Archive for the 'Ronald Acuna' Category

#176: The Month of May Continues to be Merry.

Gil in
Mechanicsville VA

As we approach mid-May, the Braves continue to hold onto 1st place in the NL East. I’m not sure how others feel but I am pleasantly surprised. Still, there is a long way to go and the traps and pit falls associated with a 162 game season can jump up and bite the Bravos.

The Mets looked as if they were going to be an unstoppable juggernaut the first two weeks of the 2018 season but injuries to key players and a sudden collapse of their vaunted pitching staff has made them appear very ordinary. While there is lots of time for the New York nine to right their ship, they look very beatable.

Same could be said for the mighty Nationals. They stumbled out of the gate but they have come on strong of late, and they trail both the Braves and the Phillies.

As for the Phillies, I thought they would be much improved this season but they are strong all the way across the board. Good pitching and defense and a solid pen, however, they have a losing record against teams in their division. Could the Braves have contributed to that?

The Marlins are where everyone expected but they do have some pretty impressive pieces. I doubt they will have many of those players around by mid-season as they go full on rebuild.

So, as we watch the budding stars of Albies and Acuna learn the ways of the major leagues, we can be pleasantly surprised by the resurgence of Nick Markakis and the continued impressive performance of Freddie Freeman. Now, as soon as Austin Riley makes his appearance, we can really have some fun!

Albies, Acuna, Riley

Freeman & Markakis

 

Advertisements

#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.

 

 

#170: A Report On Two Braves Prospects

November 19, 2017

Gil ‘N
Mechanicsville

 

 

With the conclusion of the 2017 edition of the Arizona Fall League last Saturday, the Braves “Answer to Everything”, Ronald Acuna capped off what has been a pretty eventful year for a 19 year old phenom.

Ronald Acuna

Beginning with a stint in the Australian Baseball League with the Melbourne Aces, the young Venezuelan hit .375/.446/.556 with an OPS of 1.001 in 20 games and was named to the Australian All Star team. After returning home to Venezuela for the league’s Christmas break, he encountered visa problems and was unable to return to Melbourne for the conclusion of that season.

Undeterred, he rejoined the Braves for spring training and was assigned to the Florida Fire Frogs in the Advanced A Florida State League. He played in 28 games for the Fire Frogs slashing .287/.336/.478 and an OPS of .814. He was promoted to AA Mississippi for 56 games and improved with .326/.374/.520 stat line and an OPS of .895. Upon his promotion to Triple A Gwinnett where he continued to improve on his average with a line of .344/.393/.548 and OPS of .940. in 54 games.

Along the way, he has garnered both All Star honors as well as MVP awards while playing with teammates older than himself. To be fair, he is not a one trick pony but a true five tool player playing all three outfield positions with a plus throwing arm. He has plus speed and has shown the ability to steal bases and hit for power. While lacking polish, which only comes for experience, it is anticipated he will start the season in the Atlanta outfield in 2018. The only question is which of the Braves current outfielders will be moved.

Max Fried

While garnering most of the ink, Acuna was not the only Braves prospect to shine in the AFL this fall. Soon to be 24 years old Max Fried also showed why the Braves are so giddy to have this young man in their fold.

Fried, who came to the Braves as part of the package acquired from the Padres for outfielder Justin Upton, Fried was a first round draft pick (over all #7) by the Padres in 2012. Max was sidelined for Tommy John surgery when the Braves acquired him in 2014 but their foresight may well have been spot on. Fried made his return from Tommy John surgery in 2016 with A class Rome. His record with the Rome Braves was 8/7 with an ERA of .393. In 21 games and 103 innings pitched he had 112 strikeouts and 47 walks and a whip of 1.301.

In 2017, he began his season with AA Mississippi appearing in 19 games and 86.2 innings. His stat line with Mississippi was fairly unimpressive with a record of 2-11 and an ERA of 5.92 with 85 Ks and 43 walks and a whip of 1.512.

Fried’s march toward Atlanta came with a promotion to AAA Gwinnett where he appeared in two games for a total of 6 innings. He registered 6 strikeouts with 2 walks and a whip of 0.500. This might be proof positive where wins and losses are not relative to a prospect’s potential.

Max Fried’s promotion to Atlanta on August 5th was somewhat unexpected but when a team is in full bore rebuild, opportunities are abound. Fried appeared in 9 games in the show, 4 as a starter and 5 in relief. He had a 1-1 won loss record and amassed 22 Ks and 12 BB with an ERA of 3.81 and a whip of 1.615. Perhaps more impressive was the poise and mound presence of the 23 year old rookie lefty. He did not give any indication of being over matched and showed glimpses of why he was considered the Padres #1 pitching prospect after he was drafted.

Somewhat surprisingly, the Braves assigned Fried to the Peoria Javalinas of Arizona Fall League following the end of the MLB season. Perhaps the Braves saw it as an opportunity to further evaluate the development of their prized lefty in a controlled environment where Braves minor league manager Luiz Salazar was slated to manage the Javalinas. He did not disappoint, appearing in 6 games and accumulating a total of 26 innings and posting a 3-1 record with an ERA of 1.73 with 32 strikeouts, 8 walks. His only snafu was in his next to last appearance against the Glendale Devil Dogs when he gave up 5 runs, 4 earned in 4 innings pitched. Fried has definitely made his case to be included in Atlanta’s plans for their starting staff in 2018.

All totaled Max Fried pitched 144.2 innings in 2017, a good number for a player only 2 years removed from Tommy John. Fried perhaps will be the top prized returned from the Padres accompanied by Jace Peterson, Dustin Peterson and Mallex Smith in exchange for Justin Upton.


Blog Birthdays

ChrisKlob: Feb 4

Raisins: Mar 13

Berigan: Mar 15

Gil: Apr 15

Salty: Apr 22

FloridaBravesGirl: Jul 8

Skip Caray: Aug 12

Miss Josie: Aug 18

Carolina Lady: Oct 7

BravesAndStuff: Dec 5, 2007

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: