What didnâ€™t go right yesterday?
Since starting the year with a 5.67 ERA in 12 starts, Charlie Morton has been a front of the rotation starter. Since his June 17th start, Charlie has a 2.61 ERA and has struck out 87 guys in 69 innings. Nice. Last night, he was unhittable. In 6.2 IP, he struck out 12, walked one, and gave up 3 hits in another scoreless start. He struck out the side in both the 2nd and 5th innings. This is the Charlie Morton we will need during the stretch run.
Matt Olson is starting to hit like Matt Olson. To say itâ€™s been a bit of a disappointing season for Olson is fair. After hitting .293/.398/.476 in April, he carried â€œonlyâ€ a .829 OPS during May, June, and July. But in the last 30 games, he has a .908 OPS and has hit 12 home runs. Last night, he hit another ball to the freaking moon, hitting on top of the Chop House:
Iâ€™m not sure Iâ€™ve seen a ball hit that far at Truist Park.
We have now won 8 straight, and we are only 3.5 back in the division. Now the hard part: the Braves face off tonight at 7:20, Jake Odorizzi vs. Max Scherzer. And then when weâ€™re done with that, weâ€™ll face Jacob deGrom. So these next two games will be no fun.
But the biggest news of the day is Michael Harris IIâ€™s extension. The breakdown is below:
I know the prevailing thought is that these are steals for the team, and they are. If Michael Harris II remains the player heâ€™s been in the first 3 months of his career, this is a steal for the Braves.
Ozzie Albies played half a season in 2020. Heâ€™ll miss at least 3 months this year. He hasnâ€™t played a full season where he produced a .800 OPS or higher since 2019. He fractured his elbow swinging a bat in the minors and fractured his foot swinging a bat this year. Thereâ€™s no guarantee this guy is going to have a long, healthy career.
Ronald Acuna Jr. played half the year last year and has struggled this year. Acuna could be Mike Trout or he could be Ron Gant. Or Bo Jackson. Or Eric Davis. In a 22 year career, Ken Griffey Jr. played more than 145 games exactly 8 times.
So for Harris, he locks in $72M. He can hit free agency in 2033 after making $107M. Even with all the surplus value you would expect Harris to produce during this time, Atlantaâ€™s still taking a risk.
Iâ€™m interested to hear what impact this might have on the Dansby negotiations. Why would he not want to stick around with this core locked up?
Chief did indeed get JC’ed, so I’m bringing it over:
Chief Nocahoma says:
August 17, 2022 at 8:28 am Edit
I’m sure this will get JC’d but I thought I’d do a little thought experiment based on the Harris extention news.
I’m going to name a current Brave and then two former players and you pick which of them their entire career will most resemble…
*Acuna – Roberto Clemente (or a player slightly below this level but still 1st ballot HOF) or Eric Davis
*Albies – Jeff Kent-very lite ( I think the Joe Morgan train has long left the bldg) or Bret Boone (high peaks but low lows .266 career BA)
*Harris Jr. – Kenny Lofton or Marquis Grissom (.272 career BA 23 HR high in career)
*Vaughn Grissom- Babe Ruth or Rogers Hornsby 🙂
*Ian Anderson- 4.5 career ERA innings eater 5th starter type or mid to higher 3s ERA 3rd starter material
*Max Fried – Continued #1/Ace or future decline to 3rd – 4th starter faster than most
*Spencer Strider – 180+ career wins guy(no one is going to win 300 games anymore or probably not so thresholds are much lower in my scenario) or flash in the pan that settles into a mid-rotation starter
*Austin Riley- Mike Schmidt-lite or a perennial All Star but non HOF type guy.
*Mike Soroka- 100 career wins or… under that and never really is able to get healthy
It was not coordinated by Chief and I to reference Eric Davis at the same time. Chief is beginning to join the elite thinkers of his day.
Great to see this version of Charlie over the last several weeks. This is exactly what we need to push past the Mets and match their starting pitching.
I do think the biggest road block to a Dansby extension could be/will be that Casey Close is his agent and he seems salty toward AA and the Braves and that makes me nervous
Nice, Rob. Thanks. Add to that Soroka back on the mound and it was a huge day yesterday.
We took care of business and now are supposed to lose the next two games. I have zero faith in what I have seen from Odorizzi so far. Usually no way he can beat Scherzer. Right? Go Braves!
