Transaction Tuesday: Kade Scivicque Gets The Boot

Transaction Tuesday: Kade Scivicque Gets The Boot

Another week of transactions in the book and another surprise release. We also see some movement from the usual players who fill-in where needed along with a player being removed from the 40-man roster. Elsewhere, a player continues his rehab while another gets to see a doctor whose mere name scares Braves’ fans. Yep, it’s another weekly review of the moves up-and-down the organization.

Period covered: 4/10-4/16. If a number is included after a player’s name, it coincides with his placement in our Preseason Top 50. For more information on options, click here.

Atlanta Braves

Promoted from Gwinnett: Lucas Sims…No longer a rookie after 57.2 innings last year, Sims had a solid start in his Gwinnett debut with four shutout innings, a pair of walks, and seven K’s. He also got a half-dozen groundballs compared to just two flyball ones. Of course, that’s just one game. He’s never really been much of a groundball pitcher after all. Now, he gets a second shot at the majors.

–If you don’t know the deal with Sims yet, he works off two different heaters – a four-seamer and sinker. Both are in the low 90’s, though he can find a few more ticks of velocity in shorter outings out of the pen. He hit 97 mph on the gun last September against the Marlins. Sims also uses a curveball, slider, and changeup and he mixed all of his pitches very well last year. The change is mostly for lefthanders, but he’ll use all five. None of the pitches, though, are really that great. Perhaps, the curve can be. He might be a guy better off for a full-time move to the pen where he can use a variety of pitches that the hitter only sees once.

DFA’d: Luke Jackson…This could be the end of the line for Jackson with the Braves. After a rough outing Saturday – the elements didn’t help – he was designated for assignment and he has the option to decline assignment and become a free agent. Jackson’s 45 games with the Braves have been mostly meh at best and often pretty bad. He’s one of those arms that has the kind of velocity you dream about, but it’s a dry heat. That’s just a way of saying there’s nothing noteworthy about it. A pitcher with his power arm should strike out more 14% of the batters he faces, but over 70 career innings, that’s what we have gotten.

–If this is it for Jackson, it’s worth looking back at the trade that acquired him. In it, Atlanta sent right-hander Tyrell Jenkins and southpaw Brady Feigl. Many hated the deal because Jenkins was very likable. However, Jenkins was quickly waived by the Rangers and then the Reds before landing with the Padres. He made 17 starts in Triple-A for them but was released. He has since joined Performance Baseball, a travel ball organization. No word if he is officially retired or looking for an opportunity.

–As for Feigl, he was a bit of rising arm during the 2015 spring, but Tommy John surgery limited him to just 7 games after camp broke. He spent last year in High-A and Double-A, striking out a batter an inning but giving up too many homers and hits in general. He’s off to a good start in Double-A this year.

Gwinnett Stripers

Promoted from Mississippi: Max Fried (#5)…Pushed out of the Gwinnett opening day rotation because of numbers, an injury has chased things and Fried is back in a rotation with Mike Soroka and Kolby Allard like the good ol’ days. Over two starts – one before his promotion to Gwinnett – Fried has worked 10.1 innings, allowed just a run, walked five, and struck out 12. If Fried’s curveball keeps spinning just right, it won’t be long until he receives a second run in the major leagues.

Jason Hursh, Michael Mader, Evan Phillips, and Jesse Biddle | Jeff Morris @JeffMorrisAB

Promoted from Mississippi: Jason Hursh…Did you know his middle name is Brewster? Hursh is off to another good start this season and has already worked six times – split evenly between Mississippi and Gwinnett. In seven innings, he’s only allowed two hits, two walks, and struck out eight. The hits will fall eventually and Hursh makes for a decent minor league arm when he’s on. He’s just a very boring pitcher in the majors. Kind of like Jackson.

Promoted from Florida on Rehab: Chase Whitley…Had Whitley had a better outing in his Gwinnett debut – plus not worked on Saturday – it may have been Whitley and not Sims who was promoted to the majors to replace Jackson. Instead, Whitley remains in Triple-A for now. The control artist – something the current pen could use – has worked five innings on his road back from a spring training pretty much killed by a staph infection. So far, he’s worked three times on every third day, which means he is on tap to work again today. He’s allowed five runs along the way to go with eight hits. No walks, though.

Demoted to Danville from Mississippi and Promoted: Elian LeyvaLast week, I covered how Leyva just showed up after not pitching for the Braves since they signed him before the 2017 season. Now, the 27-year-old has pitched at two different levels. He struck out five over 3.1 innings in his Gwinnett debut.

