Atlanta Bullpen http://atlantabullpen.com Atlanta Braves Blog Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:00:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Alex Wood Concerns? http://atlantabullpen.com/alex-wood-concerns/ http://atlantabullpen.com/alex-wood-concerns/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 12:29:07 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=49617 Braves starter Alex Wood hasn’t been sharp so far this season, walking 6 batters in 11 innings, while registering a 3.86 ERA.  He struggled Sunday against the Mets, giving up 8 hits and 3 walks in 6.2 innings. Wood was able to limit the Mets to 3 runs, he hasn’t lost his ability to battle […]

The post Alex Wood Concerns? appeared first on Atlanta Bullpen.

]]>
Alex Wood StarterBraves starter Alex Wood hasn’t been sharp so far this season, walking 6 batters in 11 innings, while registering a 3.86 ERA.  He struggled Sunday against the Mets, giving up 8 hits and 3 walks in 6.2 innings.

Wood was able to limit the Mets to 3 runs, he hasn’t lost his ability to battle when in trouble.  If he keeps struggling to throw strikes, though, he’s going to be battling a lot this season.

But what really concerns about Wood is his drop in velocity.  According to FanGraphs.com, when he came up to the Braves in 2013, Wood’s velocity with his 4-seam fastball was 91.7 mph.  Last season he threw the same pitch at 89.8 and this season he is down to 89.4.  I watched the radar gun closely at yesterday’s game, he only touched 90 once.  Although admittedly I did get distracted and missed some pitches.

When Wood came up to the Braves in ’13, he was throwing his 2-seam fastball at 93.8, he hasn’t used his 2-seamer since according to FanGraphs, so we can’t compare that velocity to now.  But why isn’t Wood using the 2-seamer, if for no other reason to use it as a waste pitch and keep batters off the plate?

Whenever a pitcher starts  dropping in velocity, it can be a red flag of concern.  Wood is only 24 years old, if anything his velocity should be improving, not declining.  Granted, Wood has made himself into more of a pitcher than a power guy, but still, he’s not topping out at all.

There aren’t a lot of pitchers around nowadays who consistently throw their fastball below 90 mph.  To put things in perspective, Aaron Harang was regularly throwing 91/92 last season and he’s considered a guy who is approaching the end of his career and not a hard thrower anymore.

Another concern is how sound is Wood’s arm?  When pitchers start dropping in velocity it can mean the wear and tear of throwing all the pitches is heading towards injury.  Lets hope that is not the case with Alex Wood and his loss of speed is something mechanical that can be fixed.

With the announcement that Mike Minor is still struggling with arm problems and will be out longer than expected with no timetable, the Braves cannot afford to lose Alex Wood.

The post Alex Wood Concerns? appeared first on Atlanta Bullpen.

]]>
http://atlantabullpen.com/alex-wood-concerns/feed/ 1
Braves Valiant in Defeat http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-valiant-in-defeat/ http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-valiant-in-defeat/#respond Mon, 13 Apr 2015 01:59:34 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=49504 The Atlanta Braves had their winning streak snapped today, but they were still valiant in defeat.  Three times they came back from a deficit to tie the Mets,  only to see New York push across a run in the eighth for the victory. This was the first game this season the Braves have trailed.  Obviously […]

The post Braves Valiant in Defeat appeared first on Atlanta Bullpen.

]]>
Atlanta StadiumThe Atlanta Braves had their winning streak snapped today, but they were still valiant in defeat.  Three times they came back from a deficit to tie the Mets,  only to see New York push across a run in the eighth for the victory.

This was the first game this season the Braves have trailed.  Obviously they haven’t been shut out yet this season, either, something that happened all too often the past couple years.

Starting in April you are never really sure how good or bad the team will be as the long season unfolds.  So you look for how the team responds in certain situations.  I was very impressed by the way the Braves responded today after falling behind.

The Braves now stand at 5-1, today’s loss is the only game this season that the bullpen has given up a run.  That is an absolutely incredible stat, especially considering the Braves have a lot of new faces in the bullpen.

The Marlins come in to Turner Field tomorrow night for a three game series, they should be breathing fire after being swept by the Braves in Miami to start the season.

