The Braves have become the worst team in baseball

“Is that Hector Olivera I see on yonder horizon?” (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

"Is that Hector Olivera I see on yonder horizon?" (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

“Is that Hector Olivera I see on yonder horizon?” (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

We wondered how bad it would get, and now we know. After winning in Milwaukee on July 7, the Atlanta Braves were 42-42, four games behind Washington and 1 1/2 games back of the Mets in the National League East. At that moment, only 15 among the 30 MLB teams had better records than the Braves. Those were the days, my friends.

Since July 7, the Braves have been the worst team in baseball, and it’s not really close. The Braves are 12-34; the Reds, who are second-worst, are 15-32, which is 2 1/2 games better. The Marlins, who open an avert-your-eyes series at Turner Field tonight, are 17-30.

The Reds and Marlins likewise gave up on their seasons, trading (respectively) Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos. The Phillies, who never had a season in the first place, gave up by shedding Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon. But the Phillies have actually gone 23-22 since July 7, which is — pause for sobering effect — 11 1/2 games better than the Braves.

The Braves have won one of their past 13 games. They were 0-7 on their last road swing. They’re 1-5 on this homestand. They scored 11 runs over the weekend against the Yankees, which marked their biggest output in any three-game series since they mustered 13 against San Francisco on Aug. 2-4. That relative surge enabled the Braves to be outscored 38-11 by the Bronx Bombers.

Since the All-Star break, the Braves have scored a major-league-low 128 runs. The Angels rank 29th in post-break scoring — with 147 runs. Since the break, the Braves have an ERA of 5.28. Only the Rockies, who play at altitude, have been worse (at 5.76). Can’t hit and can’t pitch. It’s not a beautiful thing.

We shouldn’t be surprised, given that the Braves as an organization entered the season only half-trying and gave up altogether by trading Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe, Alex Wood, Jim Johnson, Luis Avilan and Jose Peraza in July. That was, and presumably remains, the team’s charted course: Worry not about today, setting the corporate gaze on tomorrow.

The Braves are on pace to finish 67-95, which would be their worst finish since the 65-97 of 1990. A year later, everything changed. The 1991 team went worst-to-first, and it didn’t stop there. The Braves would finish first over every completed season for 15 years. Maybe this crash is the precursor to something similarly glorious. (Maybe, I said.)

About all that’s left to say about the 2015 Braves is that Hector Olivera cannot get here soon enough. And he’d better be good. Because almost nobody else is.

Reader Comments 1

420 comments
Andrea Bradley
Andrea Bradley

As a 30 year season ticket holder I am done. Asking me to pay 2.5X + for a 5 year deal after they gutted the team will go down in future case studies as one of the stupidest business moves ever. They look like they'd rather be anywhere than on a baseball field.

SaintsFkngCheaters
SaintsFkngCheaters

Is it just me or is Freddie Freeman a BUST this year? He has 55 RBI's this year. Didn't he have 49 RBI's in July? He's always injured and TOO FKNG SLOW. Trade this loser while we can still get something for him.

joedavis
joedavis

The Phillies, who have even less hope than the Braves, managed to score 14 runs off the mighty Mets pitching staff yesterday.  Yet the AJC writers tell us everything is just fine in the Braves clubhouse.  We're right on schedule.

SaintsFkngCheaters
SaintsFkngCheaters

Everybody is raving about Shelby Miller. Now I know why the Cards traded him. The guy is a freaking JYNX.  Either that or the players hate him. Trade this loser to another team and get this BOAT ANCHOR off of our shoulders.

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

I've had beer farts more interesting than this team! Whoops, just cut one loose right there. John Hart will probably try to trade my beer fart for another minor league pitcher. Anybody else getting weary of this team of fleabags??

MichBravesFan
MichBravesFan

When the JONS sat down to give Freddi an extension, they must have been thinking that the #1 pick in next years draft looks good and Freddi is just the guy for the job!!! LMAO!!! How many teams does Freddi need to overtake to get the #1 pick? Lets see as of right now its: (1) Philly (2) Miami (3) Colorado (4) Atlanta-----------after Miami sweeps the braves that should put us up to #2-----great work Freddi only Philly is worse, and not by much---I know you can do it guys, you're almost there!!! 

