February 9, 2012 at 2:58 pm by Ben Duronio under Atlanta Braves, Prospects
Earlier today, Keith Law’s rank of the top-100 prospectsand top-10 prospects per team were released. He ranked Arodys Vizcaino first, which is the first time this has been done by any major publication this year. In fact, in the aggregate ranking I compiled earlier this week, Teheran was ranked first by every writer.
Here is a comment Law had about Vizcaino:
He will pitch at 92-96 mph as a starter and touched 98 in relief for the big club, with some late life up in the zone. His main secondary pitch is a very hard curveball, breaking down hard at slider velocity with two-plane action and depth. He has good arm speed on his changeup and was much more effective against left-handed pitchers in the minors last year, even though he comes from just under three-quarters and gives those batters a longer look at the ball. He accelerates his arm very quickly and gets on top of the ball well but doesn’t get great extension out front.
The fastball and curveball are deadly, which is why it is so easy to project Vizcaino as a late-inning reliever. His fastball velocity was the fifteenth fastest on average last year, which speaks to how hard the young Dominican can throw. The curveball is certainly a plus pitch as well. While the vertical movement is not tremendous for a curveball, he throws it at a high velocity and has solid command over it. Although the velocity is high on the curveball, it is not exactly slider velocity as Law states. Sliders are typically around 7 mph slower than a fastball while curveballs are usually close to 12 mph behind. Vizcaino’s curveball is about an 82 mph pitch, which is about 13 mph off his fastball velocity.
Where I get confused a bit in Law’s report is the changeup. Jonathan Mayo did not mention the pitch in his report, Goldstein called it a below average pitch before last season, Mike Newman of Scouting the Sally said it had potential in 2010 but noted flaws in it, and Newman has also talked to a scout that called him a “sure fire bullpen arm.” It is doubtful that scouts would not be calling Vizcaino a bullpen arm if his third pitch was as good as Law suggests.
I had not read anywhere last year that his changeup developed to where it was “much more effective against left-handed pitchers in the minors last year.” Law obviously meant left-handed batters, but I am uncertain of the accuracy of the rest of the statement as well.
How many times did he see Vizcaino pitch last year? If he saw that the changeup develop in the small amount of appearances he saw, why would he not simply say how or why he thought the pitch improved?
This was not an in depth scouting report, and maybe we can contact Keith and see if he can expand upon his reasoning. Still, I am unsure of how much the pitch has developed. Of the 317 pitches he threw for the Braves last year, just seven were changeups. That is taken from a small sample size, and as a reliever with his two-pitch arsenal he does not need to throw the third pitch frequently. However, if the pitch had developed as Law stated, it probably would have been thrown more frequently than on 2% of his pitches.
While I am unsure if the pitch actually has developed, I do understand that there is certainly room for it to reach a quality level. If the Braves do need Vizcaino to start in 2013 or later, moving him from the bullpen to the rotation is an option. The big key will end up being the changeup, and it will be hard for him to develop it if he is not throwing it more than one or two times per 100 pitches. My expectation is that either the changeup becomes a more common pitch in his arsenal this year, or he ends up being a reliever long term.
February 7, 2012 at 1:49 pm by Ben Duronio under Atlanta Braves, Prospects
Today Kevin Goldstein released his top-20 prospect list and yesterday Jonathan Mayo released his. Even though Keith Law is scheduled to release his later this week, I felt like putting together the list now and aggregating it before Law’s is released.
1. Julio Teheran
2. Arodys Vizcaino
3. Randall Delgado
4. Sean Gilmartin
5. Andrelton Simmons
6. Christian Bethancourt
7. Edward Salcedo
8. Tyler Pastornicky
9. Zeke Spruill
10. J.J. Hoover
11. Brandon Drury
12. Joey Terdoslavich
13. JR Graham
14. Carlos Perez
15. Matt Lipka
16. Nick Ahmed
17. Adam Milligan
18. Tommy La Stella
19. Todd Cunningham
20. Kyle Kubitza
21. Mycal Jones
22. Dimaster Delgado
23. Billy Bullock
24. Cory Gearrin
25. Navery Moore
I like the list a lot, and ours is actually rather comparable with a few differences. As Martin from TC has pointed out, the top-15 or so is usually extremely consistent though the order varies. I may decide to either make an additional post or edit this one once Law’s list is put together.
