A month into the 2019 season the Oakland Athletics shipped Jerry Blevins to the Braves for cash considerations. Fast forward 16 days, and he was DFA’d by the Braves. Fast forward 4 more days, and his contract was purchased by the Braves. The 2nd time around, he stuck with the Braves and did a pretty good job.
The 2019 Results
Blevins, when used right, is an above average reliever. When used poorly, he can get really, really bad. For most of his career, Blevins has been a known LOOGY, having exceptional results against LHHs while getting hit hard against RHP. This year was no different, but the splits were more extreme as he held LHHs to a remarkable .540 OPS while RHHs teed off with an .831 OPS. I mentioned this a lot this year, but in a year of the LOOGY’s LAST STAND, Blevins saw slightly more RHHs (72 PAs) than LHHs (69 PAs) and while that may not seem like a big deal, the mere fact that his splits were not utilized more to show his strength was baffling.
Blevins pitched 32.1 innings, carried a 3.90 ERA walked 4.5/9 and struck out 10.3/9. The fastball lost life and is no longer a plus pitch, but the curve ball, Jerry’s calling card, is aging really well and could keep him employed for a few more years. In fact, it was one of the best curve balls in the game:
Blevins will be 36 for most of the 2020 season, and while he can still be effective, with the new pitching rules, it’s going to be hard for LOOGY’s to find regular spots in a Major League pen. But Jerry seems to be a well-liked dude and the Braves might be able to utilize one more cheap lefty in their bullpen for 2020 should they go big elsewhere.
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18 thoughts on “2019 Atlanta Braves Player Review: Jerry Blevins”
A summary of the prospects lost in coppygate:
Juan Contreras, RHP — the best pitcher in the group, signed by the angels. He missed all of 2018 and only pitched 7 innings this year due to shoulder trouble.
Kevin Maitan, 3B — the jewel in the class, signed by the Angles. Put up only a 703 OPS at Orem in the Pioneer league in 2018 and then fell flat on his face in the A- Midwest League in 2019. he has lost 40 pounds, so he’s doing something right.
Yefri del Rosario, RHP — Another pitcher, taken by KC. Had a promising season in the A- Sally League cut short by elbow pain.
Abrahan Guiterriez, C — The other big ticket, this one a catcher, now with Philly. After a horrendous 2018, he had a decent rebound in the A- Sally. Scouts project a MLB backup.
Juan Carlos Negret — A big RF with incredible speed, he signed with KC. This year he flopped in the Midwest league before being league average back down in the Pioneer. Still just 20, scouts still like him.
Yunior Severino, 2B –the one I felt the loss of the worst. Spent most of the year in extended spring training but got into some games late and hit well.The Twins want him to be a 2nd baseman but he seems better suited for 3rd in my mind. Still a top prospect.
Yenci Pena, SS — still 19, he had an excellent year for Arizona at the rookie level. Plays a ++ short. Still a top prospect.
Lovan Soto, SS — After being a 2018 Pioneer League all-star he completely flopped in 2019 for the Angels midwest team. Barely 19, he’ll have more chances.
Guillermo Zuniga, RHP — The oldest of the group at 21, he was impressive at the A- and A+ levels for the dodgers, striking out 81 in 59 innings. Now a reliever and on the fast track to MLB. Ouch.
Angel Rojas, 2B — looked great for the Yankees GCL team. Still 18. Damn.
Antonio Sucre, OF — still unsigned
Ji-Hwan Bae, SS — After 2 domestic violence arrests back in Korea finally got a visa to come back to the US and was a Sally all-star and 3rd in the league MVP race. Still do not want, seems like a good fit in Pittsburgh…
Brandol Mezquita, OF — stayed with Atlanta and looked OKish in Rookie ball.
Wow, thanks for the very detailed prospect post, Karl!
No guarantee that these guys would develop the same way if they had stayed in the braves system, but it seems that more of them are on the path to success than I would have imagined.
