The Braves are on pace to give up ∞ runs this season

It’s a little galling to get beaten by Sean Gilmartin — the guy we traded for Ryan Doumit, who put up -0.5 WAR in 100 games in 2014 and then promptly retired — though it’s slightly reassuring that none of this counts. In other news that doesn’t count, Ender Inciarte and Hector Olivera are both hitting quite well, which is better than them not hitting well. Also of note, Tyrell Jenkins made his spring debut and closed out the game in perfect fashion, notching four outs including two strikeouts.

(This is probably where I should point out that Dan Rosenheck of the Economist, who I know a little bit and who absolutely destroyed me in fantasy baseball last year, has done a fair amount of research to demonstrate that spring training stats do matter. Here’s the finding:

In every peripheral category, forecasts that included a finely calibrated dose of spring-training numbers outperformed ZiPS by itself. The impact was particularly strong for first-year players (“rookies”), for whom spring training is their first taste of proper big-league competition. After adding the peripherals back together to get an all-in-one value measure, incorporating spring training improved the correlation between preseason projections and final results from .578 to .593 for hitters (using OPS) and from .354 to .387 for pitchers (using ERA).

That said, it has been the official position of the blog since Mac’s days that You Should Not Pay Attention to Spring Training Stats, and that continues to be the position of Braves Journal, unless you are building a projection system or playing in a high-dollar fantasy league.)

Today we’ll face Robert Allen Dickey and the Blue Jays. Dickey’s 41 and the 2012 Cy Young Award winner has been just about exactly a league-average pitcher since the Mets shipped him to Toronto for Travis D’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard. We’ll have Aaron Blair again. Should be a fun one. This one’s only available on audio, via

148 thoughts on “The Braves are on pace to give up ∞ runs this season”

  1. I’m just going to throw this out there – Jhoulys Chacin very well may be the Braves’ 2nd best SP at the outset of the 2016 season.

    Coincidentally, “I’m just going to throw this out there” is also Folty’s motto.

  2. In separate news, check out this series of high-speed photographs of a fan saving an oblivious kid from a baseball bat flying into the stands during Saturday’s Braves-Pirates game. Crazy stuff.

  3. Jhoulys Chacin is a good pitcher. So surprising that he wasn’t given a guaranteed deal. Kyle Kendriks, on the other hand, is not.

  4. Trying to make an anagram out of Jhoulys and Rutckyj. Failing.

    Wait… Just Cry, Hulk. Joy!

  5. @1 I caught most of Chacin’s outing yesterday on the local Met broadcast and he didn’t top 89mph.

  6. @9, Thanks. Yeah…he’s lost 2 MPH since his peak, and batters made contact with 92% of Chacin’s pitches in the zone. Say hi to this year’s Cahill.

    Let’s trade Aybar to the Cardinals for something somewhat nice.

  7. Yeah, well… ::insert comment about how Maddux and Glavine didn’t throw hard, therefore velocity isn’t important::

  8. Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz struggled early on, therefore all young pitchers that struggle will eventually make the HoF.

  9. Looking at fangraphs, Chacin had his best season (2013) while averaging 89.9 mph on his fastball. In his case, it appears to be true that he has been highly effective despite below average velocity. The samples for the last 2 years (88.5 and 88.6 mph averages) may represent a continued decline in velocity, but they are confounded by injury and only represent 90 total innings of work. It’s not that concerning he’s throwing 89 in his first spring start. It is concerning that he hasn’t been able to stay healthy for 2 seasons, and he’s a long shot to stay healthy in 2016.

  10. @14, Chacin accumulated more WAR in 2013 because he pitched 200 ML innings. It may have been his most productive season, but it’s not his best from a skills standpoint. The Rockies were stupid not to call him up sooner in 2010. Anyhow, a 4 xFIP is not highly effective.

    He’s not the same pitcher he was before the pectoral/shoulder injury, and he knows it. Look at how much less he’s throwing his fastball. Sure, maybe he can find a way to amp it up a little more this spring. I’m not hopeful.

  11. Everyone’s favorite manager yanked Mallex out of today’s game because he didn’t like one of his bunt attempts.

  12. Why was Jace Peterson playing third and left? We already have a left-handed hitting 3B/LF!

  13. #19 – DOB said planning for the future. Checking his versatility for when Albies and Swanson are ready.

