So how much did the Braves really improve their farm system?

Here’s Mike Foltynewicz, one of the many new Braves. (Photo by Jim Rogash for Getty Images)

Here's Mike Foltynewicz, one of the many new Braves. (Photo by Jim Rogash for Getty Images)

Here’s Mike Foltynewicz, one of the many new Braves. (Photo by Jim Rogash for Getty Images)

As noted in Monday’s AJC, Keith Law of ESPN rates the Atlanta Braves’ farm system as the sixth-best. That represents a substantial jump from last winter, when the same Law ranked the Braves’ chain 22nd. Writes Law:

(The Braves) were a bottom-5 system when the offseason started, but six trades later, they’ve built up a stash of prospects that makes up for five years of execrable drafts and very little production from their Latin American efforts. Ten of their top 12 prospects have appeared on at least one of my past three top-100 rankings, including six this year.

In the grand scheme, this would seem to be a good thing. The Braves had gotten thin — we can all agree on this, even those among us who aren’t sure the major-league team needed a tear-down — in the minors. This offseason’s flurry of trades have addressed that. Six of Law’s top 10 Braves prospects were acquired post-Wren.

The trouble with farm systems is that, by definition, they deal in the unknown. (If these were demonstrably great players, they’d be in the majors already.) As Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus has noted, even those chains rated the best of a particular year haven’t necessarily yielded boffo down-the-road results. Miller studied the Brewers (best in 2004), the Angels (best in 2005) and the Diamondbacks (best in 2006) and found:

Each year we do this, we get a surer sense of what a club with the best farm system in baseball can expect: Around 100 wins above replacement, most of it at sub-market prices, peaking three to seven years after the rankings come out, but some remnants of that value lasting into the next decade … But we also have a surer sense of what that club can’t expect: A dynasty, a run of dominance, or even a single World Series appearance.

And those, we underscore, were the chains ranked No. 1. The Braves are No. 6. Or are they?

Again we turn to Baseball Prospectus. (I know I’ve become a bit of a shill for the publication, but I learn something every time I click on the site.) Mark Anderson, Jeff Moore and the BP Prospect Staff rank the refurbished Braves’ system 19th and include only two Braves farmhands — Lucas Sims at No. 54 and Jose Peraza at No. 92 — in their top 101. (Here we note that Sims and Peraza were acquired under Wren.)

So you’re asking: What about Tyrell Jenkins, acquired from St. Louis in the Jason Heyward trade? What of Max Fried, who came from San Diego in the Justin Upton deal? Or Mike Foltynewicz and Rio Ruiz, imported from Houston for Evan Gattis? All of these made Law’s top 100. Why aren’t they in BP’s top 101?

Baseball Prospectus offers this rationale:

Perhaps no system in baseball is more reliant on potential, but there is significant distance between current and future skill throughout the top 10 … If talent trumps all, the Braves are now positioned strongly to move up this list.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t read that as an indictment. What you want in your minor-leaguers is potential. (Not much point in acquiring guys who top out in Class AA, is there?) At least in the minor leagues, the Braves are betting on talent, which is the only way to bet. There’s no guarantee that all or even most of these prospects will make it, and there’s no assurance the major-league Braves will win big even if most do, but still: The approach is sound.

Which doesn’t mean signing Nick Markakis makes sense. (It doesn’t.) And it doesn’t mean the 2015 Atlanta Braves will be any good. (They won’t.)

Reader Comments 2

72 comments
CardiganBoy
CardiganBoy

" ... There’s no guarantee that all or even most of these prospects will make it..."


Very true.  Therein lies the rub because 100 percent of the players traded this off-season for prospects had made it to the majors.  In fact, many are stars.


There is one guarantee:  if any of these prospects become ML stars in few years, the Braves will trade them for prospects before they'll pony up market value to keep them.  


