Let’s start 2016 off with some positivity, shall we?
2015 was largely a frustrating year for #BravesCountry. Though arguably it went very well if you look at the larger picture, I can’t fault people for not throwing parades for a successful rebuilding year. In 2016 the Braves are still a team in rebuilding mode and there is cause for concern of a repeat of last year, but I think the hard part is behind us and 2016 will be an exciting time for the Atlanta Braves organization and its fans. Now I’m not going to go full homer on you and say that the Braves are going to win or even compete for the NL East in 2016, but I think Atlanta will field a team at the major league level who will be fun to watch and competitive in a lot of games.
Much of my reason for excitement is demonstrated in a piece released earlier this month by Baseball Prospectus, Top 10 list for the Braves farm system. I highly recommend clicking the link, as it includes much more than just a prospect ranking. The top 10 list is as follows: Read More
The Braves have gone out and made a Feel-Good-Pick-Up that seems to be worth a pleasant chuckle in re-re-welcoming Kelly Johnson to Atlanta. As most reading this are aware, KJ was one of the “Baby Braves,” a group of young, homegrown players that reached Atlanta circa 2005, ushering in hope for sustained success in Braves Country. The now utility man didn’t last all that long as a Brave and didn’t have all that much success while he was one, but many fans were nostalgic and pleased when he returned to the roster last off season. Many were then displeased when he was shipped out with Juan Uribe to the rival Mets mid 2015, being that Johnson was having a pretty productive year. Now KJ is back. And here we are feeling pretty good again. Like I said, worth a chuckle. Right?
This should be self-explanatory. [Columbia Pictures]
These are heady, rapid-fire times in Braves Country.
During the couple of days that I’ve been piecing together thoughts for the Rebuild Reflection series, via the very complex process of passively thinking about it, mind you, the Braves have signed another pitcher in Jose Ramirez and have been linked to recently released catcher Tyler Flowers, and continue to pursue reliever Darren O’Day and utility wonderkind Ben Zobrist. So we’ll see if this write-up feels current even in just a few days. Things are indeed moving fast in Braves Country, though it’s not all that clear where or how fast.
Anywho, the current Braves roster is pretty much a work in progress across the board. One big blank canvas save for first base. Not that we don’t have some productive pieces in place, but it seems that Freeman is the only guy sure to stick around, if for no other reason than his value being so high that it’s unlikely a team will make an offer tempting enough to bite on. It may be fair to say that the pitching of the immediate future looks particularly uncertain though, so let’s examine Atlanta’s starting rotation situation heading into 2016, shall we? Read More
My first memory of my Pops involves him yelling at the television while the Braves did something insufferable… probably a called strike three. I grew up around people following the Braves. Not following the inner workings and strategies of the organization, but following the win-loss column and the rollercoaster outcomes of the long season. I think that’s where most of us started, even those of us who now find great joy in a more analytical relationship with the teams that we love. In fact, during the Braves strip down, I’ve found myself remembering that this is where the overwhelming majority of baseball fans are now, too. Not wielding modern statistics on Twitter and devouring Fangraphs articles (which you should do too!), but putting on your team’s gear and pulling hard for a damn win. Yelling at the television when your guy strikes out looking.
This mode of indulging in our game is more than ok. It’s everything. If we reduced baseball fandom down to it’s headiest patrons, baseball would be toast. The fringe doesn’t exist without the center. I definitely believe that the typical baseball fan would benefit from a basic understanding from the very useful modern statistics that have found their way into baseball (Neil Weinberg wrote a great piece about a “liberal arts education for all” in sabermetrics here at Hardball Times). But the fact is, that’s not where most of us are at. Read More