This is the last post for me this season. In a few days, baseball for the Braves is no more. So, I bring up the scene on the battleship Missouri. We are the delegation in top hats, come to surrender. What about the recaps:
The man’s name is Lucas Sims. He was the primary key to game 1. 6 innings with no runs and a little bit of a wobble in the 7th and Winkler let 2 of Sims’ runners score. Two solid starts to finish the season. Is it a mirage or something real. Stay tuned.
Offense was provided by Ozzie with a solo homer in the 4th, and then 3 more in the 6th pushed it out and they didn’t stop piling on runs.
This was mostly the Seth Lugo show. 6 innings (why not more, Terry Collins?), 7 K’s, no BB’s, 2 hits. He looked dominant. Max Fried struggled but some double plays bailed him out. The curve looks like Steve Avery‘s. The fastball is fast. There is definitely something to work with here. When Lugo came out it was 3 to 0 Mets. But the last 2 years, the Braves don’t roll over. They keep scrapping out at bats. They got 2 in the 9th before the rally fizzled out.
Thanks for the season, cliff.
Thank you for all the recaps, cliff. Wait ’til next year!
Guys, thanks for keeping the season relevant. Long live Braves Journal! The original Braves blog!
I think I’ve seen enough of Gohara (cover your eyes, Adam R.) to think that his 2.90 FIP is something we can build off of. He may not turn that into a 2.90 ERA next year, but I’d think you’d have to pencil him into a 2018 rotation.
Brace yourself, Rob…I agree.
Not because of the 23 IP, but because of Gohara’s overall track record and what he’s been able to do at his age.
And: “According to Statcast™, the rookie stands with James Paxton and Chris Sale as the only left-handed starting pitchers to throw at least 25 fastballs that have been 97 mph or higher in a game, dating back to the start of 2015.”
Worth noting that Gohara’s elementary-school-level flirting game is also strong: https://www.mlb.com/video/gohara-tosses-gum-at-reporter/c-1845222683
I think the SPs have divided themselves into categories based on ceiling and certainty:
Highest Ceiling But Very Uncertain:
Higher Ceiling But More Certain:
Lower Ceiling But More Certain:
If what Coppy is saying is correct, that they won’t go after an elite pitcher via FA, and they can’t put a prospect package together to get an elite arm, then this would have to be a way-too-early 2018 rotation:
2 of Folty/Teheran/Newcomb
Put Folty and Sims in the pen or trade them, and then trade whoever would lose their spot to the next wave of Allard/Soroka/Wright/Touki should someone emerge. I do have a slight optimism about the pitching future with the performances over the last couple weeks, and it’s one cheap rotation, to say the least.
Interestingly, Thomas Burrows has moved into the top 30 of the MLB Pipeline list. He’s a 23-year old lefty reliever that came over in the Mallex Smith trade. DOB said that he spent the entire year in A- because this was his first season of pro ball, and he’s another one that they’ve said could rise through the system quickly.
@5, Hah! Hopefully he gets her phone number.
Re: Blazon’s comments on Adonis. I have a soft spot for that guy, too. First of all, his name is not only Adonis, he doesn’t pronounce it the way you’d expect, like the ultimate handsome lover and satisfier of women of Greek myth. That’s humility, right there.
The other reason I love this guy is for the “It just goes to show” essence of his story. Completely unheralded, completely unknown, a “just a guy” if there ever was one, just going about his business being a 30-year-old, right-handed Cuban third baseman with little track record toiling in a system that doesn’t seem to know what place to make for him. Meanwhile, our super smartypants GM trades away what at the time looked like a bounty and in hindsight looks like malpractice fraud to acquire…a 30-year-old, right-handed Cuban third baseman with little track record save for a mega zillion dollar contract hanging around the Dodgers’ neck.
So of course what happens is we fall flat on our face with the shiny new bauble we acquired…and actually get some solid performance, a guy who shows up and plays the game with feeling, out of the one we discounted. Like I said, “it just goes to show.” Hope Adonis can keep on keeping on…with the Braves or elsewhere.
PS: Thanks for your enlightening and fun recaps, Cliff. See you next year.
Well said, John.
I really like reading Dickey’s comments. I think I might pick up his book. He seems to bring an extremely valuable perspective to the team, and I’d be inclined to fill the 5th starter spot next year with his leadership and perfectly average, adequate, mediocre production.
Rob, Why so down on Sims? Low ceiling etc… What has he done wrong to this point, done right? He has velocity, control and looks composed and settled out there.
What did you make of Fried last night, anyone?
I think we should bring Dickey back next year too, failing any superior alternative. It’s been my impression that he’s done well for us this year. I don’t know nothin’ ’bout no WAR, but it seems to me the 1.8 he’s accumulated so far this season is pretty solid, right?
Seems a third of his starts have been totally craptastic, which has obscured the fact that another third of his starts have been dominant. The other third seems to be “keep ’em in the game” mediocre. Sounds like what you could use out of a 4th/5th starter on a team not competing for a division title…which is what we’ll be next year, right?
Nationals 5th Starters: Joe Ross and Edwin Jackson. 25 GS. ERA of a little over 5.
Dodgers have had 7 starters make at least 9 starts, so that’s tough. Kenta Maeda was the worst in 25 GS, and he has a 4.28 ERA in 132 IP. They essentially have 2 #1s in Alex Wood and Clayton Kershaw, 2 #3s in Ryu and Hill, Brandon McCarthy has a 3.81 ERA in 16 GS, and then Darvish obviously came mid-season and has been a #2 starter.
Astros had 43 starts going to Mike Fiers and Joe Musgrove who turned in an ERA a little over 5.
Cubs, who will take the mediocre central with around 92 wins, had Lester and Lackey turn in 60 starts with an ERA around 4.50. They have no starter that will end the year in the top 30 in fWAR. They obviously win a different way.
The Red Sox, who will probably win 95 games, have Doug Fister and Rick Porcello turning in 46 GS with around a 4.75 ERA.
The Indians have Kluber, Carrasco, then catastrophe. Josh Tomlin and Danny Salazar have 42 GS with an ERA of 4.75.
Obviously these are gross generalizations that don’t take into consideration injuries and team strategy, but I think you can draw the conclusion that even playoff teams will have a mediocre to below average starter(s) making at least 1/5 of your team’s starts. I think Dickey would be perfectly fine making 30 starts for a contending team depending on the cast of characters around him.
Cliff, thanks for the recaps, they’ve been a highlight all year.
I really think it will be up to Dickey if he’s to pitch next year. I think we will pick up the option, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him retire.
Wondered all day who no opinions proferred on Fried’s performance last night…
finally, the penny dropped – Monday Night Football. Jeez!
I’m withholding my opinion on Fried for a while as his peripherals still scare me: 4.5 BB/9 coinciding with only 6.23 K/9. Seems to be getting awfully lucky. He was one of my top-5 favorite prospects last year.
I thought Fried looked good. I hope he gets a legitimate shot at the 2018 rotation. That curve is incredible. Too many baserunners.
Is there literally no way to stay in shape if you have a hamstring injury? This is terrible. I think more fans should be outraged about this.
@9. Sims seems like the bulldog type that doesn’t have enough talent for the long run to me. Good to have a guy like that, but he’s not going to really lead you anywhere. He may be good enough to be a 5th starter on a winning franchise, but I doubt it.
Kemp is what he is. He needs to be in the AL.
Kemp isn’t going anywhere, unless our geniuses decide to kick the can even further down the line with an even worse bad-contract deal.
I like Fried. I think he needs more time in the minors though next season.
I think Fried will never develop the control to start. He could do a wicked Andrew Miller impression in the bullpen however.
Rob, why is Julio in the 1st grouping?
@21 He is still fairly young and has made an All-Star team twice and has had an ML era in the high 2s and low 3s. That would qualify.
Having said that, I doubt he will ever be consistent enough to be much more than a 3rd starter, going forward, if that.
Yes Chief, but that gives Julio the highest floor and more certainty than the others. I love Julio, but Gahara, Newk, and Folty have it all over him as regards to ceiling. Julio is a 3 hoping to become a 2. The other 3 are hoping to consolidate their tools at the MLB level to become a 2 hoping to then improve command enough to be an ace.
I would group the current pitchers like this:
incredible tools hoping to become an ace, likely a 2 — Gohara
incredible tools hoping to become an ace, likely a 3 — Newk, Folty
already a 3-4 needing consistancy to be a 2-3 — Julio
Inconsistent tools that might become a 2-3 but likely bullpen bound — Fried
Inconsistent tools that might become a 3-4 but likely bullpen bound — Sims
Perfectly cromulent back-end starter — Dickey
The best idea I’ve seen is Kemp and Markakis as platoon partners this upcoming year. But more than that, keeping 5 outfielders fresh by sharing time (Kemp, Kakes, Acuna, Ender, L. Adams). Main 2 in Ender and Acuna get bulk playing time with Ender sitting 12 games/year, Acuna 20ish, Kakes/Kemp 80ish, and Lane receiving 20-30 starts/year.
So…Braves need to hire Dave Martinez to pull this off.
Lucas Sims just went up in my book. Geez…this is frickin’ filthy.
Great GIF. Looks almost like a knuckleball!
