Atlanta Bullpen http://atlantabullpen.com Atlanta Braves Blog Wed, 22 Apr 2015 12:05:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.2 The New Uggla and B.J. Upton? http://atlantabullpen.com/the-new-uggla-and-b-j-upton/ http://atlantabullpen.com/the-new-uggla-and-b-j-upton/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 12:02:20 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=75127 The Braves are 13 games into this mostly feel good season and despite many positives, there are a few negatives.  Three players in particular are performing at B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla levels. Atlanta will not have a chance to be a .500 team if the number four and number five starter positions are not […]

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Braves Fan ShotThe Braves are 13 games into this mostly feel good season and despite many positives, there are a few negatives.  Three players in particular are performing at B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla levels.

Atlanta will not have a chance to be a .500 team if the number four and number five starter positions are not straightened out.  Trevor Cahill was knocked out early again last night, that’s four bad starts in a row combined for Eric Stults and Cahill.

In 10 innings pitched, Stults has given up 12 hits and sports a lofty 6.30 earned run average  Hitters are banging out a .324 average against Stults.  Cahill is even worse, in 6.1 innings pitched, he has given up 10 hits and has a 9.95 ERA.  Batters are hitting at a Ted Williams-like .345 against Cahill.

Stults and Cahill aren’t alone in the goat pen, center fielder Cameron Maybin is hitting a B.J. Upton-like .147 and has 12 strikeouts in only 34 at bats.  He does have 3 home runs and 5 RBIs, so there is a little hope.

The Braves don’t have enough money invested in any of these players where they would hang around long enough to be hated like B.J. and Uggla.  However, there are two factors that could keep them around long enough that the fans could developing some serious loathing.

Atlanta doesn’t have a lot of of organizaional depth when it comes to starting pitchers, or center fielders.  Combined with the Braves maddening habit of keeping players long past the time that everyone else knows that they can be effective, could keep these three players in Atlanta for a while.

The names change, but somehow things remain the same.

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Braves Have Sugar Blues http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-have-sugar-blues/ http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-have-sugar-blues/#respond Sun, 19 Apr 2015 13:49:02 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=66777 The Braves lost to the Blue Jays 6-5 in 10 innings Saturday afternoon when reliever Sugar Ray Marimon gave up a long home run to DH Josh Donaldson.  It didn’t take long for Donaldson to size up Marimon, the blast came on Marimon’s second pitch. Unless you took the time to do some internet research, […]

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Turner FieldThe Braves lost to the Blue Jays 6-5 in 10 innings Saturday afternoon when reliever Sugar Ray Marimon gave up a long home run to DH Josh Donaldson.  It didn’t take long for Donaldson to size up Marimon, the blast came on Marimon’s second pitch.

Unless you took the time to do some internet research, you are probably wondering who is Sugar Ray Marimon.  His birth name actually is Sugar Ray, not Ray with the Sugar monicker stuck in the front.

Sugar Ray is of course the nickname of former boxing champions “Sugar” Ray Leonard and “Sugar” Ray Robinson.  Sugar Ray Marimon in his two appearances with the Braves has been absorbing the punches, rather than throwing them.  His line is 4 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 6.75 ERA.

The Braves acquired Marimon in the off-season by signing him to a minor league contract.  He had spent his entire baseball career in the Kansas City Royals minor league system.  It wasn’t a stellar career, over nine seasons Marimon compiled a 4.13 ERA in 656 2/3 innings.

I looked around the internet to come up with some insight on Marimon, the first info I found was from the fairly well respected website called RotoWorld.  Here is their assessment of Marimon when the Braves signed him, “Marimon has spent his entire professional career in the Royals’ organization and compiled a 3.19 ERA and 84/35 K/BB ratio over 115 2/3 innings last season between three different levels in the minors. He turned 26 in September and is strictly organizational depth.”

Note the term “organizational depth” that RotoWorld used to describe Marimon.  That is code word for being a warm body who is going to stay in the minors unless half the major league club gets malaria.

Well, Marimon is a major leaguer and no one got sick or hurt for him to end up in Atlanta.  Not to dump on Marimon, but having him in Atlanta right now shows that the minor league pitching depth isn’t very good at the moment.

Hopefully some of the Braves younger and better arms will develop quick or there will be more unhappy late inning losses like yesterday.

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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 […]

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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.

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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 […]

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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.

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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 […]

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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.

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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 […]

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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!

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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 […]

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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.

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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, […]

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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.

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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 […]

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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.

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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 […]

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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.

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