3rd round) 5.37 Andrew Hoffmann (2021 12th round) 4.38 Jared Shuster (2019 1st round) 4.29 Tanner Gordan (2019 6th round) 4.13 Darius Vines (2019 7th round) 4.05.

All of this is to say that the amount of impact that Brown’s three drafts have had on the immediate fortunes of the Atlanta Braves can’t be understated. It’s very rare for this to be the case. Kudos to Brown, Alex Anthopoulous, and all the scouting and player development folks.

Andy Harris

When Anthopoulos signed off on this move, he also signed up for $2.2MM more in his draft pool. And for a draft that is considered top-heavy, it’s good to have that extra $2.2MM to throw at this:

Braves Lineup

Robinson Cano gets his Braves debut, Money Michael Harris gets a promotion, and Varsity is on the hill against Crazy Eyes. Baseball’s going to be fun tonight!

Author: Ryan Cothran

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

58 thoughts on “Braves News: All-Stars, Trades and Transactions, OH MY!”

  1. From previous thread, re: Cano
    For years, Yankee fans complained about Cano’s non-hustle – yes, on grounders to 2B, he trotted to 1st with very little alacrity, not unlike Chipper Jones. NY sports fans can get a little too crazy about lack of hustle sometimes, but I thought some of that heat was fair.

    However, his actual work ethic was hard to criticize. The guy played btw 150 & 161 for 11 years in a row. He was never hurt, never begged out of games, never sat down vs. the nasty LHP. There was a time when he & Chase Utley were the very best 2Bs in the game. And, as a member of the ’09 Yanks, he was part of one of the greatest infields of all-time (that team & the Big Red Machine w/ Rose at 3B, I’d say.)

    As we know, a lot has changed since then. He was once considered a possible HoFer, but now he’s definitely not. Is he done? Well, just look at the actions of the Mets (the owner ate big money) & Padres (he wasn’t worth the minimum) this year. That ought to tell us plenty.

    Can he catch lightning in a bottle for a short term? Maybe. Hell, in his 1st AB as a Met, he hit an opening-day HR off Scherzer – but that was 3 years ago. So, I’ll also guess that his stint in ATL won’t be long. Hope he doesn’t hurt us in the field and that he can deliver a couple big hits in the short term.

  2. I feel sort of bad for Arcia, but he has no one to blame but himself. He has a .1 WAR for the year, but over his last 50 at bats he has 7 hits. His slash line is .140 -ba /.246- obp/.140 -slg. It is definitely a short leash, but a .386 OPS will usually result in a position change (bench) or a team change (minors or a different org) before long.

  3. To be clear, I’m fine with taking the flier on Cano. But I agree that he needs a short leash.

    And as we have questions about his bat, I too have questions about his glove. Is he athletic enough to still ably play second without hurting us? I know that Arcia can at least play good defense. If Cano is a statue now, then this makes the team worse.

  4. Yeah, I think at this point the Cano pickup is a lot like the Jose Bautista pickup in 2018 (remember that?) — Joey Bats got all of 12 games to prove that he was cooked. If Cano’s done, I can pretty well guarantee AA won’t be sentimental.

    I like the Waters trade. Obviously, they maybe could’ve traded him a year or two ago, but they didn’t necessarily know whether Harris or Pache would grab the brass ring, and it’s never a bad thing to have competition on the farm. But trading for more draft picks and enough money to get a bunch of guys in the early rounds is always a great idea. I hope Waters can figure it out in his new surroundings, though right now he’s looking like Jordan Schafer 2.0.

    Anyway, it’s hard to fault AA for hoarding prospects. We had too many pitching prospects, maybe, but out of all that bunch we wound up getting Max Fried, Kyle Wright, Ian Anderson, and whatever Mike Soroka’s body lets him do from here on out, to say nothing of the where-the-hell-did-that-come-from? of Spencer Strider (and the will-they-or-won’t-they of Huascar Ynoa and Kyle Muller). Same with the outfield. Harris wasn’t handed a job. He earned it, just the same way that Pache and Waters tried and couldn’t. Maybe forcing your top prospects to compete for a job helps them to establish themselves and stay up in the Show, while just handing them a job can sometimes wind up with the sort of yearlong struggles we saw with Frenchy and Riley.

    Anyway, we’ve got a hell of a team. The farm did its job.

    And, yeah, I’m gonna keep bragging about my prescience in calling AA “just about the best possible General Manager the Braves could have chosen.”

  5. Acuña is in the Home Run Derby, unsurprisingly. Not sure if this is a good thing, though, he’s already in a slump.

  6. 9 — Don’t forget 2018-19 Folty and 2017-19 Newcomb…while they didn’t live up to the high hopes, did at least give us some value for a while.

  7. I don’t like moving Harris up in the lineup. I thought there was great chemistry with Harris/Acuna/Swanson/etc… Putting Cano in between them interrupts the speed chemistry and the clutchiness.

    @8 Maybe it will help his timing this time around……

  8. I was hoping Cano was gonna replace Ford, not Gosselin. I don’t like his chances of hitting better enough than Arcia to counteract the loss in defense; Arcia has been impressive defensively and Cano is, uh, not.

