Best G’s in Braves Franchise History

Andres Galarraga 1998 Ultra #434

Best G’s in Braves Franchise History

When you have operated a squad for nearly 150 years, you rack up a pretty expansive collection of players that have taken the field for you. In this series, we look at possibly the best possible lineup you could build that all share one thing in common – the last name that begins with the same letter.

Team G

One thing that will stand out about the G’s in team depth. Not that there are some positions that had few options – the left side of the infield is especially weak – but many decisions left off many talented players. That also speaks for the players that did make the team and their talent level. Team G’s strength comes on the mound and in the outfield. Defensively, there are a few issues, but mostly, this is a strong team. Will it be enough to take down Team B, our current champion and winners of five straight? I’ll look at that to end the article.

Lineup

Here’s the Position-by-Position breakdown

Catcher – Hank Gowdy

We don’t care about defense on this roster and Evan Gattis is a strong contender here, but Hank Gowdy has to be the choice. A strong defensive catcher and a team captain despite his youth, Gowdy was originally a first baseman for the Giants before the Braves moved him behind the plate. In his first full season, he helped to guide a young pitching staff to the 1914 World Series. He would go on to play 852 games with the franchise, hitting .260/.339/.339.

Gattis did one thing – hit moonshots. In his two years with the Braves, the sometimes left-fielder (apparently for giggles) belted 43 homers with a .791 OPS. He’s on-base challenged and didn’t spend enough time with the Braves to beat out Gowdy, though. Frank Gibson was a backup catcher for Boston throughout the 20’s and hit pretty well in that role (.281/.316/.389). Kind of surprising since Mickey O’Neil had a negative bWAR in 3-of-his-5 seasons as the regular. Possibly, like Gattis, Gibson was a defensive question.

If I was going by purely name value, Peaches Graham would be my pick. Over 3+ seasons, he hit .266/.344/.315 for Boston before being moved to the Cubs in 1911. Plus, we could play Presidents of the United States’ “Peaches” before his at-bats.

First Base – Andres Galarraga

There are few contenders here, opening the way for the story of The Big Cat. Oh, of course, you know the story. He signed with the Braves in 1998, replacing Fred McGriff, and showed that his power was not just a Coors Field thing. He belted 44 homers and posted a .991 OPS. And now, here is where we say (expletive) cancer. Galarraga would miss 1999 with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and it seemed like he may never play again. However, on opening day in 2000, Galarraga belted a homer to win a game and while he was no longer an MVP candidate, Galarraga was quite effective with a .302/.369/.895 season.

My most memorable Galarraga moment with the Braves, though, came on August 22 at Coors Field against his old teammates. In the 11th inning of a 6-6 game, John Wasdin hit Galarraga with the seventh pitch of the at-bat. The idea that Wasdin was trying to intentionally hit Galarraga is absurd. But he did and The Big Cat charged the mound. Both players were ejected, leading to Paul Bako playing first base. In the 12th, Brent Mayne, a backup catcher, induced a groundout with two runners on and Chipper Jones at the plate to end the inning. Adam Melhuse, another backup catcher who was 0-for-6 to begin his career, singled in the winning run for the Rockies in the 12th. Here is a VHS-rendered version (should start at the 29-minute mark).

Second Base – Marcus Giles

Over six years, including four as an everyday starter, Giles hit .285/.361/.448 with 72 homers – marks that many of didn’t expect from a 5’8″ second baseman. Of course, steroids have long been expected as a reason for not only his dropoff but later domestic violence issues he would have. It was a fun ride for a little while, though. Other options include Rod Gilbreath, who once led the league in sacrifice bunts. That’s really all I can say about him.

Shortstop – Alex Gonzalez

Okay, the options aren’t that great here. If you’d rather have Gil Garrido, a part-timer in the late 60’s and early 70’s, feel free to go with him. I’ll stick with Alex Gonzalez, who hit 21 homers for the Braves in 221 games. Sure, he also had a .277 OBP. Like I said, the options kind of suck here. He was a good, though not elite, defender and that counts, right? Maybe?

Third Base – Adonis Garcia

Oh, I know, you are sitting there and saying “No Ed Gremminger? Where’s Battleship?” Literally, there are two players in franchise history whose names begin with “G” and were regulars at third base. I went with the name I had heard of. But if you have a better option, I am all ears.

Left Field – Ralph Garr

The strength of this team – beyond its Hall of Fame starter – is the outfield. Here are some of the names that didn’t make this team: Sid Gordon, Ken Griffey, Debs Garms, and Cito Gaston. Instead, I went with three players I think are better. Garr is tied for sixth in franchise history in batting average. Sure, he’s a defensive disaster, but we’ll deal with that for what he can do for the top of the lineup. He also swiped 137 career bases, which may not count like a lot, but is second-best among Braves whose last name begins with a “G.”

Center Field – Marquis Grissom

Gold Glove? Check (x2). First 200-hit season for the Braves since Garr? Check. First player since Garr to reach double digits in doubles, triples, and homers as a Brave? Also, check. First player since Eddie Mathews to field the final out of a World Series that led to the Braves celebrating? Random, but also check.

But sure, Grissom only spent two seasons in Atlanta. But in many ways, he was the missing link. Without Grissom, do the Braves win it all in 1995? Maybe, but it would be a lot harder. He was also a big-time performer in the postseason, hitting four postseason homers for the Braves and swiping nine bases to go with an OPS over .800.

Right Field – Ron Gant

I mean, yeah, he was a left-fielder and sometimes center fielder during his best years, but I’m not asking Ralph Garr to play right field. Do you know how many Braves have hit at least 30 homers and stolen at least 30 in the same season? Three – Hank Aaron in 1963, Dale Murphy twenty years later, and Ron Gant in 1990. AND Ron Gant in 1991. Gant was hardly a perfect player. He was streaky, often disappeared during October, and only on-based .326 as a Brave. But he was still a fine ballplayer and when he was on, one of the most feared bats in the league.

Starting Pitcher – Tom Glavine

I know! A real shocker here when guys like Joe Genewich and Pretzels Getzein are around. But I’ll still go with Glavine here and his 17 years as a Brave where he populates many of the most respected leaderboards for pitchers in franchise history. Of course, there were those five years in New York, but you can’t let that ruin what was a tremendous career with the franchise before it. Two Cy Young awards, four Silver Sluggers, and in 1995 – one of the finest pitched postseason games any of us have ever seen. In fact, in eight World Series starts, Glavine has a 2.16 ERA. Not too shabby.

Relief Pitcher – Gene Garber

Garber pitched for the Braves for parts of ten seasons and was the franchise leader in saves until John Smoltz broke his record. In addition to 141 saves, he had a 3.34 ERA over 856 innings and while his numbers don’t match up with modern power pitchers as far as strikeouts go, he was one of the most effective relievers in baseball for two decades. There was a trio of modern arms that I did consider. Kevin Gryboski has a reputation as a rally killer but too often created them. Jason Grilli had an All-Star quality first season with the Braves, but that was about it. And finally, Mike Gonzalez was fun to watch. He couldn’t stay healthy, though.

