Fish 9, Braves 2

Part of what makes baseball fun is that you get to see things you don’t get to see often. Isn’t that what makes the game exciting? Last night, Dallas Keuchel allowed 8 runs for the first time in almost two years! Isn’t that exciting?! He went 54 starts between the instances. Wow.

And that’s pretty much the story. Keuchel gave up 3 runs off 2 home runs before he recorded an out, so after a 3 spot in the first and a 5 spot in the 4th, and the rout was on. I missed the first inning at home, so I turned it on in the second. 3-0. Watched for a couple innings. And just like Jonathan, I’ve been known to go up to the local watering hole that has the MLB package that will put the Braves game on next to the Rays game. But by the time I get there, it was 8-0. I felt bad making the lady change the TV.

But there was some good news: Ronald Acuna hit his 30th home run. So he’s 4 steals away from a 30/30 season. Of course, 10 home runs and 14 steals away from 40/40, which would be incredible. He’s going to have to get a stolen base every 3 games from here out to get to 40, so that’s not going to be easy.

Jeremy Walker took one for the team and ate some innings. That earns him a trip back to Gwinnett for a little while, but he’ll be back soon enough.

Julio Teheran vs. Caleb Smith tonight at 7:10. The Mrs. and I are going to head down to Miami tonight to be able to catch the game tomorrow night. It’s quite convenient that two of the more depressing stadiums in baseball are within 4 hours of us.

95 thoughts on “Fish 9, Braves 2”

  1. Disappointing game. It’s probably been asked, but RAJ appears to be a lock for 30-30, but what do you folks think his chances are at 40-40 with, what, 45 games left?

  2. So it doesn’t seem that anyone sees the merit in trading one of our AAA SP prospects for down the system lottery tickets, no?

  3. I got JC’d.

    @4 @AAR I really do appreciate the response. I didn’t want to let it pass by without acknowledgement since I’m rarely on in the evenings.

    I can understand making room for certain can’t-miss prospects. That’s easy enough for me to understand. No team would want to block Christian Pache by going out an acquiring a player that would directly do so. I take issue with DOB’s insistence that retaining a guy at 3B would push a questionable talent in Austin Riley to the OF and that, in conjunction with Waters, Acuna, and Kakes, would block Pache… ergo Josh Donaldson most likely will be and should be let walk.

    That’s bull honky. Build the best team available to you. Before I even read about the leaker on Reddit, I was reading some scout talk that I take with a bigger grain of salt than the other scout talk I share that Josh Donaldson intends to finish his career with the Braves and absolutely loves this team and has never played on a team like this one that is so close knit. They claim Donaldson has stated he will accept less to stay and has already communicated it to AA. The same source said that Keuchel feels the same and that this team apparently feels an awful lot like Houston’s in terms of the team chemistry. It’s said that Keuchel’s odds of staying, though, aren’t nearly as high.

    So, contrast that with the leaker, who I happen to think deserves more cred than the other stuff I read (but not my other scout source, mind you, he’s got just as good a record IMO), you’d have to believe that Donaldson will be a good value extension for this team. If he is willing to take a 3-year deal with options, I don’t see how you pass up on that for the likes of Riley and Waters because your outfield is full of Pache, Acuna, and Neck. You figure it out if you’re the GM, you keep your potential league MVP at 3B, and you start trading rookies like Riley and Waters.

    Unless, of course, you will actually try to sign someone like Gerrit Cole. If you say you’ve got $30M to play with in the off-season, you’ve gotta spend it some way. I hope that’s not $20M in the winter and $10M more at the deadline…

  4. @John R

    The best list of all-time Braves WAR I’ve found is the Braves franchise history page on B-R.

    You can see the all-time best players by career WAR as well as each season’s WAR leader. For seasons with higher WAR, you might want to drill down into that season and check for a runner-up.

  5. @2 I’d be against it for one reason- how do you identify exactly whom to trade?

