Braves face Dodgers with old and new
The Braves have a strange little team. They are kind of in a rebuild but in an effort to bring fans to their new park they added a slew of veterans who might or might not be around by August 1st.
Bartolo Colon is gone, and strange enough the Dodgers will face him Monday Night in what could be the last start of his illustrious career.
Brandon Phillips, Matt Kemp, Jamie Garcia, and RA Dickey are the veterans keeping the seats warm for the next phase of Brave prospects named Ozzie, Acuna, Allard, Soroka, and Wright.
The Dodgers will face the young and old of the rotation with the young in Mike Foltynewicz starting in game one, followed by Jamie Garcia, Julio Teheran, and Sean Newcomb.
Foltynewicz has shown enough that he’ll probably be part of the next Atlanta rotation. Jamie Garcia is probably just waving his way through Atlanta. Julio Teheran has been the Brave ace for years but that isn’t saying much. Sean Newcomb has yet to establish if he’ll be part of the future or not. Plenty of young arms will be nipping at the heels of Newcomb. The Braves currently have five pitchers ranked in the revised Baseball America top 100.
The biggest change the Braves made this summer was adding Dodger nemesis, Matt Adams, when MVP candidate Freeman went down with an injury. Matt Adams was so impressive during his trial run, that when Freeman came back they made him a 3rd baseman. So much for the old adage, you can’t learn how to play 3rd base at the major league level.
The normal line up of Adams, Philips, Swanson, Freeman, Flowers, Kemp, Inciarte, Markakis is not bad. They got reinforcements this week when super utility player Sean Rodriquez finally joined the team.
So far in July however, that group ranks 12th out 15 teams in the NL in offense. The prime culprits for the low wRC+ in July are Matt Kemp (49), Dansby Swanson (12), and Flowers (7). On June 1st, Matt Kemp had been one of the best hitting outfielders in the NL but he has hit the skids big time since that point. Swanson started off slow, picked it up a little and is back to being the worse hitting starting shortstop in baseball. Maybe Dave Stewart knew something after all.
Johan Camargo has a wRC+ of 144 in July. Yeah, I had never heard of him either. Camargo is a utility player who has played 2nd, SS, and 3rd. He would lead the team if not for super journeyman catcher Kurt Suzuki. Suzuki has gotten hot while Flowers got cold so expect to see him catch a few games.
Matt Adams had a good run subbing in for the injured Freeman but has cooled off recently with a wRC+ of 94 in July. They say they aren’t going to trade him, but they probably should. Freeman is their 1st baseman, not Matt Adams.
Brandon Philips has done everything they could have asked of him. Brandon is currently ranked as the 4th best NL second baseman by Fangraphs. He’s keeping the seat warm for Ozzie Albiers who is kind of like the last Brave prospect Jose Peraza.
Speaking of Jose Peraza, the Braves have absolutely nothing left of the Alex Wood trade. Nothing. Damn, that was a bad bad trade for the Braves.
All-Star center fielder Ender Inciarte is why the Diamondbacks had to trade for JD Martinez this past week. I guess Dave Stewart didn’t know what he was doing.
Nick Markakis might be the most boring player in baseball. Hard to believe this guy once put up a fWAR of 6 at the age of 25. He has combined for six fWAR over his last six seasons.
Matt Kemp – whatever will be will be
The Braves finished a six game home stand yesterday by losing the last three games against the Cubs. They then flew to Los Angeles without an off-day to take on the hottest team in baseball history. They will be facing Wood and Kershaw whose team has not lost a game the duo have started since May 1st.
This will not end well for the Braves, if they win just one game, they should consider it a success.
Matt Kemp is one of my all-time favorite Dodgers, and I will always root for him. Odd that well over 1/3 of his WAR comes from his great season in 2011 (8.2 bWAR in 2011, 21.5 career). That’s in a 12 year career with over 1500 games played. His defense must really suck. I was in denial of that for so long.
Also interesting to me how teams were so wrong about so many of the Cuban ballplayers. The Dodgers ended up fleecing Atlanta in getting Wood, Peraza, Avilan (and Jim Johnson) for Olivera. The Dodgers whiffed on a few Cuban imports, but at least they got a lot of value back from their signing of Olivera.
Kemp will always be one of my favorites.
Dodgers were so lucky they traded Hector before the implosion or they would have been the ones with egg on their faces instead of the Braves