Manager – Fredi Gonzalez

Okay, so nobody wept when Gonzalez was fired after a 9-28 start to begin 2016. But he did manage the club to a 434-413 record over the 5+ seasons he was in charge, including one Wild Card Game and a division title. That’s not super impressive, but only four managers won more games with the franchise and the Braves’ average finish in the division of 2.3 during his time is sixth-best in franchise history.

Owner and President – James Gaffney

Do you know how the Braves got their name? It came from Gaffney and no, it wasn’t to celebrate Indian heritage. It was to celebrate ownership’s connections to Tammany Hall and the latter’s tendency to adopt Native American customs. It was that connection as one of Charles Murphy’s most trusted advisers that helped Gaffney move up the ranks in both prestige and finances. He joined John Montgomery Ward when the latter bought the club with Gaffney as the treasurer. Together, they pushed the new team name.

Ward sold his shares to Gaffney shortly after they took over the club in 1911 and Gaffney is often credited with revamping Braves Field. Gaffney would later build the team an even better stadium (originally jokingly called The Wigwam, another play on Tammany Hall). But before the new ballpark, Gaffney remade the current product and hired George Stallings. In 1914, Gaffney got his World Championship. The following season, the new Braves Field was opened. But by January 1916, Gaffney sold his club.

If you think Ted Turner is the most controversial owner the Braves have ever had, you don’t know the name of James Gaffney.

Pinch-Hitter – Tommy Gregg

In 1990, the left-hand-hitting Gregg set a new franchise record with four pinch-hit home runs in 59 PA. Later, Evan Gattis would tie that record and it remains the most in a single season since moving to Atlanta. Butch Nieman holds the overall record with five in 1945. Of course, neither Gregg nor Gattis, were a threat to Matt Stairs‘ career record with 21 pinch-hit homers.

Utility Infielder – Tony Graffanino

Over three seasons, Graffanino hit .225/.299/.357 for the Braves while playing second base, shortstop, and third base. He hit 13 of his career with 58 home runs. Okay, so his time with the Braves really isn’t that amazing. And you could easily argue for Philip Gosselin or even Nick Green. However, I go with Tony here now more because of A.J. Graffanino, his son who was selected with the 232nd overall pick in the eighth round of the draft last week. His father was a tenth-round pick back in 1990.

Best Team By Letter: Team B vs. Team G

Team B has held off all comers – even ones with Bobby Cox at the helm or Freddie Freeman at first. But Team G is a real challenge. From their tremendous outfield to their top-notch starter, they have the goods. Honestly, how fun would it be to see Lew Burdette vs. Tom Glavine? Glavine would have to deal with Jeff Blauser, Wally Berger, Dusty Baker, and Bill Bruton. But Burdette would have to navigate through a lineup Garr, Galarraga, Grissom, and Gant. This one is a tough decision, but I’m going to go with Team G has our new champion.

Agree or disagree? Let me know.

29 Comments

I see the G-men being superior at catcher, 1st, center field and starter. We essentially have a push at 2nd. The B’s win short, 3rd, left and right field, and closer. It is close enough that I expect Fredi Gonzalez to f*ck it up and let the B’s win.

What did I miss re: the Frank Torre reference? Having feigned illness to stay home from school and watch Game 7 in 1957, I was watching when Eddie Matthews stepped on third to force out Jerry Colman to start the celebration among Braves fans.

I’m just teasing with you, Tommy (for a split second, though, I wondered whether dementia was catching up with my memory). Aside from game 1, the 1957 Series was exciting to watch. Game 4 was a classic with the Braves rallying from behind in the 10th on Eddie Mathews’ home run. The whole WS was extraordinarily wonderful, as I lived in a sea of always gloating Yankee fans. Love your historical pieces, which help make WOW the best Braves site anywhere.

I’ve been VERY BUSY the past 2 weeks (too tired at night to post..however I’ve been following/watching the games).

I took my dog to the park earlier this morning and was reflecting on The Braves performance the past 2 weeks (BOTH the 2-4 road trip AND the 5-1 homestand).

I have a lot of really good things to say about The Braves prospects the rest of the season..however, The Nationals acquiring Kelvin Herrera from The Royals..for 3 prospects that DO NOT rank among their best.

What this means is that Washington is going to do what I predicted all along: make GO FOR IT trades (this is just their first bullet…I firmly believe that they will make A BLOCKBUSTER, possibly involving Manny Machado, to shore up their lineup).

The Astros will drive up any bidding to go after Brad Hand (their only weakness is at closer). The Yankees will also drive up bidding to go after a starting pitcher AND Mike Moustakis (he would fit in perfect in their righty dominated lineup…as well as the short fence in right field at Yankee Stadium). The Yankees and Boston could BOTH possibly finish the year with 100 wins (one winning the division..the other hosting the one game Wild Card Playoff Game). You better believe that any ‘bidding’ will be won by EITHER team.

The above reasons…are why I feel that The Braves should just STAND PAT (as I’ve stated all along) come The July Trade Deadline (unless it is to UNLOAD either McCarthy and/or Teheran, in the right deal/deals).

While I feel that this Braves team has proven that they ARE NOT going to drop out of the race….I just feel that sacrificing precious prospects just to chase a one game Wild Card berth (I still feel that Washington will win the division)…is FOOLISH Long Term…ESPECIALLY when The 2018 Free Agent Offseason is where Braves Management can SHORE UP/ADDRESS areas of need WITHOUT trading any of our pitching prospects!

Sure, Gohara and Fried have not exactly ‘set the world on fire’ in 2018 when it comes to their pitching development. However BOTH Folty AND Newcomb have definitely TAKEN that next step in 2018. Both examples…illustrate how tough it is to predict which pitching prospects will ‘take the next step’..and which ones will ‘struggle to’! That’s why I feel that it is IMPERATIVE that The Braves simply KEEP our pitching prospects..and BUILD both our rotation and bullpen with them (with the exception of possibly signing Craig Kimbrel during The 2018 Free Agent Offseason….because a team who wishes to run DEEP in The Playoffs…NEEDS A HAMMER to close out games. I’m simply not sold on Vizcaino being that guy..NOR is AJ Minter ready. Winkler is someone I LOVE coming in the 8th inning and ‘doing his thing’).

If The Braves are going to make The Playoffs in 2018….I feel that it will be behind ‘what we have’! I still see room for possible improvement (a full half season of Soroka AND Acuna, assuming he comes back totally healthy)…possibly Kolby Allard getting promoted (IF AA does the bold thing and trade McCarthy, opening up a spot for Allard. If Allard proves to not be ready, then Annibal Sanchez would still be available to be a 5th starter).

If Soroka shows in the 2nd half that he is ‘the real deal’…then I feel that The Braves can compete with The Nationals WITHOUT having to make any STUPID Trade Deadline Deals that I DO NOT feel will really make a difference for The Braves. I’d rather see the likes of Evan Phillips and Austin Riley promoted…than Moustakis (The Braves would be MUCH BETTER with Riley’s right handed power…than Moustakis’ left handed bat in the lineup) or any other reliever who is liable to flame out/get injured…acquired in a trade.

