The 2020 Braves MLB season was pretty “hitty”. The description is similar thus far in 2021, as one would only have to add an -s to the beginning. Luckily for us, there are 4 minor league teams to keep up with: Gwinnett Stripers, Mississippi Braves, Rome Braves, and Augusta Green Jackets. We’ll take look at each affiliate and players that have played well recently.
- Travis Demeritte: I won’t deny it…I was pretty hacked off when Demeritte didn’t get the call to join the MLB team. Almonte has been fine thus far, but Demeritte is the higher ceiling (lower floor) player and deserves an opportunity after carrying a 1.187 OPS through 63 ABs. His K-rate is 30%, but his walk-rate is 22.4%. The dude just needs a shot and then I’ll shut up.
- Drew Waters: Kid hit a snag coming out the gate, then got hot, then cooled off, but now he’s back at it. He’s still striking out a lot, but is also getting his fair share of walks which has upped his OBP to a very healthy .373. A great follow for all things Braves MILB related, Garret Spain, had this to say about him: “Drew Waters ranks 3rd in wRC+ among any player age 22 or younger who has had a PA at Triple-A this season. The only two players better are Wander Franco and Jarred Kelenic.”
- Chasen Bradford: Through 11.1 IP, Bradford is carrying a 0.79 ERA and has only allowed 2 walks. He’s pitched for the Mets and Mariners in the bigs and could make his way to Atlanta if Braves relief continues to be shaky.
- Kyle Muller: After a rough start to the year, Muller has had 2 straight good outings, pitching a total of 10 innings, giving up 7 hits, 2 BBs, 14 K, and 2 earned runs.
- Tucker Davidson: Tonight’s starter has been great all year at AAA with a 1.73 ERA and 28 strikeouts to only 5 walks in 26 innings. He deserves a regular spot in the Braves rotation, not the stripers.
- Jesse Chavez: If Braves want to continue the DFA shuffle, Chavez could be next in line. He’s throwing well in a league that is demolishing baseballs. He’s got a 2.70 ERA in 10 innings with 16 Ks to only 4 walks.
- Shane Greene: I expect him to be activated sooner rather than later…maybe today. He has 3 appearances and has yet to give up a run and has 1 walk to 5 Ks.
- Shea Langeliers: This kid might be ready and he is really needed right now. While William Contreras will always hit, he’s been prone to the passed ball and the stolen base. Langeliers is not that guy. He controls the running game and pitchers love to throw to him. The one thing that we didn’t expect is the bat. He is THOR at the plate right now. He’s already jacked 7 HRs in the most pitching friendly league in all of baseball and 3 of them have come at home, in the most pitching friendly stadium in all of baseball. In total, he’s got a 1.049 OPS and a cannon for an arm. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him up in the bigs by August.
- Trey Harris: Trey started slow and has hit his stride after a lost 2020, where he didn’t get the invite to the alt-site. In his last 6 games, he’s carrying a 1.070 OPS and looking like the Trey of old who just gets to the plate and hits. I still believe he has MLB potential.
- Victor Vodnik: This isn’t good news. In his last start, Victor came out of the game with some type of arm injury. As a max effort dude, this is concerning and worth keeping tabs on.
- Indigo Diaz: Seriously…this dude needs a promotion. He’s carrying vidya game numbers: 13.1 IP, 0.68 ERA, 19.6 K/9, 2.7 BB/9. He’s got some fire too. Gosh, it’d be so awesome if he develops into a shutdown closer.
- Beau Philip: Many prospect people think Philip has MLB potential and has real breakout potential this year. It didn’t start out that way, but Beau has rounded into form in the last 5 games, carrying a 1.065 OPS over that time frame with 3 doubles and a HR. I still feel his MLB ceiling likely is a super-utility fielder with a hit tool similar to Ehire Adrianza.
- Kevin Josephina: He’s 24 years old and has been in the org since 2014 and, to be blunt, has been a glove first, bat non-existent, for his entire career. He’s finally showing some pop to go with the glove. In his last 9 games, he’s carrying a 1.122 OPS with 2 HRs. He has 3 on the year in 74 PAs, which is quite impressive has he’s only had 6 in 1365 career PAs before 2021.
