Atlanta Bullpen http://atlantabullpen.com Atlanta Braves Blog Tue, 03 Mar 2015 01:54:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Will Freddie Freeman Have Protection? http://atlantabullpen.com/will-freddie-freeman-have-protection/ http://atlantabullpen.com/will-freddie-freeman-have-protection/#respond Tue, 03 Mar 2015 01:20:38 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=11118 When you think of the term “having protection” it usually means carrying a handgun or in the case of a celebrity, having a bodyguard. Both are simple to obtain, all it takes is a phone call and a credit card. Freddie Freeman may have both, I have no idea, that is his business. But what […]

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When you think of the term “having protection” it usually means carrying a handgun or in the case of a celebrity, having a bodyguard. Both are simple to obtain, all it takes is a phone call and a credit card.

Freddie Freeman may have both, I have no idea, that is his business. But what he may not have this season is protection batting behind him that can make the opponent pay for pitching around him.

With that big contract he signed last season, Freeman is going to be paid handsomely whether he has a huge season in 2015 or not.  I think he will most likely be close to the league lead in walks, forget about home runs, RBIs and batting average.

So who will bat cleanup for the Braves this season now that Justin Upton and Evan Gattis are gone?  Chris Johnson?  Nick Markakis? Andrelton Simmons?  Christian Bethancourt?  Please don’t tell me Jonny Gomes, okay?

If Freddie Freeman wants to see good pitches this season, he will have to hang around a used car lot.  He’s not going to see many in the batter’s box this season.

Who do you think will bat clean-up behind Freeman this season?

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Upton Return Controversial? http://atlantabullpen.com/upton-return-controversial/ http://atlantabullpen.com/upton-return-controversial/#comments Sun, 01 Mar 2015 14:07:11 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=11105 Melvin Upton, Jr. (B.J. for those of you who haven’t heard about his name change) will undoubtedly cause controversy in Braves Country when he returns in May.  Until Upton returns there will be a replacement in center field, and as long as he can fog a mirror, he will put up better numbers than Upton did the […]

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"BravesMelvin Upton, Jr. (B.J. for those of you who haven’t heard about his name change) will undoubtedly cause controversy in Braves Country when he returns in May.  Until Upton returns there will be a replacement in center field, and as long as he can fog a mirror, he will put up better numbers than Upton did the past two seasons.

The candidates to replace Upton in center field are Todd Cunningham, Eric Young, Eury Perez and  Zoilo Amonte for those of you who haven’t heard.

It hasn’t been determined yet who Upton’s replacement will be or whether it will be a platoon, but if he or they are only average (.250 average, .320 on-base-percentage, a few stolen bases, average number of strikeouts) they will be a huge upgrade over what Upton has produced as a Brave.

I will even  guarantee you that Upton’s replacement will be much better.  Considering Upton was the worst hitter in baseball the past two years, that isn’t exactly reaching for the stars, is it?

We have already been told that the Braves aren’t going to just push Upton and his $45 million contract aside.  Due to the money he is owed, Upton WILL play.  But if the alternative is better (it is almost mathematically impossible for the alternative to not be better) how can the Braves shove aside a superior alternative and keep rolling Upton out there?

At some point doesn’t the good of the team override the organization’s screw-up in giving Upton all that money?  Doesn’t the Braves organization owe the other Braves players as well as the fans to put the best players on the field?

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Braves Management Worse Case Scenario? http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-management-worse-case-scenario/ http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-management-worse-case-scenario/#respond Sat, 28 Feb 2015 17:04:36 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=11096 The Braves have been in full tear down mode all winter, trading off solid major league players for prospects. Casinos and experts have taken note, almost all predicting that the Braves will finish the 2015 season with  a low 70s win total , one of the worst in major league baseball. But what happens if […]

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Braves playoffsThe Braves have been in full tear down mode all winter, trading off solid major league players for prospects. Casinos and experts have taken note, almost all predicting that the Braves will finish the 2015 season with  a low 70s win total , one of the worst in major league baseball.

But what happens if players like Freddie Freeman, Chris Johnson, Andrelton Simmons and Nick Markakis all hit up to their potential?   What if second base phenom Jose Peraza is ready and uses his blazing speed to ignite the top of the line-up? What if this team that still does have significant talent, comes in hungry and fired up and works hard and with emotion in 2015 with the laser-focused goal to prove everybody wrong?

Say what you want about the Braves potential to score runs, the starting pitching and bullpen are still very solid and will keep the Braves close in a lot of games.  It actually isn’t even a stretch to think the Braves pitching staff in 2015 could be a little better, particularly the starters.