The next 2 weeks (with the easy schedule and home games) will show if The Braves can pad the win column…because July looks to be stacked with a brutal schedule. Which Braves team do we have here: The one who went 2-4 at San Diego and The Dodgers…OR…The one who went 5-1 against The Mets and Padres at home?

Why would the Yankees trade for Moose when they have to find playing time for Didi, Andujar, Torres and Walker between 3 positions; with Drury, who they reportedly love, at AAA? And before you say to DH, they have four outfielders for 3 spots, and Frazier can’t even stick on the big league roster.

And where on Earth do the Nationals put Manny Machado in their lineup, hypothetically, of course, Paul? Who do you sit, Turner or Rendon?

King…..The Nationals need offense. If Daniel Murphy doesnt start hitting within the next month, The Nationals could very well trade for Machado, moving Turner over to 2nd.

They simply cannot afford to let The Braves linger around (their pitching is superior OVERALL to The Braves. I like Folty, Newcomb and now Soroka…however Teheran and McCarthy are very ‘hittable’, Teheran’s Sunday performance notwithstanding). The longer The Braves stay in this thing, the more confidence/momentum they will build.

Zimmerman and Murphy simply have not been able to stay healthy/be productive in 2018….nor has Harper been anything other than a home run hitter. Harper will not be benched….however, that does not mean that Washington will sit around and ‘wait’ for the others to turn it around. Trea Turner is versatile/can play anywhere (except pitcher and catcher). Soto, Eaton and Harper will play the outfield (with Taylor being the 4th outfielder)….while Rendon plays 3rd, Machado would play short, Turner could be moved over to 2nd…and either Murphy/Zimmerman playing 2nd (possibly platooning them). Difo would be the utility infielder if Machado was acquired.

As far as Moustakis going to NY….many a rookie sensation has fallen as the season wears on. Let’s see how Andujar and Torres are hitting come late July. Also I feel that Walker will probably see more time at 1st base (Bird simply hasnt hit NOR stayed healthy in 2018 so far).

Let’s say that The Braves did what many like you CRAVE LIKE CRACK for: trade for Moustakis. That would give The Braves 4 out of 5 left handed hitters from the #3-#7 spots of the order (#3 Freddie, #4 Markakis, #5 Moustakis….then a righty in Flowers/Suzuki at #6, then another lefty in Inciarte at #7. A tough lefty like Dooittle, Chapman, Hand, etc….would have the luxury of facing three lefty hitters in a row while facing the middle of our order!).

While I would not be in favor of The Braves trading for Josh Donaldson either…if I ‘absolutely’ had to pick one to go after via trade..I’d rather it be Donaldson…because of the balance that his power bat would provide in the middle of The Braves batting order. Moustakis absolutely SUCKS against lefty pitching.

Bottom line..I’d rather EITHER see Carmago given the 3rd base job for the rest of The 2018 season (I KNOW that he is not the long term answer..that he is better suited to be our super utility option…however he is most definitely ‘serviceable’)…OR Austin Riley given a chance to play IF he can come back relatively soon from his injury in AAA and produce some more body of AAA work before The July Trade Deadline.

By the way, Carmago has a Grand Slam with a total of 5 RBIs so far tonight in Toronto, lol!

Great win by The Braves last night! Carmago going 4-5 was awesome (remember, Carmago was hurt in Spring Training…..part of his slow start was attributed to him needing to get his ‘Spring Training in’ after The 2018 Season began). I feel that Carmago’s defense plays really well with our pitching staff…and that any offense provides is a bonus (he’s hit some key homers so far the past month or so).

I know that many of you will ‘roll your eyes’ when I say this..but I feel that today’s game against Toronto, should be managed like it’s ‘Game 7 of The World Series’. A game won today..is a game that may not be ‘a must win’ in September! Given that Vizcaino, Minter, Winkler and Carle have not pitched since Sunday…and that The Braves will have another off day on Thursday…why not have Annibal Sanchez on a somewhat ‘short leash’ today? Winning today’s game…would mean that worst case scenario….The Braves lead will be 3 games when we open a 3 game series Friday Night against a very bad Orioles team (who plays Washington the next 2 days).

The next 7 games (today against Toronto…off day Thursday…3 games at home against Baltimore…3 games at home against The Reds….followed by another off day next Thursday before we head to St. Louis for 3 games to start a road trip) will provide The Braves an opportunity to establish a little separation from both Washington AND Philly before the schedule starts to get tougher again.

While The Braves have played the good teams tough….at times, we’ve struggled to beat up on the bad teams. We’ve gone 4-1 in the past 5 games (3-1 against The Padres, 1-0 against Toronto)….going AT LEAST 5-2 (I feel that we should, AT LEAST go 6-1 in these next 7 games) would, at worst, give The Braves a 9-3 record in this 12 game stretch against ‘the soft part’ of The Schedule.

Todays game was fun. Close. Almost. Happ pitched a hell of a game.

As far as trades go.

If Gohara and Touki can keep developing and by the end of the year can come in a pitch multipule innings–that would be the biggest ‘trade’ type pickup possible.

If the braves make the postseason.

Top 3 starters are Newk-Folty-Soroka

Bringing in Touki or Gohara to pitch 2 plus innings of shutdown ball–will be the difference maker. IMHO

Our pen would become an actual weapon.

I know its a reach–not a hugh reach.

Gohara to rebound is not that impossible.
Touki is turning the corner.

Besides injuries or a name at 3rd–what do the braves really need?

Albies, Ender, and Swanson to get on base. (No 1)
Carmago with good d can pass at 3rd.
The pen with two hugh addition plus one other guy from AAA (Phillps or ….) would really change the landscape for this team. A shut down pen with this type starters…..with the defense and the speed and the agressive base running–I believe the Braves could make a run.

As Paul states: without sending off prospects.
Besides 3rd–no team is trading the braves anything like what they have with Gohara and Touki.

This is fun.

If the Braves played it that way with the pen, I’d be cool with it. Gohara, assuming he can get it together, plus Touki, would be formidable. As great as it’d be to see an upgrade to the pen, given the funds, and the youth on hand, it’s not imperative.

They have, have, have to get more production from 3B, though. Camargo’s offensive output just won’t cut it there when you compare it to what a lot of other clubs get from their 3B. I wouldn’t want to see them gut the farm, but they should absolutely deal a quality prospect, if the deal is right. Otherwise, they head into the playoffs with Ender hitting below average, Camargo hitting below average, and the pitcher’s spot at the bottom of the order. You’re almost giving away every third inning that way.

Andy….thanks for agreeing with the NO TRADING PROSPECTS post! I really would like to see The Braves go with our young guys this year!

If we come up short in 2018..so be it! Even if we were to ‘squeeze into’ The 2018 Playoffs…we ARE NOT going to be serious World Series contenders in 2018!

What I’m concerned about more..is seeing our young guys who will be with The Braves LONG TERM…get sufficient playing time in 2018…so they will be better prepared to become SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTORS in 2019!

The development of our young players in 2018 (even if The Braves come up short in making The Playoffs in 2018)…COMBINED with the moves that AA will be making during The 2018 Free Agent Offseason (when he’ll have HELLA PAYROLL FLEXIBILITY with all the DEAD MONEY coming off the books at season’s end)….will set The Braves up to be SERIOUS World Series contenders…FOR YEARS TO COME!

