Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

Scarred, but smarter.

15 May

Braves 5, Royals 0

Mike Foltynewicz has had two straight phenomenal starts. It’s too soon to say that he’s figured it all out, but he has been nothing short of extraordinary in May. Here are his last two starts:

Date IP H R BB SO Pit Str %
May 8 7 5 2 0 8 101 67%
May 14 8 7 0 0 4 103 72%

He has not walked a man since the second inning on May 2. His last two starts, he’s thrown 70% strikes — league average is 63.4% — while sitting at 95-96 with his hard stuff and 83 with offspeed. And he’s done it for this miserable offense, which gave him nothing until the sixth inning, meaning that he had to endure the indignity of being forced to swap zeroes with Dillon Gee before the offense finally broke through with a three-spot in the sixth. A couple of insurance runs in the eighth provided additional Reitsma Room, and for once, Ian Krol and Jason Grilli resembled competent major leaguers.

Just for comparison, here’s what Matt Wisler has done over his last two starts:

Date IP H R BB SO Pit Str %
May 3 8 1 0 2 4 106 59%
May 10 8 8 3 2 2 104 65%

Wisler’s done that while sitting at 94 with his fastball and 82-87 with his breaking and offspeed stuff.

Over the last couple of weeks, these guys have gone deep into games, which has meant that they’ve been more efficient than they were in the past, avoided big innings, and given the bullpen a breather. There will be more downs to go with the ups, but we finally have a couple of players on this team worth watching.

40 Responses to “Braves 5, Royals 0”

  1. 1
    Rob Cope Says:

    Really loving the young pitching. But consider this stat:

    Melvin Upton Jr. has more than DOUBLE the home runs of every position player other than Freddie… combined. That’s twelve position players who cumulatively have half the home runs of a player we paid a significant price… to get rid of. Seitzer must love singles.

  2. 2
    krussell Says:

    I don’t know if it’s a philosophy thing, more of just a really bad hitters thing.

    I get the no-power concerns certainly. We have one guy that can hit it out. The guys on the way aren’t going to help there either. Hopefully they can just get on base a lot. Replace Aybar’s .400 OPS with something decent and it will make a difference.

    It will be nice to finally go an extended period of time without having the worst player (or players) in baseball in our starting lineup.

  3. 3
    csg Says:

    I could be wrong but we’ve been complaining about hitting coaches even before TP. It’s a crap offense with no power. Blame the FO

  4. 4
    csg Says:

    Aybar sucks in all aspects, at least Castro can field it

  5. 5
    krussell Says:

    Braves released Lavarnway. Something must be up?

  6. 6
    JohnWDB Says:

    Hitting coaches have some impact but not so much that they can make an entire team have a power outage. Players who used to have pretty solid power like KJ and Francouer are unlikely to have changed their approach or swing at this point in their careers. More likely, they’re aging players who’ve lost some bat speed.

  7. 7
    Z in Tempe Says:

    @5 A mystery on the level of “Who shot this Wendy’s commercial?”

  8. 8
    krussell Says:

    I’ve found my kindred spirit on TC.

    http://www.talkingchop.com/2016/5/11/11661376/tanking-doesnt-work-in-mlb-historical-stats-predict-5-years-of-misery

  9. 9
    jjschiller Says:

    The most remarkable thing to me was the visible run Folty was getting on his two-seamer. It was really darting in on righties. Where did that movement come from?

    http://m.mlb.com/video/v696771483

    In this video, it goes pick-off, 4-seamer, breaking ball, 4-seamer, and then three 2-seamers in a row. Really good run on them.

  10. 10
    Adam R Says:

    Rio Ruiz seems to have cooled off some. His batting slash is now right around his career averages.

  11. 11
    braves14 Says:

    Markakis has gone into a slump.

  12. 12
    krussell Says:

    Ruiz, Swanson, Albies have all come back to earth. Dustin Peterson has been hot lately. Adonis has homered in three straight games.

  13. 13
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    @8, I might agree that tanking doesn’t often work, but that piece doesn’t remotely convince me either way. I just don’t agree with this central claim: “Tanking was defined as winning fewer than 70 games in a season.”

    There’s a difference between “tanking” and simply having a terrible team: tanking is something you do on purpose. In particular, tanking is the result of a deliberate strategy to trade your good players for prospects or draft picks, with the goal of being much better in the future. If you were going to evaluate whether tanking worked, you would need to restrict your focus to look exclusively at teams who made a bunch of moves to intentionally make themselves worse.

    To put it another way: the Phillies have sucked for most of the last century. That isn’t because they were always “tanking.” It’s because, before they called up Michael Jack Schmidt, they just sucked. That doesn’t tell you anything about strategy.

  14. 14
    timo Says:

    Awesome link: The Braves franchise relative strength after every game ever played

    http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/complete-history-of-mlb/#ATL

  15. 15
    coop Says:

    Nice recap, Alex. Play ball.

  16. 16
    krussell Says:

    @13, it could be that there’s not enough sample size to generalize about outcomes for intentional tanking. I agree with the author in one aspect though – almost every 70-win or fewer team will say they are rebuilding, whether they were trying or not. If you try to factor in strategies and motivations then you are going too far outside the numbers.

    For the most part, the good organizations stay good and the bad ones stay bad. Moving from bad to good is really tough. If you don’t have good scouts, good developmental coaches, etc, then it won’t matter where you draft. It takes more than Bryce Harper to win.

