The Braves’ Aaron Blair has to be better than this. (Doesn’t he?)

The Atlanta Braves surprised me Monday night. Not by losing to nearly-as-bad Cincinnati; we all know they’re capable of losing to anybody anywhere anytime. They surprised me by not demoting Aaron Blair after the game.

Blair entered the season as the Braves’ No. 4 prospect, No. 2 (behind Sean Newcomb) among pitchers. Acquired in the Shelby Miller deal with Arizona, Blair was regarded among the many young arms collected in this rebuild as the closest to the majors. After nine big-league starts, he appears to be in over his head.

He entered Monday’s game with a 7.13 ERA, having worked six innings in only one of his first eight starts. (The exception came against the Cubs on May 1. Go figure.) Against the Reds, Blair was matched against a pitcher even worse than he’d been — Daniel Wright, carrier of a 7.20 ERA. When this season began, Wright was working as a reliever for Class AA Pensacola.

Blair opened the festivities Monday by throwing 10 consecutive fastballs — some four-seamers, others two-seamers, none particularly fast. (The highest reading I saw was 92 mph.) He walked Zack Cozart to start the game, which isn’t easy to do. In 218 previous plate appearances, he’d walked eight times. Blair’s first non-fastball was on Pitch No. 11, and Joey Votto whiffed on the changeup. Then Blair had Jay Bruce 0-2 and yielded a triple in the gap on a fastball. Then Adam Duvall hit a home run off the left-field foul pole on the second of consecutive changeups.

The Braves trailed 3-0 before Wright threw a pitch. Because he was as bad as advertised, the game was tied after two innings. Blair opened the third inning by yielding a single to Cozart. Then he walked Votto, who to be fair walks a lot. Then he walked Brandon Phillips on four pitches, and Phillips is a hacker of long standing. (He walked 27 times in 623 PAs last season.) Then he walked Bruce to untie the game. Two sacrifice flies made it 6-3.

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Aaron Blair works during the first inning of a baseball game against Cincinnati Reds on Monday, June 13, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

There’s a chance this was a non-competitive pitch. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The next two innings were better for Blair — they could scarcely have been worse — and he departed after five, having needed 103 pitches to record 15 outs. He’d walked four, struck out three. In the majors, he has more walks (25) than strikeouts (23). He has yielded six-plus earned runs in three of his past five starts. His ERA is 7.59, which is the second-worst in baseball among pitchers who’ve worked 40 innings. His xFIP (expected fielding independent pitching) is the worst.

When Mike Minor was struggling in the early part of 2012, he accused himself of making “non-competitive pitches.” (Minor eventually figured things out that year and was very good in 2013.) That description came to mind watching Blair on Monday. He couldn’t control his fastball, and the rest of his pitches were nothing special. Nothing stamped him as the No. 4 prospect in anybody’s farm system, let alone the one newly christened by ESPN Insider’s Keith Law as the best in baseball. Nobody is suggesting the Braves give up on a guy who just turned 24, but still: He has to be better than this.

I really thought Brian Snitker’s postgame remarks would include the alert that the Braves were sending Blair to Gwinnett. That they didn’t shouldn’t be taken as an indication that the team’s patience is limitless. If Blair doesn’t show — to invoke Vince Dooley’s charge to Ray Goff — significant improvement the next time out, look for him to make the commute to Lawrenceville. What’s happening is doing nobody any good.

As for the rest of the game: It was awful. When you’ve lost 45 games by the Ides of June, you get inured to indignity. Still, this might have been the worst of the 45. The Reds, as noted, are lousy. They blew one three-run lead, then another. Then they blew a one-run lead. (Their bullpen is baseball’s worst by roughly the same distance that the Braves have hit the fewest homers among MLB teams — which is to say three miles.) The Reds won 9-8.

The winning run scored when Arodys Vizcaino, one of the few glimmers in this dank season, yielded a bloop double to Votto — third baseman Adonis Garcia couldn’t make an over-the-shoulder catch — and then walked three Redlegs. The first was intentional. The second and third were not.