It isnt that I feel that all of our top 15 prospects will become ‘All-Stars’…it’s that I simply have NO IDEA (when all is done and settled) which ones will pan out..and which ones wont (before the season started…most of us thought that Luis Gohara was going to lead our staff in wins in 2018…while most of us ‘hoped’ that Folty and Newcomb would exhibit growth. However, Gohara has struggled..while Folty and Newcomb have lead our staff so far in 2018).

Injuries, variance, failure to adjust, surprising development from nowhere (like Bruce Zimmerman leading A ball in strikeouts) all make predicting which prospects will pan out somewhat of a crapshot! That’s why it’s ESSENTIAL to hoard as many of them as you can.

I’ve stated all along, the 2nd half of the season..should see a healthy Mike Soroka AND Ronald Acuna producing (in essence, it’s like trading for a #3 starter and a #2 right handed hitter in this lineup). A number of prospects in AAA and AA could be called up (like Austin Riley, Evan Phillips…even Kyle Wright, who I feel could be used as s middle reliever in 2018 at The MLB level..before starting The 2019 Season in AAA as a Starting Pitcher, which is where his long term future is) to shore up improving The Braves Roster.

I’m VERY disappointed, with how Brian Snitker managed from the 7th inning on today. While Sanchez struggled during his 5 innings today….it allowed (in theory at least) for Snitker to go with Carle in the 6th inning, Minter in the 7th, Winkler in the 8th (and possibly Vizcaino in the 9th IF The Braves were to muster a comeback).

Instead, Snitker trotted out Carle for a 2nd inning of work in the bottom of the 7th inning. The leadoff double that Carle gave up, came around to score when Snitker finally brought in Minter (who gave up a very unlucky single to Solarte on a swing of a pitch a foot outside the strike zone to the 1st hitter he faced with 2 outs).

The move to make..is to bring in Minter with a clean inning to work with. The score was 4-2 going into the bottom of the 7th (giving The Braves 2 innings to score 2 runs…which given how our offense has been scoring runs late, not a huge hurdle). However that 3rd run, which was charged to Carle…proved to be the difference maker (bringing in Luke Jackson in the 8th, even though he ended up pitching a scoreless inning, basically was Snitker ‘waving the flag’ today).

The Braves scoring 2 runs in the top of the 9th inning….only highlights Snitker’s TERRIBLE bullpen management even more! Let me repeat this: Vizcaino, Winkler, Minter AND Carle all DID NOT pitch yesterday….AND The Braves have an off day tomorrow! WHY NOT potentially give all 4 of them an inning of work today (Vizcaino only would pitch IF The Braves were to come back..which they would have IF they had not given up that run in the bottom of the 7th inning)?

Sure, Snitker was probably thinking about what he would have left in the bullpen IF the game were to go extra innings. However, I feel that you FIRST worry about trying to tie the game…then worry about extra innings IF you get there!

Brian Snitker IS NOT the right guy to manage this team long term. His bullpen management AND lineup construction (Ender Inciarte SHOULD NOT be hitting 6th or 7th in this lineup…..he should be hitting 8th. Johan Carmago is LIGHT YEARS a better hitter than Inciarte…ESPECIALLY when a left handed pitcher is on the mound. Inciarte hitting 6th with Happ on the mound today….unreal, lol!).

When Acuna comes back….I suspect that Ryan Flaherty will be released (Culberson has pretty much played his way onto the roster for the rest of 2018…not only can he play more infield positions than Flaherty, he can play the outfield as well. Also, he seems to have found his stroke against left handed pitching, which The Braves lineup really is in need of). With that said….I hope that Snitker has the courage/stones to sit Inciarte down and have a tough conversation that revolves around Inciarte accepting what would be right for The Braves Lineup for the rest of 2018: hitting in the 8th hole of the lineup.

1. Ozzie Albies…2nd
2. Ronald Acuna…LF
3. Freddie Freeman…1st
4. Flowers/Suzuki…C
5. Nick Markakis….RF
6. Dansby Swanson…SS
7. Johan Carmago….3rd
8. Ender Inciarte…CF

I know, Markakis wants to hit cleanup. However, he has started to show signs of ‘cooling off’. Flowers and Suzuki are both simply hitting…..with consistent power. I’m SICK AND TIRED of seeing lefties brought in to face BOTH Freeman and Markakis back-to-back! Having a right handed bat (either Flowers or Suzuki) makes it tougher on a lefty reliever. Having Inciarte hit 6th…means that a lefty (whether a starter or reliever) would have the luxury of facing 3 lefty hitters out of 4 (Inciarte simply SUCKS against lefty pitchers).

Yet many of you want to see Moustakis added to this lineup (who also SUCKS against lefty pitchers)? I wish that many of you ‘so-called’ Braves fans would really THINK ABOUT what kind of sense some of these ‘so-called moves’ really make! It’s like once some of you get something in your mind…NO AMOUNT of logic/facts/common sense will ever push you off this INSANE FIXATION!

At the beginning of this season..I had what I thought were pretty ‘solid ideas’ of who I feel will be in The Braves Rotation come 2020 and beyond (I had NEITHER Folty or Newcomb in The 2020 hypothetical rotation).

I did say before the season started…that if both showed that they could make the necessary adjustments that I would be more than willing to revise my position. I’ve been watching MLB long enough to see MANY a pitcher with Folty and Newcomb’s stuff NEVER ‘turn the corner’. However, it appears that BOTH have ‘turned the corner’ with their performances so far in the 1st half of The 2018 Season. If both continue pitching this way for the rest of this season…..both will have earned the top 2 spots of The 2019 Opening Day Rotation (along with Mike Soroka..who I feel will cement that spot during the 2nd half of The 2018 Season).

That would leave 2 spots to fill out our Starting 5 for 2019. Is Julio Teheran someone The Braves want as their 4th starter in 2019 (he’s been passed by Folty, Newcomb and by the end of 2018, I feel, Mike Soroka)? Brandon McCarthy should be traded (maybe even released IF there are no takers for him by The July Trade Deadline)..which will open a spot for Kolby Allard in the rotation.

I know, The Braves are in contention for a possible playoff spot right now. However, The Braves would really benefit in 2019…..IF Kolby Allard were to show in the 2nd half of The 2018 Season that he is MLB material as a Starting Pitcher! If Luis Gohara were to put together a run of 6-7 quality starts in AAA….he should be given an opportunity to start games in Atlanta (if AA were to keep BOTH Teheran and McCarthy after The July Trade Deadline…..that would pretty much kill any opportunities for Allard and Gohara to show that they are worthy contenders to open The 2019 Season in The Starting Rotation).

I get it, many Braves fans have been ‘wrapped up/seduced’ by The Braves start this year. They feel that a playoff spot in 2018 should be the main goal…that Braves Management should go ‘all out/do whatever it takes’ to secure a playoff spot. The past 4 years have SUCKED at The MLB Level…and a playoff spot right now appears to be ‘within their grasp’ (I mean, why wait another year..for something that ‘seems’ so close to reality in 2018?)!