This is what the corporate Braves do.  It seems to me many among the Braves faithful are fine with that.   I'm guessing it's because many Braves fans are corporate execs or entrepreneurs themselves.  And no doubt, they comprise the 20 percent of the paying customers who generate 80 percent of revenue.


They see the players as an expense first.  Labor should be cheap.  If it's not, then find some that is.  




FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

@CardiganBoy 


"There is one guarantee:  if any of these prospects become ML stars in few years, the Braves will trade them for prospects before they'll pony up market value to keep them."


Very true and that is why I am not on board with the rebuild or whatever PC name they want to call it


As long as Liberty is around we are screwed and that new stadium is no cure all for the ills of this orginaztion


And what if none of these prospects like Rio Ruiz, the Petersons and Mallex Smith are decent MLB players by 2017 then what??????


Well, then we are like what the Pirates and Royals were cause I do not think that LM are ever going above their love affair of a 90 something payroll which is going to be in the bottom third in 2015


What will it be in 2017 or 2020.  Hmmmmm.......... 



DawgWhistle
DawgWhistle

The Braves and their 20 billion dollar corporate owners have essentially written off the next couple of years. Everything is aimed at the new stadium and the money they think it will generate. Meanwhile, they have at the same time, written off their Atlanta fans. They run a few numbers and decide that all they need is North and Northwest Atlanta Metro...and the money Liberty Media expects to get when they unload a baseball team that they never wanted and never chose to invest in to win ever since they ended up with it as part of a Time Warner/AOL stock swap...a team which appraised value has doubled just with the announcement of the impending move. I guess my point is, as one of those Atlanta fans that they don't seem to care if we ever attend another game or not, this whole 'tear-down' process is irrelavent to me...since I seem to be irrelavent to them.

Bogey
Bogey

@DirtyDawg  The way you describe it, appears to be pretty sound business decisions by Liberty Media....maximizing their investment.


Unfortunately, it doesn't do much for the customer base.


I really don't believe the Braves will be that much worse in '15 as they were last year...although that's not saying too much.  Gonna take a little patience to get there.  We're somewhat spoiled by a team that has not rebuilt in almost 25 years, and past the great run in the 90's has stayed relevant/competitive, but not championship caliber.  Hart is doing the right thing for building sustainable success - they don't have the budget do it any other way.

dawgfacedboy
dawgfacedboy

Trade Kimbrel. Why have the best closer in baseball for a bottom feeder team??? Think of the return you might actually be able to get for him. There is no one in the lineup to protect Freeman so there is absolutely no reason to pitch to him. You've subtracted 65-70 HRs with Upton, Gattis, and Heyward gone. This team is going to be awful and there is no guarantee they will be any good in 2017.

Bogey
Bogey

@dawgfacedboy  Interesting post....I agree with your point about Kimbrel.  Most closers have about a 5-6 run at most (exceptions occur like Hoffman & Rivera), and CK is hitting that point soon.  Trade him while his value is at a peak.  Any number of playoff contending teams would give up great prospects to get him - this is how we'll get our big bat in LF.


More likely, we'll hope that Jim Johnson or Grilli pitch very well, and one or both will be gone at this year's deadline - still will give good, but not great, prospects there.


On the other point, you're right that there are no guarantees the Braves will be good in '17, but top writers do agree that Hart has had a very productive off-season and odds are strong that the Braves WILL be good in '17.


One thing for sure, we weren't winning anything with the big 3 that were traded.  Unless you consider 96 wins in '13 but an early exit from the playoffs "winning"....I don't.  We weren't going to re-sign Jason or Justin and the only smart move was to move them for good prospects and that's what Hart did.


I for one would much rather see higher OBP, more walks, less KO's, much more speed and a significantly deeper pitching pool than the high KO/decent HR strategy that has gotten us nowhere.  Don't sweat the downturn in HR's....there are other ways to score.

