The Bullpen, the Austin Riley Dilemma and Game Thread

Once again, the Braves will try to get back to .500 baseball today against a team they’ve struggled to beat. Hopefully, the Braves can take the series and be above .500 for the first time in 2021. There have been some good news that’s come in the last 48 hours that will help with this biggest area of need for this team.

Chris Martin has been the Braves best reliever for the last 1.5 years with an ERA of 2.40, a BB-rate of 1.2 and K-rate of 10.4. If he can stay healthy, he’ll be the catalyst that takes the hard innings in the 7th or 8th innings.

Ok…this is a real deal for the Braves. Unfortunately for the team, they’ve had to endure Nate Jones, Carl Edwards Jr. and a handful of ne’er do wells that see the sunset in Atlanta then withdraw back to Gwinnett under the moon’s light. While Shane Greene isn’t THE answer, he’s AN answer, and provides late inning options for Snitker, especially of the RH variety. My guess is Greene is in the bigs in 2-3 weeks.

For now, Jay Flaa goes under the ne’er do well’s category, but I admittedly know very little. Apparently, he’s a guy that has a pretty decent spin rate to go with a 93-95 MPH fastball.

The Austin Riley Dilemma

Many are claiming 2021 as Austin Riley’s breakout, and rightfully so. The kid has a .790 OPS and has played an average-to-good 3rd base. However, I’m pulling a Chief and pumping the brakes on this breakout a bit. When Frank Wren was at the helm, Chris Johnson had a breakout year in 2013 and was rewarded with a 3 year/$23MM contract, of which the Braves immediately regretted as the regression was very real in 2014. The reason? Chris Johnson, who was known for his bat to ball skills, had an outlier year even for his standards, as he BABIP’d .394. To put that into perspective, the BABIP average for the league is normally ~.295. This means that Chris Johnson’s balls in play landed for hits 10% more than league average. Doing the simple math, if Johnson were to have had a league average BABIP, he’d have lost 15 hits, which would’ve dropped his .292 batting average down to .237. Holy Jose Constanza!

The reason I speak of this is Austin Riley, in a remarkably small sample, has BABIP’d .382. That wouldn’t be concerning IF it came with a good hard-hit rate. It doesn’t. It’s in the 50th percentile. However, that wouldn’t be concerning if it came with a good barrel rate, chase rate, whiff rate, or outs above average rate. It doesn’t. He’s in the bottom 1/3 of the league in all categories. Essentially, Austin Riley has traded hard contact for a better walk rate…and that’s about it. Everything else in his game has suffered. For me, if this is just an adjustment and the power comes back, that’s wonderful. If not, his hit tool is going to regress and Riley will be dwelling in the land of mediocrity. If the power isn’t back by July, I’ll be worried.

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For the EH.

Author: Ryan Cothran

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

75 thoughts on “The Bullpen, the Austin Riley Dilemma and Game Thread”

  1. Intersting take on Riley. Hope the power comes back.
    Gotta win this game and finally get above .500 next. The Mets are looking pretty good right now.

  2. Start worrying (re:Riley). It was ultimately very lame for this front office, for this organization, to roll into the season with Austin Riley penciled as the starting 3B after missing winning a league pennant by 1 game. That’s just not what teams with sights set on the World Series do.

  3. I think you can live with Riley’s lack of pop (everyone expects it to come back) but we need Pache and Contreras to hit.

  4. Prediction: Mike Soroka never pitches again. At least not effectively. He’s done.

  5. I’m not particularly bullish on Riley. However, given the hill he has to climb to become a viable major league hitter, I am heartened by how he is attacking the problem. He was an easy out, mindlessly hacking at first pitches and putting himself in a hole, and fixing that issue (given that Mike Schmidt-level talent is not waiting to be unlocked) has been more than just a tweak for him, but it was absolutely the first thing that needed to happen. If he can consolidate an improved approach and add back some of the power stroke, he’ll have done all he can do.

    It’s a little unusual to witness such an attempt at fundamental development at the major league level, but kudos to him for seeing the need for it and tackling it in a systematic way.

  6. @4 I’m seriously just about done with the ’20s. This decade is way overrated.

  7. @chief

    Yeah…never mind. I’ll pass on the offer to write up the minors. I just can’t handle the constant negativity that’s so darn reactionary.

  8. I say we just make Chief put his money where his mouth is. If he makes a prognostication that can be disproven in the short-term, offer to bet him $20. If he doesn’t agree, then he’s clearly not that serious about what he’s saying, and he’s just looking for attention. I wouldn’t mind being compensated for having to consume his drivel.

  9. I hope some of you aren’t as challenged by alternative viewpoints in your day to day lives.

  10. I’m a school teacher in a rock n roll school. All I deal with is alternative viewpoints. Your viewpoints aren’t really alternative viewpoints, rather it’s just a reactionary comment based on 0 evidence. And honestly, they have a bad track record.

  11. I mean, if he amended “this season” to the end of his first sentence, that would at least be a take worthy of consideration. But the chances that it’s just scar tissue breaking down or something seem pretty high to even be assuming it’s a significant setback, much less writing him off for the next 15-20 freaking years!

  12. The ONLY good thing about any of this is that an Achilles isn’t a shoulder. It sure looks like Soroka’s body is strongly opposed to the notion of him making 25 starts a season.

  13. See, I have similarly negative feelings and insta-takes that Chief does, but instead of vomiting them here for you all to have to deal with I come up with something manic but not directly baseball related to say. I think we could all do with the ’20s just going away. It’s been an awful start to a decade, and I just really don’t know how it’s going to improve from here. I hold out hope, but I do not expect.

  14. @19 Well, and that’s kind of the point. Chief, in his defective noggin, thinks that after hearing news that Soroka is likely gone for the year, we’re all logging on to to read him say something irrationally negative about our best young pitcher since Steve Avery. Read the damn room, and stop annoying the hell out of people because you’re in desperate need of attention.

    So here’s the deal: every time you say something ridiculous that can be disproven in the short-term, you will be asked to part with an extremely small amount of money if you’re wrong. And if you’re not willing to risk an extremely small amount of money if you’re wrong, then we know you’re not serious, and you’re just doing it for attention, which is really not a good look. And we will know it immediately. Every. Single. Time. I wonder how many “gives” he keeps giving once that happens.

    Sorry to drone on, but I’m sick of it. I’m pissed off that Soroka’s injury is likely what keeps us from advancing deep into the playoffs, and I don’t need to hear his BS while we cope with it. He’s ruining the quality of discourse in the comments, which is something uniquely good about this site compared to the rest of the blogosphere.

  15. Good Wednesday afternoon all. Bummed on Soroka’s news. In my mind, right or wrong, I’ve kind of assumed we won’t see many innings pitched by the phenom in 2021. Helps my psyche from fixating on the cavalry, which may never come.

    Nevertheless – sharing this breakthrough I had today: we left cable a few years back – – and we’ve been able to catch the Braves on Sling or YouTubeTV or some streaming service. Until this year, as we all know – – negotiations have broken down/ceased between Sinclair & YTTV/Hulu.

    Today, I was turned on to AT&T TV as a solution. And despite what a banner on their main site says (about accepting new customers), we’ve subscribed and I’m viewing our local ATL channels now.

    And even better: we get Bally’s. So FINALLY, we’ll be able (fingers crossed) to watch the games.

    Passing that along in case any of ya’ll have had the same challenge. Let’s go Braves & get one back tonight from the Jays. Hey, at least they don’t have Joe Carter, Kelly Gruber, Devon White, Roberto Alomar, John Olerud & Dave Winfield in their lineup tonight.

  16. @ 20,

    I think it unlikely (VERY) that Soroka does not pitch this year. The exploratory alone means 4 weeks beyond previous timeline. At minimum they will scrape scar tissue and slow the use of feet (which slows use of arm). And, his pitching is more likely later in the season. The impact of this news today is more on “do the Braves make the playoffs” than on “what do they do when they get there.”

  17. If you follow WAR too literally, then there’s some silver lining here. If Soroka had returned today, he could have made 25 starts and accumulated probably 3 bWAR. How much bWAR can the 6th starter (Wright? Wilson? Smyly?) accumulate in those 25 starts. 1 bWAR? So can the Braves win their division by more than 2 games so we can survive this loss? Can Soroka get healthy in the next 4 months and be ready to pitch in the postseason? These are things I do not know the answer to.

  18. Soroka is still incredibly young. I just hope that they find nothing wrong with the achilles and it’s just pain related to working it. I’m not writing him off for this season.

    And yeah, bring back PEDs to baseball. This garbage would almost never happen if they were back on the good stuff.

  19. #5
    Yup… as it currently stands, I’m pretty happy to see Riley taking the walks.

    I mean, he’ll probably never be as good as, say, Jim Ray Hart — but he has been better this year with his approach.

    In a couple of comeback games so far, Riley had some terrific, late-inning ABs that contributed greatly to those wins. When half the lineup is riding the Interstate, any successes are welcome.

  20. It is shocking to see Chief take a negative view of things with Soroka. In all seriousness, from what I’ve read, Soroka making it as far as he has is a good sign. A two year recovery process strewn with setbacks along the way is pretty common. I would take a $20 bet on Soroka returning. Given his age I think he has a much better chance of returning than if he was on the other side of 30.

  21. @22 I don’t know enough about scraping scar tissue in an Achilles, but mid-September is 4 months from now, 13 1/2 months after his ruptured Achilles.

  22. Rob, seriously — “defective noggin”? I’m sorry, but that’s over the line into personal attacks for me. I know you’re annoyed, but that’s not cool.

  23. I’m a little more optimistic about Riley than most, and I think his newfound control of the strike zone is a very good sign for his future. (I couldn’t find on BRef his list of most-similar players through last year; wanted to see how common it was for similar players at his age to dramatically increase their OBPs at the cost of power – I assume it’s rare, since I think players more often add power – and what such players’ later careers looked like. Jonathan, any ideas?)

    I don’t think Chris Johnson is a great comparison, because Riley just turned 24 and Johnson was 28 in his outlier year. That’s a big difference. Riley will be younger at the end of this season than Johnson was when he made his MLB debut. Johnson never drew more than 31 walks in a season, and Riley should pass that total by the ASB.

    My concern was always that Riley would be Jeff Francoeur 2.0 and never learn to lay off pitches he couldn’t hit. His Rookie League numbers looked very similar to Francoeur’s, and of course the hot midseason start in Atlanta brought back memories. Big young Southern white kid, HS football player. Riley’s start to this year makes that concern seem less likely. Francoeur never drew more than 42 walks in a season and never in his career had a full month with an OBP within 30 points of Riley’s .409 in April. All that said, Riley’s good BABIP-fueled month or six weeks isn’t very long, and I certainly wouldn’t sign him to a big extension until it’s clearer what kind of player he’ll wind up being.

    Fun facts I learned while writing this post: Chris Johnson is younger than Jeff Mathis and Charlie Morton and only a couple of weeks older than Josh Tomlin. Francoeur is younger than Mathis and Morton too.

  24. “Thigh inflammation”…yeah, that’s a first for me.

  25. Bill James taught us in the 1980’s that plate discipline, as manifested in OBP, was grossly underrated as an offensive skill. That of course was one of the central insights of moneyball several years later.
    I’m still convinced that learning to avoid swinging at bad pitches is absolutely crucial. For that reason, I’m much higher on Riley than I ever was on Frenchy. That’s damning with faint praise; Francouer was a lousy big league hitter because he never learned to avoid the low and outside slider. Riley may never be Troy Glaus or even Jim Ray Hart but I’ll bet he’s better long run than Frenchy or Chris Johnson. (The extension for Johnson was one of the dumber things Wren ever did).

  26. Apart from his arm, Ozuna has looked pretty ok in left field to me this season.

  27. The difference between myself and Rob and Ryan is that I literally NEVER personally attack ANOTHER poster on here other than telling blazon that his poems use to annoy me.

    My drama is related to highly paid professional athletes. I meant what I said earlier about their abilities to withstand alternative viewpoints. It’s true.

    Ryan wants a bar where everyone gets along and thinks that the hometown 9, 11 or 5 (is that how many hockey players are on the ice?) is infallible and greatness is just around the corner for each of them. It’s not.

    He posted a list the other day of about 40 players that he thought would play in MLB. I read it. About 5 of them will. So he’s going to be WRONG on 35 of them. He just did it all at once so it’s not magnified.

    Rob just wants to take out his political leanings on others that don’t share them, and pretend that because he went to UF in the 2000s, before it got hard to get in there, that he’s better than everyone else.

    He’s not.

    I’m not as old as some but I did play baseball at a pretty high level and had the ability to play past high school. Do I make mistakes, do I get carried away, do I get frustrated and say dumb stuff. Well, duh. If I didn’t, I’d be working in baseball.

    I’ve LONG thought that the ‘angst’ reported by both of them about the ‘bar patrons’ was overwrought junk. They just don’t want their Pollyanna parade upended by even ONE guy in the bar of thousands (hundreds). AND, if you’re a bar patron that won’t come in and buy a beer because one (or two) people in the bar are curmudgeons that don’t share your opinion, then you need to look in the mirror and get tougher skin.

    And that’s a damn shame.

    Have a wonderful night, folks. Go Braves.

  28. The difference between myself and Rob and Ryan is that I literally NEVER personally attack ANOTHER poster on here other than telling blazon that his poems use to annoy me.

    Weren’t you the guy that asked me if I was going to sit on Ryan’s lap last week? It is no less of a personal attack for me to say your noggin is defective (c’mon, clearly it’s not defective) than for you to say that, what, Ryan is my daddy? So, I’m sorry that you got your feelings hurt, but you’re no victim.

    Rob just wants to take out his political leanings on others that don’t share them, and pretend that because he went to UF in the 2000s, before it got hard to get in there, that he’s better than everyone else.

    Couldn’t care less who you voted for, and I thought your thoughts on this blog were asinine way before I knew how you voted.

    I did not go to UF. I couldn’t get in because I was too dumb. Colleges are fairly immaterial; you could have gone to Harvard, and I would still question your intelligence.

    Ryan wants a bar where everyone gets along and thinks that the hometown 9, 11 or 5 (is that how many hockey players are on the ice?) is infallible and greatness is just around the corner for each of them. It’s not.

    Good gosh, man, you still don’t get it. Yikes.

    Anyway, every time you spew some nonsense that can be easily disproved, I will ask you to put a slight wager on it. I don’t care if it’s $5. If you won’t bet five measly dollars, then we know you’re just doing it for attention. Problem solved.

  29. Well, this is an edifying conversation.

    Back to baseball, Fried is looking good so far. Him pitching well will go along way to solidifying the staff and help make up for Soroka’s loss.

  30. I think Chief channels some of my predictions that I don’t write, so I don’t mind it. I mean, I want to be proven wrong most of the time.

  31. I hope the Braves win the game, but the Day has already been won by these Blue Jays uniforms. Beautiful.

  32. Say what you will about the bullpen or starters, but in my humble opinion, the main problem is still the offense.
    Even when ATL is in front, they hardly ever add insurance runs, leading to closer games and more losses. I believe the team has some of the worst batting stats from the 7th inning on.

  33. If it seems like Ryu always owns the Braves, you’re not wrong. I just checked and in 6 previous games against Atlanta he’s held our boys to .203/.272/.297. Plus a 7-inning gem in the 2018 NLDS.

  34. Chief, I’m sorry for saying your noggin was defective. It is not defective, and I didn’t mean it as a personal attack. I apologize, and this is completely unsolicited. I don’t want the genuine and justified criticism of your rampant and completely unnecessary negativity negated because of a personal attack.

  35. Ok, I’m going to provide a Chief take. I’ve done recaps, posted, and lurked for about 15 years. I’ve seen all kinds of posters around here.

    The internet, as you know, is terrible. It is a wretched hive of scum and villainy, populated with trolls. The comments section or virtually every website will cause you to question humanity and have an existential crisis.

    Braves Journal is not terrible. I would like it to stay that way.

    I don’t think Chief is a troll necessarily, because he seems to genuinely believe his scorching hot takes.

    He is a doom poster and a contrarian, but that’s still better than a vast portion of internet trolls. Still, it can make your head hurt and I’ve noticed a nosedive toward trolling in his recent posts.

    This blog has a pretty simple rules set, and we are walking a tightrope between ad hominem attacks and bad takes attacks. It can be hard to separate the two.

    The last thing I want is for this website to morph into another bad comments section.

    If Chief is going to make educated bad takes, I’m totally fine with it. But I don’t think purposeful trolling for responses or clicks has any place in this forum. It doesn’t contribute to debate or discussion and is contrary to the purpose of the website.

    Bad takes are fine. Trolling is not. There’s a difference, and we all know it. You don’t need to live the gimmick of a pro wrestling heel.

    Everyone needs to avoid purposeful trolling and personal attacks. No one cares where you went to school, what your job is, or that you played legion ball. Contribute to the discussion or sit this one out.

    Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

  36. Rob: curiosity has gotten the best of me. Some of your posts are Rob+Copenhaver, others Rob Copenhaver. Why?

  37. Coop, I noticed that with another poster too. One day, it was like that on all devices. I keep forgetting to remove the + from when I post from my PC. I’ve remembered to do it here on my mobile.

  38. A few items of note:

    Former Braves reliever Kerry Ligtenberg turned 50 yesterday. The pride of Rapid City, SD – – he had 30 saves with the Braves in 1998.

    Old friend Jace Peterson, born on May 9th 1990 in Lake Charles, LA – – he’s still kickin’ – – playing this year with the Brewers, for the 2nd year in a row. Of course, Jace was involved in the trade with the Padres that included Max Fried coming to ATL. His 2015 and 2016 seasons seem to still be Jace’s best in the bigs.

    Unbelievable – but Julio Teheran is only 30 years old – and is playing this year in his 11th season with the Dee-troit Tigers. That’s how I was taught to pronounce it. Just like we say Eht-lanna. Julio is 1 and 0 in the young season, pitching 5 innings in his only start.

  39. Luke Jackson is among the best of bad options. This does not ever make him a good option.

  40. Chief, I’ve yet to attack you personally and will not do so. That’s not my style.

    Also, I agree with Kyle B. Your posts might not be full on troll but they sure seem to be when you’re predicting the end of a career for a 23 year old. To me, that’s the opposite of cool.

  41. I don’t care if he has one good game per week, Freddie Freeman is not right this year.

    In regards to the title of the post, we have SO MANY things to worry about before getting to Austin Riley….

  42. I’m late to the party, but something about Ryan’s post bothered me. I thought to myself there is no way that if Chris Johnson lost 15 hits it would reduce his batting average from .292 to .237. Turns out I was right about that. Chris Johnson’s BA in 2013 was actually .321, and if you took 15 hits away his BA would have been 150/514 = .292.

    But was Ryan’s larger point correct, that if you reduced his BABIP from .394 to .295, does he become Jose Costanza? Turns out he is in the ballpark there. To take his BABIP down from .394 to .295, you have to reduce his number of hits from 165 to 126 (a loss of 39 hits), which would have made his BA .245. So even though his calculations were flawed, the conclusion was not far off. To estimate the reduction in batting average, it’s not a 10% reduction in hits (the rough difference between .394 and .295), it’s really closer to a 25% reduction ((394-295)/394). The math doesn’t exactly work out due to the complications in how BABIP is calculated, but that gets you in the neighborhood.

  43. Yeah…I realized my mistake about an hour ago. Too late to really do anything about it.

    For whatever reason, I calculated “.292”, which was actually his 2014 SLG (it was too hasty).

  44. Cristian Pache has made me miss Ender Inciarte. That’s impressive. Pache is down to a .364 OPS. I don’t know if his bat will ever be major league ready, but it’s not right now. The waiver wire HAS to have a CF better.

    Other notable unacceptable OPSes:

    Ozuna – .604
    Dansby – .646
    Albies – .746
    Freddie – .795

    You’ve got to do something if you’re Snit and AA. How bad can Acuna in CF and Adrianza in RF be?

  45. Pache is doing what Jordan Schafer did in 2009, except Schafer’s OPS was about twice as high. Agree that he ain’t ready. If the Braves scouts see something in his approach that they like and they want to give him another week, I’m open to it, otherwise he needs to go back to Gwinnett and play every day and build back enough confidence and approach to be able to hit .250 the next time he gets a cup of coffee in the big leagues. Failure can be educational, but not when you’re missing by this much.

    The thing is, this would be a good time to give Drew Waters a chance, if he were ready, but it’s very clear that the team doesn’t think that he is, or else you’d hear rumors that they were considering giving him a shot. It’s a shame for him, because he may never get a better chance to demonstrate that he can be a major league center fielder.

  46. Not hearing anything on Heredia has been worrisome. Hope he gets back soon…and that’s really weird to say.

  47. I’ve got a recap written but I’m having computer issues preventing me from posting. I hope to have it worked out soon. Ryan, if I can’t, I may have to email it to you.

  48. I don’t really have much to add to the discussion except that I find this team incredibly frustrating.

    Christian Pache has got to go. Should have already been gone. I can’t think of another instance where a contender handed the starting job to a rookie, basically sight unseen, without a plan B to bail him out. Pache isn’t Andruw Jones.

    My hot take: send Pache down and get him back on track. Pay whomever you have to to keep him in the top of the top 100… and trade him!!

  49. Tucker Davidson threw 7 shut out innings last night in AAA. 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 97 pitches. He gave up one run over 7 innings in his first outing, so he now has a 0.64 ERA in 14 innings.

    Not sure how to interpret the AAA results so far. We have the ball flying out of the ballpark, so I don’t want to get too excited about some of these impressive offensive numbers from Demeritte, Camargo, Arcia, and Almonte, all of whom have OPSes above 1000, while simultaneously not getting too excited about guys like Davidson throwing zeroes.

    Regardless, I think there are some guys in AAA that are better than their major league counterparts. I will choose to be patient and understand that it’s been 36 games amongst a long season, and we have a .578 winning percentage over the last 3 seasons with largely the same club. But if our offense is putrid and we don’t have a complete staff by the end of May, wholesale changes need to be made. Until then, I’m still in the honeymoon phase a little while longer that we have normal baseball with fans in the stands and exciting young players on the field.

  50. @63 They had a plan B, C, D, E, and F. Ender, Heredia, Waters, Acuna, and even something like Riley playing LF and Ozuna playing RF is a perfectly fine plan F. Ender and Heredia got injured, Camargo has somehow gotten even worse, Waters is terrible in AAA, and Acuna is forced to play RF because there’s no one they’re confident to even play RF. This is a sh*t sandwich.

  51. A solemn rejoinder:

    Soroka has been injured repeatedly almost since the day he came to the major leagues. He’s had shoulder and now Achilles issues. Both of which are particularly troubling injuries. You’d be woefully naive to not have long term concern. I’m sure that the Braves, do.

    Pache will never be a MLB hitter. His ceiling is 4th or 5th outfielder, pinch runner and defensive replacement. His floor is AAAA. He has less bat speed than Freddie Freeman’s toddler. When he took years worth of ABs to hit his first professional HR, that was a giant red flag to me.

    The Braves long term should hope to do better than Austin Riley, but if he continues to improve his fielding (his arm is very strong and very accurate) maybe there’s a role for a Bill Mueller type in the modern game. I’d rather have a basher though with slightly worse fielding, but YMMV.

    Either Liberty Media, or AA, failed this offseason. IMO, they made a panic signing in Ozuna to pacify the fanbase. He’s a one tool player. He is what he is. Signing Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly should have been viewed skeptically. It isn’t hindsight for me, I was against both. Morton’s done and Smyly’s never been anything other than league average.

    As far as the personal attacks, there is a difference between a joke about sitting in someone’s lap and someone telling someone with multiple college degrees that they have a defective brain. And next time, when someone apologizes, they should learn the difference between veritas and half heartedness. And every other post challenging a stranger to prop bets makes you look like the child that you behave as already.

    No bar in America has everyone within the confines that agree. I’m not an idiot, and I’ve run blogs before. NO ONE has a right to ‘free speech’ on a blog. It’s Ryan’s blog, period, end of sentence. But running someone down because they don’t share the opinion and Pollyanna attitude of someone else is character revealing. It shows the flaw inherent in the runner, and reflects less on the run-ee.

    The bottom line is this team sucks right now. It’s not good and may not be. My bet is that nothing changes and this is about a .500 team at the end of the season.

    Go Braves


  52. My bet is that nothing changes and this is about a .500 team at the end of the season.

    $10? I’m giving ya even odds here too.

  53. @67

    My biggest complaint about Chief remains that, even if we accept his premise that this is a .500 team (I don’t), HE STILL CAN’T TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEDIOCRE AND SUCKING!!! ARGH!!!

  54. @65 While true, those were 6 possible back up plans, it’s basically Pache who is killing this team. You can point to the myriad of lower than expected OPS numbers, but Pache is the biggest OPS gap. Simply replacing him ought to make a noticeable difference.

  55. It’s interesting looking back at all these peoples “expert” opinions where they were so confident. I think it’s been made crystal clear Riley was very much so worthy of being given a chance and he has shut up all these haters. He had one flaw in his ability which was the outside slider and curve. He fixed that hole and is now arguably the best 3B in the league. Actually it’s not arguably he is the best. He’s elite since turning his career around after early struggles. .

    It was an incredibly wise decision to go ahead and lock him up. Even as large as the contract is it’s still a team friendly deal considering his value.

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