One Day from the First Meaningless Game of the Spring!

Well — it’s been WAY too long since I posted a new thread. Sorry about that. But spring training has started, and that’s wonderful, because it means that we’re almost about to have more BASEBALL!


Mac’s traditional caveats apply: spring training doesn’t matter, blah blah blah. (Or, some of it matters sometimes, but most of it doesn’t matter, and generally speaking, most individual stats compiled during spring training give very little indication as to how a player will perform during the year.)

But tomorrow the Braves take on the Blue Jays, and we’ll get to see (or at least hear) Bartolo Colon‘s first start in an Atlanta uniform, and see whether Big Sexy is actually even better-looking than either of our Big Handsomes, Aaron Harang and Aaron Blair.


33 thoughts on “One Day from the First Meaningless Game of the Spring!”

  1. This reminds me of a conversation with my wife this morning (Colon is pitching tomorrow):

    Me: We’re gonna see Big Sexy tomorrow.
    Her: DANSBY?!
    Me: Uhh, no. Bartolo Colon’s pitching. Remember that guy?
    Her: That’s…. not….

  2. Trading for draft picks in the MLB is insane. This is why I love Coppy. He may go down in flames, but he will do so trading his ass off.

  3. If I’m not mistaken, he has all of this international bonus pool money that he can’t use because he’s banned. I guess you trade the pool money for draft picks? If the option is getting fungible players or picks for this money, I guess you take the picks. He seems to be convinced that we draft better than other teams, so he probably wants to go as far back as possible in the development pipeline.

  4. @8
    He can still sign int’l players, just not for more than 300K/each. With the cap for each team and the harsh penalties that will assessed, it’ll be interesting to see how 7/2 works. out. Trading the allotted 5MM so some other team can go all-in on a player like Maitan could be the best way to get premium MLB or MILB talent. Braves picked a really frickin’ good time to go under penalty.

  5. Alright, what rules are we setting here? Are Spring Training stats still meaningless, or if a prospect or a guy on the fringe (like Danks here) is throwing well, should there be excitement? I feel like things have changed over the past couple years.

  6. Spring Training never changes; it’s always pointless. It didn’t matter when the Braves were good, it didn’t matter when they were bad, and it doesn’t matter in the liminal state.

  7. Watching the Cubs on MLB network. I keep hearing about Heyward’s revamped swing. Should see it here shortly. I’ll predict hands moving too much, can’t turn on an inside pitch, and a few weak grounders to 2b

  8. @16
    Hitting leadoff flew out to shallow CF first pitch…second AB grounded out, hard, to second…not yet, apparently.

  9. @13, If “throwing well,” means “getting people out,” then, no excitement. If it means “hey, this guy’s throwing 98 with a nasty breaking pitch,” then, yeah, could be.

  10. Yeah. If a guy shows a marked improvement in something that you know he’s working on — something that it was otherwise unclear that it could be a strength for him — that’s certainly positive. In the article I linked above (which I’ve linked to before) Dan Rosenheck gives some thoughts on what does and does not matter in the spring.

  11. Game, Blauser JC’ed from last thread:

    @193 Rob – you’ve got you rose-colored glasses on, but Spring Training is a time for hope and promise so I won’t pooh-pooh your enthusiasm.

    With respect to the OF: Kemp’s contract ($21.5M/year through 2019) was obviously viewed by the market as very expensive at the time the Braves acquired him. Kemp proceeded to play great for the Braves post-acquisition, but I still imagine that most (if not all) teams view Kemp as overpaid. That said, if he can return to playing decent defense his value will rebound quickly – .800 OPS from a LF is a whole lot better than .800 OPS from a DH masquerading as a LF. I still don’t see the Braves trading Kemp this season – they need his bat to pair with Freeman (and to sell tickets!). Markakis’ remaining contract (2/$21M) isn’t pricey but Cakes lacks the typical corner OF power profile and has poor range in RF – his potential trade market will inherently be limited. Even if the Braves *did* find a trade partner willing to take Cakes as something other than a salary dump, who would the Braves play there – Jace Peterson? Unless and until Dustin Peterson steps up, the Braves don’t have an in-house RF replacement who might actually be an upgrade over Cakes.