    We all know developing pitching is a bit of a crapshoot, and imagine if they traded away Wainwright 2.0 for a couple of low level prospects while holding onto the next Bruce Chen and/or Randall Delgado? I just don’t like swapping lotto tickets, I guess. Feels risky.

  6. @3 I agree wholeheartedly. Half the time I find DOB borderline intolerable, but his take on that whole thing is a joke. I really like Riley, but let’s be honest, he could just as easily develop into a strict platoon bat as he could a superstar. It’s an unknown. The notion that you can’t block him by resigning a high caliber superstar like Donaldson though is laughable.

    That’s a great bit of news/speculation about Donaldson wanting to finish his career as a Brave, though. I hope it plays out. I’ve always been a fan of his.

  7. It depends on what you mean by “block.” If you mean, “there is at least a fairly good and definitely cheaper solution in our minors, but there is a big need and no solution for ___ then let’s not spend money and have the lost opportunity.”

  8. @2 If AA keeps drafting Justin Deans, Trey Harris’s, and CJ Alexanders in the late rounds, I’m not sure what the point of trading for lottery tickets is. As far as top prospect pitchers, we need to see what the rotation will actually be next year and then see if we can trade any excess top100 pitchers for other top100 pitchers who are younger. If they’re young enough, they may still be lottery tickets but they need to have every bit as much potential as whoever we trade away. We may still prefer trading for a young controllable ace using our top prospects.

    @3 First, I don’t see Riley as questionable talent. Assuming he has any desire and aptitude, he’ll adjust and start hitting bombs again – he has done just that several times in the minors. He has as good an arm as Acuna (for 3B or OF). Plus, even if you extend an aging JD (which I, of course, think is a great idea), having a potential star like Riley to cover for injury is a blessing. I also don’t see Waters as less than a can’t miss also. There’s every reason to believe he’s the next Brett Butler and trading him away would be every bit as bad as trading Brett. That Butler trade has to stand up somewhere near Olivera and Wainwright.

    JD is not the pusher that would keep the young guys out. Inciarte and Markakis are where the issue begins. I kinda see our OF/3B next year as Acuna/Pache/Riley and JD. That leaves Inciarte, Duvall, Markakis as either bench players or trade bait. Waters is a year away. We can discuss what his impact on the lineup will be in 2021. In 2021, it could easily be Acuna/Pache/Waters in the OF and Riley at 3B, if something happens to JD.

    As I’ve stated before, for next year, really, catcher is the big issue. And a rotation mate ace to go with Soroka. when you look at the Dodgers and see Ryu/Kershaw/Buehler/Maeda and we have Soroka/?/Teheran/Fried, the missing link is a matchup for Kershaw. Keuchel is a left-handed Teheran.

  9. In fact, how different would trading Waters and Riley be than trading Butler and Jacoby, who both became core pieces for the Indians. If we get anywhere close to that, it damn well better be for someone better than Len Barker.

  10. When anyone’s walk rate is compared to Jeff Francoeur’s, and his K rate is the worst on the team (7th worst in baseball, minimum 150 PAs), then there’s reason to have healthy concern about their prospect status and longterm viability. With that said, Ozzie Albies just last year had as bad of a walk rate as Riley has, and Albies has already seen improvement. I think Riley will get better.

  11. How many Braves players have truly been “blocked”? Ryan Klesko? Andy Marte? A smattering of SPs who have done little elsewhere? This stuff tends to sort itself out, as we are seeing at this present moment.

    I don’t believe the Reddit post that we will only have $25-30M or whatever to spend. Unless the arb raises get out of control, then we’ve got Gaus’ $9M, O’Day’s $9M, Donaldson’s $23M, McCann’s $2M, Ender’s $7M would be under review, as would Duvall’s $3M.

    Does Folty get a raise? Not much of one. A lot of guys are still pre-arb. It’s a lot of relievers that are in arb, so they could be non-tendered or will get nominal raises otherwise. According to Spotrac, our payroll is only $135M. This would be a payroll reduction if that $25-30M figure held.