About the bloop: Chase d’Arnaud, who’d entered as a pinch-runner in the bottom of the eighth, had been deployed as shortstop to start the ninth, replacing Erick Aybar, who’d been hit this night by yet another pitch. Mallex Smith had moved from left field to center to accommodate a double switch. (Ender Inciarte, who’d made the last out in the eight, was lifted for the pitcher. That’s standard procedure in double switches.) Jeff Francoeur, who’d pinch-hit, replaced Smith in left. Without the changes, does Aybar catch Votto’s ball? Does Smith?

After further review: Just watched the replay. Maybe Ozzie Smith catches that ball, but I’m not sure any other shortstop — maybe not Andrelton Simmons, certainly not Aybar — does. It needed to be either the third baseman or the left fielder. Garcia got there and couldn’t make the catch, which was a tough chance. Still wonder about Smith, though. (And this isn’t a rip of Snitker’s tactics. Just an observation that even the tiniest actions can have consequences.)

About the bottom of the eighth: In a tie game, the Braves left the bases loaded. Aybar botched a sacrifice. Smith lined out to second. Inciarte grounded out to second. With Wright pulled after three innings, the Braves mustered three runs — on Freddie Freeman’s two-run homer and Garcia’s solo clout — over six innings against baseball’s worst relievers. To borrow a pregame line from the great C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer: Resistible force, meet movable object.

Yesterday, this correspondent wondered — here and also here — if the Braves, bad as they are, could hold off, as it were, the Reds and the Twins to finish with baseball’s worst record and thereby secure the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft. Having now seen the Reds up close, I can attest that they’re terrible. They’re also 1-0 against the Braves.

Reader Comments 0

45 comments
Gus10
Gus10

Ashamed to admit it, paid to see the game with my family of 5. Not a fan of the rebuilding process, robs fans of a season or 2. Like to see teams compete and not quit. 

Falcons63
Falcons63

It's all opinion and everyone is entitled to theirs. Who know's how many of these young pitcher's will be misses.  Statistics and past history tell us most of them.  It could well be in a couple of years we are very happy that the Braves drafted 4 pitchers early this year.  No one is denying it's a tough time to be a Braves fan.  We were spoiled for along time.  I remember even then there were a lot of unhappy bloggers.  What I would give for another 95 win season and early playoff exit right now!

BigDJohnston
BigDJohnston

After a few years of evaluating young pitchers (on paper that is), it seems they consistently do not come into their own until a couple hundred innings are under their belt at the major league level. Blair has solid numbers throughout his minor league career, even in the hitter friendly PCL league. The best place to develop major league pitchers, is in the major leagues. The silver lining to this season, is that the Braves can develop young players in a big league atmosphere. Give Blair a few innings before we write the book on him.

Falcons63
Falcons63

What is really interesting is that before the season I remember one of our esteemed writers saying with a few breaks this team might be within striking distance of .500.  Boy...  that statement is long forgotten.  Of course who would have thought that Freeman, Inciarte and Markakis would be 40pts minus last years numbers and Aybar would be far worse than that! 

As historically bad as this team has turned out to be you would have looked preseason and thought this team had solid major league starters in Aybar, Markakis and Inciarte and an up an coming star in Freeman.  The baseball God's are truly fickle.  Lets hope the team turns it around within a couple years.  Longtime fans remember the dark years of the mid to late 80's.

Falcons63
Falcons63

First... I don't have an answer about sending Blair down to the minor leagues.  Maybe he would turn it around at Gwinnett.  However, he has been dominant at AAA. I'm not sure another stint would help. I would ask everyone to remember Tom Glavine's rookie season.  In 1988 he was 7-17 with a 4.56 ERA.  Gave up 201 hits in 195 innings while striking out 84.  He turned it around the next season to go 14-8 with a 3.68 ERA.   During that same dark season of 88 you had Pete Smith who was somewhat of a bright spot.  He did go 7-15, but had an ERA of 3.69 and gave up 183 hits in 195 innings and struck out 124.   We all know who had the better career between those two.   I'm not suggesting Blair will be Tom Glavine or Pete Smith.  However... I am saying that this rebuild, like it or not is the plan going forward(at least right now).   Pursuing this route is going to take a while and at times be really ugly(see the present).   I don't think rookie performances good or bad are guarantee's of future success or failure.  Even if you wanted to send him down who do you bring up?  Also.. you have to remember the Braves are already without Folty and Perez.  At this point why not stick with Blair?  A year from now we all might be looking at a different pitcher.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@Falcons63 "At this point why not stick with Blair?  A year from now we all might be looking at a different pitcher."