  14. @18, Our disagreement is over whether he’s very injury prone and sucky as opposed to merely very injury prone. So on the bright side, I’m not sure how much it matters!

  15. I think they are seeing how versatile Jace can be and if he can fill the utility-guy bench role. The thought of him seeing significant time at either position is cringe-worthy though.

  16. @21, oh no, I’m quite sure he’s sucky, too. He is injury prone, but it’s no sure thing he’s back to health in the first place. I’m just saying that a fastball velocity of 89 mph isn’t in itself concerning, as he’s been successful (semantics about effectiveness aside) with such velocities.

  17. @23, We have so much in common :) You make a fair point. It’s possible for Chacin to Harang us, as pitchers Harang against the odds every season, even for an entire season. That’s what we’re dealing with when we’re talking about Chacin, though.

  18. I think we will be every bit as much contenders with Daniel Castro or Jace Peterson playing SS as with Erick Aybar.

  19. Does the clock really matter all that much? Put the best players on the field and let’s see what happens. As a fan the clock management stuff is pretty off-putting. If the guy is a future stud, and currently better than any of the dreck on the major league team, then play him now.

    If he’s not good, then the clock crap doesn’t matter one bit. If he’s a bonafide great player, then the money issue will work itself out. You’ll still have first crack at extending him.

  20. I’d almost prefer to go ahead and start his clock for the reasons krussell mentioned. Plus, if you burn a year while he’s still developing, one would assume you can extend him at a weaker spot in his career. Wouldn’t that make sense?

  21. If he turns out to be “too good” then we’re going to let him walk anyways because we can’t pay him. At that point maybe the extra year or two of indentured servitude really does matter.

    Still, the fan in me wants to see the 19 year olds play.

  22. It’s one thing to delay the call up a AAA stud like Kris Bryant because of the clock. It’s another to be prudent with the development of a 19-year-old who hasn’t seen high-A yet. It isn’t as if we’d be allowing Albies to languish in AAA where he’s just destroying the competition.

  23. Yeah I think Albies needs to see pitching in the upper minors first. They would have to go with Cabrera or whatever they got back in trade.

  24. Could we see Swanson and Albies in Mississippi this year?

    Furcal did okay not seeing upper level pitching. Just saying.

  25. @42, I think both are in Atlanta by year end. They have to give the fans some type of hope, something to get excited about.

  26. Why not call up Allard and Riley? They’re also 19 and dominated Danville, which is 1 level below Rome. Might as well see what they can do, start the clock, give fans hope, etc. What’s the point of low-A, high-A, AA, and AAA…just holding guys back to not start their clock?

  27. Well, I think the hidden argument that people here are making is that Olzhaino Albies is actually ready for the majors. I think whether you believe thatis what makes you ask or not ask the question over when to start his clock.

    I don’t know anything about how ready Albies is one way or another, but I’ve read some folks think he’s close. Haven’t heard that at all about Riley and Allard.

  28. Another assumption I’m making is that the #1 draft pick from the college program that goes to Omaha every year probably doesn’t need a whole lot more seasoning. I want to watch Swanson learn on the job. If you want to watch Gordon Beckham instead…well, to each their own.

  29. “If you want to watch Gordon Beckham instead…well, to each their own.”

    Right, that’s probably what people are thinking who don’t want to rush Albies and Swanson.

    @46, I’m sure scouts, etc are in a better position to gauge something like that from the eye test than I am. But even so, I don’t see why he can’t start off at AA for a couple months, which he would surely dominate if he’s mlb-level, and go from there.

  30. @47

    WE don’t know, but perhaps the people who’s job it is to know figure he’s close, if not actually, ready. Then, the question becomes do we screw around for a month or two, or do we go ahead and see if he is ready for Prime Time.

  31. There’s nothing wrong with promoting them this June and letting them get 100 games of learning and taking their lumps in a total throwaway season. I’m not saying you start the season with them, but letting them play this summer makes sense to me. You want them to be ready for when we actually start trying to be good in 2017 and beyond (assuming we ever do start trying).

  32. If one of them is dominating AA for two months, I won’t have the same issue as I do now (though I would still prefer 2 months at AAA). I thought the question was whether we would start the season with Albies at SS if Aybar is traded.

