I did not watch this game, other than being fortunate to catch Dansby Swanson–yes, THE Dansby Swanson– €”first big league hit. The Braves lost, of course, but the real story was Dansby Swanson.

He did not disappoint. His first at bat was a line out to center, second was a line drive single to right, he struck out in his third, and finished his night with a hard groundball single up the middle. He looked confident, comfortable, and polished for all of the hype and expectations being thrown on him. I’€™m very convinced we’€™ve got a big leaguer here.

The subplot was the lack of innings being pitched by starting pitchers. Mike Foltynewicz went 5, giving up 2 runs. He didn’€™t pitch poorly, but he threw 100 pitches in 5 innings, and like most other starting pitchers on this club, he’€™s putting much strain on the ‘€˜pen. In the last 5 games, we’ve seen the following IP from our pitchers: 5, 5 2/3, 4 2/3, 5, and 5 2/3. That puts too much pressure on a pen that is without Arodys Vizcaino, Chris Withrow, and Shae Simmons, and has traded two quality lefties in the past 3 weeks. The return of those guys and a solid long relief option would really help this team right now.

So Swanson went 2-4, and Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis provided home runs, but that was it from the offense.

Tyler Flowers was also activated from the DL, and he should be in the lineup full-time starting today. AJ Pierzsynki was DL’€™ed, and I would imagine we’€™ll count his remaining career PAs on one hand.

92 thoughts on “Dansby”

  1. Don’t know if anyone has noticed but Jason Grilli has been racking up a ton of great innings for Toronto.

  2. AJP might be overcooked now; but aside from defense, he gave us more than I expected.

    Let’s lose one today for the draft pick!

  3. RE: Starting Pitching

    Since March, my “hope” has been that we’d see a lot of young talent get to the major leagues in August, and we’d be mostly freed of veteran rentals. We’re pretty much there, but injuries have momentarily hurt that. If we don’t see quality starting pitching performances from 3-4 of our young starters, then I would agree that it wouldn’t be worth it to be competitive in 2017, but I’m hopeful (and only that) that we’ll see some guys emerge here in August and September. With that said, are all of these 23- and 24-year olds going to be gassed as they get above 150+ innings?

    Another positive would be that most of the promotions have already occurred. Newcomb will continue in AA, and he’s been pitching better and better. Ellis won’t be going anywhere at AAA, and his ERA is slowly coming down there. Sims might get a couple AAA starts, but it seems more likely they’d have Sims and Povse stay in MS for our only shot at a minor league title. I doubt we see AJ Minter, so he’ll continue to dominate in AA. Allard/Anderson/Soroka/Wentz/Muller probably stay in the low minors and get shut down when the season ends. There is an opportunity for a ton of guys to finish their levels really strong.

  4. coop..agreed..and more than he’s given enough credit for here.

    your question the other day – made landfall Florida coast ’74, real estate – what else? Atlanta was the nearest MLB then…TBS tied the knot…later one of those giant dishes in the back yard (free HBO, free everything and you could get the live direct feed from the game back to the studio…half time on MNF and a drunken Cosell could be heard berating Dandy Don. That big dish delivered a lot of Braves baseball over the years…Channel 7 i think, Andy M, remember?

  5. I had the Braves on Channel 17 down in Indian River County where I grew up. Our local cable provider was going to nix TBS from their slate in 1984 and replace it with the USA Network. The town rose up and said “Hell no you aren’t taking our Braves from us!” and put an end to that!

  6. @2, If you include last year, sure. Hit .300, had an eye-popping 122 hits! But this year…terrible terrible terrible. Nothing at bat, and his defense, at least any time I saw it on TV, was atrocious. Maybe he’s delivered a lot of veteran-y things in the clubhouse, which would be a plus for him this year, but otherwise I don’t think he’d have lasted a full year with any other team in MLB except ours.

  7. I’d be interested to see where AJP ranks in the “worst player” discussion. That falls on Coppy though. It was clear he was done when he hit our eyes in April.