DL’d: Aaron Blair…Here’s a sentence that is very unfortunate for any pitcher – “shoulder injury and will see Dr. Andrews.” According to Blair’s father on Twitter, Blair suffered the injury throwing a pitch. How serious this ends up is unknown, but Blair has continued to struggle with his control since the trade from the Diamondbacks. In his first 2.2 innings in his first start, he walked five. It’s rather mindboggling what’s happened with Blair considering his reputation for being a control artist before the trade.

Released: Kade Scivicque…Alex Anthopoulos has not been shy when it comes to dropping organizational Top 50 prospects who the Braves acquired for the last few years. A few weeks ago, it was Dylan Moore. This week, it’s Scivicque, who the Braves acquired in 2016 for Erick Aybar. The problem with Scivicque was simple. Atlanta wanted to lean on their veteran catchers at Triple-A in Rob Brantly and Chris Stewart with their younger staff. If the Braves weren’t flush with catching prospects behind Scivicque, he would have been demoted to Double-A, where he has only hit .265/.313/.355 over 71 games. But there was no room there for him. Scivicque has since signed back with the Tigers organization and returned to Double-A.

Mississippi Braves

Activated: Sal Giardina…He’s effectively a player/coach. Over four seasons in the system, Giardina has hit .240/.305/.310 – numbers that typically don’t keep you around without something a bit extra. He brings something extra through his defense behind the plate and his intangibles in the clubhouse. He’s also pitched four times in his career with just one run given up in 4.1 innings. Look for him to get him some time at the corners when he’s active, too.

Promoted from Danville: Enderson Franco…Like the guy who follows him in this report, Franco seems to show up each week. After three scoreless outings to open the year – including a phantom demotion to Danville – Franco struggled badly against Pensacola last night. Again, Franco is just a guy who will log time here-and-there. His real value to the organization is that they don’t really care all that much about his right arm. He’s a hired gun.

Demoted from Gwinnett: Andres Santiago…You can pretty much copy-and-paste Franco’s description here. Santiago has already pitched for both Gwinnett and Mississippi. In fact, he made a start last week and last night, he threw five innings in relief after Kyle Wright‘s poor start. He actually stopped the bleeding and gave Mississippi a chance to come back. That chance quickly died with Franco on the mound.

DL’d: Michael Snyder…Signed out of the independent leagues after flaming out with the Angels, Snyder hasn’t had a good start to this season. Through seven games, he was 4-for-25 with three walks and eleven strikeouts. The team was hoping he would provide some thunder for the middle of the order and he still might if he gets healthy. But the experiment of bringing him back has so far not looked like a winner.

Rome Braves

Promoted from Danville: Hayden Deal…One of roughly 20 southpaws the Braves picked up between the draft and the undrafted market last June, Deal spent most of last summer in the Gulf Coast League. He gave up a few too many hits but also had a solid 3 K/BB rate. Last year was actually his second outing for Rome after making one last year. He gave up two runs and struck out three over three innings in relief. I really don’t know too much about Deal partly because he never pitched for Danville and partly because he had zero draft buzz. If you see him, let me know what you think.

Dilmer Mejia | Jeff Morris @JeffMorrisAB

Promoted from Danville: Dilmer Mejia…The year was 2014 and a 16-year-old when the season began was making some serious noise. In 14 starts, Mejia had a 2.07 ERA with a 4 K/BB rate. He even jumped to the Gulf Coast League in the final month. Immediately, he was among the Braves’ top pitching prospects. The Braves have added a wealth of prospects since, but Mejia has also fallen off considerably. He has great control, but he’s a bit too hittable. You don’t see intriguing prospects spend four years in rookie ball after all. Mejia could, though, find a second life as a multi-inning reliever. He made his A-ball debut last week with a two-inning, two-K, one-BB outing that also included his second career save. Mejia won’t turn 21 until July 9. He’s still young enough to expect some big progression.

Demoted from Rome and Promoted Back: Odalvi Javier…Demoted to get a fresh arm onto the team, Javier continues to throw quality innings in his return. He matched his relief outing on April 8 with 4.2 innings – this time as a starter. He again didn’t allow a run, gave up three singles, a walk, and struck out seven. Andy Harris of Outfield Fly Rule has a name for Javier. It’s a name I mentioned in the 2018 Atlanta Baseball Preview when I wrote his profile. “Bulldog.” Javier hit a pair of batters in that start and his 11 last year to lead the Appalachian League. That’s not a result of iffy control – he has a career 7.8% walk rate entering 2018.

–No, Javier hits so many batters because he has no fear. He pitches in, out, up, and down. He has more confidence in his pitches than players with twice the stuff than Javier. I don’t know if Javier will end up in the majors at some point, but he’s a guy I refuse to not believe in.