58Supersports
58Supersports

The Braves are a wait and see project. Only time will judge Hart's  and Coppy's moves. The Braves still have two of their biggest problems..1. BJ and his contract. 2. They still have inept  Freddy G as manager.  Who the majority of fans hate. I will be watching Braves win or lose. I was a Braves fan before they moved to Atlanta and watched every game I could. It's to late to quit now.

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

@58Supersports 


Liberty Media is a bigger problem and they might be around longer than BJ Upton's contract


They might be around through the next decade and not budge one penny on payroll


I will still watch cause I am a MLB fan one way or another

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

The Braves philosophy of stock piling pitchers has gotten tiresome, because it doesn't work.  They always said well everyone needs pitchers, so if we need a position player, we can trade for one.  Yeah you could, but you never do, except for Wainwright, which was a huge mistake.  Everyone else they over value, so we keep them and most peter out at AAA or we bring them up and they struggle, like Tommy Hanson or Delgado and then have no trade value, or they hurt their arms, like Medlen and Beachy and have no trade value.  Meanwhile our position players in the minors are people like Cunningham or Constanza.   They need more  balanced in the minors.

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

I think its fair to question these prospects its not like they got cream of the crop prospects in the 2 Petersons, Mallex Smith and Rio Ruiz. 


And they need everyday players


They are middle of the road prospects who may be role kind of players -- who knows till we see them at the show level


I just think its premature to sing the praises of Hart/Coppy in 2 yrs they might be the worst thing we have had around here since the Len Barker trade

Been there
Been there

If my memory serves me correctly (I still have the article around here somewhere, 1990 I think), a young AJC sports writer named Mark Bradley lobbied for Phil Niekro to get the Braves GM job over an unknown named John Schuerholz.  Glad that the powers that be didn't listen to you then either.

PalmBeachFalcon
PalmBeachFalcon

@MarkBradley @Been there Was just going to question at what point was Schuerholz an unknown.  At least MB doesn't try to emulate Fonzie and show pics of his "cool" cigar while doing yardwork.

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

@58Supersports 


I do think that Mark and Jeff do give us honest journalisim while DOB like those in the Braves broadcast crew spew more of the corporate line


The Braves broadcast team will not criticize the team -- especially Lemke, Powell and Ben Ingram


I do not care much for 680 either but like 92.9 the Game

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

@Bogey 


None of em are hacks -- actually I agree with Bradley more than DOB -- but all 3 writers have a purpose


I like Schultz and find DOB to be too much a Braves apologist but he is no hack

Bogey
Bogey

@Been there  Once a hack....always a hack. I like DOB a lot, and even Schultz is bearable most of the time, but Bradley is unreadable.....and yet I read him, I guess that's what the AJC wanted.  Some guys are just there to instigate debate.....I'm now thinking about Terrence Moore.

MarkBradley
MarkBradley moderator

@Been there Your memory serves you poorly. I never lobbied for Phil Niekro to be the general manager. And John Schuerholz was hardly an unknown, having built the team that won the 1985 World Series.

58Supersports
58Supersports

@FireJohnCoppy @Bogey  Of the three I like Mark the best, but all ajc reporters are to liberals. They are not fair and balanced. They push their own agenda in their reports. Mark is not as bad as the others. Like Joe Friday said, Just the Facts!

Waredawg
Waredawg

Another horrible, off the mark - no pun intended- article by Bradley, especially the end of article comments on Markakis and the team in general. With regard to Nick, the signing makes sense on many levels. 1) He was available this year and contrary to Bradley's assessment, Braves haven't thrown in the towel on '15. And even if Braves are in a semi-rebuild mode, you can't replace every piece in one year. He'll help in '15 and still be around in '16 and '17 when we should be a lot better. 2) He's basically an "even" replacement for Heyward, maybe even a slight upgrade if he plays 150+ games. Quit whining over Heyward's loss. Statistically he never reached his potential, maybe never will, averaged only 125 games in last two seasons, and would be gone after '15. Nick is ours for 4 years and will provide the intangible of veteran leadership, something never shown by Jason and sorely lacking in last year's club.


