Atlanta Braves Spring Training: Notes From Games 6-9

The Atlanta Braves Spring Training season is flying by and since our last update, there have been 4 games and a lot of juicy information to absorb. Let’s get right to it.

Braves Spring Training Notes: Felix Hernandez‘s Strong Outing

King Felix went 2 2/3 innings in his last outing, allowing 3 hits and 1 run, striking out 4 and walking none. It’s another encouraging sign from the 33 year old in his redemption season and he’s confident that he’ll be getting the spot when the roster is announced.

Braves Spring Training Notes: Mike Soroka is Ready

News that wouldn’t surprise any Braves fan, but Mike Soroka looks like he’s ready to get the season started after his first outing, of which was delayed due to a minor groin strain. He went 2 innings, allowed 3 singles, walked none, struck out 3, and, of course, allowed 0 runs.

Relief Pitching Arms Still Strong

  • Luke Jackson– Got into trouble and out of trouble, but slider is as good as ever.
  • Mark Melancon– Looked good first outing: 1 IP, 1H, 1K, 0 R
  • Darren O’Day– Looked remarkable in a clean inning striking out 2.
  • Tucker Davidson– Still unblemished on the spring
  • Patrick Weigel– Might be most impressive arm in spring thus far. Curve ball is sensational.
  • Phil Pfeifer-quick worker and looking like a major leaguer.
  • Tyler Matzek– dark horse candidate to be lethal out of the bullpen this year. Has 5 Ks to 1 BB this spring and hasn’t given up a run.

Kyle Muller Likely Buys Ticket Back to Minor League Camp

After enduring an appearance in which he hit 2 people and nearly decapitated 2 others, Kyle Muller doubled down and threw 0.1 innings, giving up 4 hits, 2 walks, and 5 runs. Muller has all the talent in the world, but this could spell the end of 2020 MLB camp for him. Hopefully he’ll go to the Minor League side and continue fine tuning his control. I still believe he’ll be a monster!

Bryse Wilson Recovers in 2nd Outing

Bryse Wilson threw his entire arsenal in his 2nd outing and it proved the difference as he went 2 2/3 innings, allowed 1 hit and 1 walk, struck out 2, and put up a goose egg on the scoreboard.

Adam Duvall Continues to Rake

It’s a crazy small sample, but in that sample, Adam Duvall is proving that he belongs on the 26-man roster as he’s carrying a 1.110 OPS through 15 plate appearances, including this 410 foot double that’s likely the hardest hit ball in Braves Spring training thus far.

Austin Riley and Johan Camargo Battle Intensifies

Both Austin Riley and Johan Camargo are off to great starts on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. While Camargo has hit for more power, Riley has shown a patient approach at the plate and has worked on his achilles heel, the strikeout on the slider. Thus far, Riley’s only K’d once and Camargo is carrying a .968 OPS. Latest from Snitker suggests the 2 cannot coexist on the roster, and that’s a bit frustrating.

Doing Things Wright

Spoiler Alert: Kyle Wright‘s % chance of making the opening day roster is going up. Those statements that snowshine made in his prospect list about potential plus pitches becoming actual plus pitches by season’s end looks to be true. Yesterday’s outing was sensational and I want more. That 90 MPH slider is delish.

Thanks for reading our Braves Spring Training Games 6-9 piece. If you enjoyed this piece, check out our entire Braves Spring Training Notes Category here.

Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

29 thoughts on “Atlanta Braves Spring Training: Notes From Games 6-9”

  1. Always concerned when Snit says we can’t keep two productive hitters and fielders on the roster at the same time at the same “position”. I wish he would get into the whole Johan “super sub” idea and have him spell Dans, Ozzie, play 3rd and also get some occasional outfield time. Dare to dream…

  2. @1
    It’s really frustrating and I have 0 confidence in the outfield situation. Snitker’s really got to get out of his own head before the season starts.