DL’d: Alan Rangel…The Mexican import threw a great inning on opening night, striking out a pair over a scoreless frame. Four days later, he started and it didn’t go so hot for the right-hander. Even more notable for a guy with great control, Rangel threw just 29 strikes out of 53 pitches. I’m unaware of what landed Rangel on the DL, but hopefully, it doesn’t last too long. Rangel should be a nice arm for Rome who can hold down a rotation spot or throw some quality innings in relief.

Danville Braves

Demoted from Rome: Jake Belinda…His uncle (Stan Belinda) once unleashed one of the most famous pitches in Braves baseball history. A 10th rounder last June, Belinda struggled with control in Danville and those struggles only intensified early on this season. In 4.1 innings over three games, Belinda walked seven batters. He only allowed a pair of hits, but the control was rough.

DSL Braves

Released: Roy Iriarte…I have to believe, without doing any research, that it’s rare to find a Roy who was born in Venezuela. The Braves signed Iriarte as a 17-year-old back in September of 2014 and he made his debut the next year with a 4.43 ERA over 40.2 innings in the Dominican Summer League. Of particular concern was the nearly equal strikeout-to-walk rate. For two years, we didn’t hear a thing about him. No placement on the Disabled List, no suspension, nothing. While other members of that 2015 DSL team like William Contreras, Randy Ventura, and Jasseel De la Cruz moved up the latter, Iriarte was a ghost.

–It makes me think he was basically Milton from Office Space. He was supposed to be released, but some accounting mishap kept him on the payroll. And for two years, he showed up, got paid, and went home. The new regime, with its analytics and attention to detail, saw it and fixed the error. Now, if the DSL complex is set on fire…I’m not saying Iriarte did it, but he definitely did it.

And here’s a bonus section I mentioned on Twitter – a list of independent-league former Braves.

Frontier League – Williams Perez (Southern Illinois), Carlos Castros (Evansville), Dalton Geekie (Lake Erie).

Pan-American – Matt Gonzalez (Rockland).

American Association – Ryan Schlosser (St. Paul), Jordan Edgerton (Kansas City), Keith Curcio (Kansas City), Kyle Kinman (Lincoln), Justin Black (Chicago).

Atlantic League – Ross Detwiler (York), Kyle Kubitza (Sugar Land), Andrew McKirahan (Sugar Land), Cody Martin (Sugar Land), Danny Reynolds (Sugar Land), Paco Rodriguez (Sugar Land), Ryan Kelly (Somerset), Brett Oberholtzer (Somerset).

19 Comments

I understand the want to keep a veteran catcher on hand in Gwinnett to work with a young staff. Why release a top 50 prospect at the expense of keeping two, though? There are guys on that staff plenty old enough that they don’t need to be handled with kid gloves.

This GM. Smh…

The Braves have A LOT of catchers in their system. I think that some promotions are soon in line throughout The System.

While not exactly ‘thrilled’ that Sims is back on the MLB roster….he’s LIGHT YEARS better than Jackson. Right now, The Braves have two pitchers in the bullpen that should really only be used in ‘LOW-LOW leverage situations’: Sims and Ramirez.

If The Braves can get through the next two months (Gohara should come back in early May…dropping Sims/Ramirez from The Bullpen….which would allow Annibal Sanchez to fill the long relief/multiple inning/spot starter role)…then reinforcements is coming along (we’ll have the likes of Soroka, Allard and Wright..who should be ready after having enough starts in Triple A to show us that they are indeed ready for PrimeTime).

AA mentioned that if there isnt room in the rotation for our high ceiling pitching prospects….they could initially pitch in The Bullpen and be used in semi-high leverage situations! While I LOVE the possibility of Soroka showing from Day 1 what he can do as a Starting Pitcher…..I am intrigued to see if he could come in and DOMINATE as a short inning reliever (with his mix of pitches that LOCATES, LOCATES, LOCATES). Wright has great stuff as well. I feel that his stuff could play well as a short inning reliever…if need be (I look at him as being a Smoltz-like pitcher). Let’s not forget about Max Fried..who I’ve been saying FOR QUITE SOME TIME..should be eventually slated to fill an Andrew Miller-like role in The Braves Bullpen!

Imagine have a bullpen this summer….with guys ON THE BACK END who can NOT ONLY get out hitters…BUT ALSO go MULTIPLE INNINGS? We could go with a 7 man bullpen (Sanchez would really help with that)..enabling Snitker to have a 5 man bench (Tucker and Adams as the outfielders….Culberson as the infielder….Flowers/Suzuki and Perez as the catchers. Having 3 catchers on the roster..enables Snitker to use one of Flowers/Suzuki as a pinch hitter later in a game…WITHOUT having to worry about the one who started getting hurt and being left with NO ONE to catch).

