Tag Archives: Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves get larger than life: Welcome to Bartlanta (MLB.com short)

I really don’t need to say anything. If you like Bartolo Colon
— and who doesn’t — this is a must watch (and thank you MLB.com for this brilliant idea. And you know what? Thank you Bartolo, for being you).

WELCOME TO BARTLANTA

Click below for full video on MLB.com.

Around the Nation: Yankees, MLB Alternate history, and Braves prospects

I need to apologize, dear Wayniacs. No need for excuses. I have been busy and have neglected you. I wasn’t even able to throw together a Super Bowl reaction piece, and for that I am sorry.

As always, I am still writing, just elsewhere across the world wide web. Curious as to what I’ve been writing? Take a peek.

The Braves AND Mariners trade Mallex Smith on the same day

Mallex Smith was once the Atlanta Braves prized centerfielder of the future. The speedy centerfielder became expendable with the Gold Glove season of Ender Inciarte and the emergence of Ronald Acuna and Ray-Patrick Didder in the lower minors. The Braves would send him to Seattle for more pitching — as the Braves have become accustomed to doing — only to see Seattle send him to Tampa for pitching and prospects an hour later.

Keep reading for more on Mallex Smith’s wild Wednesday!

Atlanta Braves deal three prospects for Cardinals Jaime Garcia

Well, the Atlanta Braves have certainly changed the face of their starting rotation this offseason. After aging themselves a combined 85 years in a one-week span in November with the signing of 43 year old Bartolo Colon and 42 year old RA Dickey, they started December off obtaining another veteran. The Braves picked up Jaime Garcia from the Cardinals for Luke Dykstra, Chris Ellis, and John Gant.

Garcia, of course, has had an injury-plagued run with the Cardinals. The now-30 year old lefty has been up and down in his eight years with St. Louis, at times — when healthy — showing signs of brilliance and other times being in the doghouse for inconsistencies. He made his first 30-start season last year in four seasons and after coming off of an impressive 2015, he struggled to a 10-13 record, with a 4.67 ERA and 1.38 WHIP with just 150 strikeouts in 171.2 innings pitched.

Any haul for an oft-injured pitcher could be considered a good one, so who did the Cardinals get?

JOHN GANT

The Braves acquired Rob Whalen and John Gant at the 2015 trade deadline for Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe. After Whalen left for Seattle in last week’s Alex Jackson deal, neither are in the Braves’ future plans.

Our own John Sickels labeled the 6-foot-5, 205 pound righty one of his sleepers coming into the season, and he did reach the big leagues this season pitching primarily out of the bullpen to somewhat lackluster results sandwiched around a nearly month-long DL stint. Drafted by the Mets in 21st round back in 2011, it took Gant awhile to get above Low-A ball — four years to be precise — but pitched well in both the High-A FSL and Southern League of Double-A once he came over to the Braves.

Gant doesn’t have knock-you-out stuff, but he seems like he can make it work behind his uniquely awkward delivery. He has a fastball that falls in the 88 to 91 mile per hour range, a sinking change up and an ever-evolving curve, all of which he has learned to throw for strikes. As already mentioned, his big league debut wasn’t spectacular — 1-4, 4.39 FIP, and an 8.82 strikeout per nine rate to a 3.78 walks per nine rate, as well as a frightening 1.26 home run per nine rate — but the 24 year old did show he had big league stuff.

He could still be a serviceable back-end of the rotation guy, but a future out of the bullpen seems more likely. Expect him to compete for a roster spot immediately.

LUKE DYKSTRA

Dykstra played through an injury-riddled 2016 for the SAL Champion Rome Braves. Thus far he has proven to be a solid contact hitter, who can put the bat on the ball very regularly. There simply isn’t a lot of power behind it.

Despite being a solid contact hitter, Dykstra has had his critics over the years. He doesn’t strikeout a ton, striking out just eight percent of the time since being a seventh rounder back in 2014. He also doesn’t walk a whole lot, as evidence by his .335 career on base percentage, drawing just 23 career walks in his first 749 plate appearances. Thus, he consistently gets the bat on the ball, carrying a career .300 average, but just 25 percent of his career hits have gone for extra bases, with just two of them being home runs.

He’s quick enough (17 stolen bases in 23 career attempts) and scrappy like his father before him. I caught up with Dykstra the night before he went on the DL to end his season in August and liked what I saw and heard. He has the drive to succeed, the question is whether he will. Still just 21, there isn’t much hope that more power will develop, but if he can improve his on base skills, he could etch out a role as a solid utility infielder in the not so distant future.

CHRIS ELLIS

Ellis, like Whalen and Gant, didn’t get to spend much time acclimating himself to the rebuilding Braves. The Los Angeles Angels 2014 third rounder came over with Sean Newcomb in the Andrelton Simmons deal. The 24 year old righty had a solid 2016 in Double-A Mississippi this year before struggling a bit in a promotion to Gwinnett.