  33. There has been a lot of buzz about Albies all camp, even before the games started.

    I’m not sure I’d trot him out for Opening Day, but if we move Aybar, he may be the next man up.

    If the Braves are serious about winning in 2017, we would need to get some of these guys MLB playing time by the end of the year. That is if they are ready.

  34. On top of that, I wonder if Aybar and a prospect form 10-15 would get us Carlos Martinez form the Cards.

  35. I didn’t think that we should call up Furcal, who had less than half a season of High-A and three games of Double-A under his belt. Of course, we thought he was 20 at the time that we called him up. It turned out he was more like 22. He was also brilliant as a rookie, and enjoyed one of the best years of his career. In general, I tend to think that you want to give your hot prospects every chance to fail in the high minors before calling them up. The major leagues is no place to learn to hit a curveball.

  36. The Peraza trade alone is enough for me to know that our guys think that Albies is almost ready. Is he really ready? Only one way to find out.

  37. You guys make it seem like the pitching in A and AA is vastly different than the bigs. It’s not that different stuff-wise. If anything it’s wilder and scarier. They throw just as hard. They throw all the pitches. Most of them can’t command many of them, which is where the gap lies.

    The only reason to keep a hot prospect in the minors is if he has under-developed parts of his game, or if he’s blocked by a better player in the majors. Albies doesn’t seem to have many things he needs to work on, and he becomes unblocked pretty quickly if we make a trade.

    The Braves have a pretty good list of guys that went to the bigs with relatively little minor league seasoning. I’m excited that we have a few guys that actually might be in that same class of player.

  38. A walk off win and a lot to be pleased with. Wisler threw two scoreless, Swanson got a triple, Mallex with a multi-hit game (and two more XBH!)

  39. It’s early, but if you spit out the bones and say that the following players are actual major league candidates, then this is how the real team shakes up:

    Inciarte: .417/.417/.500
    Markakis: .286/.286/.714
    Freeman: .500/.667/1.500
    Olivera: .438/.412/.438
    Mallex: .417/.462/1.083
    Beckham: .333/.600/.333
    Dansby: .222/.417/.222
    Ozzie: .600/.667/.900
    Bonifacio: .500/.545/.600
    Castro: .444/.500/.566
    Aybar: .333/.333/.500
    KJ: .429/.636./.714
    Pierzynski: .200/.200/.200
    Flowers: .250/.250/.625
    Swisher: .125/.222/125
    Peterson: .083/.267/.083
    Bourn: .333/.455/.333

    Could be worse.

  40. On top of that, I wonder if Aybar and a prospect from 10-15 would get us Carlos Martinez form the Cards.

    If I were Mozeliak, I would make fart noises into the phone and hang it up.

  41. @58, the jump from Single-A to Double-A is often considered the most difficult single jump in all of professional baseball. At Single-A, there are a lot of guys who don’t really know what they’re doing yet, and they certainly don’t have consistent command. Double-A is really where the men are separated from the boys. And Double-A and Triple-A are the first levels where hitters are likely to face pitchers capable of consistently commanding a breaking ball. Just to name three examples, Jeff Francoeur, Andruw Jones, and Andrelton Simmons probably would have benefited from more time in the high minors for that very reason.

  42. I dunno, I’m glad they rushed Andruw. His rookie season was awesome to watch. Francoeur didn’t have troubles until the book was out on him. If he stayed in the minors or not, that book was going to do him in eventually.

    Simmons is an enigma to me. He should be able to hit. I don’t understand it. My bet is that he will eventually be an above average hitter. We just didn’t have time on our side in order to wait for it.

  43. krussell, I disagree with almost everything you’ve said in this entire thread. Francouer, simmons, and Andruw all had MAJOR issues with pitch selection throughout their careers, which possibly could’ve been helped with more development time, and the idea that all of that is trumped by how much you enjoyed watching them as precocious rookies is driving me to drink…moreso.

  44. He belongs in AA. And it’s not his fault that he needs to be a frontline starter to justify the trade.

  45. @68

    Can the answer be both? I don’t think he needs to be a frontline starter unless you truly feel like Andrelton Simmons should have returned a MLB SS, a frontline starter less than 12 months away from breaking out, and a potential #3 starter two years away from being ready. We’d have to agree to disagree on that. But even if he needs to be a frontline starter, does he have to be one immediately for the trade to be a success, or he can still spend some time in AA?