Having those youngsters come in and fill the back end of The Bullpen this summer…could make this Braves team ONE HELL OF A TOUGH TEAM TO BEAT (especially if Acuna comes up and teams with Albies to form one HELL OF A DUO at the top of the order….whether that is in a few days OR on June 4th, lol).

9-6 right now. With 45 games left between now and June 4th….The Braves could go 22-23 (one game under .500) between now and then..and we’d have a record of 31-29 when Acuna’s Super 2 date would pass. In Spring Training…if anyone told you that The Braves would be 31-29 on June 4th (and Acuna would just then be added to The Roster)…you (and the rest of Braves nation) would have been HELLA THRILLED with hearing that! After The Mets series this weekend….The Schedule gets CONSIDERABLY EASIER until May 25th.

The next 6 games (2 remaining with The Phillies..and 4 against the 12-3 Mets…all at Sun Trust Field) will show us what we’re really working with here.

Roger….Luke Jackson was worse. However Sims just got called up to replace him. I’d like to see Josh Ravin or Jesse Biddle called up to replace Ramirez IMMEDIATELY…then Gohara will replace Sims when his rehab is over (pushing Sanchez to the bullpen).

That must be a mistake about the Braves signing Jose Bautista to play 3B. Please, someone say April Fools. Looks like AA may again lean on only having “his” guys around even the TOR castoffs.

Do you suppose Joe Carter could play a serviceable SS these days? They could just have Dansby catch. He’ll figure it out, I’m sure. Lol.

The TC Clowns are OFF THE HOOK with their ‘reactions/INSANE scenarios regarding what to do with The Rotation/Bullpen IF Mike Soroka gets called up ‘soon’ (as the rumor mill is being fed by Braves GM AA).

Annibal Sanchez…SHOULD NOT be demoted/released, lol! He would be A HELLA VALUABLE bullpen piece should he lose his spot in The Rotation! Given how our starting pitchers, at most, are going 6 innings a start…AT LEAST 3 of our starters (in non-extra inning games) are being used (in other words, it would be HELLA NICE if we can get a few 7-8 inning appearances by our current Starting 5 every now and then).

Knowing that, having someone like Sanchez (who can go MULTIPLE EFFECTIVE INNINGS in an appearance/potentially save our bullpen on a night where one of our starters simply ‘doesnt has it’ and has to get pulled before the 4th-5th inning) could prove to be INVALUABLE! If Soroka gets called up….Ramirez should be demoted IMMEDIATELY. When Gohara comes back….either DUMP Sims (putting Soroka as a likely ‘high leverage bullpen piece..at least for the short term UNTIL a trade gets made towards The July Trade Deadline involving one of our current starting pitchers)…OR perhaps AA already has a potential trade lined up!

But reading about The ‘proposed 6 man rotation idea/cutting Annibal Sanchez NONSENSE’ (if Soroka gets called up soon) from those TC Clowns, lol…..talk about “The Gang that NEVER gets it right, lol’! If I have to read ONE MORE post complaining about how we should have traded Albies, Soroka, Allard, Riley and Wilson FOR either Christian Yelich, Cris Sale, Chris Archer OR Jose Quintana, etc. (of course now The TC Clowns are all saying how much they LOVE Albies “all along”, lol)….I’m going to FREAKING PUKE, lol!

AA WILL NOT be making any 4-5 FOR ONE TRADES….during The 2018 Baseball Season! If this team is going to make The 2018 Playoffs..any ‘marked’ improvements will come FROM WITHIN (now if AA can make any Trade Deadline “steal of a deal”..then sure, I can buy into that). But Soroka and company (our other HIGH UPSIDE Starting Pitching Prospects in The Minors) WILL NOT be trade bait this year!

After today…if we call up Acuna tomorrow, the next 43 games (from tomorrow until June 3rd) could potentially cost The Braves $10 mil-plus MORE in Acuna’s 2021 Salary (IF Acuna is as good as we think he’ll be the next 2 plus seasons). It doesnt make ECONOMIC sense to wait too much time after tomorrow…to call Acuna up! You guys can rip me for bringing this up…but it does not make these facts GO AWAY/NOT be relevant!

After singing Annibal Sanchez’s praises earlier today…he goes out and tears his hamstring today (news not good).

Losing him could be A BIG BLOW…not because I expected him to stay in The Rotation…but 1. We’ll probably get blown out tomorrow with Sims/Wisler pitching tomorrow in place of Sanchez. 2. I absolutely love Sanchez being the long relief guy/spot starter/multiple inning guy should a game go extra innings (once Gohara gets called up in early May).

