Where the Braves Are Through August

In the month of August, the Braves are tops in all of baseball in pitching fWAR, 5th in ERA, 5th in FIP, 10th in GB% (get the ball on the ground, Newk, Folty, and Teheran!), and are otherwise towards the top in all categories. The new acquisitions, Brach, Venters, and Gausman, are 1st, 4th, and 5th on the staff in groundball percentage. Anibal is tops amongst starters in groundballs, so it shouldn’t shock you that he’s had a career resurgence once that is considered. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Braves decide to sell on Newcomb in the offseason to get a starter with a better groundball propensity if the infield stays intact. The acquisitions at the deadline telegraph that the Braves like pitchers who pitch to the strength of the team: its defense.

Starters are 3rd in fWAR; relievers are 2nd. Amongst teams that don’t employ a reliever to start 1/5 of their teams games, the Braves are #1 in reliever fWAR. The pitching is showing up and showing out, smoother than a fresh jar of Skippy. And it’s only going to get better. At worst, the Braves are due to get at least some more depth in the staff when Brandon McCarthyPeter MoylanShane Carle, and Arodys Vizcaino return from injury. But Kyle Wright threw an inning in relief on Saturday, so it’s possible he could join our pen, and we should see Touki Toussaint, Max Fried, and even Luiz Gohara return to the team when rosters expand. If you count them up, that’s 15 pitchers with major league talent for just the pen, with only Moylan and McCarthy being debatable.

The offensive side of the ball hasn’t been quite as impressive, though not the glaring problem it’s appeared to be at times. They’re 10th in MLB in runs scored in August, well ahead of Philly at 24th. With all of the work the Phils have done to improve their offense (they also claimed Jose Bautista off waivers today), the Braves are still a much better offensive show than their rival. What’s helping them is their 6th in MLB ranking in high leverage situations and marked improvement vs. lefties (3rd in wRC+ in August).

They are 10th in home runs in August but only have 13 stolen bases this month, less than half of the top teams in that category. But you can perhaps blame some of the cooling off of the offense on their lack of “luck” on balls in play. They rank 22nd in August in BABIP, down from being 7th in the league year-to-date. For the month, that means about 10-11 hits have not fallen. That may not seem like much, but with the close, frustrating losses to Miami and Colorado the last couple weeks, those hits falling may have made an impact on an outcome.

The defensive side of the ball has been tremendous. We’re 4th in MLB in defensive runs saved, 8th in UZR, 8th in fielding percentage, and 8th in total errors. We’ve discussed at length how much the defense has helped our new acquisitions and pretty much every pitcher who can keep the ball in the ballpark, and the numbers say no different.

Going into September, this roster is as talented as any in the East, especially with the reinforcements. At worst, it’s going to be fun.

163 thoughts on “Where the Braves Are Through August”

  1. I guess one of the reasons we haven’t been trying for many SBs is that we’ve been playing teams who have been keeping runners in check – Marlins, Pirates, Brewers – all have top of the league SB prevention percentages. Some of our upcoming teams aren’t so good – Phils, Rays, Cards, Mets – all allow lots of running. The Mets and Phils are 1st and 4th, respectively in SBs allowed. Another possible reason we have excelled against both.

    The Rays are one of the best defensive teams in baseball so we’ll have to get our hits the old fashioned way – earn them.

    This team’s real best weapon is speed. Speed enhances defense and enhances offense. We can’t allow ourselves to get bogged down in station-to-station baseball and wait for a big fly. We don’t have enough power to do that.

  2. If the playoffs started tomorrow, who starts games 1-4 assuming you need 4 starters?

  3. The 1991 and 2018 are looking quite similar.

  4. By the way, not that it really matters, but Fried was activated off the DL and then optioned to AAA. He was in AAA and thus will stay in AAA.

  5. I know that now that I’m retired, the calendar has fallen from the front of my consciousness, but isn’t August still going?

  6. Yeah but it’s pretty much done and the last off-day before the end of August. It’s close enough!

  7. @4 Not sure what you mean. You’re saying that because he’s not on the 25-man right now that he won’t be called up on Sept 1st? That’s insane. He will be among the first returnees as he’s already on the 40-man roster. Optioning only takes him off the 25-man not the 40-man.

    It’s obvious he needs more work to get back in a groove upon returning from injury. But he’ll be back soon enough in the majors.

  8. No, I was saying that the administrative process of moving him from the DL to AAA doesn’t change his current whereabouts. Sorry about that, broseph.

  9. https://www.mlb.com/braves/news/mark-bowman-answers-braves-fans-questions/c-292189908?tid=218325368

    So since we’ll have The World’s Largest Bullpen, these would be simply the only players remaining on the 40-man and thus the only players you could crunch to make room:

    Kolby Allard
    Adam McCreery
    Wes Parsons
    Ricardo Sanchez
    Dustin Peterson

    That’s it. Other “bubble” people that are already on the 25-man would be Ruiz and Reed. Can Allard be outrighted?

    Would a non-contender let Parsons make 4-5 starts in September to see what they got? I would think so. Would someone put McCreery in their pen? Probably. Sanchez and Peterson would probably pass through, but you have to make a spot for McCarthy, Wright, Fried, Flaherty, Riley, and a 3rd catcher, so who are the other 2? I think after years and years of crying wolf about 40 MAN ROSTER CRUNCHES, this might actually be one.

    Sanchez and Peterson, seemingly, would be easy decisions relatively, but are you really going to DFA McCreery to make room for Brandon McCarthy? I wouldn’t. Same with Flaherty.

  10. Washington’s up 5-2 on Phils in 6th. Eflin is out of the game but Strasburg is still in. And Stras just laid down a bunt, so he’ll at least pitch into the 6th. Luis Avilan came in for the Phils and gave up a run-scoring double to lefty Eaton.

  11. Wilson Ramos just got thrown out trying to go first to third… pathetic effort. Weird, like he was hardly running, didn’t give a $**+. Pretty significant play in the game. I’m delighted, but a little baffled.

  12. I don’t get people’s fascination with promoting Wright. With Touki, Fried, Wilson, even Gohara on the 40-man, just where are you going to fit Wright in that isn’t covered? I think some may be correct when they say he was used out of the bullpen because he’s close to his innings limit. Wilson may be, too – he’s only 20. I am mind-boggled by Wilson’s promotion and would be flabbergasted at Wright’s. I just have to believe they were choosing between Wilson and Wright and chose Wilson to promote.

    If Allard were outrighted, he would be scooped up by the first team that came along. Dustin may be safer in that he passed through Rule 5 last year. I think both McCreery and Parsons have shown enough to be scooped up. My personal choice might be Sanchez but he is still 21 and has lots of potential. He might be scooped but would that really be much of a loss? Not sure what someone might do about Ruiz. He, too, has potential left but he’s blocked in Atlanta and he has not been able to be productive at the MLB level. But he is also the only danged LH bench bat in the entire upper system (not including Danny Santana and Xavier Avery).

    Bowman was not doing a good job of counting slots. Here’s my list of players who might reasonably added in order of what i think the team’s preference will be:

    1. McCarthy
    2. 3rd catcher (Stewart/Jackson – my preference being Jackson as he will need to be added over the winter)
    3. Ryan Flaherty
    4. Austin Riley
    5. Kyle Wright
    6. Jacob Webb
    7. Carlos Franco? Phil Gosselin?

    With two empty slots, the third or more player from above will have to come from a DFA. Here’s my personal lost in order of potential DFAs:

    1. Peter Moylan
    2a. Ricardo Sanchez
    2b. Dustin Peterson
    3. Sam Freeman
    4. McCreery? Parsons?

    In my estimation, to get to Wright, you’d have to DFA Moylan, Sanchez, and Peterson. And to do that, you would create very few spots to add folks needing Rule 5 coverage in the winter without a big trade of prospects already on the 40-man. Plus having to add O’Day, Lindgren, etc…

    I think Wright becomes an option only if McCarthy is eventually DFA’d.

    Also, Fried is still on the 40-man so he’s not an issue.

  13. Wright throws a straight fastball that will get lit up in the majors. He needs more time at AAA.

  14. @17 No. If he could then much of this discussion would be moot as we’d do the same thing with the other marginal 40-man players like Sanchez and Peterson.

  15. Sanchez and Peterson had accrued enough service time to be exposed to Rule 5. Allard has not.

  16. Phils lose. Whoop. Whoop.

    Good note about the Rays is that they are one of the best home teams in the league – on the road not so good.

  17. So, we are now 3.5 games ahead of the Phillies and 8 games up on the gNats.

    The Phillies started out August 5 and 1 and since then they’ve lost 12 out of 18. If the trend continues, the gNats may be in 2nd place at the end of the year. Please note, that is not Phake news.

  18. I’d feel a lot more comfortable if Ozzie could get back to his earlier levels of play. He could make a tremendous difference to the offense.

  19. @24

    Yes, the biggest single issue we face going into September, never mind the pitching, that’s fixed, great job. We’d likely squeeze into October with his status quo but have zero chance of going further.

    Were he to be restored somehow to his April/May/June levels we could win it all, we forget just how totally dominant a factor he was back then. he led the team/outshone the league, ‘he did bestride this world like a Colossus’ ! Today it’s painful to watch.

    With our much improved starting pitching and bullpen plus Acuna, hey, we’re there if Ozzie comes round. But how can we make that happen, what’s being done about it? We’re balanced on a knife edge.

  20. Now is a great time for the Phillies to come back to reality and nose dive out of the picture. May it continue, please.

  21. Who would you rather face in the playoffs? If the Phillies phail then does that mean the gNats make it? Or would the wild cards go to two teams from the central/west? Of the potential, likely, wild card teams who would you rather have to potentially face? I feel like I would rather face the Phillies than any of the other suspects.

  22. My playoff rotation 1-4 would include Folty, Gausman, and Newcomb. There’s no way it doesn’t include those three, even though Newcomb has had some rough outings. Newcomb has it in him to pitch some big games. The fourth man would probably be Anibal Sanchez over Julio Teheran. Julio is once again proving to be reliable for innings, but his 5.00 FIP is head and shoulders above the rest of the rotation. Teheran would be huge in an emergency, I think.

  23. @27 While logically speaking the Braves have matched up better versus the Phillies, I actually prefer to not face them in the playoffs. I don’t trust the officiating in that scenario or in any scenario involving a team with lots of red on its jerseys. I’d rather face the Rockies or Dodgers in Atlanta, but if I get my preference I’ll take the Brewers any day.

  24. @15

    Throwing Anibal 1st and potentially the only guy a second time in a series? Bold.

    Our rotation, at the moment, matches up as well as any team in the league other than the Phillies. Arizona has a better 1-2 punch, but we’re deeper.

    Washington would be a team I’d have been worried about. Heh.

  25. Removing Allard from the 40-man roster would involve putting him on irrevocable waivers and the Pods would have a new pitcher. Realistically, the team needs to balance opportunities to win this year VS opportunities to pitch meaningful innings for the MLB team this year AND making sure we aren’t in an impossible position come the Rule 5 draft.

    The first issue is that the current bullpen plus Touki, Wilson, McCarthy, Moylan, Fried, Gohara, and Wright just can’t find the innings to keep everyone sharp. My solution is to release Moylan while not calling up Gohara (I send him back to the AFL) or adding Wright to the 40-man.

    The second issue means that I definitely don’t add Wright to the 40-man while making me cautious about Riley. Thinking on the subject, the only way I activate Riley is if we trade or release Ruiz. Jackson is a no-brainer callup as he needs to be added to the roster before december anyhow. I can see trying to pass Peterson through waivers. Riccardo Sanchez still has real value and I would keep him.

  26. Ozzie is not as bad as he’s playing now. He’s not as good as he played in April and May. Streaks balance out slumps, and vice versa.

    That said, obviously, going into any potential playoff run, you want the player to be streaking, not slumping.

  27. Allard seems to be a unique case where the player was called up well before they needed to be to be protected from Rule 5, there’s simply no use for him on the 25-man for the foreseeable future, and now you have him clogging up a 40-man spot for an extended period of time with no use. Did we really clog up a 40-man spot for a couple years so someone could make a spot start and two long relief appearances? Should have just called up Parsons, whom you would be willing to keep on the 40-man since you really need to see what you have. There was no rush with Allard.

