Perez offers another glimpse of the Braves’ young pitching

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Williams Perez delivers to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Williams Perez delivers to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Williams Perez delivers to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Williams Perez: He’s good and he’s young and he’s one of many. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Williams Perez, one of the Atlanta Braves’ many good young pitchers, worked a splendid game Tuesday in St. Petersburg — eight innings (meaning a complete game), two earned runs, four hits, four walks, one strikeout. He took the 2-0 loss, but still: For his third start after five weeks on the disabled list, it was stirring stuff.

The Rays’ two runs came in the seventh on a home run by their eighth-place hitter after an infield single. Kevin Kiermaier hit a 1-2 changeup — 80 mph, middle of the plate — over the wall in right-center. It was a bad pitch, maybe the only one of the 92 Perez threw. If you’re a Braves’ fan, you came away feeling bummed by the loss but encouraged by Perez, who’s 24. And now for the really good news:

If you were rating the Braves’ 10 best pitchers under 25, Perez might not make the cut.

Just for fun, here are 10 who might be considered more promising (which isn’t to take anything from Perez, who’s demonstrably pretty darn good): Shelby Miller, Julio Teheran, Matt Wisler, Mike Foltynewicz, Manny Banuelos, Tyrell Jenkins, Touki Toussaint, Max Fried, Kolby Allard, Mike Soroka and Lucas Sims.

OK, I cheated. That’s 11 names, not 10. That’s 11 names even without Williams Perez, who was signed as an amateur free agent in 2009.

Of those 11 names, nine — Teheran and Sims are the exceptions — were acquired under John Hart and John Coppolella, whose joint stewardship began last fall. Fried hasn’t pitched this season owing to Tommy John surgery, but he was the No. 7 player drafted in 2012 and was rated by FanGraphs as the Padres’ No. 3 prospect of 2014. (Wisler was No. 2.) Allard and Soroka were drafted in Round 1 this June.

If you’re wondering — and I know many of you still are — how the Braves could trade Alex Wood, who’s 24 and who’d already proved he could pitch in the majors, that list of names supplies much of your answer. (Concerns about Wood’s durability provide the other part.) The Braves have a ton of young pitching. Not all of those young pitchers will become mainstays here. There’s no such thing as a 12-man rotation.

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62 comments
Bob_the_Blogger
Bob_the_Blogger

I agree. This young man knows how to pitch.  He has control, movement, focus, composure, and a winner's drive.  I hope the Braves remember a couple of pitchers in the HOF that never reached the mid 90's with a fastball.

jc312
jc312

Perez may not have the "upside" of some of the others -- or so says MLB beat writer, Mark Bowman -- but he knows how to pitch. Which puts me in mind of a guy named Maddux, who's "upside" was comparable. He wasn't a flame thrower, but he knew how to pitch. 


Perez is smart, and he's got a confidence I haven't seen in any of the other young pitchers. Seeing him freeze a fast runner earlier this year with a long, long pause, it was clear that somebody taught him well. Barring injury, I'm guessing he'll be around when some of the "upsiders" are trying to figure out what they're gonna be when they grow up.

TaxiSmith
TaxiSmith

Is it still baseball season? Hard to follow this team.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

Looking forward to next year, it helps me if I separate the guys into tiers, so:


Entrenched: Miller, Teheran (I know he's had a rough year, but PLEASE let's not forget what he's capable of)

Probable: Wisler (The only one of the young bunch I can confidently pencil in as a starter going forward)

Wait-And-See: Perez, Banuelos, Folty, Fried, Jenkins, Minor

Developmental: Sims, Toussaint, Allard, Soroka


First thing to remember is that nobody is untouchable. Anyone with a mind-blowing offseason can become entrenched or probable, and anyone who disappoints can become wait-and-see (except maybe Miller).


From there, watch closely from now until the start of next year as the "wait-and-see" guys battle it out. Obviously one of the young developmental guys can blow you away, so don't close yourself off to them joining the rotation either.