THE BRAVES ARE NOT GOING TO TERRIBLE IN '15. Don't believe me, read Mark Bowman's "realistic" assessment of '15 Braves - probable .500 club, with slight chance at wildcard. Thinks they'll be much more exciting than last year's listless bunch. 


And look at it objectively, Braves averaged 87.5 wins in 13- 14, overachieving in '13 and giving up in '14, with basically the same team each year. Losing Hudson and McCann's leadership was far more damaging than loss of their stats which were offset by their replacements.


So how does it figure that the '15 Braves suddenly look like a 70 win (or less) team when you compare them to the 13-14 Braves.


1) Starting pitching 1-4 figures to be one of the top 3-4 rotations in NL. If Teheran and Wood continue to improve and Minor is close to '13 form, probably second in NL to only Dodgers. Can probably glean a 5th starter from Stults, Banuelos, or even Folty. If one of the young guys is ready to make the jump, could be best overall rotation since late glory days. Equal to or better than '14 team.


2) Bullpen; Kimbrell - what else needs to be said. Don't trade him! Supporting cast have potential be as good, maybe better than '14. Hopefully at least more consistent. Equal to or better than 13-14 teams.


3) Infield- two perennial all-star candidates in Freeman and Simmons, an adequate 3B in Johnson, no worse than last year and hopefully more like the '13 version. 2B figures to be an upgrade by subtraction. Don't forget Uggla played all of '13 and 1/2 of '14. Anybody, even Callaspo has to be better. At least equal to 13-14, with potential to be a lot better if CJ, Freddie, and AS approach '13 form and Peraza is ready by break.


4) Catcher - not sold on Bethancourt, but AJ is upgrade over Laird. Probably a slight downgrade due to loss of Evan's power, but if CB hits .250 and plays "D" as expected, could be no worse than equal to '14.


5) Outfield - Already stated NM vs. JH is a wash - can't keep bemoaning potential JH never showed. In CF, barring a miracle BJ is your everyday CF. Of course he's been our CF for past two year and we averaged 87.5 wins. With his talent, surely he can't be any worse than last year and can always pray he'll be a little better. 

The only huge drop-off on entire team is LF. Gomes/Alimonte or Young doesn't inspire much fear, but should be a little better defensively, and if can combine for 15-20 HRs/ 60 -70 rbi's isn't a complete disaster. Overall, a downgrade, but don't underestimate loss of massive strikeout totals of JUP and JHey on overall team BA, clutch and situational hitting, and team psyche, the strikeouts were contagious last year.


6) Bench - should be a moderate to big upgrade - Gosselin (for full year), AJ, Young, Alimonte, and K.Johnson 

(if he has anything left) sound like a much better bench than last year. And I'm not even sure that Toscano, Reyes, or Terd could make the team out of ST, but all give you some insurance as 25th man. 


7) Leadership - should be much better than last year with addition of Gomes, NM, and AJ.


8) Intangibles - new hitting coach, less useless K's, "underdog mentality" like '91.


Conclusion; 25-30 less homers (other than Evan and Justin , everyone else is back  (NM = JH in power), and replacements hit some. If FS, CJ, BJ , and AS revert to '13 form (or slightly improve-BJ), loss of power may be mimimal. K's should be down. Team average, bunting, and situational hitting vastly improved. Runs scored should be up!


Prediction 80-85 wins, and if everything goes goes right, high 80's and a fight for a wildcard berth. Remember, you heard it here first. Braves and Hart are not idiots, "throwing in towel " on '15 makes no sense. And if the Braves could find another NM type bat and replace BJ, this team could really surprise. Pitching rules and we've got tons of it. GO BRAVES!

dawgfacedboy
dawgfacedboy

@Waredawg  HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I'll have what he's having!!! Nick Markakis and Heyward is a wash?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Heyward has 2 GGs and a Defensive POY award. He is also not a leadoff hitter by any means and it's not his fault he was put in that spot. He also can't help getting hurt.