The worst case scenario for the Braves management may be if this team is in contention for a play-off spot in July. If that happens, how could they justify trading off more veterans at the trade deadline to bring in additional minor league prospects or young players? How could they even justify NOT trading a prospect or two to bring in a needed veteran to shore up a weakness and make a playoff run?

If there is a chance to make a play off run and Braves management doesn’t take it, what is the point of fans buying tickets?

If the Braves are in playoff contention in mid-July, it could create a very interesting dilemna for the Braves front office.  After all, isn’t the real goal to point toward the new stadium opening in 2017?

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Braves Fantasy Analysis 2015 http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-fantasy-analysis-2015/ http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-fantasy-analysis-2015/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 03:07:17 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=11090 Going into the 2015 season, many fans of the Atlanta Braves have to be pretty disappointed. The perennial contenders in the National League East lost a lot of talent from a year ago, as guys such as Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Evan Gattis and Ervin Santana all find themselves on different teams. They did go […]

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"<strongGoing into the 2015 season, many fans of the Atlanta Braves have to be pretty disappointed. The perennial contenders in the National League East lost a lot of talent from a year ago, as guys such as Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Evan Gattis and Ervin Santana all find themselves on different teams.

They did go after some interesting replacements, but most experts feel like this team is at best the 3rd best team in the National League East. They will need to do a lot just to be somewhat in contention by the All-Star break. Those in fantasy baseball are interested in seeing what the newcomers can actually do.

The main new players on the Atlanta Braves include Shelby Miller, Jason Grilli, Alberto Callaspo and Jonny Gomes. All 4 players have had success in the past in fantasy baseball, but obviously they have not been dominant for prolonged periods of time.

The guys who was most likely to be a future standout is Miller, as he is still young and pretty talented on the mound. Atlanta really struggled with their pitching overall in 2014, so he could help solidify the staff.

Grilli might be 38 years of age, but some people still feel like he has something left in the tank. He is probably not going to have much fantasy baseball value unless he becomes the closer at some point for the Braves. Just 2 seasons ago, he did save 33 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates on his way to an All-Star season.

Callaspo is a guy who can be used as a bit of a utility player for Atlanta, but he certainly needs to bounce back from a dreadful 2014 season at the plate. He hit just .223 on the year, and that is not going to get things done as a guy known for being a hitter for average. A change in scenery might help, but he is starting to age not so gracefully.

Finally, perhaps the biggest wildcard will be Gomes. At times, he can look like a pretty solid hitter at the plate. However, he is mostly a part-time player at this point. Atlanta really can’t expect him to be an everyday starter in the outfield for them, especially with his power deteriorating.

Winning 79 games was a bit of a disappointment for Atlanta last year. Unfortunately, this upcoming season could be even worse. It would actually be a bit of a surprise to see them improve on their record from a year ago. Too many players left without replacing them with adequate talent.

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New Atlanta Braves App for 2015 http://atlantabullpen.com/new-atlanta-braves-app-2015/ http://atlantabullpen.com/new-atlanta-braves-app-2015/#respond Thu, 05 Feb 2015 01:36:56 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=11063 At Bat is the official app of Major League Baseball, and has seen unrivaled success in the app market over the last couple of years among other baseball-orientated apps.  But the best thing about it is that it also has offshoots for all the franchises in the MLB including our very own Atlanta Braves. At Bat […]

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At Bat is the official app of Major League Baseball, and has seen unrivaled success in the app market over the last couple of years among other baseball-orientated apps.  But the best thing about it is that it also has offshoots for all the franchises in the MLB including our very own Atlanta Braves.

At Bat has been downloaded more than 1.2 million times by baseball fans over the world.  And although the At Bat created Atlanta Braves app has only received a rather modest 6,300 downloads, it has garnered glowing reviews from Braves fans.

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The award-winning MLB app will help Braves fans keep updated with 2015 schedules, player and coaching rosters. It also has extensive “expert analysis of all 30 MLB clubs,” if you want to research Braves upcoming opponents.  The app is free to download but also has a subscription package that enables subscribers to access a selection of archive footage, re-live regular season highlights, and a slew of exclusive interviews with some of the biggest stars in baseball today.  This new and improved service is available for $2.99 per month, although MLB.TV Premium subscribers will be eligible to receive this service free of charge.

Although the aforementioned Atlanta Braves app downloads statistics don’t seem too much as reported by XYO the download rates are expected to increase dramatically in 2015.  With mobile Internet connectivity expected to surpass the PC-installed base, Gaming Realms the architects behind PocketFruity claim this will mean many fans will divert their attention from browsing the Internet via their PCs and utilize more mobile apps instead to source information.

It’s also worth noting that the MLB is shifting its focus to investing heavily in apps such as these to help build its brand using the current thriving mobile market.  In 2015, expect further modifications to its official app in order to supply Braves and MLB fans worldwide with the best on the go service available.