July 12, 2011 at 11:39 am by Ben Duronio under Atlanta Braves, Minor Leagues, Prospects
Peter and I put together our own lists and I put the results together to come up with the final list. Peter has seen more of these players in person than I have, so when a tie was reached I sided with his first-hand knowledge as most of my analysis is based off of statistics and scouting reports. Below is Peter’s list, my list, and the aggregate list with details on each prospect.
1. Julio Teheran
2. Randall Delgado
3. Edward Salcedo
4. Arodys Vizcaino
5. Sean Gilmartin
6. Tyler Pastornicky
7. Paul Clemens
8. J.J. Hoover
9. Brett Oberholtzer
10. Christian Bethancourt
11. Andrelton Simmons
12. Adam Milligan
13. Carlos Perez
14. Todd Cunningham
15. Zeke Spruill
16. Nick Ahmed
17. Mycal Jones
18. Matt Lipka
19. Joseph Terdoslavich
20. Barrett Kleinknecht
21. Juan Abreu
22. Cory Gearrin
23. Seth Moranda
24. David Filak
25. Kyle Kubitza
1. Julio Teheran
2. Randall Delgado
3. Arodys Vizcaino
4. Edward Salcedo
5. Tyler Pastornicky
6. J.J. Hoover
7. Sean Gilmartin
8. Christian Bethancourt
9. Adam Milligan
10. Brett Oberholtzer
11. Nick Ahmed
12. Zeke Spruill
13. Carlos Perez
14. Paul Clemens
15. Matt Lipka
16. Andrelton Simmons
17. Phillip Gosselin
18. Todd Cunningham
19. Billy Bullock
20. Mycal Jones
21. Joseph Terdoslavich
22. Juan Abreu
23. Abraham Espinosa
24. Kyle Kubitza
25. Cody Martin
1. Julio Teheran – 6”2, 175lb RH SP, Current Level: AAA
Teheran was the World Team starter in the futures game and one of the top prospects in all of baseball. He should be in the rotation consistently some time next season, although he has already made two MLB starts.
2. Randall Delgado – 6”3, 200lb RH SP, Current Level: AA
Delgado has struck out 90 batters in 97.2 innings at double-A this year and made his MLB debut against the Rangers earlier this season. He should be ready to stick in the rotation some time next year, but may be used more as a sixth starter due to the glutton of MLB level starters.
3. Edward Salcedo – 6”3, 195lb RH 3B, Current Level: Low-A
In Salcedo’s first full season in the states he is proving why he was such a big signing for the Braves. Salcedo has the best bat in the system and while he has struggled defensively, does not profile as a below average defender. We will not see Salcedo for a few seasons, but he should be the team’s top prospect when he debuts.
4. Arodys Vizcaino – 6”0, 190lb RH SP/RP, Current Level: AA
Vizcaino started the year at high-A Lynchburg but pitched well enough to earn a promotion after nine starts. His exceptional two pitches may force him to the back-end of a bullpen, which he could be ready for this year. He still has a chance to stay in the rotation.
5. Tyler Pastornicky – 5”11, 170lb RH SS, 21yo, Current Level: AA
Pastornicky was acquired in the Yunel Escobar trade with Toronto and has improved offensively since joining the Braves. His stolen base rate has slightly declined, but his power numbers and hit tool have improved. He may be ready to start at shortstop some time next season.
6. Sean Gilmartin – 6”2, 195lb LH SP, 21yo, Current Level: Unsigned
Gilmartin was the first round draft pick for the Braves this year, and features a deadly changeup with an average fastball. As a college arm, Gilmartin should be able to advance rather quickly, though likely not as fast as Mike Minor has.