The 6-foot-5 right-hander has a three-pitch arsenal. John describes his fastball as one which sits in the 90 to 94 range with some sink, despite the fact that Ellis seems to have settled in as a fly-ball pitcher behind a career 0.67 ground out to air out rate. He mixes in a very effective power slider along with a changeup, both of which seem to garner mix results depending on whom you speak with.

Ellis’ big concern is his command, and that didn’t change in 2016. He can certainly miss bats with a career 8.16 strikeout per nine rate, but he has constantly struggled with consistency with a 4.70 walks per nine rate. He posted the best ERA of his young career this season in Mississippi at a 2.78 mark, however a 3.63 FIP tells the better story. There is certainly promise for Ellis, and he wouldn’t be the first pitching prospect to find success in the Cardinals system, but he will likely need more time in Memphis to start the season.

He pitched out of the bullpen for two seasons at University of Mississippi, so despite 56 of his professional appearances being starts, he could be better served out of the bullpen with some past experience there. Expect to see his big league debut at some point this year.

(This article ran on John Sickels’ Minor League Ball).

The Atlanta Braves bring in former first rounder Alex Jackson

(from Minor League Ball)

If you follow the site with any regularity, then you are aware that I cover some of the Atlanta Braves minor league system in the surrounding Atlanta area for John. So it’s understandable that you may think there is some bias in the following statement.

I love the Alex Jackson trade.

Want to know why? Click here to find out!

FIVE IMPACT SECOND BASE PROSPECTS FOR 2017

Yesterday, we began our look at possible impact prospects for the 2017 season with five first baseman poised to bring their talents to The Show. Today, we switch our focus to their neighbor in the infield: the second baseman.

Remember, this isn’t a list of the best second base prospects in baseball. You won’t see names like Forrest Wall or Andy Ibanez (although he is hitting everything thrown his way in the Arizona Fall League right now) on the list with a 2018 full-time debut much more likely. Nor will you see the Chicago Cubs’ Ian Happ or Boston Red Sox’s Yoan Moncada (at least not until Sunday).

No matter how young and exciting Happ may be, there simply isn’t any room on the current roster with Ben Zobrist and the red-hot Javier Baez. That could easily change if Theo Epstein goes wheeling and dealing in the offseason as he has become infamously known for, but as it stands, the Cubs have time to allow Happ to mature for a full season at Triple-A. The Red Sox extended Dustin Pedroia until 2021, meaning Moncada is likely the new third baseman of the Red Sox future, which makes him ineligible for this list.

So who’s on tap for 2017?

Keep reading for the next in the series of impact prospects.

The Atlanta Braves Anfernee Seymour an intriguing prospect

Anfernee Seymour has had an interesting journey since beginning his professional career. First, he switched positions, converting from a high school center fielder to minor league shortstop. This season, he switched organizations, coming to the Atlanta Braves from the Miami Marlins in an August trade.

So, what do the Braves have in Seymour?

Read more on Seymour.

Should Freddie Freeman win the MVP for a last place team?

I’m sure you have figured out that it has been Atlanta Braves week here at Wayniac Nation. In honor of the Braves moving out of Atlanta we have turned our attention to the oldest franchise in the game, who is once again on the move. Monday we took a look at my final memories from Turner Field and yesterday, we looked at why Brian Snitker should get to keep his job and be the 2017 skipper of the Atlanta Braves.

Today, we look at Freddie Freeman.

The concept of a last place team having the Most Valuable Player in baseball is a silly concept to me. I should say was. I didn’t understand how Andre Dawson took home the award in 1987 for a team that finished in sixth place. Was he the best player in the National League that year? I think so, but just how valuable was he for a last place team?

Enter 2016 and the Year of the Freddie Freeman. I now believe in the last place MVP.

Read on for Freeman’s case at the MVP Award.

Atlanta Braves: My plea for Brian Snitker

I have no problem admitting it. At the beginning of September, I was 100 percent against bringing Brian Snitker back for 2017. This organization was heading in a new direction, and that meant they needed a fresh voice at the helms. It was time for the Atlanta Braves to do something they don’t normally do and step outside of the organizational box and bring in a young, fresh voice to lead these young, fresh prospects.

Now in October, I feel like the Braves would be foolish to do anything but hand Snitker the reigns for 2017 and this new era of baseball.

Keep reading as to why Snitker is the right guy for the job.

Goodbye TED: Memories from Turner Field

It was a bit surreal this past Saturday night. I walked out of Turner Field, my eight month old daughter in my arms, and said goodbye for the last time. They would close their doors for good the following day, and in doing so, put to rest one of the greatest eras in the franchise’s long history.

They are heading to the suburbs outside the perimeter of the city, a feat no other baseball city has ever pondered. I didn’t like walking out of The TED Saturday night. Sure they won. But you see, anyone who has been there will tell you that Turner Field was always more than a baseball game.

Keep reading for my Farewell to The TED.