Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

I don’t want them forget Ruth; I just want them to remember me. -Hank Aaron

12 Feb

A-Town Down: Culture, Vol 2

In Bravesland… Nothing happened. Much argument and debate was had around the nothingness. Sturm followed drang, which fed back into the next round of sturm. Maybe this week they’ll sign Little Eddy Nunez and everybody will be joyous and happy. Or not. Anywho; here’s a link to a Fox Sports bit headlined “Ten storylines that will define Braves’ spring training.” Be warned, it leads with “how healthy is Scott Kazmir.” That’s where we are, folks. “How healthy is Scott Kazmir.” Feel the excitement!

In Falconia… My dudes. My dudettes. You want to know what is more soul-crushingly boring than MLB off-season? NFL off-season. I mean, we’re talking about a process of scouting, drafting and free agency that is so devoid of anything of actual interest the league turned Mel friggin’ Kiper into “something to watch.” Mel. Kiper. Biggest story for the Birds this week came from their former offensive coordinator’s new team out in San Fran. By giving Jimmy Garrapolo $27 million per year, the 49er’s pretty much guaranteed a $30+ mil deal for Matt Ryan. And let’s be honest. The Falcons aren’t going to let Matt Ryan, the second best quarterback in the league at this point, walk. They’re in a win-now window. (Don’t be shocked if they trade for Michael Bennett to pair with Vic Beasley on the d-line next year. Win-now mode.)

Over in Hawkmanistan… Oh god. Please. Don’t make me look at this. The NBA trade deadline came and went. They traded one journeyman mediocrity you’ve never heard (Luke Babbit) for another guy you’ve never heard of (Okaro White), who they will almost certainly waive immediately. Then they took a player who is injured (Sheldon Mac) off of the Wizard’s hands for cash considerations. All of this is moving pieces around for small cash savings and cap space that may one day be used for acquiring actually talented players, assuming they lose enough to draft a quality young core before then. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Although right there at the tale end of a week in which they lost to the Magic and got torched by Kyle Korver and the completely rebuild Cavs, Dewayne Dedmond went off on Detroit and reeled in an unexpected win. Dewayne Dedmond. I’ll wait while you look him up.

Ahhhhh, United. God bless you Arthur Blank. The local footballers-who-play-the-version-that-uses-your-feet kicked off their sophomore campaign with a preseason friendly in Nashville. This was a big deal for Nashville as it’s the first professional soccer match ever for that city. Their new club, Nashville SC (Nashville Soccer Club; soccer clubs are not expansive with their naming conventions, man) will play at least a couple of seasons in the USL. As we learned last week, the USL is sort of the AAA option of professional soccer in America. Nashville intends to graduate up to the MLS level in a couple of years, but for now, they’ll actually compete against United’s second club, Atlanta United 2. The match itself was a sloppy mess on both ends, due to being played on a poorly draining minor league baseball field in the middle of a downpour. It was nice to see the UTD stars line up and play (unexpectedly for more than just a few minutes.) But mostly, it was nice to not see anyone injured in the swamp of a pitch. To their credit, Nashville’s starting 11 held steady against a much more talented lineup from Atlanta in the first half. In the second period, the depth of one of MLS’s most electric (and expensive) roster proved out and ATL walked away with a 3-1 win. Aside from pre-season work, the match mostly showed the potential for a real Nashville SC – United 2 rivalry to develop in the USL this year. Of course, the new guys have a long, long way to go before they would challenge the MLS club in Atlanta regularly, because ATLUTD is one of the most professionally run, well funded, and intelligent front offices in the league. Remember when that happened with the Braves?

Finally, did you know that Atlanta has a professional lacrosse team? Did you know that there was a professional lacrosse league?! Well, there is, and we do. The Georgia Swarm are apparently about to kick off the second half of a split season, starting in February. PROFESSIONAL LACROSSE!

133 Responses to “A-Town Down: Culture, Vol 2”

  1. 1
    Edward Says:

    Thanks, Sam. Do you want me to add some Atlanta Hustle nuggets to your run-down?

  2. 2
    Nick Says:

    Not only that, but that professional lacrosse team actually won their league’s championship last year, though so few people even know or care about it that nobody is even half-jokingly suggesting that counted as an Atlanta team winning a championship.

    I’m also glad that somebody agrees with me on the NFL offseason. The next person who utters the phrase “Football season never stops!” or “There is no offseason in football!” or some derivation thereof should probably get punched in the face.

  3. 3
    krussell Says:

    If the Hawks ownership moved the franchise to Portland in the middle of the night, how long do you think it would take people to actually notice?

  4. 4
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Sure Edward! I’m probably going to start folding the arena football team and the Gladiators (Boston Bruins minor league hockey out of Gwinnett) in eventually. We used to have a rugby team, but it hasn’t played an official fixture since 2014.

  5. 5
    Edward Says:

    @3, I mean, it probably wouldn’t take very long for the Blazers to notice.

  6. 6
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    I think Matt Ryan might get hip to it.

  7. 7
    Nick Says:

    @3

    Yeah, Seattle is the city held over everyone’s head in the NBA. Not Portland, who already has a team. Geez, man…get your new stadium/arena shakedown cities straight!

  8. 8
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    If Braves Journal becomes lacrosse and arena football talk, I just don’t know…

    Is there any way for you guys to upload pictures of our food into this applet, also?