Augusta Green Jackets
- Joey Estes: Here’s definitely a name to start tracking as he’s sending everyone back to the dugout. In 5 starts, he’s carrying a 1.29 ERA in 21 innings with 29 strikeouts to only 6 walks.
- Darius Vines: With a curve worth of a Touki Toussaint comp, Vines will be…well, climbing the prospect vine at midseason. He’s carrying a 1.89 ERA in 19 innings with 25 Ks to 7 walks.
Vaughn Grissom: After a slow start to the season where he went 1 for his first 11, Grissom, who’s fully transitioned to 3B now, has picked it up with a .288/.393/.373 slash-line. The power will come as he’s a big kid. At 20 years old, there’s still time but he’s got real breakout potential.
- Willie Carter: .351/.457/.494 slashline. Ok…he’s old for his level, but this dude can rake and I expect he’ll talk Michael Harris‘s place at Rome when Harris gets the call to AA. I don’t know if he has MLB potential yet, but he’s reminiscent of Evan Gattis when he was with Rome. Did you know he was a janitor?
From Braves Marine:
Love the recap tfloyd. Maybe I misunderstand what was said regarding the discussion with the checkout guy: but Eddie Matthews didn’t spend his career with one franchise. His last 2 yrs were with Detroit and Houston.
Don’t get me wrong; I love Tucker Davidson, but we just won one game with a RH and lost two with a LH. Wouldn’t it make more sense to go righty today? It’s not like Bryse is worse at this point.
BTW, tfloyd, I love Ramona the Pest. I just wish the Braves would see the “dawnzer lee light” and start winning. One of the joys of small children is incorporating “kinder-speak” into our daily language.
And I am not all that impressed with Contreras yet. He has done pretty well with the bat, but he is a terrible defensive catcher and it’s not just the PBs and SBs. His pitch-calling is terrible and framing is not so good. I really thought he was going to be a good defensive catcher, but I have not been impressed. I am just guessing but I bet the starting pitcher ERA was a lot better with Jackson behind the plate. He certainly seemed to enhance Ynoa, if nothing else.
An example on Contreras. Against Gomes, Minter was 0-2 and threw a cutter over the middle. No way should a cutter be called in that situation. That was the time for a FB above the zone and after that a change-up for the K. That cutter breaks right into his happy place from a lefty.
I like that Frenchy is making fun of Chip who is in top form again today.
Willie Carter is a big and powerful dude…thick.
On the other hand, Joey Estes looks a little iffy to me when I’m sitting in the first base side of the field. Had trouble with his command even though I don’t think he used a lot of walks.
@1–good call there. I’m pretty sure I misquoted the way checkout guy phrased the question about Eddie Mathews. I imagine he knew Mathews didn’t spend his entire career with the Braves. And I was certainly aware of it. When the Braves traded Mathews in 1966, they sorely disappointed my 11 year old self.
Whew .. looking at our bench .. has to be the worst bench in mlb .. aside from Panda .. Almonte, Inciarte and Smith .. that stinks
Good job by Tucker so far. Looks unfazed on the mound.
Chief, what was our exact bet about Smyly? I can’t remember.
@8 Hard to imagine someone thinking that Smyly is a better option. Pay Smyly to be a long man…who cares? The point is to win games, not protect the ego of the guy that signed him to a bad contract.
Will this be another close game turned over to this bullpen?
Both teams still asleep ..
IF — a VERY, VERY big if — the Braves have a “toxic” clubhouse, it would be because ownership won’t increase payroll and extend their franchise player or the GM for putting together a skeleton bench and bullpen. At worst, it’ll be because they’re simply disenfranchised over the injuries. Snitker would be the 4th-most likely reason.
Not sure about Davidson going through this lineup a third time, but what choice do they have? You probably have to see how the kid handles this sort of thing, anyway.