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Braves Series Against Nationals Key? http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-series-nationals-key/ http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-series-nationals-key/#comments Fri, 04 Apr 2014 12:09:24 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=9169 The Braves play the Nationals today in a rare Friday afternoon game.  Unless my memory is starting to soften, I can’t ever remember the Braves playing a regularly scheduled tilt on a Friday afternoon.  Can you? Half the Braves fan base probably won’t realize the game was played in the afternoon until they sit down […]

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Nationals Park

Nationals Park

The Braves play the Nationals today in a rare Friday afternoon game.  Unless my memory is starting to soften, I can’t ever remember the Braves playing a regularly scheduled tilt on a Friday afternoon.  Can you?

Half the Braves fan base probably won’t realize the game was played in the afternoon until they sit down with their favorite beverage after dinner and turn on the TV to watch a game that is long over.

I’ve been going back and forth trying to decide if this is a “key” series against the Nationals.  Win or lose there will be 156 games left in the season unless a game or games are postponed due to inclement weather, earthquake, or problems with the Obamacare website.  So it really isn’t a “key” series unless the Braves win or lose all three.

Lose all three and fall four games behind the Nationals with 2-3 more weeks before Minor and Floyd return to the starting rotation would not be a good thing.

Make sure you set aside time Saturday night to watch Julio Teheran square off against Nationals ace, Stephen Strasburg, at 7 p.m. ET.  There’s gonna be more K’s than a Mike Krzyzewski family reunion.

The Braves home opener is Tuesday and I don’t like having that event after the season has gone on for over a week. It is like arriving at a New Year’s Eve party at 1:30 in the morning.  Nonetheless, make sure you get your tickets for the game, this is your first opportunity to see the Braves collection of new millionaires in person.

Have a great Friday and don’t forget to pick up your parting gifts on the way out.

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Same Old Braves So Far http://atlantabullpen.com/old-braves-far/ http://atlantabullpen.com/old-braves-far/#comments Thu, 03 Apr 2014 17:42:39 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=9155 It’s only one game and only one series, but the Braves showed us something against the Brewers in Milwaukee. Atlanta won in typical Braves fashion, with pitching and defense and after the losses in the starting rotation, that is huge for team and fan confidence. Aaron Harang just shut up all the naysayers who questioned […]

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Tim Hudson

Tim Hudson

It’s only one game and only one series, but the Braves showed us something against the Brewers in Milwaukee. Atlanta won in typical Braves fashion, with pitching and defense and after the losses in the starting rotation, that is huge for team and fan confidence.

Aaron Harang just shut up all the naysayers who questioned the move in releasing Freddy Garcia to sign him.  His fastball was sitting at 91/92 with good movement and his location was excellent.  Only one walk in 6 1/3 innings, you gotta love that.

What can’t be discounted is how the Braves organization, philosophy and coaching provide the environment and the tools for players to be successful.  No different from any of us working for a company, in the right environment we thrive, in the wrong environment we shrivel up.

Some notables:  Jordan Schafer inserted in left in place of Justin Upton for defensive purposes, only one Braves regular hitting above .300, B.J. Upton now sitting at .083 (1 for 12) with 6 strikeouts and .008 ahead of his brother, Justin.

Craig Kimbrel looks to be in mid-season form with 2 saves in 2 attempts with 4 strikeouts in 2 innings.  Much better than he was last season after participating in the World Baseball Classic.

From the “in case you missed it file”…Tim Hudson debuted for the Giants in grand fashion, going 7 2/3 innings and giving up zero runs on only 3 hits to get the win.  He didn’t walk anybody and struck out 7 in a dominating performance.  If Harang hadn’t pitched as well as he did yesterday, the magpies would be lighting up  the internet about how the Braves should have resigned Hudson.

What are your thoughts on the Braves series against Milwaukee and heading into Washington to face the Nationals this weekend?

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Wood Gets Braves On Board http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-get-board/ http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-get-board/#comments Wed, 02 Apr 2014 15:00:18 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=9145 The Braves notched their first win of the season behind starter Alex Wood and two homers by Freddie Freeman, a homer by Jason Heyward and two doubles by Dan Uggla.  That isn’t a misprint or writer error, Uggla stroked two doubles. I don’t want to get too excited too early, but Uggla has been “on […]

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Alex Wood Braves pitcher

Alex Wood

The Braves notched their first win of the season behind starter Alex Wood and two homers by Freddie Freeman, a homer by Jason Heyward and two doubles by Dan Uggla.  That isn’t a misprint or writer error, Uggla stroked two doubles.

