Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

Scarred, but smarter.

03 Jan

Trade Recap: The Evan Gattis/Mike Foltynewicz Trade

Ed. note: Click here to see Rob’s recaps of the other major trades from the Great Teardown.

The Braves continued their sell-off in the offseason of 2015 with a piece that they didn’t necessarily have to trade. Evan Gattis was under team control for 3 more seasons, was 27 and had only finished his second professional season, and was currently playing a position they had no replacement at (and still don’t). But with the concern over his ability to stay at the position long-term, his attractiveness to an AL team because of the DH, his favorable salary, and his best years being within a window that the Braves would not be competitive, the Braves decided to trade him to the Houston Astros along with James Hoyt for Mike Foltynewicz, Rio Ruiz, and Andrew Thuman.

Who We Gave Up:

Evan Gattis – El Oso Blanco has a unique story. With a past that included a retirement from baseball, working as a janitor, living in a hostel, and bouts with depression, The White Bear returned to returned to baseball at 24 when he was drafted by the Braves in the 23rd round. He made it through the minor league system fairly quickly, and made the Braves’ Opening Day roster in 2013. His beginning was the stuff of folk heroes: his second at bat was a home run off Roy Halladay, and he won the NL Rookie of the Year in April.

Gattis averaged an OPS near .800 during his two seasons in Atlanta. He’s a bit of an all-or-nothing player with a low batting average and light-tower power. His ISO was the highest on the team during his time, and his power has only improved hitting in front of the Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid Park. The Braves used him primarily as a catcher in his second season with Atlanta, but Houston did not use him behind the plate at all in 2015 and only used him there about one-third of the time in 2016. He has primarily been used at a DH, but has played some corner outfield as well.

James Hoyt – Hoyt was a non-prospect sent to balance the scales in the deal. He was 27 at the time, and was not considered a piece in Atlanta’s future. He pitched in middle relief for Houston in 2016, and he’s pretty much just a guy. If he keeps this up, he might become Brandon Cunniff.

Who We Received:

Rio Ruiz – One of the few position players we took back in deals in that offseason, Ruiz has progressed through the minor league system very quickly. He was traded after putting in a strong season at A+ for Houston, so the Braves put him in AA as a 21 year old. He had an inconsistent and very slow start, and while he finished the season strong, he still ended up with a .229/.331/.318 line in 484 PAs. Nonetheless, Atlanta saw something in his finish to once again promote him and make him one of the youngest players at that level. He didn’t disappoint as he put up a .271/.355/.400 line in a full AAA season, earning himself a cup of coffee with Atlanta.

Ruiz projects to spend some time in Atlanta next year, and even has the potential to win at least the left-handed side of the starting job at 3B. He seems to have responded well to commands to get in shape, and the Braves clearly see something in him that isn’t always reflected in his waist line or slash line. And as it stands right now, he’s continuing to make strides and could be an everyday player in Atlanta. As of now, he’s the best-performing position player in the trades we made that offseason.

Mike Foltynewicz – What’s not to love? 6’4′, throws 98, and appears to have the stamina and stuff to be a top line starter. But it’s not all wine and roses. Folty has been appearing in major league games since 2014, and as he heads into his age-25 season, there are still question marks about his ability to be a frontline starter. His 2016 season saw him make great strides on the mound (4.31 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 2.6 BB/9), but he still has periods of ineffectiveness, and when his fastball doesn’t have any movement, he can be hit hard (9.1 H/9). With that said, his age-24 season saw improvements to his strikeout, hit, walk, and home run rates across the board, and the optimism is still there that he can be a big part of Atlanta’s future. He’s cost-controlled, has all of the tools, and if he puts it together (which could happen as early as next year), watch out.

Andrew Thurman – Thurman had no success in Atlanta. Poor fella was hit hard at every level in the system other than A+, and he was released this past year. Some blame his struggles on the bus crash, and admittedly, he was never the same after it. He is currently a free agent, and he may have pitched his last professional pitch.

So what?

It’s hard to give up someone like Gattis. He was under contract, had immense raw power, and he could play multiple positions — though, admittedly, he didn’t necessarily play them well. He was, however, destined to play for an AL team, and he was never going to be a full-time catcher. It might be too early to fully evaluate this trade, but if Ruiz becomes an everyday third baseman like he’s expected to be, and if Foltynewicz continues his development, and James Hoyt doesn’t turn into Waite Hoyt, then I think we come out OK in this deal. We won’t have won it, we won’t have lost it, and it would be consistent with the theme of the 2015-2016 seasons of getting younger, cheaper, and higher-ceiling players. If Folty becomes the top of the rotation starter that he seems to have the potential to be, then you’d have to put this trade into the “win” column for the Bravos.