  12. @Roger, Rob

    I don’t disagree with any of these points. I think we are all of similar thought concerning the gathering of major league talent, shedding some contracts while retaining others, and basically putting together the best team possible.

    The issue is when a team intentionally opts to take a sub-optimal route that reduces payroll and doesn’t put the best possible roster together. They may not have done that this past winter, but if they do as DOB suggests they should I would again think they’re more interested in shaving dollars off the payroll while gambling on prospects to break out on the big league team.

  13. The difference between Schafer and Waters is that Waters is doing all of this a full 2 years younger for the levels than Schafer was. Schafer spent his age-20 season in A- and A+, where he admittedly had a big season. He then spent 2/3 of his age 21 season at AA, a month at AAA, then a month and a half in the big leagues. Waters has already done more in the high minors than Schafer did, and he’s doing it way ahead of schedule. If Waters rakes (really rakes, not AAA fake rakes) for half the season next year, he’ll be a significantly better prospect than Schafer.

    It goes to show you how differently the Braves are treating prospects than they used to. It was all about keeping the run going back then, though technically Schafer’s era was after the actual division title streak. But Schafer didn’t exactly kill the minor leagues, and he was up in Atlanta regardless.

  14. Acuna has been making contact with fastballs that he had been missing all year. If he is going to try to be 40-40, I presume that stolen bases are what will hold him back.

  15. Didn’t Schafer make his climb on the prospect lists using PEDs? It always seemed like his ascension and eventual demise was linked to using and then not using steroids.

    Waters is doing all this without PEDs.

  16. 11 – On the payroll estimate for 2020. The contracts you reference coming off the books total $41 mil (I’m not counting Ender and Duvall as coming off though it’s surely possible). Just adding a full year of Melancon adds $9 mil which leaves us with $32 to spend (I think the leaker said 30-32 but not sure).

    Of course if the Braves let Kakes and TFlow walk that would be another $4 mil saved (each have $2M buyouts), but if you kept one, payroll would be flat.

    Here is what I have for other increases:

    Freeman $1M
    Ender $2M
    Julio $1M
    Jackson $1.5M arb est
    Culberson $1M arb est
    Duvall $1M arb est
    Folty $1M arb est
    Total of $8.5 million increase

    Other expiring contract is Swarzak who is at $8.5M (tho Sea chipped in $2M I think).

    All that to say, I don’t think the estimate is as far off as you think. I may be missing something but seems pretty close to me.

  17. Where have all the Flowers gone?

    Reading through the daily TC farm reports today it’s hard to disagree with their contributor(s) – who is left there we can be excited about? Suddenly bereft.

    There’s this SP at Danville for instance. Opened with 7 runs in 1.2 innings yesterday, despite his classic nomenclature. They lost 10-0.

    Darius Vines
    despite the pain of numerous fines
    cannot find the zone
    on Olympus he was invairably treated as one of their own.

  18. @11, 18 They did say on August 1st that they went over budget to add Malencon. We don’t know what the budget is, and they did waive Guasman and saved about $4M. No idea if they still consider themselves over budget, but they’re at $135.8M — a noticeable $5M over last year’s budget of $130.6M. I sincerely hope they don’t still believe they’re over budget, because it would imply the budget didn’t go up at all this year.

  19. Acuna is on pace for 41 HR and 36 SB. However, his SB rate really increased post-AS break, so if he maintains that then 40/40 is very doable.

  20. Ronald Acuna also likes playing baseball. He leads the league in games played, PAs, and ABs. What’s interesting is that he also leads in stolen bases (not something I’d expect), but also caught stealing. 6 caught stealing is enough to lead the NL. If Ender Inciarte were to be healthy, he’d be telling you to hold his beer. Only Mallex Raines and Raul Mondesi are ahead of him in the AL.