Heyward is 25 and his potential alone buries anything Markakis brings to the table. I hope Heyward wins an MVP and a ring or two.


85 wins??????????????????????????????????????? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! Bartender, make mine a double!!!!!!

SeanLB
SeanLB

@FireJohnCoppy @SeanLB Better to work towards something different than a state of perpetual mediocrity, right?


Despite what homers would like to believe, this team has been mediocre well before Bobby Cox hung it up.  Always good, but never good enough.  I'd like to try a new approach.  At least Hart is giving us that.  

BobDawg
BobDawg

@Waredawg Nice Assessment and I agree with most points… I think we will be doing a ton more platooning also with a right handed lineup against lefties, etc.  More contact hitters and hit and runs/steals… 

SeanLB
SeanLB

@Waredawg I completely agree with this assessment.  The only loss that stung was JUP, but like Heyward, everyone knew that we weren't going to pay the absurd amount of money either of those guys was going to command.


We get hung up on potential in Atlanta, which is why the fans hate when we trade OUR prospects (as they're all going to win 9 MVPs or 7 Cy Youngs), but also hate when we acquire someone else's prospects (as somehow they're all going to be terrible).


I think John Hart has made the NECESSARY moves and ultimately put us in a better position to contend over the long haul.  

Rick_C
Rick_C

@Waredawg I'm sorry, but this post just reeks of homerism.  First, regarding Markakis, he is an unnecessary player for this team.  He'd be a good complimentary piece for a team that is definitely going to contend, but he is now one of the Braves top paid players on a team that will have to have a number of breaks go their way to even sniff a wild card.  For left field, the Braves are throwing much weaker (but cheaper) options against a wall to see what might stick.  They should have done the same with right field.  Most likely he will not be worth his salary when they are aiming to be competitive again in 2017.


Hudson was adequately replaced in the rotation, but McCann's production was not.  Gattis had only 19 less PAs in 2013 than he did in 2014.  Between McCann and Uggla, the Braves lost 40 HRs from the lineup.


Already forgetting the Nats' rotation?  The Braves have a solid starting staff, but to be a top rotation will require rebounds from Miller and Minor, and little to no regression from Teheran and Wood.  It's possible, but a tall order.


I could see the bullpen being better or worse than last year.  After an amazing bullpen in 2013, they were merely average last year.  I say it could be better or worse because they are again mostly banking on several guys having rebound seasons.


CJ was hardly adequate last year.  He was one of the worst third basemen in MLB.  He hit for an ok average, but it was empty with a dismal OBP and little power.  Combine that with poor defense and you get a well below average third baseman.  Again, he needs a big rebound.


Regardless of what Heyward's potential was supposed to be and if he's met it or not, he was still a better player than Markakis.  They were fairly equal at the plate last year, but Heyward is a far better baserunner and defender (despite Markakis winning the gold glove, they are no where close).  I'm not sure what to expect out of Almonte defensively, but Gomes is worse than Justin.


As you can see here, there's a common theme.  Lots of mentions of guys having to have rebound seasons.  In that "everything goes right" scenario, that might break 80 wins.  A wild card even is probably a pipe dream at this point.

SeanLB
SeanLB

@Rick_C @Waredawg Right, but aren't you hoping that Heyward has a "rebound season" in your assessment.  The unfortunate part about analyzing this stuff is that GMs have to deal with realities that fans can ignore - like payroll and re-signing likelihood.  


This team is young and needs veterans to show guys like Freeman and Simmons how to LEAD.  Markakis and Gomes can do just that.


This team wasn't close, though homer fans think otherwise.  We needed this, and now, with the smoke clearing, we have a decent ballclub that is young and has plenty of potential players grooming in the minors.