However, that is so SHORT SIGHTED. While The Braves start to The 2018 Season has been a pleasant surprise….in reality, this team has a number of holes that need to be addressed! However, the solutions are within grasp (1. giving a number of these young guys playing time…2. using freed up payroll dollars to go after a couple of key Free Agents during The 2018 Free Agent Offseason).

If Braves Management resists the temptation of making ‘a big July Trade Deadline move’ (which it looks like will be the case, after listening to AA’s interview during The 3rd inning of The Braves-Blue Jays game on Facebook today)…then 2019 is lining up to be the year where The Braves START DOMINATING The National League (Houston….and Boston/The Yankees appear set to DOMINATE The American League..for years to come…as well).

Just be patient Braves fans! I am SO RIGHT when it comes to this!

Handedness doesn’t always matter, and there are plenty of stats to prove that…

.241AVG 3HR 14RBI .279OBP
.228AVG 2HR 12RBI .268OBP

The first set of stats is Camargo, with the RH “advantage” versus LHP. The second set of stats is Moustakas, with the “disadvantage” of being LH, versus LHP. There’s a big difference versus RHP though, when you compare the two though, as you might imagine.

The LH vs. RH argument really only matters if all things are equal, to me. I mean if Machado and Moose cost the same salary-wise, and the prospect costs to get them were comparable… sure, you’d want to look for the RH fit in that scenario.

Doing nothing, versus adding a better hitter than what they have though, regardless of handedness, is just not something you’ll ever sell me on. Superior talent will always net you more wins.

One other note- 5 teams have won the World Series as a WC, with the Marlins doing it twice. You never know what will happen. It’s why people gamble when most times the odds are against them.

King….this Braves team has the makings of making a sustained run…in 2018 with the bunch we have right now! Pitching is KING come playoff time! If Newcomb and Folty are ‘the real deals’….we have a LEGIT SHOT at advancing deep.

What hurts…is the lack of experience come playoff time with our bullpen. Vizcaino doesnt give me the kind of vibe that one wants from a playoff closer! Getting a Brad Hand..would clearly cost A FORTUNE in prospect capital at The July Trade Deadline (that’s why I feel that The Braves are better off waiting until The 2018 Free Agent Offseason to address the need for a top quality closer like Craig Kimbrel….who will only cost MONEY, as well as a 3rd round pick in The 2019 June Draft).

Anyone else left on The Trade Market….I’d rather pass on and look from within our system for improvements.

Unless Toronto is willing to come down SIGNIFICANTLY lower on their expectations of trade compensation for Donaldson…I’d rather see The Braves give Austin Riley a chance to hit cleanup for The Braves the last 2 months of The 2018 Season (that’s right, split up Freeman and Markakis. If Acuna can hit #2 this early in his career…why cant Riley hit #4 as well? The Braves ABSOLUTELY need a right handed power bat to slot between Freddie and Markakis! No need to sacrifice our future…when the answer is in AAA).

Carmago would be our top utility player…..someone available to pinch hit (he’s a switch hitter….enter late in the game as a defensive replacement).

When Acuna comes back, I’d like to see Carmago inserted in the leadoff spot of the order (he draws walks, gets on base, has a little pop in his bat)….while Acuna hits #2. Imagine a lineup of the following:

1. Carmago….3rd
2. Acuna……LF
3. Freeman…1st
4. Flowers/Suzuki…C
5. Markakis….RF
6. Albies…2nd
7. Swanson…SS
8. Inciarte…CF

Albies’ power would play better with runners on base (like having Freeman, Flowers/Suzuki and Markakis getting on in front of him)! Inciarte’s ego may take a huge blow..however hitting 8th is where he belongs on this team! Dude’s the worst hitter among The Starting 8!

Washington losing to The Orioles tonight…makes The Braves lead going into Friday night’s game with The Orioles, at worst, a 3 game lead…while during the next 10 days…The Phils and Nationals play each other a total of 7 times! If The Braves can SERIOUSLY BEAT UP/PAD THE WIN COLUMN during the next 6 games against Baltimore and Cincy (at home)…..I can only imagine what our lead will end up being if Philly-Washington play each other to a 3-4 record. Now if Philly ends up taking 5 or 6 of those games against The Nationals……while we take 5 or all 6 of those games against The Reds and Orioles……I’d be willing to bet that some PANICKING will be going on in The Washington Front Office…and that a BIG TIME TRADE falls into place BEFORE The All-Star Break!

The Nationals and Phillies play 7 of their next 10 games against each other. Unless they end up with a 3-4/4-3 record against each other…..one of them may end up falling significantly behind The Braves…..IF The Braves TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS against The Orioles AND The Reds during the next 6 games at home!

The Braves SHOULD sweep both of these teams…however I can live with a 5-1 showing (the upcoming 10 game road trip is HELLA BRUTAL….we have 3 games in St. Louis….3 games in New York against The Yankees….then 4 games in Milwaukee. 10 straight with no off days against GOOD TEAMS! If we go 5-5 in those games…I would not be too disappointed. HOWEVER it is ESSENTIAL that we TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS during these next 6 games at home).

With Soroka on The Disabled List now….The Braves are going to need Teheran and McCarthy to STEP UP and give some good performances. For whatever reason, they arent interested in giving Kolby Allard a shot at starting in Atlanta right now. Wisler is starting tonight in Gwinnett…so I’m not sure who they will turn to (perhaps Max Fried) when Soroka’s turn comes up next week.

I really do not want to see AA make a move for a starting pitcher UNLESS it is someone like deGroom (who is under control until 2020). The price to get him would be high….however he would not be a rental PLUS his salaries for the next few years arent budget busting.

So unless a deGroom becomes available..I’d rather see The Braves give Kolby Allard and Max Fried opportunities to start IF Soroka and Folty need more time to get healthy.

While it’s been nice that The Braves have been in 1st place for the majority of the 1st half of The 2018 Season….health/pitching will determine how deep into the season we stay competitive!

What would help…would be for Inciarte to start hitting/be productive at the top of the order (if Snitker insists on keeping him up there)…as well as for Albies and Acuna (once he comes back in a few days…assuming there are no set backs in his rehab starts in AAA) to get hot again. Freddie Freeman needs runners on base for him to be max productive.

Between Ron Washington STUPIDLY sending Freddie Freeman to get EASILY thrown out for the 1st out in the bottom of the 9th inning….to Brian Snitker having a CRACK LIKE ADDITION to leaving Sam Freeman to CONSTANTLY getting raked by right handed hitters…..to Peter Moylan still being on The Braves Roster…..it is simply AMAZING that The Braves are still in 1st place in The NL East, lol!

Once Washington rights their shit…they could very well go on one of those 2nd half surges that The Braves used to routinely go on in the 90’s.

The Braves should have won this game in the 9th inning today. Instead….we lose in the 15th inning.

One bright spot…Jesse Biddle has pretty much NAILED DOWN the long relief/can pitch 3-4 innings in extra innings role, lol!