  9. 9
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    Once again, I think there might be a rush to “predict the next Ronald Acuna helium prospect”, but Talking Chop has a good write-up about Pache:

    https://www.talkingchop.com/2018/2/12/17000474/cristian-pache-atlanta-braves-prospects-speed-defense-80-grade-indulgence

    Bottom line is Ivan thinks that if Pache continues to stay the course with his speed and defense as currently skilled, he’s an average major leaguer. If he develops his power, he could be an above-average major leaguer, and there’s some big WAR numbers that I think most would remain cautious on.

  10. 10
    Edward Says:

    Hustleville.

    The Atlanta Hustle have an uphill battle ahead of them in the AUDL’s South Division. Dallas and Raleigh, two of the best three teams in the whole league, are not going to give away any games, so it’s going to be a shootout between Atlanta, Tampa, and Austin to grab the third playoff spot. (Nashville, having wrapped up a season as the league’s doormat, will be happy to win a single game.) The big news of the off-season has been the replacement of the underwhelming-but-he-looks-good-in-khakis Greg Swanson with all-time icon Miranda Roth Knowles at head coach. She claims the Hustle are transitioning to a more possession-based offense: a little more systematic cutting and throwing, and a little less hero-ball. Cutter Matt Smith remains one of the most dynamic downfield players in the pro game, but it isn’t clear yet whether anyone in the backfield will be able to step up into the gaping hole left by 2016 MVP (and great guy) Dylan Tunnell with his effective retirement part-way through the 2017 season. Two former Georgia stand-outs, Parker Bray and Max Leonard, are the most likely candidates to make a leap. Time will tell.

    The only other off-season question lingering is how much the gender equity boycott is going to thin the ranks of Hustle players. Atlanta sits in a kind of middle ground between teams like DC, Seattle, and San Francisco, who are hardly returning any of their rosters, and Madison and Toronto, who might have 2 players sitting out between them. We’ll know a lot more after closed tryouts wrap up this month.

  11. 11
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    This semi-regular feature is a simple outgrowth of all of the SEC football talk that goes down during THAT professional league’s season.

    The Hustle are competitive frisbee, Chief. Competitive. Utlimate. Frisbee.

    EDIT: I couldn’t make up a better “Professional Ultimate Frisbee Player” name than “Parker Bray.”

  12. 12
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    There are a few different articles listing Teheran as a potential trade candidate for teams like Minnesota and Milwaukee who still need a starter. Minnesota especially since they seemed to have been in on Darvish and Ervin Santana is now injured. I would have thought trading Kemp would have been the definition of selling low, but whaddaya know, that’s what they did (though they did buy low too). But I’d think that unless you traded for another player coming off a down year, trading Teheran right now is probably one of the worst times in his career to do so.

    With that said, with guys like Aaron Blair showing up in shape, Wisler showing up with no pressure, the 5 favorites, Fried, Kazmir, and Sims, you’d have to think that someone is going to pitch themselves into a trade scenario where we could potentially get somebody useful back. I don’t know what that looks like, but if you end up with 6+ viable SPs, there will be a select few teams that only have 4- SPs and would deal something of benefit to us. But we’ve been programmed to think for a few years from now that trading a viable major leaguer will result in acquiring a prospect, and I’m not sure if the Braves are beyond that stage of The Rebuild(TM).

  13. 13
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    Any “Professional Ultimate Frisbee Player” has to have his name start with Hunter, Mackenzie, Dexter, Christian, or Toby.

    I don’t make the rules.

  14. 14
    Edward Says:

    Here you go, Rob.

    Edit: Apparently posting a youtube link now embeds a video screencap? I’m not sure I like that.

  15. 15
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    What’s your boggle?

  16. 16
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    That was some big D, by the way.

  17. 17
    Edward Says:

    I’ll keep my ears to the ground in case a Toby or Dexter comes out of the woodwork this season.

    Re: the big video screen–it really clogs the view of the site. It’s probably worth discussing here, but one of the things I love about Bravesjournal is how little video (or visual) content there is here outside of the text..

  18. 18
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    @9, what does ***your*** gut tell you about Pache? Mine tells me that anyone that goes that many ABs as a professional without a HR is fighting nearly insurmountable odds to become a real life major league baseball player. Vince Coleman hit a few HRs but he also had what would have been a 90 tool on an 80 scale and stole 145 bases in 1 miLB season. It is very doubtful that someone like Rafael Belliard would even make the Majors in the modern environment. He hit .182, .216 and .274 in miLB with 2 (2!) XBH in 125 ABs in the .274 BA season.

    Also, my life won’t end if Pache doesn’t pan out. I’m not being debbie downer, I’m not just being obtuse.

    Joey Gathright anyone?

  19. 19
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I went to high school with the Hustle’s coach, and with at least one of the players whose names I recognized. Back in my day our team won some national high school championships.

  20. 20
    Edward Says:

    @18, Jeff Bagwell at ages 21 and 22 hit 6 total home runs in 800+ plate appearances. Which doesn’t mean anything for Pache, necessarily, but the kid’s much younger than that and power can develop.

  21. 21
    Edward Says:

    @Alex, didn’t know you were a Paideia guy! They’re still one of the top-5 programs nationwide, boys and girls. 3 of the 7 men who made the US national team last summer are Paideia alumni.

  22. 22
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Hah, yep! I went to see Fellowship of the Ring with Dylan and some other people. He’s a huge Tolkien nerd, like me.

  23. 23
    Nick Says:

    I feel like this is a good place to mention that the only thing less compelling than the offseason is the preseason. I simply cannot watch preseason games in any sport for more than five minutes. That includes baseball, by the way. The United game wasn’t helped by the downpour, but without any stakes, it’s still just bleh. And watching people try to derive meaningful outcomes from games that have absolutely no meaningful outcomes is even more irritating.