Bogey
Bogey

@Rick_C @Waredawg  Well, I agree with just about everything Waredog stated.  Rick, you seem to be of the opinion that Hart is done with his trades and player movement??!!  All of the veteran guys brought in are here short term for leadership, and hopefully a couple in trade deadline deals (look for J Johnson and/or Grilli to be gone in July).  This team, even with your beloved JHey, JUp and Gattis, had zero leadership.


I like the Markakis signing -great leadership and solid #'s the last couple of years even with a bad neck - it's fixed now, so his play should  be no worse and maybe better.  JHey underachieved more than ANY player on the team (including BJ - consider the difference in talent/potential), and although he'll probably get $20m + next year, the Braves couldn't afford to pay that on hope. As far as his great baserunning, we didn't get to see it much because he wasn't on base much.  It's like BJ's speed.....doesn't matter how fast he is walking back to the dugout after another KO.


You are right about the Nats starters - Waredawg missed that one.


As far as JUp's defense - he was below average and by the way has gained a ton of weight.  He's blowing up like Andruw Jones did, and as he approaches 30 he's gonna see a lot of time on the DL....again not worth $20m+.


This team will be a thousand percent more fun to watch than that funeral march of a team we saw last year.



Waredawg
Waredawg

@Rick_C @Waredawg 

As usual you are far too "hung up" on matrics stats and I'm certainly "no homer". My posts over the last few years have consistently been critical of dumb Braves moves and particularly Fredi as manager, which you well know. I've frequently been accused of being a "troll" by the true homers. As I said, read Mark Bowman's analysis on the MLB website.

As to NM , you're wrong, wrong, wrong. You, like Bradley seem to believe in an all-in approach. Is Nick the "difference maker" this year - of course not, but he's decent replacement for JH next year and certainly a piece we'll need in '16 or '17. What's the alternative, play Terd in right?  But if his addition helps us win 75-80 games next year as opposed playing a marginal player on a team that wins 65-70 games, that's a decent move that shows fans we haven't given up in '15. And in this day and age his salary is "middle of the road". And a 75 + win team will certainly look more attractive to some potential free agents than a last place 65 win team. Also will put more fans in stands which generates revenue to sign a difference making free agent. Uggla's money comes off the books after '15. Duh!


CJ's no all-star, but he's serviceable at 3rd, by far the weakest overall position in NL, especially with Sandoval gone. We've averaged 87+ wins in last 2 with CJ as starter. Rather have the '13 version in '15 but and if he'll cut down on his k's, he'll be a slight asset. Who else are going to replace him with?


As to rotation, I said 1-4 we're 3rd or 4th best in NL ; Dodgers, Nats ahead, tossup between us and Giants. Like the "potential" of our top 4 better than any team but Dodgers. All of those guys are very young and all should get better each year for next 3-4 years, barring injuries. Acknowledge that we have no true #1, but same can be said for several WS winners in last decade and just how far have Kershaw/Grienke led the Dodgers? 


Didn't say a wildcard was likely, just possible if everything goes right. Still think we  need one more bat, but being forced to play "small ball" may improve this team more than most realize.

Pitching looks very good and I'm not counting on all the signees returning to form, if even one or two get back to form, with our returning pitching talent, we're top half of the league overall, probably top 5. Save this post, we'll compare notes in Sept. GO BRAVES!

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

@SeanLB


Or, has John Hart put us in a postion of perpetual rebuilding


I see it that way

THEBITTERTRUTH
THEBITTERTRUTH

@Waredawg Totally agree - perfect analysis. We will be better this year than last and that gives us something to cheer for.

THEBITTERTRUTH
THEBITTERTRUTH

@Waredawg Totally agree - perfect analysis. We will be better this year than last and that gives us something to cheer for.