Moylan has a guaranteed MLB contract…so I’m sure that he will not accept a demotion to AAA. However, Braves Management should just eat the $500k that is remaining on his contract…and limit Sam Freeman to facing lefty hitters.

Hopefully AA will decide to let Snitker go at the end of this season. I’m sick and tired of his TERRIBLE lineup construction/TERRIBLE bullpen usage.

By the way, if Vizcaino is hurt…why not say something? From making a starting pitcher with an ERA over 7 (and with 9 losses already) look like Cy Freaking Young…to not being able to score ANY RUNS in extra innings off 3 CAST OFF relievers…..makes it hella hard for me to believe that this team is going to be able to make The Playoffs in 2018.

However, I firmly believe that The Braves future is HELLA BRIGHT….1. our young talent is IMMENSE….2. The payroll has HELLA FLEXIBILITY when it comes to having their pick of the litter via The 2018 Free Agent Offseason…3. AA should be able to hire a manager who is more in line with how to construct a lineup/manage a bullpen.

There’s no way Braves will let go Snitker after this season (assuming there will be no crash landing in the summer). They should fire him, but they won’t. It would be bad publicity firing such successfull manager.

TRad….I can pretty much assure you that The Braves will be falling back down to Earth this summer. The sinking has already started.

If Cincy comes in and takes AT LEAST 2 of 3 from us (along with Baltimore finishing the sweep today)…then THE BRUTAL 10 game road trip that starts Friday in St. Louis (3 there, 3 at Yankee Stadium, 4 in Milwaukee) will leave The Braves ON FUMES as The All-Star Break approaches.

Injuries, along with being exposed for our lack of depth/lack of POWER (especially from the right side of the plate)…shows that we simply are not ready for Prime Time (yet). Phillies’ Rotation is built (1-5) to not only end any prolonged losing streaks…but also potentially go on a long winning streak IF they get hot. Washington IS NOT done dealing…once Rizzo makes another couple of trades….AS WELL as Strasberg gets back AND Harper finally starts to heat up at the plate….BOTH Philly and Washington will leave our Braves in the dust/rear view mirror!

This is not our year. However, it’s ok. The 2nd half of the year will be all about giving Soroka, Fried, Allard, Gohara (perhaps even Lucas Sims) starts in the rotation…to showcase whether they should be considered for spots come 2019 (and join the locks that are Folty and Newcomb). I’m DONE with Teheran and McCarthy. If AA cannot find a taker for McCarthy..he should just outright release him. Teheran simply is not a good fit for The Braves (especially at Sun Trust). He needs to be traded (some team will pick him up). I could care less about what we get in return…AS LONG as the other team takes on his relatively team friendly contract…AND as long as it opens up a spot in the rotation for Kolby Allard (who I really want to see given an opportunity THIS YEAR to show what he can do at The MLB Level).

I’m just glad that this team started to fade RIGHT NOW..as opposed to fading in September. The Braves NEED to give our young players AS MUCH PLAYING TIME as possible….so we can evaluate them better and make well informed decisions this upcoming offseason when it comes to the future of The Braves.

Snitker is gone as manager of The Braves after The 2018 Season. I’d be willing to bet on it.

Fire a manager who your star player actively campaigned to keep, before said manager ever lead the team to this surprising first place run? I struggle to wrap my head around that. No manager’s perfect, and even the great ones flub up. There was a section of fans that wanted to run Bobby Cox out of town on the rails for a long time during the fourteen straight, but that worked out pretty well.

Tactically, could the Braves do better? Sure, I’ll give you that. Overall can they? I don’t know, maybe- but they could also do a lot worse. A guy can be an expert on the X’s and O’s of baseball, but if he can’t lead men, he’s worthless as a head man.

King….the ‘leading men’ analogy is pretty OVERRATED…when we’re on THE VERGE of getting swept AT HOME against another BAD TEAM (The Giants came in and SWEPT The Braves at home in early May).

If we’re not careful, The Reds may very well come to town with their own brooms.

The Braves are in the midst of dealing with some important injuries that have exposed our lack of depth (whether it is starting pitching, bullpen and bench). With that said, while a manager cannot be expected to ‘pull rabbits out of the hat’ and create wins out of thin air…..I can say with all CERTAINTY that a manager can FLUB his way to managing a team that LOSES winnable games!

The Braves are losing winnable games! I’ve seen LITTLE of ‘The Leader of Men’ come out the past three games! Sure, The Braves have mounted several late inning comebacks that have fallen short. However, waiting 7 or 8 innings to mount an attack against BAD TEAMS….in addition to LAYING DOWN for 6 innings in extra innings Friday Night against the back end of a BAD BULLPEN….DOES NOT come even close to showing a team that is ‘responding’ to ‘Their Leader’.

The Braves should have won WAY MORE than 1 World Series under Bobby Cox! Dude was GIFTED a starting rotation that guaranteed a ticket to the post season virtually every year! In the mid-90’s The Braves had an opportunity to fire Bobby Cox after he was charged with BEATING HIS WIFE…however (of course), The “Good Old Boy Network’ (you know, the one that protects prominent White Men who know how to back slap/grease the elbows/make feel really comfortable around them/etc) made sure that The Criminal Justice System ‘hushed hushed’/quietly and quickly dealt with what happened.

Dude BEAT HIS WIFE (the injuries were reported to be serious..serious enough for 911 to be called, his wife to be taken to the hospital, and Cox arrested). By the way, how long was he suspended for? ZERO GAMES ( https://www.fangraphs.com/tht/mlb-turned-a-blind-eye-to-bobby-coxs-domestic-abuse/)!

Great leader of men, right? Beats his wife, ONLY gets 1 World Series DESPITE having A PLETHORA of GREAT TALENT on The Braves Roster year in and year out!

While Brian Snitker may not beat his wife….he’s a Bobby Cox clone (players love him….which I really HATE hearing. You’re not supposed to ‘love’ your boss so freaking much, lol). A good boss, is someone who motivates his players, YET puts them in position to succeed (even if they may not be able to see it themselves). One DIRECT positive of the probability of The Braves ‘sinking’ during The 2nd Half of The Season…would be that it would SURELY result in the replacement of Snitker as Manager.

I found it ironic, yet not surprising, how many so-called Braves fans RIPPED Hector Oliveira after he was arrested for beating up his girlfriend..YET these same ‘Braves fans’ ADORED/LOVED/WORSHIPPED Bobby Cox! I’m not condoning domestic violence against ANY FEMALE….but I feel that it is EVEN WORSE for a man to BEAT UP his wife/the mother of his children (again, not condoning DV against ANY FEMALE…but when it happens against one’s girlfriend/someone one isnt in a serious relationship with…it can be attributed to dude having anger issues that needs to be BOTH dealt with and punished for).

HOWEVER, when you beat your wife/the mother of your kids….that’s EVEN MORE PATHETIC/Troubling! What kind of man does that? Better yet..what kind of MEN totally IGNORES that (and instead continue to view Cox as being someone who is deserving of being cheered/lauded)?

Fans are really a piece of work. The same fans who BITCH about Black Athletes REFUSING to stand for the playing of The National Anthem (or refusing to visit Trump at The White House when their teams wins A National Championship)….are THE SAME FANS (most of them White Southern Fans) who are HELLA PROUD to cheer/call Bobby Cox ‘one of their own’.

