The Braves are on track to lose 106 games, and that’d be OK

Atlanta Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz throws against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of an interleague baseball game in Chicago, Sunday, July 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Folty for the win. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

On the morning of May 1, the Atlanta Braves were on pace to lose 127 games, which would have been a modern MLB record. On the morning of May 15, when Fredi Gonzalez was officially fired, they were on pace to lose 123, which still would have been a record. On the morning of June 1, they were on pace to lose 112 games, which would have been the most by any team since the 2003 Tigers.

As of the All-Star break, the Braves are on pace to lose 106 games, which would match the most in Atlanta history but would, I submit, be acceptable in the grand scheme. As noted, there’s a difference between being bad and historically bad. As we’ve seen, triple-digit losing need not be a permanent condition. The Cubs won 97 games three years after losing 101. The Astros made the playoffs two years after losing 111.

At the moment, we’re mostly going on faith. Few of the Braves’ lovingly assembled prospects have reached the majors, and the biggest name who has – Aaron Blair – was summarily demoted after being roundly unimpressive. But this tear-down-to-build-up was never designed as a quick fix. The Braves haven’t yet had enough top draft picks for that to happen. (The Cubs and Astros had a slew.)

What we’re seeing at the big-league level probably won’t bear much impact on what we’ll see in 2018, but recent events have been mildly encouraging. Mauricio Cabrera throws even harder than Arodys Vizcaino. (Who hasn’t been as good lately, alas.) Jace Peterson appears to be a useful big-league player again. Mike Foltynewicz is starting to show us what the fuss was about. Ian Krol, whom the Braves got for Cameron Maybin, has been quite good. Julio Teheran – Saturday’s blip notwithstanding – has been superb.

While watching these Braves, I break the players into two categories: Those who are apt to be here when/if this team gets good again, and those who aren’t. I don’t really care what A.J. Pierzynski or Erick Aybar do (or don’t do) anymore because they’ll be gone soon. But Krol, who’s 25, and Cabrera, who’s 22, interest me. I wish Blair had been better, but Matt Wisler has shown enough to make you think he could be as advertised – a No. 4 starter in a good rotation.

And anyone who would give up on any young pitcher is advised to check the 1988 stats for the 22-year-old Tom Glavine: An ERA of 4.56, 84 strikeouts (in 195 1/3 innings) against 63 walks. He turned out OK.

The numbers that concern me about the Braves are the ones concern everyone: They’re last in the majors yet again in runs and way last in homers. But they’re 14th in the majors – among the upper half, in other words – in ERA, and any team that can pitch has a chance. (If the playoffs started today, the top seven teams in ERA would qualify or be tied for the final wild card.) There’s much more pitching on the way, and some of that pitching could fetch a bat or two.

The Braves’ record is somewhat worse than I thought it’d be – I picked them to go 71-91 – but they’re 22-29 under Brian Snitker, which would project to 70-92 over a full season. In sum, they’ve stopped being an abject embarrassment. They’ve become just another bad team, and that’s OK.

As we know, bad teams needn’t stay bad forever. The 1988 Braves finished 54-106. Three years later, they graced the World Series.

Reader Comments 0

61 comments
sci
sci

Get offense since pitching by itself will not get you there.  I know the Braves management drool over the Glavine, Smoltz era but that is not likely to be repeated in this 21st century.  A more balanced approach with attention paid to offense.  On the other hand, look at hitters like Giancarlo Stanton who has yet to achieve his potential, and may not.

Every team wants the young man fresh up from the minors who can hit consistently and under contract at least for several seasons.

Ain't easy, since hitting these days is feast or famine for many teams.

Mike
Mike

It's not OK to lose a 106 games in any scheme. It's like saying "If we get any better we'll almost suck" This is the current state of the Braves. They are a reflection of their owners.