Injuries to Gohara (Sanchez coming from nowhere to pitch VERY EFFECTIVELY in his place) and now Sanchez….are part of the reasons why I felt that 2018 was a ‘difficult’ year to expect ‘great things from’! As tempting as it is to call up Soroka right now….he should be kept AT LEAST until after The ASB in Triple A.

I stated all offseason that if someone in the rotation got hurt in the 1st half of the season (when we all thought that The Braves would SUCK in 2018)…AA should call up the likes of Blair, Wisler and/or Sims to fill their rotation slots…UNTIL Soroka, Allard and Wright have shown that they are ready (with their performances in Triple A showing that they are ready for MLB).

However, this Braves team has shown that they are capable of ‘competing’ in 2018. By calling up Sims and Wisler (Blair is out for the season) to fill in for Sanchez (until Gohara comes back)…The Braves are basically GIVING THOSE GAMES AWAY (Sims and Wisler ARE NOT ‘good’ MLB starting pitchers. Wisler is A BUM….Sims ‘could’ AT BEST be a 5th starter type pitcher IF he gets MUCH BETTER at locating/limiting the walks).

As tempting as it would be to call up Soroka (who has looked GOOD in his first 3 Triple A starts)…I’d rather see Soroka kept down in Triple A and see him pitch DEEPER into games! He’s gone 5 innings…that’s it! None of our MILB starting pitchers have gone longer than 5 innings to start the season. Calling up Soroka in the next week…would result in our bullpen being taxed even more.

To be honest, I was expecting McCarthy to be the 1st starter to go down (if he makes it to June without having to miss AT LEAST one start, I’d be surprised). That’s why it’s TOUGH to get HELLA excited about our 9-7 start! Now if we’re still around .500 come The ASB…then I’ll start to get excited…because Soroka, Allard and Wright should be ready for possible callups! It’s just too early to call any of those guys up right now.

I know that a number of people are talking about Fried…but I just dont see Fried being anything more than an Andrew Miller-type late inning multi-inning high leverage reliever!

Hopefully Sanchez will be the only significant pitcher we lose to injury. I doubt it.

Nice win by The Braves tonight. Took 2 of 3 against The Phillies.

Regardless of what happens with Freddie Freeman (please no broken wrist)…this Braves team has shown some heart, resiliency..and yes ability to grind out at-bats that lead to scoring opportunities. When Ryan Flaherty came to the plate in the bottom of the 5th, I was like “dude’s batting almost .350 with no power…then BLASTS a 3 run homer on the 1st pitch, lol.

Tucker has really come down to Earth. I just dont think that he’s an everyday kind of player. I feel that he’ll be much better as a pinch hitter, start one game a week (3 every two weeks..to give the three outfielders a day of rest every 14 days).

10-7 is WAY BETTER than I anticipated to start the season. However I just dont know how long our best bullpen arms in Vizcaino, Minter, Freeman, Winkler, Carle and Moylan (wait and see on Biddle….no way do I want to see Sims pitch when the game is close).

With Annibal Sanchez getting hurt (I HOPE that it’s a pulled hammy INSTEAD of a torn ligament)…not sure what direction AA is going to go for tomorrow’s game. Freaking Wisler? I HOPE NOT! Not with The Mets coming into town for a 4 games series! While I would LOVE to win at least 3 of these games…given the uncertainty of who’ll start tomorrow’s game (and the caliber of the arms that we’ll be facing in this series) I’ll be happy with a 2-2 split! We’re 3 games behind The Mets, it’s a long season. Even if Freddie Freeman didnt break his hand…he probably wont play tomorrow (or even the next couple of days….it will be HELLA SORE if it’s not broken)!

I would call up Acuna and have him start in left field…and move either Tucker or Markakis to 1st IF Freddie cant play. After seeing Burjouis make another mishap play in left tonight..I’d get rid of him to make room for Acuna.

The problem is..if AA doesnt go with Lucas Sims (maybe we just have Sims pitch tomorrow and ‘take one for the team/go 6-7 innings EVEN if he gives up 10 runs…kind of like how Cole did for Washington earlier this season, lol) to start tomorrow….who does he call up/who does he send down? That’s why AA may have no choice but to go with Sims tomorrow.

Damn, it’s nice to see The Braves have a chance to win every game. The starting 5 we’ve been throwing out…I felt that we had a ‘chance’ (even when Teheran got rocked…when Newcomb got rocked in his 1st start…even when Sanchez made his 1st start in Colorado). However I’m just not feeling it with Sims or Wisler! Still, if given a choice..I’d go with Sims (because he’s already on the roster…and I dont want to see any of the other relievers sent down. I’d like to see how Biddle performs…The Braves could use one more EFFECTIVE lefty in the bullpen).