94 Responses to “Trade Recap: The Evan Gattis/Mike Foltynewicz Trade”

  1. 1
    Smitty Says:

    Good write up.

    I think if Folty turns it up a notch and Ruiz plays at all, we won this deal.

  2. 2
    Tanto Says:

    Our old pal Tyrell Jenkins is having a long offseason. He’s currently on his fourth team since the World Series ended.

  3. 3
    John Schmortz Says:

    Thanks for the post.

    Gattis was a fun guy to have around. I truly believe that he will hit some really important homers in some really big games before it’s all said and done. I do think we have a really good chance of winning this trade though. Gattis just had a 3 WARseason getting most of his time at DH. I could see either Folty or Ruiz having multiple 3 WAR seasons during their cost controlled years.

    I might argue that Dustin Peterson is the best performing prospect we acquired that offseason. While he didn’t stick at 3B as Rio did, his power and contact rates have trended in a good direction. He had 52 XBH in his age 21 season at AA. Rio has only 64 XBH in two season in the high minors with the braves.

  4. 4
    Ethan Says:

    Agree with Smitty. Houston’s gotten more to date, but Folty’s upside is still tantalizing, and you started to see some of it manifest last year. I was at his Royals game last season, and he was absolutely dominant.

  5. 5
    braves14 Says:

    The jury is still out on who won that trade. I like our chances, though.

  6. 6
    Edward Says:

    @4, His potential was showing up in 2015, too. You just weren’t paying attention.

  7. 7
    Edward Says:

    Rob, thanks for the great write-up. Gattis really must have been a folk hero if he won the NL Rookie of the Year in April!

  8. 8
    Rob Cope Says:

    He’s that good.

  9. 9
    Rob Cope Says:

    I don’t think we’re far off from this trade tipping into our favor. If Ruiz can put up a 1 WAR season by getting significant PAs against righties, and Folty can put in 160+ innings, then they’ll out-WAR the White Bear this year. If a then 24-year old Ruiz factors into a significant role for the 2018 Braves, then he’ll be pretty valuable. Regardless, I think Folty will be more valuable than Gattis in 2017.

  10. 10
    Rusty S. Says:

    @7, 8 – He is The Most Interesting Man In The World.

  11. 11
    ryan c Says:

    I went to war with fWAR over at Tomahawk Take. http://tomahawktake.com/2017/01/03/2017-atlanta-braves-go-to-war-fwar-that-is/

  12. 12
    Jay Watson Says:

    Periodic pedantic reminder that gains from trade are not zero sum, so it’s possible for a trade to be good for you without having to “win” it. This trade was good for us — and it may have been good for Houston too.

  13. 13
    Dusty Says:

    Interesting World Series odds from betonline:

    CHC 3.75:1
    Bos 5.5:1
    Was 10:1
    Cle 11:1
    LAD 11:1
    Hou 12:1
    NYM 12:1
    SFG 14:1
    Stl 14:1
    Tex 14:1
    Tor 14:1
    NYY 20:1
    Sea 25:1
    Bal 28:1
    Det 33:1
    Pit 40:1
    KCR 50:1
    Col 50:1
    Mia 66:1
    Min 80:1
    LAA 80:1
    Arz 100:1
    CHW 100:1
    TBR 100:1
    Mil 125:1
    Cin 150:1
    Oak 150:1
    Phi 150:1
    ATL 150:1
    SDP 200:1

    I know I’m being a homer but $100 bet on the Braves to win $15,000 seems like good value. Teams arrive ahead of schedule all the time (CHC and Hou in recent years) and Ryan’s optimistic but not entirely unrealistic projection (nice work BTW) give us 85 wins which is battling for the playoffs. Cleveland looks like good value at 11:1 as well.

  14. 14
    Rob Cope Says:

    As it stands, both teams got what they wanted. Like I said, if Folty turns into an ace, which Houston clearly didn’t think they were trading, then this is one of the better deals of the rebuild.

    I would say the JUpton, Kimbrel, and Heyward deals were fair deals for both sides, Andrelton is looking like a loss, and Shelby and Gattis will look like wins. But to your point, there doesn’t have to be “winners” and “losers”.

  15. 15
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    @12, I agree. As long as the Braves didn’t feel there was a spot for Evan Gattis as a defensive player, he became more value to us as a trade chip than a bench bat. I hated to see him go because I loved watching him play, but if they weren’t going to pencil him in as a starter, they had to cash him in.

  16. 16
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    @13 The Braves are better than last year but IMO far away from 85 wins.