Edgar
Edgar

They seem to have more "Attitude" since the managerial change. They're also winning games that were lost earlier in the season. Looking ahead I can see a winning team in 2019 with the talent they have. But, it's nice to watch the Braves young talent now like I did in 1990 after Bobby Cox became manager. Over the next couple of seasons it's going to be difficult keeping my eyes off the number of games behind the leader of the NL East instead of the development and stats of this young team. Even the MLB Network is taking notice of their improved play.

sea8491
sea8491

I read the comments in the article  and feel the writer and the fans responding are not looking at the big picture, the current ownership with Atlanta Braves is the problem.  If you want a championship, the Braves need new owners.  Too many clowns involved in management of the Braves and the Braves are most likely a footnote on a balance sheet of Liberty Media, Hope for brand new owners, then good results may come?

JeffCriswell
JeffCriswell

Really, we know this team is going to lose a lot. The key is to let the prospects get a lot of OTJ training. We'll almost certainly see Swanson and Albies in Atlanta very soon. Folty and Wisler need to keep fighting. The pipeline is filled with pitching, and we just added several more young pitchers in the draft. The International draft was apparently also very good. This won't be easy but it will be worth it. 

Bogey
Bogey

OK, the whiners are out in full force. All I know is that under Wren's leadership (and Schuerholz) the minor league system fell into complete disrepair, the international market became generally an afterthought, and too many ill-advised trades an FA signings took place. For a mid-market team that can't outbid anyone for any top FA's, that's a recipe for failure.

Their streak of no playoff series wins now exceeds their incredible run of consecutive division titles.

So, I'm in full support of mgmt's rebuild, and their strategy to accomplish it. Most rebuilds take 10+ years to get back to playoff caliber (witness Royals, Cubs, Astros, Pirates, Mets, etc.).

Good chance the Braves pull it off in only 4-5 years. Don't sweat the short term...it's the price to pay for sustained success.

POV1948
POV1948

If this time next year, they're on pace to lose 106 that probably will be okay with Bradley again.  He's downed the Johns' Cool Aid.  So what if there are precious few bats in all that promised potential in the minors. 

fredge
fredge

I think they're actually 22-30 under Snitker....but the point is still valid. If they win at the "Snitker rate" for the rest of the year, they'll finish with 100 losses.

klsfriend
klsfriend

So the original "plan" was focused on the new stadium next year. Mr. Bradley has now moved that to considering 2018. IF (big if) a couple of the starters that have been acquired surprise and turn out better than they have shown so far MAYBE by 2020 the Braves will be competitive again. Maybe!

Rickster_
Rickster_

We use to hear how great the Braves' farm system was. 

What happened?

Bogey
Bogey

Wren and Schuerholz happened, and their quest to give Bobby Cox one last WS chance...many poor decisions on personnel and player development.

nchof72
nchof72

The Braves are counting on too many hopefuls and what if's in the future. I think we are in for a long run of being irrelevant. I hope when they finally fire Coppolella, they announce it on the 6:00 evening news and let him understand the meaning of "unprofessional."

POV1948
POV1948

@nchof72 If they fire him the way he did Fredi, they'll probably just cease paying him and let his banker break the news.

Jmonty
Jmonty

Until the GM and such are fired, we'll keep losing.  Field a team of has beens and never was's, you lose.  Who would of thought?  This isn't some movie where we magically win.  

colt07
colt07


You folks seem to be forgetting what happened to the Braves last year after the All-Star break. I expect the same after we unload a bunch. I expect 110 losses. And really don't expect much better for the next 3 or 4 years. Then we hope!


FreddieMac
FreddieMac

Mark, we may be forgetting this season in a year or two, but it is not OK that the Braves might lose 106 games this year.  Liberty Media has royally destroyed the fabric of the old team and alienated this long time fan.  There are some players that play well at times but frankly a team that is counting Freddie Freeman and Julio Tehran as franchise players is in serious trouble.  Its your job, and the job of those annoying announcers on Fox to keep the Braves boosterism up ("wow, they came so close"--"another foot to the left and that ball would have been a hit instead of the last out of the inning for the Braves", etc.   but the fact is, for this year, this is a frustrating and painful mess and there is no way to pretty up a season of 100 losses. 


