I wrote this yesterday, so pardon the lateness. Was waiting on the Stripers roster.
Maybe for some, this is just an ordinary, boring off day. However, for me, it’s akin to the day before Opening Day. Coming off a year where there was no Minor League Baseball, it was brutal to track any progress made for the prospects and many that put out prospect lists were working with guesswork from the few videos running amuck on social media. Needless to say, we didn’t put out our top prospect list this year and that was the sole reason. I need video of real games. I need real stats. I need real clips. Anything less and I would’ve been making it up. But that ends…tomorrow! So, if you’re like me and have been super frustrated with the MLB team, there’ll be more Braves baseball to watch and a really good group of prospects to keep tabs on.
The Gwinnett Braves Roster
Breakdown: From high-end prospects to spot starters to emergency fill-ins to bench candidates to high-upside lottery tickets, this is the perfect AAA team. There are so many players on this list that could get called up or cut at any point in time. I really like Riley Unroe as the 5th man on the bench type as he’s got positional flexibility, is a switch hitter, and can run. My only question…where the heck is Jason Kipnis?
Mississippi Braves Roster
Breakdown: The pitching here is pretty meh with the exception of Victor Vodnick and Kurt Hoekstra. From there, it gets intriguing with Shea Langeliers at catcher, 2 make or break IFers in CJ Alexander and Greyson Jenista, and Braden Shewmake (who could very well make his MLB debut if he continues to show a strong hit too). For the outfield, both Justin Dean and Trey Harris are intriguing as 4th OFer/bench pieces with potential as platoon players.
Augusta Green Jackets Roster
Breakdown: Honestly this is where I’m a bit lost. Past a few names like Vaughn Grissom, Tyler Owens, and Stephen Paolini, there’s a lot to learn about here. Grissom likely moves to 3B this year and Tyler Owens could also be one of those guys that moves remarkably fast in the system.
Rome Braves Roster
Breakdown: Can I be disappointed and still be super excited about this roster? My disappointment lies in Michael Harris’s assignment. With all the hype surrounding his performance at the alt-site in 2020 and the work he put in during Spring Training 2021, I thought he’d be at AA. I’m still ok with this decision and bet he’s there by the time 2021 is over. Jared Shuster, Bryce Ball, Bryce Elder, Kasey Kalich, Jesse Franklin and Beau Philip are the other players to watch out for, especially early on, as they could also be fast tracked to the upper minors.
A Notable Omission
Mahki Backstrom is one of my prospects to watch for the year and, unfortunately, he’s not listed on any of these rosters. Luckily, I have a guy in the know. Ask and you shall receive:
This will also serve as today’s game thread.
Players in this org that I think will be MLBers (who haven’t been already):
Jasseel De La Cruz
Cool thing I just found out (simply by asking him) is LH internet/Driveline sensation Chris Nunn is back with the Braves.
538.com has the Braves projected at 82-80 and a 33% chance of making the playoffs.
I just finished the 2021 season with our BRAVES on OOTP 22 at an even 81-81. So if you were interested in this game, but hadn’t checked it out, that’s a pretty good sign for it.
How did the Braves do on OOTP in 2020 and 2019? Or does it not work like that? I don’t know OOTP.
Yeah…I’d also like to see what Braves were projected to be in 2018, 2019, and 2020.
@Sansho1/last thread — No, you’re right! We are cool. He’s the one who’s a not cool. And he’ll find out, too, once I sign him up for a lesson and take him out there, anyway. Oh yeah, he’ll see who’s cool…
@4 I had more success with last year’s team with OOTP 21.
For the 21 season I just finished, much like with “IRL” Morton struggled on the game, Fried came back to earth and finished 13-11 with an ERA around 4.30. Ian Anderson didn’t play to his ratings and was around .500 with a mid 4s ERA.
I didn’t resign D’Arnaud in the offseason but I did cave and resigned Freddie for 6 years and about 25AAV. Primarily because the game IMO punishes you in attendance and gate too much when you don’t retain popular players. I didn’t resign him because I particularly wanted to. He hit I think .277 this season with mid 20s HR.