    Agreed that I don’t think you have enough innings for all of them, and since it will inevitably come down to a 40-man crunch, I would not call up Wright, McCarthy, and Moylan. If there’s an injury, you can always call them up to be available for the postseason roster, right?

  28. How many innings do Folty and Newk have in them? Folty pitched 154 last year, and he’s at 145 so far. Newcomb pitched 157 last year, 141 so far. If you need them to make an extended postseason run (3-4 starts), then you’re looking at another 8-9 starts, another ~50 innings. I wonder if they’re comfortable with that much of an increased workload. Strasburg was at 160 IP in 2012 when they decided to shut him down, though he had never pitched more than 120 IP in his professional career before that. Yikes.

  29. To follow up on that, Touki threw 145 IP last year, and he’s only at 130 IP YTD. Wilson threw 137 last year, and the same so far this year. He’s got room. If there’s some separation, you could give either of them a start or two. Wright threw 117 including Vandy, and he’s at 135 now. Gohara and Fried have plenty of room.

  30. There was no need to rush Allard up, but the Braves have demonstrated that they’re a team that believes that if you’re a hot prospect and you play well in AAA, you’re going to get a shot at the majors. That lights a fire under the butt of every single prospect we’ve got.

    So Allard didn’t make much of his opportunity, nor did Gohara, but Wilson and Toussaint sure did, and Fried did, and Wright’s knocking on the door, and the lesson to them and to all the others behind them (Anderson, Wentz, and Muller, as well as all the position guys — Riley, Pache, Waters, etc.) is absolutely clear: if you force us to put you in the game, you’re gonna get a chance. We’re not going to hold you down on the farm. You’re going to the Show.

  31. @33

    Sam…I wonder. Logically. yes, he will average out this year, likely, but 2/3 months , 80 games maybe, is more than a streak, surely. I think now that what we saw then was Ozzie fresh, showing his everyday abilities and the enthusiasms they produced in him. The last month or so he’s ground down, simply tired by a season he’s never felt the likes of before. How we re-crank him up for the post season I have no idea and leave in the hands of the experts but my bet is next April/May and hopefully this time much longer he will be his old self again. In which, Braves apart, he will be the MVP which many, many people were openly talking about at the end of May. A lovely thought.

  32. You guys!

    All this hallowed talk re pitchers for petes sake!

    How about a little offense? I think, between you, Riley got a line and a half. Let’s talk about him and when and where he will be inserted.

    And Graffanino, straight up from Rome. Our versatile secret weapon on the bench. .400 anyone? They won’t know who he is.

  33. @39 – I’m not going to assume Ozzie Albies has established himself at a new performance level on par with Jose Altuve on the sample of 2/3 of a season. I’m willing to assume “Ozzie on a tear” is on par with Mookie Betts or something, but I will also assume that those runs will be balanced out by slumps of “Ozzie was on a boat and still managed to miss the water.”

    Obviously, you want Ozzie on a bender for the playoffs. But that’s what makes the playoffs so weird. Short series. Hot players. Mark Lemke, MVP. That sort of thing.

  34. I still don’t see a Rule 5 roster crunch coming up even if we add Wright and Riley.

    Players coming off 40-man:
    Dayton?, Freeman?, McCarthy, Moylan, Jose R, Anibal, Flowers, Suzuki, Reed?, and Neck. I am considering R Sanchez a keeper for this exercise.

    So, the roster currently sits at 38 with 6 guys on the 60-day DL making 44, of which 6 are out of contract after the season, getting us to 38 again. If we also drop the 3 question marks, we are at 35.

    We only have 3 “must adds” before the Rule 5 in Jackson, Weigel, and Ynoa. We may desire to protect Demeritte and Peterson but we didn’t last year and they were not selected.

    It looks to me that we will have 2 “extra” slots, so we can bring up Riley and Wright without too much worry. Next year will be hard.

  35. Braves to extend Tyler Flowers through 2019 with an option for 2020. $4 mill base in 19 $6 mill in 2020 $2m buyout.

  36. I actually love that the Braves realize the value that framing adds. Excellent move (though probably takes us out on Realmuto).

