Braves 10, Rockies 4

I have a confession to make. My emotional state is entirely too dependent about how and what the Braves are doing. On days after they win, I generally get a head start on a pretty good mood, while losses give me just a little bit of a hole to climb out of. There are literally hundreds of things that are more important in my life and in the world, and I’m not at all proud of the fact that how and what the Braves are doing has an impact on my emotional state. In fact, I used to feel pretty guilty about it. But I’m 62 years old now, and I’ve been a Braves fan since 1965. I’ve finally realized it’s not going to change.

So here’s the good news for today. The Braves won Thursday’s game in Denver, giving them a split of the four game series with the playoff-bound Rockies, and a respectable 3-4 record on a difficult road trip against two teams that have been playing well. Ender was the offensive star, with two dingers, two walks, and two stolen bases. (According to people who research such things, he’s only the second major league player to do that in a game. Howard Johnson was the other; it seems strange to me that no one else has ever done it. The young Barry Bonds? Dale Murphy? Willie Mays? Mickey Mantle?) Freddie also hit a monster shot, and Flowers hit his tenth homer, giving the Braves’ catching duo 22 on the season with a combined OPS well over .800. (How many of you predicted that before this season?). After those four solo home runs, the Braves scored 6 in the 7th, effectively putting the game out of reach. Lucas Sims pitched well enough to get a win in dreaded Coors Field, going five innings and somehow only giving up 2 runs, in spite of 5 hits and 3 walks. (To be fair to Sims, Danny Santana was playing left field, and he let a couple of fly balls fall that I am convinced either of our two Matts would have caught. Why is Santana playing?)

On the other hand, no reason to get excited. Overall the Braves are on a pace to win 73-74 games. That is pretty much where most objective observers predicted where they would be before this season started. It was just about four weeks ago that the Braves had beaten the Dodgers a couple of times, after recently sweeping the Diamondbacks, bringing their record to within one game of .500. Folks were seriously discussing whether the Braves should make a trade or two to make a run at the wild card berth. You remember what happened, though—the Braves played six games against the juggernaut that is the 2017 Philadelphia Phillies.

As much as I like the Braves to win, I’m actually relieved that the focus is back on the future. For better or worse, the Braves have staked everything on a farm system that is supposed to produce results in the next 2 or 3 years. I for one am glad to see Albies and Swanson playing every day, and Sims and Newcomb in the rotation. For this game at least, the kids are alright: Ozzie and Dansby each hit triples, and Swanson drove in two and walked twice.

Now, there are many here among us who feel the rebuild is but a joke. But you and I have been though that, and this is not our fate. I try not to get unduly enthusiastic about these Braves prospects, but I can’t help it–on paper it is an impressive group. You may have seen that Fangraphs has 10 Braves prospects among their just released top 100.

Of course, none of us along the line know what any of these are worth. Of those ten, four are teenage pitchers (Allard, Soroka, Anderson, and Wentz), another is just 20 (Gohara), and the highest rated pitcher (Wright) has pitched 11 innings as a professional. I love them all. And don’t forget Bryse Wilson, who’s been great this year, and Max Fried, who may yet become what he could be, and Touki, with his phenomenal stuff—I could go on. But let us not talk falsely now; we all know that most of them won’t make it. Still, there is a chance we could end up in two or three years with a handful of top shelf ML starting pitchers. That’s enough to put a spring in my step!

But what is most responsible for the happy tune that I’m whistling this morning? Ronald Acuna! Another homer last night. His OPS at Gwinnett is over 1.000—it’s increased at every level this year, from A, to AA, and to AAA. If he continues to improve at that rate, he will be Mike Trout next year. I know, I know—that’s not likely to happen either, but for now I’m going to enjoy the possibility.

The Braves return home for a weekend series with Cincinnati. The Reds are having a woeful season—not much better than the Phillies. Uh oh–Better watch out!

Author: tfloyd

Tfloyd was born on the site of Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. Before the stadium was built, that is; it was then the site of Piedmont Hospital. It took the Braves another 11 years to arrive on what is now Hank Aaron Drive, but I‘ve always liked to arrive at the ballpark early.

47 thoughts on “Braves 10, Rockies 4”

  1. Love the view through your rose-colored lenses. Thank you for sharing.

    Braves are considering exercising R.A.’s option. Considering?!?Do it now!

    There’s no place like home.

  2. Great writeup – love your optimism. Way too early to know how/ if some of these young guys are going to pan out. We have a lot of them though. Only one (potentially) bad long-term commitment on the payroll (Kemp), and even he is productive when healthy. Still work to be done, no doubt, but we’re trending in the right direction.