Because "He has yielded six-plus earned runs in three of his past five starts. His ERA is 7.59, which is the second-worst in baseball ..."

There's a real risk of destroying the kid's confidence (permanently) if he keeps going out and getting shelled against MLB hitters.  It's why the minor league teams exist....To work out things like why isn't his performance at Gwinnett transferring to Atlanta?  Not to over simplify things, but it's the same reason you don't bring Albies up now when he's hitting .238 at Gwinnett.  He needs more time.

The larger problem for the Braves is Blair is the "#4 prospect" in the system....The #2 pitcher.

Falcons63
Falcons63

@DrTruth @Falcons63 You talk about "destroying a kids confidence"... You hear this constantly, mostly in the media.  The truth is none of us, no matter how knowledgeable we think we are, have a clue as to what this kids mental make up is.  That would be the deciding factor as to sending him down.  The braintrust in 88 saw fit to give Glavine 34 starts. this in spite of bad results.   I don't like being in the position of defending the Braves right now but come on..  You aren't in the clubhouse.  You don't talk to the kid after the game. You are speculating about something you couldn't  possibly know. At some point I think you have to consider the possibility that Brian Snitker(30+years in the game) probably has a better idea about Blair's mental state than you do and the decision(regardless of the writers speculation) should be left to him and the rest of mgmt.  As far as the larger problem you speak of you look at how independent observer's rank the Braves system.  Obviously they think it's in good shape pitching wise.  As far as Blair's ranking and performance, lets give it more than an handful of bad starts before discarding him.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@Falcons63  So first you "like" my comment, then you attack me because of it.  Conflicted much?

Personally, I don't care what they do with Blair.  Keep sending him out there.  Let him give up 5, 6, 7 Earned Runs every 2 or 3 innings for about a dozen more games and then you can see first hand what happens to any pitcher's (not just a 24-yr old kid's) confidence and how quickly it can be RUINED.  For someone who claims to be a longtime baseball observer, you're incredibly ignorant concerning the PSYCHOLOGICAL component of the game, especially regarding the most difficult and demanding position on the diamond:  Pitcher.

Dude, this isn't 1988 and Aaron Blair is not Tom Glavine.  Tom Glavine is Tom Glavine.  Get it?  If you didn't spend so much time in the past, then maybe it wouldn't cloud your perception of the present.  And the present is Aaron Blair is the SECOND WORST MLB pitcher at this time.  If you don't "have a clue" about the kid's mental makeup when going through a failure of this magnitude, then so be it.  But speak for yourself.  He's thinking about it when he's able to sleep.  He thinks about every waking moment.  It's a confidence DESTROYER.  I don't need to "speculate" or talk to him after a game when he just gave up 6 ERs in 2 innings in order to know he isn't going out and partying late into the night with friends and family.

And "independent observer"?  Are you serious?  Do you have to be TOLD how good or bad the Braves minor league pitching is?  You can't figure it out for yourself?  I would laugh if I didn't think you're being serious.  Let me break it down for you, OK?  Here's what's in the pipeline and their 2016 PERFORMANCES:


https://rowlandsoffice.wordpress.com/2016/06/15/open-thread-615-braves-vs-results/


You like that?  Is that what your independent observer is telling you about the Braves' farm system?

And the dirty little secret about why Blair isn't already back in Gwinnett is THEY HAVE NOBODY ELSE to replace him with....Even as they're aggressively shopping Teheran, the #1 pitcher on staff.  So good luck with that....

