Braves News, Some Thoughts and Game Thread

A picture of Ozzie Albies hustling down the line for a base hit.

We’re living in a mad world. A mad, mad world. The Braves, who are 52-54 on the season, are 3.5 games out of 1st place in the NL East. That shouldn’t be possible, yet here we are and the division is still up for grabs. Hopefully the team continues the record breaking trend tonight by grabbing a W, then puts that mess to rest by stringing a few wins in a row.

Braves News: Injury Updates

Guys and gals, it looks like the end of Kevan Smith might be near. Hopefully Travis d’Arnaud can put together some semblance of 2020 Travis because the Braves really need that from the catcher’s spot that’s been offensively brutal in 2021.

Let’s not judge a small sample, rather let’s continue to hope that the larger smaller sample from 2021 is the correct-sized sample and that Huascar Ynoa is both an elite pitcher and an elite hitter. I can dream, can’t I?

My Favorite Wins an Award

I’ve seen video after video of Ozzie Albies working to get better, both in-season and offseason. This is well deserved and how lucky we are to have a player dedicated to being a decent human and an evergreen learner of the game.

One Short of a Flush

I figured the Braves were in on Starling Marte after a good source told me the Braves had asked about Bryan Reynolds. In the end, the Braves chose this route and it’s easy to see why, especially in a year where they’ve yet to break .500. I liked the moves made at the deadline as they lengthen the lineup and give the team a real chance of winning the NL East. And, truth be told, I’m fine if that is the outcome for 2021. With all the hardships that have hit this team, that would be a major accomplishment, or an utter failure from the other 4 teams. Either way, I’d welcome it.

Braves Lineup

Here’s the lineup the Braves are going with tonight:

Continue the string of mediocrity then start a new pattern tomorrow.

Author: Ryan Cothran

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

38 thoughts on “Braves News, Some Thoughts and Game Thread”

  1. With Duvall, Pederson, and Soler in there, it definitely looks like we have more major leaguers in the lineup than we did a few weeks ago. Here’s hoping they actually produce!

  2. FWIW I hate Dansby in the 5 slot and there is no reason he should be ahead of Duvall and Joc, no matter what hand the pitcher throws with.

  3. I’m not a fan of Soler batting 2nd even against a LHP. I’d rather them move Freeman and Riley up to 2nd and 3rd, and maybe slot Soler or Dansby in at cleanup.

  4. Thank you, Ryan. How it is that the Braves season is not yet lost is beyond me. Miracles have happened, even to Braves’ teams.
    Hey, let’s win the whole thing.

  5. Now, look what we have here before us! We got the Mets sitting next to the Phillies. We’ve got the Marlins right by the Nationals. Nobody is wasting nobody.

    That… is a miracle.

    And miracles is the way things ought to be.

  6. Yes, tonight is our night to win. My bold prediction is the streak is broken either tonight or tomorrow night. Let’s hope it’s tomorrow night!

  7. Greetings. I will temporarily re-emerge, if i may, with some profound news for those yet to read it – there does turn out to be, after all, an analytic(two actually, one with the other) that blows the doors off what you thought your eyes could have been able to see. You will find it in Ivan’s post at 1pm this afternoon on TC.

    No more comments from me, an arch denier…till i read this. Austin Riley, I weep for you. And for us. Cheers and thanks for the indulgence.

  8. Long piece about a quirk of Riley’s statistical season, he’s hit well in low- and medium-leverage settings but poorly in high leverage. Probably just a fluky artifact of sample size, but illustrates how frustrating the season has been: our boys sure can’t pick their spots.

    Here’s Fangraphs tracking all the prospects traded at the deadline, ranked by Future Value (FV). We gave up one 45 (Alex Jackson), one 40+ (Bryce Ball), a 40 (Ricky Devito) and a 35+ (Kasey Kalich).

    Of the 75 prospects who exchanged hands, the ones we let go of turned out to be #15, #23, #40, and #55. So while we didn’t give up nothing, it likely still wasn’t very much.

  9. @9 I’ve never witnessed such a huge disparity between collecting hits and runs in low leverage situations and performing comparatively poorly in high leverage.

    You’d think Snitker and Seitzer would have an answer for this. Roster construction obviously plays some role, but not a complete one.