  37. @35

    If we shut down Folty or Newk for the playoffs because of their innings pitched, we should march on Atlanta and burn Sun Trust Park like General Sherman.

  38. snowshine, me personally, I’m not talking about end of season. I’m talking about being able to make September call-ups work. You have 2 spots currently, but you need to add, according to Bowman, McCarthy, Moylan, Riley, Wright, Flaherty, and a third catcher. Someone, I think you, said that Bowman wasn’t counting his spots correctly, and that seems to be the case.

    In the offseason, I’m quite confident trades, free agency, and retirement will clear out the 40-man quite a bit, so I’m not worried about that. Probably at least three of the 11 starting pitchers we have (5 current members plus Allard, Soroka, Gohara, Fried, Wilson, and Touki) will leave the organization. You may not re-sign Anibal, as an example. Brach will be a free agent. They’ll probably trade at least 2 prospects. McCarthy and Moylan will retire. DFA Reed and Flaherty and pick up the 2019 models when the dust settles. Trade Peterson and Ruiz. There are a ton of things you can do.

  39. Ozzie was a beast in April and May, but the thing about the launch angle era is how many of his homers just cleared the fence by a marginal distance? When they stopped clearing the fence, did they become outs? Doubles? The thing about break out players is that sometimes pitchers haven’t had a chance to adjust to them and it mixes with luck for 80 games or so. Ozzie is a good player and he will continue to be, but he’s going to continue to learn at this level. He may not average 30 homers throughout his career, though. He was just insane before he wasn’t.

  40. @47 I think McCarthy can go ahead and retire now. I see less reason to retain Moylan and Flaherty, as well. Doesn’t that solve a lot of the issue with 40 man spots??

  41. @49 I would agree but that’s not what Peanut said. If McCarthy pitches out of relief, though, before Touki or Bryse Wilson does, then, well, that would be suboptimal.

  42. @50 Yep, you’re right. My bad. But by keeping him on the 40-man, you have the same problem. But it’s 5 guys for 2 spots with Moylan clogging another one.

  43. If they removed Allard off the 40 man he would be exposed to waivers. No way they just lose a Top 100 prospect for nothing.

    I think it’s highly likely he is traded this offseason, though.

  44. Rob, I think we are in complete agreement here. I just don’t think we will see many of those 40-man clearing moves being made before the Rule-5. So, very mild crunch at that time.

    As for the solution to the September crunch, I really don’t see a need for Moylan, McCarthy and Flaherty.

  45. Guys I wouldn’t care about moving off the 40 man who are not in the conversation for September: McCreery, Peterson, Parsons.

    My guess is that all of those guys would be claimed, but they just aren’t in our plans.

  46. my twenty five
    so many of them thrive
    my forty
    just a few are norty
    but if I had to have fifty
    bet your life one or two will be shifty.

  47. @46, @58

    I missed this comment. I don’t think Rob or anyone is talking about shelfing young starters due to innings pitched. The question is whether we skip any of their starts or try to limit their starts in September in an effort to save them for a possible extended playoff run…

    Which I don’t think that is all that unreasonable to consider. I don’t, personally, worry as much about it because plenty of elite starters, even recently, have jumped from < 160 IP to over 200 IP without ill effects. If these guys topped out at 180 IP during regular season, they probably don't reach 210+ IP even with the World Series.

  48. My good friend Donny is correct in translating: maybe a start or two off in September? We have 2 days off in September.

  49. Right. The play isn’t to pitch Folty and Newk down the stretch and then shut them down a la Strasburg come a playoff run. It would be to take one of the 7000 starting prospects you’re calling up for September and give them one or two of those two’s starts down the stretch, to rest the arm a little before they’re need for a deep playoff run.

  50. This talk of rosters has gotten me thinking. Back in one of the Abstracts 30-odd years ago, Bill James opined that 40-man slots had a value, which was dependent on the quality of the MLB club and the health of the minor league system.

    Contending clubs, in his thesis, should value 40-man slots more than non-contenders; strong farms systems more than weak. In his view, teams that were both contenders AND had good farms should value them most of all. These teams would be Atl, NYY, LAD, and Hou in today’s game.