Falcons63
Falcons63

Also.. is 1988 so long ago?  Man.. how old are you??  Just for your info:  Minorleagueball.com has the Braves farm system ranked 2nd.  Baseball Prospectus has the Braves also at #2.. Baseball America has them at #3.  See a pattern here?  Of course I'm sure these opinions mean nothing.


Falcons63
Falcons63

OK...  Dr. Truth has officially hurt my feelings by calling me "ignorant". So If I don't agree with you I'm ignorant.  Wow.. You should be a GM or at least a Coach!LOL!  Or maybe a 5th grader who name calls on a message board!!    I have no desire to get into a Pissing contest about the state of Braves pitching.  No links PLEASE!!  Read carefully..  By "independent observers" I mean groups that actually rate farm systems.  Someone with the obvious knowledge that you posses should be aware of these groups.  If you wish I could name a few for you.  This is actual fact... as opposed to you watching a Braves game and in turn deciding that Blair must be sent down or he will lose his confidence.  This may well happen, but at this point you are still speculating based upon nothing more than your opinion.  As far as shopping Tehran, do a little research.  They have been fielding calls on him for a year.  When you are on pace to lose over 100 games everyone is available for the right offer.  It's actually the perceived strength of the Braves farm system that would allow them to make such a deal.  If they are able to get a young established hitter for Tehran then I say go ahead.  Tehran's a solid #2, but not an ace.  As Coppolella said, pitching is like currency.  You spend some to acquire assets you lack.  So.. can we just call it a night and agree to disagree?  Dude!!LOL!!


.



DrTruth
DrTruth

@Falcons63  You just don't get it do you?  Let's say you want to be a carpenter.  So you go out and buy a nail gun, nails, some boards and decide you're going to build a deck.  The first day you shoot yourself in the foot (literally) with the nail gun.  So you get back from the doc and a couple days later you decide to try it again.  BAM!  You shoot yourself in the foot again with the nail gun.  Three days later you try again and shoot yourself in the foot again.....And again....And again.

So how many times do you shoot yourself in the foot with the nail gun before you decide you're just not very skilled with a nail gun and you don't really want to be a carpenter anymore?  That's Aaron Blair.  Right now he's the WORST carpenter in the entire country.  There is nobody worse.  But you keep giving him the nail gun and telling him, "It's OK...You'll get better with it."  And still he keeps coming back with bloody legs.  When is enough?  When do you stop punishing him?  When do you decide he needs more training with a nail gun instead of just handing it to him every few days?

And calling you "ignorant" isn't name-calling....It's a simple fact, and it's an adjective.  But calling you a dumb@ss, now that's name-calling, and it's a noun.  Learn the difference.

Yes....1988 is a long time ago.  26 years is more than a generation.

It seems they also don't teach things like facts in school anymore, huh?

"He has yielded six-plus earned runs in three of his past five starts. His ERA is 7.59, which is the second-worst in baseball among pitchers who’ve worked 40 innings. His xFIP (expected fielding independent pitching) is the worst."

Those are FACTS, not me speculating or my opinion after watching Blair pitch a game.  Do you always need to have everything explained to you in the simplest terms?  Mark Bradley saying, "They surprised me by not demoting Aaron Blair after the game" is his opinion.  You saying, "I don't have an answer about sending Blair down to the minor leagues" is your lack of an opinion.  The fact that you're so eager to argue over something that you don't have an opinion about is what is referred to as asinine.  It's an old school term, but even you should be able to figure it out.  But the facts don't change.  Blair's good at AAA level and he sucks at the MLB level.

I also provided you with FACTUAL information regarding the performances of the top farm prospects, as opposed to the OPINIONS of others.  And you cried.  You actually cried, "No links PLEASE!!"  Failure to inform oneself of factual data is how one remains ignorant.  Enjoy your bliss...