Techmate
Techmate

@FireJohnCoppy @SeanLB Geez, guy - Give them a chance. What daring moves have you ever made. Last year's team had to be blown up and you are not even going to give this new look a chance? You already want to fire people?

gtyjackets0003
gtyjackets0003

Will all of these prospects pan out? Most likely no... but some of them will. And a lot of people are forgetting that these respected prospects can also be used in future trades as well to get other established players. Getting them now to restock the farm system doesn't mean they will be Braves forever. You want your farm system to be well stocked in case of injuries to the big league club, to develop players for the big league club, and to trade at later dates for missing pieces you might have in the future. The Braves farm system was at a point where it couldn't really do any of that. Now it can. Trading 3 of your 4 best hitters on a team that already struggled to score does mean that there will likely be a a drop off on the big league club during the now. But let's face it... Last year's team was awful anyway. It was time to shake things up.

Polskidawg
Polskidawg

@gtyjackets0003 Now, you know you can't use reason on a blog, especially a blog written by Mr. Bradley. But, I appreciate your effort.

Bogey
Bogey

@Polskidawg @gtyjackets0003  ditto on the logic.  Anyway, Bradley is a hack.  If they give awards out for the worst webwriter, he must have a full mantel.

Hammerman
Hammerman

I think it's pretty obvious why Bradley thinks this team will stink out loud.Upton,Simmons,Bethencourt,Johnson and a hack to be named later for left and second.,and I agree with him.We have been sold this steamer about 2017,yet no one has explained what the plan is for then.Unless they can develop 25 mil a year stars and keep them(Freeman is no star)or become a real player in FA market,it will be BSness as usual.

Bogey
Bogey

@Hammerman  All due respect, but you haven't been paying very close attention if you still don't know what their plan is for '17!


- less reliant on 3 run HR's, ad will focus on contact, OBP (this I like the most of everything)

- strengthen the starter staff - they were extremely thin after Meds and Beachy went down.  Now Hart has filled the bucket with TOP prospects.

- NOT going to overpay for overvalued/underperforming players.  we all like JHey but since his jaw was broken he hasn't hit lefties (and I doubt he will again - certainly not to a level worth north of $20 million!)

- They'll use some of the prospects brought in (and maybe Kimbrel as well) to land a TOP bat for LF in a trade


Hart has wisely brought in a number of veterans to give some leadership and become trade deadline bait:  IF Jim Johnson pitches like he did 2+ years ago (50+ saves) he will be sought out by some team in the playoff hunt.  Same thing for Grilli and maybe Gomes.


Show a little patience!  Reality is it may not all work out great, but we know for sure the past strategy/roster failed miserably.


Hammerman
Hammerman

I've followed them since 69.I have more patience than Zuckerberg has shares in Facebook.Its gonna take a legit #1 and #2,and 8 guys that can handle the bat.Is that 2017 or 2037,only time will tell.

Bogey
Bogey

@Hammerman  Can appreciate your long-standing fandom.


Thing is the Braves can't play with the big markets in landing top FA pitching, so they'll have to grow their own, like the old days (notwithstanding Maddux).


So, a list Teheran, Wood, Miller, Sims, Hursh, Fried, Folty, Sanchez, maybe Thurman or Jenkins and more I can't recall right now, should produce a 1 & 2.  As far as handling the bats, I think that's exactly what Hart is focusing on:  more OBP, more walks, less KO's.  We're going to win a lot of games 3-2, instead of 8-6.

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

@Bogey


That the Braves cannot play with the big markets is a lame excuse they are owned by one of the richest corporations in the world.


They are too cheap to spend the money


The CEO makes more in a yr then the teams whole payroll - I believe that did happen one yr

ckdawgs
ckdawgs

Truth is we really don't know what we have in these minor league prospects until they come to the big leagues and show us so the trades that were made may turn out to be catastrophic, brilliant, or, most likely, somewhere in between.  However, as the season draws nearer I find myself looking forward to seeing some new faces on the field and enjoying a different type of baseball that doesn't rely so much on the long ball and suffer from so many strikeouts.  I wouldn't be looking forward to another season with the same cast, that's for sure.  Glad to see others in these comments feel similarly. 