Dominic Karr
Dominic Karr

A roster we could have had this year, with a few less trades and money left over to improve the bullpen:


1B: F. Freeman

2B: J. Peterson

SS: A. Simmons

3B: C. Johnson/J. Uribe

LF: K. Johnson/A. Garcia

CF: C. Maybin

RF: N. Markakis

C: E. Gattis/ A.J. Piersynski 


ROTATION: S. Miller, J. Teheran, E. Santana, A. Wood, M. Banuelos


BULLPEN: J. Grilli, J. Johnson, A. Vizcaino, L. Avilan, A. Varvaro


...this was possible. Tell me what you think. Better or not?

AtlantaSportsVictory
AtlantaSportsVictory

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that the 2016 Braves will not be remotely close to as good as the '91 Braves. 

iBalling
iBalling

It's time for the Braves execs to go back in the conference room to review their strategy. First, giving Freddie an extension was totally incompetent. Taking this team to rock bottom to rebuild is a total disregard to the fans. Why would I pay to see this product you are putting on the field? You have netted nothing in return for all your trades. Execs need to review this plan soon to save some face and get back to the BRAVES WAY soon.

BooBooBear
BooBooBear

dong, dong, dong, dong, dong, dong, dong, dong, dong, dong, dong, dong POOF!!!


The management that once brought the team to the ball(game) is again nothing but mice.  The stadium is back in the Kasim Reed punkin patch.  The pretty dress of victory is again the rags of losses.  The players have turned back into ugly sisters.  The one glass slipper of a championship (1995) fell off and is lost.  Is Prince Charming going to come from Birmingham (or Charlotte?) to sweep our little ghetto-dwelling Braves away?  That part of the fairy tale has not yet been written.

patriotdog
patriotdog

The team, admittedly talent poor, has quit on Freddie. He has to go. Time for Snitker, TP, or maybe an outsider to take over.

sea8491
sea8491

Folks, what the Atlanta Braves need most?


1.  New Owner, get rid of Liberty Media, poor owner.

2.  New Owner will not keep John Shcuerholz, he is the problem


Here is how the Brave fans accomplish  this, stay away from Turner field

reckingball
reckingball

@sea8491 Looks like the Brave fans are following your strategy  pretty good. How long do you think it will take for the organization to break and give in?

Imo, I don't think that JS is much more than a figure head anymore, they just keep him around for PR, because they think that some people like him.

WhopperDawg
WhopperDawg

Mark, as usual your comments are spot on. It actually is a total disaster inherited from Wren and made worse by Hart. Hart did some things he had to do, but he is not getting much at all in return. I have no confidence in the management of the team to improve the situation. Do Freeman and Simmons a favor and trade them before they waste their careers. Just think about the Hart/Freddie duo compared to Schuerholz and Bobby. You shudder, yes? Bring them back.

bpersfirst
bpersfirst

Bradley was singing Hart's praises a month ago. Hart has dismantled a major league baseball team for unproven prospects. The Braves now have a bunch of minor league unproven arms with Olivera as Hart's last hope for salvaging the mess he has made which is far bigger than the one Wren left. Miller is the only major league pitcher on the roster. No power and average offense. The bullpen is the worst in baseball. Hart and Freddi should both be fired.

patriotdog
patriotdog

Shelby Miller is going to be good. I believe Banuelos, Perez and Wisler will be solid starters (hoping the former two heal this offseason). Tehran is not one I would keep. Too expensive ( more Wren $ wasted) . Folty has a great fastball and nothing else.

The bullpen is chock full of scrap heap players, or unproven youngsters who have to learn how to put hitters away.

I'm not convinced the new 30 year old Cuban third baseman will be any better than the one we have now.

Call me crazy, but I'd put Freeman on the block this offseason. Too much cash for a guy that is. a fine fielder, dead pull hitter into an ever increasing defensive shift, and absolutely no foot speed. You can't play station to station, modern day baseball with a hitter as slow as Freddie, and he might bring a legitimate big league pitcher, catcher or other need in return. and as an aside, they seem to have quit on Fredi G. A former FG apologist, watching him mismanage the staff, the 'pen and continue to play musical chairs with the lineup the last couple of years, I just can't take it anymore.

I'm in rebuilding mode. When the Bravos become competitive again, I'll start rebuilding my appreciation of watching them play. I went through the 70s and late 80s with them. Not going there again.

Bring on football.

HUDDYS1FAN
HUDDYS1FAN

Ok Braves fans, lets put this 2015 season into perspective.