Lets see how the Braves respond to that challenge.

The post Braves Valiant in Defeat appeared first on Atlanta Bullpen.

]]>
http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-valiant-in-defeat/feed/ 0
Are Braves Real? http://atlantabullpen.com/are-braves-real/ http://atlantabullpen.com/are-braves-real/#comments Sat, 11 Apr 2015 13:41:38 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=45453 The Braves are off to a surprising 4-0 behind solid pitching and an offense that is actually executing the fundamentals.  To put Atlanta’s start into perspective, the Braves were in first place a couple months into last season, so don’t buy the champagne quite yet. Are these Braves for real?  What is great about baseball […]

The post Are Braves Real? appeared first on Atlanta Bullpen.

]]>
Braves Player SwingingThe Braves are off to a surprising 4-0 behind solid pitching and an offense that is actually executing the fundamentals.  To put Atlanta’s start into perspective, the Braves were in first place a couple months into last season, so don’t buy the champagne quite yet.

Are these Braves for real?  What is great about baseball is that we will find out nearly every day for 162 games.

What you have to love about this team is the relief pitching (not a surprise with pitching coach Roger McDowell still a Brave) the bench (Fredi Gonzalez has never had this type versatility with his position players) and what new hitting coach Kevin Seitzer has done with Andrelton Simmons and Chris Johnson.  Both look markedly better in their mechanics and approach.

Great recent news, Mike Minor starting to throw and feel better.  Eric Stults is a spot starter and arm in the bullpen, not a fourth starter.  A healthy Minor along with number five Trevor Cahil give the Braves a solid starting rotation.

At the end of the day, what is fun about this Braves team is that they play hard and in particular, play good defense.  When they lose, it won’t be because they made silly errors, or struck out 15  times against some journeyman pitcher, who shouldn’t even be in the league.

The post Are Braves Real? appeared first on Atlanta Bullpen.

]]>
http://atlantabullpen.com/are-braves-real/feed/ 2
Chipper Jones Guzzling the Kool-Aid http://atlantabullpen.com/chipper-jones-guzzling-the-kool-aid/ http://atlantabullpen.com/chipper-jones-guzzling-the-kool-aid/#comments Mon, 06 Apr 2015 02:24:23 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=29560 Our beloved Chipper Jones is evidently guzzling John Hart‘s Kool-Aid and smacking his lips it tastes so good. Chipper is wholeheartedly behind the Braves dumping Kimbrel. Based on this mentality, why not go ahead and dump Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons, too.  Go ahead and throw in Teheran, Alex Wood and Shelby Miller while you […]

The post Chipper Jones Guzzling the Kool-Aid appeared first on Atlanta Bullpen.

]]>
Chipper RealCJ10Our beloved Chipper Jones is evidently guzzling John Hart‘s Kool-Aid and smacking his lips it tastes so good. Chipper is wholeheartedly behind the Braves dumping Kimbrel.

Based on this mentality, why not go ahead and dump Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons, too.  Go ahead and throw in Teheran, Alex Wood and Shelby Miller while you are on a roll.  The Braves should get rid of all their good major league players now and obtain more prospects so they can REALLY rebuild for the future.

I ask you one common sense question:  how does trading the best closer in baseball, the one Braves true star who is only in his mid 20s, get the Braves back to what made them?  HOW???

The whole thing doesn’t make sense, signing Nick Markakis for $44 million, right after dumping Heyward, Justin Upton and Evan Gattis.  Now dumping Craig Kimbrel.

This comes after last season signing Kimbrel, Freeman, Simmons, Chris Johnson and Teheran to huge deals.  Lets not forget that Schuerholz, Bobby Cox and John Hart were all there when those deals were signed.  Frank Wren isn’t the blame for everything.

If you have ever taken business courses in college, the Braves appear to be in crisis management mode.  No plan, just rolling from one idea to another, trying to find something that sounds good.  When in doubt, sell off assets and bamboozle your customers with the fantasy of a rosy future, with the new Emerald City awaiting in two years.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road, baby!

The post Chipper Jones Guzzling the Kool-Aid appeared first on Atlanta Bullpen.

