Braves Health Updates

Yesterday, the Braves got some good news regarding a few high dollar investments and some not so great news on rotation anchors.

Chris Martin Update

Gosh…we desperately need Martin back and it could come as soon as this weekend. The Braves are the 7th ranked bullpen in the MLB according to ERA, but that drastically overestimates this current group. The WHIP paints a better picture. Coming in right at 1.5 baserunners/inning, the relief core, especially the right-handed options, are tight-rope walking their way into disaster. Chris Martin should help steady the flow of constant baserunners as his WHIP since joining the Braves is .91. Nate Jones, Luke Jackson, get ready for mop-up duty.

Ronald Acuña Jr. Update

Acuña Jr. is expected to be in the lineup destroying baseballs when the Braves open up their homestand this Friday. Since being sidelined the Braves have tallied only 5 runs in 2 games and the leadoff spot, given to Ehire Adrianza, has went 0-6 with 2 walks.

Sean Newcomb Update

There’s still no update on Newcomb as he’s still under the umbrella of “COVID protocols”. I’m guessing he has not tested COVID positive otherwise we’d have likely heard about contract tracing. I’m assuming he’ll be back sooner than later.

Cristian Pache Update

DOB reported that Pache will be headed to the alt-site to ramp up his activities, and that is all fine and good. However, I expect him to stay there a bit longer considering his anemic bat and the fact that Guillermo Heredia has been playing a passable CF while destroying baseballs.

Mike Soroka and Max Fried Update

There’s no way to put this that won’t make you want to stick forks in your eyes and cry with them. Neither Soroka or Fried have resumed throwing and there’s seemingly no timetable established for when that will occur. With a 2nd shoulder concern, Soroka’s career just got a whole lot more fuzzy and that royally sucks. Fried’s story is different as it’s just a hamstring and it will heal, but it’ll take longer than what most would think and by the end, I’m expecting it to be about a month’s missed time.

Drew Smyly Update

Smyly is scheduled to return to the rotation on Saturday and that is good news for the Braves and their $11MM investment. Smyly hasn’t allowed a lot of hits (9 in 11 innings) or walks (1 in 11 innings), but has been destroyed by the gopher ball. I believe that he still has potential to be a great pickup if he can maintain health, but that might prove to be as hard as scaling Everest with nothing but a pick axe and underpants.

Author: Ryan Cothran

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

81 thoughts on “Braves Health Updates”

  1. Over/under at Smyly’s ERA after this season at 5.00 what do you go?

    I’m going, over.

    I’m also predicting that Soroka is done for the season, and that Fried turns into a pumpkin.

    Ynoa’s carriage has already left the station.

  2. Soroka and Fried are both young, and the Braves very clearly and rightly value the health of their young arms. So I can’t tell if these are legitimate concerns with these two pitchers, or the Braves are just being extra cautious at a time where they might value getting a longer look at Wright, Ynoa, and Wilson. The Wright haters like me may be justified, but to Dusty’s point, Wright has only had 12, 13 starts in his career. Wright is a perfectly cromulent 6th, 7th, 8th starter while they are potentially just being cautious with their two aces. Overall, I’m happy we have the depth necessary to tread water while we’ve had so much underperformance and health issues.

    Is there an update on Touki?

  3. @1

    Chief, $20 through Venmo that Smyly has an ERA better than 5?


    Chief probably bought a ton of Jo-Jo Reyes rookie cards thinking he’d be the next Tom Glavine. He took a huge financial bath and has vowed to NEVER trust another pitching prospect for the rest of his life.

  4. Perhaps the wise thing to do would be to have a shaman remove the Curse of Shelby Miller.

  5. This is one of those years for just about every team in baseball. The Dodgers are the only team that is running away with their division. The division leaders are listed with their 2020 and 2019 rank in parentheses. It is shaping up to be a strange year.

    East – Mets – 7-6 (4) (3)
    Central – Brewers – 11-7 (4) (2)
    West – Dodgers – 14-4 (1) (1)

    Boston – 12-7 (5) (3)
    Kansas City – 10-7 (4) (4)
    Oakland – 12-7 (1) (2)

  6. Well, if you mention how much you miss Melky Cabrera, I guarantee you can find a good shamin’.

  7. Cubs swept the Mets last night which helps keep us close, good game.

    82 today, cancer still away. You should all be encouraged.