Wife beater? Cheer him on. Taking a stand against police brutality? Cancel season tickets/quit watching the sport/pressure advertisers to drop their tv spots IF he isnt cut/released! Unreal, lol! Then again, when 90% of The Earth is literally STUCK ON STUPID when it comes to believing in whatever MADE UP GOD that happens to resonate with them (power in numbers, especially those in power, allow Masses of MORONS who are steadfast in their belief in something that DOES NOT EXIST…to get away with their STUPIDITY)…..very little surprises me anymore when it comes to how GULLIBLE/STUPID/Easy to being PREYED UPON/Susceptible to being sold the latest ‘Snake Oil/Latest cure for whatever BS ailment it promises to cure’ (I could go ON AND ON about how STUPID people are)!

Bottom line, I want to see The Braves run like a team that wants to put itself in a position to SERIOUSLY COMPETE for a World Series YEAR AFTER YEAR…for MANY YEARS TO COME! 2018 is not that year!

Enjoy 1st place while you guys can! Once we lose our grip on 1st place (pretty soon, I assure you)…..2019 will be the next time we sniff 1st place. However, the good news is…that once we get into 1st place in 2019, we’ll be MUCH BETTER POSITIONED (assuming AA does his freaking job in during The 2018 Free Agent Offseason) to hold onto it!

You and I disagree on a lot of things, Paul. This is a baseball site though, and half of your rant there has nothing to do with baseball- a portion of it just being personal attacks on people’s beliefs. So I’m just going to leave it here.

King…..So you disagree with the fact that Bobby Cox beat his wife almost as bad as OJ regularly beat Nicole? That he basically got away with it with nary a sanction from MLB or The Braves?

Bobby Cox, with the kind of talent that most teams DREAM of having on a regular basis, only won 1 World Series as manager of The Braves. After The 2000 Season, The Braves basically became ‘a one and done team’ (one series and done come playoff time).

Do you know why most children LOVE their grandparents? Because most grandparents DO NOT disciple their grandchildren (even grandparents who tended to be more harsh on their own children when they were raising them). ..INSTEAD spoiling them/letting them get away with stuff!

Bobby Cox is ‘beloved’ by his players…because he stayed loyal to them (I’ll never forget how FRUSTRATED it was to see Cox TROT OUT Greg ‘the best I can do is draw a walk’ Norton TIME AND TIME AGAIN during The 2009 Season as ‘the #1 pinch hitting option off the bench’)! Norton SUCKED….yet Cox used him as the 1st option off the bench TIME AND TIME AGAIN!

As a result of Cox keeping Norton on The Braves Roster for most of The 2009 Season, Norton was able to get his full 10 year pension (welfare for another White Guy! Free benefits to someone UNABLE to ‘pull themselves up by their own bootstraps’..just because they have a SOB STORY that resonated with WEAKMINDED religious White People).

However, as a Braves fan who tuned in with the hopes of seeing The Braves put forth the best product they can to win each night…I felt HELLA CHEATED! Norton SHOULD NOT have been on The Braves Roster after it became apparent in late May that Norton simply ‘didnt have anything left’! However, Cox felt that it was more important to ‘stay loyal to the player’…than to put The Braves in the best position they could to win games in 2009.

Or what about in 2008, when Cox kept trotting out Kelly Johnson and Jeff Franceour…DESPITE both STINKING UP THE PLACE! Martin Prado sat on the bench for most of the year…DESPITE being the obvious more productive replacement.

Year after year, Cox stayed loyal to players who simply HURT The Braves chances to win/compete for a World Series.

As a LONG TIME Braves fan since 1982….I want to see The Braves position themselves to be a winner LONG TERM. Having Brian Snitker (and his TERRIBLE lineup construction AND bullpen management) will not help position The Braves to maximize the talent that has been accumulated.

King…BTW, as someone who believes in science, the fossil record, evolution, the big bang, carbon dating, the story that the rocks from The Grand Canyon tells about over 400 million years of history on Earth, images from The Hubble Telescope, DNA, (you know, stuff called FACTS)…..I am HELLA OFFENDED that 90% of The Planet has A CRACK LIKE NEED to NOT ONLY ‘believe in fairy tales’…BUT ALSO use The Legislative Process to EITHER impose those ‘fairy tale beliefs’ onto nonbelievers OR punish nonbelievers!

That..OFFENDS me! 500 years from now, when our descendents are doing amazing space travel that we can only ‘imagine/fathom’ right now…..(500 years ago, humans were barely getting a grasp on navigating WOOD SHIPS, lol…just imagine how far technology is going to take us in the next 500 years)….I bet you that NONE OF THEM will be ‘praying’ to ‘Jesus, Allah, Jehovah, etc’, lol.

Just imagine what deep space/traveling the cosmos will be like 500 years from now! Prayer/believing in A MADE UP GOD…WILL NOT help you in space, lol. Knowing science/technology/information/etc….that is what will help you survive/navigate outer space…NOT praying to some MADE UP GOD to ‘help a MOFO out’, lol!

I know that I will be LONG GONE when this time comes…however I can only imagine what it would be like…to NOT HAVE to deal with WEAKMINDED/VALIDATION SEEKING people who CRAVE LIKE CRACK the need to feel important about themselves (which is what religion is all about: The need to feel important/have a purpose in life/and get FREE CRAP when you die and go to your MADE UP HEAVEN, lol).

I’m sick and tired of hearing Conservatives COMPLAIN about Black Athletes who protest The National Anthem (because most White Athletes are either TOO CHICKEN or TOO BRAINWASHED to stand side by side with their fellow Black Athletes, who are SICK AND TIRED of seeing UNARMED Blacks MURDERED by White Cops who have a CRACK LIKE ADDITION to HUNTING Blacks)…YET these same Conservatives CRAVE LIKE CRACK hearing Kurt Warner or Ray Lewis ‘give thanks to their MADE UP GOD/JESUS’ for them scoring a touchdown/winning a game.

If people like you dont want politics to interfere with your sports viewing pleasure…then how about agreeing to seeing religion/religious references ALSO ELIMINATED from MY SPORTS VIEWING PLEASURE? I’d agree to that! No more protests during sports….in exchange for not having to see any more religious garbage while I’m watching sports! That’s a fair trade!

And I’m sick and tired with RADICAL LEFTISTS using sport as a medium to advance their mornic ideas. They insult intelligence of all thinking people.

Are Lentz’s political rants allowed on this site? If so, I’m out of here. If not, do we have some doctor on the plane to cure this patient?

Is still some admin here to decide on this matter?

Have to agree with TRad and King. I thought Lentz was someone who just like to hear himself talk since he only has one line of schtick and never stays on topic. But it has become obvious that he is in some need of medication and/or psychiatric help. These last two rants are way over the top and make the site near unreadable. My normal reaction is to stop commenting as soon as Paul starts, but I may stop commenting/reading completely because of offensive and unintelligent rants like the last two.