  17. 17
    Tanto Says:

    I don’t know that they’re truly a 85-win team, but “far away” is itself an overstatement, I feel. Even if the true talent level of the team is something like 74-78 wins, that is itself only a few lucky breaks or young players coming on faster than expected from the mid-80s territory.

    I mean, compared to the horrorshows the Braves have run out there the past few seasons, an 85-win team would be a revelation, but in absolute terms an 85-win team isn’t that good. Mediocre, flawed teams find their way into that range every year just due to variance.

  18. 18
    Smitty Says:

    An 85 win team would push for the Wild Card

  19. 19
    Game, Blauser Says:

    @17 I’m pretty sure Chief was saying “the 2017 Braves’ 50th percentile projection is well below 85 wins”, which is a pretty uncontroversial position to take.

    As far as I’m concerned, my outlook on the 2017 Braves is still “process over results” – I don’t expect them to seriously compete for the playoffs in 2017, so my priorities are lined up around the team being as well set as possible for contention/world domination once the calendar rolls over into 2018.

  20. 20
    cliff Says:

    http://www.espn.com/blog/buster-olney/insider/post?id=15474

    ESPN Insider says Freeman is the best MLB 1B.

  21. 21
    krussell Says:

    There’s not a single projection system that would have the Braves near 85 wins. I think 75 is a stretch goal – possibly attainable, but I’d take the under there as well.

  22. 22
    Donny Says:

    I expect these Braves to push for the Wild Card this year.

  23. 23
    Rob Cope Says:

    I’d love it if the Braves won 85 games, and I’m not particularly confident that will indeed happen, but saying they won’t because of projection systems ignores the whole reason why this team could be capable of a 85 win season. If the team won 85 games, it’d be because young players turned a corner. Projection systems are never going to assume young players are going to develop faster than a conservative estimate. PECOTA had 82 wins for the Cubs in 2015, and rightfully so. It would have been reckless to say that Kris Bryant was going to put up a 6.6 fWAR season, Schwarber would be a 1.9 fWAR player in 279 PAs, or Arrieta would have been historically unhittable. And down the line. But the team arrived early, and they won 97 games.

    Would you say Newcomb doesn’t have the talent to be a 2 WAR pitcher this year? Minter getting called up to be the key lefty out of the pen and turning close losses to wins? Swanson putting up that 4 WAR season we debated? Albies gets 400 PAs, plays above average defense, and hits league average? PECOTA would say no to all of those. So would ZiPS. But it’s the same as last year. If the young kids turn a corner, then we’ll be really good.

  24. 24
    ryan c Says:

    I’m always optimistic, not just in baseball, but in all walks of life. My wife likes to prepare for the worst, so we’re like oil and water when it comes to that. I do think 85 wins is reachable. There has to be a lot to go right, and it wouldn’t be the worst idea if there were a few other pieces to throw into the mix. My latest piece spells out my true heart’s desire, and with these adds, I think 85 is very reachable.
    http://tomahawktake.com/2017/01/04/3-key-additions-for-2017-atlanta-braves/

  25. 25
    JohnWDB Says:

    This is a classic Braves Journal argument where everyone is basically on the same page but disagreeing over semantics or by narrow degree.

    Most everyone agrees the 2017 Braves’ expected win total is less than 80. Most everyone agrees their top-end projection is above 80 wins.

    There’s a realistic scenario where they do win 85 games, but many more scenarios have them around 70-75. A team that could conceivably win 85 games shouldn’t be called “an 85 win team”.

  26. 26
    Rob Cope Says:

    Classic.

  27. 27
    Dusty Says:

    That’s all I was saying-do I think it’s likely the Braves will get around 85 wins this season? No but I’d probably put the odds higher that most maybe 15-20%. My point with the 150:1 World Series odds is I think they have a better chance than at least 10 teams on the list yet are being priced with the 2nd worst odds.

  28. 28
    John R. Says:

    A lot depends on if it’s going to be Fatt Matt’s Rib Shack out in left field. If Matt takes off-season conditioning as seriously as, say, Pablo Sandoval, maybe we squeak out a classic season (at the plate) from the guy and that would change a lot of variables.

    Also: I don’t think this team’s going to compete for a wild card in 2017 but I do see the possibility of it happening the way the team is built. I agree with Dusty that 150:1 odds on a WS win is high.

  29. 29
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    However, AHEM I did just guide the 2017 Braves to the NLCS on OOTP 17, so you’re saying there is a chance?

    Lieutenant Dans hit .250 but with 15HR and gold glove SS ability.

    Julio went 20-5.

  30. 30
    John R. Says:

    Isn’t Lt. Dans the fictional character who had his legs blown off in Vietnam?

  31. 31
    Rob Cope Says:

    Yes, and also Dansby’s Twitter handle.

  32. 32
    John R. Says:

    An unfortunate allusion, but I guess it’s better than choosing a nickname like TV Dinner.

  33. 33
    DG Says:

    @30: It was actually “Lt. Dan,” but Swanson added the extra letter because of his name. Also, I’ve never understood why Forrest Gump didn’t call him “Lt. Taylor” instead.

  34. 34
    Rob Cope Says:

    Didn’t Lt. Dan say when Forrest and Bubba got to Vietnam that they could call him Lt. Dan?

    And ya know, considering Lt. Dan had found success in life after missing out on his perceived purpose in life, is it really an unfortunate allusion? Yes, he didn’t have the honor of dying in war, but he turned out to be a pretty dang good shrimp boat captain. Something to think about.

  35. 35
    timo Says:

    Love this blog.

  36. 36
    krussell Says:

    It’ll be quite the story if we make a playoff run with this pitching staff. I’m just trying to set a reasonable expectation level. I’m going to enjoy the little things in 2017. I think as long as they make Recker the personal catcher for Bartolo Colon, I’ll be happy.

  37. 37
    Ethan Says:

    @25 – Well done

    If we can enter September within 5 games of the 2nd wild card I’ll be happy.

    I didn’t realize Folty and Julio were born in the same year….I know the fangraphs prospect guy thinks Julio is only a number 4 starter, but (with 800+ innings now at a career 3.39 ERA) I’m thankful to have him, and hope he’s still here to start our next playoff game after dealing with the accumulated dross around him the past few years.

  38. 38
    Rusty S. Says:

    It’ll also be quite the story if we make a playoff run with a lineup of:

    5. Markakis
    6. Adonis
    7. Flowers
    8. Peterson
    9. Pitcher

    Substitute Mallex and Albies if you like, but it is still awfully light.

    And I don’t even want to think about the Colon Recker battery and I thought I was going somewhere with this never mind.

  39. 39
    JohnWDB Says:

    Julio is a #4 starter only in a universe where there are at least 90 better starting pitchers than Julio. I can never quite wrap my mind around these claims. It’s like saying the 10th best second baseman is really more of a backup level player.

  40. 40
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Kyle Korver to the Cavs for a 2019 protected 1st round pick.

  41. 41
    John Schmortz Says:

    @38
    Adonis and Jace are both likely to be parts of platoons. And that’s assuming that Albies doesn’t claim a starting role at some point in 2017. If Albies does establish himself as a big league second baseman we’ll have Adonis, Jace, Serpico and probably eventually Rio Ruiz all jockeying for playing time at third. Flowers is an average offensive catcher, every other team in the NL needs to run a catcher out there every day, same thing goes for pitchers. I do like your 5-8 better than say one that includes Chris Johnson, Dan Uggla, Andrelton Simmons and BJ Upton…

  42. 42
    Rob Cope Says:

    Coppy’s move is to make the team respectable by having a deep 25 man roster. The bench looks good, the bullpen looks good, the lineup doesn’t have one of the worst players in baseball, and the rotation has 5 league average or better starters. There’s no Kenshin Kawakami, BJ Upton, Boom Boom Bobby, etc. And if someone completely craps the bed, then there are options to replace them. I think Coppy learned from the mistake of 2016.

  43. 43
    Rob Cope Says:

    Well screw you, BRANDON!

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/01/brandon-phillips-blocked-november-trade-to-braves.html

  44. 44
    krussell Says:

    Why the frick would we want Brandon Phillips? Albies isn’t gonna play in 2017? Albies is already traded and we don’t know it yet?

  45. 45
    Rusty S. Says:

    @41 – I have reservations about both Rodriguez and Ruiz in 2017, but agreed, the platoons should be better than straight Garcia and Peterson. It’s not so much that any single spot is terrible as it is that so few spots are *good*.

    I probably should have written that it’ll also be quite the story if we make a playoff run with a lineup of:

    5. Markakis

    But, we’re not trying to make a playoff run; I’m cool with what we’re trying to do, and I’m happy to consider any reason to be positive. The winter is long enough without writing off the spring too.

  46. 46
    Ethan Says:

    @44

    He’s on a one year deal at this point for 14 million. If the Reds kicked 5-6 million it wouldn’t have been awful (assuming we weren’t giving up more than a C+ level prospect)….though I can’t imagine him reacting well to being relegated to a part time player (as the article implies).

    I was thinking though, if you traded for Phillips, put him at second, is there any reason Albies couldn’t play 3rd? Usually for a 2B guy, it’s the arm, but we all know Albies has a cannon. I get he’s not the classic Chipper/Rolen profile, but there are certainly question marks at the position to the extent I wouldn’t preclude the possibility simply based on aesthetics…yet I can’t recall it ever being discussed as an option (even during the Swanson/Albies “who plays SS” conversations last season). Maybe I’m missing something?

  47. 47
    Tanto Says:

    I doubt Albies hits enough to play third. His bat’s impressive for an up-the-middle player, but his lack of power is more of an issue in a corner.

    I expect Phillips would be playing the Erick Aybar role, preferably with less sucking. This of course seems like a non-issue given he’s expressed a preference to sit in Cincinnati and pout, though.

  48. 48
    Mikemc Says:

    I’m glad they didn’t make that trade. Rodriguez’s skill set adds much more to this team than Phillips. Less cost also. Less griping.

  49. 49
    Rob Cope Says:

    The article suggests that they still could do this deal, and Coppy has also said that Wieters is still an option, so that implies there’s still money out there. But with limited spots that can be easily filled and Phillips and Wieters being two options, then I would absolutely take Wieters. And as it gets deep in the offseason, if Wieters is willing to take a one-year deal, then the Braves should be all over that.

    5. Markakis

    That’s the real problem in the lineup. We’re one power bat hitting 5th short of being a viable lineup. If they could add Wieters, then I’d slide Wieters fifth:

    5. Wieters
    6. Markakis
    7. Rodriguez
    8. Peterson

    That lineup starts looking a little better, though not much. Flowers actually had a higher OPS last year, but Wieters has more power and actually throws out baserunners. The Braves would have to think that Wieters could return to his pre-injury production. But you could slide everybody down, have Rodriguez getting lots of ABs, Peterson against righties, and the lineup is deeper.

  50. 50
    csg Says:

    Mike Berardino, twins beat writer, says don’t rule out Dozier ending up in Atlanta. Braves have excess young arms w/ upside (Wisler & Blair)

  51. 51
    cliff Says:

    Wieters at 10 per year for 2 years with a 1 year club option at 12, buyout 2. That works.

    Then lineup MUST be platooned.

    Against lefties:

    CF Inciarte
    SS Swanson
    1B Freeman
    LF Kemp
    C Flowers
    3B Garcia
    RF Markakis (can be Rodriguez, but if so, move him up and put Jace P here or lower)
    2B Rodriguez (separating righthanders

    against righthanders

    CF Inciarte
    SS Swanson
    1B Freeman
    LF Kemp (if Mallex is up, you move him lower and move Markakis up)
    RF Markakis
    C Wieters
    2B Peterson
    3B Ruiz

  52. 52
    cliff Says:

    Both Wieters and Flowers are about 100 OPS points better in platoon than against platoon. Peterson / Rodriguez and Garcia / Ruiz should each produce 70 to 800 OPS. If Rodriguez’ last year is a Jose Bautista type of break out, then play him more.

  53. 53
    Smitty Says:

    @50, he said it would also be a long shot.

    I would like to make a run at Dozier, but he looks like Dan Uggla with defense.

  54. 54
    Tanto Says:

    Dozier looks like a fluke to me. He was a good player before, so it’s not like you have to buy 100% into him being a 40 HR guy for it to be a good add, but his 2016 seems tough to replicate, and I wouldn’t buy him based on that.

  55. 55
    Rob Cope Says:

    If they are able to get him for Wisler or Blair, then it would seem as if they are buying him based on his pre-2016 performance. Anything more and they are probably buying in to this past year.

    Are they just not confident Albies will be healthy? Want to give him more time in AAA?

  56. 56
    Ethan Says:

    @53 – His career K% is about 5 percent better than Uggla. Uggla only had one season below 20% and Dozier only one above (though admittedly it’s been trending upward over the past few seasons).

  57. 57
    Ethan Says:

    The rumors were that the Dodgers were offering De Leon. As a comparison, De Leon is actually a little older than Wisler, Wisler threw about 1 mph harder than De Leon in the majors last season, and both are basically two pitch pitchers at this point (Wisler FB and Slider vs. De Leon FB and Changeup). De Leon has more team control, but the comparison isn’t as crazy as I thought before I looked it up.

  58. 58
    Rob Cope Says:

    http://www.espn.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/77229/what-if-nobody-wants-jose-bautista

    What a bunch of crap. Joey Bats might not get a big deal because of the QO, and he probably wishes he took the QO at this point, but some time is going to sign him, and he’s not plutonium the way Bonds was. What a bunch of January-filling crap.