I’m starting to think that Acuna is more Eric Davis than he is a very destitute man’s Willie Mays…
I think instead of a generational talent, he’s more of a perennial All-Star but not ever the best player in the league type of player. FWIW, I don’t think it is talent but I do think some of it is attitudinal and I also think that he definitely does not have the 6th tool and that’s injury luck. Mantle didn’t have it. Ted Williams was somewhat injury prone, even.
Eric Davis is who he reminds me of alot. Some absolutely DAZZLING (is he Babe Ruth?) moments, but also a lot of boneheaded plays where you are scratching your head.
Albies I’m going to say that unless he scraps switch hitting, he’s destined to be a career .270 hitter with some years where he hits 25 HRs but more where he hits 16 and hits .255.
Ian Anderson, I’ll project somewhere between a true 3rd starter and a 5th starter. So we’ll call it a career 4th starter. Some years where he may go 14-8 but some years sprinkled in where he is closer to .500. As good as the Braves org seems to be though, that may be somewhere else, long term.
Strider has ACE stuff, period. But I cannot divine from the crystal ball yet where I think he will be long term. Still in SSS territory for me.
Riley I’d guess given his ‘body’ will probably not be Mike Schmidt lite and will be more Lance Berkman and Scott Rolen-lite than truly elite. FWIW, obviously if you’re the Braves you’d take Scott Rolen lite for a career and call it a day, right now probably.
Harris’ power I believe is REAL. The ball JUMPS off of his bat in a way that I had NO IDEA that it would.
Grissom also looks the part as that power is real and he is a very big man who will probably fill out even more. I’m optimistic that he’s a career 20 WAR player plus.
Fried I worry has a touch of the lack of 6th tool, being somewhat injury prone, but not nearly to the extent of Acuna or even Albies. It’s always seemingly minor things. I’ll go with… borderline ace but probably more #2 than definitive #1 for the rest of his career.
I am going to predict that if Grissom plays well for the remainder of this season (including demonstrating enough defensive chops to cover SS), the Braves will tender Dansby a Qualifying Offer and if/when Dans declines, they’ll basically let him walk unless he’s willing to sign for something reasonable. Dans will try to get himself a nice payday (something like Trevor Story’s deal, 6/$140M) and will almost certainly get it from somewhere other than Atlanta.
Much like Freeman last year (sad face), if Dansby was going to sign with the Braves after his team-controlled years end I think we’d have already seen that deal done.
@5 How is Max Fried injury prone? He’s played full seasons in the last 4 years. I guess you could say he didn’t play a full season last year (28 starts)? 🤷♂️ He was one of only 39 pitchers who made 28 starts last year, so that’s about as “full season” as it gets nowadays.
Max Fried is 5th in fWAR right now, 18th last year, and 28th the year before. He’s 28, and he’s pitching like he’s in his prime. He’s an ace in every since of the word.
Agreed about just about everything else though.
@6 There’s definitely room in the payroll and the lineup for both Dansby and Grissom. But while I hope that doesn’t happen, what you’re predicting could very well happen.
I do think the biggest road block to a Dansby extension could be/will be that Casey Close is his agent and he seems salty toward AA and the Braves and that makes me nervous
Casey Close probably needs a pretty smooth FA process with Dansby after what happened with Freddie. I agree with others that, if anything, Close will be dotting all i’s and crossing all t’s, not sandbagging a negotiation because he doesn’t like AA.
@9 I hope you are right. The FF5 situation was a fiasco from the agents side and probably needs to keep this one drama free. Playing chicken with the best GM in baseball most likely will not end up well for Close
I’d take the talent of Acuna, Riley and Fried, with the caveat that Acuna is injury prone. Besides, Acuna has 2.3 bWAR so far, and I think he’ll find his power stroke before too long.
Anderson is 4th starter, Strider its too early to tell. Soroka has ace material, but we need to see him pitch. And Albies is perfectly fine as a 2nd baseman who gives you 20-25 HR and decent defense. It’s too early on Grissom, but I love what I see so far.
But I’m probably most excited about Harris. He’s got Andruw like defense with power and a great average. If he can walk a bit more, he’ll be an MVP candidate in the future.
Glad we have some young talent locked in for a few years ..Im just always a little leary of them getting complacent .. I think we seen some of that with Albies, Acuna, Riley ( a little bit – he was on a tear the week before he signed ) – curious to see numbers since signing the big contract ..
