Successes and Disappointments of Spring Training


Kyle Wright – The 2017 first round pick has earned a spot in the rotation earlier than most had envisioned. He’s a good bet to at least be a serviceable 4th/5th starter this year, but he could surprise some people.

Max Fried – His health and success means that a pitcher who has been someone we thought could be a #3 starter the moment he becomes a fixture in the rotation is closer to happening. If he can keep his blisters in check (and remember, he’s already had TJ), it looks like he’ll have a successful season.

Bryse Wilson – He’s earned a spot in the Opening Day rotation, but with Gausman throwing yesterday and Wilson lined up to start Saturday, I think his spot will be short-lived. We shall see. But a successful spring.

Nick Markakis – Yes. 1.100 OPS and his first spring home run since 2016. I’m totally here for angry Nick Markakis wanting to prove all of you haters wrong and having another “contract” year, proving that you should avoid multi-year deals with aging contributors if for no other reason that it pisses them off and makes them play better.

Position Player Health – We came into the spring with the position player side of the roster mostly set, and not much has changed.


Pitching Health – Much has been made of the fact that Folty, Gausman, Soroka, O’Day, and Minter will all start the year on the IL. But it looks like Gausman will only miss one start, so that’s some silver lining. But 5 of the 13 pitchers projected to be on the roster at the beginning of the season being sidelined indefinitely is disappointing to say the least.

IL – What a stupid change. No one thought any of these players were actually being labeled “disabled”. Cheap parlor tricks.

Adam Duvall – Really hoped the guy that hit .244/.299/.489 across 3 seasons in Cincy (and even better against lefties) would have recovered this spring. But that has not happened, so a $3M outfielder will begin the year in AAA hoping to find something that will bring his value back.

Struggling Relievers – At various points, Sam Freeman, Chad Sobotka, and Dan Winkler struggled.

Not Signing Craig Kimbrel – This pen could use an elite presence at the top, like most pens in baseball right now. But the Braves will choose to right the hot hand like most teams with their closer spot.

Touki Toussaint – Considered to be one of the most exciting pitching prospects ready to stand out, he had a poor spring, couldn’t keep the ball in the zone, and he’ll go back to AAA to work on things.

Sean Newcomb – We keep hoping he will turn the corner, but with 15 walks in 17 innings, giving up 10 ER in those innings, confidence is eroding in Newcomb’s ability to be anything more than a frustrating, erratic 4th starter with potential that will probably always elude him.

210 thoughts on “Successes and Disappointments of Spring Training”

  1. DS was JC’ed from last thread, and he had some good stuff on this subject too:

    “@162 I feel better about the Braves right now than I did at the start of ST. The off-season is a long stretch where young players become sort of unknown commodities (again), so it has been reassuring to see:

    1) Acuna is still an MVP candidate coming into this season,

    2) Ozzie should still be an above average bat and the second half of last season was just a mechanical mess for him,

    3) Kyle Wright ought to be a seriously positive impact on this season,

    4) There are a half dozen other pitching prospects vying to make a similar impact on this season as well, and they could do it,

    5) It’s entirely possible that guys like Newcomb and Gausman could find themselves on the outside looking in at the rotation if they aren’t absolutely on top of their game this season (replaceable by Wilson, Fried, Toussaint, Soroka, Gohara),

    6) Teheran has had a good ST that has featured 94 mph (consistent 92-93 mph) and is there anybody on here who wouldn’t take good Teheran all day long with the knowledge and experience this guy has gained during his career? I just hope he doesn’t evaporate when the season begins,

    7) They have babied Donaldson through all of ST, so I’m expecting this guy to go Thanos on opposing pitchers, because obviously they believe tremendously in him enough to keep him in the bubble wrap until opening day,

    8) Freeman is now sandwiched in the lineup by past and present MVP candidates. What other lineups feature 3 MVP caliber hitters back-to-back-to-back? Should be good,

    9) FanGraphs seems to think we maybe have the better catcher between us and the Phillies. I LOL at that, but dat pitch framing! Oh, and McCann used to be the best at that, too. Looks like a trend with the front office,

    10) Christian Pache will make his debut some time this season. Count on it. He’s already probably the best CF defender in all of baseball,

    11) Saw good things from Alex Jackson and Austin Riley. Have to feel good about that too,

    I’d still like to see us add a bullpen arm via major league acquisition. I can suspend belief enough to think that the rotation is going to be above average even if we don’t know what half of it will consist of by July. There’s just a lot of talent there, and whomever the hot hands are this season will take care of the first 6 innings of most games. You just have to believe that. We just need the bullpen to close out the games.”

  2. It seems Ozzie’s profile, at least in short sample, has morphed again, this time back to his minor league time. He’s been much more of a hit-heavy, power-light guy this spring. I wouldn’t be surprised if his profile moves around quite a bit as he advances into his… 20’s.

  3. I remember how homer-happy Rafael Furcal would get for a couple of weeks after he got into one. He’d try to cheat and yank a few more and his hitting would suffer. I really hope that Ozzie can focus on hitting them into the gaps and let the homers happen.

  4. Furcal is a great example. I was so excited about that rookie season .394 OBP and it looked like we had the most ideal lead-off hitter you could find. Ozzie’s second half of 2017 would be the best version of him, IMO: .286/.354/.456 (.810 OPS), 18 HRs, 30 2B, 15 3B, 24 SB across 162. And probably Gold Glove defense. That’s a 5 WAR 2B, and I’m there all day for that.

  5. Also, Acuna has definitely put on muscle, which I’m surprised has not been noted. If he settles in for a corner outfielder who can still fly and hit for even more power, then we’re talking about Orlando Cepeda.

  6. Speaking of Acuna, Jonah Keri gave him the #1 nod on his annual trade value rankings. Since years of control is the main component, it certainly makes sense that he and Soto went 1 and 2. Francisco Lindor and Mookie Betts were in the top 5 as well, IIRC. I was in the car listening to his interview, which was fantastic.

