With Markakis Signed, How Will Playing Time Shake Out?

I just wanted to put up a fresh post and give us a new thread.

How might playing time shake out if the Braves don’t add anyone else? Well, let’s take a look at last year. These were the top PA earners last year:

Freddie Freeman707
Nick Markakis705
Ozzie Albies684
Ender Inciarte660
Dansby Swanson533
Johan Camargo524
Ronald Acuna487
Charlie Culberson322
Ryan Flaherty182
Preston Tucker142
Adam Duvall57

I’m omitting catchers since catchers should only get those plate appearances. Otherwise, that’s 5,003 plate appearances. Using that same amount, and adding in Josh Donaldson, this is how it looks now:

Freddie Freeman700
Josh Donaldson650
Ozzie Albies650
Ender Inciarte650
Ronald Acuna Jr.650
Johan Camargo600
Dansby Swanson400
Nick Markakis400
Charlie Culberson250
Adam Duvall50

That adds up to 5,000. What you’re seeing there is that you’re giving the guys who almost cleared 700 PAs last year a few extra days off, cutting Markakis and Dansby back quite a bit, Culberson back a little bit, and still having a spot for Donaldson and Camargo to play full-time. You’re also giving Flaherty and Tucker’s PAs to Donaldson. On paper, this team is significantly better if playing time is allotted this way and we don’t fall into injury situations.

57 thoughts on “With Markakis Signed, How Will Playing Time Shake Out?”

  1. I’m not sure they’ll give Ozzie 650 PA, just because they don’t really have to. They seem fairly convinced his second half struggles were fatigue related. I believe he probably ends up closer to 600, and Culby should get a bump, as they look to manage that.

    If nothing changes, you’re probably really close with these estimates, though. I’d agree, it’s a better team.

  2. Apparently, according to Mark Bowman, ownership has only approved about 15 million more in the budget. When you’ve got three teams in division willing to go 50 million more in budget, there’s no reason Liberty shouldn’t be looking to up that some.

  3. A total of 5000 PAs over seven positions is 714 per position. Where does Camargo get his PAs? If there are 64 each at 3B and 2B (714 – 650) and 314 at SS, that’s a total of 442, which means Camargo gets 158 in the OF (plus or minus pinch hitting).

    In reality, I guess Culbertson gets some of the IF ABs.

    Seems more reasonable than when I looked at it at first glance.

    I bet Duvall gets more than 50 PAs, and he plays well.

  4. Rob, were you going under the assumption that Duvall is just a placeholder until Riley is called up, to delay his arb? That’s what I was assuming.

  5. I think it’s possible Camargo ends up getting about 250-300 PAs between 3B, SS, and 2B, and I think the rest will have to come in the outfield. He can also get some as a DH and PH, of course. I suppose there’s the off-chance he takes up to 5 starts from Freddie. He definitely has to play the OF, barring injury.

    I think Riley is more of the same with Camargo and Culberson — insurance against injury or ineffectiveness — and I don’t really see how he gets on the field this year if 8 guys for the 7 spots (plus Culberson) are healthy and play well. I just don’t see who he’s going to out-perform.

  6. I think a better answer is who’s spot on the 40-man is Riley going to take. Barring injury, Riley will be a September callup and he will take ABs from Donaldson/Camargo/Markakis and will play every day to see if he’s ready to take over for Donaldson (or Markakis?) next year. Elsewise, he doesn’t get called up unless someone goes on the 60-day DL.

    Duvall has to get more than 50 PAs to have any chance of being decent. You can take 100 PAs away from Ender especially early in the season before he gets hot. Also Camargo eats more of Culby’s ABs.

    I think you guys should consider the possibility that Dansby breaks out this year. In his interview for AJC, he indicated his wrist bothered him most of the year since May. If true, his real ability may be more like how he shot out of the gate last year. He’s not going to be limited to 400 ABs.

    But all of this is moot until the injuries start happening.

  7. On the other hand, it looks like our chances at Realmuto are fading fast with the Pads jumping in aggressively. If they make a deal with the 72 hour window for an extension, the Braves ought to do the same by offering Contreras if Realmuto agrees to an extension. That may be the only way we can keep up with the Dodgers/Padres.

  8. I don’t see any other potential trade candidates at this point. Who could we trade for?

    I suppose Zack Greinke or an Indians pitcher (Kluber/Bauer) or Bumgarner. If you look at all the pitchers that have performed at a reasonably high level over the last couple of years, those may be the only ones available.

