You tell me: Do you like all this Braves’ rebuilding?

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Shelby Miller throws to the Miami Marlins during the first inning of a baseball game in Miami, Sunday, May 17, 2015. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Shelby Miller throws to the Miami Marlins during the first inning of a baseball game in Miami, Sunday, May 17, 2015. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Shelby Miller throws to the Miami Marlins during the first inning of a baseball game in Miami, Sunday, May 17, 2015. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Shelby Miller, the best of the Braves’ many acquisitions. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

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.

Over time, I’ve yielded to the new reality. For better or worse, this is what the Braves are doing, and they’re going about it with such dispatch as to make the ol’ noggin spin. Last fall, Baseball America rated the Braves’ farm system the second-worst among 30 MLB clubs; last week, Keith Law of ESPN Insider rated it the second-best.

Give them credit. The Braves have been as creative as all get-out. They got the Padres to take Melvin Upton Jr. off their hands, albeit at the cost of Craig Kimbrel. My favorite was the deal with Arizona for Bronson Arroyo, who probably won’t ever pitch here, and the prospect Touki Toussaint. That was truly inspired.

That said, the Braves’ latest trade — contributors Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe to the Mets for middling minor-league pitchers John Gant and Rob Whalen — didn’t go over well with some among you. I thought it was fully in keeping with the grand design, but I get paid not to be a fan. I do, however, understand the growing angst: What bats the Braves have (and they don’t have many) keep leaving, and all that comes back is pitching.

My answer to that would be that the Braves see young pitching as the commodity that will allow them to acquire the needed bats. The Cubs have done it the other way, loading up on hitters (Rizzo, Bryant, Russell, Soler, Schwarber). The Braves chose pitching because, dating back 25 years, that was how this club got really good in the first place.

Whether this will pan out in pennants is unknowable. Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus noted in January that the teams adjudged to have the best farm systems in 2004 (Brewers), 2005 (Angels) and 2006 (Diamondbacks) haven’t reached the World Series since those ratings were awarded, and all of those prospects are fully grown by now.

But enough. On to today’s question: Do you believe in what the Braves are doing? If so, why? If not, why not? I’ll hang up and listen to your responses, and there’s a poll for easy venting.

Reader Comments 0

184 comments
Nashville Jeff
Nashville Jeff

Yikes...after reading all the angry commentary below, can't wait to see the reactions over the Wood/Peraza/J.Johnson/Avilan trade for an injured 30 year old Cuban who's still never swung at a ML pitch, a LOOGY that just had bone chips removed from his(of course) elbow, and an A ball pitcher who likely will have to pay to see a ML game because he'll never get there any other way, and --oh yes--a comp draft pick.  You people just THOUGHT you hated Hart and his trades so far, lol......time to duck and let the rage begin.  Enjoy your vents..............

Chris11165
Chris11165

Bring on College Football season - just saying.....it goes without saying the next 60 days of Braves baseball are going to be excruciatingly painful to watch and endure.......they are dealing the wrong Johnson....CHRIS needs to be the one sent packing to the west coast.....Wood is part of our future ....if you're going to deal him at least get a piece of the future that is proven - Id understood Wood for Puig, but what the Dodgers are throwing us a bones would make even the best of dogs turn their head in disgust.......as does this deal

DrTruth
DrTruth

OK Mark.....At some point somebody has to call bullshiznit on these crazy trades.  I thought Alex Wood was one of Hart's rebuilding pieces?  Hart's really trying to win over the UGA fans with this one (not).


John Hart is out of control and won't stop until....well, maybe he'll never stop.  

TomGaff
TomGaff

@DrTruth Wood is a good young LH pitcher, what the heck is going on?

Scroach
Scroach

MARK,


HAVE THE BRAVES WRITTEN OFF THIS YEAR?

TomGaff
TomGaff

@Scroach Moving three veteran players for more unproven prospects, they have given up for next 5 years at least! I'm back to thinking my original comment about 95-100 losses this season may be accurate after all! No one should show up at ball park to see an AAA or AA team play in ATL!! The remaining players should feel depressed to take the field against superior MLB players. Now if Philly comes in and beats us three straight, like last two teams, that should be embarrassing! Hope the Phillies Franceour(RF) hits about 3 HRS and has 6 RBI's! By the way, he is hitting .270 now, way to go Frenchy!