  3. A few things:
    1) Wright will be what fried was last year. He will finally put it together enough to earn a full time spot on the mlb team. Thank you Cole Hamels for the opportunity.
    2) bench battles are fascinating this year. Braves have 5 Mlb outfielders So poor Ortega who is playing well likely doesn’t have a spot. And my belief is the best case Scenario should be riley wins the 3b job and they actually use Camargo as a true super utility not that the Braves are much into giving regular players days off.
    3) it’s early but as mentioned above there are lots of guys pitching well enough to make the roster but the braves are only allowed to carry 13 pitchers. Should be good theater.
    4) some guys look good at the plate like Ozzie, Duvall, d’Arnaud etc but some def do not like Inciarte, Ozuna and Culberson. Culberson who everyone loves needs a good spring or he gets the DFA. Acuna has started slow but he will be fine. Riley looks like someone who is trying not to strike out. He needs (and the braves as a whole) need to start getting a few more extra base hits. It’s early but its nice to see some guys doing really well.

  4. Let’s just say we lose the division and there are constant frustrations with the use of Camargo/Riley/Markakis/Ender/Duvall. Will anyone dare speak ill of Brian Snitker? There seems to be this weird attachment to Snitker in big portions of the fanbase, and I’m really not sure why it makes him immune to criticism.

  5. Excited about Wright, too, Wesley. With the confidence in Wright increasing, I don’t think anyone will miss Hamels for a while.

  6. @4
    Thanks for coming over to the blog, Wesley!

    1. Agreed.
    2. I’d love for that scenario to happen but there’s nothing in Snitker’s latest statement that comforts me in this situation.
    3. It really is awesome.
    4. Culberson isn’t on 40-man, so no DFA needed. He doesn’t look comfortable yet, for sure.
  7. I still don’t think Snitker likes Camargo. If Riley is impressive and wins the third base job, I don’t see us keeping Camargo very long.

  8. @5

    100% agree. If he continues to show by the end of April he still doesn’t know/want to know how to handle a surfeit of position players then let him be gone. Anything short of a dynamite start would cover for this.

  9. I think one of Snit’s biggest weaknesses is something that was one of Bobby’s biggest strengths — Snit really doesn’t feel comfortable juggling a lot of platoons, or getting his guys regular rest. (He’s done just fine at catcher, but that’s really it.) Snit gave a quote in that Athletic interview that I found very telling:

    “With the makeup of this club, you’re not going to get to play a lot (as a utility guy). Really, you’re going to be involved in games and be used, but as far as starting games, we’ve got everyday players here. When you start the season and you’ve got an infield where three out of the four, as we stand, are everyday guys — they’re going to play the majority of the snaps.”

    I don’t think that’s as much about the team makeup as it is about the manager. Going into the year, Johan Camargo was supposed to play a couple days a week; he didn’t, and that’s on the guy with the dry-erase marker.

  10. Chipper Jones
    why not call into ESPN on one of your phones
    assess his sobriety
    your question should open the door to the hint of impropriety.

  11. I recommend to watch this episode of Behind the Braves.
    Especially nice to see a lot of Camargo time in the second part of the video.
    Looks like a great guy:

  12. @5 I agree 100%.
    @8 I think you might be on to something. I have no evidence to support this, but maybe he sees him as a Yunel Escobar type player with a lot of sizzle but no steak? FWIW I don’t think that is an accurate description of Johan at all, but Snit wasted him last year and I am afraid with his recent comments it could happen to him again (or Riley)

  13. @8, @14 – It seems pretty clear to me that Snitker or someone with influence in the organization doesn’t have confidence in Camargo, going all the way back to thinking Jose Bautista was a better idea.

  14. Putting Camargo at 3rd makes us slightly more likely to win the division or wild card. Riley gives us a better chance at a World series (as he has much greater upside). At 26, Camargo really doesn’t need AAA so I hope we trade him should Riley win the job.

    Wright looks tremendous so far but pump the brakes on the Fried comparison — Fried had far more experience in MLB at this time last year. I believe Wright can turn into an ace, but perhaps not immediately. A Mike Minor career path seems more likely.