    If, like, Folty has three bad one-inning starts in a row to begin spring training, a relatively significant number of people are going to start seriously worrying about him. And that type of person should probably be given a prescription for their sedative of choice immediately.

    Thus ends my rant on how lame preseason exhibition games are.

  24. 24
    krussell Says:

    Being a Pache skeptic doesn’t mean I’m actively rooting against him. This is just coming from the position of how I view prospect skill sets and the things I believe are solid predictors versus the things that I think armchair GMs (and real GMs) need to be careful with.

    Fast players with low SLG are the profile that I think leads to a lot of mis-reads about prospect ceilings. I’ll freely admit that it’s possible for a 19 year old to grow out of this typecast profile, but I think you have to err on the side of the skeptic. In the low minors a fast player will have a high OBP because the defense is just flat out bad. In the majors a lot of those turn into outs.

    HRs aren’t the only measure – you want to see evidence of solid contact mixed with bat speed. Albies hits a ton of screaming liners in the gaps for doubles, so I don’t worry about his power as much – the potential is there for sure. Pache I haven’t seen nearly as much of, but by all accounts there’s reasons to think he needs a lot more work to get to where Albies is.

  25. 25
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    @18

    My gut tells me he is way too far away to be excited. As it sits, he’s a back-up outfielder, a Joey Gathright as you put it. That doesn’t excite me. His skills per his age excite me, but I’ve also developed a fairly steadfast requirement that you have to show something at AA or higher before a lot of attention should be given. He’s faster than everyone and plays good defense (largely based on said speed) vs. less physically advanced peers, so he needs to do something significant against real athletes before it means anything. And that’s why I’m not nearly as excited about Ian Anderson yet, even though Baseball America and others had him rated highly. Even Austin Riley is just 200 PAs of AA removed from struggling at A+, and it’s absolute lunacy that the Atlanta Braves, the team of Spahn, Matthews, Aaron, Niekro, Murphy, Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Chipper, Andruw, Freddie and 14 straight division titles are actually making decisions about the future of a key position based on him.

    I get it. We suck. We’ve sucked for a while. And in dreaming of days to come, we look at exciting young players, but some of these guys get lumped into the echelon like the ugly girl in the cool group, and it’s not really fair.

  26. 26
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    @23

    I’m looking at SP performances as it relates to being able to flip some of the pitchers seemingly out of our plans, like Wisler and Blair. They know this may be close to being it for them. I’d imagine they’re playing for a trade right now. I’m looking at the health of Kazmir and McCarthy who can definitely help our team. The collective health of the bullpen is important, especially for the 9 or so guys that project to be in our pen.

    I’m not looking at just about anything the young position players do. I’m sure every Braves fan will be looking at Acuna, but if he struggles, that doesn’t mean anything to me. Same with Camargo, Albies, Swanson, and Ruiz. If Ruiz rakes, maybe that would be interesting. I wouldn’t think anything of Tucker or Adams struggling either.

    Really just the starting pitchers…

  27. 27
    Remy Says:

    Heyman reports that the Braves will be attending the Lincecum showcase Thursday in Seattle. Little Timmy was jacked the last time I saw him.

  28. 28
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    Estaban Loaiza got busted with 44 kilos of cocaine and heroin. He made over $40M in his career. Huh.

  29. 29
    Adam R Says:

    Let me spell out why I posted the Pache write-up.

    When you’re a fan, you can get along mostly fine basing your opinion of various prospects on heuristics. “I only look at two stats,” “I don’t pay attention until he’s in AA,” “TINSTAAPP” are all things people on here are wont to say. And anybody saying these things ends up right enough of the time as to feel like a self-proclaimed genius, ala Chief.

    But when you’re a scout — a person whose job revolves around noticing and understanding what works, doesn’t work, and maybe most importantly could work about a player — you have to go beyond the heuristics and figure out what can change or be improved, so that you could maybe help hoodwink another team and nab a player from their own farm that they’re undervaluing.

    McDaniel and Longenhagen tell us a few interesting things wrt Pache:
    – He’s 37th on their list. I don’t like harping on relative placement, but notice that Soroka is 34th. They’re both 55s, but Pache’s range of outcomes is highly variable whereas Soroka’s is low. That means Soroka is probably going to graduate a 55, whereas Pache very well could be better!
    – He’s 6’2″ and only 185…and only 19. Room to grow.
    – They gave him 55/55 raw power
    – They gave him 20 in-game power right now…with a chance to get to 40. That’s still below average, but all told, his ceiling is higher than Inciarte’s.
    – I quote again: “The only issue for Pache is tweaking the mechanics of his swing. He needs to lift the ball more and have a stronger base to tap into some of his power and allow his athleticism to play. These are fixable things, he’s just turned 19, he has plenty of hitting tools to survive until this point on them alone.”

    This quote is what made me excited. It’d be one thing if Pache is done growing or is uncoachable or something like that. But we’re living in a world where Didi Gregorius and Elvis Andrus have developed 20 HR power. Everywhere you look now, there are these up-the-middle guys who are hitting the ball in the air more, and it’s going out.

    “The Braves rave about his makeup and coachability, while his athleticism would be world class in any sport. With little improvement, he’s a Kevin Pillar two- or three-win type defensive specialist and his upside is a six-plus-win type perennial All-Star.”

    By posting this write-up, my intention was to subtweet all of you relying on heuristics when you have better information — but what good does that do when nobody notices? Sheesh.

  30. 30
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    @29 – I mean, I *got* it. But no on was talking about it. So, ya know?

  31. 31
    Dusty Says:

    Three best words in the English language:

    Pitchers and catchers.