    The Markakis signing seemingly takes us out of the OF market and the infield is set except maybe catcher. Who else would we trade for on the offensive side?

    Maybe we could trade for a reliever or two but they’d have to be awfully good. Jose LeClerc would fit the bill and the Rangers could likely use some SP prospects. Maybe Will Smith? The Giants should be desperate for pitching prospects and their rotation is getting closer to Social Security.

    We could make a good trade for either Greinke/Bradley or Bumgarner/Smith. I don’t see much else. Obviously, there are still a few assets in the FA market but not much that would help assuming the Braves won’t let go of a draft pick. Other than Machado, what’s out there is Gio, Moose, Bud Norris, Miley (eww), E. Santana, and a bunch of second rate relievers.

    This offseason really is almost a done deal.

  9. If Soroka is indeed healthy, he is something special. His track record from his first year through his brief major league tenure last year is better than any of the multitude of Braves pitching prospects. This interview confirms something else about him we’ve seen in other interviews: he’s very smart and thoughtful about the craft of pitching.

    Of course shoulder problems are very scary, and I’m not going to count on too much from him until he can show he really is healthy.

  10. Don’t worry guys. Others feel your pain:

  11. I’m beginning to think the next major strike in baseball will be the fans leaving stadiums empty and televised games unwatched.

  12. @15

    With all the money they’re getting from the national TV deals, the sale of BAMTech, lucrative local/regional TV deals (in some cases), lucrative real estate ventures surrounding the stadium (in some cases), etc., it seems the owners may have decided that fans are not an essential part of the process.

    That’s obviously an arrogant and, in fact, idiotic way to think since all of that (other than the sale of BAMTech) goes out the window if the fans abandon the game en masse, but it seems that they’ve settled on a combination of that and trying to convince fans that being cheapskates is a positive thing.

  13. So it’s being reported that the Marlins want Francisco Mejia from the Padres in a Realmuto deal. If the Padres can lock Realmuto up to an extension, it’d seem that’d be an easy deal to put together based on team needs.

    From the Braves side, if you’re not trading Albies, that means it’s pretty much going to have to be Austin Riley going in a deal, I think. Mejia is ranked 20 on Baseball Prospectus’ list, and Riley 30. So for those of you who want JTR, would you do it, given the probable price, and that it’ll be Riley **and** “X”, if you were Braves GM?

  14. Hmmmmm I wouldn’t mind Machado and then Dansby/teheran trade for someone else, per the rumors of braves watching Machado.

    Long shot, I know.

  15. How do we go from “the Braves have little available money and can’t afford a free agent middle reliever” to “they’re totally in on Harper and Machado” every other day?

  16. 15 mil available and about 10 mil more if teheran is traded….Machado is available with some creative accounting but Harper is only if they officially raise payroll

  17. @20 Anthopolous keeps calling their agents to see if they’d be interested in a 1 yr deal @ 6 million dollars, and they continue to laugh, and then hang up? Take a day off, lather, rinse repeat?

    It is an excellent question. Lol.

  18. at this point, I feel like the ask for JTR and Trout are roughly equivalent.
    Also feel like this team is going to need some exceptional seasons from the young arms.

  19. @18 Craig Mish suggested that the current ask is something like Anderson and Ender or Riley for Realmuto. The Braves counter might be Ender or Pache, Newcomb or Gohara, and Wilson or Allard or Wentz or Muller.

    I would do Pache, Newcomb, and Allard for Realmuto. Yes. I actually think the Braves would look to add Flowers and/or Jackson instead of Allard. I recall suggesting this exact deal, I believe, a few days ago (Flowers, Newcomb, Pache/Wright, Jackson for Realmuto). It’d be nice if the Marlins would throw in Steckenrider to balance the overpay a little.

    Would I do Ender and Anderson? Maybe, but I don’t think the Braves will give Anderson.

  20. I’d give up Anderson so fast it’d make your head spin. Whether I’d prefer to give up Ender or Riley is interesting, though, and I’m not sure what my answer would be right now.

    On Anderson, even if he’s the best of the pitching prospects in theory, there are so many of them that are roughly equivalent that getting the deal hung up on which one strikes me as silly.