JeffCriswell
JeffCriswell

Ok, this is a rebuilding year. I think they're taking the easy way out, though, by not investing in bats. Why not gamble on some power hitting outfielders, a catcher and a third baseman? We have an overabundance of starters. Are you telling me the Mets didn't have a promising outfielder to trade for? 

jdcigar
jdcigar

I am fine with the rebuilding but wish we had an owner that would eat the costs of the previous management's bad contracts.  Really hated to see Kimbrel go only because we wanted to dump the BJ contract.

TomGaff
TomGaff

Ok, here I go again. I said to play Evan Gattis in LF for a season and let's see if he could be decent out there and what happens not being in the wear-down position of C would do for his bat? Well we traded him to Houston with his low salary($520K, very low for MLB standards) for three marginal prospects. Gattis after a very slow start in Houston, 0-21 AB's, with 14 SO's( perhaps a new city and a young man learning to be patient as a DH), is now hitting .246, with 12 doubles, 16 HRS, 58 RBI's, and believe this or not 7 triples! How can a 260lb man leg out 7 triples, someone help me there? Getting out from behind the plate C has certainly helped his bat! By the way he has played the DH position with only about 10 games in LF(one error listed on stat page). Looks like I was on the money about that? Also two of the prospects we got probably will never get above AA ball. The third prospect Folty is back and forth between ATL and AAA Gwinnett. He can throw it about 120 mph but apparently no one knows where it lands and there is no second pitch to rely on. Kinda reminds me of the "Bull Durham"movie staring Kevin Costner, back in the 90's? PS - HOUSTON is now in FIRST PLACE, you knucklehead Braves management types!!!

bravepad
bravepad

@TomGaff I came on here, knowing that there was going to be some dumb comments, and I just wasn't going to respond. But, what you just said was so incredibly asinine, that I just couldn't help myself. Gattis was completely useless to the Braves. He is a below replacement-level player and isn't even worth his league minimum contract. He may be hitting in the .240's (which isn't even good), but his OBP is only .270, which is awful. And there is a reason he has only played 7 games outside of DH'ing. He is such a poor fielder, that in only the 7 games in which he has actually fielded, he rated as one of the worst defenders in baseball, cumulatively. The fact that the braves got anything for him, let alone two high-profile and one ok prospect, Folty being a top 50 prospect with a ceiling of #2 starter and a floor of high-leverage reliever (what's this 'marginal' crap) is a huge win, and probably their most lopsided trade of the off-season. Get informed, please! (unless you are a troll... then good one)

TomGaff
TomGaff

@bravepad @TomGaff Sounds like you are a homer, no matter what. We have NO ONE and I mean NO ONE capable of hitting the ball out of the park on every AB. We get 7-8 singles nightly and get around 0-3 runs scored. Gattis was capable of that, hitting the long ball and knocking in runs! 12 doubles, 7 triples, 16 HRS, 58 RBI's is nothing to sneeze about? Yes, he is gone for marginal prospects because we do not give a sh-t about the next couple years, per Braves management. Gattis, J Heyward, McCann are all HELPING their new teams to first place with their new teams. One of them will probably win the WS this year. Quit giving the Braves so much credit for forming a new AAA team in ATL while obtaining mostly marginal prospects which will never see the MLB, except on TV!  I believe in telling it like it is while you on the other hand live in a fantasy Braves world. Washington (good hitters, above average pitchers)and the NY Mets(wow, they have some serious pitching) will win our division for the next 10 seasons, while we will be in the bottom two!!

woodstock30189
woodstock30189

@TomGaff @bravepad I am trying to agree with you, but using Evan Gattis as evidence for your argument is not helpful. You yourself said he only has 7 starts other that as a DH. The Braves play in the National League which, last time I checked, did not have the DH, so it doesn't help to have one on your team- at any price.

TomGaff
TomGaff

@woodstock30189 @TomGaff @bravepad You may be right,do you think Houston would have traded for Gattis if they did not have the DH? His big bat makes up for a lot of deficiencies, in my opinion! I have seen teams with some not so great LF players on D, keep that player in the lineup for the big bat he provides. I would not be so piss-d if we had got a decent ML player in return, but we got nothing in reality but possible prospects. I am not impressed by these prospects, including Folty! Look at Gattis's stats on Houston's web site, he seems to be having a real good season in the making! That same season, he could have been having for us, what kind of production has our LF guys given us? He is 260lbs, someone with the Braves should have encouraged him to get down to about 230-235lbs, with a good contract as incentive! He must be somewhat athletic for a 260lb guy to leg out 7 triples in Houston? The OF players could not have fallen down that many times??