Into the wayback machine we go, twenty-six years ago. To the 1989 season, which would witness the hapless Braves finishing 63-97. Which of course was the worst record in baseball. The following 1990 draft they had the 1st overall pick, with Bobby Cox set on drafting Todd Van Poppel. But as fate would have it Van Poppel told them he would not sign if drafted by Atlanta, who then went with their second choice......some kid by the name of Chipper Jones.


The rest as they say is history. So, maybe these guys will get another Hall of Famer in the 2016 draft. Then again they could whiff in selecting Tyler Houston with the 2nd overall pick in 1988, while allowing Frank Thomas to get drafted five picks later by the White Sox.


DamonH
DamonH

13 more wins? ... yeah I still don't get that one. It's not happening. I don't know if they can even win 5 more games

freezboy
freezboy

One can only hope next year is at least 500...but...

Alpharob
Alpharob

This team has all the earmarks of losing 100 games... Does anyone see them winning 10 games in September?  It appears that they are actively trying to lose so they can secure the No. 1 pick in next years draft.....  Hope there is a lot of talent to chose from.....


Wheaton96
Wheaton96

All seats for all games should be free for the remainder of this season and next season.  Just open the gates every night and let whoever shows up come in and sit wherever they want.  They'll still make money on parking and concessions.

ToeMeetsLeather
ToeMeetsLeather

They are still playing?


Who knew.


Cobb County, you still have time to back out of this thing if you want to do so. Turn that big hole into a dirt bike track.



Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

HAAAAAHAAAAAHAAAA.....LOSERSVILLLLLE, BABEEE!!! WHOOOOWHEEE, WE GOT US A HUMMMMDINDER HERE!!

SportsTopFan Sports
SportsTopFan Sports

The Atlanta Braves were once one of the "Crown Jewel" franchises of Major League Baseball (MLB) !!!


Oh how the mighty have fallen to the lowest of depth in MLB.


The Atlanta Braves are now the "Cubic Zirconia"  franchise of Major League Baseball (MLB)

will1194
will1194

Does Jon Hart or anybody else really know what to do to turn this team around?  This team is no fun to watch.  There is something about Atlanta that requires a transfusion at every game.  If nobody plays worth a heck and there's no infusion of team competition, they team continues to slide.  They play against themselves; not the  opposing teams. They want to beat each other; forget the Yankees, DBacks, Dodgers.

extremus
extremus

The greatest risk inherent with any "rebuilding" phase is in undermining your organization's expectations and standards for excellence.  If players get used to losing (paraphrasing the immortal...and prophetic...words of Bobby Haas in 1985, "Don't be afraid to lose"), your culture will swiftly become more and more difficult to turn around again.  Think Pirates fans expected the kind of quality drop-off they endured after Bream slid in 1993?  Or the Royals after their 1985 World Series championship?  "Rebuilding" takes a specific plan but it also must be accomplished within a 3-4 year period AT MOST, and the elephant in the room is that there are no guarantees of plans or players panning out.  Because all the while you're working to get better, 29 other MLB teams are as well...and you happen to be starting from beneath all or most of them.


The Braves had the best organization and best, most professional clubhouse in MLB during the 1990s, and they expected to win every game they played.  That confidence and swagger are long gone and the organization can't rest on those dried-up laurels.  1995 was two decades ago.  The Braves need more than just a rebuild; they need another culture overhaul.

extremus
extremus

@SaveAmericaFromItself @extremus First off, the Braves stole John Scheurholz from the Royals to be their GM, and Bobby Cox provided a steady, experienced hand as manager.  They brought in two key acquisitions, getting a truly disrupting burner at leadoff with Otis Nixon and a veteran leader whose worth beyond just the field would make him that year's NL MVP in Terry Pendleton.  They had young, budding stars in David Justice and Ron Gant and solid defense up the middle with Mark Lemke and Jeff Blauser.  Although nobody on the team knocked anyone's socks off statistically speaking, this core swiftly gelled and laid the foundation for years to come.


Then there was the pitching, with still fresh-faced Tom Glavine as the top starter.  Steve Avery was a wunderkind that year in his rookie season and dominated in the NLCS.  The bullpen was anchored by the midseason pickup of Alejandro Pena, and held leads that previous iterations would have blown.  But it was John Smoltz's turnaround after a 1-10 start that made the difference between second place and the Braves' first playoff berth since 1982.  As with the offense, these young pitchers would only get better with experience and they laid the foundation of winning expectations by feeding off of each other.