McCarthy only went 5 1/3 tonight. 17 games in…no starter has pitched past 6 innings (Newcomb gave up 2 hits in the top of the 7th in Colorado). 7 effective innings from Sims tomorrow would be GREAT (better chance of winning Powerball)! Other than the last Washington series, The Braves have been good about winning the 1st game of series this year. Sure would hate to not have much of a chance to win tomorrow.

Come on Sims…SURPRISE ME! PROVE ME WRONG, DUDE!

Just found out that Matt Wisler was called up to start tonight’s game….with Lane Adams designated for assignment.

If we’re going to lose tonight….Sims better be the 2nd pitcher called in to pitch AFTER Wisler gets LIT UP….then give Biddle his cup of coffee MLB debut at the end of the game. Rest up the important bullpen pieces tonight (Vizcaino will have 2 days off going into tomorrow’s game).

Now watch me be WRONG about tonight (which I would LOVE to be wrong about, lol)! But seriously…..Wisler, Sims and Biddle…that’s it. With no Freddie tonight (thankfully he’s only ‘day to day’)…offense is going to be HELLA TOUGH to come by. I just wish it was Synderguard pitching tonight instead of Harvey (in a game we will probably have LITTLE CHANCE of winning tonight, I’d rather see Synderguard wasted tonight for The Mets).

Somehow, The Braves are going to have to GRIND OUT a 2-2 split the next 4 games against The Mets…that would be A HUGE ‘win’!

It irritates me that they designated Adams, and kept Bourjos. Both guys are reserve OF types, so I’m not ready to storm the castle walls- but still, it’s yet another baffling move on the part of this GM.

Bourjos brings one skill to the table- he’s fast. He has little, to no power. He’s a career .240 hitter. Plus, he’s never had a season in his career where’s he’s had an OBP better than Lane Adams. Never! And he’s plenty old enough where we all know what he is, except for the guy calling the shots down in Atlanta. Ugghhh!!!!

And the rotten cherry on top of that spoiled, melted sundae is they didn’t DFA him in order to call up Acuna. Nope. Matt Wisler, and his career 5+ ERA are going to take that roster spot.

They probably could’ve just let Bourjos try to pitch- doubt the results will be much different.

Smh…

King…I suspect that Acuna will be called up tomorrow AFTER Wisler makes his start today! I just dont see The Braves keeping Wisler past today. He simply isnt a quality MLB starting pitcher.

Assuming Acuna gets called up tomorrow…I expect Peter Burjouis to get released/sent down once Flowers gets called up after his rehab stint is over (in order to take advantage of having Flowers/Suzuki available to pinch hit….Perez has to be kept as a 3rd catcher).

Once Acuna/Flowers gets called up (Wisler/Burjois sent down…I expect the bench to be the following: Tucker, Culberson, Carmago (until Flaherty cools off) Flowers/Suzuki (whichever one is not starting that night) and Perez. Culberson can be the 5th outfielder..in a pinch.

Once Gohara comes up (and if Sanchez hammy turns out to not be that serious, meaning that he comes back around the time that Gohara comes back in early May)….the bullpen should be the following: Vizcaino, Minter, Winkler, Freeman, Carle, Moylan and Sanchez (who will be a great long relief/spot starter option in the bullpen).

That would give us a 7 man bullpen and a 5 man bench. Tucker and Flowers/Suzuki would give Snitker a power hitting pinch hitting option from BOTH SIDES of the plate to use late in games (right now…The Braves lack ANY power pinch hitting options).

Hopefully no one else gets hurt….hopefully Gohara, Flowers and Sanchez can come back by early May! This Braves team will have a chance to make my 86 wins prediction LOOK HELLA ‘insightful’ IF these guys can get back soon and contribute! Remember…we’ll have some potential young reinforcements come post ASB..in Soroka, Allard and/or Wright!

Nathan..the bullpen would have been TRULY SAVED (Moylan and Freeman given another day of rest would have been nice) if Lucas FREAKING Sims could have thrown a few strikes tonight!

Up 10-1 in the top of the 8th..and dude (I could CARE LESS how disappointed dude is that he didnt get the start over Wisler…the bottom line is that Sims DID NOT prove himself AT ALL this Spring…so he lost all right to be in control of his own destiny when it comes to harboring any ‘expectations’ to starting a game when a spot opens in the rotation) could have pitched 2 DECENT innings and TRULY saved the bullpen tonight.

Instead…he comes in and does what I basically FEARED Wisler would do tonight: nibble, nibble, nibble..then get ROCKED when he has to throw a strike.