]]>
http://atlantabullpen.com/chipper-jones-guzzling-the-kool-aid/feed/ 2
Braves 2015 Season Officially Dead on Easter Sunday http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-2015-season-officially-dead-on-easter-sunday/ http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-2015-season-officially-dead-on-easter-sunday/#comments Mon, 06 Apr 2015 00:40:21 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=29198 The Braves dumped fan favorite Craig Kimbrel, traded him to the San Diego Padres, and to rub salt in the fans’ wounds they announced it on Easter Sunday, no less.  Ironic that on Easter Sunday Jesus rose from the dead, the Braves just officially killed their 2015 season with no ascension in sight. Teams like […]

The post Braves 2015 Season Officially Dead on Easter Sunday appeared first on Atlanta Bullpen.

]]>
Craig KimbrelThe Braves dumped fan favorite Craig Kimbrel, traded him to the San Diego Padres, and to rub salt in the fans’ wounds they announced it on Easter Sunday, no less.  Ironic that on Easter Sunday Jesus rose from the dead, the Braves just officially killed their 2015 season with no ascension in sight.

Teams like to announce unpopular trades late Friday afternoon or on the weekend. The news cycle is slow during those days and won’t get as much fan and media backlash.  Sorry Braves, no way in hell you will be able to sneak this trade under the cover of darkness.  It will get the full backlash that it richly deserves.

Craig Kimbrel was the Braves one superstar.  That guy is a stud, and every home game you knew that the bottom of the ninth with the Braves leading by three runs or less, the scoreboard would go dark and when Kimbrel commenced running in from the bullpen, the flames would erupt everywhere around the stadium and the fans would go crazy.

The Braves have built up a lot of good will over the years with Braves fans but I will tell you what, I’m damn mad about this and I don’t give a damn that there will be a new stadium in 2017 with a supposedly good team.  This year’s team will stink and what reason is there for the fans to go to the stadium and spend money?

Anyone care about 2017 right now?  That new stadium that is still two years away keeping you warm at night?

For a lot of Braves fans this news is lousy enough but to announce it on Easter Sunday when many people are relaxing with their families is absolutely cruel.  I’m sorry, but that is how I feel.

The post Braves 2015 Season Officially Dead on Easter Sunday appeared first on Atlanta Bullpen.

]]>
http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-2015-season-officially-dead-on-easter-sunday/feed/ 6
John Smoltz Atlanta Braves Net Worth http://atlantabullpen.com/john-smoltz-atlanta-braves-net-worth/ http://atlantabullpen.com/john-smoltz-atlanta-braves-net-worth/#respond Sat, 04 Apr 2015 14:35:35 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=22334 John Smoltz, former Atlanta Braves pitcher and Hall of Famer, has a net worth that is speculated to be $60 million.  Maybe dad should have spent more time when you were young, playing catch in the backyard? I’m not sure why we care about the net worth of John Smoltz or any other sports celebrities, […]

The post John Smoltz Atlanta Braves Net Worth appeared first on Atlanta Bullpen.

]]>
John SmoltzJohn Smoltz, former Atlanta Braves pitcher and Hall of Famer, has a net worth that is speculated to be $60 million.  Maybe dad should have spent more time when you were young, playing catch in the backyard?

I’m not sure why we care about the net worth of John Smoltz or any other sports celebrities, but when you see the high ratings for shows like TMZ and the number of magazines sold about celebrities, it is obvious a sizable number of people DO care.

If you were watching the Braves back in the 1990s, you know that Smoltz was worth every penny he made.  He was better than Glavine and Maddux in the playoffs, if the Braves had three John Smoltzes instead of one John Smoltz, one Tom Glavine and one Greg Maddux, they would have won a few more World Championships.  Smoltz was that good in the post season.

Smoltz isn’t worth as much as Glavine or Maddux, though.  Greg Maddux has a net worth estimated around $70 million and Glavine over $100 million.  Braves fan favorite Chipper Jones is estimated to be worth $110 million.

So Even though Smoltzie was the Braves MVP in the playoffs, his paycheck and current net worth don’t match the incredible playoff performances that he delivered. I’m sure he is getting by and able to pay the bills on his $60 million nest egg, though.