  7. With respect, complaining about the IL is maybe the dumbest thing. It’s not exactly a hallowed institution steeped in tradition. What, did you name your son Disabled List? In a year, no one will remember it was ever called anything different.

  8. I don’t see why “disabled” was a bad way of referring to players who are unable to suit up, is all.

  9. Some people dislike the use of the word “disabled” in that context. If changing it to “injured” makes them happy and affects absolutely nothing else, what’s the issue here? Again, it’s not like we printed out a bunch of Disabled List stationary that we now have to throw out.

  10. We live in the age of “easily offended by anything” and anything is sure to rile some people up.

  11. I think for most people it’s about real estate, about losing ground, about a mentality of “where does it end?”. It’s not a big deal to me in that context, but I also don’t know why it’s even worth it to change it. Trust me; I’m not eaten up about it. I just find it to be a little silly, that’s all.

  12. MLB forced the Indians to ditch Chief Wahoo this year too, so baseball is going P.C. Hopefully they won’t come after the chop chant.

  13. @12 You know they will. The Braves have already been in the process of phasing it out. Even the tomahawk is probably offensive to some.

  14. Honestly, I’d love to see the end of the chop chant. I was very happy to see the back of Chief Wahoo, and Princess Winalotta. I think they do little credit to the sport.

    The Atlanta Braves earned their name because their former owner was a Tammany Hall man and the Tammany Hall symbol was basically a cigar store Indian — in adopting that name, the team never had any connection to, or interest in being respectful towards, Native Americans. As far as most anyone can tell, the Cleveland team named themselves the Indians because giving yourself a Native-sounding name was fairly popular, after the Boston Braves had already done it.

    The Braves took the chop from FSU, which actually has a relationship with the Seminole Nation. (The Chicago Blackhawks have pursued relationships with Native groups, too.) Neither the Atlanta Braves nor the Milwaukee Braves nor the Boston Braves has ever really pursued a relationship with any of the groups of people after whom they ostensibly named themselves, and I think that’s a missed opportunity and a shame and it makes me feel weird about participating in things like the Chop.

  15. The bass is just really cool. That’s my only dog in the fight. I’m not even some bass head. I just like the drums pounding and the effect that has.

  16. @14 I don’t think you have any reason to feel weird about it. Besides, I think I’d rather take count of the number of fans vs offended who are officially in tribes and see which number is actually greater. Would it really change anything? Probably not since all some people are concerned with is removing anything potentially offensive.

  17. By the way, in the two games I saw this weekend – Friday and Sunday – Kakes hit just about everything on the screws. I think the guy has a .800 OPS this year so long as he doesn’t play more than 150 games.

  18. Also, some of you may find this noteworthy. Kakes positions himself from a very detailed card in his backpocket. We know about these cards, but I stood behind him for about a third of the game, and that card is not only fairly large (like bigger than a 3X5, maybe a 4X6), and this is A LOT of writing on that card.

    Ender has one too, it seems. Acuna does not. He seems to be shaded by Ender almost every pitch. It led me to believe that until they are really confident in Acuna shading himself, Ender might have additional value to us. And we’re 5th in baseball in defensive WAR, so obviously we’re doing something right with how we’re playing this.

    And speaking of defense, Donaldson is slick. He has good range, he’s sure-handed, and he has a really strong arm. And the defensive stats seem to back that up. He made two really nice plays Friday and Sunday, one ranging to his left pretty far, and then putting a strong throw to nail a fast runner. Another, he went to his right, took a short hop, and threw off-balance a strong throw to first. He’s impressive.

  19. @16 et al…

    For me, what some people call “PC Culture” is less about shaming– like, in this case saying we are a terrible fanbase who should all feel guilty for being so terrible, etc etc– and more of saying hey, so we have all inherited a culture that has normalized oppression and stereotyping in a bunch of different ways. It’s so normalized, in fact, that we might not recognize it all the time. So, armed with this knowledge, are there ways in which we could do better, and be more decent to each other?

    I get why people love the Chop and are attached to it. But I don’t think it should be necessary to definitively poll Native people for us to be able to look at ourselves as a fanbase and say “Hey, it’s 2019, maybe we can do better than making a stereotypical mascot out of marginalized people.” And the same with the DL/IL thing. I don’t feel at all put out by trying to pre-emptively be more decent to a marginalized group of humans.

    It doesn’t mean we were bad people for saying DL (or for Chopping), it just means we’re trying to do better. It’s all a messy, imperfect process, and can be carried to absurd extremes at times for sure. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth trying, imo.

  20. They’ve done polls, and most Native Americans aren’t offended by the Redskins name. I can’t see how anything associated with the Braves is near that in scale, including the chop- and honestly, I would never stop doing the chop, because it’s something I’ve grown up with.

    Like anything, if you look hard enough, you’ll find someone offended by something. At some point, you have to come to grips with the fact that you can’t please everyone though. You’ll lose your way trying.

    The “Disabled List” thing is a small, but ridiculous change. I could really care less that they changed it, outside of the fact that they felt they needed to. Really? As a society, we use the term disabled in many forms. If you get injured, and can’t perform your job, often you qualify for “Short Term Disability”, because, by definition, you are disabled. The word disabled isn’t always meant the same way, as we all know.

  21. The Indians were named after Lou Sockalexis, from the Penobscot tribe, who played for the Spiders in the 1890’s. The Spiders were usually referred to as the Indians during this time.

    The new AL team was initially known as the Bluebirds (a name the players hated), but the team switched to the name Napoleons or just Naps after Napoleon Lajoie was traded to the team in 1903. After his retirement, the name Indians was restored in a fan vote.

  22. I’m a little stunned that the Marlins released Dan Straily. That guy is solid, and probably the best pitcher on that team. In a talented division, the Marlins are going to be so bad. As someone who’s never been a fan of Jeter, this pleases me. Lol.