Hope that answers your question satisfactorily; it's considered common knowledge to anyone who was there and rooted for this team through both the 1980s and the 90s.


As far as resting on their laurels, it may well be time for Scheurholz and Cox to take their own turns and step aside for a fresh approach.  This isn't the team they helped build and their presence may now be doing more harm than good as far as moving forward.

SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

@extremus @SaveAmericaFromItself 

John Schuerholz left under a dark cloud in Kansas City, and is now finds himself in a comparable position in Atlanta. John Hart did not inherit young talented position players like Justice, Gant, Blauser, Lemke, etc. waiting in the wings. Schuerholz gave Hart the directive of cleaning up Wren's messes, and restocking a barren farm system.  As for the 2015 Braves not being the team Schuerholz & Cox built, they are quite complicit in this mess, and need to go quietly into retirement.

patriotdog
patriotdog

Nice post. All true, except Rafael Belliard was brought in along with Bream and Pendleton I do believe, to shore up the defense up the middle..

extremus
extremus

@patriotdog Forgot to mention Belliard.  Yes, his defense made up for his bat for sure.

QuentinHardin
QuentinHardin

During the off season last year,  All I could read about the Braves was how they needed to play small ball.  They got their wish, and this is the results.  Small scores, and the other teams are laughing at us.  We were supposed to get some great pitching from these players we traded.  A team 5.92 ERA since the All Star break.  Wow, I am so impressed that we became the worse team in Baseball.  What do I see for the future for these Braves?  I see, a lot of empty seats, and not much money coming in, to pay for the new stadium.  This is not counting the players, and employees that will be working.  The Atlanta Braves have been demoted, to a level of the Houston Astros.  You can read about there pass, how they were a cellar team for many years.  When you have people doing a operation, in baseball.  You must have a good mind to do it with.  Right now I don't see it, where this crazy trading is going to.  Get prepared Atlanta for a extended stay in the cellar.

QuentinHardin
QuentinHardin

Let me clear this up about Houston.  This year Houston is great.  But in years pass, ever since I was a kid.  And I'm 59,  The Astros was a very bad team. I hope Houston turns it around, I am rooting for them in the American League.  I've been keeping tabs on my buddy Evan Gattis.


buellerbuellerbueller
buellerbuellerbueller

Meanwhile, Dan Uggla accepted a world series ring from the Giants after going 1 for 11 with two errors in just four games with the team.     You go Danny boy!

pride
pride

Braves the worst in baseball and the Falcons one injury away (Ryan) from the worst in football.  We deserve far better.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@pride

Then you have the Hawks, who took 48 years to finally survive the second round of the playoffs--only to show in four games that they didn't belong there after all.

sophia jackson
sophia jackson

No way this team repeats worst to first with Gonzalez at the helm he is still sucking second half of the season. 

BradleyBreeze
BradleyBreeze

Bottom line...........it doesn't matter if you can hit or not when your pitchers(starters and relievers) give up 5+ runs per 9 apiece.You usually won't win many games when your pitchers give up more than 5 runs a game!

candlin14
candlin14

I am just mind boggled how any Braves fan could agree with what has taken place over this year. We had three problems on this team at the end of last year, they were BJ Upton, Dan Uggla, and Freddie Gonzalez. We kept one of the problems and then went on to destroy the team. 


Hiring John Hart was like hiring Thomas Dimitrioff.... All this team needed to do was add Shelby Miller, keep Santana and release Upton and Uggla. THAT WAS IT!!! All of you bagging on Justin Upton, obviously you do not know baseball. This guy was a quality left fielder. 


Braves fans kill me and anyone supporting these moves are idiots!!! 

SeanLB
SeanLB

@SaveAmericaFromItself @candlin14 Exactly.  The OP is calling people out for "not knowing baseball", yet fails to realize that we weren't going to meet the insane contractual demands on both Upton and Heyward.  Thus, trading them for value was not only the best but the ONLY choice.



SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

@SeanLB @SaveAmericaFromItself @candlin14 

Don't you know overspending on big-name free agents is the way to go? Who has time to wait on prospects develop or wait on the farm system to produce talent? Just look at Kansas City, Houston and St Louis and where they are at in the standings !

SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

@candlin14 

Justin Upton and Jason Heyward are free agents in 60 days and neither was expected to re-sign with the Braves, especially with the BJ contract still on the books at the time.

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