Falcons63
Falcons63

@DrTruth @Falcons63  OK..  we can end this now.  I'm not going to lower myself to name calling on a message board.  Everyone is an expert behind a keyboard. You don't know me.  I'm not a dumbass and I'm not ignorant.  Furthermore I'm not a Sr citizen and I don't live in the past.  I used Glavine as an example for reasons that should be obvious. Braves message board.. Braves legend???   This is all just opinion.  You can have yours and I'll have mine.  We will know in a couple of years if this rebuild plan worked.   We can agree to disagree.  Further back and forth seems pointless.

kenstallings
kenstallings

Put this performance by Aaron Blair with today's slideshow showing how our top  ten prospects are all performing average or below average.  It would represent the worst possible situation for the Braves.  If these prospects for which the team has bet everything on fail to develop, then this franchise could face a decade of utter futility.

DrTruth
DrTruth

The scouts were at The Ted tonight watching Teheran.  Get ready to kiss your best pitcher goodbye....Chip & Angry Joe sounded like they're going to get a piece of the action or finder's fee.  What a serious, unapologetic sales job.

bobw
bobw

Years ago when Braves stank (but not as bad as now) Ted T put himself in the dugout. Why not attempt a similar stunt now? Could have John Hart don a uni and spikes and really get to know his players. Another idea--Atlanta Braves swap rosters with Gwinnett. Would anyone notice? So glad my season ticket group dissolved.

JeffCriswell
JeffCriswell

I'm not sure this kid is ever going to make it but this season is all about giving folks a chance. Braves have a lot of pitchers who are going to fight for a place in our starting five. I'm quite beholden the three kids we just drafted - and we have Max Fried and Kolby Allard who are both just getting back to business after injuries. Really, it's going to be all right. 

DrTruth
DrTruth

@JeffCriswell Kolby Allard is 0-2 at Rome with a 14.14 ERA following his back surgery.  His most recent outing was 8 hits, 5 ER's in 3 IP.

Max Fried is 4-4 at Rome with a 4.25 ERA, following his TJ surgery.

For those who don't know, Rome is Low-A ball.  Glad you can find something positive out of that.

Falcons63
Falcons63

@DrTruth @JeffCriswell  In defense of Allard and Max Fried.  Allard has made 5 career starts in the minors and is 18yrs old. Was considered a top 10 pick but his back injury pushed him later into rd 1.  Most considered him to be a good pick by the Braves.   Fried, as you said is coming off TJ surgery.  His won/loss record doesn't show much but I suspect more importantly to the Braves the report was he was hitting 97mph on the radar gun during his most recent start.   Both may never pitch an inning in the majors. 

We are all unhappy with the current pathetic state of the major league Braves.  However,  I don't think cherry picking minor league stats indicates much.  I could go and pick a couple young pitchers with great numbers and list them here.. but what would that prove?

DrTruth
DrTruth

@Falcons63 It's not cherry picking.  I specifically responded to this statement:  "and we have Max Fried and Kolby Allard who are both just getting back to business after injuries. "

I simply provided 2016 stats for both Fried & Allard.  Stats are facts.  I mean, that's their numbers this season.  And there's not much there to get excited about.

wb1322
wb1322

@Falcons63 @DrTruth @JeffCriswell Please go and pick a couple of young pitchers with great numbers.  That would prove the Braves have a couple, which I don't currently think they do.  If you need help go to mlb.com and look at the stats for the top 30 prospects for the Braves.  It's bad.  It may get better, but as of now, their vaunted young talents are not pitching well.  With the supposed number one minor league system in baseball, shouldn't they have at least one affiliate with more wins than losses? 