    Strangely, I have never seen analysis of 40-man value since his musing on the subject all those years ago, but I can’t believe the value is lower now — Bill thought that the value varied between a couple million on the high end to a few hundred grand on the low — and he used the Yankees and Braves as examples. Surely there must be some way to gauge an approximation of the current values.

    The following are the players we have outrighted this year:
    Lane Adams, Carlos Perez, Joey Bats, Aaron Blair, Luke Jackson, Peter Bourgos, MoCab, Jason Hursh, Mike Socolovich, and Chad Bell.

    So what were those guys worth? I suspect Jackson is now worth more than all the others combined, and I don’t believe we would currently sign him for more than 3-4M per year. Also, some of these guys were the 39th man on our roster: surely the 39th guy is worth more than #40? Does this mean that a young team that suddenly gels has less depth than perennial contender?

    To check, let’s review the Yankees outrights:
    Wade Leblanc, Trayce Thompson, Jace Peterson, Adam Lind, David Hale. Yes, these guys are much better than Atlanta’s castoffs. NY has also been more proactive at trading the end of their 40-man than we have (although Phillips, Wisler, Sims, and that outfielder from Houston whose name I never remember say hi!)

    What do you guys think?

  51. Yes, Smitty. It’s a bit of a sticky wicket. But it’s something to keep an eye on as a manager and GM. This team is very good, but it is very, very young. And those two arms have never thrown 200 innings in their lives. So you have to keep a wary eye on the Beachy-Medlen horizon.

  52. I think the pitcher rest thing is important THIS year and beyond.

    Easy to make a positive impact.

    Go to 6 DAY rotation, immediately. That will take a spot start Sunday and 2 more (2 off days before the end of the year).

    After Friday, monitor innings and pitches tighter. Nobody near an innings limit goes into the third time through the order. With the extra bullpen arms, you at least get as good as you would have gotten from the starter. NOBODY stays in a game for stupid individual stuff like no hitters and perfect games.

    If Touki goes Sunday, then you can use him as a 2 inning guy maybe 2 times until the next spot start.

    With 5 to 6 innings max on every starter other than maybe Julio and Anibal, then there is enough work to carry 4 extra relievers and still give them one day on, one day off.

  53. Yeah, I think rather than skip anyone they will go with a 6 man rotation with Touki as the 6th guy.

  54. I’m not opposed to conserving a bit, but let’s be honest with ourselves that these pitchers aren’t THAT young. Folty will turn 27 in October, and Newcomb is 25. Folty has at least thrown 150 IP a couple of times in his professional career. Add to that the fact that the Braves have been conserving innings and pitch counts with the starters all year long… we have not just arrived in September about to blow through the max innings of these guys.

    In fact, I bet management is well aware of the exact number of pitches these guys have thrown this year…

  55. I think we have to ride our five best starters. I don’t want Touki starting a game against the Phillies, unless we have clinched.

  56. I also think we can put this thing away by the last week of the season. In that case, you start Touki, Wright, Allard and whomever.

  57. @64

    When you say “valuable”, you mean to gauge the talent level of the person manning the spot. To your point, pruning the leaves of the last 3-4 spots on the 40-man will inevitably lead to a deeper farm system and potentially a better ML club.

    As an example, we’ve gone from stashing guys on our 40-man when they’re not even within 12 months of being healthy to not having a spot for a guy like McCreery. That points to the value of a spot increasing, though I’m not sure what the use of monetizing it is. Simply put, the better your farm and team get, the more important it is for someone on your 40-man to be an elite prospect who’s in need protection or someone ready to contribute to your 25-man when needed. As both of those qualifications become higher, the person on the roster has to rise accordingly.

    This probably gets into how long a team’s “window” lasts based on how they manage the 40-man.

  58. @69

    We’re not talking about age. It’s about increasing the workload of high stress innings and how slowly that should be done.

    Completely agreed with cliff, and to disagree slightly with Smitty, I don’t think you necessarily need to clinch. Even if Philly is mathematically still in contention, I think we should be willing to throw Touki and/or Bryce again between now and the end of the season a few more times by going to said 6-man. I thought they had said they were going to do that anyway?