7. J.J. Hoover – 6”3, 215lb RH SP/RP, 23yo, Current Level: AA
Hoover began the year at double-A Mississippi and was promoted to Gwinnett after a handful of starts. He struggled in his two starts at triple-A, one of which I was in attendance for, and was demoted back to double-A. His past eight appearances have been out of the bullpen, where some believe he may end up, but this may just be to give him a bit of a breather.
8. Christian Bethancourt - 6”2, 190lb, RH C, 19yo, Current Level: High-A
Bethancourt got off to an inauspicious start at the plate but eventually tore up Rome and earned himself a promotion to high-A Lynchburg. He has struggled at Lynchburg since, but his catch and throw skills behind the plate compare with some of the best in all of baseball.
9. Brett Oberholtzer – 6”2, 230lb LH SP, 22yo, Current Level: AA
It has been more of the same for Oberholtzer, who continues to develop and perform in that second tier of Braves starting pitching prospects. The K/BB ratio of 5.48 from last season was bound to drop as he moved to double-A, but he has remained a steady starting pitcher as he has posted a 3.41 FIP for Mississippi.
10. Paul Clemens – 6”4, 180lb RH SP, 23yo, Current Level: AA
This is Clemens’ first season as solely a starting pitcher and he has progressed as expected thus far. His walk and strikeout rates are nearly identical to last season’s through 17 starts. Clemens was my 24th ranked prospect before the season and was unranked by Peter, so his performance this season has been one of the more delightful surprised in the entire system.
11. Adam Milligan – 6”3, 210lb LF/RF, 23yo, Current Level: High-A
Milligan’s biggest problem has always been health. In just six more games he will have matched his highest amount of total games played in any given season. He has the most power in the system, compiling 32 extra base hits so far, but you would like to see the walk total of 16 increase.
12. Carlos Perez – 6”2, 195lb LH SP, 19yo, Current Level: Low-A
It has not been a banner season for the 19-year-old Dominican left-hander, as he has posted a 5.13 ERA through his first 17 starts. However, his K/BB has improved to a 2.18 and this is just his first full season worth of starts. He has very good stuff, and his 8.0 K/9 is still impressive.
13. Andrelton Simmons – 6”2, 170lb RH SS, 21yo, Current Level: High-A
After skipping low-A completely, Simmons bat has actually performed better than expected this season. He still has little power and his stolen base rate has been awful this year (11 SB, 10 CS), but he is known more for his defensive skills and arm than anything. Having fully committed to shortstop rather than pitcher, Simmons’ defense has been shaky at times this season as he has compiled 17 errors.
14. Nick Ahmed – 6”3, 205lb RH SS, 21yo, Current Level: Rookie League
Ahmed is the second 2011 draftee to appear on our list. He is a very athletic player with a solid arm and speed that help make up for his so-so range at the position. He is a big shortstop, sort of in the Derek Jeter-type mold where he relies on bat control and fields the balls hit at him very well. Not saying he will ever be that type of player, but that’s the kind of guy you are looking at rather than a 6”3 power hitter.
15. Zeke Spruill – 6”4, 184lb RH SP, 21yo, Current Level: High-A
It feels as though Spruill has been in the system forever, but he is still just 21-years-old and has developed nicely so far. He has displayed extremely good control at Lynchburg, walking just 18 batters in 116.1 innings and has rebounded nicely from a poor 2010 season. He may get moved up to double-A if a spot in the rotation opens up.
16. Todd Cunningham – 6”0, 200lb SH OF, 22yo, Current Level: High-A
There is no one tool that specifically stands out about Cunningham, but he has shown a respectable ability to get on base. His power is lackluster, as he only has 12 extra base hits this season, but he has his uses as a switch-hitting outfielder who can play all three positions.