SupremeGrandPoobah
SupremeGrandPoobah

What happens when are trading partners are unwilling to accept the lower level pitching prospects, and they demand Miller or Wisler?  Are we going to cave in and give it to them in exchange for a bat that we hope will continue to produce after they come here?  Or another one year rental like Teixiera?

Cassell14
Cassell14

In the end, Atlanta is a city whose fans only support the teams who are winning at the moment.  All these people saying they won't buy tickets anymore for AAA talent are full of it.  When the team starts winning again in 2017, the park will be full, and the losing in 2015-2016 will have been worth it.  You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, people.  Frank Wren created a mess, and this is what had to be done to get out of it.

SupremeGrandPoobah
SupremeGrandPoobah

@Cassell14   And the Great Pumpkin will rise from the Pumpkin Patch bringing toys for all the little children.   Why is it that we have to lose for two years and suddenly begin winning in 2017?  A final kiss off to the City of Atlanta?  He could have acquired a few hitters, instead of sinking everything into minor league pitchers, some of questionable value, as in the most recent trade.

woodstock30189
woodstock30189

@Cassell14 to your point about Atlanta only supporting teams that are winning- how does that make this city different than anywhere else?

You say "WHEN the team starts winning again in 2017..." I am glad you are confident about that, and I hope you are right, but putting a subpar product in a shiny new wrapper still leaves you with a subpar product.

I don't see how the calendar turning to 2017 will magically make this team a winner.

I agree something had to be done to strengthen the team, and I am not necessarily against losing the pieces that were sent away, but I am not sold on what was received in return. Was there not even 1 valuable position player that could have been included?

The Braves have supposedly upgraded their farm system to one of the top in the league through acquiring all this young pitching. That's great, but if you trade it away to acquire position players, then you are right back where you started.

SOB
SOB

Well, one the first things this management did was run off Dayton Moore. Remember that "boy" genius? A Brave to the core. Worked his way up through the ranks. Well, where is he now? General Manager of the first place (by a lot) Kansas City Royals! The cursed town is cursed by the curse of the curse, I tell you. At least the Cubs had the the goat to blame everything on -- but we don't have even that.

Chris11165
Chris11165

@SOB Dayton Moore's name is never mentioned but Im glad you did..we had a class act here and let him leave....and Ned Yost could have  been asked to come back to Atlanta too and both now are in KC and seeing the fruits of a process that has produced success - not overnight - but through some smart moves and wise decisions on players..........something the Braves seemed to have missed the memo on.....this has become a nightmare year.....here in Atlanta...I would love to see KC hoist a World Series title again this year....and they have a decent shot at it...

extremus
extremus

Given their tailspin in recent weeks, it's clear the Braves aren't anywhere near a "rebuilding" phase yet; they're still tearing down.  Sure they have loaded up on pitching but precious little else, and there's only so much room at the MLB level for so many arms.  I get it; John Hart plans to use some of those young pitchers as capital to trade for hitters at some point, but for now the organization looks like those townsfolk from that Skittles commercial "Settle it the usual way": all of their strength on one side.  Nobody can help but notice it or what the Braves have been getting in return for trade after trade this past year.


The '90s/00's Braves won those 14 consecutive division championships with more than just the incredible pitching that was their hallmark; they had loads of great hitters that put runs on the board, from table-setters like Otis Nixon and Marquis Grissom to pure thunder from Andres Galarraga and Javy Lopez to the all-around hitting proficiency of Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, and Fred McGriff.  David Justice, Ron Gant, Andruw Jones...the list of offensive stars was a LONG one, and most of those guys came through Atlanta's farm system.


The saying during the mid-to-late '90s went "Other teams rebuild; the Braves reload".  This organization is still a LONG way from even being able to confidently state it has achieved the former.  And no amount of pitching will bring a championship back to Atlanta without addressing the dire need for hitting throughout the organization.

HUDDYS1FAN
HUDDYS1FAN

Pitching is the foundation for future success. Yea, the future because the present really stinks. Especially for all the fans who go to Turner Field, and pay good money to see something less than major league caliber these days.


