Posts Tagged 'Craig Kimbral'

#184: Sorting Through Fact &Fiction

Vox O’Reason

22 April 2019
Northeast, GA  (God’s country)

 

 

As we sit here on this beautiful Monday following Easter, the Braves are only 21 games into their 162 game schedule, yet seemingly the sky has already begun falling all over the city of Atlanta.

[DISCLAIMER: While some may perceive I’m throwing shade at a lot of fans here on the ol’ B&S and elsewhere, I am including myself right in the middle of the criticism.]

Yes, even though the NL East is universally perceived as the toughest in MLB this season, as is evidenced by the fact that as of today only 1.5 games separate the division leader from 4th place, and even though the Braves are currently just 1 game behind the division leader, the prevailing thought is that this team is incomplete and sputtering. And just about every pointing finger is directed at the bullpen.

Yes, the bullpen has been bad at times. It has also been good at times, but let’s face it… the bad always seems to be magnified more than the good. And I believe that’s especially true here in Atlanta where we went onto this past off season knowing we needed to address the bullpen.

Then we entered into the new season with very little change. In fact, we didn’t add anyone from outside the organization at all until we picked up Josh Tomlin from the proverbial scrap heap. We certainly didn’t make any headlines by signing any one of a number of top names available on the Free Agent market. And if we’re really honest, that’s what everyone is most upset about, right? The Braves didn’t spend any money on the bullpen. In fact, that narrative has been sharpened a bit more to say that the Braves promised to spend money, have money to spend, yet didn’t spend a dime on the bullpen. Am I right? I’m guilty. I admit it.

But perhaps it’s not quite that easy. Oh, I know it’s always easy to spend someone else’s money. But is it always the right answer? I’ve done a little digging this morning, and have discovered something fairly interesting. So hang in here with me while I go down the lost of top relievers that were available this past off-season, according to MLBTR. Here’s a comprehensive list of all the relievers in their Top 50 Free Agent list, along with the contracts they signed and the results the teams are getting for their stacks of dollars:

#5  Craig Kimbrel remains unsigned despite the cries of most of Braves Nation, and maybe the other twenty-nine fan-bases, as well, because so far, all thirty teams have passed on his demands.

 

#17 Jeurys Familia signed with the Mets for 3 yrs/$30M. He has appeared in 10 games, has a 5.59 ERA, and a 1.966 WHIP. He’s also become a favorite target of the NY newspapers.

 

 

#18  Zach Britton signed with the Yankees for 3yrs/$39M, has appeared in 10 games, and has a 2.89 ERA with a 1.393 WHIP. This is a signing that seems to be working out OK for the Yankees, who have Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, and Adam Ottavino taking most of the high leverage innings. I say “OK”. Not great, but OK.

 

 

#19  David Robertson signed with the Phillies for 2ys/$23M. He’s appeared in 7 games, has a 5.40 ERA with a 2.100 WHIP. Not very good. He has also spent ten days on the IL with a sore elbow.

 

 

 

#21  Adam Ottavino signed with the Yankees for 3yrs/$27M. He’s appeared in 10 games, has a 3.27 ERA and a 1.455 WHIP. He gave up 2 home runs yesterday, turning a 5-2 lead into a 6-5 deficit. Another “OK” signing.

 

 

#24  Andrew Miller signed with the Cardinals for 2yrs/$25M. In 11 games he has a 7.04 ERA and a 2.087 WHIP. I’m no professional pitching coach, but I don’t think a 7.04 ERA is very good. To the contrary, one of our favorite whipping boys, Jesse Biddle, actually has a respectable 2.38 ERA.

#25  Joe Kelly signed with the Dodgers for 3yrs/$25M. He’s appeared in 9 games, has a 9.90 ERA, and a 1.900 WHIP. And, he’s already blown three save chances.

 

 

#26  Kelvin Herrera signed with the White Sox for 2yrs/$18M. He’s appeared in ten games, as a 1.86 ERA and a 0.828 WHIP. He has easily been the best of this whole bunch. This one was a good deal.

 

#34  Joakim Soria signed with the A’s for 2 yrs/$15M. He has appeared in twelve games, has a 7.84 ERA, and a 1.839 WHIP. Yowser. Ugly!

 

 

#37  Cody Allen signed with the Angels for 1yr/$8.5M. He’s appeared in nine games, has a 6.14 ERA, with a 1.636 WHIP. This is the guy the writers at MLBTR projected would sign with the Braves. I’m glad he didn’t.

