Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

Scarred, but smarter.

07 Sep

Braves/Rangers Doubleheader

Game 1: Luiz Gohara made his debut, and with some strike zone squeezing and some bad defensive play, his line looked worse than it was. Snitker said after the game that they would decide if Gohara makes another start, but Bowman later came out and said that Gohara would and Snit was just frustrated. Wouldn’t you love to be a manager over all of this not knowing how you’ll be evaluated?

Gohara pitched poorly enough to lose, usually, but then Matt Wisler did his thing and Wisled in a few more runs. He gave up 5 ER in 1 1/3, and the radio crew was unqiuely negative about Wisler’s regression. When they turn on you, it ain’t good. But when you give up 12 runs, it’s hard to win.

In other news, our new backup catcher is no Suzuki/Flowers, but he put in 2 hits and raised his average to a defensible .250 but with no on-base or power. Freddie Freeman, swinging his wet newspaper, contributed two hits, and Ender Inciarte, who loves doubleheaders, put in three of his own, including a home run. Ender may end up with as many home runs this year as he has in his career 1,464 ABs across 3 seasons combined.

Game 2: This one wasn’t so bad. Julio Teheran gave up 5 IP, 3 ER, which I only find interesting because MLB.com is referring to it as a “strong start”. I suppose in the Atlanta rebuild, the Braves’ have their own definition of a quality start. Freddie Freeman continues to be a part of every rally the Braves can get themselves into, and he ripped a 2-run double during a 5-run 2nd inning. Sam Freeman, Jose Ramirez, and Arodys Vizcaino continue to be a formidable trio in the late innings, once again combining for 3 IP of scoreless ball to end the game. I count 8 games in the last 2 months where all three combined to shut down the late innings.

Splittin’ a twin bill against a playoff team. I guess there’s something to find there.

56 Responses to “Braves/Rangers Doubleheader”

  1. 1
    braves14 Says:

    From the last thread…

    Folty shouldn’t and won’t go to the bullpen until we have 5 MLB starters who are better than him. He is currently our 2nd best starter, and our best starter (Dickey) might not return.

  2. 2
    Rob Cope Says:

    I think the only thing that pushes Folty out of the Braves’ rotation is him being traded to a rebuilding team for their established starter (like we could have done with Verlander). It’d be unwise to have so many unreliable starters. What’s interesting is that our SP performance seems very similar to 2016, and there was all of the tough talk from Coppy about young pitchers need to pitch better, we’ll get this fixed, we’ll spend money on SP, and here we are….

  3. 3
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    @2 key word… talk.

  4. 4
    Edward Says:

    Texas is a playoff team? Anyway, great recap Rob.

    Speaking of ways to define a strong start, I just went through the game logs for every Brave who has started more than 1 game so far this season. Here are their ratios of strong starts vs total starts. I defined a strong start as going at least 5 innings and giving up no more than 2 runs.* Essentially, putting the team in a position to win:

    Bartolo Colon: 2/13
    Lucas Sims: 2/7
    Jaime Garcia: 8/18
    Sean Newcomb: 5/15
    Julio Teheran: 13/28
    R.A. Dickey: 10/27
    Mike Foltynewicz: 16/26

    No doubt Foltynewicz has had too many absolute disaster starts. That’s a real problem, the kind of problem a team can’t put up with forever. But for now, we have a pitcher who is young and cheap and, somehow, pitches well more often than anyone else on our radar for next season. That’s the kind of player you leave in the rotation until you’re absolutely sure you can put 5 better players ahead of him.

    *I made one exception and gave Jaime Garcia credit for a strong start when he went 8 innings and gave up 3 runs. Only one of the runs was earned.

  5. 5
    ryan c Says:

    I have more to say on the subject but am in the midst of writing a piece and I won’t bore you guys/gals with it twice. In short, I think the data backs up the move to the pen for Folty to be good for him and better for the rotation. I’ll link article when done.

  6. 6
    Edward Says:

    While you’re at it, can you write one about how Ozzie Albies should be more of a utility player/pinch hitter next season?

  7. 7
    Rob Cope Says:

    @4

    Yeah, I had read somewhere that they were trying to make the playoffs, but I didn’t even look at the record. Now I’m away from my computer and can’t fix it. My bad. I’ll blame it on this hurricane.

  8. 8
    Edward Says:

    I was just needling a little bit. They’re definitely in the hunt. A few more games against the Braves could put them over the top!

  9. 9
    ryan c Says:

    Edward, I’ll try to keep my opinions the exact same as your’s during my latest piece. Hopefully then I’ll steer clear of your sneers.

    It is my life goal.

  10. 10
    krussell Says:

    I think Folty is still our best starter. If we ever make the playoffs again, he’s the kind of guy I’d want to give the ball to. When he’s on he won’t have many balls put in play against him. Another year of patience is required here.

  11. 11
    Seat Painter Says:

    I saw an interesting comparison of Folty’s first 50 or so starts to Max Scherzer’s first 50, and they were remarkably similar, with Folty even being a touch better than Mad Max. It just goes to show that with power pitchers you need to give them several years worth of development before giving up on them.

  12. 12
    Rob Cope Says:

    If they can’t figure out where to use the 20 or so pitchers we have in-house or can acquire through money or prospects down the system, then it really doesn’t matter. I’m confident Folty will end up where he ought, but I continue to think he’s a potential frontline starter, as he’s demonstrated at times he’s moooore than capable of being. He is the farthest along, IMO, of a future Arrietta, Verlander, Scherzer, etc. skill profile.

  13. 13
    Edward Says:

    Placing Folty’s data in context suggests we should just send everyone to the bullpen. Except Sims.

    OPS Against data. Pitcher: 1st PA, 2nd PA, 3rd PA, — Overall

    -Folty: .621, .910, .860, — .798
    -Teheran: .739, .810, .825, — .784
    -Dickey: .778, .740, .933, — .797
    -Garcia: .572, .783, .989, — .759
    -Colon: .875, .941, .855, –.896
    -Newcomb: .818, .763, .816, –.797
    -Sims: 1.051, .817, .771, –.892

  14. 14
    gaz Says:

    https://www.reviewtrackers.com/fan-sentiment-best-baseball-stadiums/

    This seems like a super unscientific way of measuring these things but Suntrust does NOT do well in these reviews.

  15. 15
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    @14 you mean a bland, boring unimaginative design that wasn’t even needed didn’t score well? NO WAY!

  16. 16
    Dusty Says:

    On Gohara:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/pitcher-spotlight-luiz-goharas-mlb-debut/

  17. 17
    Nick Says:

    For the life of me, I do not get the anti-Folty stuff (or Folty to the bullpen stuff…I realize they’re not exactly the same thing, but I’m lumping them in together here).

    Here we have the one starting pitching prospect in our system who has ever proven that he can do anything at the major league level, and it’s on to the next guy? Because you’ve decided (or likely always thought) that he’d be better as a reliever, so you’re just gonna run with that? Because you dislike it when he sulks about getting squeezed? You’d rather have those guys over there who haven’t even proven they can be semi-successful in the majors? Really??? I mean, it’s just stupefying to me.

    Folty put together a pretty good run during the middle of the season. The two best starts by a Braves pitcher all season, for my money, belong to Folty. There’s the game where he took a no-hitter into the ninth against the A’s, and there’s the game against the Reds where he gave up two hits and no runs at Great American Ballpark, struck out 10, and watched his team somehow lose. If you prefer, there’s also the 11-strikeout game against the Marlins in early August.

    I do realize that those are just three games, but they weren’t his only good/promising starts. So on the one hand, we have a guy that has proven that he can do that. And on the other, we have a pack of guys who have proven precisely squat. And you want to…what? Take the guy whose proven that he can be an effective (if not yet consistent) major league starter and remove him before knowing what the other guys are? Are we not trying to win Major League Baseball games at some point? Am I the only one to whom this sounds absolutely insane?

    Again, I’m not sure some people understand that the entire rebuild is resting on starting pitching, and that the success of our pitching prospects is still very much in question. You can’t just take the most successful guy so far and throw him to the curb for nothing! It’s ludicrous, in my opinion.

  18. 18
    gaz Says:

    @15

    Add in the lack of infrastructure around it… who knew?

    @17

    Question isn’t whether people here are willing to wait on young pitching but whether the front office feel any pressure to try and win in the next 2-3 years and make counter productive moves to the overall strategy.

  19. 19
    Nick Says:

    @14

    SunTrust Park has some issues, certainly. Parking and transit chief among them, obviously. And perhaps location, depending on where you are. But the fact that Turner Field rated above SunTrust Park in things having to do with seats (sightlines, views, etc.) is a big red flag that their data is screwed up somehow. Even the most stridently anti-SunTrust Park people seem to agree that SunTrust is unquestionably better in this area.

    I think when you use Google and Facebook and Yelp and whatever else reviews for a stadium that is as politically fraught as this one was, you probably get a bunch of people carpet-bombing negative reviews just cuz. That’s my guess as to what happened here.

    I don’t know where I’d rank SunTrust Park overall. I’m not really qualified to compare, as I’ve only been to games at two current major league stadiums. I would easily rank the other one (PNC Park in Pittsburgh) above SunTrust. But this data (particularly the SunTrust vs. Turner Field data it gets into later in the article), just doesn’t make sense.

  20. 20
    krussell Says:

    @17, I think a lot of people here think that the rising prospects that we haven’t seen pitch in the majors yet are vastly better than the guys we’ve already seen. They are in for a rude awakening. Folty is *this* close to being an ace, imo. Nobody in the org is anywhere near him yet.

    He won’t be moved to the pen, so I’m not worried. I do worry about our fans, but what can you do?

  21. 21
    Adam R Says:

    I don’t think Folty should be moved to the bullpen. He might even figure it out next year…

    Folty is *this* close to being an ace, imo. Nobody in the org is anywhere near him yet.

    …but I can’t imagine what you must’ve thought of Folty last season when he was better than he is now!

    Say it with me, it won’t hurt: Folty got a little worse in 2017.

    He’s walking a full batter per IP more than in 2016. Everything else has stayed kind of the same. He’s going to generate more WAR only because he’s going to pitch more innings. That’s not nothing. But let’s not kid ourselves.

    The two best starts by a Braves pitcher all season, for my money, belong to Folty. There’s the game where he took a no-hitter into the ninth against the A’s, and there’s the game against the Reds where he gave up two hits and no runs at Great American Ballpark, struck out 10, and watched his team somehow lose. If you prefer, there’s also the 11-strikeout game against the Marlins in early August.

    I do realize that those are just three games

    Do you? Because this is the definition of cherry-picking, and you should set your sights a little higher. It’s hard not to make this sound more brutal than it’s going to sound, but sometimes I wonder if you all watch baseball. By that, I mean watch other teams. Sometimes, mediocre pitchers have really good stretches, and that happens to basically every team every season. Right now, for example, Patrick Corbin (who, to be fair, is simply better than Folty) is having the kind of month-ish that Folty had in late June-July.

    This is why you want to look at bigger samples — so you don’t trick yourself into thinking pitchers are only their best work. Folty needs to cut his walk rate down again, and then we can talk.

    This isn’t just a Folty thing. Everybody who is penciling Camargo into your plans next season should be doing it with an eye towards seeing if he can do this again. It’s the same SSS mistake. Until he can keep doing this well into next season, he’s a younger Charles Thomas.

  22. 22
    Nick Says:

    @21

    I don’t think Folty is a shoo-in No. 1 or 2 starter or anything. It could all go south. My point was that he’s the only one of our prospects who’s proven that he’s even capable of going out there and putting up a single game like those I mentioned. He’s literally the only rotation prospect who has done that! I’m not so much singing his praises (he has completely collapsed down the stretch and was always volatile and inconsistent) as I am trying to illustrate how silly it is to just assume that we have enough other prospects where we can go ahead and send him to the bullpen with no problem, or just get rid of him because who likes watching him sulk around the mound anyway. I just think this is mind-bogglingly stupid thinking.

  23. 23
    Rob Cope Says:

    I don’t think Smoltzy should be moved to the bullpen. He might even figure it out next year…

    Smoltzy is *this* close to being an ace, imo. Nobody in the org is anywhere near him yet.

    …but I can’t imagine what you must’ve thought of Smoltzy last season when he was better than he is now!

    Say it with me, it won’t hurt: Smoltzy got a little worse in 1990.

    He’s walking a full batter per IP more than in 1989. Everything else has stayed kind of the same. He’s going to generate more WAR only because he’s going to pitch more innings. That’s not nothing. But let’s not kid ourselves.

    The two best starts by a Braves pitcher all season, for my money, belong to Smoltzy. There’s the game where he took a no-hitter into the ninth against the A’s, and there’s the game against the Reds where he gave up two hits and no runs at Great American Ballpark, struck out 10, and watched his team somehow lose. If you prefer, there’s also the 11-strikeout game against the Marlins in early August.

    I do realize that those are just three games

    Do you? Because this is the definition of cherry-picking, and you should set your sights a little higher. It’s hard not to make this sound more brutal than it’s going to sound, but sometimes I wonder if you all watch baseball. By that, I mean watch other teams. Sometimes, mediocre pitchers have really good stretches, and that happens to basically every team every season. Right now, for example, Patrick Corbin (who, to be fair, is simply better than Smoltzy) is having the kind of month-ish that Smoltzy had in late June-July.

    This is why you want to look at bigger samples — so you don’t trick yourself into thinking pitchers are only their best work. Smoltzy needs to cut his walk rate down again, and then we can talk.

    This isn’t just a Smoltzy thing. Everybody who is penciling Camargo into your plans next season should be doing it with an eye towards seeing if he can do this again. It’s the same SSS mistake. Until he can keep doing this well into next season, he’s a younger Charles Thomas.

  24. 24
    Rob Cope Says:

    For the record, I don’t think Folty will be John Smoltz. And Smoltz was much better out of the shoot. I just think there were enough similarities that I could just use the ole “find and replace”.

  25. 25
    braves14 Says:

    If Folty never gets better from now, he’s still essentially AJ Burnett, and he pitched for about 15 years.

  26. 26
    Adam R Says:

    ???

    Smoltz was a 4 WAR pitcher in 1989, 1990, and 1991. He could be counted on to deliver 200 quality innings. There is no comparison. I don’t get where there are any similarities.

    I don’t even think Folty should go to the ‘pen! I said he deserves time to figure it out.

    I don’t get it, Rob. Were you just triggered by small sample size?

  27. 27
    gaz Says:

    @19

    I think there’s definitely an element of people being pissed off politically about the stadium and having it baked into the reviews so far. Hence why that study isn’t entirely reliable in terms of relative comparisons but I think it does show that there are definitely major issues with the stadium and it’s not that impressive a place. For the amount of time, money and energy they’ve spent building it and telling us how much they need it a big part of the fan base is reacting negatively to it. Some of the things in there like how good are their hot dogs or beer selections are undoubtedly true for Suntrust (the hot dogs do suck and the beer is Miller/Coors/Terrapin and literally nothing else) and everything is way overpriced. Compare this to the early reviews of MBS and Suntrust is getting circles run around it.

  28. 28
    ryan c Says:

    @25
    That’s not even close. Burnett was a 43 career WAR pitcher and had a sub 4 career ERA.

  29. 29
    Edward Says:

    You have to think the thrill of striking out Stanton is tempered a little by giving up a single and two triples through four batters.

  30. 30
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    AJ Burnett was light years better than Foltyniewicz will ever be with an almost scientific certainty.

    This is just further prospectbation and wishcasting.

    Someone earlier said that expecting the next ‘wave’ to be better than what we have had seen already was dead on. It is likely that more will be worse than what we saw this year than the alternative.

    It doesn’t work that way.

    And… let’s say that Albies is a .280/10HR/62RBI guy which BREF projects his stats in 162 games to. Does that excite you? Is that something to build around? Would he ever make an All-Star team with those prorated stats? Would he be a key cog in the Braves Revival? BTW, his FWar is basically neutral but his range is below league average, admittedly in 30-40 games and he could improve but he’s not shown to be a defensive ‘wizard’ etc. or even league average.

    My answers to all of that is no. He would be a good player on ‘THE BRAVES’ but that’s an extremely low bar these days. We will need our ‘prospects’ to play much better than this long term if the ‘rebuild’ is going to work. Same with Newcomb, same with Sims (who isn’t a prospect IMO). I haven’t physically seen Minter so I cannot comment.

  31. 31
    ryan c Says:

    Chief, I’m not sure I’ve ever had the pleasure of being exposed to a more miserable Internet personality. Congrats.

  32. 32
    Edward Says:

    Alright, Nuke, let’s see how long you can go.

    Edit: Commenter’s curse. 5 pitches no outs.

  33. 33
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    @31 Do you frequent any college football message boards? I’d be ranked about 1M in negativity.

  34. 34
    spike Says:

    Commenters curse indeed.

  35. 35
    Edward Says:

    @34, Very good. Best punctuation gag I’ve seen here.

  36. 36
    sigmundc Says:

    Nice at bat there, Dans.

  37. 37
    Grst Says:

    I can’t think of anything I care about less than how many RBI our 20-year-old rookie would prorate out to based on his first 30 games. Good lord.

  38. 38
    krussell Says:

    I love our 20 year old rookie. He’s not the problem.

  39. 39
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    I wasn’t saying that Albies is a problem now or in the future. What I am saying is that if our ‘farm’ produces players at the level of who I think he is, and remember I’m allowed to have an opinion, that it won’t be good enough. IOW, if Soroka et al are the pitching equivalent of who I think he is compared to his peers, the rebuild will be a failure. And I say this because the org shows no inclination to signing FAs to big money deals for proven MLB talent to sprinkle in with these guys.

    Acuna is going to have to be MUCH better than OA is going to be relative to the other MLB teams at his position. Much.

  40. 40
    krussell Says:

    Acuna has superstar potential. Doesn’t mean it’ll pan out, but at least it’s possible. I agree with you about the pitching. It’s not going to be enough. We have to spend money, and spend it correctly.

  41. 41
    Td Says:

    The music at Suntrust has been a real bright spot this year imo. However, the Braves are getting some negative press for playing “Rock you Like a Hurricane ” before the game with Miami. Not a very good song choice to say the least.

  42. 42
    Game, Blauser Says:

    @39 I mean, it’s an obvious (albeit meaningless) truth that if the Braves’ minor league system produces players of the quality Chief assumes them to be, the rebuild won’t be successful. On the other side of the coin, if our prospects develop the way Rob Cope thinks they will, then the Braves will have a Top-5 pitching staff for the next decade along with a good offensive core. I think my point is that Chief is just as entitled to his stupid, overly pessimistic opinion as Rob Cope is to his rosy dreams of rookie success. It’s just that – this being a Braves message board – more people here are geared to be receptive to the Rob Cope version than the Chief version.

    Personally, I fall somewhere between those two ends of the spectrum: I think we will eventually develop a good enough pitching staff from our prospects but it will take until 2019 to come to fruition; Acuna is going to be great, Ozzie and Dansby are solid, and beyond that we are going to have to find a lot of our position player WAR off the free agent market (and I distrust Coppy’s ability to manage that).

    As a side note, Chief – I realize that you don’t particularly care about defense or baserunning or whatnot, but Ozzie Albies is excellent at both of those while also being basically league average across the board on offensive measures (walks, strikeouts, power, etc.) en route to an average fWAR. His showing at the plate should actually be *really* encouraging, considering his extreme youth gives him a lot of projectability to improve as a hitter. Also (and this is something we’ve discussed at length on BJ) lots of people were afraid that MLB pitchers would be able to knock the bat out of Ozzie’s hands, a la Billy Hamilton / Jose Peraza (you were probably one of those people, I don’t recall), which clearly isn’t the case. That means he might actually be quite valuable as a hitter, in addition to his defense and base running value.

  43. 43
    Adam R Says:

    There has indeed been a bit of goalpost-moving on Chief’s part. That’s why the terms of the “loser leaves town” bet were that Chief would stop posting if Albies stays above replacement level through August 2018, barring a 60-day DL injury.

  44. 44
    Adam R Says:

    Personally, I fall somewhere between those two ends of the spectrum: I think we will eventually develop a good enough pitching staff from our prospects but it will take until 2019 to come to fruition; Acuna is going to be great, Ozzie and Dansby are solid, and beyond that we are going to have to find a lot of our position player WAR off the free agent market (and I distrust Coppy’s ability to manage that).

    Co-sign.

  45. 45
    Putter Says:

    @42 and @44 Consider this a co-sign as well. I am very pleased with how Ozzie has shown up thus far and very happy that Dansby seems to have figured some things out after returning from AAA. He has been one of our best offensive players since his return and hopefully we can all sleep a little easier now that he isn’t imploding

  46. 46
    Smitty Says:

    I think you keep Folty in the rotation. While he may have been netter last year as a whole, he has had some great stretches this year that show he can do it.

    I think we need a pitching coach who has a track record of building young pitchers. If only there were a guy like that around. Maybe someone who does a radio show and use to be a pitching coach for the Braves.

  47. 47
    blazon Says:

    Ted Simmons
    excels at scouting those who’re not slim ‘uns.
    O’Ghara must find a slider for lefties says he
    his curve reminiscent of Tara weak tea.

  48. 48
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    What would we give up for Stanton?

  49. 49
    blazon Says:

    Ozzie was having his worst game for us last night. He had an early SFly but coming up to bat latish with two runners on and facing a new reliever he struck out and looked awful doing it. It obviously carried with him going back in the field where he committed a howler on an easy ground ball through the legs which ended up costing us a vital run. He looked like he really did want the ground to swallow him up then.
    And then came the bottom of the ninth, still that single run down, Ender on base. Lovely XBH. Character, again. Priceless.

  50. 50
    blazon Says:

    @48

    The Exchequer. Cash or kind. Cash and kind.

    In as much as cash exists. No thanks.

  51. 51
    blazon Says:

    Rex Brothers
    We few, we happy few, there may be others.
    But no lefties with your mighty machismo
    That nail file, a so well hidden gismo.

  52. 52
    ryan c Says:

    @46
    That’s Chuck Hernandez’s calling card. Seriously.

  53. 53
    ryan c Says:

    blazon, you are the light that burns brightest in evil times.

  54. 54
    ryan c Says:

    @48
    Way too much. 4 top-10 prospects and wouldn’t eat a single portion of salary.

  55. 55
    blazon Says:

    @53

    thank you…a mere reflection of all who are here.

  56. 56
    tfloyd Says:

    Recapped

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