Falcons63
Falcons63

@wb1322 @Falcons63 @DrTruth @JeffCriswell  Actually, wins at the minor league level, especially the lower levels aren't a true indicator of pitching performance.   Wins and losses are much more a product of the team, and the Braves are pitifully weak in position players at all levels.   Also, minor league numbers aren't necessarily an indicator of prospect status. If a guy throws 97 but is young and is struggling with his control as is typical of young pitchers, it doesn't make him less of a prospect. It may however show badly in his won-loss record.   But.. just to show that every Braves pitching prospect isn't struggling: Tyrell Jenkins- 6-3 with a 2.91 ERA.  Chris Ellis 8-2 with a 2.75 ERA.  Both considered top 15 prospects, and both projected to arrive in the major's in 2017 or 2018.  I could list more but this is entire thread is getting a little ridiculous.  I don't claim to be an expert in baseball.  Just like you and Dr. Truth,  I'm merely a fan.  As such I admit that this is my opinion.  Now..  I never personally attacked Dr. Truth.  No "ignorant" or "dumbass".  I may disagree, but he's entitled to his opinion.  However, it's just his opinion.  No more or less factual than mine.  You asked for a couple of examples of Braves prospects that are performing well.  I provided 2.  I hope this ends the conversation.  None of us has a clue as to what is really happening inside the clubhouse or with mgmt. These boards are supposed to be for an exchange of opinions.  It's unfortunate when it degenerates into name calling.

DrTruth
DrTruth

There's no shortage of cash.  Hart & Coppy just don't want to spend it in the FA market.  If they can get $3.9 Mill for the 76th pick in the draft and $4 Mill to sign a 16-yr old Venezuelan and $32 Mill for a 30-yr old Cuban defector prospect who had never seen an MLB pitch, then they can get the cash to do whatever they want.  But the problem is two-fold if they start buying FA that can actually play ball at the MLB level:

1)  It can be seen as an admission that "their way" didn't work or wasn't working quickly enough, and the great John Hart will have none of that.

2)  They may actually start winning a significant amount of games and we can't have that when we're in a race for the #1 pick.

The Braves have the 26th payroll out of 30 teams.  They just stuck Cobb County Taxpayers with a $500 Mill bill for a new ball park.  They just introduced "tracking stocks" to cover about another $200 Mill in expenses related to the new park, paid for by everyone who buys the stocks.  Two years ago the TV deal was renegotiated to provide "in the order of $500 Million" more positive cash flow over the remainder of the contracts.

In fact, if Hart & Coppy said tomorrow that they need $500 Mill over the next 5 yrs to get some players who can produce more W's at The Ted and put more butts in the seats at DisTrust Park, it would probably be a 10 min conversation and then, "Sure John....Whatever you need."  I mean, we are talking about Liberty Media where CEO Greg Maffei's salary is $73.5 Mill/yr, which is more than the entire Braves active payroll.  The REAL problem is Hart & Coppy don't want the cash, and that's just fine with the LM bean counters who only know the Braves as an asset on a balance sheet.....The Johns only want gas money when they go gambling for draft picks, rehabs & prospects.

McGuirk has said as much that baseball teams are a break even business, on a cash flow basis.  I interpret that to mean you spend more on talent, you win more games, you sell more tix & merch.  You cut payroll, attendance drops, less revenue but lower expenses.  Capital appreciation is where the money is.  And once the new ball park opens, the Braves will have appreciated by about $1 Bill since LM bought them in 2007 for $450 Mill.

You can read all about it here:  http://mlb.nbcsports.com/2015/11/16/braves-ceo-baseball-is-not-a-widely-profitable-business/   Pretty amazing stuff.

patriotdog
patriotdog

A reply a couple of hours ago explains in a nutshell the heart of the Braves problem. Cash.

Cash that is not realized by the horrible negotiations by McGuirk with the media contracts.

25 year contract? And it's going to end up a billion short of similar market teams over the life of the deal. Not only is Terry smug, arrogant and worse with the public than Coppy, he cost the Braves any chance at relevance for two decades, barring a new owner.

And no, Blair isn't Smoltz right now. Neither was Smoltz at the same point in his career. It's like reading a newspaper where every sports writer is a version of Chicken Little.

Ficklefan
Ficklefan

Why do you write about the Braves, the players, the Hot New Prospects, the draftees, their stats pro and con, management draft  strategies to snag the best players or the players you want vs. the ones you can get, who wins and who loses, etc. just like you might write about other MLB teams? Denial is not just a river in Egypt, and that is no where more evident than here in Atlanta with the Braves season now under way. And why do you and others at the AJC compare the Braves to teams that were re-building and are now much better teams. Did the management of any of those teams commit designed and intentional suicide out on second base and intentionally create a team that now has a strong opportunity to be the worst team in baseball history? I have to wonder what that pitcher who the Braves just drafted is smiling about. He should have a long talk with Freddie Freeman. 