 

#40  Bud Norris signed a Minor League deal with the Blue Jays. He was eventually released and almost signed by the Nats….except he wasn’t. I hear Uber needs drivers.

 

 

#41  Brad Brach signed with the Cubs for 1yr/4.35M. The former Brave has appeared in eight games, has a 4..50 ERA and a 2.125 WHIP. Five current Braves relievers have a better ERA, and a 6th misses by just 0.20.  All eight have a better WHIP.

 

#44  Jesse Chavez signed with the Rangers for 2yrs/$8M. The 35-year-old has appeared in ten games, has a 9.31 ERA with a 1.759 WHIP. That’s pretty close to the same numbers for Chad Sobotka who is still a kid and time to continue developing.

 

 

So, what exactly is the point of this exercise?

The point is that this fan is now quite happy that his GM didn’t go out and throw money at one or more of these relievers hoping to “fix” the bullpen, because only one of these twelve signings appears to actually be earning his contract.

Naturally, I had the benefit of hindsight to make these judgments. GMs don’t have that same luxury. They live or die by making assessments and hoping for the best.

Relievers are the one segment of the team that you simply can never predict, as is evidenced by those relievers above. Perhaps if we give our own group of pitchers more than just 21 games out of 162, we might see some improvement.  At worst, we’ll see a better picture of exactly what we have and what we need.  Then we can look at those needs with a better perspective and address them with more options than just throwing money at them.

 

 

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141: So It Begins Again

Gil Mechanicsville, VA    by Gil In Mechanicsville

Well, the 2015 season is underway and the first couple of weeks have held forth a few surprises. I guess the biggest being the departure of fan favorite and closer extraordinaire, Craig Kimbrel. Less than 24 hours before the start of the season, Kimbrel was sent to San Diego along with some heavy baggage formerly known as B;J Upton who’s play was so bad, he felt the need to change his name thinking he could fool the fans in Atlanta into believing a new player had been acquired.

So, a few additional faces we had not had a chance to discuss. Trevor Cahill, a former All-Star who has apparently lost his way since undergoing hip surgery. Mechanics are a funny thing for a major league pitcher, the least little thing can cause him to become a complete Jeckyl and Hyde act.  Coming to Atlanta the final week of spring training for a minor league outfielder and a deep discount on his 12 million dollar salary. Trevor did not look at all comfortable in his first start but perhaps like Matt Latos of the Marlins who was shelled by the Braves in his first start, he can come around to the point he can become somewhat of an innings eater. We will know soon enough I suspect.

Eric Stults also made the team. Originally slated as a fifth starter, he moved up a slot with the continued problems experienced by Mike Minor and his balky shoulder. The Braves will continue to hope Stults can be an effective back end of the rotation guy but I do not see the Braves going too deep into the season with him in the line up if Stults continues to struggle. I look for the Braves to turn to another one of their late spring acquisition, Matt Wisler. The 22 year old right hander who came along with Cameron Maybin from San Diego for Kimbrel and Melvin Upton. The young rightie has a high ceiling and appears far ahead of the Brave other wunderkin Mike Foltynewicz. Perhaps the Braves will score a trifecta win with Wisler, Folty and Lucas Sims by the time they move into their new digs north of Atlanta. For sure, the good folks in Gwinnett should take avantage to see these kids develop while parking and seating is cheap. I should also mention Manny Banuelos is another possibility if he can return to his pre Tommy John form. Like I said, mechanics are very important and is often the difference in a weak grounder to short or a 400 foot big fly.

The only real questions for the Braves will be if they can maintain the knack they have shone early on for staying focused in the field and continuing to put up good at bats. Not everyone on this season’s team is hitting over .300 but most every one of the hitters at putting up good at bats. There have been very few three strike at bats by the Braves hitter. Now, they have shone a few chinks in their armor to date but it’s been a fun ride so far. Still, the Braves are getting very little respect from the talking heads who are covering the sport on a professional basis. Can’t say that I blame them after the Braves made them look foolish last season. Besides, teams that tear down to the studs are not suppose to win. I guess the players did not get that memo….

By the way, I would be remiss if I did not mention my new favorite pitcher for the Braves, reliever Cody Martin. Love that kid. Cannot throw a 95 mph fastball but he can throw strikes and opposing hitters are not having much success against his Madduxess 90 mph cutter. He may be the one that Braves Country is glad didn’t get away.


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


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