The net worth figures in this article were obtained from Celebrity Net Worth.

The post John Smoltz Atlanta Braves Net Worth appeared first on Atlanta Bullpen.

]]>
http://atlantabullpen.com/john-smoltz-atlanta-braves-net-worth/feed/ 0
Braves Acquire Former All-Star http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-acquire-former-all-star/ http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-acquire-former-all-star/#respond Fri, 03 Apr 2015 02:23:57 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=17796 The Atlanta Braves made a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks to acquire a former All-Star pitcher.  The Braves gave up minor league outfielder Josh Elander in the trade. Atlanta acquired 6-4, 220 pound starter Trevor Cahill in the trade. Cahill has appeared in 186 games in his major league career (170 starts) He made the […]

The post Braves Acquire Former All-Star appeared first on Atlanta Bullpen.

]]>
Braves AerialThe Atlanta Braves made a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks to acquire a former All-Star pitcher.  The Braves gave up minor league outfielder Josh Elander in the trade.

Atlanta acquired 6-4, 220 pound starter Trevor Cahill in the trade. Cahill has appeared in 186 games in his major league career (170 starts) He made the American League All-Star team in 2010 when he compiled an 18-8 record and finished fourth in the American League with a 2.97 ERA. His 34 starts that season led the league.

Cahill had a dismal 3-12 record last season with a bloated 5.61 ERA, so pitching coach Roger McDowell will have his work cut out for him in getting Cahill straightened out.

Prior to 2014 Cahill was a decent starter for Arizona, compiling a 3.99 ERA in 144.2 innings in 2013 and a 3.78 ERA in 2012 when he logged 200 innings.

This is a good acquisition for Atlanta, providing depth in the back end of the starting rotation without giving up much.

The post Braves Acquire Former All-Star appeared first on Atlanta Bullpen.

]]>
http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-acquire-former-all-star/feed/ 0
Braves Bad Good News http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-bad-good-news/ http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-bad-good-news/#respond Wed, 01 Apr 2015 11:51:17 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=12874 Normally when there’s word that an injured starter is beginning to progress and will resume workouts soon, it is great news.  The fan base breathes a huge sigh of relief and the mental calendar is noted when the hero is expected to return. Unfortunately for the Atlanta Braves and Braves fans, the Melvin Upton situation is […]

The post Braves Bad Good News appeared first on Atlanta Bullpen.

]]>
Braves Fan ShotNormally when there’s word that an injured starter is beginning to progress and will resume workouts soon, it is great news.  The fan base breathes a huge sigh of relief and the mental calendar is noted when the hero is expected to return.

Unfortunately for the Atlanta Braves and Braves fans, the Melvin Upton situation is not normal.  I’m sure when many Braves fans heard that Upton received clearance to begin ramping up activites on Friday, they didn’t breathe at all.  All good things must come to an end, the old cliche goes.

In normal life, humans almost always wish and pray for the sick and injured to get well.  But sports is not normal life and while fans don’t wish Upton any ill in his personal life, a reasonable setback that keeps his strikeouts and errors out of their consciousness can’t be all bad, can it?

Personally, I don’t think that way, but I’ve read and heard Braves fans who have expressed the sentiment.

After all, the man is making $15 million a year and who wouldn’t accept a minor foot injury for that kind of money?

A friend of mine has a saying that she uses all the time, oftentimes to my annoyance.  She learned it from a psychology professor she had in college.  It goes, “everything is always as it should be.”  At this point in time, I’m sure many Braves fans look at Upton’s absence from the Braves line-up through the prism of this saying.

The post Braves Bad Good News appeared first on Atlanta Bullpen.

]]>
http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-bad-good-news/feed/ 0
Braves Key Player 2015 http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-key-player-2015/ http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-key-player-2015/#respond Mon, 30 Mar 2015 02:27:38 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=11265 The Atlanta Braves are predicted by the experts to really struggle in 2015.  Despite dire predictions, there is significant talent on this team that could elevate above and beyond expectations. In looking at the roster and evaluating the available talent, is there one player that could break out and have the huge year that ignites […]

The post Braves Key Player 2015 appeared first on Atlanta Bullpen.