17. Matt Lipka – 6”1, 188lb RH SS/2B/CF, 19yo, Current Level: Low-A
Lipka has probably been the biggest disappointment in the system this year. Prior to the start of the season he was eighth on my rankings and ninth on Peter’s, and his drop has obviously been significant. Peter stated he was not very impressed when he saw him in person at spring training this year, and his slash line of .230/.288/.269 has been atrocious. He also has 16 stolen bases and has been caught nine times, which is not quite the pace you are hoping for with such a speedy player. Hopefully, Lipka is able to get it going and revamp his status.
18. Mycal Jones – 5”10, 170lb, RH CF, 24yo, Current Level: AA
It’s looking more and more like Jones is destined to be a utility player at the major league level. The braves have moved him to center field this year and he has performed decently despite injuries. His slash line of .212/.343/.324 is not impressive on its face, but a .343 OBP combined with a .112 ISO is respectable from an up-the-middle player.
19. Joseph Terdoslavich – 6”1, 200lb SH 1B, 22yo, Current Level: High-A
“The Terd” has had quite the season so far, racking up 44 extra base hits in just 83 games played. His 30 doubles are quite impressive as are his 13 home runs. A .333 OBP is lower than his career marks, but his power has helped his OPS remain at a very nice .842 this year.
20. Juan Abreu – 6”0, 180lb, RH RP, 26yo, Current Level: AAA
Abreu is kicking the door on a MLB call-up as we speak. With Scott Proctor struggling and Fredi Gonzalez seemingly losing faith Jair Asencio, Abreu may be the next in line if Proctor is designated for assignment. Abreu is sporting a 2.14 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 42 innings. The walk rate of 4.7 is a bit alarming, but you take the good with the bad.
21. Phillip Gosselin – 6”1, 190lb, RH 3B, 22yo, Current Level: High-A
.289/.346/.438 is certainly respectable from a second basemen. He has not provided much over-the-fence power, hitting just six career home runs in 615 plate appearances in professional baseball, but his 23 doubles and five triples this year are the main reason for his quality offensive line.
22. Billy Bullock – 6”6, 225lb RH RP, 23yo, Current Level: AA
Bullock was acquired for Scott Diamond at the close of spring training, as Diamond was not set to make the Twins’ roster and was going to be sent back to Atlanta if no trade was made. Bullock’s ERA of 4.89 looks bad, but his 49 strikeouts in 35 innings certainly does not. Much like Abreu, his walk rate of 4.6 per nine is far from good, but when a pitcher is striking out 12.6 per nine you can justify pitching him in high leverage situations, which is the type of reliever he profiles to be.
23. Barrett Kleinknecht – 6”0, 200lb RH IF, Current Level: High-A
Another Lynchburg position player, Kleinknecht has struggled in 174 plate appearances this season. He plays all over the field, making appearances at every infield position in just 46 games played, but he has primarily played third with Lynchburg and first in his stint with Rome before his promotion.
24. Kyle Kubitza – 6”3, 190lb LH 3B, 20yo, Current Level: Rookie League
Kubitza is the third and final 2011 draftee to make our list. The 20-year-old third base prospect has power, patience, and tools to be a solid defensive third basemen. He struggled with errors at the hot corner in college, but has skills to perform well defensively and is a solid athlete.
25. Abraham Espinosa/Seth Moranda.
Espinosa – 6”1, 175lb RH SP/RP, 18yo, Current League: Dominican
Abraham is in his second season in the Dominican League and has started five of the eight games he has appeared in. His strikeouts have not been exceptional, but he has walked just 18 batters in 101.2 innings over the past two seasons.
Moranda – 6”2, 180lb RH SS, 18yo, Current League: Rookie League
Moranda was slated to attend Fresno State but the Braves wound up signing him. He was a two-way player in high school and is a solid athlete. He was also the first high school player taken by the Braves, who grabbed him from Buchanan High School in Clovis, California.
February 10, 2011 at 12:15 am by Kevin Orris under Podcast, Prospects
This week we discuss Michael Young trade rumors, Nate McLouth, and the top 20 Atlanta Braves prospects (thanks to www.BaseballProspectus.com). Near the end of the show, we answer some of the questions that you have sent in over the past two weeks, including some advice on becoming a professional baseball scout.