    Is anybody else as excited by AJax’s framing as I am? It looks like he sets a target and then as the pitch is delivered moves the glove out of the zone and slowly moves back into the zone as the pitch approaches the plate. This intuitively seems more likely to steal strikes than the old, “hold the target, jerk to catch the pitch, and then jerk back to the initial target” employed by, say, Kurt Suzuki.

    edit: I can’t spell

  15. We saw how [being a role player] affected Camargo last year,” Snitker said. “It wasn’t real good.”

    I’m not sure how much Snitker’s use or misuse of Camargo affected things, but that sounds like a trade waiting to happen if Riley beats him out. What does he have left to prove at AAA?

  16. Snit has been an excellent manager for the Braves; I’m convinced that player relations stuff is more important than in-game strategy or tactics or lineup construction. By all accounts, he is in Bobby Cox territory on the interpersonal aspects of the job, and that is high praise indeed.

    But echoing Alex @11, my biggest concern with Snit is his insistence on a regular lineup, opposition to regular rest, and not getting enough starts for the bench guys. From running Markakis out there way too much to not using Camargo in the super-sub role, his actions have matched his words on this score. As Alex notes, Bobby was a big proponent of getting frequent starts for non-regulars, as were Earl Weaver and Casey Stengel.

    Having said that, I’m still inclined to give Snit the benefit of the doubt on this one. He indicates that Camargo just isn’t suited for the super-sub role, at least not until he has the experience of Omar Infante when he excelled in the role. He also noted in the Athletic interview that a Riley-Camargo platoon doesn’t make a lot of sense, as Johan hits lefties much better than righties. (and when Camargo subbed for Ozzie and Dansby it would be more likely against righties–you’re never going to sit Albies against a righty!).

  17. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on Camargo — honestly, the team almost certainly knows him and his skills and capabilities far more than I do. But I can’t give him the benefit of the doubt on his refusal to give regular rest to his veteran regulars. Donaldson, Markakis, and Freeman pretty much played every day that they were not declared injured, and Markakis looked pretty gassed by the end of the year, and Freeman clearly was not in good health. To me, the refusal to rest them is a pretty clear problem.

  18. Snit’s okay. Not perfect like we are in our jobs, but above average standard. Do I wish he’d rest the starters? Yep. Would I rather have Joe Madden? Nope.

    As to third base, if both Claude and Austin perform well, why not move Johan to short and let Riley play third? Defense loses nothing at short, and the offense is deeper.

  19. A belated thanks to Ryan for summarizing the highlights of the most recent games. I’m encouraged by many performances so far, including especially Duvall and Wright and Weigel.

    We do need to remember that spring training stats mean almost nothing. But “almost” is an important qualifier. Studies have shown that, for hitters, strikeout and walk rates can be significant. That’s why I’m particularly encouraged by Riley’s one strikeout so far, along with the excellent comments by Seitzer in the Athletic piece. His upside is truly up.

  20. Sucks.

  21. I don’t like seeing the Hamels news, but it does give a guy like Wright an extended opportunity to prove he can stick in the majors.

    I don’t get why Snit is so against using a guy as a utility player. Snit said that it didn’t workout well for Camargo last year, but I think it would be different if he was starting 4 games a week on some sort of a rotation where he plays a game at 2nd, SS and 2 at 3rd every week or something. Riley gets the other 4-5 at 3rd and Ozzie/Dansby get a day off a week.

  22. Apologies for not letting the DH specialist vs. generalist thing die, but this quote from Robert Heinlein just appeared on my screen, and it’s too good not to share:

    “Specialization is for insects. A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.”

    If they can do all that, surely both pitching and batting is not a bridge too far.

    PS: I think I’m good for about a dozen of these, with the last of them yet to be seen.

  23. If I’m Hamels, I’m taking as much time as I need. We probably don’t see it as fans since the stat lines don’t show it, but Hamels is looking at throwing 230+ innings if he pitches the regular season and we make a postseason run. So starting your season late is a sneaky way of keeping your innings down.

  24. Call me crazy but I think if I am having a building designed or a bone set (not to mention a few of the other things in the list), I think I’d prefer to have it done by someone who does it a lot.

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