  10. I really don’t think it means anything. I agree with the author:

    “None of this really suggests it’s been a systematic struggle for Riley, but just a quirk of when certain results have occurred… All in all, this isn’t a thing. It’s a quirk.”

  11. This is not to criticize Ivan’s work, but I think you need context. Riley’s WPA of -0.24 is indeed abnormally low, but it is easily fixed with one or two clutch hits. Indeed, you can change a -0.24 WPA to positive in one at-bat. I’m a big fan of WPA, but it is really really variable… way more variable than almost any other important quantity. Now maybe he won’t fix that, but the inference that he has a problem, is for now, completely unwarranted.

    Riley’s strikeout with runners on 2nd and 3rd and one out in the eight inning of a 2-1 game last Wednesday was -.19 all by itself. If he had managed a sac fly, it would have been about +.1. So that’s a .29 spread on a single at bat, without even getting a hit. You don’t have to be all-in on the notion that clutch hitting is not a skill to see that one at-bat just can’t define a “skill.”

  12. Everyone compares Sean Newcomb to Jon Lester. I’m starting to see the comparison.

  13. Kevan Smith steps up with the bases loaded and no outs, and immediately hits into a double play. Seems right.

  14. What catastrophe have the Barves cooked up to lose this 92.1 percent win probability game? Mediocrity at all costs!!!!!

  15. Yeah that WPA thing shouldn’t be viewed as predictive going forward. It’s just one of those random baseball things…and also contributing to the Braves Pythagorean/Actual record disparity.

  16. For those of you on tenterhooks, the North Adams Steeplecats have emerged triumphant in their wildcard game with an easy 5-2 victory. Heading home to catch the rest of the Braves game on the big screen.

  17. Every at bat of Kevan Smith tonight hopefully brings us one at bat closer to the end of his tenure with Atlanta

  18. I don’t agree that the Riley stats are nothing because they tend to show what you can plainly see. He does take a different approach in high leverage situations. He’s more “old Riley” than “new Riley” – less selective and more swing-and-miss. I’m sure they are working on it but he needs to learn to keep his cool and stick with his process in high leverage.

    However, one confounding factor is that extreme success in low and medium leverage leads to fewer high leverage situations (e.g. blowouts). I’m not sure that WPA is measuring prevention of high leverage.

  19. @12 You sort of missed the point of Ivan’s article (Talking Chop). Riley has a “problem” but the problem is bad luck. Clutch isn’t something that can be corrected. This is something that will likely correct itself eventually. I don’t think he was inferring that Riley is doing something wrong at all.

  20. We’re up 6-0, so whatever, but Fried hitting for himself in the top of the 6 after throwing 80-something pitches is probably not necessary. You should be able to give the ball to 2 relievers to work 2 innings apiece and be done with this thing.

  21. @8: miss you, blazon. Be well, old friend.

    I am delighted that JonathanF can use words to explain mathematical mysteries. I need all the help I can get.

  22. @28: That’s why I was careful not to criticize Ivan. I agree with him. Who I disagree with (and it’s a very long term disagreement — welcome back, blazon) is with my old friend blazon, who used Ivan’s article (in comment 8) to revive an old argument he’s had with me (and tfloyd and others) that clutch hitting is a skill.

  23. @12, I don’t think Ivan would say that it’s only because Riley’s WPA is negative that it’s noteworthy, though that does make it more unusual. Even if he gets a couple of hits in high-leverage situations and brings his WPA to slightly above 0, it still will be lower than normal considering his overall offensive performance this year.

    This discussion reminds me of how I see the difference between the best player and the MVP. A .320/.400/.500 player who hits unusually well in high-leverage situations over a season may well be more valuable that year than a .330/.420/.520 player who doesn’t, even if (since overperformance in high-leverage situations is almost certainly not a real skill) the second player is the better player.

    By the way, until this year, Dansby had hit very well in high-leverage situations and had a positive WPA despite an OPS+ below 90. That didn’t mean that he is a clutch hitter, only that he was one over his career through last year.

  24. Let’s all hope we do not see an other 2-1 game tomorrow, with the Braves on the wrong end.
    Albies as everyone knows is not a lead off hitter. Two things to consider, one, who else?
    And two, don’t ask him to change resulting in a bad performance.

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