  32. 32
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    I’ll be posting a link here on Thursday for a Yahoo Braves Journal fantasy baseball league. It will likely be a 12 team mixed league, with non-traditional stat categories. There has been a delay this year because Yahoo dumbly decided to include Ohani as two different players which is just stupid. As commissioner, I’ll be open to ideas on stat categories and league makeup. It will likely be weekly head to head as I think that keeps people interested rather than traditional rotisserie which can become a boat race.

    It will be a fun league (no $) but I encourage only such BJ members that will diligently manage their teams and or have experience playing to participate.

    I’ll probably set the draft for the last week of Spring Training and likely on a Saturday.

  33. 33
    snowshine Says:

    The Pache swing last year was all hands and started with a downward pull of his left (leading) elbow. The wonder is that he put up a 98 OPS+ doing that. Still, in my in-person views (11 games last year, 3 in 2016) the boy hit the ball hard. He pulled a couple Riley Pint 100mph jobs to the wall on the fly in one game. The 3 scouts I talked to about him (1 Braves scout, 1 Cubs, 1 Phils) all told me they expected 15+ homers at maturity.

    If you look at the online postings of his batting cage sessions now, he appears to be using a better set-up and quicker trigger to allow him more use of his legs on the swing. I still don’t see an uppercut, but what I see is a guy who will get some line drive homers now.

    Lets have a poll or contest to predict his 2018 homeruns: I’m on 9

  34. 34
    snowshine Says:

    Wish I could join you Chief, but I’m a CPA and don’t get free Saturdays (or other days…) this time of year. If you need someone just to fill out the league I’ll volunteer, but I expect I would have to let the draft robot do its job for me and those teams always suck. :(

  35. 35
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    Hey Chief, actually putting a post up tomorrow about the Braves Journal league. Do you want to shoot me an email with the league information and I’ll put it up tomorrow? bravesjournalrob at gmail dot com. Thanks for getting it started.

  36. 36
    Adam R Says:

    …Or I guess we can just ask snowshine what our stances on our prospects should be.

  37. 37
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    snowshine is a treasure.

    I say 8 home runs. That would be a big improvement.

  38. 38
    Jonathan Says:

    Adam R, I thought your post @29 was thoughtful and well written and appreciate your perspective. Your post @36 was the other extreme.

    I appreciated snowshine’s input @33, don’t see why you have to be so snide about it

    As Sam said (can’t believe I’m quoting him) from the last thread ‘you do you’ buddy

    Seems like Pache is turning into somewhat of a Rorschach test…

  39. 39
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    Less than 4 HRs. Also, I looked at his fielding stats and although the low minors on either Fangraphs or BRef doesn’t have advanced fielding statistics such as RF/9, RF or UZR etc, he DID have 17 assists as a CF which is frankly, incredible. Like almost unbelievable incredible.

  40. 40
    blazon Says:

    @32

    Commissioner Chief
    that he will be in charge brings kudos and relief
    disregard all rumors to the contrary
    that defense will be ignored/punished/voluntary.

  41. 41
    blazon Says:

    Ivan the Great
    attaches to this prospect’s numbers enormous weight
    many chapters later
    he proves he must never be allowed to bat, he’d only crater.

  42. 42
    Adam R Says:

    I was being sincere @36. I didn’t realize we have our own scouting department around here.

  43. 43
    krussell Says:

    If Pache puts up like 7 WAR or something crazy for the 2024 Braves, I’m not going to complain. At least not about *that*, anyway.

    Let’s get some more talk about the 2018 Braves going. Have we abandoned all hope? The time is nearing for the prediction thread. When will Acuna make his debut? How many PA’s will Danny Santana get? Who’s gonna stand in LF and pretend to be a major leaguer? These are things we need to know.

  44. 44
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    http://mlb.nbcsports.com/2018/02/13/matt-kemp-has-lost-over-40-pounds/

    Death, taxes, and Matt Kemp losing lots of weight.

  45. 45
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    23. Across three levels.

  46. 46
    blazon Says:

    a teen who is analyzed much
    complains it will hamper his touch
    he hits on the ground
    because he has found
    it cannot be caught in the clutch.

    2 Clerihews and a Limerick mark the Official End of Cristian Pache month. Much relief for him and one or two here no doubt. The Ivan post referred to from the other day astonished me. Not per se from its patent profundity but simply the fact that his skills, the depth of his research and the amount of time it must take him to produce this(Part 1 of 3!) create only, as i understand it, a nominal stipend. Above all this the guy can write, at a level clearly above the average. So why is he where he is?

  47. 47
    blazon Says:

    @44

    Matt Kemp
    it was clearly all about the California hemp
    Medicinal/Recreational
    it might just delay the advent of permanent vacational.

    I have to admit it will drive me mad if it does to any real degree. I loved watching his at bats when he was fit – that power to right center. Defensively, with the same qualifier, he was a cut above the Matt Adams of the world . That first week catch in Pittsburgh was very unselfish, he must have known that old body was at high risk. But i guess having got rid of it we don’t want to see that 18M back, whatever.

    Champions League this afternoon. Fox Sports 2.45. Choice of 2 games. Salut.

  48. 48
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I’m not here to defend Matt Kemp by any means, but managing a workout and diet routine in the off season is a different animal than managing the same on the road every night, with your bad old knees dying every night you play.

  49. 49
    krussell Says:

    I thought he was pretty damn good for us when he was healthy. Better than I thought he’d be. He just wasn’t healthy much

  50. 50
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I’ve lost 50 pounds over the last eight months or so. It’s a lot to lose, it ain’t easy to lose them, and it’s a whole lot harder to keep them off.