Riley signed his big contract Aug 1 … Riley hitting .200 in Aug .. 1 HR and 6 RBI’s
Adding to Riley ..the month of July he hit .423 11HR and 25 RBI’s .. but thats his MVP stats .. hope he snaps out of it soon …
To be honest, I think Ronald is exactly the guy he seems to be. He’s not the best player in baseball — I wish his OBP were a little higher, and his defense is great in right but not stellar in center, and whatever. Want a comp? I think he’s basically the player that Mookie Betts is. (Betts’s career triple slash is .294/.370/.519; Ronald’s is .281/.375/.528.)
I really don’t know how to discuss Eric Davis as a comp for anything but an incredibly talented guy whose career was tragically cut short by injuries, like Pete Reiser or Albert Belle. I think Ronald’s extended slump was clearly related to his injury and rehab, and the past week has shown him to be the same Ronald we’ve watched for the last five years. That guy may not be a seven-win player every year (perennial MVP candidate), but he’s easily a five- or six-win player every year (perennial All-Star).
As Johnny Rotten asked, do ya ever feel like you’ve been cheated? Only if you let your expectations get ahead of you.
Anderson, I wish I knew. But I’ll say he’ll be one of those guys who hangs around a long time and has a few superlative seasons and a bunch of okay ones. Somewhere between Kevin Millwood and Al Leiter.
Albies, we thought he’d be a high-contact, high-average guy with surprising power, like young Jose Altuve. Turns out he decided to sell out for power in a major way — so he’s more like old Jose Altuve. Low average, high power, good speed, good defense: actually, he’s a lot more like Eric Davis than Ronald Acuña is.
Strider, I’ll go with you on SSS. Sky’s the limit, if he can harness his fastball command.
Harris, it doesn’t look like there’s anything he can’t do. The Lofton comp is extraordinary, but why not?
Grissom, I’ll plead too soon to say. His poise has been incredibly impressive given his age and relative inexperience, but so much is still unknown: how much game power will he really retain? What will his eventual position be? How will he adjust, once the pitchers start picking him apart? Hard to dislike what we’ve seen so far, though, that’s for sure.
Fried, I think Cole Hamels could be a pretty good comp.
Riley doesn’t have the glove that Rolen had, but he has a slightly better stick. Still, I think Rolen’s a Hall of Famer. (I think Lofton is, too.) I’ll say pre-injury David Wright.
Re: Harris – I worry about the fact that his plate discipline stats look like garbage (10 walks / 65 strikeouts in 71 games) and while he’s hit the ball hard he’s also benefited from an elevated HR/FB rate (and hasn’t hit a lot of flyballs to start with). He might end up looking like Javy Baez, where you’re getting a dynamic player with excellent defense who struggles to keep his OBP meaningfully above .300. Bottom line, Harris will need to make some adjustments if he wants to hit near the top of the lineup in the long run.
We’d be fortunate if Ozzie can turn into “old Jose Altuve”. Ozzie’s best year at the plate was .295/.352/.500 back in 2019 and hasn’t had an OBP above .310 since. Altuve has hit .278/.350/.489 and .280/.369/.507 the last couple of years. Ozzie’s still young-ish (25) and could develop, but he’s been around seemingly forever and has not shown any kind of improvement in his approach. Ozzie definitely gets swing-happy and expands his zone, using his contact skills as a crutch. Basically, unless Ozzie can evolve, he is who he is – good not great, a role player on a playoff quality team.
Yes, both of those points are completely fair. Harris’s weak walk rate is the one flaw in his game, and Ozzie’s OBP is obviously the biggest flaw in his game by a matter of miles. They both have a high baseball IQ and they’re both still young so I think it’s not crazy to think they could improve their approach. Particularly Harris, whose OBP in the minors was better and who has demonstrated an ability to make adjustments at the major league level. Albies’s year was pretty bad across the board this year, but in 2018, 2019, and 2021, he was a consistent four-win player with the power and glove combination. I don’t see a huge reason to assume anything other than that this year was a 60-game blip.
All in all, they’re both first-division starters and up-the-middle lineup anchors. The one thing that is of paramount importance is that Ozzie Albies must never under any circumstances be permitted near the top of the lineup. Never ever.
I love Harris but I’m a little surprised the Braves were ready to give him that type of contract with such a small sample size.
I remain high on Albies.
Harris has such a small sample above A ball, but the power is real, and the defense is real.
I love prime Dansby, but if 2-3 years past prime is anything like 2-3 years before prime, not nearly as much.
I haven’t seen Grissom pitch yet, so I’ll go with Hornsby 🙂
@15 from your lips to Snit’s ears in regard to where Ozzie hits in the lineup
Harris’ K/BB in the minors was perfectly fine and he looks like he’s got a good head on his shoulders; I have faith that he can adjust and end up with a K/BB ratio more like 2:1 or 3:1 than 6:1.
