Will the .500 Braves stay afloat all season?

Atlanta Braves pitcher Nick Masset reacts after giving up a home run to Los Angeles Dodgers Jimmy Rollins in the eighth inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Monday, May 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Richard Hartog)

Atlanta Braves pitcher Nick Masset reacts after giving up a home run to Los Angeles Dodgers Jimmy Rollins in the eighth inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Monday, May 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Richard Hartog)

New Braves pitcher Nick Masset after yielding the third of three Dodger homers. (AP Photo/Richard Hartog)

Today’s AJC offered a look at the Atlanta Braves as of Memorial Day, which dawned with them above .500. (If only just. They were 22-21. They’re 22-22 after Monday’s loss in L.A.) Given that the Braves were expected to be terrible, the season’s first quarter has been something of an accomplishment.

But here we note: Memorial Day 2014 dawned with the Braves at 28-21, holders of a three-game lead in the National League East. They would finish 79-83, 17 games behind the Washington Nationals. With its lousy offense, those Braves couldn’t hold up. The offense is better this season — the Braves have scored the 19th-most runs in the majors, up from the 29th of 2014 — but it still isn’t good. (They’ve gotten skilled at not striking out; they’ve also gotten skilled at not hitting home runs.)

The difference is, the Braves’ pitching has become mediocre. They hold the 20th-best ERA in the majors and are tied for 18th in quality starts. (A year ago they led all MLB teams in the latter category.) Even as we credit the Braves for holding it together this long, we have to ask: How much can we reasonably expect of a team that ranks in the bottom half in both hitting and pitching?

The Braves got a break from their early schedule. They’ve played only 15 games against teams that currently hold winning records; they’re 4-11 in those. June will be a much more testing month. If the Braves are still at .500 on the Fourth of July, there should be a parade down Peachtree.

Reader Comments 1

44 comments
ComaToes
ComaToes

Prepare for the nosedive.  It's right around the corner.  Get those T-shirts out if you're going to a Braves game.  The ones that say "HERE SITS A FOOL" !

Whipped
Whipped

There is nothing exciting or special about the design of this team or the new stadium. Just looked at the latest renderings. The stadium looks like all other stadiums......boring.

BobbyDawg
BobbyDawg

Every season the Braves put on a nice winning streak or two early on that puts them up well over .500, then they could play around .500 from there on out and still be in contention in their division. There hasn't been any winning streak this season and it doesn't look like there's going to be.

BravesFanForever
BravesFanForever

The key here is that the team is not STATIC. You can't look at their performance and figure that it is going to stay this way. Good teams tend to get better. If it turns out that they are truly bad they will sink in the standings. This is why they play the games since you cannot predict with 100% certainty what will happen. If management is good, and I think they are, they will continue to try to improve the team (they have really made a concerted effort to get the pitching staff figured out). May not be great improvements but I think they will do what it takes to stay afloat and not let the team implode. That would be the WORST thing they could do going into 2017 for the new stadium since it will kill the hardened fan base. They will be fine if they can just maintain a .500 record. in 2015 they will likely continue bringing up talent from Gwinnett, then, in 2016 it will be about swapping out weak positions and making bigger trades. The winter of 2016-2017 will be the time that the Braves could make some major moves.

reckingball
reckingball

The Braves should have stipulated in the Collapso trade, that Stultz would have to start the game for the Dodgers tonight,.....and be required to complete at least, 6 innings.

reckingball
reckingball

The Braves can't stand up against powerhouse teams like the Dodgers or Notionals, but seem to be able to compete against middling teams such as their own team.

IF, the pitchers and defense can hold the weaker teams on the schedule to 3 or fewer runs, then they will have a fairly good chance of winning those games.

AABraves
AABraves

I'm rooting for Miller and Pederson..starting to get worried about Tehran and Bethancourt. The trials and tribulations of a young MLB team...Its always fun and exciting to pencil in young talent based on potential. I think its best to be very cautiously optimistic that some of that talent pans out into a few players..Hart knows this that's why he keeps trying to throw as many in as possible hoping to get some luck..

scottarino
scottarino

@AABraves remember, a team in Atlanta's payroll parameters only needs a to field a catcher who can field and handle the staff. overpaying for a catcher who hits a little is money wasted.  We know this because of all the playoff wins McCann brought us. If Bethancourt can throw out runners, call a great game, and NOT drop the ball during close plays at the plate, a la BMac, it's good enough. 