  17. 17
    jjschiller Says:

    “For the most part, the good organizations stay good and the bad ones stay bad.”

    I can’t accurately describe how wrong this statement is without violating Alex’s “Be nice” policy.

    The teams in first place right now are:

    Orioles (93 losses in 2011)
    White Sox (99 losses in 2013)
    Mariners (91 losses in 2013, 95 in 2011)
    Nats (93 losses in 2010, 103 in 2009)
    Cubs (96 losses in 2013)
    Dodgers (91 losses in 2005)

    One out of 6 supports your ridiculous assertion.

    Last year’s winners:

    Blue Jays (89 losses in 2012)
    Royals (90 losses in 2012)
    Rangers (95 losses in 2014)
    Mets (92 losses in 2009)
    Cardinals (89 losses in 1996)
    Dodgers

    So 2 out of 6. You basically just make up things to believe.

  18. 18
    krussell Says:

    The article was talking about every teams’ seasons since the mid-70’s. That’s totally the same thing as looking at last year and 20% of this year. You so smart.

  19. 19
    jjschiller Says:

    Mobility in the 1970s has nothing to do with mobility in the present era. International signing, the draft, roster and service time rules all change from one CBA to another.

    But 11 unique teams, 1/3 of the league, has won or presently leads their division in just the last two season, and of them only the Dodgers and Cardinals haven’t had a 89+ loss season since 2009.

    If you think 40 year trends are more relevant than recent trends under the current CBA in franchise strategy, then you’re crazy.

    Clearly, teams in today’s game are capable of going from bad to good very quickly. That’s undeniable.

  20. 20
    timo Says:

    Good to see Moylan. Of course he owned them.

  21. 21
    krussell Says:

    Teams that finish with terrible records are less likely to have good seasons over the next 5 years than teams that don’t. Those are the numbers from what’s actually happened over the last 40 years. That doesn’t preclude anyone from beating the odds. But those are the odds.

    If you have a good organization then I think finishing last for two or three years actually can help (5+ years later). If you give the Padres or Brewers the next 5 number one picks, I bet that wouldn’t work out as well as if you gave the same to the Cardinals or Giants.

  22. 22
    Rob Cope Says:

    Gunned him!!

  23. 23
    blazon Says:

    …disgraceful call from Fredi to have Mallex bunt after lead off double, RH Pitcher…

  24. 24
    timo Says:

    Agree, blazon. So Fredi.

    Aybar pinch-running for KJ??!

  25. 25
    krussell Says:

    If we lose, look for Fredi to give a postgame off-hand remark that blames the loss on Mallex.

  26. 26
    braves14 Says:

    Not sure how they blew the replay call LOL

  27. 27
    Brian J. Says:

    Of course, this only makes those sacrifice calls even more dubious. And some baserunning lessons might be nice.

  28. 28
    krussell Says:

    I’ve always liked that Aybar guy.

  29. 29
    Brian J. Says:

    Are we allowed to score two of these points in one inning? I’d gotten the impression that it wasn’t, at least for us.

  30. 30
    Rusty S. Says:

    I bet with a hat like that you get a free bowl of soup.

  31. 31
    Our New Insect Overlords Says:

    What happens when good relievers age into trash ones? They become 2016 Braves.

  32. 32
    JohnWDB Says:

    Krussell, nobody has denied that some organizations have better management than others or that some draft better than others. You’re shifting the goalposts around.

  33. 33
    cliff Says:

    But, go into the world series champ’s home field and win one of 3 and be competitive in the other 2? With this team, that is progress.

  34. 34
    ububba Says:

    #8
    Well, you don’t have to win 94 games to make the playoffs (6 division champs, 4 WC teams)… so the 94 number doesn’t strike me as completely relevant to the proposition. I’d prefer to see those “rebound percentages” with 86 wins (or 90) on up.

  35. 35
    spike Says:

    I am no fan of baseball fights and the unwritten rulebook, but the first gif in the comments will live in Internet history forever.

    http://screengrabber.deadspin.com/blue-jays-and-rangers-brawl-completely-ignore-game-1776771655

  36. 36
    krussell Says:

    @32, the more I think about it, there’s not really anything to compare to what the Braves are doing. Most of the turnaround stories of late (Cubs, Astros, Royals, even Mets?) were teams that were just plain bad for a long time and stockpiled young talent. Nobody has deliberately sold off a decent team and tried to turn it around quickly. Maybe the Marlins are the best example?

    @35, whoa.

  37. 37
    John R. Says:

    @35:

    The Toronto Blue Jay from the Dominican Republic gets his lights knocked out by the Texas Ranger from Venezuela, while the home fans in Dallas taunt the team from Canada with chants of “USA! USA!”, surely perplexing the Toronto lineup composed primarily of Americans, most especially the second baseman from Dallas. I say this without irony: I love this country.

  38. 38
    Rob Cope Says:

    These pitchers deserve better. I feel insane saying this about one of the most historically awful teams, but this team is not that far off.

  39. 39
    Rob Cope Says:

    Allies has 6 errors in 15 games in AAA. That’s bad. Garcia has hit a home run in 4 straight games. That’s good. Sims got rocked today. That’s bad.

  40. 40
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Recapped.

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