    If we flip Aybar at the deadline for, say, a decent pitching prospect (like either half of the KJ/Uribe return), then we’re looking at trading Andrelton Simmons for a half season of Erick Aybar, Sean Newcomb, a high upside righty in Chris Ellis, and another pitching prospect. You’ve got to loooove shortstop defense to consider that a bad return.

  46. isnt the official position of Braves journal that spring stats don’t matter UNLESS it’s a 1.2 inning sample?

  47. Yeah, forget the fact that our projected starting 8 is hitting a collective .400 something. That AA lefty needs to get his act together!

  48. Did Aaron Blair come back in the Shelby trade? It’s hard to remember who came back in what trade since there have been so many of them.

  49. When Tyrell Jenkins make it to the big leagues, we all need to call him TYRELLLLL JEEEEENNNKKIIINNNNS

  50. @72


    They seem to be hyping Blair. Really interested to see when he ends up in Atlanta.

  51. @ 63/64/65

    Life in general…what makes it interesting as we watch our contemporaries age up is the observation that some learn from experience, others seem not able to…history in their case is no help, they are repeat offenders, DNA and all that maybe…it matters not for these guys if they were able to repeat a particular year-the results would likely be essentially the same…

    in what behavioral field are we enmeshed here you might ask… could be any of the vices – cherchez la femme, mother’s ruin(gin), or not laying off the outside pitch. Try as we might it’s a hard road to get them back under control. low A,high A, AA, they’re going to do it, you can keep them down till they’re 30 and they’ll still do it. they’re good, they know they’re good,the question is how good in the areas they excel…get ’em up. Andruw the perfect example, why deny him?

    Last year a 16 year old Dutchman competed in Formula 1 – successfully, a full works drive. He crashed a time or two in the process. He has a big new contract for this year. Fortunately no one had suggested prior that he spend a year or two more in go karts. He was entrusted with a 50 million dollar race car because somebody wise saw something early on and said bring him up.

    Crash and burn, sure, some will. There is nothing sacrosanct about baseball in the area of blooding new talent, don’t make it more of a skill than it actually is. Fuck the ticking clock. Identify, promote, the maelstrom of the Major Leagues will do the rest.

    And we get to watch.

  52. an arriviste
    is someone whose production has lately ceased
    and is now a new Brave
    for his redemption, and ours, sweet sanity crave.

  53. @73

    I second the motion.


    I agree with Frenchy and possibly Simmons. Though the organization did have much of a choice with either and calling them up got us to the playoffs.

    I don’t know about Andruw. Would have two or three more weeks/months at AA-AAA made a difference? The guy had a great career. Did he have issues with the curve? Yes. He also had a 50 HR season.

    Shutting the Gold Club down was the worst thing to happen to Andruw, IMO. COUNT IT!

  54. @76 and all its parent comments,

    I think there’s a school of development–in anything, not just baseball–that emphasizes eliminating the negative, and another that puts much more focus on furthering the positive. Well, call them tendencies rather than schools. Lean too far in either direction and you’re virtually guaranteed to mess up your developee. But in my experience it’s much, much better (and far less common) to err on the positive side. That is, once somebody is spectacular at enough different aspects of a discipline it doesn’t make sense anymore to slow the process to shore up a negative.

    That said, you better be right.

  55. IMO, it would be beyond stupid for the Braves to push the uber-talented youngsters (particularly Albies, Swanson, Newcomb, Allard… and to a lesser extent, Riley, Mallex and Blair) to the Majors before they’re ready. This team is still building and needs all the high value player-controlled years it can get, especially when you consider that last year of team control will be smack in the middle of that player’s likely prime (mid to late 20s).

    We the Braves fans have been waiting (im)patiently through this rebuild so far, I’m in no mood to see the eventual payoff harmed just so that the 2016 team is more interesting.

  56. I don’t think he needs to be a frontline starter unless you truly feel like Andrelton Simmons should have returned a MLB SS, a frontline starter less than 12 months away from breaking out, and a potential #3 starter two years away from being ready.

    Simmons was under our control through 2020 for relatively cheap, whatever value you assign to otherworldly defense. So, yes, the return — a shortstop with one year of control and two lottery tickets, one that’s high-risk and the other, lower risk but lower ceiling — absolutely was too little. Whatever we can realistically flip Aybar for doesn’t change the equation much.