    With respect to the pitching staff: If one of the starting 5 (Teheran, Garcia, Folty, Colon, Dickey) aren’t healthy coming out of Spring Training, I have to imagine the Braves would turn to Collmenter or Wisler. With all the age (Colon/Dickey) and fragility (Garcia) in the rotation, it’s a certainty the Braves will have to get those #6/#7 guys on the mound before too long. Best case scenario, IMO, is that the Braves sell high on Garcia, Collmenter, and some bullpen arms during the course of the season to continue stocking up the minors. Maybe the Braves can pry away Cody Bellinger from the Dodgers in exchange for Garcia + a reliever midseason?

    Pitching Staff:

    I’m not sure if you’re an Atlanta sports fan, but you really sound like one right now. Why would all (or even some) of that happen to us? Between not winning a playoff game since 2003, being bad these past 3 seasons, and having the worst position player in baseball for about 3-4 years, it’s like we’ve resigned to the fact that some player will turn into a pumpkin simply because they wear an Atlanta uniform. But why? Aside from Rodriguez’s injury, everything has gone as it should have so far. Kemp’s in good shape, everyone showed up to camp healthy and in shape, and we should expect good things.

    Kemp is only 32 years old, and he showed up to camp in great shape. His contract should get pretty close to being fair market value, especially if he plays a serviceable LF. I’m really not sure why pessimism is justified with him. He has said all the right things and done all the right things since he’s arrived. And since arriving in Atlanta, he had an .855 OPS, and we should continue to expect that production (right in line with his career average), a few stolen bases, and much-improved defense.

    In my scenario, Markakis is a salary dump, or maybe slightly more, and we would upgrade the position through one of the previously mentioned trades of FA pickups. I’m not sure why salary dumps are a bad thing, though. If you look at previous rosters, we received little or no transfer of value from McCann, Uggla, BUpton, McLouth, Teixeira, Melky, Yunel, Venters, O’Flaherty, Harang, Sheets, etc. They all left for nothing or less than nothing once the cost of acquisition is factored in. It’s really ok to not turn a player into something more or equal in production every once and a while. Markakis was meant to be a placeholder and Veteran Presence while we were terrible, and I’d say that purpose was served.

    If in the unlikely event one of our SPs go down in ST, why wouldn’t we also assume the more likely event that one of our pitching prospects will pitch well in ST and be ready to take the spot? Once again, why us? Why would 4 SP prospects not show any progress (two of which already have ML experience), but a healthy rotation would lose a guy? It’s almost like we just assume what bad can happen will happen, and what good can happen will not happen. We have a new GM, a new VP of baseball ops, #1 organizational talent in baseball, an unprecedented amount of propaganda, and we should expect good things.

  12. Have I missed any quotes from the pitching staff about the new pitching coach? Seems like we usually have a few quotes by now.

  13. @22 Rob – I think you’re reading some negativity into my post that isn’t there (or if it is there, I didn’t mean for it to be). I just wanted to pump the brakes a little bit on the outlook where the Braves’ youth movement has turned over the outfield and/or rotation during the 2017 season. Seems more likely to me that the high-ceiling prospects will get their feet wet a little bit this year and really have a shot at contributing starting in 2018.

    Also – when you wrote that the Braves have “an unprecedented amount of propaganda” was that a Freudian slip?

  14. @27

    Fair enough. I’d consider 2017 a success at this point if 3 or 4 of DPeterson, Ruiz, Weigel, Newcomb, Minter, Morris, Sims, Blair, and Wisler can get a few months at the big league level. I think we’ll be ready to upgrade the lacking parts next offseason if some of those guys, at cost-controlled minimums, punch through.

    And no, haha, not a Freudian slip. There has been so much positive talk about this team that they might be in danger of setting unrealistic expectations. The amount of times DOB, Peanut, and even Coppy have referred to this team as a “contender” is troubling.

  15. John Sickels says the Braves have the best farm system in baseball, too.

    And here’s how the Braves prospects rank in his top 200. No Weigel, for what it’s worth.

    #3: Dansby Swanson
    #10: Ozzie Albies
    #26: Kolby Allard
    #57: Mike Soroka
    #58: Sean Newcomb
    #61: Max Fried
    #68: Ronald Acuna
    #75: Luiz Gohara
    #89: Ian Anderson
    #98: Kevin Maitan
    #123: Touki Toussaint
    #149: Austin Riley
    #159: Joey Wentz
    #183: Christian Pache

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