RAJ hit 40 HRs and over .300.
I get this is peak nerd. I’m a nerd. But I absolutely have never ever loved a baseball game the way that I do OOTP. Up next on my list is a reboot of Tony Conigliaro’s career to see how he would have done without the beaning.
I also enjoy taking the worst team from the season before and seeing what I can do with them.
What in the hell are the Augusta Greenjackets? Kidding.
I’d like to extrapolate that into players we see from AAA and AA this season:
Almonte/Ervin/Demeritte to cover an IL stint or something
Two of Arano/Chavez/Edwards
De La Cruz
I don’t think we see Drew Waters this year, or at least I hope not.
I guess only Dean or Harris because one of them might rake so much and our outfielder be so bad that they’re desperate to get something going. Other than that, AA looks pretty thin.
@7 Nah, not too nerdy. You may have missed my OOTP posts from a couple of months ago. I had someone on the OOTP forum make a set of Hammers jerseys and team logos, dude. You might like them if you do any fictional league play.
Regarding the OOTP ’21 season, the game, like many projections, is prone to underestimating some players like Max Fried. What we’ve seen from Fried this year is more like a consequence of a commissioner who is just bad for the game of baseball. Baseball changes ultimately hurt Foltynewicz, and now I believe we’re witnessing it effect Max Fried. Just leave the damn ball alone already.
The Braves just need a little bit of luck for this season to really turn around. A healthy Mike Soroka and Max Fried would make a world of difference right now. The kind of difference it can make is one where Smyly may not even start for a bit.
I would feel good about this rotation 4 out of every 5 days!
If there’s something we can expect every year, it’s Chief’s pessimism the first month of the season.
2018 Chiefisms from the first month of play:
“Roark would be our best starter or close to it”. Braves had 4 starters with ERAs less than Roarks.
“This team is bad. The starting pitching is comical. Sorry it just is. And was.”
Won the division
“Flowzuki is going to crater”. Combined for 3.5 WAR
“I think he will hit between .235 and .255 with ~15 HRs and OPS of .725-.750”.
Acuna went on to a .917 OPS and won ROY.
“The folks predicting 90+ wins are going to be SORELY disappointed.”
Braves went on to win 97.
“If you werenâ€™t going to sign anyone else, it made no sense at all to sign Donaldson. Who Iâ€™m going to go on record to say I bet he hits closer to 10 HRs as a Brave than 30.”
Donaldson hit 37 HRs.
“@56 I doubt the Braves are playoff contenders”
“I also think that the money has changed Acuna. I am entitled to my opinions/predictions”
He’s the early MVP frontrunner
“PS I will go on a hot take limb and say that Freddie Freeman has had his best season already and will only decline (possibly precipitously) from here.”
Didn’t decline and won the MVP
“IMO Freddie has fallen in love with hitting the ball the other way to a degree that is harmful.”
@11 Agreed. I think a lot of us get caught up in the wash with the under performance of the team in general but if Soroka and Fried were healthy we wouldn’t need the likes of Smyly, Wright and Wilson who to me are the most frustrating parts of the season. Those three rarely give the team a chance to win and put us behind almost nightly when they pitch. As bad as the offense has been, if Fried and Soroka pitch remotely like they are capable of when healthy this team is safely above .500 right now.
Refreshing journalism. These days I cannot imagine many “journalists” say I don’t know. Good job, Ryan. Integrity is not extinct. Yet.
@12 Police, Iâ€™d like to report a murder.
@6 That’s it, glizz, you tell him!
@16 Are you going to sit in his lap at the game at Truist? Or did you buy your own ticket?
@18 Ahhh Chief big mad. Hey man, I didn’t say those things. You did.
Chief, here’s the deal man. Some of us really like baseball and really like the Braves. It’s not fun when the team is 12-16 in May and you know darn well that the team is a lot better than its shown. And it’s annoying when someone who is constantly taking a dump on this team comes on and does his usual at this time. All it takes is for someone to go back and show that you took a dump on the last 3 teams and you were wrong all 3 times. You went to the well too many times. You’re basically Randy Quaid from Major League 2.
Grand Moff Tarnok
Better than Randy Quaid from “Midnight Express,” I say…
@5, 538’s projection system has consistently been skeptical of the Braves in recent years. In 2018, 2019, and 2020 (as well as 2017 and 2021) its preseason predictions had the Mets being better than the Braves each year. It also had the Nationals ahead of the Braves in some of those years and the Phillies ahead at least in 2018, but those are more defensible. In at least one year in which the Braves won the division, 538’s end-of-year rankings said the Nationals were still the better team. This may have resulted from weighting runs scored/allowed more than wins and losses, or it may have been in 2018 taking into account the teams’ 2017 records too. I looked at its methodology a while back, and I don’t remember seeing any support for my theory that because 538 is based in New York, its system rewards proximity to New York.
BRef has us at 42.9% to make the playoffs and 3.7% to win the World Series. They have the Mets at 15.7% and 0.9%. Seems about right.
Ryan has receipts.
I truly hope no one has my Braves Journal hot takes from 2008 on file.
Iâ€™ve played a couple different versions of OOTP, but it looks like thereâ€™s no up to date version for iPad at the moment? Sad; my desktop is on the fritz atm.
Damn…Freddie and Ozuna need to start giving us something. I donâ€™t know that I have ever seen Freddie look so lost
I’m at the ballgame tonight, so if you’re wondering why the players look like they’re trying too hard to impress someone, apologies in advance.
Hmm…Are we sure Pache has the best CF arm in the league?
I think it’s cool to go back and look at old predictions. Maybe we could pull that together when we’re eating innings next offseason.
@31 – Chief doesnâ€™t have â€œtakes.â€ He has â€œgives.â€ They are gifts to the Braves Journal community.
Being a month into this season, itâ€™s kind of difficult to fathom the 2020 season was only 60 games.
I was convinced Chuck James would be good. I later bought an autographed hat of his at the stadium, after his retirement, that cost less than an unautographed hat in the team store.
Hell, Mac was apoplectic when they traded Marte for Renteria because he said that Marte’s floor – floor – was Matt Williams!
I’m all in favor of combing back through bad takes, so long as we keep it above the belt. Let’s do this.
Man. Marte was absolutely the Next Big Thing.
@34 – Jeff Francoeur/Sports Illustrated
I think about Matt Williams a lot when teams give up on prospects. He hit .188, .205, and .202 his first 3 seasons, in almost 750 at bats. Who knows how many people could have had great careers, but were given up on too early? I thought Marte’s ceiling was Matt Williams for what it’s worth.
My takes are either going to be correct or hilarious, so win-win the way I see it.
Speaking of ceilings, how high is Ynoa’s? He’s steamrolled through 4 innings on 48 pitches. Please tell me this guy is capable of lasting for 100 pitches…
Is there any doubt that Huascar Ynoa is the best pitcher on our staff right now?
Acuna decided he wasn’t going to give Robles a second chance to make a heroic catch. Abusador!
@28 Absolutely. The second biggest concern behind the pitching. At least Dansby has two hits tonight.
Speaking of takes, who predicted Huascar as our ace at this point of the season?
I love what Iâ€™m seeing from him.
Ynoa and AcuÃ±a are the best and only good news for the braves this season. Riley gets an honorable mention.
Riley’s one of the best third basemen in the league right now. That’s more than a honorable mention.
Just waiting for a bit more sustained success from him to not look like a fool if he goes back into hibernation mode.
Yeah, I was just thinking that Austin Riley sure is one heck of a bright spot in an otherwise so far cloudy season. Acuna we already know is possibly the best slugger in the game. Riley could sure be a needle mover if he’s figured some things out.
Meanwhile, I’m cautiously becoming more positive about this Ynoa guy. With a little luck, these Braves could have a very formidable front four in the rotation.