  57. @82 The remaining portion of Simmons’ contract is 5 years / $54M. He’s certainly worth more, but how much more really turns on your assessment of the value of his defense and his chances of turning his hitting tools into results.

    Frankly, I dislike the Braves’ return on the trade as well – I feel like trading away a guy who has a legit chance to be the best defensive SS of all time should have netted us a can’t-miss prospect (as opposed to Newcomb, who has a rocket left arm but is also very good at missing the strike zone). Also, as we’ve discussed ad nauseum, Simba is a joy to watch and seems like a great dude – he made baseball fun in a way that very few players can.

  58. Yeah, those massive swaps rarely happen. But this is a really weird one, and I find it hard to believe that it got much further than the “hey, what would you think about…?” stage. The Braves tried to cram a salary dump into a superstar for prospect swap. I’m not surprised the Yankees said no.

  59. I imagine the large swaps have just too many variables for both GMs (and entire front offices, at that point) to agree to. One team is worried about one player, the other team is worried about another, and it can’t get done. It’s interesting to see that the trade evolved into simply Carpenter/Shreve for Banuelos.

  60. RE Simmons, I know I am repeating myself ad nauseam ( my favorite pastime), but we clearly didn’t get equivalent value in that trade. After pulling off numerous coups and at least one swindle, that trade was a pure salary dump of a guy who 1) wasn’t very expensive and 2) the kind of unique player that great teams can be built around.

    I think dWar is largely a flawed stat in that it overstates defensive contributions as a component of total value, and I largely discount it except to compare dWAR to dWar, apples to apples. But up the middle defense is for rillies, and Simmons is as I’ve stated, already the best defensive SS ever to play the game. He’s otherworldly. Simba is going to be very, very, very good for a very long time, and I predict he is going to be on numerous teams that go deep in the playoffs. Can Dansby or Albies make us forget him? Perhaps. But it would salve my wounds much more if we got something of real value back for him, and, IMO, we didn’t get much of anything.

  61. @90

    I’ll bite.

    I believe the Braves felt Simmons had peaked both offensively and defensively. Which isn’t unreasonable. They also felt the players they received in return have more upside than guys like Keith Law think they do.

    I don’t think we will know if we got value in this deal or not for a few years. I think you also have to take into consideration for what we get for Aybar as well.

    Newcomb is one of our top five prospects and Ellis isn’t too far behind. I would imagine the Braves didn’t just shop Simmons to the Angels and that was it. The probably discussed him with half the teams in baseball on some level and this was the best return out there.

  62. I would like to see an infield at Mississippi which includes Ruiz, Swanson and Albies to start the season.

  63. @89, I think that on its face, the JHey trade was far more reasonable. It’s a bit like the Dan Haren sequence. First, the Oakland Athletics traded Mark Mulder to the Cardinals for Dan Haren, Daric Barton, and Kiko Calero — neither side could know that Mulder’s shoulder was about to explode, but it was a good established pitcher for a good young pitcher plus spare parts, a reasonable deal. To me, that’s the Heyward deal.

    Then, Oakland took Dan Haren and traded him to the Diamondbacks for Brett Anderson, Chris Carter, Aaron Cunningham, Dana Eveland, Carlos Gonzalez and Greg Smith. That’s the Teixeira deal.

  64. #83
    A deal that acquires BJ Upton & Chris Johnson while giving up Luis Severino?

    If Cashman had gone for that, the pitchforks would’ve come out. Can’t imagine that was ever close to real.

  65. I think we traded Simmons because of Albies and the idea that Albies would provide just as much value for cheaper at a time when we actually need that value. The problem to me was that we seemed to be in a hurry to get rid of him when we didn’t need to be. The return was decent, but I was disappointed in it because I (like most everyone) think Simmons is a generational defender.

    @93, and there I thought I wouldn’t see Dana Eveland mentioned on this blog again

  66. Andruw Jones is a borderline hall of famer. He had an awesome career. An extra half-year in Richmond would not have made one bit of difference in the outcome. You guys are silly sometimes.

    Frankly, it’s extremely unlikely that any of our young prospects will come anywhere near Andruw’s level of production. If they are better than the guys currently on the roster, then play them. This is entertainment, and nobody is currently entertained.