RSS Feed should work now. Let me know if it works in the comments section below.
Production Notes: I am aware of the slight humming/buzzing noise. The part to fix that has yet to arrive, but I expect to receive it soon. Also, my internet connection was poor when we recorded the show, so some of Peter’s words sound really long and drawn out, but I have done my best to fix that.
December 21, 2010 at 12:15 am by Kevin Orris under Atlanta Braves, Farm System, Interview, Player Analysis, Prospects
The day that I agreed to start writing for CAC, I knew that I’d be writing about Freddie Freeman within a week. It wasn’t because I have a man crush, obsession, or anything of the sort. Rather, it’s simply because he’s the one that everyone wants to know about.
Does he have power? Is he the next Jason Heyward or Andy Marte? Is he smart? What will his batting average be? Can he hold his own in the field? How’s his makeup?
These are all questions that I’ve been asked this off-season regarding Freeman from a variety of baseball fans through e-mail and Twitter (@kevinorris). While don’t I claim to have all of the answers, or any of them for that matter, the least that I can do is offer my opinion and insight.
For starters, I interviewed Freeman in August of 2009, shortly after his promotion to Double-A Mississippi. You can listen to 12 minute interview by clicking here (I highly recommend that you do so, especially the 22 seconds).
In my opinion, the interview went well. Freeman opened up more than most prospects do, and it’s important to remember that he was still just 19-years-old.
I’d like to preface my thoughts with the following: fans have a tendency to get their hopes up regarding prospects, but often times the numbers don’t translate right away. Just look at Jason Heyward. My goal isn’t to raise or lower expectations, rather provide a realistic opinion of what the future holds.
Freeman has continued to improve throughout his minor league career, and will likely fall in Baseball America’s Top 15 prospects next season. He hit for a career high .319 average in Triple-A Gwinnett last year, and we can assume that the Atlanta Front Office will give him the opportunity to start at first base next season.
From a physical stand point, he still has plenty of room to grow. He currently stands 6’5”, weighing 225 lbs. He’s clearly not the fastest player (13 career SB on 26 attempts), but he’s been doing his best to build muscle.
In our interview, Freeman calls himself a power hitter, so I’ve got no reason to believe that it’s the area of his game that he feels is his strong suit. All scouting reports indicate that he has the potential to his 30 home runs/season in his career, but I wouldn’t count on many more than that.
His batting average has improved throughout his career, and shouldn’t be much of an issue translating to the big leagues. Although he admits that he has a tendency to be aggressive at the plate, many young hitters struggle with walk rates in their first few seasons, simply because the quality of pitching is that much better.
Defensively, Freeman is sound at first base, and although he has a great arm, it’s often an unnecessary tool for a first baseman.
Overall, I think expectations are pretty high right now. Many fans expect him to hit over .300 with 20 HR and 80 RBI. To be honest, I think a more realistic line would be .280, 15 HR and an unpredictable amount of RBI (as with every player).
I think the closest comparison that could be made between Freeman and a current player is Billy Butler, a first baseman with the Kansas City Royals. Last year, Butler his .318 with 15 HR and 78 RBI, almost identical to what Freeman did in Gwinnett. In Butler’s rookie season he hit .292 with 8 HR and 52 RBI in 360 PA at the age of 21… the same age that Freddie will be entering next season.
I think that we’ve got something special on our hands, but let’s be sure to give it time. Leave your thoughts on Freeman in the comments below, or send me an e-mail at KevinOrris@CapitolAvenueClub.com. I’m excited to see your predictions for Freeman for next season and the years to come.
December 18, 2010 at 11:54 am by Kevin Orris under Atlanta Braves, Player Analysis, Prospects
Note: I’m very pleased to announce that Kevin Orris is going to be contributing to CAC regularly. You can read more about Kevin at the bottom of this page and see some of his other work at Baseball Insiders. It’s great to have another writer on board, especially one as well qualified as Kevin. Enjoy.