    But, had a nightmare last night about Ryan C and Real Estate. Call? Friendly.

  8. @11 Haha

    Alright, two days off was great for everyone, but I’m ready for 10 straight days of baseball.

  9. For his career in Atlanta, Mark Lemke averaged 1.1 fWAR in the 7 years he was considered a starter, averaging 129 games a year. For his entire career, he had a 71 wRC+, and the defensive metrics liked him quite a bit. If you considered Lemke a player that was more important than his stats, a leader, a “glue” guy, etc., do you still feel that way as stats have become more advanced? If Atlanta had a similar player to Lemke today, would you feel the same way about that player?

  10. @ 17,

    I always thought Lemke was overrated. He was almost unplayable as a left handed hitter (which after Treadway was gone became 75% of his plate appearances) and he was at best a good, not great, fielder. He had one great World Series (in 1991), but that was it.

  11. Lemke was great on turning the DP. Loved his quick footwork. He always stepped backwards as he threw to first. The runner almost never impacted his throw.

    And yup, if the Braves had won the ’91 WS, he probably would’ve been the MVP.

  12. @blazon

    Happy Birthday! Keep on truckin’! Interestingly enough, we almost pulled the trigger on a piece of property in North Carolina yesterday. You hacking my email? :)

  13. Happy birthday blazon!

    I went to find out what Lemke’s 1991 WS numbers looked like, so I began to Google “Mark Lemke baseball reference” and when I got to “Mark Lemke baseball”, Google suggested “Mark Lemke baseball card value”.

    Well, I can answer that one: nothing. And apparently there’s been enough people asking that question that it went to the top of that search suggestion.

    And yeah, .417/.462/.708 in 26 PAs for Lemmer in the ’91 Series.

  14. @20

    Looks like Alex said better than I could about the Lemmer, as per usual.

    I hate to take this angle, but Lemmer is a short, pudgy white guy, and I have to wonder if why he didn’t win a Gold Glove was his appearance. If you’re a wiry, fast-looking, twitchy second baseman that was maybe born in a different part of the world, I think you could execute like the Lemmer and garner a better reputation. One challenge, too, is that I’m not aware of a truly jaw-dropping defensive play by Lemke. That doesn’t help getting your name in people’s minds amongst the elite defenders at your position.

    It reminds me of Freddie. Freddie is underrated defensively, but if you watch him every day, it’s easy to see his value. But he doesn’t show up in enough highlight reels, and he looks bland and boring as a player.

  15. Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag, blazon.
    May you continue to be in good health and a very frequent guest of this bar.

  16. Hi Chief,
    Got you beat with 65 years a Braves fan; still remember the ’57 WS win by the Milwaukee Braves over NYY–with Aaron, Mathews, Adcock, Spahn, Burdette and Buhl.

  17. Many more, blazon, many more.

    With Lemke and Hubbard as the franchise second basemen, it’s clear there was a certain physical type the team was looking for…. and it’s a type no one else looked for before or since.

  18. This discussion makes me think of just how much baseball has changed. We used to have 140 lb shortstops who could hit .230 and keep their jobs if they were above average fielders.

    What is even more amazing to me are those same gentlemen who weighed 140 lbs, had enough natural talent to hit a HR in a MLB game, in parks that were often much larger than ones now.

    If you’ve never played baseball, hitting a fastball is the hardest thing that I’ve ever tried to do in sports. I’ve been hit by on a botched extra point, I tried (tried) to guard Terrell Owens in HS basketball, and I faced Steve Woodard (LHP Brewers) in baseball. Of those three things, trying to hit 92-96 at 15-16 years of age was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. No comparison.

    It’s wild how the game has simultaneously changed so much, but staying true-ish to its core.

  19. Up until the Jose Offerman signing, the Red Sox always loved having slow white guys at 2B. I’m sure there were other organizations as well.

    I was a big fan of both Hubbard and Lemmer.

  20. I stand corrected roadrunner48. And I’m a fan of slow white guys wherever they appear… (albeit not to the exclusion of anyone else!)

  21. Mark Lemke was your standard “folk hero” type. Every franchise has them…a guy that his own fanbase adores and any other fanbase looks at and says, “What in the world is so special about that guy?” Eddie Perez also qualifies I think, as he was pretty much just a guy, but was beloved by the fanbase.