Does anyone else think the graphics on the Fox Sports broadcast muck up the screen.  The way they flash the pitch location chart and cover the right side of the screen-- is really distracting particularly with the Fox logo graphic above it--he view on the screen becomes like the old TV format.  FOX must be the leader in baseball broadcast screen clutter--really annoying, particularly when seeing games broadcast on MLB that give an unobstructed view.

lowlow
lowlow

Remember when we had an owner that wanted to win and would spend to do so?  We don't have that an more.  Current season ticketholders are suckers.  Save us Ted.

10Dawgs
10Dawgs

"that'd be OK" because no one will care when football starts.

funlarry
funlarry

make all the reason you think the braves are going nowhere with all that pitching and no player to play the skilled position where are they going accept in a new stadium with no hope for the fans

DrPhill
DrPhill

It's silly to project statistics. The fact is, Liberty Media cares nothing for the Atlanta fan base. The conspiricy between the Braves' organization and Cobb County politicians further underlines the Liberty Media statement that the Braves are a financial asset, not a team with emotional connections to the community. Screw the fans. Ownership with this attitude will never produce a championship and probably won't produce a winning season. But Liberty Media will have their traffic choked high end shopping and entertainment complex at the expense of Cobb County tax payers for years to come.

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Don't forget the Braves were beyond bad for most of their first 30 years in ATL prior to turning things around in the 90's. No guarantee another big turnaround will ever happen again or how long it will take if it does. As a long suffering follower of ATL sports I've tempered my expectations to always expect the worst from our teams in order to avoid disappointment. Amazes me that so many teams- pro and college- in one state could underperform so often but that's been the story here since the 60's and is going stronger than ever.

DawgNole
DawgNole

"But this tear-down-to-build-up was never designed as a quick fix."

__________________

Just what we want to hear after ZERO championships for the past two decades--and only ONE the past half-century.

FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

This week on "Mark Bradley Hasn't Kicked Fredi Gonzales In The Teeth Recently," our intrepid reporter revisits the dead horse he helped shoot in order to crap in it's mouth. Seemingly for no reason! Sure, everything Liberty Media touches continues to be a Dumpster fire and nothing the Johns have done has yet to materialize, but that won't stop sweet Bradley from continuing to grind his boot into the balls of a guy who was fired months ago in order to placate pinheaded weasels who wouldn't know the difference between a baseball and their own shriveled tumorous dreams of journalistic relevance. Stay Tuned!


The only guy in the world that feels there is any real difference in losing 127 games and losing 106...moron.

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

You're an idiot. Gonzales should have been fired 2 seasons ago for being a crappy manager so the 'pinheaded weasels' you speak of actually did him a favor.

FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

@GeorgeJetsen I'll cop to being an idiot, sure, but how is firing a guy doing him a favor? At no time over the past 5+ years has this organization put together a team talented enough to win a World Series. Our last big free agent signing? B.J. Upton. Much before and after that, the Braves don't compete for talent. You backseat bullpen coaches think there was some magic formula to raising the level of what was a rather anemic offense and a less than dominate pitching staff. As many times as baseball experts say that managers ultimately make very little impact on overall wins and losses, you guys think that there's always some pear-shaped bench-sitter around the corner that can turn any team into the '69 Mets. If you don't have hitters, you won't hit. If your pitchers aren't capable of working deep into games, your bullpen gets fried. No stoppers. No true cleanup hitter. No true leadoff hitter. But it was Fredi's fault. I take it back, you're the idiot.

Yancy Helton
Yancy Helton

You have to constantly and consistently build for the future . . . not wait till the team tanks . . . how did we get in this position?