  23. As much as he is justifiably hated by Braves fans, it’s hard not to say Urena is better than Straily. Straily is an extremely average pitcher who will be picked up by someone. Unfortunately you can also say that about Teheran. Big difference is Julio has had 3 really good years and Straily has only had 1 above average year.

  24. Is virtue signalling about how super cereal you are about not being a bleeding heart by whinging about the name of baseball’s injured reserve really going to be a thing now?

  25. You don’t decide to ditch an archaic, vaguely racist cheer leading routine (the chant/chop) because you polled the tribes to find a plurality opinion. You do it because you have a basic moral compass and recognize that it’s time to be done with it.

  26. @19 is a good post. It’s about showing consideration for other people, especially those who have not always had that courtesy extended to them in the past.

  27. Let’s ditch the chop chant talk. Sam has a way of ruining these things, so I’d like to cut it before he does.

  28. On another subject, I read Bowman’s latest and this sentence popped out at me:

    “Though the preference is to continue using them as starters, especially until the rotation is whole, some of these prospects could be used to enhance the depth of the bullpen, which was constructed with the hope Minter and O’Day would be key assets.”

    I feel like “constructed” is doing a lot of work in this sentence. I don’t have a whole lot of experience with the construction business, but does it really count as “constructing” if you just stand around and hope the house builds itself?

  29. Rob…Sam’s synopsis on this subject @25 was eminently fair, well reasoned and succinctly stated. It was probably the best written post of the day, something he is more than capable of at any time.

    His villain you refer to that stalks us sensitive souls, when unleashed, must unfortunately be accommodated as a fair exchange apparently though rightly flayed with opprobrium when it appears. Not this time though.

  30. Let’s ditch the chop chant talk. Sam has a way of ruining these things, so I’d like to cut it before he does.

    Yeah, because letting one side of the debate air itself out is totally fine, until the other side shows up. The status quo is simply that, and anything else is “politics,” I suppose. Do I have that right?

  31. @33 Does it really need to be explained to you why the discussion was closed? A half dozen people all expressed a variety of opinions peacefully, then someone shows up to dismiss everyone’s thoughts on the basis of moral authority. So, the discussion ends. Your point of view is backed by the morality god. Who could ever hold a valid opposing opinion to that?

  32. @21, regarding Sockalexis, he appears to have been a factor in their name, but he’s definitely not the only reason they have that name. There is a still-ongoing historical debate about whether he is the primary reason for why they have that name.

    Here’s Joe Posnanski:

    And here’s Terry Pluto:

    But I’m good with moving on. I think basically everything that can be said on the subject has been said, and I don’t mean to try to grab the last word, just to answer a response to my earlier comment.

  33. @33

    What are you even talking about? Are you accusing me of allowing my viewpoint to be the only one expressed and then cutting it? I said I liked the beat.

    That’s it.

    The beat.

    So, yeah, I guess if that’s the opposing viewpoint — hey, it’s got a good beat that I happen to like, and that’s it — then you’d be correct.

    Both sides talked about it. We’ve talked about it before. There are largely political connotations to it. We talked about. Then Sam did his Sam thing, and then we moved on. That’s typically how most mildly controversial discussions go on here. Both sides give their point, Sam ruins it, and we move on. We got a good thing going here.

    Go Braves.

  34. What are you even talking about? Are you accusing me of allowing my viewpoint to be the only one expressed and then cutting it? I said I liked the beat.

    That’s it.

    The beat.

    So, yeah, I guess if that’s the opposing viewpoint — hey, it’s got a good beat that I happen to like, and that’s it — then you’d be correct.

    “IL – What a stupid change. No one thought any of these players were actually being labeled ‘disabled.’ Cheap parlor tricks.”

    …So, yeah, that is what I’m accusing you of.

  35. Parsons and Carle looking really good tonight.

    And I know this seems nit-picking but 4 of 7 RBIs on GO or SF. We had such trouble doing that last year. I think it’s a good sign.

  36. I’ll also add that this is every bit as “bad” as what Sam said, and no one swooped in to curtail the discussion:

    We live in the age of “easily offended by anything” and anything is sure to rile some people up.

  37. Dansby just went yard opposite field. I hope that is a sign of healthy wrists.

  38. Since others got to have their say, I’ll repeat mine and be done with it forever.

    The chop, etc, is racist. Taking it away from people who’ve grown up with it is not exactly the smartest, most helpful approach to combating myriad injustices against tribes. That much is plainly displayed in this thread.

  39. Parsons has a long but smooth delivery, and it looks like he hides the ball for a while. If he’s a guy who can play up in short spurts, I can see why he’s adjusted to the pen as well as he has. I’m getting pretty excited about him.

  40. On a lighter note: I’ll be traveling from Minnesota to Atlanta this summer. Any advice on what area would be best to get an economy hotel room? Proximity to the Battery would be nice.

  41. It should be noted that the chop is different from, say, Chief Wahoo on the Indians’ team uniforms, in that MLB can’t exactly stop fans from doing it at games.

    I don’t think the chop is really in any danger right now, it seemed more prominent than ever last year, breaking out at every home game, the team’s official slogan was (still is?) “chop on,” etc.

  42. @56 Bob, there are plenty hotels around The Battery, from budget-mid (Extended Stay America, Holiday Inn, Hyatt Place, Hampton Inn) to premium. The Omni is awesome if you would like your room to overlook the field. They sometimes have deals combining room and tickets to a game.

    I am on my way to the US for some days and was able to build in a stop-over watching the second game of the Braves-Cubs series. JT is scheduled to pitch that day… would have loved to watch Fried or Wright.

  43. With one spot open on the 40-man and both Tomlin and Joyce to consider, I’m still in on the possibility of carrying AJax early in the season as a third catcher and giving him a couple of starts. If the Braves take both Tomlin and Joyce, someone needs to be DFA’d.