    I think it’s a very safe bet that Albies would be better than Jace Peterson right this very moment. Don’t waste a year of service time by starting him right away, but call him up during the summer. It’s a no brainer.

  67. @96,

    “Andruw Jones is a borderline hall of famer. He had an awesome career. An extra half-year in Richmond would not have made one bit of difference in the outcome. You guys are silly sometimes.”

    You do realize this is the sort of position that you were deriding earlier by saying “Glavine and Maddux struggled early, so all pitchers who struggle early will be in the hall of fame”? And there I thought nobody actually took such straw man positions.

  68. Severino would’ve been the pitcher I would’ve hoped to acquire by dealing Simmons. Also getting Gary Sanchez — a real need for us — and giving Aaron Judge a try for a year of Heyward and a salary dump seems too good to be true. Gary Sanchez more or less offsets not being in a position to acquire Swanson.

  69. @96 As you well know, it is impossible for to say how Andruw Jones’ career would have unfolded had the Braves afforded him a little more time in the minors. That’s not even the point though… the point is, why should the Braves burn valuable rookie service time in 2016 for marginal (if any) on-field improvement just to mollify fans like yourself? There’s a plan in place, give it a chance to work.

  70. @97, you do realize I was making a joke with that statement…not a good joke, but a joke nonetheless.

    @99, they don’t have to mollify me or anyone else. But I bet you they will. It’s not like I’m asking for something crazy that’s never been done before. Andruw was fine. Bob Horner was fine. Furcal was fine. Heyward and Freeman turned out fine. Chipper did pretty good too.

    Just like I can’t prove that their careers wouldn’t have been helped with a bit more seasoning, the flip side is that putting up a monster year in AA when you are way better than your peers isn’t anything more than a year of opportunity lost with the big club.

    Swanson is the #1 overall pick and 22 years old. If he’s not ready to play this year then we’ve made a giant mistake.

  71. Is something going on with Teheran/Soler? I got an alert on my phone, but I exited the lock screen before I could read it. Nothing on Twitter or MLBTR.

  72. Twitter can’t seem to figure out if Teheran has actually been traded for Soler or if it’s just a rumor being perpetuated by everybody asking if it’s a rumor. So, naturally, everybody should panic.

  73. @100 You’re not asking for “something crazy” in asking for call-ups of Albies or Swanson within the first few months of the 2016 season, but in all likelihood it would be ill advised. First off, as I mentioned, you’ll pay a heavy price in terms of valuable team control for calling up a talented player early (see: Jason Heyward). Beyond that, there are legitimate reasons that both should be in the minors for a while for the sake of their own development.

    Albies is 19 years old and about 150 lbs – I understand he’s extremely strong for his size, but still, dude is tiny. It can be a very difficult adjustment for speedy but low-power hitters to adjust to the majors. For example, Billy Hamilton and Jose Peralta had an easy time in the minors but struggle mightily at the plate facing MLB pitchers. Dee Gordon, too, was terrible from 2011 – 2013. Albies is clearly a superlative athlete but he’s still quite young, why not let him hone his approach against off-speed pitches and hitting (selectively) for power in the minors?

    Swanson is probably closer to being able to succeed in the majors, but seriously, he’s had only 99 plate appearances against Low-A competition. The Braves haven’t had any real time to work with him and refine the parts of his game that may need it. Even Rafael Furcal had 3 years in the minors before he got called up to the bigs.

  74. Playing at Vandy is better competition than low-A. I just want to see them play. Another unwatchable season is too much to ask.

  75. Troy Tulowitzki’s path to MLB may be instructive with respect to Swanson – a 7th overall pick, Tulo had 94 ABs (.800 OPS) the year he was drafted, then 423 ABs in AA (.843 OPS) before being called up to the majors for the proverbial cup of coffee.

    If Swanson puts up a .800+ OPS in AA this season, I would expect he will see some playing time with the big league club once rosters expand.

  76. If they trade Aybar before the deadline, then one or both of Swanson/Albies is going to play middle infield for us and play a lot of games, this season.

    Unless they struggle mightily in the first few months at AA. Which they might. Hope not though.

  77. AAR, I just meant that Miller was acquired in the JHey trade, then Miller is spun off for gold. So we got more bang for the buck in the first trade, since there were other pieces as well?

