The Braves beat the Nationals in extra innings yesterday and news has not stopped bopping since. In today’s game thread piece, let’s take a look at the Braves that were selected to the All-Star team, transactions that landed just in time to kick the Mets’ Ass, and a trade that seems meh at first glance, but could really prove beneficial.
Your Braves All-Stars
Ronald Acuña Jr. is the most talented player of the 4 above, and likely the player most undeserving. Dansby Swanson is on pace for a 6+ WAR season, Max Fried a 7+ WAR season, and Travis D’Arnaud a 4.5 WAR.
Shea who? William Contreras has been an absolute monster all year, boasting a .935 OPS on the year with 11 HRs. Also, when was the last time that 2 catchers from the same team made the All-Star game?
As a fan of a team that has 6 All-Stars, is it selfish to want more? Both Austin Riley and Spencer Strider are deserving and could be added at a later date. Like Dansby, Riley is on pace for a 6+WAR season. Meanwhile, Huckleberry Strider has appeared in 19 games, started 8, and holds a 2.60 ERA while averaging 14 K/9 to only 3.4 BB/9. You’d be hard pressed to find 14 more dominant pitchers in the league.
Robinson CanDo or Cannot?
While grabbing someone to replace Phil Gosselin wasn’t all the surprising, Robinson Cano was definitely not on my radar. This move reminds me of more desperate times when Anthopoulos brought Jose Bautista in to play 3B and he carried an OPS under .600. Cano will likely have a very short leash and if it doesn’t go well, he’ll be DFA’d. He was down on San Diego’s farm so it might not be too much of a stretch to see him accept an assignment to Gwinnett. Here’s the rest of the transaction:
Let’s Make a Deal!
In a deal that might be a head-scratcher at first for fans, the Braves traded away one of their former 1st round picks + some for…a first round pick.
It’s been 2 years since Drew Waters was a real prospect in my mind. Too much arrogance and too few results. Both he and C.J. Alexander have better shots making the bigs with the Royals. Andrew Hoffman might be the best prospect in this trio as he has good stuff that needs to be challenged at AA. There’s a lot to like about this kid and could be a solid back-end starter in a few years.
So…why did the Braves make this trade? In a series of tweets from my friend Andy Harris, who is co-owner over at Outfield Fly Rule (and has a great Braves farm podcast, in case you’re in the market) broke down the reasoning behind the deal:
VP of Scouting Dana Brown has conducted three drafts for Atlanta to date. His biggest obvious successes are the two MVP candidates on the roster, 2019 3rd-rounder Michael Harris II and 2020 4th-rounder Spencer Strider.
He also drafted six players who have been moved to other orgs to address urgent needs. Shea Langeliers (2019 1st round), Ryan Cusick (2021 1st round), and Joey Estes (2019 16th round) to Oakland for Matt Olson. Bryce Ball (2019 24th round) to the Cubs for Joc Pederson. Ricky DeVito (2019 8th rounder) to the Pirates for Richard Rodriguez. Kasey Kalich (2019 4th rounder) to Kansas City for Jorge Soler.
Another three draft picks still in the system have career minor league wRC+ of 115 or higher. Vaughn Grissom (2019 11th rounder) – 139 Justyn-Henry Malloy (2021 6th rounder) – 137 Jesse Franklin V (2020 3rd rounder) – 115.
Another five draft picks still in the system have career strikeout-to-walk ratios of greater than 4. Dylan Dodd (2021 3rd round) 5.37 Andrew Hoffmann (2021 12th round) 4.38 Jared Shuster (2019 1st round) 4.29 Tanner Gordan (2019 6th round) 4.13 Darius Vines (2019 7th round) 4.05.
All of this is to say that the amount of impact that Brown’s three drafts have had on the immediate fortunes of the Atlanta Braves can’t be understated. It’s very rare for this to be the case. Kudos to Brown, Alex Anthopoulous, and all the scouting and player development folks.Andy Harris
When Anthopoulos signed off on this move, he also signed up for $2.2MM more in his draft pool. And for a draft that is considered top-heavy, it’s good to have that extra $2.2MM to throw at this:
Robinson Cano gets his Braves debut, Money Michael Harris gets a promotion, and Varsity is on the hill against Crazy Eyes. Baseball’s going to be fun tonight!