  44. Can someone tell me again why having Joyce or Duvall is better than having Dietrich???

  45. @61 AA’s roster construction has multiple cases like Dietrich’s where we’re just going to have to trust that there’s some underlying elements we’re not able to see that swing favor towards Joyce/Duvall. Those multiple cases I’m thinking of are mostly potential bullpen options that we’ve shown no interest in.

    We sort of owe it to AA for at least the first part of this season to trust his process since his decisions last year mostly broke right and the team made the playoffs.

  46. Did AA really make a bunch of decisions last offseason? His biggest move was helping his former team balance their books a little more effectively. (Ours too, in theory, but we saw how well that worked out.) Otherwise he seemed content to wait it out and tinker on the margins with guys like Preston Tucker and Jose Bautista, at least until the trade deadline. Anibal Sanchez was a good get, but he was basically free and outperformed all reasonable expectations. Most of the important players on the 2018 team were inherited.

    I always got the impression AA was as surprised (and perhaps annoyed — I bet he wanted to hire his own manager and couldn’t after Snitker won MoY) as anyone by the team’s 2018 success.

  47. Hello fellow Braves fans, I am catching up to the 21st century and getting into podcasts, any Braves ones to suggest?

  48. When a lot of the guys on these two lists work out, you just don’t have a lot of decisions to make:

    Seriously, that’s kinda how that works, whether you like tanking or not. That’s about one of the most negative ways you can describe the machinations of a 90 win team. And we added Josh Donaldson to that team with almost no subtractions, and the vast majority of the players from those two lists are now a year older and a year better.

    Man, buzzkills all week. I’ll never bring up the IL again.

  49. @63

    Did AA really make a bunch of decisions last offseason?

    Well, you offered the examples I would have responded with. McCarthy/Sanchez were useful additions for the rotation. Venters was a timely pick up for the bullpen. Gausman/Brach at the deadline were a boost. The organizational changes (towards a more analytics-based approach) have seemed to have helped a lot. He has had weigh-in and input, fairly frequently, on managerial lineup decisions such as hitting Ender 9th and batting Acuna leadoff. Charlie Culberson was a nice surprise last season.

    I always got the impression AA was as surprised/annoyed… by the team’s 2018 success.

    I’ve had this thought before… but then I think that it would be highly irrational but possible. But who wouldn’t want to be the GM of a winning ballclub with all this young talent and a player-favorite manager? I feel like the stockpile of young talent is a bigger burden of responsibility to have to carry. The expectations have to be sky high regarding, at least, the rotation. The reality is we’re not going to sign anyone at $30+ million a year to be our TOR ace unless it’s for 1-2 years. There’s an expectation of being able to retain fan favorite players, too, and it’s one thing if LM decides to let those guys walk and quite another if they can pin the blame on a GM for bad contracts, right? And I’m sure they let Anthopolous know that whenever they talk about payroll. The team winning last year must have put AA’s plans in an interesting place since there’s an urge to accelerate the team’s spending and become a contender. I just hope all this hemming and hawing on spending is because we plan to make Ronnie Acuna Jr. our Mike Trout. I kidded about the Craig Kimbrel thing making or breaking my opinion of DOB, but how this team proceeds with Acuna could put me on the IL as a Braves fan for multiple seasons. It would certainly solidify my opinion for worse if they plan for us to just enjoy what we’ve got and then let it all go in 6 years.

  50. @60 They might use that last roster spot on the just Designated Matt Wisler? Ha! I say that jokingly, but I wouldn’t bet a Coke against it.

    If Joyce and Tomlin are the only choices, Tomlin would seem to make more sense early on. If a SP gets lit up, you’ve got a guy on hand to give you multiple innings.

  51. Matt Wisler is being placed on waivers. I swear, if the Braves don’t gobble him up, then they clearly don’t care about winning and/or know nothing about scouting and development.

    I will being doing an all-day, all-night prayer virgil in hopes of my boy Matt comin’ on home.

  52. @65 — Have they all worked out? You’re talking like the young pitching has already established itself, but it hasn’t. The only one who has put in a quality major league season to date is hurt. If all the young guys come up this season and are immediately positive, playoff-level major league contributors, it might be the greatest feat in the history of major league pitching development.

    One might, maybe two. But usually pitchers get kicked around a bit when they’re first getting acclimated to the league. Folty did. Newcomb did. Teheran did. (And those are the success stories.) Hell, if we want to go there, Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz all did.

    It’s one thing for young pitchers to go through their getting-kicked-around period when the team is still in flux and there are no expectations. Quite another when you’re trying to defend a division title and maybe advance further this time. (It’s all well and good to say the cream will rise, but what’s overlooked is that if a guy loses his spot to someone else, it’s probably going to be because he’s pitched badly for a month or so beforehand. Those games still count.)

    I will happily eat my words if the 2019 Braves can put together two or three solid starting pitching seasons out of Wright, Wilson, Fried, Touki, Gohara, Soroka, et al. But I’m skeptical it comes together that quickly and easily, and if it doesn’t, that’s on AA.

  53. Dansby with another homer to right center today. Estimated distance 402 feet. 3 to 2 Braves over Reds in bottom of 5.

  54. Newcomb: 4 IP, 0 BB, 5 K 63 pitches. That’s getting closer to where he needs to be. I would rather see him lasting into the 8th inning consistently even if he never tosses another shutout so long as he can hold opponents to 4 or less runs.

  55. I would be very interested to see someone articulate what they mean by a pitching prospect “working out”. Is that a 5+ WAR pitcher, 4, 3, 2, etc.? Is it someone in the top 30 or top 50 in pitching WAR? Is it someone simply becoming a serviceable starting pitcher, someone who makes $10M as a free agent? Is it that over the course of their career they produce X amount of WAR? Would 9 WAR cover it, 12, 15, 18?

    For me, it’s about the aggregate. Can you take from those 2015-2016 lists (20 or so if you include the big 3 from the 2016 drafts and Kyle Wright), and can you fill the vast majority of a major league staff? I’d say that’s perfectly fine. If you can do that, that means you can spend — max — about $40-45M on your entire pitching staff. And with Ender, Acuna, Dansby, Ozzie, and Camargo, that leaves you another $80-100M to add superstars, expensive pieces, etc.