@34, it was too early for Braves Journal to have any record of it, but in 1978 I was sure that the two young Braves who were going to be great hitters for a long time were Bob Horner and…Glenn Hubbard. At the time, Dale Murphy was in his first full season and on his way to leading the league in strikeouts and hitting .226. To be fair, Hubbard was 20 and had hit .336/.402/.535 in AAA.
Mets Luck: Jacob deGrom scratched from start tonight & got an MRI for his right lat.
Oh, my god!
@46 Baseball has a serious problem.
I love this guy…
I don’t care if DHs go 40 for 40 tonight, they’ll never top that for entertainment.
Huascar is a damn legend!
I was suddenly reminded of jaime garcias grand slam.
66 pitchers have more than 4 RBIs in a game. Tony Cloninger better watch out.
Cloninger holds 1st and 2nd place in Braves history: 9 RBIs on July 3, 1966 and 5 on June 6th the same year.
It may be way too soon to say something like this, but I could see Ynoa tossing a complete game some day on fewer than 100 pitches…
Huascar is the balls.
Did anyone have Babe Boxcar leading in any Braves category in there preseason predictions? I can’t remember all my predictions but for some reason I think I left Boxcar of my list.
I figured he was a 4-inning pitcher, not a starter, and it turns out he’s Ynohtani.
I’m here for the Ynohtani.
Boxcar is dead; long live Ynohtani!
what the heck
you are what you earn
turn it around? money to burn.
you can imagine the motivation- and frustration- for a seasoned youngish traveler, intense. Such intimidating odds. What an awful fate….. Again, thanks Chief, for those two words together.
Misc…Robles’ catch, early, off Ronald, was magnificent. We won’t see better this summer…Contreras’ defense is more than they said it would be – most important that, with Travis’ situation so uncertain. Freddie – who do we have that can play decent first base defense for a month, say? PH schedule for Huascar? Unnecessary, any day, any time. Woo Hoo. Don’t mess with his name, it’s magnificent.
We have all these stud â€œpitching prospects,â€ Ynohtani has out pitched most of them.
Hymns Ancient and Modern.
‘And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long
steals on the air the distant triumph song
and bats are brave again and arms are strong.
Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa, Ynoa.
Hey, better leave strike zone alone. Cause I swing Sunshine, then she’s gone.
@32 Exactly. Bravissimo.
I don’t mind Ynohtani…clever.
I do mind boxcar…lazy.
If someone arrives unknown, and turns out to be special, please treat him, and his national culture, with respect.
Only two change ups all evening? That used to be my limit, too.
Now, alas, just that number seems monumental. Beyond all reach.
A life well spent has become totally spent. In case you didn’t know.
@67 Mind you, English is not my native language sooo… what kind of changeups are you referring to? I am curious, blazon.
I don’t think that it is a coincidence that when the Braves traded for Ynoa that his electric stuff was the top billing. IMO, the Braves need to focus more organizationally regarding pitching on raw stuff and less on pitchability. IMO, Kyle Wright’s stuff is just average to maybe slightly above average. Same with Wilson and several others. Trust in your coaching and training staffs and mold superior stuff into pitchers instead of taking inferior stuff and trying to make them Greg Maddux.
Soroka has resumed throwing, and they’re saying he’ll be on a typical Spring Training schedule. So that’s 30-45 days, right? Assuming he returns within 45 days, what would Ynoa have to do to not deserve the 5th spot? What would Smyly have to do to keep his spot over Ynoa? They would almost have to flip-flop in performance right now.
I don’t understand you, FIP. Ynoa has a 0.90 WHIP. He has struck out 38 in 34 innings, over a batter an inning. But his FIP (3.48) is a full run higher than his ERA (2.36). What does FIP want that he’s not giving it? FIP’s a jerk.
Timo, you know perfectly well what change ups were referred to – your expertise in the English language and the realities of the human condition leave me in doubt they did not flyover your head! Ynoa threw only two when more were expected…that rang a bell for me which i thought was funny.
BTW thanks for your birthday greetings …in German! please translate!
I was concerned on what is happening with Jason Kipnis??? Is he playing at Gwinnett? Is he practicing at alternate site? Have they given up on him? What is the latest on Kip?