  8. Lots of things up in the air for 2017, but there’s going to be one heck of a bullpen in Suntrust’s inaugural year.

  9. @7 AJP’s defense has looked consistently horrid since he first donned a Braves jersey, though strangely (at least by Fangraphs’ reckoning) he has measured positively on defense just about every year of his career. At least he was excellent on offense in 2015. All in all, AJP shouldn’t figure into anyone’s “worst player” conversation, with the proviso that he might be the worst player left standing on the 2016 squad through sheer attrition. Meh, so what. We won’t re-sign him next year and the Braves will move on to Flowers + Recker or somebody.

  10. @10
    That is an understandable argument but next year Braves will have a crazy amount of MLB-ready relievers that have top notch stuff to choose from: Mauricio, Minter, Dirks, Vizzy, Shae, Withrow, Krol, Winkler, Roe, Paco (yes, I really like him), Akeel. There’s more in the system, but that’s a pretty dominant crew, and deep. I’m sure they’ll also re-sign JJ.

  11. I hope Winkler comes back. That kid has electric stuff. Burned my eyeballs just watching it. But his delivery is so violent it doesn’t surprise me at all that he suffered an equally violent throwing injury.

    It would be nice if Paco makes a contribution in a Braves uni. We gotta have something to show for that trade besides Matt Kemp!

    I also hope Vizzy sticks. He’s a quasi-veteran Brave by now.

  12. I’ve made my feelings on bullpen rosterbation known.

    That said, Withrow isn’t even good. He’s not quite bad enough to make a stink about, so this feels a little weird to type. But he’s also not good enough for me to have to read his name over and over and over like he’s so important to our plans next season.

  13. @14
    His 2nd injury was same as Gavin Floyd’s and was a result of over-strengthening his UCL after TJ. Hope he can bounce back.

  14. @16

    Bullpen rosterbation, I now have learned, is only healthy if there at least 15 names on the list (connected by slashes, for fun sake). Sadly, Ryan’s list (which has commas; not his best move) has only 11 names on the list. But there’s great news! There will be Rule 5 pickups, NRIs, and actual real relievers signed to major league deals between now and Spring Training. You get 7 of those, subtract 3 for inevitable TJs in the offseason, and you’re back to 15! Rosterbation back on!

  15. @18, I can’t beat you, so I’m about to join you. In search of the greatest bullpen rosterbation post ever constructed. IMO if you’re not ending the post with a failed starter prospect as your longman, you’re not doing it right.

  16. Withrow has 96 K’s in 88 IP with a sub-3 ERA. Only problem is that’s across 4 seasons. If he can’t stay on the field, he’s not helpful. Hence the minimum 15 names for bullpen rosterbation. I’m sorry, but the rules are simple and finite.

  17. @19, Now that he’s someone else’s problem, I’m all about watching Aybar!

    @20, Weird thing about Withrow is how terrible he was in the minors (three solid years of mediocrity at AA!) then becomes good at the major league level. His major league stats are pretty decent…he walks too many people, that’s about his only flaw, but his overall WHIP numbers are solid. Well, and he gives up a few too many homers, I guess. I’m hopeful he can make a contribution next year. And if he does…trade him!

  18. @21

    I did forget about the failed starter as a long reliever. Get a couple in there and you’re in business.

    I will say, you could do a lot worse than John Gant as your long reliever. Boom, rosterbation.

  19. how crazy was it that our prized new ss didn’t get a single chance in his debut? had to sit through a lot of terrible pitching waiting for the old 6-4-3 that never came.

  20. There are a slew of other guys that can be thrown into the bullpen mix. I’d like to see what Williams Perez could do in a setup setting. He was throwing 95-96 (with crazy movement) 3 starts before he got injured which showed that, even it’s for a temporary time, he can run it up there. Also, there’s Jesse Biddle, Brady Feigl, Portuondo, Jose Ramirez, Hursh, Roney, and a whole lot of live arms at Mississippi. Some might see this as fluffing, but I don’t ever recall seeing so many pitchers in AA and AAA that can run it up 95+.

  21. @36
    This isn’t rosterbation, rather it’s pointing out that there’s much more than the 11 that I originally listed.

  22. It would seem improbable that all the minor league teams save Mississippi are somewhere between just under .500 and way way way under .500 (looking at you Carolina!) given the number of amazing bullpen arms we have.