    So, yeah, I’d say it’s worked out, and no, I think you’re wrong when you’re saying that you should expect 1, 2 to work out, which depending on your definition, has already been exceeded.

  56. @76 Newcomb goes from 5 walks in one outing to zero the next. That’s a tremendous level of start-to-start inconsistency that I’m not sure we’ve seen in a long time.

    Dansby went yard again today. Dansby with a stick is a 4 WAR Dansby, and that’s the Dansby I really like.

  57. It’s spring training. Newcomb could be tinkering with his control. I didn’t watch today, but he could have taken a little off his velocity or shortened his delivery some.

    The same goes for Wright: I’m not even a little bit, not even a smidge, worried about him. He’ll take some lumps, but the kid is filthy and will overpower a ton of hitters this year. Just give him time and don’t allow him to press too much. All these guys could take a little off and still be very effective.

  58. I didn’t say I only expected one or two to work out. I said I expected one or two to work out *this season*. Folty needed the better part of four seasons to become more than a mediocrity. It’s good he got that time, because he looks like a keeper, but what happens if Kyle Wright (say) needs the same? If he has a 5.71 ERA (as Folty did in 2015, when he came up for good), you gonna keep running him out there in a playoff chase where every game counts?

    You can’t just skip over development. Guys need time and space to fail. “Letting young guys learn on the job” and “Trying to win a championship” are both reasonable goals for a season, but it’s tough to do them both in the same one.

  59. @79 He did it last year too. Two games of 5 walks, 7 games of 4 walks, 7 games of 3 walks, 9 games of 2 walks, 4 of 1, 2 of 0. And within those, he had 7 instances where he either doubled, tripled, or cut into half or third of the amount of weeks in his previous outing. Long story short, quite often he will walk 4-5 guys, then walk 0-1 guys, or vice versa from start to start. Just… all over the place. It’s like he loses his mechanics from start to start almost a third of the season.

    Same with his strike outs. Strike out 2 one start, strike 9 the next. And of course, there’s going to be some variance with every pitcher, but his strike outs and walks are egregiously all over the place.

    And it’s not like he gets hit hard. He’s 24th in HR/9, he keeps the ball in the ballpark. And while, for whatever reason, H/9 is not a sortable stat seemingly anyway, a quick run through of top pitchers tells me he’s in the top third there. He has devastating stuff, but at 264 innings in, he still can’t consistently find the strike zone from start to start.

  60. If Dansby really started hitting this season… That would be an offensive boost we are not really counting on or hoping for so far.

    Spring training is over. Season is finally starting. Go Braves!

  61. @82 It could be mechanics, or it could just be a product of him throwing as hard as he can throw. Last season, it did seem like he ran out of gas around the time of his 130 pitch outing, and even though I recall that trend beginning before his no-hit bid it just seemed like he struggled the rest of the season. That would seem to indicate to me that he’s relying on his arm more than his pitch placement.

  62. For the record, I have never based any argument on the morality of “god.” I base them on the morality of me, which is way better.

  63. To end Spring Training with two Dansby RF homers and then, literally, the last throw of the dice is a Florimon walk off GS we are tempting the wrath of the Baseball Gods who brook no premature boasting.

    Deflect their attention then to the Spring ERAs of today’s starting pitchers. Tears, idle tears, we know all too well what they mean.

  64. To end Spring Training with two Dansby RF homers and then with the last throw of the dice a Florimon walk off GS, we are tempting the wrath of the Baseball Gods who brook no premature boasting.

    Deflect their attention then to the Spring ERAs of today’s starting pitchers. Tears, idle tears, we know all too well what they could mean.

  65. The chop needs to go away, not because of politics or hurt feelings, but because it’s tired, played-out and lame as hell.

  66. @85 I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that it’s mechanics. Because if it’s as simple as he won’t dial it back a smidge, then come the heck on. Make an adjustment. I guess I just have more sympathy for an inability to repeat your mechanics, losing your arm slot, etc.

  67. The chop needs to go away, not because of politics or hurt feelings, but because it’s tired, played-out and lame as hell.

    One viral montage of how stupid most people look when they’re doing it could do a lot of damage.

  68. I will add that Dale Murphy went from being a pretty good player to an MVP when he stopped missing the low and away breaking ball and started picking them up and hitting them out to right center. A major weakness disappeared and he got an uptick in production. I do not say this to say that Swanson will hit like MVP level Murphy, but that we may see a 110 to 120 WRC + version. If we do, then he is a 4 to 5 WAR player and the last remaining infield spot with questions is resolved emphatically.

  69. Twitter is a buzz the Braves have a big announcement coming today. While we assume it’s Kimbrel, it’ll probably be a new concession item that cost $34.

    “We are pumped for our fans to experience a foot long hotdog, on a hamburger, covered in chili and popcorn, wrapped in a pizza, on a collectable plastic plate!
    We call it the Dan KolBB! Named for Braves Alumni (TM) Dan KolBB!”

  70. @97 Sadly, this really makes me want to go to SunTrust. They can have my money. I want that burger. I will cherish the plastic plate forever!

    PS. I still have my tomahawk from the game I attended in June of 2000. Still looks just like it did the day I bought it…

  71. It will look exactly the same when the sun eventually expands and burns away the waste and decay that is what remains of the human experiment.

  72. I wasn’t under the impression I was asking the IL discussion to end.

    Okay then.

    Complaining that MLB has changed the name of their injured reserve designation from “Disabled List” to “Injured List” is the height of empty aggrievement for the sake of aggrievement. It is particularly notable that this instance of said victimization-industrial-complex thinking is itself cloaked in a supposed dislike for same, and is thus doubly bad.

    Who gives a crap what MLB calls it’s injured reserve list? Why would anyone be upset that they changed it?

