Archive for April, 2018

#175: New Season, New Faces

Gil ‘n Mechanicsville, VA

With every new season, new players are added to the roster. Some to replace departing players, some to improve the line up and some to fill a need. The 2018 Braves have a fair share of new faces dotting the line up card as the 2018 marathon begins. I will keep this fairly short and identify the position players only in this post. By the time I get around to the pitching staff it may be obsolete.

 

Ryan Flaherty

First is Ryan Flaherty, a 31 y/o journeyman who has spent the majority of his major league career as a 2nd baseman in Baltimore of the American League. An alum of Vanderbilt, he is a former 1st round pick in 2008 (41st overall) by the Chicago Cubs. This spring he was in the Phillies’ camp after the Orioles declined to resign him for 2018. He opted out of his contract with the Phillies with about a week to go in spring training when became apparent he would not be part of the Fightin’s 2018 plans.

Ryan, who is Nick Markais’ brother in law, was signed by the Braves as insurance for the infield when Johan Camargo was sidelined by an oblique injury about two weeks prior to the end of spring training. While Flaherty is not a prototypical 3rd baseman, he is solid with the glove and has not embarrassed himself with the lumber. He had a very good spring training with the Phillies and has been a plus so far this season.

Preston Tucker

Next is 27 y/o outfielder Preston Tucker, a refugee from the loaded Astro’s organization. Preston is the older brother of Kyle Tucker, who is heralded as the next great outfielder for that franchise. Tucker played the entire 2018 season with the Astro’s triple A affiliate Fresno of the PCL. Tucker was acquired from the Astro’s for cash considerations in December and, to be truthful, appears to be a placeholder for the Braves super-star-in-waiting, Ronald Acuna, Jr. So far Preston has played a solid defense in left and has been clutch with the bat. It should be interesting as to whether or not he or Lane Adams remains on the major league roster when Acuna arrives on the scene.

A good interview with Tucker by Gabriel Burns is found here.

Chris Stewart

 

The final player I will mention is 36 y/o catcher Chris Stewart, late of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Signed as a depth piece for the organization which has a dearth of major league catching talent, he was added to the major league roster essentially to allow for Kurt Suzuki and Tyler Flowers to be used as a pinch hitter on those days which they did not start behind the plate.

As it turned out it became a stroke of good luck with Tyler Flowers going down to an oblique injury during his first at bat. When Suzuki was hit in the hand in game two, it was necessary for the Braves to have a solid backstop who could step in.

Carlos Perez

 

While x-rays did not reveal a fracture to Suzuki’s right hand, the Braves made a trade for another catcher with major league experience in Carlos Perez, who had been DFA’d by the Angels last Tuesday. The Braves sent infielder Ryan Schimpf to the Angels in exchange for the 27 y/o Venezuelan. Perez batted .265 in spring training but did not really have a spot on the Angel’s 25 man roster with a .195 career batting average. No one should mistaken the trade as anything but an insurance policy for the Braves at the catching position.

 

 



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