From last night, the trivia answer is Frank Viola. I dont know about any 1 game, but the fans at the Hump flew that banner every time he pitched
@25, That was a thing of beauty.
@23 that’s about where I have them as well, at least mentally. LOL.
Gohara seems to be able to ‘carry’ bad weight like CC ‘used to’.
I’d also like to see Dickey come back for one more year of .5 WAR as our 5th starter.
No matter, did you catch that glorious spread of blond hair in her intro? She must have spent all day in one of those swank Midtown salons. Fabulous, someone please tell her. This is one area where we lead the league.
Getting back down to earth.
@28, He has 1.8 WAR this year. Do you mean to say he’ll get to bad he’ll only produce .5 next year?
So TP and Eddie are out?
Teheran has demonstrated twice now that his pitching style can lead to dominant seasons. In 2014 and 2016, he put in 3.2 fWAR seasons, which were 24th and 25th in baseball in those seasons. I tend to think that you’re a #1 starter if you finish in the top 30 or so in fWAR. Everybody has their line, and that’s mine. He’s demonstrated that his ceiling is incredibly high. If he could have built just a little bit off of those seasons, he could have been one of the top 15 most valuable pitchers in baseball. Some might say that that is establishing his floor, and I think that’s also correct, but it definitely leads us to believe that there’s something more in there. Plus, he’s only 8 months older than Folty, anyway. Doesn’t seem that way based on their career tracks, but you’d almost have to start questioning Folty’s ceiling at this point.
@30 TBH, I didn’t check. My mistake. If that’s the case, then even more that I hope he comes back for several reasons.
@33 IMO Folty’s floor is a ROOGY and his ceiling just based on his actual stuff COULD have been a #1.5 SP. His issues are demeanor and mound presence. He needs someone with a supremely calm approach and patience to work with him in the offseason. I don’t know Chuck Hernandez’ reputation, etc.
I wonder if Folty’s value to the Braves is more in the pen or in a trade. I’m inclined to think that it’s in a trade, and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he had an inconsistent but at times dominant career like Jeff Samardzija, a late-bloomer turning into an ace like Jake Arrietta (first dominant season at 28), or any other guy with a big fastball and no career.
I don’t know if it’s been mentioned but Folty will be shut down for the rest of the year, according to DOB.
It’ll be an extremely risky rotation next year if it’s Teheran, Newcomb, Folty, Gohara, and Dickey. You’d think they’d value having someone in that rotation that you’d be reasonably certain will put in that 3+ fWAR season. But do you really argue with a rotation of characters more than capable of putting in 4+ fWAR seasons and a 5th starter floor of 1 fWAR that is making almost no money? You’re literally talking a $16.5M rotation top to bottom.
@36, Soroka will be in the rotation by mid 2018, if not sooner. Wouldn’t surprise me a bit to see Teheran or Folty or both traded. Or kept. I honestly have given up trying to guess what we’ll do. If we make a big trade I’m going to probably hate it. That’s about the only thing I’m sure of.
Folty’s demeanor is brought up and rightfully so. However, we need to delve deeper as his demeanor doesn’t make his stuff consistently hittable. His curve and changeup have always rated as below average. His slider has taken a step forward this year, but it still has a way to go. If he was asked to come in for 1 inning at a time, that FB/slider combo could be frickin’ deadly.
@38, Yup. We wouldn’t have to worry so much about Folty’s demeanor if he made better pitches.
Highest Ceiling But Very Uncertain:
It’s the other way around. They have lower ceilings than, say, Gohara, but we can be more certain of what we’ll get from them. Teheran’s results have been inconsistent from season to season, but we still know who he is. He is durable. But his stuff isn’t tremendous. He doesn’t throw hard. He relies on command — and a friendly ballpark.
When Teheran threw his slider more last year, he was better. This year, the slider’s not good. The ballpark probably has something to do with that. So his repertoire and his results look kind of like 2015.
Anyway, inconsistency is part of the type of pitcher he is. His ceiling is that of a 3 WAR pitcher — just when I thought ERA was the least helpful way to have this conversation, Chief brings up all-star teams… — but you have to price in that, especially with the ballpark, he’s less than 50 percent likely to hit that ceiling.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we traded Teheran in the offseason, especially since we’re floating it already.
If Braves could trade Teheran to dump Kemp’s salary, would you do it? I’m kind of done with adding a useful piece to dump another, but doing this could really open doors for the future.
Excellent reading on Folty:
@40, That’s a clever idea.
Teheran’s contract is still a good one. But when I ask myself, “Who needs 2-3 WAR pitcher and a replacement-level DH and can part with $60 mil over the next three-ish seasons?”, that still seems like a tough sell. We would need to eat some money or also send over a decent prospect.