    It also raises this question: What if it’s not that there isn’t anybody interested in our pitching prospects? What if it’s that AA is refusing to give up the ones that teams are interested in? And why would he be doing that?

  21. @25 You contradicted yourself within the space of two paragraphs. First, there are so many that they’re equal then other teams are only interested in particular ones because some are better. Which is it? I think your first statement is pretty obviously incorrect. Some prospects are better than others and the consensus is that Anderson may have the highest ceiling – the future ace.

  22. @25 Trading Anderson would be a colossal gamble, because of his upside. He could be an ace, whereas #2 type starter seems to be the projected ceiling for a lot of the other guys. I’d never trade that for a catcher, regardless of who the catcher is.

    I think Wright will be a horse too, so I’m hoping they hold onto him.

    Pache or Ender, Newcomb and Allard for Realmuto would be a deal I could stomach, however.

  23. Soroka, Wright, and Anderson are all potential aces in my opinion.

    But then I honestly expect our rotation will have the lowest ERA in baseball this year.

  24. I see Ender Inciarte is one of Sportsline’s sleepers this year. It’s mostly to do with fantasy value, but they seem to think he will rebound at the plate this year.

    “Inciarte heated up in a huge way to finish off last season, hitting .286 in August and .292 in September. If he can carry that momentum into 2019, he’ll have a strong chance to put up league-winning numbers in an Atlanta lineup that has heavy hitters like Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman and Josh Donaldson.”

    More here: https://www.cbssports.com/fantasy/baseball/news/fantasy-baseball-rankings-2019-sleepers-from-top-rated-model-that-nailed-scooter-gennetts-strong-season/

  25. Astros owner thinks that 10-year contracts in baseball are dead. He says teams are focused on value.

    “I think that teams are very focused on value, and some of the deals that have been thrown out with Harper and Machado I think are long-term deals,” Crane said. “I don’t think that you’ll see too many more 10-year deals in this business anymore because the analytics are so good and a lot of those deals never work.”

    When reached for comment, Braves fan, Donny Simpson responded, “I think that what we are seeing here is commonly referred to as a bubble. What I mean is, baseball profits are up, but they’re superficially up. If players aren’t making as much, and teams aren’t competing as much for talent, aka willing to let potential upgrades slip away because the value aka revenue bump isn’t there, then I think fans may be willing to let opportunities to watch the games slip away because the value just isn’t there anymore.”

    “I think the days of ever increasing revenue are over, Bob.”

    More here: https://www.bing.com/amp/s/nypost.com/2019/01/26/mlb-owner-the-long-term-free-agency-deal-is-dead/amp/

  26. @29 If, if , if if, if. I think that’s why they call it “fantasy”. This is exactly the kind of thinking that gets teams starting off slowly. “They” always say that about Ender – every freaking year. And then he follows the same pattern – slow start, hot finish, good overall numbers (3 WAR). Then they start the season with Ender at leadoff and he crashes. Can we for once just follow the pattern and start him off at ninth until he hits his stride? Can’t we start Markakis and his annual .400 OBP in April/May at the top of the lineup?

    It’s another reason that Ender will never make a good deadline deal. His numbers by the end of July will always be down and someone would be selling low.

  27. @32 Last season was a down year for him at the plate though. Even with a slow start, they think Ender should have a better season.

    I’d like to see the Braves upgrade over Inciarte or Swanson, but as that’s not likely to happen the season can be decided by these two. If they hit well, the Braves will be difficult to top, and it won’t matter who is at catcher.

  28. You boys figure this one out yet? Have you called Alex and gotten him to the correct deal for Realmuto?

  29. @32 I’m with you on the line-up construction issue, and I say that believing (and not implying you don’t) that Ender’s a very solid hitter. There’s enough history with some of these guys, however, that it should be easy to see the deal. It’s not as if they’re second or third year players, and the patterns are too small to go off of.

  30. @34 No. I don’t know about the rest of these guys, but Alex won’t take my calls. I think he’s screening me. It could’ve been the colorful adjectives I left on his voicemail after they signed Nick, and likely put a kibosh on any Joc Pederson deal. Or the fact that I **may have** compared him to a particular part of a horse, if he were to trade Drew Waters or Kyle Wright.


    Do you have his email?

  31. The most direct way to get your thoughts to AA is to email them at least three times a day to bravesjournalrob at gmail dot com.

