The Braves have now played 79 official games to date. That is 3 shy of the 82 which would mark the official halfway point of the season. 27 and 52 for a winning percentage of .342 and 20.5 games out of first in the NL East. When the Braves broke camp in April, I do not think anyone had any delusions that the Atlanta club would be in contention for the division title but I also don’t think folks thought the Braves would lose so many games so quickly.
To be fair, the Braves had one of if not the toughest schedule for the first two months of the season. We were told by the folks who were supposed to know that while the team was in full rebuild mode, they would be competitive. I guess they are right in one regard, they are in contention for the number one overall pick in the 2017 MLB amateur draft. It has been brutal to watch this team night after night.
Of the 25 players on the opening day roster, pitchers John Gant, Williams Perez and Eric O’Flaherty are on the DL.
MIA: Jason Grilli and Bud Norris have been traded, Jose Ramirez was demoted to Triple A Gwinnett and Alexi Ogando has been designated for assignment.
Outfielders Hector Oliveria is on the “suspended and we don’t know what we are going to do with him when he comes back list” and Drew Stubbs was released and is currently on the 60 day DL for a strained left pinky toe. He was claimed off waivers by the Texas Rangers when the Braves released him after 20 games. Infielders/utility player Kelly Johnson has been traded to the New York Mets, again, and Gordon Beckham is nearing the end of a stint on the DL for a pulled hamstring.
Let us not forget that opening day manager Fredi Gonzalez and bench coach Carlos Tosca were also let go and Rob Smith was replaced by veteran pitcher Buddy Carlyle to manage replay review.
So let’s recap, 7 of 12 pitchers and 4 of 13 position players have are not on the current 25 man roster. That does not account for guys like Jace Peterson spending time in triple A, Mallex Smith playing in place of Ender Inciarte and currently on the DL for a broken left thumb after being hit by a pitch. Adonis Garcia being sent down to learn a new position which he has yet to play, Erik Aybar being on the DL, although he was not missed to be honest and Daniel Castro who has since been up from Gwinnett and sent back down after hitting about a buck fifty.
These are not all of the transactions made by the Braves to date but it gives you a sense of the unsettled nature of the Braves as a team for the first half of the season. Recent moves have been mainly in the pitching staff. Tyrell Jenkins, Joel De La Cruz, Casey Kelly and Mauricio Cabrera coming up. Dario Alvarez being acquired off waivers from the Mets and Aaron Blair and Marks Marksberry going down. There have been over 40 transactions involving Atlanta players going up, down out or in to date. That does not include draft signings. No wonder the Braves got confused as to the availability of Emilio Bonifacio when they tried to bring him up to the majors and ended up playing a man short when they discovered he was not yet eligible.
Like I said, it has been very spring training like as to who will be in the lineup each night and as for starting pitching, the Braves only have two reliable starters with Julio Teheran and Matt Wisler on the roster since the Braves have traded Bud Norris. Mike Foltynewicz was reactivated on June 30th but he is still a work in progress. Most observers still expect Erick Aybar to depart from Atlanta before the end of the season. I would not be surprised to see Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies make their debuts in Atlanta in August.
Still likely to be on the auction block would be Jeff Francoeur, Arodys Vizcaino, Jim Johnson and Nick Markakis. For the right return, even the Braves ace Julio Teheran could be gone for the right return of prospects. If the Braves can make it to September, they can load of their bullpen with arms like the Rockies did a few years ago and let the relievers pitch two innings each game. Uh, just like spring training….