  78. The Simba trade will be easier to evaluate in time. I think he puts up in the neighborhood of 18-20 WAR for the remainder of his contract. Will Newcomb, Ellis, Aybar (and anything we get for flipping him), plus the $58 million we can spend on other players over that time be worth it? Given our current rebuild trajectory and strong middle infield prospects, it seems like a good deal to me. On the other hand, maybe Newcomb and Ellis contribute nothing at the MLB level, we get nothing for Aybar, and Simba goes back to being a 7 WAR player. Hard to know for sure, we just have to wait and see.

  79. #103 – posted an article…3 trades that should happen in ST. Soler for Teheran was one of those.

  80. @108 Don’t forget, the Braves could always decide to go with Daniel Castro (*blech*) as a stopgap at SS between Aybar and The Future.

  81. If Teheran gets moved for Soler, then I’m really wondering what the plan is for Olivera. And by adding yet another Cuban, I’m also wondering what the plan is for Fredi, but that’s beside the point. If you can’t deal Markakis, then you are putting yourself in the same position why the Cubs are trading Soler: too many outfielders. It would only make sense to have Olivera play third at that point. And if you play Olivera at third, you’re going to play him everyday, which then leaves fewer ABs for a guy who’s probably going to produce pretty well in KJ. But if you play KJ/Castro or KJ/Beckham at 2B, then you’ll need Aybar. But if you trade Aybar, then you need Castro to be the full-time shortstop, which then means you’re committed to a KJ/Beckham platoon at second.

    I’ve gone cross-eyed.

  82. Oh, and Teheran for Soler makes no freaking sense for the Braves, by the way. It’s almost like people think that it’s the rebuilding teams’ responsibility to supply players to the current elites even if that hurts that team’s rebuilding efforts. It reeks of “we need to write something to appeal to the Cubs’ bandwagoners!”

  83. We can trade Markakis, especially if he has a decent spring and shows signs of any power. If we move Aybar, Castro will be the SS until Albies or Swanson is called up.

    Trading Teheran makes Wisler our opening day starter. Hmmm.

  84. I don’t get the Soler love, but I haven’t seen much of him. What do some others of you think. Also, on another note, Olivera looks tentative and awkward in left field. One of the runs Julio gave up today was because Olivera didn’t have his body lined up to throw after a catch allowing Altuve to advance to third and subsequently score on a fly ball.

  85. Trading Teheran makes Wisler our opening day starter. Hmmm.

    That’s the crux of my point. I mean, come on, you have to have at least one decent pitcher. We already traded Shelby. Enough is enough.

  86. We aren’t going to be any good with Teheran, but can you imagine our pitching staff without him? Hello 2003 Detroit Tigers. Someone has to eat innings for us besides Bud Norris.

    @117, Olivera is supposed to look tentative and awkward right now. We’ll see if he looks any better in 3 weeks.

  87. The KJ/Castro/Beckham infield would make a valiant run for worst in the history of the sport. My heart doesn’t want to see it. My head is 50/50. Tanking 2016 is probably still the smartest play long-term. I’ve started to create a fantasy scenario where we tank 2016 and give all the young guys lots of playing time, so as to ease the sting a bit.

  88. Teheran may not even be that good any more. If the Braves traded him now, they could be selling relatively high.

  89. I remember looking through a Dictionary of Idioms or some such 40 years ago, and this one stuck with me.

    “It remains to be seen, as the monkey said when he shat in the sugar bowl.”

    British, I guess.

    So with the Simba trade. It remains to be seen.

  90. If Teheran is hereafter worse, and the Braves trade him now, it would follow that they would have sold relatively high. Let it be known the inverse is also true. And let this be the end of such self-evident statements.

  91. What’s next year’s list of free agent pitchers look like? Is it as bad as position players?

  92. Say what you want about spring training stats. I’m going to assume Freeman maintains his 2.096 OPS through the regular season.

    And you gotta like Freeman homering and then being replaced by Freiman who promptly homers

  93. Of all the phrases that make me yearn for simpler times in baseball fandom, “starting his service clock” must be near the top. I recognize it’s a valid concern, but what a thing to actually care about. Furcal, Andruw, and Simmons were astonishments as rookies, and as a fan I wouldn’t give that back for some theoretically more perfect future.