Dansby is a really solid player but 2022 is almost certainly his peak. He’s hit .256/.324/.416 for his career, which gets the job done but isn’t exactly going to strike terror in the hearts of his foes. If he’s hitting .260 / .315 / .425 next year for someone else, so be it.
Been reading a lot today about how the Braves are building up an (unfair?) advantage by buying out the arb years for their young core players. The undertone is usually that we’re somehow taking advantage of these guys.
Seems like our strategy here is pretty easy to copy. Step one: draft and develop a whole starting lineup of super-talented young players. Why isn’t everyone doing this? Lol
Odds are that at least one of these deals isn’t going to work out in our favor, and we’ll have to expand payroll to cover those misses. I think the Braves understand this and see it as a calculated risk. As long as we’re fielding a contending lineup, Truist Park is a money printing machine. From the player’s side, who would say no to $70M guaranteed at age 21? Nobody. The answer there is exactly nobody. I can’t imagine 21 year old me in that situation…there’s definitely some risks here. I’d need a 24×7 chaperone, lol.
If he stays healthy is a wide brush to paint with.
Ready for something depressing? Since June 23rd, Marcell Ozuna is hitting .187/.238/.355. Kill me now.
Against LHP this year, he’s hitting .186/.252/.230.
.721 OPS against RHP. So you can probably hit him only against crappy RHP for him to have any value whatsoever. Contreras could start against LHP and tough RHP.
@20: I agree completely. Albies, Acuna, Olson, Riley and Harris (and Freeman and McCann before them) all had representatives who negotiated these contracts who are no doubt aware of both the upside and downsides of risk reduction. Kibitzers outside the process can complain as much as they like about “money left on the table,” but it ain’t their table. And labor earnings are the hardest earnings to diversify because they depend so much on effort levels that are essentially impossible to monitor and because the downsides are so catastrophic. So anyone offering such diversity needs a substantial discount for it to make sense.
@20 Juan Soto, age 23, just said no to $440M, but I do see your point.
Right, nobody has a gun to their head saying, “You must accept this multi-million-dollar contract.”
Yeah, what a nefarious plot:
1) Draft guys from your backyard who want to play in their backyard.
2) Be the only team within 500-1000 miles worth playing for.
3) Develop them.
4) Treat them really well.
5) Offer them life-changing wealth well before they’re contractually guaranteed life-changing wealth.
I tell ya, it’s the work of a Bond villain, really.
This is close to the most satisfying week (near week) for me as a Braves fan since late 1995.
8 straight wins. A third exceptional rookie call up this year. Another contract extension signed. Soroka having a good (even great, but adjusted by quality of opposition) night.
Three AAA fill in starters performing admirably. A few bullpen pickups brought in for nothing, performing admirably.
Be the prophet, Al Davis. Just win baby.
@24, that could turn out to be one of the dumbest decisions ever made by a player/agent. I guess he’s making great money this year so why not roll the dice and wager $400M so you don’t have to play and live in DC. Maybe that’s a fair wager. Heh. I’m thankful we don’t have to ever deal with Boras clients.
Nice. Reds walk-off win 1-0 against the Phillies.
I think I saw that the Harris deal is the biggest contract ever for someone with so little MLB experience. Gotta think it’s also the biggest contract ever for a player with a majority of their career plate appearances coming in the 9-hole.
Wander Franco had 104 days of service time and signed a bigger contract, but Harris seems to have about 75 days of service time, so he seems to have the largest contract of someone with that little service time. Previous record holder for someone with less service time was Luis Roberts, who had zero days and signed a $50M deal.
None of these deals are really that crazy. It’s just noteworthy that one team is doing so many of them.
@28 How is that dumb? It’s the same logic for why our guys are signing below market deals: take less money so you can be where you want to be. He didn’t want to be in Washington.
Jake, perfect home run derby pitcher. Which is worse his pitching or L L umpiring? Equal, both horrendous.
Acuna will never be an other Roberto Clemente. As a matter of fact, few will.
I saw Roberto play enough games to know his was unique. How many years would he have had left?
Albies we all like him. But he will continue to be a disappointment.
Top five hitters were not serious.
That is a game the Braves could have won with better management.
Win today and take two of three from Houston, you have an outstanding week.
I would love to see such a thing happen.
But I will keep my coins in my pocket.