Meanwhile…WTF (who the ….) was that on the mound tonight for The Braves in the 1st seven innings of tonight’s game? That sure didnit look like The Matt Wisler who had been STINKING UP THE PLACE the past year and a half, lol. Wisler…look like Newcomb did in Colorado (went after hitters….LOCATED, LOCATED, LOCATED his pitches).

Before anyone gets their panties in a twist…let’s see how Wisler does IF AA gives him the next start Tuesday in Cincy. However….if Wisler shows in Cincy that what happened tonight wasnt a fluke….wow, lol…The Braves could potentially have TOO MANY starting pitchers, lol (is there such a thing?)!

Great win tonight! The offense made it easier for Wisler to not have to pitch when much pressure on him (he did pitch a 1-2-3 first inning..when the score was 0-0, lol).

Thought for sure that Acuna was a lock to get called up tomorrow. Kind of hard to bench a guy (Tucker) who is tied for The NL lead in RBIs (18). Still….counting tomorrow…only 42 games between tomorrow and June 3rd (will potentially cost The Braves $10 mil plus in 2021 for Acuna IF Acuna is as good as we think he’ll be the next 2 plus years IF he gets called up before June 4th). If not tomorrow…do they call Acuna up the beginning of the next road trip…or when The Braves get back home from the next road trip? At some point..the economics will dictate keeping Acuna in Triple A until June 4th IF they dont call Acuna up SOON!

Got 2 tough games coming up against Synderguard and deGroom….then Wheeler on Sunday. Hopefully we’ll give ourselves an opportunity to win at least 2 of those games!

Are we sure that was Matt Wisler? Lol.

He did pitch his tail off, though. So credit given where credit is due. I can’t imagine he’s able to maintain that, based off his history. That was still a big performance, however.

King…I feel you! I also felt the exact same thing when Newcomb pitched that 6 inning gem in Colorado. Newcomb also pitched decent in FRIGID Chicago in that Saturday game that the bullpen blew! Hopefully Newcomb will continue to GO AFTER HITTERS! I cant help but think that watching Annibal Sanchez pitch (with inferior stuff to Newcomb’s) each day before his start….getting hitters out by GOING AFTER THEM…has impacted Newcomb mentally!

Some are probably asking ‘where has yesterday’s Wisler been all along’? The mental aspect of sports cannot be underestimated. Perhaps (I’m only speculating here) Wisler (knowing that last night’s game could very well be his LAST CHANCE of ever starting a MLB game, at least in a Braves uniform) FINALLY decided that he had NOTHING TO LOSE by GOING AFTER HITTERS!

You could see the look on his face was like “damn, so this is how it goes when you have GOOD STUFF AND GO AFTER HITTERS” as the game went into the 5th, 6th, 7th innings! Let’s see how he does on Tuesday! At the very least, he’ll be an option to start should someone get hurt or traded (once Gohara comes back in early May).

All things being equal…I’d like to see Soroka (as well as Allard and Wright) kept in The Minors until AT LEAST after The ASB! I’d like to see Soroka stretched out and pitch 3-4 games in the 7th inning (and beyond) while in Triple A. That is why in the offseason, I advocated for Wisler, Blair and Sims to be THE FIRST OPTIONS to come in and start should something happen to our starting rotation (didnt count on Annibal Sanchez ‘rediscovering’ his old self this year after AA signed him)….because I wanted the 3-some of Soroka, Allard and Wright continue to develop in The Minors this year BEFORE getting possible callups after The ASB (more likely after The July Trade Deadline).

Because of the lack of depth behind Teheran, Folty, McCarthy, Newcomb and Gohara (NO ONE could foresee Wisler pitching that gem last night…NOR Sanchez giving 2 quality starts against Colorado and Chicago filling in for Gohara..as well as 3 quality innings out of the bullpen on April 2nd against Washington)….who could really predict that The Braves would start the year 11-7? The Braves have won both of Sanchez’s starts…as well as Wisler’s one last night. Let’s say that The Braves had lost all three of those starts (a pretty decent assumption GOING INTO 2018). Our record would be 8-10 (not to mention taxing our bullpen even further if they had been knocked out earlier in those three starts!

Tommy…..These next three games against The Mets..are important. While I would LOVE to see us sweep them, I’d be happy to take 2 out of the next 3 games. Runs may be hard to come by tonight…hopefully Newcomb will come out and give Synderguard a run for his money tonight (The Braves lineup getting some good at-bats in….running Synderguard’s pitch count up…getting him out by the 6th inning and into that Mets bullpen..would be nice).

Newcomb has good stuff..no doubt. Hopefully he’ll go after a Mets lineup that ‘can be pitched to’! Cespedes cant be thrown any hangers…however he can be pitched to and gotten out!