  94. I’m pretty much in the camp that the hitting skill is something developed in your early to mid teens, and after that there’s not really much impact from any later instruction. If it were even remotely possible to change the outcomes in a significant way, then that same instruction would also work at the major league level. There’s not any reason to believe that A and AA are the only chances you get to learn things.

  95. Fredi is putting on a lot of defensive infield shifts in these spring games. I can’t wait to hear from Chip on this subject. It will replace last year’s litany of contact hitting chats with Joe.I expect at least 10,000 mentions of the subject. Anything to take attention away from the product on the field.

  96. @133, I’m only basing that on my personal experiences. There’s exceptions to every rule, but I’m pretty convinced that hitting can’t be coached once you are past a certain point of physical maturity.

    Good hitters are already good before they get into any team’s minor league system.

    If there was magic dust you could sprinkle on 19 and 20 year olds to make them go from below-average to good, then that same dust would work on 25 year olds too.

    But, yeah, I seriously doubt you’ll find many hitting coaches that will tell you that they don’t make any difference ;-)

  97. It isn’t a matter of coaching, it’s a matter of experience. The vast majority of players that you face as a 15-year old are not going to make it to the big leagues. Once you get to the high minors, pretty much everyone has at least one or two major league-level tools. You can fake it on talent alone when you’re in high school. You cannot do that as a professional.

    As Ted Williams said, the hardest thing in all of sports to do is to hit a round ball with a round bat. Once you get to Double-A, you start facing pitchers who can command both a breaking ball and a fastball. Many hitters simply wilt when they face that challenge, and the major league level is no place to learn to hit a curveball.

  98. If you really can’t hit a curveball you wash out *long* before the majors. I also don’t buy the “experience” angle. Andrelton Simmons has plenty of experience at the very top level of the game. His hitting has gone from well above average for his position (minors and first two big league seasons) down to slightly below average the past two seasons, and trending in the wrong direction. How can anyone attribute that to not staying in the minors long enough? If anything I’d attribute it to his 17 HR season, and him deciding he was gonna be ARod.

  99. krussell, what you’re saying isn’t so much a “camp” as your own personal belief, and it doesn’t seem to hold for most polished skills.

    What if it were true that good violinists are just good violinists, so start them with Paganini instead of Twinkle, Twinkle? It’s preposterous. Nearly every honed skill mastered by human beings is best mastered by incremental increases in technical difficulty.

  100. krussell,

    Although MOST major league hitters don’t make improvements, some DEFINITELY do.

    One recent example is Jose Bautista. He taught himself (or was taught) to lay off of marginal pitches and altered his swing to pull more and get more power. So, walks went up and SLG went up. No way you take his minor league stats and project his last 6 years or so. He became a different hitter.

  101. I think there’s a significant amount of development that occurs at AA/AAA without the pressure of the MLB atmosphere that, even for a couple months, will significantly benefit Albies, Swanson, Mallex, and Newcomb. This is the time where the flaws in their game can be refined against as close to major league competition as possible without the pressure of contention. Interestingly enough, this morning MLB Network Radio was talking about Newcomb, his walk rate, and why he shouldn’t be rushed to the big leagues. Yes, they used the “they let Glavine, Smoltz, and Avery struggle” routine, but that was 25 years ago, they haven’t done it much since, and they focused on the fact that there’s too much pressure for players to be refining their skills at the major league level. 90 days is a long time for a player almost big league ready to be working on the finer points of the game. They get more days off, more hands-on coaching, less pressure, similar competition. It’s just too valuable to skip, especially when it comes to the intricacies of good offspeed pitching.

  102. This topic came up on the Mets-Braves broadcast last weekend. Keith Hernandez argued that, at least for him, A-Ball was a waste of time and AAA was a waste of time, but AA was almost impossible for him to adjust to, and it was clearly his worst year in the minors as he learned to adjust to pitchers who didn’t rely on the fastball.

    To try to adjust to major league offspeed stuff might so discourage you that you turn into Melvin Upton. In AA you can adjust to AA curves and offspeed pitches.

  103. @137, those violinists hone those skills starting at age 4 or 5. By 18 they are already unbelievably awesome. I think this is actually a pretty good parallel with baseball. By 18 these guys have the foundation already set, and it’s nearly impossible to mess with that foundation. Can we refine, tweak, work on the mental aspects (pitch guessing, etc)…? Certainly. But by 18 they pretty much are what they are.

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