Jmonty
Jmonty

No big time talent will show at the end of the season.  Ticket sales have to be lower than any of the recent past years.  The last game I went to reminded me of the Braves in the 80's.   I think we'll finish well below .500

Ersatz
Ersatz

One thing is for sure: the root beer floats at the 28-story Applebee's in barvesworld will be free all season for the barves front office hogs and cobb political fat cats, since cobb taxpayers are picking up the tab.  What better way to wash down all the unlimited tater skins and babyback ribs when the bartender runs out of brewskis during another barves shutout loss?

CoronaGT
CoronaGT

@Ersatz

High atop the 28-story Applebee’s will be the Ersatz Comedy Lounge, which will feature a perpetual open-mike show reserved for trolls who repeat one unfunny joke over and over to a huge throng of empty seats, all beautifully orchestrated to the sound of crickets.

scottarino
scottarino

@Ersatz sounds like you're quiet familiar with the loserdom known as Applebee's. 

ShovelPlease
ShovelPlease

When all is said and done, these Braves will rank with the worst of the 70s or 80s teams.  When a bad team implodes, watch out.  Prediction:  59-103.  

BravesFanForever
BravesFanForever

@ShovelPlease Hahaha! Those 80s teams had little talent (after '83) and initially their farm system was a disaster (Until Bobby Cox came along). But it didn't take long to shore up the team did it (1991)? With as much talent as the Braves have now and all the talent they are going to be bringing up, there is now way they are going to implode like that. Have you been following the off season? Were you aware of all the trades they made for all that talent in the minors? Those were not scrub players you know. We are truly blessed to have a management team which is dedicated to making this team reasonably competitive this year. If you had been paying attention to this point you would see that they have really been trying hard to get this pitching staff figured out. They have made a million moves it seems! Trust me, it will get worked out, and the Braves will likely finish at .500.

NO.

HUDDYS1FAN
HUDDYS1FAN

They are competitive, but not by much and with almost no margin for error.

mgunter
mgunter

I really like this ball club, we need to solve our middle inning relief issues. Starting pitchers look promising, need to release Stults and Cahil and bring up another kid from Gwinnett. We'll get to .500 and be entertaining to watch.

FalconsDetective
FalconsDetective

@mgunter

No problem then with wasting 6 million dollars on Cahill to do next to nothing?

Bringing him in was something Wren would do.

BravesFanForever
BravesFanForever

@JacketDetective @mgunter I agree... The Cahill trade was a waste. I don't get it at all. And frankly why they let Wandy Rodriguez go is beyond me. The way it should be looked at is this: Who in the past actually was successful? So Wandy had ONE season which he slipped and that was last year. Stultz only had one 1/2 season as a starter that was decent and the other two AFTER this were mediocre at best. So what could we have expected? At least Wandy had 6 straight seasons with around a 3.60 ERA. Guess what his ERA is this year so far?

reckingball
reckingball

Starting pitching has improved, bullpen has improved......IF, pitching can hold up, they might end season around .500.

Could be in the wild card hunt, miracles happen sometimes.

Rhetoric
Rhetoric

I stand with my pre-season prediction that the Braves will win 70 games.

PeterNapa
PeterNapa

The Braves will be nowhere near .500 at the end of the season and it's doubtful that the "rebuilding" will be only a two or three year project. Young pitchers get hurt or under perform. We don't have a lot of prospects at positions other than P. Even with all of the draft picks this is widely regarded to be a weak draft class overall. This is more likely to be a four or five year rebuild. Even then it'll take some luck. It still looks as if Sun Trust Stadium translates more into an overall increase in the value of the Braves to Liberty but not very much in the way of increased revenue to the team itself.  Without an increase in television revenue it looks as if payroll will remain flat. This at a time that TV revenue throughout the sport are exploding.