]]>
Braves CapsThe Atlanta Braves are predicted by the experts to really struggle in 2015.  Despite dire predictions, there is significant talent on this team that could elevate above and beyond expectations.

In looking at the roster and evaluating the available talent, is there one player that could break out and have the huge year that ignites the team?  In other words, who could be the Braves key player in 2015?

Freddie Freeman is an All-Star first baseman, Craig Kimbrel is arguably the best closer in baseball and Julio Teheran is an elite starter.  All three must be solid if the Braves are going to have a good year.

Cross out Kimbrel and Teheran as this season’s key player, pitching isn’t the big question mark, the Braves need run production.  So is Freeman key in 2015?  No, for the simple reason that teams are not going to let Freddie Freeman beat them in 2015.  It will have to be someone else.

Andrelton Simmons is the key Braves player in 2015.  He has already won two Golden Gloves and has the physical talent to break out at the plate and have a huge season.  He is now listed at 6’2″, 195 pounds and looks as much like a corner infielder, as he does a slick fielding shortstop.

While Simmons has been an okay hitter so far in his major league career (.252 avg, .297 OBP, .372 slug %)  he is capable of much more.  Simmons hit .299 in his three minor league seasons with a .352 OBP and .397 slugging percentage and I expect him to put up better numbers than that this season..

Simmons is currently hitting .417 this spring with a .432 OBP, .611 slugging percentage and 2 homers with 12 RBIs. Just meaningless spring numbers, except that his approach and fundamentals look much better than they have at any time in his major league career. His stance and balance are now solid, he isn’t desperately flailing at pitches trying to jerk everything into the left field parking lot.

Simmons has the talent to put up sizable numbers, and if the braves are going to elevate this season, his production at the plate is key.   Maturity and approach have been the main problems in the past, but now at 25 years old and with new hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, expect Simmons to have a big season.

The post Braves Key Player 2015 appeared first on Atlanta Bullpen.

]]>
http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-key-player-2015/feed/ 0
Surprise Player Leading Braves Spring http://atlantabullpen.com/surprise-player-leading-braves-spring/ http://atlantabullpen.com/surprise-player-leading-braves-spring/#respond Sun, 29 Mar 2015 02:02:03 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=11239 A few weeks ago the Braves Pedro Ciriaco had a big game and I commented that you will never hear from him again.  Well, Ciriaco has stuffed it down my throat and twisted it sideways. Ciriaco is hitting .380 this spring, with one homer, a .520 slugging percentage and is leading the Braves with 14 RBIs.  He […]

The post Surprise Player Leading Braves Spring appeared first on Atlanta Bullpen.

]]>
Atlanta Braves SpringA few weeks ago the Braves Pedro Ciriaco had a big game and I commented that you will never hear from him again.  Well, Ciriaco has stuffed it down my throat and twisted it sideways.

Ciriaco is hitting .380 this spring, with one homer, a .520 slugging percentage and is leading the Braves with 14 RBIs.  He has one triple, two doubles and has struck out only eight times.

The Braves need players to step up this season and drive in runs and nobody is doing it better now than Pedro Ciraco.  His .380 average is second on the team behind Freddie Freeman.

The 6’0′ 180 pound journeyman second baseman has a career .270 average in 470 major league at bats with Boston, Kansas City and Pittsburgh.  He has hit .303 in the National League, although it is in only 33 at bats.

Ciriaco won’t head north with the major league team since the Braves already have Jace Peterson, Alberto Callaspo and Phil Gosselin to play second.  He probably could have batted a thousand this spring and not beaten out Callaspo and his $3 million free agent contract. Baseball is a lot about finances, you know.

Gosselin fits well in the utility role and Peterson has flat played well this spring.

Within the next week Pedro Ciriaco and his .380 spring batting average will vaporize.  When you consider how hitting-starved the Braves are, it does make you pause to wonder if it is the right move, cutting a guy who has got it done with the bat, even if it is only spring training.

The post Surprise Player Leading Braves Spring appeared first on Atlanta Bullpen.

]]>
http://atlantabullpen.com/surprise-player-leading-braves-spring/feed/ 0