  51. 51
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I don’t know that Braves fans could have asked for more from Kemp during his tenure here. He wasn’t going to suddenly re-become Gary Sheffield again. But he provided power behind Freddie Freeman, and Huggy Bear’s numbers absolutely jumped when he was acquired. He’s old and run down, has bad legs, and will fall apart again this year if/when he plays anything but DH. But managing the fitness program more effectively during the winter, when you’re at your home and working on your personal schedule is simpler than doing so on the road.

  52. 52
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Depending on how you’re overweight, the first 20-30 are reasonably simple to take off if you control diet and sweat regularly. The hardest part of weight loss is when you hit your first plateau after the initial melt-off, and then get frustrated because it’s not as “easy” as it was when you first started.

  53. 53
    allstarmatches Says:

    Kemp’s body absolutely will not hold up to playing OF, even the way he plays it. But good on him for shedding some pounds and getting in better shape

    @43, I think we see Acuna in May. OF of Markakis, Ender and LAdams until then. Maybe we still sign Nunez – personally I’m in favor of doing so.

  54. 54
    Adam R Says:

    @43, Maybe this is exactly why it’s not happening…but we should be giving Acuna the Heyward treatment.

  55. 55
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Acuna will start in AAA at best. There is no way, barring a contract deal that buys out his arb years, including the first year or two of free agency, that they start his clock on Opening Day this year.

  56. 56
    Adam R Says:

    I mean us as in Braves Journalers, in terms of hype.

  57. 57
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Are we not hyping Acuna enough? I mean, he’s the consensus #1 prospect in all of baseball, he gets compared favorably to current superstars, and literally everyone who mentions him raves about him. I don’t know what hype is missing.

  58. 58
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    If anything he is over-hyped. On here.

  59. 59
    Adam R Says:

    Yeah, yeah, but how often do we mention that he trimmed his K% while slightly increasing his ISO at every stop last year?

    That KATOH projects him to generate 13 WAR through his first six seasons?

    Or that he was the AFL MVP? At 19!!

  60. 60
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Chief. Dude. We get it. You hate prospects. You would run your organization entirely by buying free agents after they are old and expensive. Whatever, man. Acuna is not over-hyped. He’s not under-hyped. He’s the best prospect we’ve seen in the organization since at least Freeman and Heyward, and possibly since Andruw. He’s very, very good.

  61. 61
    Donny Says:

    @52 Define simple? My extra 30 lbs are mostly because I like beer and salty food. :(

  62. 62
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Consume fewer calories than you burn. Simple. You can ply with trick diets like keto and such to accelerate the burn process, and you should do basic weight training to convert fat to muscle (which means you lose “less weight” but is far healthier and fitter of an outcome.) but at the end of the day, weight loss is the caloric inverse of saving money. Spend more than you “earn.”

  63. 63
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    LOL, I don’t hate prospects but I would like to at least let him have 1 ML AB before we anoint him as the Venezuelan Babe Ruth. I realize how good he is but I’m a little gunshy from the Braves stupid promotion of Swanson which was completely unwarranted.

  64. 64
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Swanson didn’t perform in the minors like Acuna. He also was a teenager. Good lord.

  65. 65
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    I’m aware of ALL of this.

  66. 66
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    So why shot on people who look forward to his arrival? No one is voting him into the HOF yet. We’re just excited to see a real talent graduate up from the system again.

  67. 67
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    I think, objectively, there’s a lot of reasons to be really excited about Acuna. And honestly, Chief’s pessimism against anyone who hasn’t been hitting 30 HRs for at least five years is nothing new. Who cares. But I’d say the reservation about giving into the hype is based on the following:

    1) We’ve been bad for a long time, and if Acuna is who they say he is, then it would put us a lot closer to being a competitive team. And you could say this about the collective performance of a lot our positively-reviewed prospects. So were that to happen, you’d have to expect a competitive team, and the only worse thing than despair is hope.
    2) Swanson’s struggles.
    3) There’s a belief Swanson will be a very good player who had a sophomore slump, but then there have been prospects who have ended up not being good at all but were supposed to be, like Wisler and Blair. So there’s the fact that young players will falter, then there’s the fear that you get burned with a guy who doesn’t get good at all.
    4) Fear that he’s getting talked about because there’s nothing else to talk about.

    I think that pretty well covers it. I’m all in on Acunapalooza.

  68. 68
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    Really, that extends way past Acuna. If Albies is as fast, strong defensively, and close to the hitter as he appears to be, that’s a huge improvement over Brandon “.280 batting average and nothing else” Phillips. That’s a 3 WAR player. If Swanson can even split the difference between his 2017 and 2016 SSS performances, then that’s a huge improvement. The rotation, the bullpen, the bench, 3B, and you keep going down to the line, and the problem is, if you believe the hype with Acuna, you kinda have to believe the same people using the same processes to say the same things about the rest of the roster. And if you do that… you’ve got a nasty case of hope.

  69. 69
    Seat Painter Says:

    Obligatory Shawshank reference.

  70. 70
    krussell Says:

    I think I’m forever spoiled from watching 19 year old Andruw Jones homer in his first two World Series at bats in Yankee Stadium. It’s been a while since I was that excited about a young player. I’m excited about Acuna. Still excited about Albies. Looking forward to seeing Soroka sometime this year. There’s some reasons to believe that we aren’t going to be totally unwatchable in 2018.

  71. 71
    blazon Says:

    If you had to pick out one of our kids, a sleeper, not now in the top 100, who would it be? Who would totally surprise us over the next 2 years or so while so many others fell away. I’m for Contreras the catcher.

