Archive for the 'AJ Minter' Category

#182: So What Is The Winning Formula?

Vox O’Reason

Sitting here in God’s country in the foothills of the beautiful North Georgia mountains, it’s awful easy to speculate as to whom I want to see the Braves sign or trade for. After all, I’m spending someone else’s money and prospect capital, right? Who doesn’t want a job where they get to have all the fun with no accountability?

As this year’s Hot Stove season winds down to a just couple of weeks remaining, I can look back at all the players I’ve wished for. From Madison Bumgarner to JT Realmuto to Corey Kluber to Andrew McCutchen to Ryan Haniger to David Peralta to Sonny Gray to Bryce and Manny, etc., there really are a lot of players at a lot of positions. It would look like the Braves had a lot of needs to fill, even though it was really just a brief list…

Needs: catcher, outfielder
Wants: starting pitcher, reliever, bench

Nick Markakis

Brian McCann

In reality, our new buddy Alex Anthopolous has addressed our needs, to arguable degrees. He brought home our old friend Brian McCann. And while I cannot think of a better teacher and mentor for our young pitchers, I also cannot with full sincerity say he and Tyler Flowers together can handle 162 games behind the plate. I just can’t. AA also brought back Nick Markakis, an integral piece of last year’s success story, but not a sexy or well received signing. In fact, it was divisive at best. But the fact remains, he addressed the “needs”. Fancred’s Jon Heyman even said, “After signing Markakis, Braves have very solid team and no obvious flaws.”

That’s the equivalent of being told your blind date is really smart and has a great personality.

But let’s get real here. The goal of every GM should be to put together a team that can contend for and win a World Series. Yes, I know we’ve just emerged from a rebuild where there were a few seasons that we were simply not going to contend.

I still feel the residual sting from those years. But a GM still *wants* the team to succeed. And when a team is in position to contend, that GM wants to put together the winning formula to make it happen.

Ah… and that’s the rub isn’t it? Exactly what is the winning formula? Obviously, if I knew that I wouldn’t be sitting in my office, I’d be in a executive office somewhere. But here’s what I can do. I can look back at several World Series winners and see what they have in common. What is it that binds them all together?

Looking back at the last 10 World Series winners, I found the following…

2018 Red Sox: Starting pitchers Chris Sale and David Price, relievers Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly.

2017 Astros: Starters Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers, Jr., who got injured and was replaced by Justin Verlander, relievers Ken Giles and Chris Devenski.

2016 Cubs: Starters Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta, relievers Hector Rondon and Aroldis Chapman.

2015 Royals: Starters Danny Duffy and Edison Volquez, relievers Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera.

2014 Giants: Starters Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum, relievers Sergio Romo and Jeremy Affeldt.

2013 Red Sox: Starters Jon Lester and John Lackey, relievers Koji Uehera and Andrew Miller.

2012 Giants: Starters Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum, relievers Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo.

2011 Cardinals: Starters Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia, relievers Fernando Salas and Jason Motte.

2010 Giants: Starters Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner, relievers Brian Wilson and Sergio Romo.

2009 Yankees: CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett, relievers Mariano Rivera and Phil Hughes.

Are we seeing the pattern here?

Obviously all of those teams had potent hitters in their lineups. And so do the Braves. I don’t need to regurgitate our lineup here. But if we want to put a winning team on the field, one that can not only dance during the regular season, but succeed in October especially, we better have a solid 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation and we better have some shut down capability at the back end of the bullpen. Period. Those qualities are simply not negotiable.

Close your eyes and remember Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Mark Wohlers, Rafael Soriano, etc. Fits the pattern, doesn’t it?

So I say all that to say this, on January 28 as the Braves appear to still be chasing Miami’s catcher. Abandon the hunt. Pull back the dogs and turn that attention toward Cleveland and go get Corey Kluber. The same prospect package that would bring back the All-Star catcher will certainly bring back the All-Star pitcher. Get him. And then go sign Craig Kimbrel. The prospect capital is there and the money is there; just go spend it.

 

 

Then maybe next year I can add to the above list “2019 Braves: Corey Kluber and Mike Foltynewicz, relievers Craig Kimbrel and AJ Minter.”

 

 

 

 

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#180: ARMS!

by Gordon Lawrence

 

Arms, arms, arms……..

Foltynewicz

FOLTYNEWICZ was exposed by L.A.’s hitters. He stepped up a notch this season, but needs two more to become a #1. I really don’t see him as such going forward.

At this point, he’s ultimately a #2 to my mind. Not enough patience yet. Not getting the calls so, he hurls a fat one, and “boom,” rocket over the fence. Still getting frustrated by calls when the pitch is an excellent borderline one, but the ump calls a ball. Hasn’t learned to adjust to what the ump is calling in that particular game. Very important consideration to becoming a seasoned pitcher.

NEWCOMB should hold a slot. He should improve as he learns how to pitch. Takes time, several years as a starter.

Anibal Sanchez

Kevin Gausman

I liked GAUSMAN and SANCHEZ well enough to bring back to spring training to compete, but I wouldn’t automatically grant either of them a slot.

I really have had my fill of TEHERAN. Hopefully, we have enough qualified candidates after spring training to trade him.

Mike Soroka

I consider the shoulder malady to SOROKA the most egregious arm injury this season. He would have been a rising star in the pitching corps this year in my estimation, and I believe in the minds of all the bloggers here as well. Frankly, I think his injury to be a very serious one.   More serious than has be advertised by the organization to this point. I have feared it might actually be career ending. I’m wrong, right?

Touki Toussaint

TOUKI TOUSSAINT will grab the #4 slot out of spring training. I really liked what i saw of him in the post-season. I think the kid’s really got a future with ATLANTA.

Luiz Gohara

If LUIZ GOHARA finally takes his conditioning seriously, he could become a force in the starting rotation. Hopefully, personal family distractions are behind him at this point. I really hope the 2018 season made an impression on his mind, and he approaches 2019 with a will to excel.

Kyle Wright

KYLE WRIGHT appears poised for his first serious look at the 25-man this spring and a/the #5 slot.

 

Bryse Wilson

I really like BRYSE WILSON as a AAA/ATL floater in 2019. He’s a bulldog with the will to succeed.

Patrick Weigel

Darren O’Day

When thinking of bullpen holes to be patched for 2019, DARREN O’DAY and PATRICK WEIGEL come to mind as two potential candidates for the BRAVES. Spring training should show us where we stand with them.

Who should find a place in the 2019 bullpen?

AJ Minter

The whole danged place is such a MASH unit of maladies, and ineptitude, RH A.J. MINTER appears as the only rock-solid carryover to my mind, and he’s still getting OJT learning to pitch and not just throw. Back-end member.

VIZCAINO if he can stay healthy for the back-end as well. Big if.

I somehow see MAX FRIED in the pen for long-relief. Call me crazy.

SAM FREEMAN was overused and exposed, but used judiciously, he is effective.

Ditto JESSE BIDDLE, and JONNY VENTERS.

Vizcaino

Max Fried

Sam Freeman

Jesse Biddle

Johnny Venters

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, my two and 1/2 cents at this point.

GO BRAVES…..

 

 

 

Gordon Lawrence


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