But still, having the second ranked farm system is progress in the right direction. For those who doubt what John Hart is doing......check the following evidence out and agree with me, this team is gonna be great in the next year or two:


1. Shelby Miller 24


2. Julio Teheran 24


3. Alex Wood 24


4. Matt Wisler 22


5. Mike Foltynewicz 23


6. Manny Banuelos 24


7. Williams Perez 24


8. Max Fried 21


9. Lucas Sims 21


10, Touki Toussant 19


11. Tyrell Jenkins 23


12.Ricardo Sanchez 18

SupremeGrandPoobah
SupremeGrandPoobah

@HUDDYS1FAN Conspicuously missing from your list are the two recent Mets additions.  Some of these guys better learn how to use a bat, or they're going to lose a lot games (or get a lot of no decisions) just like Miller. 

MacDoogle
MacDoogle

Atlanta.....the only city in America that has 2 Triple A ball teams.....or more likely the downtown team is Triple A, and the Gwinnett team is Double A !!!

Jmonty
Jmonty

Let's see get rid of everyone good....check

Get stuck paying the salary of bad players, playing for other teams....check

Find AA to AAA talent and throw them on the field....check

Charge foolish fans full price to see AAA talent...check

Yep... doing a great job!!! 

BillEGoat
BillEGoat

The tear-down was somewhat OVERdone. The Johnson-Uribe trade makes little sense. Also, I think a ML club has an OBLIGATION to put a ML-quality team on the field, IF they are going to charge ML  ticket prices.With the Johnson-Uribe trade,  the Braves are basically saying, "OK, we lose almost every fay for the last 2 months of the season, so come out and buy tickets, folks." With Johnson and Yribe and Freeman coming back, the Braves at least had a chance to be competitive on a lot of days, Not now. And I do not see how the 2016 team will be much better. Big changes were required, but not a "nuclear bomb" to blow up the team.

BeastOPS
BeastOPS

Everyone keeps saying how they're "done", they've spent their last dollar on the Braves, etc.  But yet we keep tuning in, keep watching, keep checking/commenting on the blogs....  

And the sad reality is, if/when they ever reach/win the World Series again - at the end of the day - what's next, and who cares?  It's on to the next year....  

Nashville Jeff
Nashville Jeff

@BeastOPS  What does "checking/commenting on blogs" have to do w/spending "their last dollar."  It's still free to vent on the AJC blogs.  If you've been paying...well...oops for you.  "Tuning in" and "watching" on tv is part of your cable package that you probably got w/out a single thought of paying for it in relation to Braves baseball.

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

It's hard to find decent hitting in this league. We're trading every bit of it that we have. No position players left on this team other than Freeman and Simmons. Maybe we need to teach some of these pitchers how to play another position?

Atticus34
Atticus34

They needed to go another direction, there is no doubt. The issue for me is this organization has made the fans pay for their countless mistakes. Their mistake of BJ Upton cost the team Craig Kimbrel plain and simple. It was ALL about money. They don't spend it. This franchise is being run like a small market team when in fact its the 8th largest TV market. And I can make a case its larger because it has the entire southeast to itself due to the superstation in the past and lack of competition in Alabama, Mississippi, TN and the Carolinas. Good luck getting fans in 2017. Oh, they will show up to see the new stadium initially but they are losing a big part of the fans base because its just bad baseball when you can't score or hold leads. And when 2017 comes and the fans have he nightmare traffic at I-75 and the generic stadium with nothing any different has been opened a year, good luck getting a big fan turnout---other than the Cards and Yankees fans....

SupremeGrandPoobah
SupremeGrandPoobah

@Atticus34 Or here's a concept:  If Hart was just bound and determined to trade Kimbrell, he could have traded him for a good hitter, and used Mr. Upton as a ball boy.

SOB
SOB

Hate fielding a AA team against major league baseball teams. If the so called management feels the Braves will be fixed by the time the new stadium opens --  the management is delusional. This has disaster written all over it. This proud franchise was gutted and left out to dry. It will take decades if anyone cares to "fix" this clown parade. I've spent my last dollar at a Braves game, now that the kids are gone. I don't even watch them on tv anymore. Who wants to look at garbage. Most people take the garbage out and throw it in a dumpster...

candlin14
candlin14

@SOB


AMEN brother!  Its absolutely embarrassing. I think twice about putting on a Braves shirt these days. Our money problems with BJ was blown out of proportion. We have a solid nucleus of young players and Hart came in and destroyed it. I am absolutely tired of Atlanta Braves baseball.... They are the Buffalo Bills of baseball times ten!!!