Even if The Braves are able to come back from a 4-1 5th inning deficit against Baltimore today…The Braves have some major issues for the rest of The 2018 Season.

While Carmago and Gohara getting hurt in Spring Training left The Braves a little short handed going into The 2018 Season (along with Acuna being kept in AAA for ‘service time manipulations’)…The Braves good start during the 1st 2 months of The 2018 Season were due to the following:

1. Good health. The Braves starting rotation was pretty much Teheran, Folty, Newcomb and McCarthy (and Sanchez, Wisler and Soroka..who all took turns being the 5th starter). While the last 2 spots of the bullpen had a ‘yo-yo shuttle’ between Atlanta and AAA since Opening Day….the bullpen has been pretty healthy.

Even though Tyler Flowers was hurt in his 1st at-bat of the season…Kurt Suzuki played very well in his absence. Ryan Flaherty and Preston Tucker played OUT OF THEIR MINDS during the month of April….contributing to The Braves surprising start. However Nick Markakis’ turning in a MVP-like first two months of the season played A HUGE ROLE in our offense putting up video game like numbers (The Braves led The NL in runs score for a big chunk of the 1st 2 months of the season).

However, injuries..along with some players ‘coming back down to Earth’…have positioned The Braves to be faced with a HARSH REALITY CHECK: 2018 is still a rebuilding year.

Washington and Philly will both finish ahead of The Braves. Both of them will make SIGNIFICANT TRADES by The July Trade Deadline. Both of them have PLENTY OF ROOM to add SIGNIFICANT CHUNKS to their 2018 Payroll.

Let’s be real about what The Braves have right now offensively:

1. Inciarte…CF. He is probably our ‘best’ leadoff option right now. However he draws VERY few walks..is basically a singles hitter.

2. Albies…2nd. Until he learns to draw a few walks AND quit swinging at bad 1st pitches…he’ll struggle to post an average over .250.

3. Freddie…1st. No criticisms here. MVP of The Braves (and possibly The NL).

4. Markakis….RF. He’s starting to show signs of coming back down to earth. Still provides very little power for a cleanup hitter.

5. Flowers/Suzuki…C. I am still very high on both of them. In fact, I hope that AA is able to sign BOTH to a 2-3 year type extensions after The Season ends. Both are better, when not being counted on to catch over 100 games a season.

6. Culberson…LF. (Acuna, when he comes back). While Culberson has provided some key hits during the past month, he’s simply not an every day player. The Braves lack position player depth to withstand injuries like what happened to Acuna.

7. Dansby Swanson…SS. While his defense has been very good…he’s been very disappointing with the bat. The past 2 seasons….shows that Swanson can be a good player to have at short, IF he isnt counted on to provide offense. He simply cannot hit good off speed pitches NOR can he turn on a good fastball.

8. Carmago…3rd. Like Culberson, he’s provided some key hits in the past month. However, if Dansby is going to be in the lineup at short because he provides really good defense…it is ESSENTIAL that a position like 3rd is manned by someone who can hit a lot of homers (which Carmago cannot). Carmago is better suited to be a very versatile utility player.

Other than whichever one of Flowers/Suzuki isnt starting..our bench is a joke. Flaherty and Tucker (who was finally sent down today) were non-factors since late April. AA is going to have to address this during the upcoming offseason.

Long term….the only ‘locks’ I see when it comes to our current starting 8…are Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna…with Dansby Swanson and Ender Inciarte being given ‘another year’ to show improvement offensively while BOTH continues to provide great defense….as well as the platoon of Flowers/Suzuki (provided AA can re-sign both AND both stay healthy/productive).

That would leave only 2 ‘holes’ going into The 2018 Offseason: 3rd and Right Field. If we’re going to keep two defensive minded players like Inciarte and Swanson…it is ESSENTIAL that AA finds players (whether Austin Riley is the answer at 3rd…or AA turns to The 2018 Free Agent Offseason to fill those positions) who can hit with power/drive in runs/especially from the right side of the plate. In addition, the bench has to be strengthened.

With Teheran’s BOMB of a performance on the mound today against Baltimore (7 runs in 4 2/3rds innings), I’m officially DONE with him. He needs to go ASAP. He simply cannot induce enough swing and miss..to survive on days where he doesnt have ‘his best stuff’. Brandon McCarthy pitching tomorrow..could very well give Baltimore a sweep (worst team in MLB, sweeping The Braves at home…YET many of you GENUINELY feel that Mike Moustakis is ‘the answer’, lol. UNREAL).

Folty (if his 10 day DL stint turns out to only be a blip in an otherwise ‘turning the corner season) and Newcomb appear to have solved The Braves ‘top of the rotation’ issues. However, Soroka is having shoulder issues (asking a little too much to expect him to fill the #3 slot in The Rotation for 2018)….Teheran and McCarthy are simply GARBAGE!

I hate to say this…but the 2nd half of the season should be used to evaluate Max Fried, Kolby Allard, Luis Gohara…perhaps even give Lucas Sims a few starts….as starting pitchers for 2019. Philly and Washington’s rotations (1-5) are simply better than The Braves.

If The Braves are still in 1st place by the end of the upcoming 10 game road trip that sees The Braves face St. Louis, The Yankees and Milwaukee (heck, we may be out of 1st BEFORE the road trip even begins, if we dont start winning some games against The Orioles tomorrow and Cincy the next three games at home)…I’ll be HELLA SHOCKED!

These next 14 games could very well see THE END of The Braves being playoff contenders for 2018 (which is OK, lol. I, for one, have always insisted that this team simply IS NOT ready for Prime Time in 2018. We have several MAJOR HOLES that can only be filled by 1. giving young players playing time to GET BETTER/ADJUST to MLB competition…2. using freed up payroll dollars to go after several 2018 Free Agents!).

At the end of the day, my prediction of The Braves winning 86 games should come close to being correct (unless both Newcomb and Folty get hurt).

Sigh.

Okay, so I’ve been out of it for a little while due to a new job. Ryan’s been dealing with a new kid. And I believe Brittni’s been travelling a lot. Kind of hit all at the same time.

But seriously? I have to come up with some comment section guidelines? Is this YouTube? Fine.

1) No politics. No religion. No any of it. There are plenty of blogs for that.
2) Keep your comments concise and relatively short. Good rule of thumb – if you have to scroll much in the reply section, you’re doing it wrong. Want to write long posts? Get your own blog. Otherwise, people are either not going to read it (tl;dr) or just be aggravated by you.
3) I understand that on most baseball blogs, the most recent posts serve as a place to talk about a recent game. That’s fine. But there’s nothing more irritating for us than to write a blog post and immediately get a reply about something completely unrelated. At least give it a few hours before you hyjack things.

If these REALLY SIMPLE rules cannot be followed, leave. If these REALLY SIMPLE rules continue to be broken, we’ll just get rid of the comment section. I don’t want to do that because I assume many of those who comment here aren’t the same ones who also comment on her blog twitter account, but drama in the comment section is just not worth any of our time. I’m not going to babysit anyone, but I’m also not going to watch the blog I friggin built torn down by comments that often HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CURRENT TEAM.

So, yeah, I plan on posting a new article tomorrow. See you guys then.

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