BobDawg
BobDawg

@PeterNapa Hmmm…. I want to see your "Crystal Ball"!   That new park will be a money maker to the Bravos.  With Studs lined up on the pitching front we can move one or 2 for some bats. I like us in 2016 already… This is fun seeing changing faces and young-uns coming up here. 

scottarino
scottarino

@PeterNapa The television deal is the reason why the team is moving to Cobb. I still don't understand why I don't know the name of the person who brokered that TV deal. I don't understand why the world doesn't know who they are. 

tulsabravo
tulsabravo

I don't think they'll win more than 62 games this season. No depth, a thrown together bullpen, and just wait til the starting pitching starts to tire (more than they have already.) Not getting any better after last night's loss to LA.

PalmBeachFalcon
PalmBeachFalcon

@tulsabravo I'll take that bet.  This team may not crack .500 after 162 games, but they won't lose 100 either.

jdcigar
jdcigar

They are not a 500 club, not with this pitching.  This and the next series in SF will confirm that.  They are entertaining and do show promise for the future but really aren't very good right now.  The schedule has been kind to us so far.

scottarino
scottarino

@jdcigar hence a re-building year. It's not coincidence that the team struggles at times. 

hipdawg
hipdawg

Yea, we are going to get trounced by better teams.I just hope our  ' 2 year' plan'  includes some power bats and another stud like Miller, and a new manager not named Fredi. A good manager should win you a couple of games a year. Why is Fredi our manager? Did they feel sorry for him when he got fired by the fish?....Chipper for Skipper!!!

ChefTimDix
ChefTimDix

Complexion of squad will be ever changing thru this season but they are a .500 club getting better once Peraza and Mallex arrive.

Atlanta Craker
Atlanta Craker

The starting pitching is getting better.... No bad at all... Where is Minor?

joatl
joatl

Minor is done. We will not see him soon.

ChefTimDix
ChefTimDix

@joatl will be ever. will not be tendered, done as Altanta Brave.

gaboy983
gaboy983

They're .500 because they've play 3 series against the Marlins already, 2 vs the Phils, 2 vs the Reds, and one vs the Brewers.  That's 26 of 44 games against teams are a combined 71-112(.388)...once the schedule balances out a bit the record will fall. 


AJ is headed back to normal after that hot start, Markakis is a .280 and he's headed back towards that number.  Teams are going to stop pitching to Freeman.  They will probably trade anyone tradable by the deadline and likely finish with around 70 wins.

BravesFanForever
BravesFanForever

@gaboy983 So negative... It doesn't mean someone else will get hot. All players go through hot and cold spells. How do you know that another 2-3 players will not get hot this summer? This team is BUILDING not selling. They are not going to deal away anyone from this point forward who has value. I think they can finish at .500 once they figure out the relief situation. Not like this hasn't happened before. The Braves often let relievers go and they have to rebuild their bullpen. Sure this year they went a bit overboard so they basically had to start from scratch but frankly it's not like it can't be done. Relievers are not that special. They simply need to find the right combination of players who are all having a good 2015. That's what it really comes down to. As far as the starters, it's unfortunate that Teheran hasn't performed up to expectations, but Wood will settle down, of course Miller has been amazing, and I think Folty will work out. As far as this fifth position, there's no way that Williams Perez is in the long term plans, so one of the Braves great prospects will be up in the next couple of months. They will be FINE.

Old Fan
Old Fan

Unless Chris Johnson can return to his former form as a hitter (we can hope, but shouldn't count on that), it is time to play the younger team members, get them some ML experience, and keep an eye out for possible trades. That is what rebuilding is all about ! We must accept that fact and proceed to carry out the plan. We have endured the "April showers" of roster moves, so let's hope for and try to help nourish the "May (or perhaps June, July, etc.) flowers." Go Braves!!

satan
satan

Braves play .500 ball until trade deadline...are within 2 from Wild Card spot...trade for Kimbrel from sub .500 Padres...go on to win WS...

FalconsDetective
FalconsDetective

@hardworkinman @satan

Padres are not giving us back Kimbrel unless we also take back Melvin/B.J.

And probably not even then.

Maybe they'll teach him how to hit but I doubt it.

mdhenshaw
mdhenshaw

The Braves schedule is pretty brutal over the next 35 games. If they're .500 after that then we can get excited. 

Trackbacks

  1. […] we noted that the Atlanta Braves’ schedule over the next month-plus would be most testing. Our conclusion: “If the Braves are still at .500 on the Fourth of July, there should be a parade down […]