  59. 59
    Game, Blauser Says:

    @50 If the Braves could get Brian Dozier for Wisler or Blair (or both!) I’d very probably say yes, even considering that Dozier’s deal only runs two mores seasons ($15M total). Dozier isn’t a superstar, but he is probably going to play every day in 2017 and put up 30 HRs / 10 SBs (.750 – .800 OPS) with slightly-above-average defense and base running. Dozier has been worth an average of 4.1 fWAR in his four full seasons 2013 – 2016 and his batted ball profile supports an elevated (.200+) ISO. He’d fit pretty well into the #3 lineup spot (behind Swanson, ahead of Freeman and Kemp).

    The odds are decent, I suppose, that one of Wisler or Blair (my money is on Wisler) figures things out enough to be a #3 – #5 starter, but neither look to be anything more than a #3 SP. Jose De Leon, on the other hand, has some tantalizing upside. Check out his stat line – he’s torn up every level of the minors. De Leon has plenty of risk (arm soreness last year, to name one) but my impression is that De Leon carries a lot more value than Wisler or Blair.

  60. 60
    Rob Cope Says:

    Don’t you love this game: Jace and Blair for Dozier. Who hangs up first?

    As alluded to, Dozier is owed $6M in ’17 and $9M in ’18, so his contract is below market for his production, even if he’s not the .886 OPS he was last year. I would give up on Blair in a heartbeat, and if it took Jace to balance the deal, then that would be ok too. To be honest, I’d be surprised if that was enough. It then frees up Albies, whom could be packaged with some elite pitching talent to get a front line starter. Between the money that wasn’t spent on Phillips, and the connections to Wieters and Dozier, I’m starting to think we should expect another position player before the end of the offseason.

  61. 61
    Tanto Says:

    Dozier or no, it would be dumb to trade Albies. Dozier is only under contract for two seasons, and long-term commitments to second basemen rarely work out.

    The Braves want the 2017 squad to be respectable, but they’re not going all-in, nor should they. I don’t have any interest in a “rebuilt” Braves consisting of Dansby Swanson and a bunch of thirty-somethings — that’s a recipe to rebuild again sooner rather than later.

  62. 62
    Rob Cope Says:

    Oh come on, you’re being irrational. When was the last time a long-term deal for a second baseman went bad? Next thing you’ll tell me is a centerfielder could not be worth his contract?

  63. 63
    Tanto Says:

    You don’t remember Dan Uggla? Literally this exact team? A big part of the reason we’re rebuilding to begin with?

    Second basemen are lucky if they’re still effective players into their mid-thirties. They collapse all the time.

  64. 64
    Rob Cope Says:

    Sorry. Joke. The centerfielder line was BJ Upton.

  65. 65
    Td Says:

    I was right there with you on your sarcasm Rob. Good thing for us this year that over 40 starting pitchers always love up to expectations.

  66. 66
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    The Albies crush on this board is unreal.

    A guy that will hit 1-5 HR a year playing at an unnatural “trained” position (2B) excites you guys, THAT much.

    And of course, I would trade Blair and Jace Peterson for Dozier. Every day. Probably even Wisler and Blair.

    A guy with an 70-75 tool for some guys with scattered 45/50s…? Duh.

  67. 67
    Smitty Says:

    Rob,
    I agree. I think we are looking for a stop gap at second and are going to package Ozzie.

  68. 68
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Chief, the Albies crush on this board is pretty easy to explain. He’s a short guy who’s fast as blazes, hits for high average, plays good defense, and has gap power. There’s a guy like that in the league right now. His name is Jose Altuve, he’s been an All-Star in four out of the last five seasons, and he finished third in the MVP vote last year. That’s why we all love Albies: if he maxes out his ability, he could be Altuve. Even if he doesn’t, he could be plenty good.

  69. 69
    Game, Blauser Says:

    It’s idiotic to ding Albies for playing 2B as “an unnatural ‘trained’ position” – the dude is a *natural* shortstop, which almost always translates to being an above-average defensive 2B. Many 2Bs lack the lateral agility and arm strength necessary to play SS; to my understanding, Albies has all the defensive tools to play SS and was only moved because – as between him and Swanson – only one of them could play SS on the same team.

    Secondly, worrying about lack of power is a legitimate concern, but obviously players can succeed without over-the-fence power (hey, how about that Ender Inciarte) and beyond that, it’s *way* too soon to decide the Albies’ power ceiling is 1-5 HRs per season. Ozzie is a small dude but by all accounts he’s extremely strong relative to his size… and he’s really young, years away from full physical maturity.

  70. 70
    coop Says:

    I’m more bullish on Albies than Swanson. I have been wrong before.

  71. 71
    CapTang Says:

    Why not just position Albies and Swansong both on the SS side of 2B?