    I thought everyone knew that already.

  32. @37 Most do.

    Count me as someone who thinks Ender will have a better year this year, though I do think his deal starts not looking that guy by his age-30 (2021) season when he’s making $8.7M, then age-31 at $9M. But for the next couple years, he looks great.

    Just give these guys time off. Every single elite team except for New York — Houston, LA, Boston, Milwaukee — have at least 3 non-catcher bench players getting 200+ PAs. There’s just no reason whatsoever why Ender Inciarte plays 156+ games when you have Ronald Acuna who can play CF and other guys to slide in and out. That’s going to move the needle when you sit an Ender or Nick vs. a tough lefty on a Sunday afternoon or a Dansby vs. a tough righty in the same conditions.

    Next year, we’re going to throw 5 lefty hitters vs. a Max Scherzer or 6+ righties vs. Patrick Corbin. And when they go their pen, you’ll have plenty of handedness to choose from. And if we hold onto our pitching prospects, we may be able to line up starts against lineups that are vulnerable to match-ups.

    I like.

  33. @39

    Yes. The most unnoticed, under-reported, lightly discussed aspect of our team management last year was position player fatigue which was thus largely self inflicted. How much of that was Snit we don’t know but if it shows its face this summer jump all over it and put someone in charge of it exclusively. It has cost us.

  34. Derek Lowe did just what we paid him to do. We gave a 36 year old starting pitcher a 3-year contract, and he did reasonably well considering.

    If we’re averse to multi-year contracts because we handed one to a 36 year old one time, well I don’t know what more to say with regard to that. Oh, and BJ Upton basically stunk before we got him. His upside was his brother. :)

  35. BJ averaged a 3 WAR season his last two seasons in Tampa Bay and was entering his age-28 season. He did not stink at all before he came to Atlanta. There was simply no reason at the time to think he wasn’t going to be worth at least his contract.

  36. Well, the slip in OBP was a bit of a red flag.

    I feel like I always say this when it comes up: the rap was that, with no other options available to him, B.J. was already selling out for power in the second half of his final season with the Rays. It worked temporarily, but it was only a matter of time until the league caught up.

    When we signed B.J., the Nationals, having correctly valued B.J., very quickly dealt for Denard Span because they were afraid we set the free agent CF market at an absurd place for an inferior player.

  37. There seem to be folks who are down on Ender to the point they see him as expendable yet believe he is valuable enough to be the centerpiece in a trade for Kluber? How does that work?

  38. I think it started because of the rumors that Cleveland wanted a major league-ready outfielder, and somewhere along the way, Ender was mentioned. But it seemed to always be Ender + a top pitching prospect. Last night, an seemingly drunken DOB tweeted this:

    He later clarifies that the trade would also have to include a pitching prospect “towards the bottom” of the top 100. So I think the idea has been that you can get Kluber for Ender + a prospect.

    At this stage of the offseason, with so many free agent outfielders signed, it wouldn’t make sense to deal an outfielder that will help you in 2019 to get Kluber. I think it made sense when you could then go and sign someone like Pollock. But if you can fill the hole vacated by Ender that easily, why wouldn’t the Indians just do it? Of course, this was at the time when it seemed like Cleveland was bent on getting younger and cheaper, and an Ender and Wright deal would definitely do that.

    It just doesn’t seem like this is something that’s out there right now.

  39. Lowe was actually given a 4 year 60 million dollar contract. He was about average the first 2 seasons and then bad the next year and the Braves released him.

  40. B-Ref and Fangraphs disagree significantly on Lowe. 1.9 total bWAR, 6.8 fWAR. Either way, for $60M, back when $60M was a lot of money, he also had some negative equity.

  41. @49 I don’t know if we should consider Max Povse a former top prospect.

    At any rate, Povse and Whalen for Jackson still has the potential to be a worthwhile trade for us. Jackson still has time.

  42. @46 I’m not sure I’m following on BJ’s 2012 second half. From 2009 to 2012, he hit .242/.316/.420. In the second half of ’12, he hit .244/.294/.525. Usually when you’re “selling out”, you’re not able to keep your contact rate and plate discipline the way he did. His walks decreased, but his K’s didn’t go up at all.

  43. Sometimes it takes pitchers a while to catch up and fully exploit what you’re doing to adjust to them. I’m not going to pretend like I noticed anything at the time either. I was all like:

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