THANK YOU AA for demoting Sims! He looked like a guy who was BUTT HURT because he didnt get the start last night..and pitched like it in that UGLY 8th inning appearance of his! Well, enjoy that cut in pay that comes with being DEMOTED, Sims! You had a chance to save the bullpen/show The Braves that you could get MLB hitters out last night! Hopefully Josh Ravin will show that he can throw strikes!

I’d like to see how Biddle and Ravin perform (hopefully The Braves offense can score some runs early against a bad Reds team next week…getting those two some opportunities to pitch when we’re ahead). Wisler last night made him the only Braves starter that has gotten an out in the 7th inning so far this year! When your bullpen is pitching AT LEAST 3 innings every night…you’re going to go through AT LEAST three bullpen pitchers every game that you win (some road games that we lose, our bullpen will only pitch 2 innings IF our starter goes 6 innings).

I like having Vizcaino, Minter, Winkler, Freeman, Carle and Moylan as our top 6. Biddle and Ravin will hopefully make their case to join those 6 as being DEPENDABLE! However, with Sanchez’s injury appearing to be ‘minor’ to his hammy (as well as the possibility of The Braves going with a 7 man bullpen/5 man bench to take advantage of using Flowers/Suzuki as a pinch hitter when the other one starts..meaning that Carlos Perez would be the 3rd catcher who only would be used if the starter got hurt after the other one was used as a pinch hitter)….it looks like Biddle and/or Ravin may have a tough time sticking around UNLESS someone got hurt (a good problem for The Braves to have)!

After these 3 games this weekend against The Mets…we’ll play 17 of the next 20 games on the road (hosting San Francisco at home May 4th-6th). We’ll find out a lot about this Braves team by the time they come home on May 15th to host The Cubs. April 30th and May 7th are the only off days between now and then (May 14th was an off day that became the makeup game at Chicago. We go from playing at Miami on Sunday May 13th, to traveling to Chicago to play on Monday May 14th, to hosting Chicago at home on May 15th, lol).

The next off day after that is May 24th…so going with a 5 man bench may be tough when Flowers comes back…given that The Braves will only have 2 off days during the next month AS WELL as the fact that our starters are not really pitching into the 7th inning (Wisler being the exception last night).

Tonight’s loss illustrated three GLARING weaknesses on this team:

1. The inability of our starting pitchers to go longer than 6 innings a start. Wisler is the only starter to go 7 innings in 19 games so far in 2018. Nickel-diming/nibbling/too many 0-2 counts that turn into walks or 10 pitch at-bats! It’s like our guys get ahead 0-2/1-2…then all of a sudden GET HELLA AFRAID of giving up a hit! GO AFTER THESE GUYS! Pitch counts would go DOWN if our pitchers would start TRUSTING THEIR STUFF and attack the hitters!

2. The bench SUCKS! No power threats whatsoever on the bench. The 4 man bench consists of Peter Borjouis, Charlie Culberson, Johan Carmago and Carlos Perez. Carmago is the only one who can hit halfway decent! Flowers coming back will help….however unless Acuna gets called up soon…I dont see how this bench improves UNLESS AA makes a move/moves!

3. Other than Shane Carle…NO ONE in the bullpen can pitch effective IF they go more than one inning. The difference between The Mets and Braves tonight…is that The Mets have TWO PITCHERS (Lugo and Gsellman) who can pitch effectively IF they have to go 2 innings or more. It appears that Snitker wants to use Carle on back to back nights more often…which will limit how often he pitches more than 1 inning. When Sanchez comes back and gets sent to the bullpen after Gohara comes up….hopefully he’ll be ‘that guy’ who can pitch effectively 2 or 3 innings at a time out of the bullpen.

11-8 is better than I expected coming out of the gate. However unless those three GLARING weaknesses gets addressed…this could end up being A LONG YEAR…ESPECIALLY if injuries start to add up. While I’m not worried about Freddie Freeman long term….he’s slumping right now….which coincides with The Braves inability to score a lot of runs lately (last night not-with-standing, lol).

Josh Ravin struggled with his control tonight….and hit the freaking pitcher in the 12th inning! Great way to show that you deserved being promoted back to The Majors! However he has company for tonight’s loss! Freddie Freeman had A TERRIBLE GAME. O-5 with an error…didnt come up with another play on a hit down the line. We need him to be FREDDIE FREEMAN and get back to CARRYING THIS TEAM! Preston Tucker had A TERRIBLE at-bat with runners on 1st and 2nd and 2 outs in the bottom of the 11th.

Frustrating to let a winnable game get away tonight!

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