  72. 72
    mikemc Says:

    I think Bryse Wilson may fall in that category.

  73. 73
    coop Says:

    @69: standing ovation.

  74. 74
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    @71 Lugbauer.

  75. 75
    Seat Painter Says:

    @71 Bryce Wilson.

  76. 76
    blazon Says:

    New words i’m learning from stat guys.
    Octile
    Decile
    but what about 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,9?
    Anyone?

  77. 77
    cliff Says:

    Blazon,

    You give out false modesty on your intellectual attainments.

  78. 78
    blazon Says:

    Not me. I read those two beautiful words this morning on Ivan Part 2, knew what they meant as per a few years latin/greek way back, but realized i could not for the life of me come up with those others up to 10. Maybe back then i could but not now. Or maybe they don’t exist. Help please. In the wider arena modesty does not become the poet. To keep going we constantly have to reassure ourselves how great we are. Cheers.

  79. 79
    blazon Says:

    @71

    Any more sleepers?

  80. 80
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Blazon, how about this? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2541298/

  81. 81
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    As you might expect, Folty’s pissed off that the Braves took him to arbitration over $100,000, and he’s even more pissed that no one he had ever heard of from the organization actually bothered to attend the hearing — which he attended, and which occurred right around the birth of his son. You don’t usually hear Braves players giving this many quotes to DOB about how pissed off they are about the organization.

    http://www.myajc.com/sports/baseball/folty-has-added-motivation-after-arbitration-case/Ak9IihFhB45somDd5U7jEJ/

  82. 82
    blazon Says:

    @80

    Alex, perfect, thank you.

  83. 83
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    I’m not sure if he would be considered a sleeper anymore, but Max Fried impressed me a lot last year in his cup of coffee. His frame/build is perfect and his curve ball as a rookie was a quality pitch. It breaks a foot and a half if not more. I have a feeling he will be one of those effectively wild guys.

  84. 84
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    @81 Is it possible for me to agree with Folty’s stance and still believe him to be one of the bigger douches I’ve ever seen as a Brave. I have a feeling he won’t be in a Braves uniform very much longer…after reading that.

  85. 85
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    From that article:

    Folty: It’s just a respect thing.

    I can’t help but think that this whole unique way the Braves handled this was a personal statement to Folty. You want respect? Earn it. I love how everyone is ready to give up on Teheran, but he’s 3 whole months older than Folty, IIRC. Just like fans, the Braves are enamored with his fastball but disappointed with his results. Feel disrespected? Go pitch well and get traded.

  86. 86
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    I agree, Chief, that both are true.

  87. 87
    blazon Says:

    @81.. celebrate the newcomer

    When you’re a Jett
    you’re a Jett all the way
    from your first hanging curve
    and the bunts stay in play.

    @83

    AJ Minter/Fried…two of a kind?

  88. 88
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    I think that both Fried and Minter definitely have some long term possibilities for success and could contribute to the next Braves playoff team.

  89. 89
    blazon Says:

    @84

    On the other hand we could look back one day and realize it was the making of him. And their attitude towards him. Respect can come out of strange circumstances.

    @88 Minter’s biggest asset is his total belief in himself as the best closer around, something he’s not afraid to talk about.

  90. 90
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    The Braves sign C Chris Stewart who hit .183 last year.

    So there. For all of us that wanted them to sign someone. /sticksouttongue

  91. 91
    krussell Says:

    We signed a 3rd catcher. Hot stove intensifies.

  92. 92
    snowshine Says:

    My choice for a break-through prospect is Izzy Wilson. He rocks a very nice BB rate and still manages to strike out at a 30% clip because while his eye for fastballs is great, he cant lay off a breaking ball that starts in the zone to save his life. Should he be able to make that adjustment (and history shows he has what, a 25% chance of learning that?) than we have a Cargo clone on our hands. I must say he did NOT impress in my viewings last year.

    I worry about Lugbauer’s power moving up the ladder. He has a very long swing. Of course, scouts said the same about Brian McCann back in the day).

  93. 93
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Chris Stewart makes Corky Miller look like Henry Blanco.

  94. 94
    timo Says:

    @85. Spot on.
    Folty has been mostly frustrating to watch. When he’s on, he’s on – but one break the wrong way and he’s losing control of the game. Get him to Smoltzies shrink.

  95. 95
    blazon Says:

    Should qualify my support for Minter by making clear he’s not saying he is right now, obviously – but that he fully intends to be. And he says it often.

  96. 96
    td Says:

    @93 – That’s funny. I would also add that Charlie Culberson makes Rio Ruiz look like Johan Camargo.

  97. 97
    blazon Says:

    @93

    Alex, you are going to have to change one of your favorite analogies here – A makes B look like C. the implicit common reference most often being to weight, following the verb ‘look’. For years we have enjoyed these but were then shocked by your recent post that you had recently lost 50 pounds. After the instinctive flow of congratulations it is inevitable we have to consider just how you allowed it on in the first place. For whatever reason most of us assumed a hi-power software/writing job under the great Bezos would leave you drained and slim on a daily basis – Redford in All the Presidents Men, the guys in The Post. Alas, no. Till now. Congratulations!

  98. 98
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Yeah, but Culberson is from Rome, GA, so that’s like a +12 charisma modifier right there.

  99. 99
    blazon Says:

    Champions League again today, 2.45, Fox Sports, Real Madrid(Ronaldo)/PSG (Neymar).

  100. 100
    Braves14 Says:

    Have to say I don’t blame Folty for being pissed off. It doesn’t seem like the whole situation was handled well at all by the Braves. Should have just given him the raise.