  73. And we care about that because? MLB made a change for PR purposes. That change has zero impact on anyone in this group. Yet, people feel compelled to complain because…? Reasons? Because it’s bad that someone else might have done something for the sake of someone else-else’s “feelings” and we don’t like that?

    Again. This is just reactionary victimization-stance as a false complaint *against* victimization-stancing.

  74. I don’t get why you care that anyone cares. People on the Internet gripe about everything, but it’s peculiar that in this specific case it has got you riled up enough to make multiple long-winded posts deriding anyone saying anything negative about it.

  75. I didn’t bring it up. Rob did. Then he explicitly said he wasn’t closing off that conversation. So I’m conversing with Rob on an issue that he thought was worth bringing up, in a hopeless attempt to bring reason and light to a world mostly devoid of both.

  76. Terribly. Lost in the second round of the CCL (to Monterrey) and are 0-1-2 for a mere two points in the first three matches of the MLS campaign. Nothing about de Boer’s system is meshing with the talent on the field right now.

  77. Paintings of Adam and Eve also have belly buttons, which is not how that is supposed to have happened.

  78. As a general rule, Sam, I think any time you’re changing something that’s been around for so long to appeal to a small percentage of the population who is considered to be on the outlier, I find it silly. I don’t have a passionate opinion about this either way, however.

    Anybody opposed to discontinuing the IL discussion as well? Geez.

  79. As a general rule, I think it’s bad form to only leave a conversational topic “open” so long as you’re getting echo chamber feedback that doesn’t question your base assumptions. But hey, ya know. I’m the villain and all that, right?

  80. Regardless, there is no institutional value in the naming convention “disabled list” vs “injured list.” There is no real argument against the change for change’s sake, even if there wasn’t an “outlier” population where it might be a marginal improvement.

    Also, why do you get to decide who does or does not constitute the “outlier” caste?

  81. out·li·er
    a person or thing situated away or detached from the main body or system.
    “less accessible islands and outliers”
    a person or thing differing from all other members of a particular group or set.
    “an outlier in Faulkner’s body of work”


  82. Is it true that the Braves said O’Day was shut down for right forearm tightness and we’ve not heard an update in at least a couple weeks? Geez… that’s bad. Have we been updated recently?

  83. We don’t need Darren O’Day. We have Wes Parsons. Relievers are fungible. Never pay massive money for relievers, even if your fan base used to crush on his beard.

  84. On change, of function or terminology or anything.

    Western society has largely worked around the “debate hypothesis.” That is, what is now existent should not be changed until AFTER, it is proven that the old is improper or the proposed is better. Another paradigm is rising in the past 20 or so years that says “if it came into existence in the past, it was created in a time of “bad isms” and therefore is suspect and wrong until proven right.”

    On terminology, language is a code. If you substitute new “cyphers” over and over, people can’t follow the code. Technological change requires new words which then MUST be learned. Each such substitution takes learning capacity.

    So, it is valid to say “don’t change terms used to describe things any more frequently than you have to.”

    I have no concern if it is IL or DL, but if I post something “DL” because I have been aware of this term for 55 years and understand its meaning, then really don’t jump on something like that.

  85. I don’t recall anyone every “jumping on” anyone using “DL,” and I have a lot of skepticism that anyone would “jump on” you for using the old “DL” instead of “IL” now. Nothingless, there is no institutional value in the term for the sake of the term. We’re not talking about a core institutional foundation of western civilization – say, for example, the academy and scientific realism as the primary principle by which we discover and define “reality” and thus policy direction. We’re talking about how a sports-entertainment enterprise describes the list of players unfit to play for some period of time, due to injury. Calling that list an “injured list” rather than a “disabled list” is 1) more correct linguistically, and 2) might actually make some “outlier” segment of the sports’ shrinking fan base slightly happier for a second. There is literally no downside in the change, until you have to start folding in how much thrash you’re going to get from the professional faux-rage dissembling industry.

  86. As I said previously, but not everyone seemed to understand what I was saying…

    We live in the age of “easily offended by anything” and anything is sure to rile some people up.

  87. In other news, a professional marketing department for a multi-billion dollar industry whose most notable brand-management problem into the foreseeable future is finding ways to engage younger buyers and fans as their current market audience ages out of existence, decided that the best way to roll out this year’s product line was to have a big event in Japan while everyone domestically was asleep, then wait nearly a week before rolling out “opening day” at 3pm on a Thursday.

    Remember this when people tell you that the private sector is wise and beautiful in all things, kids.

  88. @127 — I heard you. Have you considered the possibility that it’s less that people are offended more easily than they used to be and more that a large group of people who were in the past systematically devalued and ignored by the culture at large now have a platform to speak up about the things that hurt and offend them, so it’s harder to pretend they don’t exist and their concerns don’t matter now?

    Just because it used to be shoved under the rug doesn’t mean it wasn’t there.

  89. @130 Not sure I understand the start times for today’s games (they’re stilted across the league), but what would you propose is the optimum “opening day”?

  90. @126, ‘Calling that list an “injured list” rather than a “disabled list” is 1) more correct linguistically…’

    Nah. Many players that are injured play through their injuries all the time. Some, however, find they cannot. It is for those players who have been disabled from their injuries that I’m nearly certain the term “disabled list” was created. Linguistically it helps differentiate between types of injured players.

  91. 3:05pm EDT Thursday can’t come soon enough. Then we can argue about the important stuff, anoint the new Braves Journal whipping boy, and long for the return of players from the list which shall not be named.

  92. @135, I nominate the new whipping boy to be the term “whinge.” Insufferable. Can I get a second? I’m thinking Rusty S. will second any time now.

  93. @126. Agree.

    @134. If people are playing through pain, I’d argue they aren’t really injured. Disabled connotes permanent physical impairment. Professional athletes that get hurt playing sports are injured.

    If I was disabled, I might be a little sensitive about how the term is used. I really don’t understand how anybody can be offended by this change. They chose a more accurate word and ditched a syllable.