That said, the lads are averaging under 3 pitches per plate appearance today. Cripes, make Corbin work a little.
It’s called “bread crumbing.”
The pitcher determines what pitch is thrown. He also effects the running game.
The catcher has a big influence on balls, strikes, wild pitches and passed balls.
The Braves do not have a major league catcher in the big leagues.
@1, @6, it may be that nobody has played his entire career with the same franchise in three different home cities, at least until one of the current Blue Jays (Toronto/Buffalo/Dunedin) retires without playing for any other franchise. It doesn’t look like anyone played for the Philadelphia/Kansas City/Oakland A’s from 1954-68, and I can’t think of any other teams besides the A’s and the Braves that spent only a few years in a city after moving there. The Pilots moved to Milwaukee after just one year in Seattle, but they were an expansion team.
I did find someone with a superficially similar “accomplishment” that might be even more unlikely. A pitcher named Hector Maestri debuted by pitching one game for the Washington Senators in 1960. That winter, those Senators moved to Minnesota and the new Senators franchise picked Maestri in the expansion draft. He got into one game with the new Senators, and that was it for his MLB career. (Not sure why, as he gave up one ER in his 8 MLB innings, and his AAA numbers weren’t bad.) To top it off, both of his games were at home, so he played his entire career in the same city for two different franchises, both based in that city.
@8 Smyly and Tucker aren’t fighting for one spot. Tucker is basically taking the 5th spot when it is necessary.
If Smyly cuts down on the homers, which is at a career high rate, then he probably becomes a league average pitcher, which is what we paid him to be. The team has nothing else better to do than to give him 3-4 more starts to see if he can figure something out.
Don’t look now but Dansby with 10 homeruns.
@19 Yeah, Dansby now on a 30 HR pace across 162 because nothing this season makes any sense whatsoever.
I wonder who the the last shortstop that hit this empty of 30 HRs was. My first thought is this is something JJ Hardy would do. But even he had a .801 OPS the only year he hit 30 HRs. He did hit 25 with a .738 OPS, which is close. Sea Bass hit 23 twice with a .689 OPS and .741. That’s all I can find for truly empty power hitting SSs.
In this case, which team that is looking to contend but is struggling is more frustrated about a series split against a rival team that is also struggling? Probably the home team, us, but it’s not by much.
Also, I guess if a team is going to have a starter with an ERA near or above 6 in June, I’d rather it be our 5th starter (Drew Smyly) than their #2 starter (Patrick Corbin).
Matthew Kaminski plays “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35” as Ryan Zimmerman strides to the plate.
@19,20–you could say that Dansby has come close to establishing this level of home run power. In the first half of 2019 he hit 17, before injuries crushed his second half. Last year he was healthy and in 60 games he hit 10. And now 10 in two months of 2021.
I agree it will be a fairly empty 25-30 homers if his OBP remains around .300. But if he can consistently have an OBP closer to .350 and slug around .450 he is a very valuable player.
Well, Tucker is certainly legit. He’s got me dreaming of next year’s rotation of Soroka, Fried, Anderson. Ynoa, Davidson plus Wilson/Wright/de la Cruz and anyone else that doesn’t get traded as depth.
The team has a myriad of problems, some easily fixed, and some not so much. But what gets drowned out by others is how unreliable Will Smith has been.
-Depth in the bullpen
-Depth on the bench
Intermediate Difficulty Fixes:
-Late inning bullpen reliability
-5th starter issues
-Freddie performing below career expectations
Very Difficult Fixes:
-No middle of the order bat and seemingly no resources to get one
-Not having a third elite starting pitcher
I’m torn on the degree of difficulty to fix the 5th starter issues. Smyly would be league average for the rest of the year (very possible), and we would be fine.
Baseball needs to have the DH in both leagues. What other major sport is so moronic to have two rules for how many years now. And all the asinine gimmicks must go.
Plus stop giving the wrong pitcher the win, the loss, and the save.
Baseball is so far behind other sports it is comical. The commissioners have been horrific. Come on, Bud lame brain, and the clown that followed him.