    I would be surprised if the Braves haven’t asked to him see a sports psychologist. Either he has and it hasn’t done much good, or he hasn’t and it hasn’t been publicized that he didn’t want to see one. Though I don’t really understand why he wouldn’t want to try it if that’s the case, because what harm would it do?

  101. 101
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Pretty sure we could roll up a character sheet from the second edition rules that would be better than Chris Stewart.

  102. 102
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    With the caveat that you guy seem to know way more about Mike Foltynewicz’s personality and character traits than I do, I would levy a small dollar wager that *if* Folty had the same sort of “coachability” the Fangraphs folks attribute to Christian Pache, he would have gotten his extra 100k.

  103. 103
    Braves14 Says:

    Chris Stewart is only here because somebody has to catch all the pitchers in Spring Training and be a backup at Gwinnett.

  104. 104
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Folty certainly seems high-maintenance and the Braves may be nickel-and-diming him out of a sense of tough love or something, but I’m kind of figuring it’s because they’re pennypinching misers.

    The major league minimum is $545,000, which is what Chris Stewart would make if he’s with the team the whole year. The Braves just told their #2 starter that they’re moneygrubbers who hold such a low opinion of him that they think he doesn’t deserve an extra 20% of Chris Stewart’s salary.

    Seems dumb to me.

  105. 105
    Stu Says:

    IMO, Folty should keep his head down and worry about pitching well enough to earn the extra $100K the impartial arbiter determined he didn’t earn.

    And, for the record, they’re not giving anyone an “extra” 20% of Chris Stewart’s (non-guaranteed) salary. These guys are paid salaries, not given charity.

  106. 106
    blazon Says:

    possible rumor from Redsland…

    Reds desperate for starting pitching will talk about Senzel…but only if…

    we offer minimum 2 pref 3 – middle grade arms, pretty much take your pick

    or, wait for it..

    straight swap…Senzel/Gohara.

    who hangs up and on which deal?

    as a Brave and you could have either deal, which? assuming first would take 3.

    Let me know. Then i really can start a rumor.

  107. 107
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Oh, it certainly isn’t charity. But it’s also relative peanuts. I’d make the same argument about cost-cutting on the postgame buffet table — you’re investing millions of dollars in these guys. You should want to focus on making them productive and keeping them happy.

  108. 108
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I’d rather have a ML ready real 3B prospects than either of those packages. I like Gohara a lot. But he’s a pitcher, and we have 73 of them.

  109. 109
    Adam R Says:

    I would take Senzel over Gohara in a vacuum. But whereas the Reds have Eugenio Suarez, making the trade a clear improvement for them, I don’t get why we’d subtract from our rotation to add at 3B. We’d be treading water.

  110. 110
    blazon Says:

    @109

    I thought from everything that’s being talked about here we have a seriously ongoing problem at third. So much so we’ve been discussing big dollar acquisitions at the end of this season. What/who is it we’ve already got, to add to at third? Camargo, who IMO will be at short sooner rather than later? Tell me how Suarez fits into/complicates all this please, I don’t know enough about him.

  111. 111
    blazon Says:

    @ 108

    Sam, how did your Tuesday evening get together go?

  112. 112
    Stu Says:

    107—Sure, within reason. I’m not willing to say the Braves are being unreasonable by drawing a line with which the arbiter obviously agreed. Had they gone to the mat over $100K and lost, I’d feel differently.

    As far as keeping Folty happy, the quotes in that article indicate he’s angrier about who showed up to the hearing than about the fact that there was a hearing. And that anger seems to stem from an ignorance on his part that can (I assume will) be corrected.

  113. 113
    Adam R Says:

    Eugenio Suarez is the incumbent 4 WAR (though who knows…) 3B in Cincinnati. He’s why the Reds could consider trading Senzel without weakening their team. I would take him off their hands if they wanted to keep Senzel.

    I’m also not opposed to trading prospects for Senzel. I think we’re at a stage where we should not trade anyone who’s here and we’re counting on already unless, like the Reds have at 3B, we have a sure replacement. I would be shocked if Gohara was a 3 WAR pitcher this year, but some projections say he’s theoretically our best starter right now.

    They could bargain me down to Allard and a couple crappier arms. All things considered, I’d rather spend on Machado.

  114. 114
    blazon Says:

    @113

    Thanks for that helpful explanation. Learning that now it seems to me it significantly increases a chance to deal for Senzel So i’m excited.

    But you presumably are not -‘i’d rather deal for Muchado’. And the big bucks and years that go with him as opposed to Senzel? And could you please explain what you mean by ‘anyone who’s here and we’re counting on’ in this context?

    I guess i’m over simplifying this but it all seems so easy from here this evening…two teams trying hard to drag themselves up…one needs a third baseman and has a multitude of young starting pitching most of whom are going to end up being traded; the other is desperately short of starting pitching and has a ready replacement at third.There will surely never be another situation quite like this where all the logic appears to be so clear.

    Except you’d rather have Machado!

  115. 115
    Adam R Says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we traded for Suarez at some point.

    But I don’t think the fit is quite there yet. Because we don’t really have a multitude of pitching. We have Teheran, whose ceiling is sort of low and variability is high — a bad combination for the role we’ve been asking him to assume. It seems most likely that Folty is who he is. McCarthy isn’t a long-term proposition. Gohara has the most potential in our rotation — so why trade him? — but attitude/weight issues could derail him. Newcomb and Fried may never stop walking guys. None of these guys are sure things (except Teheran, and Teheran is a sure thing in kind of a bad way) the way that Senzel apparently is. And any of them could get injured.