  94. But I thought MLB’s change of DL to IL was “wise and beautiful”?

    Who said that? I did not say that. What I said was that complaining about it was pointless and part of an insipid trend where people play false offense cards about other people’s offense, and fail to so much as acknowledge the base hypocrisy of such a move.

    Now, yes. I do think it’s a marginal improvement, because I said earlier, there’s no real down side outside of the faux-rage complex, and it might actually make some previously marginalized “outlier” not feel outliered for a minute, and that’s more morally good than bad.

    Even so, that an entity gets some small thing X correct in one case, does not mean they get small (or big) thing Y correct in the other case, and it’s really really dumb to extrapolate that some other marker of randomness like being “public” or “private” means that entity is the best decision making entity for ALL THE THINGS, with no reference to the thing/decision in question.

  95. @133/137 – I would propose a simple solution where Major League Baseball have its Opening Day on a Sunday, domestically. This would both be traditional, as well as maximizing the press, coverage, and attendance of said Opening Day games.

    Having your domestic openers scheduled at a time where literally the only people who can attend or watch them are 1) retired Boomers, 2) people wealthy enough to take a weekday afternoon off for nothing but the sport, or 3) people willing to secret-stream spotty wifi broadcasts to their work desktops if their IT security permissions allow, is precisely the opposite of what an industry facing diminishing market relevance with younger (and thus poorer) fans should be doing.

  96. I shall attempt to develop a good counter-whinge argument to the whinging coming from Illinois.


  97. @141. I take Opening day afternoon off every year if I don’t have a particular reason to be in the office, and I’m far from wealthy.

    As far as I remember, opening day is typically on a weekday, usually Monday.

  98. And I’m taking Opening Day for Avengers: Endgame off while thinking of myself as “far from wealthy” as well, but by definition we’re wealthy enough to do that. Not growing the sport that way.

  99. @141 You’re not wrong. I suppose the reason why they do this is because they know almost all the Thursday opening day games are going to sell out, annnnd the weekend games will also sell out to start the season (so another round of opening day’s for the people who had to wait till the weekend). Basically, multiple opening days

  100. Hey guys, when the biggest villain on the board thinks its time to move on, its time to move on.

    Opening Day is soon.

  101. @133 I would think the optimum time for an Opening Day would be around 4pm on a Friday in the local area. That way, kids would either be just out of school for the weekend or may want to skip out an hour early. And parents could definitely leave early on a Friday when no one might notice they had done so anyway.

    3pm on a Thursday is not bad as, in some areas, Thursday night is the official “blow off” night. Since baseball has “series” anyway, Thurs – Sun with late afternoon day games on the weekdays is pretty good marketing. Especially if you start in March and 11pm may be in the 30s while 4pm may be in the 50s.

  102. @141 Sunday is an awful time for publicity. That’s why most controversial political happenings that the politicians want minimized are usually announced on Sunday – after the Sunday editorials are already in print. You cannot mess with church, dinner after church, and getting ready for the week ahead which is what Sunday is most used for in this country.

  103. @138, “If people are playing through pain, I’d argue they aren’t really injured. Disabled connotes permanent physical impairment. Professional athletes that get hurt playing sports are injured.”

    This is a muddle to me. There are many different thresholds of what might qualify an injury. An otherwise fit player might suffer a collision on the field, pick himself up off the grass, and continue to play through it despite feeling pain. But eventually swelling sets in and he can no longer play. He might only miss a few innings, or he might only miss a single game. Or he might need medical treatment that keeps him off the field for 10-15 games or longer. Linguistically, it isn’t when some technical decision is made about his playing time that the term “injured” applies. The once perfectly fit guy suffered an injury which has compromised his playing abilities to varying degrees over time.

    To the point his injury limits his ability to play long term, a term like “disabled” is more precise.

    And, no, just because there’s a connotation that “disabled” means something permanent, there’s more to its usage than that. For one thing, not all people who are termed “disabled” are in permanent states of disability, any more than if you disable an alarm by cutting some wires it means you can’t patch the wires up and have it in working order again. For another, the term “disabled” has been used in baseball for generations and its usage hasn’t been understood to mean that at all.

    Now, if you’re suggesting that a term once universally available to all people has now been co-opted for a singular usage, then that’s fine. A discussion can proceed from that point of view.

  104. Here’s your big announcement:

  105. @ #141

    Don’t forget about those sneaky older gentlemen thoughtful enough to take their “nieces” to the ballpark.


    I smacked my head, but then I remembered that my hometown of Atlanta is all about hustle.

  106. I think the big announcement is that lower level tickets for opening week games are $20 off today only. But that blooper burger sure is something.

  107. That “burger” (if that’s what you call that thing) was merely part of a general press release about what’s new at Charlotte’s Newest Financial Institution Park this year…so it wasn’t just that thing, but yeah, that was the announcement.

    We already knew we’d rather go into the season with a bullpen that’s in tatters than give anyone a three-year contract, so I’m not sure why everybody’s so surprised.

  108. I seriously had no idea that is what it was, but I nailed it!

    What a stupid organization.

  109. Even in the picture they are pimping “Delaware North”

    When can Glavine and Blank buy the team?

  110. I guess I can expect AA to be reporting soon about how he almost sold me a Blooper Burger. We were CLOSE…

  111. No team has ever hyped a signing as some kind of big secret to be unveiled on social media.

    I am also much more aware of Blooper Burger than I would’ve ever guessed I’d be, so nice work, Braves.

  112. I keep scrolling back up the page to reassure myself that I didn’t just hallucinate that thing.

  113. @152 That might be one of the nastiest looking sandwiches I’ve seen. I’d never, NEVER pay $26 for that. I’d sooner throw the money into a GoFundMe to sign Kimbrel, since it appears that’s the only way we’re going to sign a legit bullpen piece.

  114. No team has ever hyped a signing as some kind of big secret to be unveiled on social media.

    Correct. The error here was on anyone who thought “oh, there’s a big Twitter announcement, maybe it’s Kimbrel!”