So let's say you decide that in 2016 your rotation is going to be Miller, Teheran, Wisler, Perez, Jenkins. Let's say you're comfortable with Folty and Banuelos in the pen. From there, you've got the option to move guys up the ladder -- maybe Allard/Toussaint separate themselves and move up into the wait-and-see/probable categories. You have the freedom to move Fried or Sims or even Folty if he wears out his welcome with the control issues. These are big pieces that can be carefully packaged to revamp the lineup. These are great options to have.



woodstock30189
woodstock30189

@ScubaSteve  Ummmm, what?


You spent a whole lot of time saying a whole lot of nothing other than, who the hell knows what's gonna happen next year.


Can you clarify something for me? How does one have a "mind-blowing offseason"?

JeffCriswell
JeffCriswell

Agree that there's a lot of pitching there, but why aren't they willing to draft young hitters from college? 

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

@JeffCriswell I think simply because that isn't necessarily the organization's strong suit. We have historically had a good eye for pitching. So stockpile a large number of high-ceiling prospects (which you have to admit, we have a really good number of) give them ample time to develop (which usually means abandoning a season or 2) and decide which are really the cream of the crop. The rest won't be total duds, just not the top of the bunch (see: Alex Wood). So you then move those remaining pieces to teams with either established MLB hitters or to teams with a better eye for young hitters and not a great eye for scouting young pitchers.


Really just as simple as more than 1 way to skin a cat.

reckingball
reckingball

@JeffCriswell I would say(from what I have heard all the people that know baseball preach) it is because pitching, is the most valuable position in MLB. Like the experts say, it's all about pitching. 

JackClemens
JackClemens

That's a great stockpile. Expect them to turn some of that into good young position players. And, when is that old Cuban rookie third baseman going to start playing?

BradleyBreeze
BradleyBreeze

Hart better hope some of these young pitchers mentioned can work the Pen or Hart's tenure in Atlanta will be considered a failure as far as I am concerned!

Rhetoric
Rhetoric

Just a matter of time before this group of young pitchers require TJ surgery for blown out arms.  The Braves did not have this problem when Mazzone was the pitching coach. McDowell  is more concerned about velocity than painting the corners.

Atticus34
Atticus34

Name for me the last pitcher the Braves developed that had a significant career: 


Tom Glavine


Name the last hitter that had a significant career (as in a frequent all-star):


Chipper Jones


This organization is a joke. I hope its changing but they have no hitting and are depending upon developing pitchers who haven't proved a thing. You can't win titles with a $97 million payroll.



Dsyelxia
Dsyelxia

That is great to have all these young arms but it does no good if nobody can hit the ball. Perez's 2-0 loss and Shelby Miller's losing streak is the embodiment of what is wrong with this franchise and has been since 1991: Great pitching and little to no offense. 

Some of you can be happy with all the pennant surrounding Turner Field but only one of them is a World Series pennant - with THREE Hall of Fame pitchers on the staff!

The three-headed dinosaur of Hart-Schuerholz-Cox along with mini-Cox, Fredi, seem to think all you need is pitching and the offense will come. It is time to start developing some bats in this so-called "rebuilt" farm system.

khd713
khd713

@Dsyelxia For God's sake, be patient. Can't you see what they are doing. Jeez. And the World Series is a total crapshoot. Everybody knows that except, apparently, you. The Braves went to five of them and won one. Those are the breaks. Are you really ripping Hart-Schuerholz-Cox for winning 14 division titles and going to five World Series? Just wow. Some people.

DrTruth
DrTruth

Fredi says, "Just 4 months ago he was in A ball."  Maybe Marksberry needed more time before being rushed up.  What a total disaster in the 7th inning.

ATLBrown
ATLBrown

Ok, good.  But we need someone besides Freddie Freeman that can hit themselves out of a paper bag.

DrTruth
DrTruth

At least Papa John's is 50% off tomorrow....YAY!!

LEWWHEEL
LEWWHEEL

While looking back over  the past few years, I now assume that 4-5 on any 12 pitcher list  will be unavailable  and rehabbing from Tommy John for the first, second, or maybe the third time.

patriotdog
patriotdog

Having watched Tehran & Folty, and having many on your list not yet tested at the MLB level, I'd certainly put W Perez in the top ten. If you've watched him at all prior to his injury you'd have him in the top four. He's a pitcher, Folty is a thrower and Tehran is somewhere in between. The Touissant's, etc...are untested.