I guess it would be better to just put it all behind us and just suffer if/when they start getting called up.
If 3-4 of those become solid regulars, thats a hard punch to the stomach. Maybe it can be lessened with spending close to “stupid money” in payroll.
The astros better get a stiff penalty….
Awesome write up, Karl. Ji-Hwan Bae is actually doing really well for Pittsburgh. 800+ OPS with elite speed at SS. If he wasn’t a piece of crap, he’d be a real loss.
@1 Is it fair to wonder if Maitan ends up being collateral damage in MLB’s quest to tie Coppy to a stake? His last season with the Braves was his best, and things were trending up. Granted, it’s a small sample size. His first year with the Angels saw a slight dip. Then, upon promotion, every thing outside his HR totals went off a cliff. The age gap is closing between him and his peers at his level as those numbers trend downward, too.
He may’ve simply chosen the Braves for the $$$. Maybe it was comfort too though? I always felt Manfred botched that whole thing, because I think him to be awful at his job. Some of those guys might have wanted to stay in Atlanta, so why not have given them the option? He could’ve still assessed the penalties moving forward.
@3 Rob, I feel like “If he wasn’t a piece of crap, he’d be a real loss” should go on his official scouting report some way, somehow. Haha! I concur, however. Good riddance to garbage, regardless of if he can play or not.
Surprised no one wanted Tony Sugar.
I heard he’s grrrrrrrrreat!
Braves sign Travis D’Arnaud for 2 years and $16 million. So we have a T-D’Ar to go with a T-Flo.
I would have loved a LH/RH platoon where the LH obviously got the bulk of the ABs, but d’Arnaud had a renaissance for TB. He was hitting 5-hole at some points.
What about FloNaud?
I don’t know that I’d love seeing him hitting 5th, but I do like the signing. He’s capable with the stick, and 2 years should work beautifully to give the Braves young catchers time to develop.
I’m curious if this in any way speaks to how Anthopolous maybe sees Alex Jackson though?
Tony Clark owes AA an apology.
@11 Tony owes a lot of people apologies, including every player in his union.
Clark does give hope to everyone out there who’d like to have a job that they’re terribly unqualified for. Don’t give up on your dreams!!
@9 What I wonder is what Flowers’ role will be since he hits lefties better. D’Arnaud seems like a big defensive upgrade if his framing is any good at all. He has been catching some pretty good young pitching staffs (Mets then Rays) so maybe he will be a good game-caller. Probably neither of them will hit above 7th (and here’s hoping Markakis doesn’t hit any higher than 6th).
@10 With D’Arnoud’s injury history, either AJax or Contreras are likely to get some innings some time during the year.
What this means to me is that they’re not going to formally solve the catcher position this year (like signing Grandal or trading for Contreras). I’ll bet anything that D’Arnaud takes over Flowers’ position next year with one of the younger catchers taking over some playing time. If he can stay healthy, D’Arnaud is younger than any of our recent catchers and may see a significant resurgence more than last year. This is a good signing and has a lot of upside potential.
The other thing it does is still leave a lot of space for one more big signing and a big trade. This is shaping up to be a really big offseason. AA is being really smart to fill needs at scarce positions quickly and let the market play out for 3B and SP (OF, too).
I bet this means the Cubs have no intention of trading Contreras.
I really like the message the Braves are sending to the players. Essentially, if we trade for you or sign you and you play a positive role, we will bring you back. Markakis, Flowers, O’Day, Martin, Duvall. The Braves had a chance to just let all of them go, but chose to offer them new contracts.
The one thing I’ve always despised about free agency is that it prevents you from tracking your players on your own team through their careers. I really like how AA is going about his business.
I like the d’Arnaud signing. He can’t stay on the field but he can hit. I’m fine with letting Flowers back him up.
T-Flaud should have a good year. d’Arnaud will be an upgrade to mccann and has a history of working with great pitching (NYM)
New d’Arnaud post.