  72. 72
    Rob Cope Says:

    Chris Withrow signed a minor league deal with the Royals because of course.

  73. 73
    Rob Cope Says:

    Alright, unless this is just MLBTR trying to make something out of nothing, there is just way too much speculation about the Braves landing a 2B/3B:

    -Free agent second baseman/third baseman Aaron Hill is on the radar of a few teams, including the Braves and Royals. Hill, 34, spent last season between Milwaukee and Boston, with which he combined to hit .262/.336/.378 with 10 home runs in 429 plate appearances. It’s debatable whether Hill would fit in Atlanta, which already seems to have a capable second base platoon on hand with Jace Peterson and Sean Rodriguez, not to mention a third baseman with a similar offensive profile to Hill in Adonis Garcia. Both Hill and Garcia have hit southpaw pitchers better than right-handers in their careers, so it might behoove the Braves to instead find a lefty-swinging complement to Garcia. The Royals, meanwhile, already have multiple third base options – Mike Moustakas and Cheslor Cuthbert – and a few second base candidates in Whit Merrifield, Raul Mondesi, Christian Colon and Cuthbert.
    -As is the case with Hill, the Braves and Royals are interested in free agent third baseman/first baseman Trevor Plouffe, who has been available since the Twins outrighted him in November. Boston and Oakland are also in on the 30-year-old Plouffe, a steady contributor from 2014-15 who batted an underwhelming .260/.303/.420 with 12 homers in 344 PAs last season. Like Hill, Plouffe has had more success versus lefties (.268/.344/.465) than righties (.239/.294/.403) during his career.

    It seems like it’s news being created by MLBTR because if you follow the Braves, you know that they do have a “lefty-swinging complement to Garcia” (Ruiz). Dozier would be a legitimate upgrade, but being linked to Phillips, Hill, Plouffe, and whomever else they’ll come up with doesn’t really make sense considering they need someone to smash righties at third or catcher, or they need to legitimate upgrade 3B, RF, or C with a complete replacement of the incumbent. The connections to these players don’t make sense.

  74. 74
    JohnWDB Says:

    There is no Albies “crush” on this board. He has been our top homegrown talent for some time, and BJ posters are assuming that scouts from multiple venues who are high on him know something.

    The real question is why Chief Nocahoma is so unimaginative that he can only find value in players who hit 20+ bombs, regardless of position. A team of Dan Ugglas and Ryan Ludwicks is just what the doctor ordered for you, Chief!

  75. 75
    Rob Cope Says:

    If you don’t knock a homer, you don’t get any love from Nocahoma.

  76. 76
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    @74 It’s not that I don’t find any value in those players its that we already have too many of them. We have probably 1 position out of 8 that hit more HR than league average. Even Freddie is either average or slightly below average for HR for a 1B.

    We NEED to begin integrating players into positions that have more power than their counterparts relative to the league. Winning with pitching and defense IMO, is hard. You need optimization to do it that way.

  77. 77
    Rob Cope Says:

    Albies seems to have the skill set to match Altuve in contact rate, ISO DISC, gap power, and stolen base rate. He probably will not match Altuve in HR power, especially with Altuve being a righty in that park. But Albies also has the potential to beat Altuve on defense, whose advanced numbers aren’t kind. And with those similar profiles, Altuve had a 6.7 fWAR last year, good for 6th among all ML hitters, which was higher than power hitters like Freddie, Adrian Beltre, Robinson Cano, Justin Turner, Daniel Murphy, etc. The fascination with Albies is that he has the potential to be one of the most valuable players in baseball without needing to hit 15-20 HRs to get there.

    With that said, Nocahoma has a valid concern that it’s going to be near impossible to win with no above average power out of RF, CF, C, 3B, 2B, and SS, and the help that is on the way (Ruiz and Peterson) are not going to help that at all. But we know that, and that has nothing to do with Ozzie Albies.

  78. 78
    Rob Cope Says:

    Looks like me and the Nocahoma were on the same wave length at the same time.

    To be fair, Freeman was tied for 5th among all 1Bs in HRs, and he was 18th in all of baseball. Freddie’s dingers are not the problem.

  79. 79
    Tanto Says:

    To be fair, I think the Braves’ organizational lack of power is an issue they’re going to need to address, but that doesn’t make Albies overrated or someone the team should be looking to trade. He’s an equally good prospect whether his teammates are first or last in slugging.

  80. 80
    Game, Blauser Says:

    @77 Dustin Peterson projects to have Markakis-level (10-15 HRs, lots of 2B) power. That’s not great but it’ll work at corner OF if it’s part of a well-rounded skill set.