    If two non-Teheran/McCarthy pitchers in our rotation step up and Wright and Soroka look more and more like locks, then we may see a trade to fill a position player need. It’s just easy to imagine us not getting anywhere because we exchanged the guy in our rotation with the highest ceiling for a 3B, and then none of Folty/Newcomb/Fried step forward.

  116. 116
    cliff Says:

    blazon,

    Senzel is probably projecting as a 3 to 4 WAR 3B. For me, I would rather get 6 pre FA years from him than give an FA contract to anybody. For the Reds, Senzel is almost like Acuna. Alost everybody thinks he will be good. His stock has gone up since he was drafted (as Acuna did even more so after signing).

    What Adam R. meant is that Gohara is probably our best starting pitcher going into the year. If you lose his production to get production somewhere else, you don’t gain much. However, if you trade minor leaguers who aren’t likely to be that prominent this year, then you can have a better 3B and still have a good pitcher.

  117. 117
    snowshine Says:

    If they would go Folty/Fried/Allard for Senzel I would make that trade every day of the week and twice on sunday. Do not want Suarez who appears to somewhat be a GAB mirage.

  118. 118
    blazon Says:

    @115, 116, 117.

    It is reasonable surely to say that to make a deal of this consequence you must show some courage, some hard belief in what you’ve got. (73 Sam says!). All i know is there is no other team able to sit down and talk with what we have and that the opportunity may never recur. Gohara i fully realize is our number one card and i’m encouraged to find no one seems to find him sacrosanct.There are many, many more in waiting, courage!

    And, yes, i am well aware Senzel is near Acuna level. I think the key may be what cliff wrote to fall in with me…6 free FA years from Senzel versus god knows what in the next FA market.

    Why haven’t we heard anything? Can they keep something like this quiet for long? Make it happen gentlemen.The Reds are going to ST with their rotation in shambles. I will sniff around at this end. Maybe that horror thought will force AA into action.

  119. 119
    Adam R Says:

    This conversation (and Chief’s comment about his curveball) is making me think: come on, Max Fried. We need you. Does anyone else we’re not already really relying on who will play in Atlanta this year and could accelerate the rebuild — Newcomb, Camargo, Ruiz — have one weapon in their arsenal as deadly as that curve?

  120. 120
    Adam R Says:

    I guess it is surprising that there haven’t been ripples of the Reds dangling Suarez, trying to sell high.

    If it were me, maybe I’d wait until Moustakas finally signs and then I’ve got the best guy out there?

    Or maybe the Reds are just gonna move one of them to a different position, and we all don’t know what we’re talking about. Maybe Suarez goes to the outfield and they trade Duvall or Schebler.

  121. 121
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    @111 five of us had drinks and dinner at Superica at Krog Street Market. Good times. No bloodshed.

  122. 122
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Flipping a pitcher for a real 3b option and moving Riley into the “fake it in LF and mash” bucket would be good.

  123. 123
    krussell Says:

    I’ve had two pitchers (hey, it’s Wendesday), so I think I can freely admit that I think the Braves don’t give two shits what Folty thinks about anything, and that he’ll be the first talented pitcher that we trade for other pieces.

  124. 124
    blazon Says:

    @121…good times indeed.

    @123…Wendesday, Wendesday – that’s allright, that’s allright.

    Let’s do this deal.

  125. 125
    csg Says:

    I don’t understand why AA keeps saying Folty’s spot in the rotation is a lock. One he hasn’t deserved it and two he needs to be a reliever

  126. 126
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    If you can’t drink on Woden’s day when can you drink? Maybe AA is promoting Folty as a locked in “starter” to increase his trade value to Cincy…

  127. 127
    coop Says:

    Folty to Cincy even up for their 3rd base Acuna is my idea of a good time.

    The new regime is a well-oiled machine, Blazon its gadfly and AAR shows up often enough to remind me how fortunate the Journal was to have him herd our cats. Who knew how potent a concoction bipolar Rob and Sam could be.

    And the old posters are back! It’s good to hear from urlhix, Stu, td, csg and the ones whose names my senile state of mind omits.

    Get us 3rd base and leftfield championship starters for next to nothing, AA. Play ball, Braves.

  128. 128
    blazon Says:

    @127

    Add yourself in…our/my bedrock…’keeps his head while all around are losing theirs.’…and gadfly is such a lovely word, long since forgotten, now restored, thanks.

  129. 129
    blazon Says:

    Who knows best how to get Senzel? It makes no senze not to try. Seriously.

  130. 130
    Edward Says:

    @129, Didn’t krussell just write that he had a couple of pitchers? Isn’t that exactly what the Reds need? Get it done, bravesjournal.

  131. 131
    blazon Says:

    @130

    Exactly. Of the liquid variety, it being Wenesday, a family custom no doubt.

    Hey, we’ve all got a couple in mind, it’s too easy. Phone, phone.

    a Cincinnati Red
    lies, haggard, in his bed
    he’s having problems sleeping
    the Braves, it seems, have come a-peeping.

    AA
    can no longer turn away
    cometh the hour, cometh the man
    time now for him to show he actually can.

    Am beginning to understand/accept there is a Riley factor in play here. Why strip the farm, keep both. Yes but. Someone once reminded us there is no substitute for proven quality, you get what you pay for. We should pay.

    Decisive speed is ezzential. We must separate from the pack.

  132. 132
    blazon Says:

    So ironically sad. Gohara’s father died in his arms en route to the hospital in December. Bless them both. Bowman’s story.

  133. 133
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    New thread.

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