When I first agreed to write for CAC, I couldn’t decide what topics to cover. After debating a review of the Andy Marte trade of 2005 and Kris Medlen’s rehab, I decided that I shall write about what I know best… prospects.
For those who don’t know me or haven’t read my previous work, I love writing about the future. That being said, Baseball America revealed their “Top 10 Atlanta Braves Prospects” this week, and I can’t help but react.
As you may remember, Peter released his list of the Braves top prospects earlier this off-season, and it’s fairly similar to BA’s.
I think most would agree that Julio Teheran, Freddie Freeman, and Randall Delgado are the top three guys in the system, with Teheran also falling in the top five across baseball. However, after the trio, there are a handful of debatable arms to decide between, in addition to a couple of middle infielders.
The biggest difference between the two rankings is Edward Salcedo (4th on CAC, NR on BA), a SS/3B whom the Braves signed from the Dominican Republic earlier this year. Salcedo hit just .225 this season, striking out 75 times in 304 at-bats, while adding 14 stolen bases.
As you can see in this video, Salcedo has a very long swing, which he often over-exerts and his pitch selection isn’t the best. Although this is a small sample size, this video tells us a lot about the issues that he’s endured. He get fooled easily when faced with breaking balls low and away, often swinging and following through so far that he spins around.
I’d like to believe that he qualified for BA’s top 15 prospects, because he is built for his age and is expected to improve tremendously in 2011 in his first full season in the United States. It’s important to keep in mind that he’s only 19-years-old and will become increasingly stronger as most International signees do.
While he played all but one game at shortstop this year, I’d like to believe that he’s going to move to third base in the future. Although he has speed, with an increase in size, his range will become limited and he has an above average arm that will allow him to play the hot corner.
Personally, I’d like to see him make an attempt at playing third base this year, especially if Salcedo and Matthew Lipka, the Braves first round pick from 2010, end up on the same roster.
2011 is going to be important for Salcedo if he wants to remain a top prospect, because another year below the “Mendoza line” isn’t going to cut it in Rome. Expect him to begin the season in Rome and if he does experience success, a potential promotion to Myrtle Beach.
Overall, BA’s list speaks volumes about the Braves knack for finding and developing pitching considering they project the 2014 rotation to be Tommy Hanson, Teheran, Delgado, Mike Minor, and Jair Jurrjens, with Craig Kimbrel closing out games. Teheran is as close to a sure thing as you can get with a pitching prospect, while some still have their doubts with Delgado, but that’s a topic for another day.
With all of that being said, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Salcedo and the Baseball America list. Leave your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot me an e-mail at KevinOrris@CapitolAvenueClub.com.
October 30, 2009 at 1:43 pm by Capitol Avenue Club under Links, Prospects
Your Friday links.
- John Sickels of Minor League Ball has his preliminary list of Atlanta Braves top-20 prospects. Comparing the list to mine, we’ve got 15 of the same in the top 20. He includes Cody Gearrin, Robinson Lopez, Luis Valdez, Scott Diamond, and Mycal Jones. I have Gearrin ranked 33, Jones ranked 21, Diamond ranked 35, and Lopez and Valdez unranked. I included Matt Young (15), Cody Johnson (16), Benino Pruneda (17), Tyler Stovall (19), and Cole Rohrbough (10).
- Atlanta Braves prospect and AFL Representative, Jeff Lyman, has a new blog post up. He’ll answer your questions, too!
- Mark Sanchez eats a hot dog on the sideline during a TV time out in Sunday’s game against the Raiders. They were up like 1,583,412 to 0, anyway. Speaking of NFL, I gave up on doing NFL picks. I wasn’t very good, anyway.
- It must’ve been my birthday this past weekend, because Steve Phillips was fired by ESPN. He also entered into a rehab facility to combat his sex addiction. There are two possible explanations. 1) He really is a sex fiend and actually needs treatment or 2) he’s full of shit and entering rehab to save face. I link, you decide. His mistress was also fired.