Jmonty
Jmonty

@SOB Pretty much where I stand.  Why pay for a big league ticket to see AAA talent.  I can go to Gwinnett or Rome for that and pay less. 

GT71
GT71

This reminds me of that golf commercial where one guy (the idiot) is showing the other guy (the foil) his new set of clubs....all of which are drivers (of different sorts).

Anyway, the allusion is apt for the Braves.  They seem to have a system full of pitchers but no one to drive a run home (see the system's record for RISP).

OK, in the early '90s it was, 'if they can't score, we can't lose'.  With Maddox, Glavine, Smoltz and Avery, that was possible.  But someone still had to score at least 1 run.

And trading some of that pitching in a year or so for some bats may yet work (if that's the plan).  So we are only seeing step 1 in a 3 step process:

1.  Stock up on pitching NOW.

2.  Trade fro or develop bats in 2 years.

3.  Somewhere in there, somehow acquire better on-field management. Fredi has to go; he's a place-holder.  He's OK to hold the fort, but he can't go forth to attack the injuns, win the battles and save the damsels in distress (that would be us) - he's no managerial John Wayne. 

58Supersports
58Supersports

@GT71  Agree of Fredi...since he got his new contract they have lost 15 of last 17..lol

candlin14
candlin14

@58Supersports @GT71


Im pretty sure they are 6-11 in the last 17 games but who cares... Freddie Gonzalez is absolutely awful!!! Him alone makes me never want to watch a braves game

Jacket Detective
Jacket Detective

This last trade reveals what a liar John Hart was in his conference call with season ticket holders last year.

Kenny Powers
Kenny Powers

They should trade Markakis, Maybin, both Johnsons and Teheran

tneck
tneck

I don't mind rebuilding, but this last trade has me puzzled.  Surely, there were better deals out there to make.  I know he's not through either.  I'm afraid he is going to deplete what little hitting we have left.  Too many question marks in this man's thinking.

Mutley
Mutley

Winning perpetuates winning. Losing perpetuates losing. ATL sports always seem to be on the latter. The CURSE lives on.

woodstock30189
woodstock30189

You can't win a game 0-0. Sooner or later someone is going to have to hit the ball. 


I understand what they are doing, acquiring a LOT of what are reportedly very highly thought of (those some not so much) pitching prospects to then turn around and trade for hitters come 2017.


My problem with this approach is that you are basically saying the next two years are throwaways, and then it creates unrealistic expectations that trading all of this young pitching is going to result in the reincarnation of "Murderer's Row" from the '27 Yankees. When that team fails to live up to the unrealistic expectations, and they will, since nothing short of a World Series Championship will be good enough at that point, it will look like you failed.


Planning for the future is all well and good, but at some point the future becomes the present, and you have to deliver results. 


Another concern with this strategy is that, since you have all of this so called "currency" you end up overpaying for the position player you need, and don't get the value you expect. And I am not sure I trust John Hart to make the decision on who those hitters are to be.


One absolute wild card in all of this is how the new ball park will play. Fulton-County Stadium was the "Launching Pad", but while I don't have the exact numbers, (and it could be a result of weak Braves hitting) I don't believe Turner field is all that much of a hitter's park.


You are going to build a team to fit into a stadium you really know nothing about. I'd like to think that how the stadium is getting built (dimensions, etc.) will be included in the discussion of what type of player to bring in, but how will they know? 


I could be wrong, but other than some nice pictures of all the stuff going in around the stadium, I haven't seen anything about the proposed dimensions of the field, or anything like that.


You have to build the team to win in the stadium that they will play most of their games in, Since the stadium hasn't been built yet, and won't be complete until the year you have set for the resurgence, how do you know what type of hitter will do well there?


I truly hope that the moves that the Braves brain trust is making now will pay off, but I just don't have a lot of confidence in this group.




GT71
GT71

@woodstock30189  If I had read yours, I wouldn't have had to type mine.  Nicely done and well thought out.

I'd say better written than most of the journalists at the AJC, but that would be callous and mean.

Kwajbraves
Kwajbraves

@woodstock30189 


You are spot on your assessment on the possible drawback of acquiring arms to trade later. Controllable impact bats are the most precious commodity in baseball right now and to acquire them will cost you elite talent.  If they want to follow the blueprint of the 90s then they will need to start drafting and developing the next Chipper or Justice.  Right now they don't have a cornerstone position player in the minors to built around.