  3. “Now, there are many here among us who feel the rebuild is but a joke. ”

    You and I have been through that. This is not our fate.

  4. Great recap. I love your perspective and feel the same way (most days). I am also excited to watch Ozzie, Dansby, Sims and Newcomb and wait semi-patiently for the arrival of Acuna and the removal of Markakis

  5. @3
    Made me go and listen to Jimi’s “All Along the Watchtower” three times — probably would have played it more but the neighbors complain.
    @4 Fabulous analysis of the Braves’ pitching-rich
    farm system.
    And re the basic article: no need to explain or apologize about the win=optimism, loss=ugh because all we serious Braves fans go through this, don’t we?

  6. @1

    It might be best to trade Dickey if they can get anything of value for him as there are going to be a few SP candidates that have to be placed on the 40-man, and others that are forcing the Braves hand.

    IMO, here are the SP candidates for OD 2018: Folty, Teheran, Fried, Newk, Gohara (has to be on 40-man), Sims. Also, I think Braves either trade or go out of the system for a front-liner. Dickey really complicates that aspect especially considering our young guys need experience.

  7. I keep R.A. around. That guy has been through more then most humans and has recreated himself to be a super successful MLB pitcher.
    He is a guy you listen too when he speaks and we have plenty of young kids who will go through adversity and could use his guidance and dedication to himself and the sport.

  8. Manager Snit
    were you to ask him how we ever managed a split
    quoted Paul on the road to Damascus
    17-2? Next time simply ask us.

  9. tfloyd
    you must please not be annoyed
    at 62 you’re younger here than most
    you’ll find not till the eighties do others deem you toast.

    Best recap i have read all year – thank you.

  10. Nobody is trading for Dickey until after the Rule 5 draft, so our 40 man concerns are not helped by such a move. I would keep him as the 1 thing rookie pitchers will never do is throw enough innings. Only Teheran on Ryan’s list has a decent shot of even 180 innings.

  11. Thanks, tfloyd. I was having a political argument with someone the other day and I was trying to explain the difference between something that is important in a world-historical context and something that was deeply personally important. My analogy was the Braves — they are really important to me. Their wins and losses matter to me irrespective of the standings and this is of deep psychological unshakable importance. And if I hadn’t had 1995 my life would be very different. On the other hand, I have a full understanding of the insanely frivolous nature of this position. (This was somewhat difficult to write without violating Mac’s First Law.)

  12. I understand keeping Dickey, I just don’t think they will and they’ll use $ and some prospects to get a front-line guy. From there, it gets difficult to find room for the young arms, which is reasoning why I think it could be best to move him.

    However, they could also choose to move Teheran in the offseason and keep Dickey as Teheran will likely bring back a better return due to team control.

    Also, Dickey has cleared waivers and he can be traded to anyone. If Braves get the right return, I think they could move him.

  13. Yeah I don’t think they’ll keep Dickey, for the reasons Ryan outlined, but I do think he’s probably a good guy to have in the clubhouse. As our team gets younger, the veteran presents will be a calming influence.

  14. But who needs him? The only potential landing spots are Baltimore and Seattle. The woes are sinking but, outside of Sisko, who we ain’t getting for Dickey, have literally nothing of value in the minors. If the Mariners had wanted him they wouldn’t have gone for Albers. Dickey wouldn’t be an upgrade for any of the other contenders in the AL. He stays, at least through december.

  15. Beautiful writeup. Thank you! I see a lot of my thoughts in what you wrote so nicely. Go Future Braves.

  16. Trading him isn’t going to give us anything in return. We knew that going in. Or should have…

    It’s more about getting him off the 40-man. I think we have room because we only really need to protect Gohara, but the FO might want to do more than that.

  17. Make a 2018 Braves rotation that has Teheran, Dickey, Folty, and also gives the young ones an opportunity.

  18. We don’t only have to protect Gohara. Here are guys not on the current 40-man that will need protection:
    1. Gohara
    2. Winkler
    3. Lindgren
    4. Demeritte
    5. D. Peterson

    Winkler and Demeritte are cusp guys as Winkler cannot stay healthy and Dem is having a rough go. However, I think they either protect all 5 of these guys or trade a few of them.

    Here’s the next tier of cusp guys:
    1. Ray-Patrick Didder
    2. Caleb Dirks
    3. Ricardo Sanchez
    4. Michael Mader
    5. Kyle Kinman

    I don’t expect any of the 2nd tier to get protected, but I’d bet 3 or 4 of those guys would get claimed.