There is only one story here related to the draft. How much will this top pick cost us, and how long, if he pans out, will be be able keep him tied down here on the cheap before we have to let him go? All of the rest of it is smoke and mirrors. In the future, this corporation does not need to have a winning team or even an above .500 team to make lots and lots of money. And I know that you understand what a corporation is and what it does, especially a conglomerate . It is not, for example, Arthur Blank. 


Your column in the paper this morning about the race to the bottom, how to get there first and take advantage of it - now that's the ticket. Write about that kind of stuff. Will the Braves be the worst team in the history of baseball this season, or just the worst team this year? Another good story to follow.  How about a well thought out and well documented series with quotes and interviews with the players about how the once mighty Braves completely frittered away their winning culture and have now imploded by careful design. Use your imagination, but please stop writing about them like they are some kind of normal organization. 

SouthernHope5
SouthernHope5

Good to know that this is all part of the master plan!

Falcons2013
Falcons2013

This season is going nowhere. As a result why not allow trial by fire in majors for prospects. as long as you are not overworking them, sitting them on bench so they are missing valuable playing time or risking injury , let them learn at the bigs. If not for contract and eligibility considerations as to when during the season we bring them up, I say bring them all up and let them learn. Team isn't trying to win anyway. Simply buying time to accumulate more top picks and develop the prospects. Leave Blair up. Why not

Schweigen
Schweigen

Looking at the bigger picture, the problem is that a faceless company with tight pursetrings owns this team.  It's always best to have an owner who really wants to win (not just be profitable) and insists that the buck stops here!  

jmccoy1252
jmccoy1252

It's to early to judge Coppolella yet, but I have to admit the early returns are not promising.  Atlanta isn't New York or Boston, but it's also not Kansas City or Pittsburgh. Atlanta will be very unhappy if this turns into a 15-20 year drought.  For the Braves to be this bad is really inexcusable, even in the midst of a rebuild.  The "rebuilt" bullpen was supposed to be a strong point of this team, and it's been anything but that.  Also, the Braves sent Garcia down to Gwinnet to learn Left Field, but he's been right back at Third Base.  Were the Braves expecting to make a move with Markakis or Enciarte which did not pan out?  I really would like to keep Enciarte and move Markakis, but the opposite may end up happening.  Bottom line:  The worst Braves team I have ever seen, even worse than the 1988 team.

DrTruth
DrTruth

Coppolella is overmatched and detached from reality.  He was interviewed prior to last night's game where he said:

"We need to start winning more!"

Then he immediately started talking about how great their draft picks were last week, seemingly oblivious to the fact that those players are 3-5 years away from the big league, if they even make it at all.  There is no clearer disconnect in baseball.

His goal is to start winning more NOW, but his plan to make that happen is 3-5 years in the future.  After 1 and 1/2 years of Hart/Coppy, the best pitcher and best position player on the major league team are both Frank Wren guys.  If your goal is really to start winning more now, perhaps you should start by putting players on the field now that are better than Wren's....

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@DrTruth I guess you are referring to Teheran and Freeman, no doubt Julio is the Braves best pitcher and he is likely to be moved at the trading deadline. But this year ,Freeman just happens to be the highest paid Brave. Freddie had a good night last night,but those nights have been few and far between this season ,his pitiful .170 avg with RISP says more about his approach at the plate this year rather than who is batting behind him. Freeman may be like you say the best position player on this woeful Braves team, but he is also the only Brave with a $100 million dollar contract.As far as winning now, I agree it is about time that Albies and or Swanson are brought up the same with Chris Ellis. It is time for Coppy to DFA  Aybar and give one of the prospects the shortstop job. I am sure they have more range than Erick and more than likely hit above .184. And if Teheran is traded Coppy needs to stick to his demand that he get major league players in return.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@Buschleaguer According to FanGraphs, http://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts.aspx?position=ALL&teamid=16 , Freeman is the only Braves batter with a WAR value of 2 or more (2.1).  Inciarte is the only other one above 1 at 1.1.  Teheran is the only pitcher above 1 at 1.3.  Everyone else on this dreadful team is below 1.  Total Team WAR is 10.2.