  23. Before Dans was called, 8 of our top 30 prospects (MLB) were at AA, including our top 3 prospects. 3/5 of their rotation and 3/8 of their position players are in the top 30, and many prospect people have made the arguments that 4 members of their bullpen could make it to the major leagues.

    Interestingly, the talent is mostly consolidated at Mississippi and Rome. Another 10 are at Rome, so you’ve got 18 of the top 30 at two levels.

  24. @38
    Carolina has been a bit of a black hole in a prospect-enriched system. It’s odd and almost seems intentional. I do know through some inside sources that the front office really values the time players spend in Rome and likes for almost every prospect to spend an entire year there.

    Gwinnett is, as all of you know, a stepping stone where past MLBers, rehabbing MLBers, and recently demoted MLBers find their “stuff” again. It was also pointed out by Jace Peterson that Atlanta has a defined philosophy on demotions and will give their players 1-2 things to work on, not focusing on numbers but improving that particular skill. I remember leaks of this when Teheran was at AAA putting up god-awful numbers and the entire Braves fanbase was up in arms that their #1 prospect had gone to turds!

  25. I’m glad we didn’t have to wait too long to get another player with the goofy face flap. Does Heyward still use his?

  26. From Twitter:

    “#Braves LHP prospect Sean Newcomb’s last 7 GS with @mbraves:

    3-1, 2.95 ERA in 39.2 IP with 16BB/50K (Opponents: .190/.275/.232, 1 HR)”

    Didn’t know that.

    Also, Aaron Blair returns at AAA tonight.

  27. I wonder if watching Kemp in LF the rest of the season could be enough to convince Coppy that defense matters.

  28. Kemp just hasn’t had any power since he’s gotten here. He has an Inciartian slugging percentage.

  29. I just watched that Kemp play. That is freaking awful. If you can’t get to some balls, ok. If you can’t throw a guy out at the plate, whatever. But catch the freaking routine ball that hits you in the glove.

    That’s what pisses me off when players and players’ family post bullcrap articles online. Cut the crap. You’re happy to be in Atlanta? Show me. Pitiful marketing dribble.

  30. Kemp has been roughly replacement level for 4 years. I don’t see why you guys are so perplexed, unless you hate WAR as a measure. We basically willfully took back the BJ upton contract from the Padres, except BJ upton is actually a better player at this point in time.

    My hope is that he hits the gym in the offseason. He has the potential at least to be a 3 WAR player again, but it’s up to him. There is literally no financial incentive whatsoever

  31. Sample size, but Frenchy and Kemp have the same OPS in Atlanta, and Frenchy plays better defense. Just saying.

  32. Wow, this crowd has really turned on Kemp. As a reminder, we had many of these same conversations (“He hits dingers!” “But he doesn’t walk much!” “His defense in left is atrocious!”) before with El Oso Blanco. A guy like Kemp who sucks at defense is going to have games where he whiffs a few times and his defense severely compromises the team, and also plenty of games where his D is a non-factor and he drives in a few runs and everyone loves him again.

    Also, great play by Adonis on Rendon’s grounder down the line! Apparently it is possible to learn defense at the MLB level.

  33. Pretty good third base play right there. Adonis is tired of hearing about how we need to upgrade at the hot corner.

  34. I think Adonis has more development left being a 31-year old Cuban. They just don’t have the developmental track that others do. One of the reasons why I feel like Olivera has more in him.

  35. Freeman is a gamer. Love that guy. Intentionally slid hard into the bag because he knew he needed to get there. Sacrificed his body to slow down late to get in. I’d give my right arm too if I was Coppy.

  36. @54, Matt Kemp will be in the “best shape of his life” when he arrives at 2018 spring training.

  37. In other news, Tracy Stallard’s place in the record book firmament has been restored, as Bartolo Colon drew the first walk of his career the other day, in his 282nd plate appearance.

  38. Matt Kemp will work all winter to silence his critics.

    He will have decided he loves playing baseball again since joining his favorite team. He was so unhappy in LA and San Diego, he just couldn’t help it.

    Now he is happy and has decided to be great.

  39. Why didn’t anybody say anything about the play Swanson made in the 9th? That was slick.

  40. Can we trade MK for an even worse player? At some point the bad player swap infinite loop has to have an exit point. I think.