  115. It will be nice when Adam and I can just have one-on-one time here once all of you guys that actually hate the franchise feel you’ve done whatever penance your gods demand and move on.

  116. @138 My brother once played in a soccer tournament with broken bones in his foot. Is it your contention that he was not injured during that time but only became so once he stopped playing?

  117. In organized sports, the first question a player who goes down at training or during play will be asked by the medical staff is “are you injured or just hurt?”

  118. There’s still an open question about who gets DFA’d if they keep both Tomlin and Joyce. At this point, I can’t see them DFA’ing anyone except maybe Raffy Lopez.

  119. @173 That’s not really what I had in mind, but point taken. My point was that your brother was injured, but unless he walked with a limp from that point on, he wasn’t disabled.

  120. I’d bet on Luke Jackson being the guy DFA’ed if they have to make room on the 40 man for Tomlin.

  121. Again, there is no harm in calling the injury reserve list “Injured List” rather that “Disabled List.” People who complain about this are just hippy punching because they feel it’s okay to do that now. Which would be, ya know, the dread pirate politics, but it’s okay if a certain kind of political animal does it. It’s only bad if the other kind does the same thing.

  122. The only way Liberty will care what the fans think is when their bottom line gets affected. I think attendance will be way down this season, so maybe that will give them a wake up call. (I fear they would just use that as an excuse to cut more salary though)

  123. In November, the Braves were trying to land Kluber, but didn’t want to send them Pache, Wright, AND Touki.

  124. @184, I was only really contesting your assertion that “injured list” is more linguistically correct than “disabled list.” It’s not. Leave me out of the hippie punching, bruh.

  125. To be fair, my “hippie punching” jab was aimed solely at Rob for doing precisely what he yells at me for doing, and then pretending that wasn’t what he was doing.

  126. Well, Rob loves the Braves. So do Alex and our venerable elder contingent. They’d all survive any purge of haters on here.

    Soon time for a game thread.

  127. @183 However, if Luke is DFA’d then they need to add another pitcher to the 25-man from the 40-man (or a position player).

  128. @193 – Greinke is also a strong possibility. They were in on both deep into the winter, and both teams asked the moon and the stars in prospect return (much like Florida asked for moderately-better-than-mediocre-catcher-X.)

    The error, of course, is that people have taken the fact that no deal was actually completed to mean, without question, that no deal was ever attempted. They have then moved from the horror that “the Braves aren’t even trying to get better” to “ownership won’t allow the Braves to try because all they care about is the bottom line.” At this point, people are just making up whatever they want to fill whatever narrative they’ve already made up from whole cloth with details they’ve also made up from whole cloth.

    We have strong reportage that the Braves were trying to acquire an established (which generally, by definition means expensive) TOR this winter. We have strong reportage that they said no to the counter offers from multiple teams because they valued their prospects too highly to give them away in bunches. Everything else is just…

    Wait for it, boys….


    For the sake of whinging.

    To whinge.

  129. @194 – there was this one girl I dated in the ’90’s. Super hot. Daddy issues. Amazing fun on long bus trips.

  130. @194–yes, but the list is fairly short.

    But Adam R is right. We need to focus on real baseball here. Fortunately, opening day is not a day too soon. Whatever we collectively think of the FO or the chop or the DL/IL, we all love Acuña and Freeman. Whether we think the FO should have done more to supplement the unproven kids, we will all be pulling for those kids to come through. And whether we think McCann was a good signing, we all are fond of him and would love to see a late career renaissance here in his hometown.

    And Julio will a few hours from now pass the legendary Rick Mahler in the record books. This is my 55th ATL Braves opening day, and I’m as pumped as ever.

  131. If the team isn’t improved, all the good intentions in the world don’t mean anything.

    I believe the players try as hard as they can every day — but if they don’t perform, you need better players, players who can produce results. Same goes for front office types. AA can try as hard as he wants and be in on every single player, but if the team regresses due to inaction, that doesn’t mean anything to me.

    (Also, I find it extremely difficult to believe that every single player the Braves tried for this offseason had just a completely unreasonable price tag. It seems more likely that AA wouldn’t budge off his own valuations because he was afraid of overpaying. Especially given that we saw what some of those players eventually fetched, and it wasn’t a gigantic, knee-slapping haul.)

  132. @197

    long bus trip, a dusty county road
    daddy home so soon her passion showed
    vagina detente
    said Sam, overwhelmed, he thought that was plenty.

  133. Hey Tanto. The Phillies have an online store. You can buy new gear there if you like.

  134. We could really still sign Kimbrel without having to give up more than one prospect who is not even in the system yet.

    I find it hard to believe that 3@$17M per is gonna put us in such a huge hole that we could never climb out even if Kimbrel is “disabled” and never pitches here. And that’s not even to mention he has been a durable and consistent asset.

  135. @203 — I don’t like the Phillies. I like the Braves. I want the Braves to be good, and am unhappy when they do things that make them less good (or, in this case, refrain from doing things that would make them better). If AA traded Acuna for pocket lint I wouldn’t try and say that he was actually a super-genius out of some misguided sense of organizational loyalty; I’d call him out for making the thing I like worse. (On the other hand, if he somehow got Kluber for his pocket lint, I wouldn’t criticize him just to be contrary.) Everything else is just a matter of degree.

    Is this really that difficult to understand?

  136. What are reasonable expectations from this first series? I’d be happy winning 1 of 3 given the pitching matchups and would be thrilled with 2 of 3. There’s always the possibility of Kapler or the PHI defense just giving us a game.

  137. Not at all. It’s so easy to understand I already summarized the “logic” of your position @196.

  138. Philly’s defense *should* be a bit better now. Hoskins is no longer butchering the OF. The new shortstop should be better.

  139. Does Minter think he plays for the Phillies? I mean, I thought the Braves had the worst offseason out of the four contenders in the NL East myself…

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