    The 1991 World Series is an interesting case, as it was embraced in Atlanta at the time as basically a win. Celebrated almost as much as the actual World Series winning 1995 team. So that might have something to do with how revered Mark Lemke is for essentially a World Series MVP effort in a losing cause.

  22. They were “slow white guys” when it came to running the bases, but they were damned good at turning DPs.

  23. Lemmer was not 140 pounds, Chief. Boy had some junk in the trunk. I don’t know of any 140 pounders that hit home runs at any respectable rate.

  24. I knew a guy who played basketball against Lemke in high school in upstate NY & told me that Lemke was a helluva hoopster. Despite his size, he could easily dunk a basketball.

  25. Freddie Patek hit 41 career homers and I don’t think ever cracked 150 lbs.

    Jim Wynn was listed at 160 (291 hrs)

  26. I assume short guys at a given light weight (Albies is listed at 165) have the potential for more power than tall guys at the same weight.

    It may be that good field/no hit players are exposed by today’s analysis, but I expect they’re also just less valuable now than they were a few decades ago. With so many more strikeouts, there are fewer balls in play for their defense to provide value. Andrelton’s raw defensive numbers don’t look as good as Ozzie Smith’s, but there were ~40% more strikeouts when he was at his defensive peak than when Ozzie was at his, so fewer grounders to or near SS.

    I enjoy looking at BRef’s WPA and cWPA numbers, which are one way of seeing how valuable a player’s contributions are (whether or not there’s luck involved) rather than how good he is. Lemke had two postseason series with very good cWPA numbers (1991 WS +19% and 1996 NLCS +16%) but two very bad ones as well (1992 WS -13% and 1996 WS -24%) and was net -13% for his postseason career. Blauser, who was a better player over the course of his career than Lemke (21 WAR vs 6 WAR, I think regular seasons only), did very poorly in the postseason, with a net -55% cWPA. Dansby is +10% in the postseason. I’m pretty sure their results are being compared to the results you would expect from an average position player and not an average middle infielder, so it’s probably reasonable to expect middle infielders’ numbers to be negative in general.

  27. Guys like Bobby Richardson (1960 WS MVP) & Billy Martin (1953 WS MVP, if they gave out the award back then) probably wouldn’t be in the league now. The modern game really has no place for a Cookie Rojas or Jose Lind.

    But then again, butchers like JD Davis probably wouldn’t have played 3B back then either.

  28. So….is it okay to focus our scorn on Dansby, Ozzie or Ozuna yet?
    Stay hot, Riley. Acuna can’t do it alone.

  29. As happened no less than three times in a two-month season (three counting postseason) last year, as soon as you lot start to all but claim Riley should be DFAd and third base should just be given to some guy and it doesn’t matter who, he starts to figure it out. It’s not required that he be a Hall of Famer, guys. The “he’s not a major league third baseman” crowd is full of it IMO.

  30. @43 I’ve been one of his biggest supporters, and even I was starting to lose faith after a couple of weeks of occasional bloop singles.
    It would be quite nice if he can be average at least. 260/330/480 would be good especially with offense down leaguewide.

    I think that we just have to be ready for extreme cold and hot streaks.

  31. Riley reminds me a lot of Duvall as far as streakiness, as I think others have noted. To be honest, not many of his recent hits have been hit that hard, but I’m going to chalk that up to things evening out.

  32. Maybe throw more fastballs since you can’t keep the slider from immediately careening into the gutter?

    And suddenly, the slider is back. I’m almost positive that not even Luke Jackson knows what to expect from Luke Jackson on any given pitch.

  33. Good of Chip to clear up that this isn’t, in fact, former Atlanta mayor and U.N. ambassador Andrew Young.

  34. There are many words for what Luke Jackson is, but “inconsistent” is not one of them.

  35. I often wonder how a pitcher with so little confidence in his pitches managed to make it to the major-league level — let alone stay there. In that regard, the Luke Jackson Experience deserves cinematic treatment.

  36. @55

    He throws in the mid-to-upper 90s and that slider, when on, is ridiculously good. How he continues to retain a linchpin role in our bullpen (to varying degrees) despite years of similar performance is what baffles me. As Alex said, it’s not like we don’t know what to generally expect out of him.