    Plus, I think Touki, Bryce, and even Kyle Wright deserve to toe the rubber. To cliff’s point, at worst, letting them throw the innings that would have been thrown by the SP as they went the third time through the order would be the optimal use, I’d think. Each starter pitches around 5 innings, then to keep your relievers fresh, use the following lineup:

    Day 1: Touki, Biddle, Sobotka, Brach, Minter
    Day 2: Freeman, Jackson, Venters, Winkler, Arodys

    Or something like that. In a blowout, throw McCarthy or Fried or whomever. Wow, this is a deep staff at the moment. I can see why they’re trying to jam everyone on to the 40-man.

  59. Flowers’ extension doesn’t mean it’s necessarily Flowzuki 3.

    Trying embedding again:

    Flowers said even though he could be a backup, someone isn’t going to be an every down back with the Georgia heat. So he’s fine with even somebody like Realmuto because he’ll still get plenty of playing time.

  60. Chief at 75,

    I think catcher is a place you can upgrade. We won’t ever see 2017 Flowzuki again. The question is how much decline. Flowers grew up in metro and has lived there in the offseason. He is young enough to not be a pure “cliff dweller,” but Suzuki certainly could be one. Neither of them is at their best playing more than 60 to 100 games. So, I think the Braves will try to get another catcher. Maybe a trade for en elite one or maybe for a so so one. Maybe a high end free agent, maybe an “overlooked guy.” Signing Flowers keeps them from getting into a panic.

    On Kyle Wright, I wouldn’t want to clear a 40 man spot for him. Just play the others. there are plenty of elite arms already on the 40.

  61. So even if the Braves acquired Realmuto, the thinking is that Realmuto wouldn’t make much more than 95 starts?….

    Just wondering…

  62. Frankly, I was thinking about Chad Bell. When we claimed him my thought process was, at first, it’s nice they are upgrading the last spot on the 40-man, but then it hit me: if Chad Bell pitches meaningful innings for us it will represent a failure for the organization. Which led me to question the value of the spot, which in turn has led me to somewhat question some of the front office’s philosophies.

    So here’s my question: if adding a guy to the 40-man doesn’t help the MLB club OR even the organization as a whole (Chad was blocking several relievers with a future in the organization), why do it?

  63. He was considered major league depth, and they ended up being wrong. Just like Whitley, Dayton, etc. But I think putting these guys in the last position on the 40-man points to an increase in value in the spot that you have to be imminently ready to contribute to the roster or you’re not worth the spot.

  64. @81, Maybe you do it to prevent someone else from getting him? I dunno. I think worrying about the slots on the 40-man is a waste of effort. The best players in the org will either be added to it, or traded. The C- prospects will be left exposed, as it has always been.

    The “OMG we’re leaving so-and-so exposed!!!” means you have a good system. Or that you over-value middling prospects. Or both.

  65. On the whole, yes, but it doesn’t mean those positions can’t have more and more value, which is his point.

    I wrote about the 40-man before the season started, saying that anguish was much ado about nothing. But the players on the bubble less than a season are inferior to the players being discussed now, and as time goes along, hopefully the players lost are more and more valuable. Doesn’t mean those players aren’t valuable; they’re just not as valuable as others on the 40-man.

  66. Marlins may trade Dietrich. Left-handed bat off the bench would be nice.

  67. One wonders what it would take to get him. B prospect and a random rookie-league arm do the trick you think?

  68. Feels like we’ve consistently used the 40-man to stash relievers that are sitting out the season after surgery. Winkler is a good example. There’s several others but I can’t remember their names off the top of my head.

  69. If they signed Grandal to replace Suzuki that would be a very good catching tandem.

  70. Really looking forward to when that Zedd concert gets here, and all the days afterwards.

  71. You can make the argument easily that Tampa Bay is a better baseball team than us.

  72. The easy argument is they have a similar record playing in the hardest division in baseball. It’s crazy to say that they’re one of the better teams in baseball considering how they were left for dead by most predictions.

  73. OK, folks, assuming the Mets will not trade from their starters, who out there could we use our prospect capital to trade for? I think the only viable candidate (i.e. star player at a position of Braves need that a team is willing to trade) is Realmuto. I would welcome anyone finding an alternative with enough star power at a position of need that would be worth our while to trade real prospect capital for. I have scoured rosters and have found none. Maybe Suarez?