    Acuna’s stolen bases by month:
    March/April: 2
    May: 5
    June: 6
    July: 12
    August: 1

    To Grst’s point, he went on a stolen base binge towards the beginning of the second half. He had 11 SBs in 13 games from July 14th to 28th.

    Mike Trout also led the league in steals in his second season. But he quickly started running less and less, bottoming out with 11 steals in his 5th season. It’ll be interesting to see if Acuna also bores himself with stolen bases in order to focus on being the best player in baseball.

  21. Rob, I’m almost done with my times through the order post. It has ended up being longer than I anticipated and I want to reread it with a fresh set of eyes later before I send it to you.

  22. Why are we running a short bench when we have only 39 players on the 40-man roster? Seems to me either Lamarre or Pache could help us (or even AJax). We are really short RH hitters on the bench. Also Dayton seems ripe for the 60 day IL. That would add another roster spot.

    Starting Inciarte against Smith seems a prime example of the problem.

  23. Klawchat had a question today re Dodger’s high profile rookie, Will Smith, wanting to know where his newfound power came from.

    According to Law the Dodgers worked on unlocking his swing, pre 2018. The results so far excite.

    Which begs the question, do we ever do this once we realize we may have a top hitting prospect on our hands ? Any real life examples?

    And Good Lord. I just reminded myself he is a catcher by trade, our desperate need for the future. Trade Heaven and Earth? Nah, overpay. Identify Lock. Unlock. Who’s in charge of unlocking?

  24. I really doubt Ender will be on the team next year. Pache will be ready, cheaper and younger. Ender has trade value.

    Figure Markakis will be back. He might end up as a 4th OF but then again we seem to say that every year.

  25. @DG
    Assuming the law of averages, Acuña has a great shot at a 40/40 season. He’s hit HRs all year and 40 seems very doable. Something clicked late June as Acuña started stealing bases regularly and has been on an SB year since. In 39 games since 6/24, he’s stolen 17 bases. If he can get close to that pace, he’ll be looking at upper 40s.

  26. 29 — Ozzie Albies didn’t hit for a lot of power at first. Christian Pache has unlocked some power.

  27. Adam Duvall has a 5.4% walk rate and a 33.9% K rate. ZIPs projects him hitting .237/.293/.439 the rest of the way. Steamer has him at .232/.295/.452.

    I know Matt Joyce has been struggling at the plate of late, but I think the Braves need to get him some starts in LF against RHP. I mean, he can’t be that bad to never ever play him in the field, can he?

  28. There’s a tendency we have to overrate the Dodgers. To regard this October as a repeat ultra-pitched shellacking, same again.

    One thing we can be reasonably sure of, beat us as they may the Dodgers are not going to win it all. NY may beat them, one of Houston and the Indians if not.

    My point is we would not go into a 7 game WS against one on those three clubs with our heads down, we would quietly fancy our chances.

    So, logically, screw the Dodgers.

  29. Fun fact: Albies was scouted as having 20 grade power with a potential of reaching 30 grade power according to Fangraphs’ prospects report.

  30. A friend told me Patrick Weigel has been called up. Haven’t seen any chatter about it, though.

  31. Braves Defensive runs saved: (via Fangraphs advanced fielding)

    Acuna +7
    Albies +4
    Donaldson +4
    Riley +4
    Flowers +3
    Freeman +3
    McCann +1
    Culberson +1 (factors all positions)
    Duvall +1
    Inciarte 0
    Camargo 0 (factors all positions)
    Swanson -1
    Joyce -1
    Markakis -8

    It’s worth noting that Markakis’ poor arm is a big factor in his low score.

  32. 37 — Yes, they shuttled Walker back down and recalled Weigel for an extra long reliever.


    When the juiced ball goes away, it will be interesting to see how it affects Ozzie’s power numbers.

  34. As a brass player myself, I am a big fan of the Marlins using brass in place of an organ.

  35. It’s 25 pitches, 20 strikes through 2. Julio is throwing a lot of fastballs. Of course against a major league lineup he’s be throwing more secondary pitches.

  36. Ump really screwed over Josh in that AB. Tough to give the pitcher just off the plate on the both the inside and outside.

  37. Braves are so lucky to have signed Acuna and Albies to such teamfriendly deals. I hope serious injuries are avoided through the years.

  38. The barves have remade several swings in the minors. Pache is the poster boy after hitting zero homers in his first 800 milb plate appearances. Others of note include last years 2nd round pick Grayson Jennista (and it appears to be working at AA as he has really taken off over the last 6 weeks) and this years 21st overall pick Braden Shewmake.

  39. @51 Yes, Jennista!!! So excited to see him continue to get comfortable with the new swing.

  40. And speaking of the minors, Waters hit his first AAA homer and Bryce three seven shutout innings. There’s still a lot of talent, down on the farm.

  41. ugh, Martin has given up as many hits and runs in a third of an inning as Allard has in three innings.

    I feel Allard might turn into a John Gant situation, where ATL just sucked at developing them.

  42. Ugh…. just one reliever…. one reliable reliever. I thought that after the initial jitters wore off, they might be better.

  43. Teheran has given up 1 ER, that Starlin Castro HR, in 25 IP against Miami this year.

    Also, this new pen is killing me.

  44. Wish I was in front of a TV to see Allard’s start.

    Has not been mentioned on here but Travis Demeritte hit a homer yesterday. He now has a .843 OPS in 31 PAs.

  45. I wonder if Greene is going to be pinch hit for since Snitker didn’t double switch.

    Melancon is warming up in the bullpen.

  46. @75. Exactly. Was just thinking about that. Acuna just absolutely crushes the Fish under his heel. Urine threw at him because RAJ was demolishing them and if anything he hits them even more since. Wonder what his ops is against them?

  47. If the Marlins had any fans they would be chanting “Larry” for Acuña. Or maybe just “Ronnie.”

  48. OK, I hate to say this but….. how many RBIs would Ronald have if Ozzie (and his 4 hits/day…LOL) was batting in front of him?

  49. Should we be glad the Nationals just melted down in the ninth or worried that the Mets meme continues?

  50. @81 Easy answer. Whoever is ahead in the standings should lose. Always. We have a lot of games left against both so the farther back all of them are the better. Mets meme; shmets meme. We need to beat them anyway.

  51. I will like the Mets for one night. They have the starting pitching to sustain. It’s interesting to see how they heat after the front office refused to give up.

  52. @40 – I’ve wondered the same thing all year, what everyone’s power stats would look like sans juiced ball… like, if indeed this proves to be a one-year experiment, if in the future there will be a mental asterisk everyone places by this season when we look back on it. For example, it of course both pleased and delighted me, but that 2nd Acuna HR, opposite-field on a breaking pitch… it looked for anything off the bat like he’d flied out. I have no idea really what I’m looking at & maybe he did legit crush it, but it was one of those I can’t help but wonder if it would’ve gone out in past seasons.

  53. @87 One of the reasons I’ve felt we needed to push hard to make a WS run this year is that I think a lot of our bats are greatly aided by the ball. Ronald usually doesn’t hit cheapies, and neither does JD, but Ozzie and many of Freddie’s opposite field shots really wouldn’t have been homers in any typical year.

  54. @85 Apparently, not only does it take both Martin and Greene to finish an inning but they have to give up 3 runs while completing their combined one inning…… against the MARLINS.

  55. @67

    Joyce has not hit a ball hard in a month…his value is zero, we need to get him out of there.

    Acuna’s chase to 40/40 is phenomenal but don’t let it deflect you from attending also to what is happening with he and Ozzie as a pair – their combined production batting 1 and 2. Posted here a couple of days ago – there may never be anything like this ever if they both can escape injury. Ossie pulling back last night was a very good sign in that collision at the plate.

  56. It is very satisfying seeing the Phillies dropping to fourth place. I may possibly like this management as much as i used to like Ed Wade for how he ruined the Phillies for many years.

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