    The best power bats in the Braves’ system right now appear to be Demeritte and Riley, both of whom have major issues making consistent contact – hopefully they continue developing this season. Beyond that, Acuna and Maitan both have superstar ceilings. The 2017 Braves probably won’t hit many dingers, but hopefully they can hang together as a decent scoring offense and build for a brighter future full of dynamic young position players in the years to come.

  81. 81
    blazon Says:

    Trevor Plouffe
    would seem to offer proof
    our searching for solutions symbiotic
    advance but rarely beyond the anecdotic.

  82. 82
    coop Says:

    Blazon’s poesy
    speaks but truth,
    else why would Braves
    want Trevor Plouffe?

  83. 83
    Rob Cope Says:

    I’m pretty confident we won’t see a playoff team in Atlanta that features Swanson, Albies, Inciarte, and Dustin Peterson in the same lineup unless 3B and catcher gets significantly upgraded. Swanson, Albies, and Inciarte are young, cheap players to commit up the middle to, but accordingly, I think Peterson becomes trade bait. Demeritte and Riley ought not play any role in what the Braves do in ’17 and ’18, and probably even ’19.

    It’s nice to have Demeritte’s power to round out the farm system, but it is so likely he never gets a major league at bat. But with him being in AA this year, I suppose we’ll soon know. But after hitting 25 HRs in the thin air for the High Desert Mavericks, he hit 3 HRs in 152 PAs for Carolina, and there was no bus crash to give him a pass. Texas probably sold high to get some in-season pitching and we got a scratch off ticket.

    They’ll trade for somebody between now and when Riley/Acuna/Maitan might be major leaguers.

  84. 84
    ryan c Says:

    During his AFL time, many scouts were citing Demeritte as the player to watch, mentioning his outstanding defense, bat-speed, and ability to change the game on both sides. I wouldn’t write him off yet.

  85. 85
    Game, Blauser Says:

    @83 Travis Demeritte may have only hit 3 HRs in 152 PAs for Carolina, but he also hit 9 doubles and 5 triples for a total ISO of .226 (in a tough home park for offense, no less). For sake of reference – Mike Napoli had a .226 ISO last season. As Ryan C says, don’t be so quick to write TD off. I think he’ll at least end up contributing as a utility infielder for a couple seasons (basically, what the Braves hired Sean Rodriguez for) with an outside chance to become starter-quality if he can keep his K/BB rate in a reasonable range.

  86. 86
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    He’s got a significant flaw that could swallow him up — contact issues — but he’s also got a significant skill that will almost certainly play at the major league level, power. If he maxes out his power, he could potentially manage to survive at the major league level even if he struggles to hit above .230, like Luis Valbuena or Chris Carter.

  87. 87
    Rob Cope Says:

    Ryan C when Luis Valbuena is mentioned:

    https://goo.gl/images/U6hUyc

  88. 88
    ryan c Says:

    @86
    What he has on both of those guys is a serious glove and above average speed. Yes, the contact rate is an issue and hopefully gets better with age.

    And yes, I’m a HUGE Valbuena fan! Most underrated FA left on the market, IMO. Valbuena or bust, Coppy!

  89. 89
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Chief, the Albies crush on this board is pretty easy to explain. He’s a short guy who’s fast as blazes, hits for high average, plays good defense, and has gap power…

    …and was an original draftee into our system.

    Let’s not pretend that folks aren’t giving him the hometown “of COURSE he’s going to hit his ceiling not his floor” assumptions, just like with Mallex Smith, because of the laundry.

  90. 90
    cliff Says:

    Sam @ 89,

    Albies was an original Free Agent signee, not draftee, but the principle is the same. As you watch them come up, you dream on them and that adds to your perception of their value.

    And Mallex only gets hometown “because we traded for him,” so that is not as strong.

  91. 91
    Rob Cope Says:

    Mallex is going to be the next Rock Raines and you KNOW IT!

    To be fair, Valbuena makes way more sense for Atlanta’s lineup needs than any of the other guys. There has to be something they don’t like about him to not be connected to us at all.

  92. 92
    ryan c Says:

    Valbuena has an OPS above .800 against RHP over the last 3 years. There’s no other option that has that track record. It’s really odd Braves haven’t signed him, nor any other LHH 3B. Rio had a .755 OPS last year in the minors overall, but .834 against RHP. Maybe they see him as a legit option. I sure don’t.

  93. 93
    Stu Says:

    They haven’t signed him because they’re expanding their bullpen by one and are only looking for versatile utility types on their shortened bench. That’s why d’Arnaud, who sucks, is currently a much better bet to make the roster than Rio Ruiz, for example, who’s at least interesting.

  94. 94
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    New thread.

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