    The Flowers signing probably means that Zuke will be non-tendered. And, Realmuto might argue about the Georgia sun vs. the Miami sun.

    Plan A should and will be…..

    1. Trade for Realmuto. This will clear enough 40-man slots to survive Rule 5. Must include trading Teheran.
    (side note: looking a some of Teheran’s peripherals makes him look like a near ace except for walks and HRs, but with his velocity drop, he needs to go)
    2. Sign free agents Harper and a solid reliever with closing experience (such as Familia or Herrera) (note that this is even if we re-sign Brach).
    3. Sign a LH bench bat (someone like Markakis if he’s cheap enough, but I like Dietrich too)
    4. Let Riley loose on 3B and keep Camargo and Culberson as UTIL.

    As for the current 40-man crunch, see my post at #16. Everything is clarified.

    And, Rob, I was the one who said Bowman had miscalculated as have many here have also miscalculated.

    For others, Dayton and Ramirez are not on the 40-man and are almost certain non-tenders and do not need to be considered. Lindgren is a tougher case – a likely keeper. O’Day will need a spot over the winter. Moylan and Freeman are likely non-tenders but I don’t really see them being DFA’d in Sept, although I could be wrong. Flaherty will be brought back as Markakis Whisperer – Kakes has been terrible without him.

  74. Oh, and for the Ozzie worry-warts – two singles tonight and a run scored.

    Freddie = two Ks, one with the bases juiced.

    Who is it we should be worried about? I’d love even having an average Freddie and Kakes right now. Ozzie is still hitting some and should get some more barrels if given a little more rest.

  75. @97 Agree 100%. Needs to be immediate. Can’t imagine why anyone is worried about giving a start or two PER WEEK to Touki or Bryse. I mean, c’mon.

  76. Good matchups out there. Scherzer vs Nola (Scherzer on the short end). DeGrom vs Hamels – all tied at 0-0. Jack Flaherty is no-hitting the Pirates for the Cards. The Cards are some kind of hot.

  77. At least Biddle can be back tomorrow.

    If Wink can get the last out, there are a lot of options for the 8th and 9th.

  78. Yeah, well, we just blew our lead so it seems to be contagious. We just gotta win this game.

    Need to get Jonny out of there.

    I feel a sense of doom coming on.

  79. @117 Righties did the damage. Maybe he is better as a LOOGY.

    OK, so if the Rays can get to Venters then we should be able to take out Roe. That would be justice.

  80. Wilson Ramos doubles home one. Is the tying run with one out at second. Kapler pinch running for him with Vincent Valequez.

  81. Alfaro flies out, and Velasquez tagged up too early and called out on the appeal for the 3rd out!

  82. Phils tying run on second left early to tag up to get to a meaningless 3rd base with 2 outs which ends the game for the Phillies! Hahaha!

  83. Valequez doubled off second on a fly ball out. Game over. Nats win. Close this one out and the lead is 4.5.

  84. And Velasquez got doubled off 2B!!! Nats win. LMFAO!!!

    I am so glad our Braves just never quit. They have done a great job tonight.

  85. @151 That is so much baloney. This is his first full year in the majors. And he is working out of these jams he gets himself into. He has got a lot more maturing yet to do.

  86. Touki pitched 6 giving up 0 ER. 18.2 straight with no ER.

    Carle pitched a scoreless inning on rehab.

    Wright pitched another scoreless inning. Hmm.

  87. Great Win.

    The Rays are a good team and showed some things we can learn from, primarily on the bases. With a lead off hitter on first they seem to go into ‘he must score’ mode, total focus. Great bunting. hit and runs.They made the most of runners on base. Offensively no home runs till that big surprise late, his first, but more modestly they all seemed to hit the ball hard.

    We did a great job breaking their streak.

    Ozzie read BJ today. Ender and Nick pop are back. Camargo and Freddie might have been somewhere else. Dansby, better and better, all round.

  88. Wright has to be closing to his target inning cap for this year. AA is very careful with that.

    Those Cardinals are becoming very hate-able again. Let’s win the division. I don’t want to see us playing them in an one-game playoff game ever again.

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