I've said this before, but it's worth repeating...This team is either designed to fail, in which case Hart & Coppy knew exactly what they were doing when putting it together.  It was designed to be a tank team to get the #1 draft pick.

The alternative is Hart & Coppy genuinely believe they put a more talented team on the field this season.  Obviously the results don't agree since the AJC says this Braves team is off to the worst start (18-45) of ANY Braves team in over 100 years!

So Hart & Coppy are either intentionally lying about trying to be competitive during this rebuild or they have no idea how to construct a competitive MLB team using spreadsheets, rehabs, draft picks and prospects other teams don't want anymore.

Albies is hitting .239 at Gwinnett.  Swanson is hitting .239 at Mississippi.  So don't look for help from them until that changes.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@DrTruth

I don't know Aybar has hit below .200 all season ,Daniel Castro the same.Eventually Aybar will be traded or released . As far as Hart & Coppy fielding a competitive team they actually may have thought so on paper that the offense would be better. I don't think they anticipated the 0-9 start and the total lack of production in April from Freeman, the total failure of Aybar, the injuries to Inciarte and Beckham.The lack of any progress by the younger members of the pitching rotation etc. etc. Each team has their share of injuries and the good teams overcome them.The 2016 Braves were not good from the beginning of the season and will likely be worse until more younger players (prospects) are ready to play on the major league team. Hart & Coppy knew the Braves would not compete for a playoff spot in 2016 , they were likely hoping for the team not to lose 100 games. Well that will take a miracle finish to occur now(45-54) more likely the best they can do is avoid breaking the '63 Mets record for futility.(25-74) The key to the future success of the team depends on whether Hart and Coppy are able to spend the money needed to add Quality veteran players next year , or whether Liberty continues to cut payroll  to increase their profits.



DrTruth
DrTruth

@Buschleaguer  This team was 6-20 (.231) in spring training.  I'd say there was plenty of warning for Hart & Coppy that it was't going to be competitive in the regular season, regardless of how it looked on paper.  At least Schuerholz saw the coming train wreck when he stepped down as Braves President 4 days before Opening Day.

They had no problem throwing $32 Mill at a 30-yr old Cuban defector prospect who'd never seen an MLB pitch.  They cut Swisher & Bourn days before Opening Day and ate millions there.  They gave $3.9 Mill to the Orioles for the 76th pick last week.  They're paying a 16-yr old Venezuelan kid more than $4 Mill in signing bonus just for the glory of being a Brave.

And still we sit here with the 26th payroll out of 30 teams because they refuse to spend anything on professional baseball players....They only open up the purse to gamble on draft picks, prospects and rehabs.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@DrTruth

Not to excuse the cheapness of Liberty Media , but an underlying problem for the Braves baseball franchise ,not the Real Estate component, is the worst local cable rights deal in MLB. Terry McGuirk basically gave the broadcast rights away for 25 years. The Braves will be close to 1 billion dollars short in cable revenues compared to teams in similar markets, and this broadcast agreement does not expire until 2032.

Savga13
Savga13

@Buschleaguer @DrTruth I wonder what kind of kickback McGuirk got for low balling that contract.....


Another case of Shuerholz looking the other way.

TheBystander
TheBystander

Even if the Braves get the Number one pick, They will not take the best player in the country.  Tthey will choose a player that will take less money to sign so they will have more money for later in the draft

DrTruth
DrTruth

@Wascatlady "He has to be better than this."  You'll notice it's what the entire story is about.  The title kind of gives it away.....

E983
E983

He's gotta make it up here sometime. Let him take his lumps and see that his mechanics are proper. No reason to let him go now.