Been there
Been there

I disagree MarkB. I think the 2015 Braves will be very good. In fact, I think they will win the East. Something to be said about performing better due to lower expectations. They have pitching and talent and are very fast. And Freddy is a great baseball fundamentalist type of coach. They will not have many 3 run homers but they will score a lot more runs with two-strike contact hitting, more aggressive first to third and second to home, percentage based, base running and a team chemistry that resembles the Atlanta Hawks that were also predicted to finish very low in their division just FOUR short months a go. You heard it here first big guy! Braves will be in contention in late September. I guarantee it!

Bogey
Bogey

@Been there  Love your positive enthusiasm!!!  But, other than disagreeing with your assessment of Fredi (good guy, likely not a great manager), I think your comments describe the '16 or '17 Braves, not this year.  But that's OK.....I'm watching the Braves closely this season for things other than just wins.

DrPhill
DrPhill

If I am going to watch minor-league managing and player performance, I am going to do so in a minor-league facility, where tickets and good hot dogs run five dollars a pop.

Joe in Co
Joe in Co

Mark, you're killing me here. Building for the future was the one thing that was going to make this season bearable. Don't take this from us. On a bitterly cold day, don't chase away any optimism we can muster about the coming spring and baseball. 

Bogey
Bogey

Those who are opining that rebuilding with prospects are all IF's are correct.  BUT, take a good look at last year's roster with all the strike-outs, no walks, no OBP, few HR's and thin starting staff.....IF we had kept the band together for this year wouldn't we still be relying on IF's?  Would have to hope that everyone played better AND ended up either overpaying for JHey and Upton OR losing them for a couple of sandwich picks!!


Proof will show itself by '17, but I think Hart has had a very strong off-season.

Bogey
Bogey

Keeping Fredi for '15 is nothing more than a final nod to Bobby Cox, plus Hart et al know the Braves will lose badly this year so no reason to bring in a new manager.  In fact, no TOP manager would likely come in until he sees some early results/improvement by the young guys in this rebuild.  Fredi will be a bench coach for another team by '16.

DrPhill
DrPhill

Pretty good explanation regarding Fredi. He has shown repeatedly that he is incapable of managing a major league team, much less one with club house problems generated by ego freaks like BJ.

Bogey
Bogey

I think the neck issue on Markakis has been way overblown.  He played the last 2 years with that injury and offensively outperformed JHey, AND won a Gold Glove.  He'll heal just fine and probably find a little of his lost power as well.  The biggest thing he'll bring the Braves is real stability as a veteran leader, something the Braves lacked last year as they collapsed.


In fact, Hart has added several veteran good character guys for the short term (1 yr?) to bridge the team until the new better young talent is up and running.  They won't win much this year, and probably not too much better in '16, but by '17 this team is going to be pretty good (just about the time the Nats are in sharp decline).

khd713
khd713

@Bogey I hope you are right regarding Markakis, but I think I think we should keep his value in perspective. Hayward's WAR numbers over the last three years: 6.3, 3.4, 5.8. Markakis' WAR numbers over the last three years: 2.1, -0.3, 1.7. Mar kakis might have outperformed Hayward in HRs, average and strikeouts last year, but there is really no comparison between what each player means to the team overall.

AABraves
AABraves

Sure they may or may not have overpaid for Markakis...but they need a body out there and in the lineup. He is no BJ or Uggla...etc...Prospects are prospects its a roll of the dice but a few contributors down the road dont hurt when you are a low budget organization.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Braves’ farm system went from No. 22 to No. 6 in Law’s rankings in one year, AJC.com’s Mark Bradley reported. It’s a small consolation prize for fans […]

  2. […] Today’s AJC included a little something from yours truly about the Atlanta Braves and their chosen course, which is to rebuild — stop me if you’ve heard this already — around young pitching. I’ll admit I was slow to see the reason for this massive tear-down and resultant stock-up. I’ll also note that sprucing up the farm system, as other organizations can attest, doesn’t always yield the desired effect. […]