  19. I think it’s highly unlikely that Dustin Peterson would stick on a 25-man for a whole year. I’m not worried about any of them really.

  20. None of the guys would stick on a teams 25. Dirks and Winkler could have shots as relievers but thats it.
    D. Peterson is loved by Braves fans but what is he really? He has no power and does not hit for a high average. Why would someone claim him and keep him on their roster?

  21. @20&21

    I think you guys would be surprised at what rebuilding teams would put on their 25-man roster for a period of 90 days. Look at what the Padres did this year. I’m sure there will be more teams to get aggressive with Rule-5 draft picks after seeing their strategy.

    On Dustin Peterson: Had a breakout year in ’16 and broke a part of his hand that’s notorious for zapping power. I asked the same question and had a guy from Baseball America give me this info.

  22. Sanchez and Dirks would be claimed in a heartbeat and also merit protection. D.Pete gets a mulligan thanks to the wrist, but seeing as he also took one after the bus crash, he’s getting pretty old for a 4th outfielder prospect. Didder is unlikely to stay on an mlb roster for a year and guys like him just cant lose the development time, so I think he’s safe. Mader and Kinman are ‘meh’ guys.

  23. Gohara won’t be in the major league rotation next season. He is at his career high in innings pitched this season and it was about 109 IP last time I checked. He will certainly spend next season at Gwinnett as he certainly needs to build his innings count up.

  24. @24
    I disagree whole-heartedly with that statement. I think Gohara has a chance to break camp with the team. IMO, If not, performance pending, he’ll definitely get a callup at some point in 2018.

  25. @23
    I think so too. IMO, there’s anywhere between 4&7 guys the Braves will protect.

    Also, on my original statement regarding protection: Lindgren and Winkler are on 60-day DL, so they’ll automatically go on 40-man when season is over. They are not rule-5 eligible. That was poor choice of words on my behalf.

  26. 25 — I think that would be a mistake. Before this season the kid had never thrown more than 70 IP in a season.

    That is, unless he becomes a reliever, but I think that the Braves want to see if he has what it takes to start.

  27. @28
    If you saw his body type, you won’t have a problem with the innings he pitches. Dude’s frickin’ massive.

  28. 28 — I don’t want a massive innings increase regardless of his body type. Especially at the age of 21.

  29. I think he might get a cup of coffee but I wouldn’t want to plan on him making 30 major league starts.

  30. @30
    If a Dickey trade happens, I think his cup of coffee could come at the end of this season.

  31. If you look at Acuna’s fangraphs rate stats, his improvement while moving up levels is just something that you do not see. And he’s not just improving, he’s drastically improving.

    I believe that he will be not just good but a superstar.

  32. @32 yes it really is almost unprecedented. Given his all around game, age/level, and not just the offensive progression, it’s really somewhat surprising he is not currently listed as a top three prospect on ALL the updated prospect lists

  33. There was certainly some reason for optimism after his Australian League performance that he was healthy and really moving in right direction, and while some people were high(er) on him in the offseason, it’s hard to say anyone predicted him being considered one of if not the best prospect in the game.

    Danny Santana to DL because of his “quad”. I think that means he’s 4 times as worse as they thought he was. Micah Johnson recalled.

  34. Just don’t get putting Markakis 4th and Adams 6th. I know the horse is dead, but I can’t resist.

  35. I’m now convinced Acuna will get the September call up. Another reason we’ll most certainly not be protecting many rule 5 guys this year.

  36. I agree with Ryan on many points, but I’ve come to learn that Rule 5 issues tend to work themselves out. I think we trade 2-3 Rule 5 candidates anyway, and I think some of the players we’re concerned about won’t even find themselves on the Padres roster. And if that worst case scenario actually occurs, then we probably won’t miss them on the 2019 World Series Champion Atlanta Braves roster, and they may not even be in baseball at that point anyway.

    With all that said, Dustin Peterson has had an injury, was in the Carolina bus crash, and he’s still holding his own at 22 in AAA. So I don’t agree he’s not a guy that should factor into our plans to the point of protecting him. Burgos, Krol, Rivero, Adonis, and Santana, though, can fly a 40 man kite if circumstances dictated.

  37. Whether or not you’re holding out hope that Dustin Peterson will develop into a useful major league player might be a good litmus test for whether or not you’re a little too all-in on this rebuild. Dustin Peterson is a below average Triple-A player. You can hold out hope if it’ll make you feel better, I guess, but it ain’t happening.

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