What The Atlanta Braves Should Do

Overview

Behind one of the game’s better-looking rosters, the Braves have overcome a 9-14 April by winning nearly 70% of their games since. Turner Field has been a house of horrors for opposing teams, with the Braves winning nearly 80% of their games at home and outscoring their opponents by 51 runs (as opposed to a sub-.500 record on the road and only a +13 run differential). They are currently in first place.

Buy or Sell?

Undoubtedly the Braves’ record makes them candidates to acquire even more talent. They’re pretty much set at catcher with Brian McCann. At first base Troy Glaus has been a fantastic low-risk, high-reward signing (as has Eric Hinske) while Martin Prado is flashing power and on-base abilities along with being a human vuvuzela. The left side of the infield has a collective line of roughly .245/.367/.330, suggesting they can get on base, but can’t hit for power. It seems unlikely they add a new third baseman or shortstop, though.

The outfield definitely needs help. Nate McLouth is out after an outfield collision and Melky Cabrera is usually out when batting. Hinske and Jason Heyward are good, and Matt Diaz should return soon, but the Braves have had to turn to players like Brent Clevlen and Gregor Blanco to make ends meet. Someone like Luke Scott would fit in, as would David DeJesus, or hey, maybe Alex Gordon, which would give the Braves a Chipper Jones replacement for next year (if he does retire) and an outfielder this year.

Their pen is one of the three or four best in the game. The rotation features one elite starter in Tommy Hanson then a few guys closer to average. Kris Medlen has filled in admirably, but Jair Jurrjens should soon return from the disabled list which makes the unit stronger, even if it means Kenshin Kawakami sliding to the bullpen.

On The Farm

First base prospect Freddie Freeman and outfielder Jordan Schafer are the Braves’ hotter positional prospect names bound to rise in trade rumors. Pitching is the Braves’ oil, though, and they feature a number of intriguing and attractive arms. There’s Julio Teheran, a teenager with top of the rotation stuff but bullpen durability to date; Arodys Vizcaino, whom they acquired in the Javier Vazquez deal as well as Craig Kimbrel, Randall Delgado, and Ezekiel Spruill. Oh, and their top draft pick in 2008 is Mike Minor.

Budget

The Braves’ opening day payroll of ~84 million is their lowest since the 2000 season. Even last year they had a payroll over $95 million, which suggests an increase could be possible, particularly with the Bobby Cox’s ever-looming retirement occurring at season’s end.

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Mr. Sanchez
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Mr. Sanchez

Not bad, although I’d consider Tim Hudson closer to elite starter than average. Also, Mike Minor was the top pick last year, (2009) and Julio Teheran has shown much more than “bullpen durability”. He had an issue in 2008, as a 17 yr old playing in Danville, but hasn’t had any since and regularly works relatively deep into games.

MetsKnicksRutgers
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MetsKnicksRutgers

He has nearly a 1:1 k:bb last time I checked which was last week. In class right now so don’t have time to check but I don’t imagine it’s changed much. The gb is nice but that’s about it with Hudson. Granted, he is still pretty good but not elite

Mr. Sanchez
Guest
Mr. Sanchez

So having a high strikeout rate is the only way to judge an effective P? And his rate has been improving since the early season when he struggled with a few high walk games (he had an Ok, 5bb game in April, and 1k, 6bb game in May). If you take out those two games, his K:BB goes from 41:34 to a much more respectable 40:23.

The walks have been a bit of a problem, but Hudson has never been a high strikeout guy, spending most seasons of his VERY successful career with a K/9 under 7 and a career mark of 6ks per 9.

Jason B
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Jason B

I don’t disagree with the Dirty Sanchez that Hudson has been a very good pitcher this year. Still, you can’t just exclude the two games that most negatively impact his K:BB ratio. No cherry-picking!

MetsKnicksRutgers
Guest
MetsKnicksRutgers

234 babip. His career is 287 with a ros zips of 305. If we add 50 points to his obp against I am pretty sure his era is bound to edge closer to his fip

Anon21
Guest
Anon21

Yes, the BABIP, even more so than the mediocre K/BB, is the big red flag looking at Hudson’s results this season. I don’t expect him to have a meltdown, but he’s not pitching as well as Hanson or Medlen. I would also place him behind Jurrjens in terms of reliability moving forward.

MetsKnicksRutgers
Guest
MetsKnicksRutgers

I’m not even making the claim that were I a braves fan I would be worried about him. I just don’t agree with the idea that he is an elite pitcher. Pretty good yes. Would I take him on the mets? Oh hell yes. But I don’t put him in the top 15 to 20 starters in the nl

Mr. Sanchez
Guest
Mr. Sanchez

I’d agree that he’s not elite anymore. But like you say, he’s still pretty good and far from average.