  41. I can’t wait to be silenced by Kemp. It seemed absurd to me that a team that had traded Craig Kimbrel to get rid of one albatross willfully took back another one the next year. The saving grace is that it allowed us to dump another smaller albatross and get a player with the most expensive single tool (though, anymore, he only has that single tool). Plus, he has potential future trade value. I worry that we end up griping in 2018 that we can’t afford to sign player X because of Kemp’s salary obligation.

  42. @78, the absurd part to me is that somehow the fanbase has accepted a narrative of “we had to get Kemp to get rid of Olivera”. Our beat writers are in league with this too. Common sense has left the room. Nobody wrote the “we could’ve just released him” article…

  43. Kemp, Olivera, whatever. This team wont be good for 4 or 5 years so he doesn’t really matter.

  44. As a daily thumb in the eye to people who insist outfield defense doesn’t matter and all that does matter is power at the corners, the Kemp trade will do just fine.

  45. Adonis at -0.2 WAR for the year (0.4 oWAR, 0.-6 dWAR). Will he be a 3 or 4 win player next year? I think we can do better (and he’d be a valuable bench guy).

  46. Yup, nothing about this current team says great improvement the next few years. I know many people hate reading that but this team reminds me of the Dale Murphy era braves with Freddie Freeman as the stand in for Dale.

  47. Of course, about this time in 1990, everyone was convinced the Braves would be terrible until the 21st century too.

  48. Ha, that is sort of true, but we has some hitters in the pipeline at that time which we are still missing.

  49. I think the frustration is that nothing is currently being put together. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Untimely bad defense, relievers crapping the bed, lack of power, etc., but the biggest issue is that the starting pitching, according to DOB, has averaged 5 1/3 IP in all of August, and the bullpen is blitzed (and we traded a 1/3 of it). With all of the young starters, you need some good long relievers on the roster.

    We’re going to have some blowouts with young pitchers. This one was largely on the hands of two players returning from the DL and probably not being ready (Flowers and Vizcaino). I think we’ll probably end up getting swept by the Gnats at home, which will further spiral the pessimists into their daily prognostications.

    This whole rebuild is built on young pitching, and if we can’t get all of our major league pitchers on the roster, then it really doesn’t matter. By my count, 5 of the 12 pitchers on the roster shouldn’t be there at this stage of the rebuild, and we really need some healthy pitchers on this roster. I don’t think Vizcaino is healthy, and it might be time to start moving on from him.

  50. The problem with anyone thinking there’s a light at the end of the tunnel here anytime soon is 1) the starting pitching and 2) the outfield. There’s one starter on this roster who could make a rotation of a contender and there isn’t anyone behind him anywhere close. Folty has that potential but in 2 years he hasn’t shown any ability to command the strike zone. The group of Wisler, Blair, Jenkins, Whalen, etc have ceilings as #5 starters, the rest of the guys hanging around AA or AAA have not had great seasons. It looks like Newcomb turned it around some but even if he puts it together in the minors he’s going to come up and go through some of the same struggles Folty has with his command. The problem with building around young pitching is that most of the time when they come up it takes several years for them to really figure anything out. All the real talent is in the low minors so if you figure it’s 2-3 years before they come up then it’s probably another 1-2 years at least before they start becoming consistent major league players and suddenly you’re at the 5 year window most of the “pessimists” here have said would happen all along.

    The other big problem for contending in 2017-18 is why on earth they tied themselves to replacement level players in the outfield for so long. There’s 5 more years of Kemp/Markakis on the books now for absolutely no reason. I’ve said all along that the rebuild should have been around young upside hitters like the Red Sox, Cubs, Astros, etc and then splashing money for established starters who you know will eat innings. Maybe you catch that lightning in the bottle like the Mets last year but you can see how easily that stuff implodes when you base you whole team around young pitchers. Where’s Matt Harvey this year? Where’s Zach Wheeler? I’d much rather have Mookie Betts, Kris Bryant or Carlos Correa that’s for sure.

    Call me a pessimist but I think the strategy has been wrong all along and the current front office isn’t going to see the Next Great Braves Team.

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