  9. Both deals seem reasonable enough to me. I don’t expect us to look at Waters in a couple of years wishing we still had him, and I think Cano will be an afterthought in a month. “Hey, guys, remember when Robinson Cano was a Brave?”

    AA seems to have a knack for making these little deals that add up into bigger deals later on. I don’t think he’s done with his Rube Goldberg-esque construction.

    And I repeat my question from the previous thread: WTF was that Home Run Derby X nonsense? It’s like aliens saw an inning of a baseball game and tried to copy it.

  10. What is this team’s record with the gold trim? The first homestand with these jerseys and caps was middling and I know they’ve lost once with the gold since then.

  11. Lol, no. But I think he had the most at-bats of any #22. Unless it was Markakis… I’m too lazy to check.

    [OK… not as lazy as I thought… Markakis had more.]

  12. @18, 19: Yep and Yep. Other #22s include Joc Pederson, Jayson Heyward, Walt Weiss, Ken Griffey Sr. and Brett Butler

  13. Well, one Max tonight is vintage. Our Max is having some tough luck.

  14. The umpire called a better pitch that Fried made last inning a ball.

    Might not be our night, folks.

  15. 28 — The announcers are speculating as much. And I think if he’s hurt, then he shouldn’t be pitching. Could make it worse or mess up mechanics.

  16. Cano’s crappy fielding turns to gold. Clearly he can teach everyone else how to turn bad fielding into double plays.

  17. @22 I’m trying to remember the last time I’d heard Rowland Office’s name. It was probably when I was looking at my baseball cards.

    I hope Max isn’t trying to tough it out through a minor injury. We’ve got the pitching depth to skip his turn. I’d rather miss one Varsity start than have him go on the IL.

  18. I would offer that a tight glute and an injury are two different things. I’d also rather have him rest against the Nats this weekend than against the Mets, if that’s what’s gonna happen. They can easily skip his start there and have him not pitch in the All-Star Game.

  19. Obviously our Max hasn’t had it tonight, and their Max is very sharp. But it’s also true that the ump is giving Scherzer all the close calls, wile the same locations by Varsity are called balls. The reason, as our announcers keep reminding us, is that Scherzer is around the plate and Fried’s control is off. I know that is a time honored practice, but I hate it. One more reason for robo umps.

  20. @34 amen to our future overlords calling the balls and strikes! The Braves radio crew drove me nuts earlier this season when they lamented that robo-umps would be the end of the “art” of framing pitches.

    Yeah, guys, that’s the whole point.

  21. Dontrelle Willis makes me miss Frenchy. I haven’t found a play by play announcer that makes me miss Chip.

  22. The announcers keep praising Fried for keeping the Braves in it even though he didn’t have any command. A Fried start is like sex: even when it’s bad it’s good.

  23. @35

    I made the colossal mistake of watching the “KayRod” broadcast of the Yankees-Red Sox game last night for about five minutes, just to say that I gave it a chance (I hadn’t yet watched it since its inception). As the last thing that happened before I decided that if I was going to watch the game, it would be the normal broadcast, they were talking about this and A-Rod lamented that going to robot umps would deprive us of the majesty of different players having different strike zones. I think Michael Kay pushed back somewhat, but I couldn’t hear it through my own loud swearing and frantic attempts to find the remote.

  24. I’m imagining how a Mets fan must feel knowing that they have 12 baserunners to our three, but the lead is just one.

    Edit–I imagine they feel a lot better right now

  25. Fried was badly outpitched, but even so the difference in this game right now was a play that only scored a run for the Mets because of (a) unfamiliarity of Cano and Swanson; (b) awkward positioning because of the shift; and (c) a questionable replay call. I understand they way they call these plays now, but I’m pretty sure Guillorme was out.

    [OK… never mind. Guillorme is Babe Ruth.]

  26. O Day the rally killer …… come on AA .. got to improve us from Right hander …. in late innings … o Day is terrible

  27. I think our down fall will be thar we don’t have a strong right hander for 7th and 8th innings ..most batters are RH hitters .. so our lefties are not good matchups .. we won’t win with Chavez, O’Day and Stephen’s…no way

  28. @45

    With Chavez and McHugh almost certainly out for today, your choices were O’Day or Jackson Stephens if you wanted a righty. So if considering what we currently have, no, we couldn’t do better.

    @46

    I would also like more right-handed bullpen help, but to say that we can’t win with the ones we currently have is patently false. We have been.

  29. 10 BB+ hits not fun
    0 BB not fun
    13 K’s not fun
    No fun
    No he does not deserve to be an All Star

  30. Oh well. That’s why Scherzer is the highest paid player in baseball. Let’s see them do it again without him.

  31. Cano had a couple hits but he has slowed down tremendously and we loose defense when he is there over Arcia … so what do you sacrifice ???? Still think until we address Power arm from Right side for late innings ..we are toast .. if will bite us over and over ….

  32. @53 .. Scherzer was definately on … hitting the corners .. keeping hitters off balance .. he was the better guy on the field … so you come back and battle the lefty … sure would like to see us get Diaz in free agency for next year … …

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