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

I hope Hart/Coppy's managerial list is longer than just Bud Black. Black(59) is only one year younger than Snitker (60) and had losing records his last four full seasons in San Diego (avg. 75 wins a season) before he was let go in 2015. 

Dsyelxia
Dsyelxia

More what-ifs: when Joe Maddon opted out at Tampa after the 2014 season, I got on every social network and every Braves blog I could begging the Braves to dump that deadweight Fredi and hire Maddon. Now look where we are. The Braves are pathetic and the Maddon is about to lead the woeful Chicago Cubs to the World Series.

That is what they get for sticking with Bobby Cox's man.

BobDawg
BobDawg

@Dsyelxia Maddon wasn't coming here... Now, 2 years from now if he was opting out... yeah, he's coming here as we will be in the same game as the Cubs then...

DaVoice
DaVoice

So if the Braves had just listened to you and they had fired Freddie and hired Madden as you told them to do, the Braves would be headed to the World Series. Why do the Braves listen to Bobby Cox and the rest of those so-called baseball experts when they have the benefit of you on every social network available?

klsfriend
klsfriend

@Dsyelxia And if Joe Maddon was in Atlanta with the talent they have to work with he wouldn't be winning much more than they are now. On the flip side, if Freddie Gonzalez had the Cubs right now they probably would be just as successful. Talent wins, not managers. That's why Maddon is a fraud. Cubs still aren't going to win this year.

kste224488k
kste224488k

I would trade Aaron Blair for a box of 1988 topps baseball cards..if Dansby flakes out and Shelby turns it around maybe Dave Stewart is not so dumb after all..an ace for a deck of cards full of jokers..hopefully Dans turns out to be the second coming of Derek Jeter ( without the std's), because Inciarte is completely unimpressive sans defense, and Blair is obviously not throwing 94 mph like Snitker remembers in AAA, his stinker isn't sinking and none of his pitches are moving, except towards the center of the strike zone where they are being obliterated into dust..a Tommy John in the making perchance?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@kste224488k: ". . .his stinker isn't sinking . . . ."

__________________

His stinker???

You might want to explain that one.

kste224488k
kste224488k

Stinker=sinker

It ain't rocket science fella

DawgNole
DawgNole

@kste224488k 

Nope.

Stinker=stinker, and sinker=sinker.

Duh!

Hell, you'd think it was rocket science, based on your mindless response.

BobDawg
BobDawg

UGA Football will win a championship 1st and then the Bravos... The Hawks window has come and gone as has the Falcons... 

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

Playing the what if game, what if Fredi was still managing the Marlins when Bobby Cox retired, and Snitker was the one who became Braves manager instead of Fredi, how would the last five years played out?

BobDawg
BobDawg

@Buschleaguer The same way... Wren killed the club... We were treading water the last 4-5 years... Just like the Hawks are now and the Falcons are... 

BobDawg
BobDawg

I could care less about the record.... Just keep wheeling and dealing for the future.... 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@BobDawg

After waiting two decades for another championship? And three decades before that?!

Don't wanna hear no "future" crap.

jac200
jac200

I think we might need to look at this constant Astros and cubs comparison... the Astros, probably aren't going to make the playoffs this year. So after one wild card appearance they aren't going to make it again..... And the Cubs, well they went out and spent a ton of money on free agents to help them win with the young Talent... Big money dudes... There is no way the Braves are going to do that. That's just not with the organization does these days...

BobDawg
BobDawg

@jac200 Once we start getting revenue from the New Park and surrounding Park area... Watch how much we spend...This new Park and area is radical and should be self sufficient...That's why they moved there in the first place... 

BravesNumberOneFan
BravesNumberOneFan

If Wisler stops trying to be a power pitcher and focuses on changing speeds and movement like Greg Maddux, he will be a perennial all-star.

Sidslid
Sidslid

I remember being at a Glavine game in '88.  He looked about 14 years old.  


I think Andres Thomas went 0-4.  I am sure Ozzie Virgil did.