The 2018 Atlanta Braves Offseason has been fun, eh? Yes, the most important thing that needed to happen did happen: the riddance of Matt Kemp. But what else? Not much. The Braves are looking at testing their prospect depth to the fullest in 2018 and that is at least cheer-worthy.
Projecting the 2018 Atlanta Braves
Yeah, about that. Projecting wins for any team in any given year is educated guesswork based on formulas and trends. But this year, the Braves and their projections are even more guesswork than the norm. Want to know why? Here are 20 reasons:
- Ronald Acuna
- Ozzie Albies
- Dansby Swanson
- Johan Camargo
- Luiz Gohara
- Rio Ruiz
- Lane Adams
- Preston Tucker
- Sean Newcomb
- Scott Kazmir
- Max Fried
- Lucas Sims
- A.J. Minter
- Dan Winkler
- Akeel Morris
- Jacob Lindgren
- Anyelo Gomez
- Jesse Biddle
- Adam McCreery
- Ricardo Sanchez
Sure there are educated guesses for the above 20 guys that predict their success or lack thereof for each season, but since these guys aren’t proven commodities, it’s basically anyone’s guess. And truth of the matter is, people that watch them on a regular basis might be able to predict the performances of these guys better than the mass predictors out there. But here are the kickers…
Where Projections go to Die
- Lane Adams and Rio Ruiz both worked out this offseason with the guy that transformed J.D. Martinez into the guy that just received a $110MM contract. He’s known as the swing doctor and has made millions making other’s millions.
- Both Ozzie Albies and Johan Camargo added more muscle this offseason and Camargo, especially, saw a huge unprecedented power surge last season and in the Winter Leagues.
- Breakouts through advanced analytics- With Alex Anthopoulos in-tow, the Braves are going to be using a much more analytical approach in-game and in preparation. We may see pitchers completely ditching pitches they’ve thrown regularly and actually see a (forced) competent Snitker go away from his gut and listen to Walt Weiss‘s advice and choose the numbers. Put it mildly, the Braves should have a coach in Snitker that always has their back and a bench coach in Weiss that aids in putting the players in situations to succeed.
There are so many other pieces of the puzzle: Will Fried carry over his stuff and confidence he found late season and in the AFL? Will Newcomb lower his BB-rate? Can Dansby rebound and be the player the Braves advertised him to be in 2017? Nearly every person that has less than 2 years of experience has question marks, both good and bad, that are danged near impossible to predict. So whether it’s 70, 75, or 80 wins that this team is predicted to win, don’t get caught up in it as the formulas cannot factor in the human aspect of these young players.
All About the Benjamins, Baby!
There are several Braves faithful that calculate the payroll. Between those guys and other outlets, we can at least get a ballpark of where the Braves currently sit. Here’s some discrepancies in the numbers:
- Alan Carpenter of Tomahawk Take has the Braves payroll around 104 million.
2. Braves Options Guy has the payroll coming in at 99 million.
3. Cots Contracts has the payroll at ~116 million.
4. Spotrac comes in more conservative than Cots at 104 million (matching Alan)
Payroll calculations are fascinating. I won’t get into the details of why there’s so many different sums but it’s not all cut and dry as deferrals, bonuses, unknowns (like the Chris Stewart contract) throw a debate into the sum. But one thing is for sure and that is the 2018 payroll comes in at a significantly less sum than the 2017 payroll, and that even factors in the dead weight the Braves took on in 2018 to unload Matt Kemp‘s 2019 albatross.
The 2018 Dilemma of the Atlanta Braves
So in that is where the dilemma of this offseason comes in. There are SO many free agents that are still unsigned. Starting Pitchers, Outfielders, Infielders, Relievers…it’s all there. There’s also a surplus of SP arms that the Braves have in the organization that will be filtered out one way or the other. Whether we as fans agree with the way it would’ve been done, there was…and still is, a way to make this team better.
Sure, there’s argument to give the kids a shot like Camargo at 3rd base. There’s also argument that landing a guy like Neil Walker to play 3B 100 or so games and let Camargo patrol around the infield 100 games could have been a great way to use the infield depth. And sure, we’ve got Acuna likely making his debut mid-April, but was/is it really out of the realm to trade 1 or 2 pieces of non-impact depth for Hunter Renfroe and/or Corey Dickerson and send Markakis away eating 2/3 of his salary?
It’s not happened. And while I’d love for the Braves to push to be a Wildcard team this year, one thing is for certain: If they fall 2-3 games short at season’s end, we will all be left wondering what if they’d have cashed in on a slow market and upgraded the team by spending.