I don’t want to get too excited too early, but Uggla has been “on the ball” the first two games, driving it to all fields with authority.  I figured he would have a big year next season since it is the last year of his contract, if he could do it this year too that would be a welcome bonus.  I’d like to see Uggla do it for at least a month before proclaiming that he is “back.”  I’m guardedly optimistic so far based on what I’ve seen.

How about Alex Wood?  Seven strong innings and only gave up one run on five hits while striking out five against a good line-up.  Like Teheran he showed poise out on the mound and didn’t give in to the hitters.  He walked three, but got 11 ground ball outs that resulted in three double plays.  The Braves need Teheran and Wood to be their backbone in the first few weeks of the season and that is exactly what they did in this series in Milwaukee..

Few games are “must wins” or “big” this early in the season, but the fact remains that the Braves will send aging veteran Aaron Harang to the mound today and then after a day off the Braves start a 3-game series in Washington against the Nationals.  So nice win against the Brewers and lets win the series today at 1:10 p.m. ET.

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Braves Loss Only One Game…Right? http://atlantabullpen.com/good-braves-ugly/ http://atlantabullpen.com/good-braves-ugly/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 15:42:47 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=9132 The Braves are one game into a 162 game season so you can’t assume much of anything after the Opening Day loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.  But the game did look eerily similar to what we were used to seeing last season when the Braves struggled.  At the very least you can say that not […]

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Julion Teheran Braves Pitcher

Julio Teheran

The Braves are one game into a 162 game season so you can’t assume much of anything after the Opening Day loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.  But the game did look eerily similar to what we were used to seeing last season when the Braves struggled.  At the very least you can say that not a lot has changed.

The good news is that Julio Teheran pitched well despite not having his good stuff.  His fastball was sitting consistently at 91-92, when he’s got it cranked up it is mid 90s.  Nonetheless, he got ahead of hitters and only gave up two runs. Teheran was poised and looked like a seasoned veteran in front of 45,000+ hostile fans in Milwaukee.

Two of the Braves rookie relievers, Ian Thomas and Gus Schlosser, came in and pitched well.  Schlosser in particular looked good, giving up no hits in 1 2/3 innings.  Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell could probably take a high school pitcher and coach him up to get major league hitters out.  Well maybe not, but you get the point.

Now for the bad news and there is a fair amount when you lose 2-0.  Last season the Braves led the majors in getting shut out.  Yesterday they showed they are fully capable of defending their title.

Yovani Gallado is a very good pitcher and when he has it going, he is hard to hit .  But his career ERA is over 3.70 so hell, somebody is hitting him.  The positive to draw on is that the Braves only struck out 4 times.

Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton went 0 for 8 and the sun set last night and came up again this morning, so what else is new? The talking heads on the post game show were saying that both have a better approach this season and you can tell they worked hard in the off-season.  They pointed out that Uggla hit the ball hard a few times and was hard luck.  $27 million invested in two guys and it has come down to moral victories.

The Nationals beat the Mets 9-7 yesterday, so the Braves are officially 1 game behind already in the NL East.  Here is the million dollar question:  Will they ever lead the division this season?  The question sounds way premature and negative and ridiculous.  But is it really?  The Braves have lost 9 of their last 10 in Milwaukee and head to Washington this weekend with a depleted starting rotation.  Playing from behind this season against Washington is not a good idea.

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Braves vs Brewers GameDay Experience 3/31/14 http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-vs-brewers-gameday-experience-33114/ http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-vs-brewers-gameday-experience-33114/#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2014 16:49:43 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=9123 The Atlanta Braves open the season against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park in Milwaukee at 2:10 p.m. today. Atlanta will play Milwaukee seven times this season, three in Milwaukee during this opening series and four in Atlanta May 19-22. Miller Park has not been a safe haven for the Braves, they lost eight straight […]

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Braves CapsThe Atlanta Braves open the season against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park in Milwaukee at 2:10 p.m. today. Atlanta will play Milwaukee seven times this season, three in Milwaukee during this opening series and four in Atlanta May 19-22.

Miller Park has not been a safe haven for the Braves, they lost eight straight in the Brewers home park dating back to April, 2011, before winning the last game last season in BrewTown.

Julio Teheran gets his first Opening Day start in his young career, it will be interesting to see how he handles the grand stage.  Teheran struggled last season in the playoffs against the Dodgers.  Did he learn from that experience and is he ready to assume his role as the Braves’ ace?

What doesn’t make a lot of sense is that the Braves are opening on the road for the tenth time in the past ten seasons. Why does a team that resides in the sunbelt go on the road so many times to start the season in late March/early April?  Shouldn’t the northern teams be scheduled to play the early season games in the south at least 50% of the time if not more?  Doesn’t make sense…

My adrenaline is flowing in anticipation of this season getting underway.  How about you??  Join us for game day discussion underneath this article in the comments section as we break down the action as it unfolds!!

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