  37. @56

    Having a great pitch is one thing, but usually you need some degree of self-confidence in order to reach the highest level in any sport. As a pitcher, Jackson seems to have none. It would be hilarious if it didn’t take such a toll on my cardiovascular system every time he pitches.

  38. Chip: Is this the Will Smith who was in The Pursuit of Happyness?

    Oh, and while I’m at it, Chip seemed to think it was arbitrary whether or not Mathisen was HBP. But if he had been, the run couldn’t come home. Just sayin’.

  39. @62

    I noticed that, too. The next pitch was hit deep enough for a sacrifice fly, so I guess it truly would’ve been a wash, but yeah…Chip gonna Chip.

  40. Great game, all the way through. You guys with your best wishes, thank you all so very much. Remember now, if in doubt check it out, safe not sorry.

  41. By the way, I don’t know why there continues to be confusion and frustration about Luke Jackson. He’s a middle reliever who’s pitching high leverage because our team is cheap and many pitchers are dead.

    Don’t take your anger out on Luke!

  42. We just won and scored 5 runs in a game where Acuna, Freeman and Ozuna went a combined 0-for-10. The mid-to-bottom part of the lineup seems to be coming around.

  43. Enjoyed the pod, Ryno.

    I think it’s clear Riley’s approach keeps changing, and that’s messing him up. He can hit the fastball, then he can’t. He can hit the curveball, then he can’t. Statcast is all over the place. I think the Braves know that and will be patient.

    Let’s tamp down the seller talk. This is one of the best teams in the league per the stats that can tell us what is likely to come.

  44. So I know I’m raging against the dying of the light here, but the most Pro-DH of y’all will never be able to convince me that it was not vastly more interesting for Hüaskar Dü, of all people, to come up with a key, two-out RBI single last night (mere innings after collecting the first hit of his life, and mere seconds after the light-hitting Alex Jackson was IBB’ed to face him), instead of Adrianza or Tony Tarasco or whoever we’d have in the 9-hole with a DH.

    For me, the wonder and the surprise of a successful outcome when pitchers actually come through at the plate vastly outweighs the awful Folty-esque ABs which are of course part of the deal also. Those moments of genuine surprise are what really make baseball, for me.

  45. I absolutely dislike the runner on second in extras. I can live with all the changes and understand why there are changes but the runner on second just seems wrong to me.
    And the Braves apparently agree with me this season.

  46. Don’t look now, but if the Braves win today and the Mets lose, the Bravos will be tied for first. This says a lot less about the Braves than the extremely weak start that the entire division has gotten off to. If our injured players get back and we start playing to our potential, we could run away with the division, or maybe not.

  47. Is it my imagination or is the Garcia for Ynoa trade beginning to look as good as Alexander for Smoltz? Smoltz may end up being a lot better than Ynoa but Alexander was a lot better than Garcia too.

  48. Pache absolutely needs to stay in AAA or at the alternate site until Heredia turns into a pumpkin. So, ya know, next week.

  49. @71, I don’t like the DH because I think players who aren’t athletic enough to field should be playing first base or pinch-hitting once a game or playing beer league softball, but most pitchers are so terrible at the plate these days. If an average pitcher could bat .150, then the occasional one who can actually hit would add value but the others wouldn’t be totally noncompetitive. Once that average gets below a certain point, which I think we passed sometime in the last decade or two, the accumulated negatives from so many noncompetitive PAs outweigh the pleasure I get from the few competitive ones. I could go for 8-man batting orders with no pitcher or DH batting, but that would rewrite the record book with starters getting ~15% more PA per season.

    That said, I like that deGrom has the 3rd most WAR as a hitter of any Met, and in only 11 PA. (That’s their WAR-as-a-hitter figure, not their oWAR, which has a positional adjustment that pushes deGrom into 2nd place.)

    Another thought about pitchers who can hit – Ohtani is a freak not just in having both great hitting and great pitching talent, but he’s also really fast (this year, per baseballsavant, as fast as Ronald), which doesn’t seem like it’s very strongly correlated with either hitting or pitching ability. Wonder how he and Ronald would do in a decathlon. Both would have the explosiveness for the sprints, the agility for hurdles and the jumps/pole vault, and the strength for the throws. The 1500 might be a problem, though.

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