HUDDYS1FAN
HUDDYS1FAN

Williams Perez is a pitchers pitcher. He's got an average fastball, mostly 90-91 and 93 on a good day. It's the sinker that gets it done. Perez keeps the ball down in the zone, throws strikes, mixes in a change up, slider and curveball to keep hitters honest.


The Venezuela native can pitch, period. He's not flashy, dominant or overly intimidating. He's just reliable.  Takes the ball every fifth day and gives his team the chance to win by competing well. Williams Perez is the prototypical fifth starter who if he stays healthy, will be pitching in ML baseball games for the next decade.

Delbert_D
Delbert_D

Donald Trump will buy the Braves and drop out of politics. It's my birthday.

mdet
mdet

" There’s no such thing as a 12-man rotation"

You can't really rule out the absurd when Fredi is your manager.

AtlantaSportsVictory
AtlantaSportsVictory

Here here. The future is potentially bright ONLY if: 


1. Some of these prospects become legit plus starters 

2. We can flip some of the prospects for bats that we desperately need.


Otherwise, its like "winning" the offseason, you dont want to win the best farm system award if they never develop at the pro level.

TomGaff
TomGaff

Chris Johnson  recently traded to Cleveland last nite went 3 for 4AB's. A couple nites ago he went 4 for 4AB's on his first game there. How is that possible, he did not have that many hits in 2 months with us(Braves)? If I remember correctly the only good thing about Cleveland is Lebron?

LegalBeagle3
LegalBeagle3

@TomGaff Yea but 4/4 and 3/4 doesn't really mean anything according to the stat geeks.  If you look at his ANWAR and WASP, and HPV, he is in the bottom third of the league for guys who play north of the mason-dixon line, where the average temperature is 75 degrees or higher.  I'll never understand the Chris Johnson saga in Atl--seemed like a productive player when he wasn't getting jerked around, and had a fire about him--something we are missing.  But everyone set out to find the deficiencies in his game rather than appreciating his contributions.  I hope he continues to show the Braves they made a mistake.

College Park Guy
College Park Guy

I would like to see a starting rotation of Miller, Teheran, Perez, Wisler, and Jenkins going into next year.   I know people are really high on Foltynewicz and even Banuelos, but I think the kid Jenkins has pitched very well this year at all minor league levels.  I think he surprises people next spring and earns a spot in the starting 5.

FridayNightLights
FridayNightLights

The future "appears" to be bright relative to pitching but one never knows. Seems that we acquired/signed numerous pitchers (can't recall specifics) coming off of TJ surgery. You never know how those repairs will hold out. But even if the pitching looks bight, it is going to take a while. Smoltz (42-42), Glavin (53-52) and Maddux (60-53) were a combined 155-147 in their first five seasons of their careers (.520 winning percentage). That included a 20 win season in Glavin's fifth year. So....we may have many more mediocre years to come before these young guns can produce playoff bound teams - that will also be contingent on what ownership chooses to put on the field (and at the plate) around those young arms.  

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

@FridayNightLights  2017. At that point benefit of the doubt expires and the Braves brass needs to be held accountable for results in the Win-Loss columns. How charitable of us to be so patient, this wouldn't be the case in some other markets.

cshudson24
cshudson24

Maybe, they trade some of the pitching for some players on the DL

UWreckMeBaby
UWreckMeBaby

Alex Wood and J. Johnson are bombing in LA

woodstock30189
woodstock30189

How many of those great pitchers can hit? Because none of the other 8 people on the field can.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

Um, before Hart was hired most likely the Braves 10 best pitchers under 25 were acquired or signed by Frank Wren. Is there a better pipeline of young pitching now? Perhaps. Will it matter (pay off in playoff runs)? We shall see.

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

@DawgDadII perhaps?!  dude you are clueless...this lineup of young guns looks NOTHING like what that fool Wren had in the system.  Are you even paying attention?

Already_Older
Already_Older

@CowbellHell @DawgDadII You forget how many young players were brought up through the farm system:  Teheran, Medlin, Beachy, Wood, Minor, Kimbrell, Delgado,  Hanson, Vizcaino and then Freeman, Simmons, and Heywood.  That was supposed to be the team of the future.  So don't get too hyped over minor league talent.  I think that lineup on young guns matches up pretty good with the current crop (in potential, hype, etc., before Medlin and Beachy got hurt for the 2nd time).

DrPhill
DrPhill

In order to field a winning team, Liberty Media has to spend some money on proven talent, which the ownership is unwilling to do. I expect mediocre play as long as the bean counters at Liberty Media run the show.

MichaelProcton
MichaelProcton

@DrPhill Proven talent?  Like BJ Upton?  Or did you mean Dan Uggla?  Both of those guys had incredibly strong track records before coming to Atlanta.

RonMexico
RonMexico

@DrPhill The current state of the Braves W-L record has absolutely nothing to do with Liberty Media being cheap. It's about building for the future and making up for the numerous horrible mistakes that Wren made. Think about all the miserable high-dollar Frank Wren signings that Liberty signed off on: Upton, Uggla, Kawakami are just the first ones that come to mind. 

Matt B
Matt B

@DrPhill  We have too many question marks on our roster to go after an Ace or a premier bat this offseason thru FA. The Braves are being smart. Bring talent in, see what you have, then build around that or trade that talent to get what you want. Despite some good effort by our team the Braves are at least another year away from fielding a playoff contender.  Best to go after a couple of 1 year deals and if they pan out flip them at the trade deadline for more talent and more depth.  It gives you flexibility and ensures you aren't handcuffed to a high dollar, long term deal.

Our roster is set for next year unless we trade someone this winter. It's possible since Cameron Maybin's stock is as high as it's ever been. For the right deal they might move him. Bourne/Swisher could recoup enough trade value by putting up numbers till the end of the season. If so then they might get moved also. All that being said our everyday lineup looks like this going into next year:


C- ?

1b. Freeman

2b Peterson

SS Simmons

3B Olivera

LF- Maybin/Bourne

CF Maybin/Bourne

RF- Markakis

Bench- Swisher



reckingball
reckingball

@DrPhill Will the Braves ever be able to pay "proven talent" $$180million or more for 10 years of service? I don't think so. But, that seems to be the about the price range for "proven talent". EVEN IF,.... the talent can't prove it for a single year of the contract. 

BravesFanInNashville
BravesFanInNashville

@Matt B @DrPhill There is no way Bourn EVER recoups more trade value.  He's done...  He's been a very poor second half of the season performer for about 5 seasons now.  Check his splits before and after the all-star break and you'll see he's two different players.    Over the last three seasons he's hit. .291 Pre All -Star game and .231 Post All-star game and is in steady decline as his overall average has gone down from .311 to .237 this year. 


Wren made a lot of big mistakes obviously, but one of the things I was grateful for is his decision to NOT resign Michael Bourn.   He looks really tired after the All-star break and he's a speed first player so that does not play well.  Cleveland made almost as big of a mistake signing him to the contract they gave him as Wren did with BJ. 


As was said by many smart analysts.... players that rely on speed as their primary skill set turn old almost overnight.  Bourn is playing more like a 36 year old than a 32 year old.  


Bourn is an infectious personality as is Swisher and Gomes unfortunately that doesn't score runs and win baseball games.  Because the Braves got so much money back from Cleveland in the trade they can be out from under the Chris Johnson money the end of next year vs. 2017 and THAT was the primary benefit to this trade.  Bourn or Swisher won't bring the Braves any players back that can help at this point in their careers if the trade them.  The Braves will have to pay almost all of the salaries or just release them.  


Bourn is a 4th outfielder and a great guy to come off the bench and pinch run or lay down a big bunt when you need it.  He will still get to most balls in LF as he has great instincts but he's no longer a close the gap CF. 


I personally hope next years roster does not have either Bourn or Swisher on it.  I'd rather see Joey T get a shot at that same back up role Swisher would fill and I'd rather see Eury Perez get the shot at the 4th OF spot until Mallex Smith is ready to take over CF.