- It looks like my Tim Hudson prediction will, indeed, be correct. The funny thing about all of this is that Rosenthal originally broke the story. Here’s what Rosenthal writes two weeks ago:
Barring a last-minute, knockout offer from the Braves, right-hander Tim Hudson plans to become a free agent, according to major-league sources.
Can we all agree to never listen to anything Rosenthal says ever again?
- Jason Heyward’s AFL campaign has come to an end after a diagnosis of back inflammation per team doctors. Probably a minor set back in the grand scheme of things. He probably wasn’t going to get serious consideration for an opening-day role, anyway.
- This site is just hilarious.
- The Braves have plucked Mariners’ minor league pitching coordinator, Dave Wallace from them to fill the same role in Atlanta. I know nothing about the position, but Wallace seems like a well regarded instructor within the industry. He was most notably the pitching coach for the 2004 Boston Red Sox. Some Boston people tell me that was a good year for them.
- Chipper Jones gives an interview for Forbes. The money quote:
Near the end of the season, you mentioned that you were considering retirement after next season. Now that that the season is over, do you still feel the same?
I was really frustrated with how the middle part of the season went for me. I have such high standards for myself and I will never settle for being a mediocre player. I will work extremely hard to make sure that doesn’t happen again this year.
- The Braves have fired the scout that signed Tommy Hanson, Freddie Freeman, and Kris Medlen (ESPN Rumor Central, subscription required). Law’s assessment is that Tom Battista was a very valuable employee. I think Law is correct, though we can’t possibly know all of the circumstances, therefore it’s impossible for outsiders to properly assess the situation.
- Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors does his Atlanta Braves installment of the Offseason Outlook series. Good stuff and a great starting point for roster construction thoughts. Here’s his take:
My suggestion: retain the starting pitching depth. In all likelihood Kawakami will still be needed for 20+ starts next year. The Braves could instead bump payroll to $100MM, dump Johnson and Logan, go cheap on the bullpen, perhaps backload Hudson’s deal, and spend $9-10MM each for the first base and left field spots. Perhaps Johnson could even be used to acquire a decent late-inning reliever.
I do quibble with him on one point. He says:
Kawakami’s contract isn’t unreasonable. Lowe’s is, given his declining peripherals. Lowe is still useful, though, so the Braves could still trade him and shed 2010 payroll even if they can’t find a taker for all $15MM.
People always say things like this. There’s zero empirical evidence that it’s true. None of his peripherals have declined for a sustained period of time, just 1 year. There’s no evidence it’s not just an aberration and there’s actually no real decline in his skills.
It remains to be seen what is the truth, but only Nostradamus is capable of properly speaking in absolutes with regards to his relative fundamental abilities or the possible decline thereof.
As you all know, Heyward’s AFL campaign is done. Fortunately, that’s about the end of the bad AFL news. Freddie Freeman hit the ball more than once this past week! He actually went 6-16 with a double and a homer, though he drew zero walks and struck out 5 times. Brandon Hicks continued to hit, going 3-9 and drawing 5 walks while striking out only twice.
Mike Minor made two starts this past week. He pitched 3 scoreless innings, allowing 3 hits and 2 walks while recording 1 strikeout, in the first start. He seemingly inexplicably lasted only 1 inning in the second one. He gave up 1 hit and struck out two in a scoreless inning and threw only 16 pitches. It wasn’t a performance thing and I would’ve already heard about it if it were an injury thing, so I’m guessing it’s just nothing. Someone suggested there was a weather delay. Seems like the simplest explanation to me.
Lee Hyde made two appearances this past week, pitching 1 and 2/3 innings, allowing 2 hits (1 HR), 2 walks, and 3 ER while striking out one. Most of the damage came in the first outing. Walk, walk, homer will kill you every time. Jeff Lyman and Craig Kimbrel each made only one appearance and pitched a scoreless inning apiece. Lyman allowed 1 hit in his, Kimbrel’s was perfect.