It would also be a shame to trade Teheran and not fill a need in doing so. I guess in fantasyland we’re signing Moustakas or something with the savings.
DOB’s column on Albies in AJC Tuesday is worth reading.
I’d be interested to know if the backlash over another bad money trade this deep into the rebuild would put any tangible heat on Coppy/Hart. I suppose we probably will never know.
It’s tough with Julio. So if you asked who had the highest floor? Yeah, I’d say Julio is about as likely as anyone to turn in a 2-3 fWAR season next year. But if you also asked who gives you the most confidence to put in a 5 fWAR season next year or the year after? I’d go with Julio. You may not think highly of his stuff, and that’s fine. That’s why I said his pitching style has proven it can be elite. Two top-25 fWAR finishes age-25 or younger? That’s someone with a very high ceiling, or someone who peaked exceptionally early.
With Julio I worry about his STP tendencies. His ERA is more than double at home compared to what it is on the road.
I tell ya, the U of Louisville’s athletic program is quite the den of iniquity. Previous football coach had an affair with a board of trustees wife (Charlie Strong), then he’s replaced with Bobby Petrino. Then the first Pitino stuff, and now this.
Nice little piece on Lake Charles native Jace Peterson:
He’s been lost in the shuffle a bit this season, mainly because he hasn’t had a very good season. But his pinch-hitting numbers are solid (8 for 22, .440 OBP) and he’s going out of his way to be versatile so he can hang on in a super-utility capacity.
Really odd that Allard dropped that much.
What doors would that be? Doors that no one will walk through because the team hasn’t proved that they’re going to use that money for anything? If you want to open an outfield spot for Acuna or whoever else, great. Releasing Kemp is always an option. But I’m completely done with giving up useful pieces just to get salary relief, full stop. I’m not against trading Teheran to get something useful back, but salary relief is not useful unless you use it to actually spend money on the other side.
You don’t even have to release Kemp. Make him a part-time player and bench-bat. He can split time with Markakis or something.
Giving away good pieces just to clear his salary would be enough to make me stop watching.
@44 looks like a ranking of prospects who compiled the best stats in 2017, not a ranking of the actual best prospects.
It’s tough with Julio. So if you asked who had the highest floor? Yeah, I’d say Julio is about as likely as anyone to turn in a 2-3 fWAR season next year.
That seems right. No one’s more likely to throw 200 innings, and they’ll be mostly quality innings.
But if you also asked who gives you the most confidence to put in a 5 fWAR season next year or the year after? I’d go with Julio.
If Julio is the pitcher who gives you the most confidence he’ll accrue 5 WAR in a season, then that really doesn’t speak well of our other pitchers. His best seasons — full seasons, pitching 220 and 190 innings — have been 3 WAR seasons. Where is he going to get those next two wins from? Sometimes a Charlie Morton learns to throw harder and generate more Ks, but that’s not something you can count on happening. His velocity decline over his career thus far fits with expectations. So, is Teheran going to learn Cliff Lee-esque command? Because that’s what he’ll need with his skill set to get to 5 WAR. And the story there doesn’t look promising either. Again, the high water mark of his command gets him to 3 WAR. We’re in a low-water-mark season right now.
You may not think highly of his stuff, and that’s fine. That’s why I said his pitching style has proven it can be elite. Two top-25 fWAR finishes age-25 or younger? That’s someone with a very high ceiling, or someone who peaked exceptionally early.
A 2-3 WAR pitcher is a great thing to have, and especially at 1-2 WAR prices. Teheran is an asset to this team. But 5 WAR is a lot of WAR. Teheran is plenty good, and yet it’s hard to see how he improves, given the range of performance we’ve seen.
His most similar pitcher is Jose Quintana, who has a different repertoire (replace the slider with a curve) and better command with similar stuff. That’s the best case scenario. There you go, a 4-5 WAR pitcher.
You’re on the “he peaked early” train.
Quintana put in a 4.6 fWAR season last year. Kluber, Cueto, and Porcello put in 5 fWAR seasons last year. If my confidence had to be placed more so in Teheran taking a step forward, Newcomb and Folty finally finding some semblance of command, Dickey doing something he’s never done, and Gohara having one of the best rookie seasons ever, I’d probably choose Teheran to put in a 5 fWAR season. That’s the way I’m thinking there. I
I think you’ve listed plenty of reasons why he can’t, and I agree with all of those, but for better or worse (and to your point, more for the worse), he’s probably the best pitcher to predict an elite season out of. That’s not saying much at all, but I’m highlighting that he’s still a pitcher who could move from being a top-25 pitcher to a top-10 pitcher, which is where a 5 fWAR season would put him. We’re talking ceiling here; I recognize it’s very unlikely.