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2015 Roster

Posted: 8/30/2014 12:28 PM

2015 Roster 


With the World Series not that far away wondering about roster build is in order. Wren and company have been working on 2015 roster build for months. Defense, Speed and athleticism comes to mind right off. Strong strong strong defense up the middle is a must. Catcher SS 2B and CF must be able to catch the ball and shut an offense down. Having players that can catch on the corners is a must also. Heyward in right is an example of a defensive shutdown outfield corner player. Freeman saves so many throws at first has been documented countless times.

Naturally a player must have offensive skills to go along with great defense. Since nobody knows which direction Wren will go with this I'm going to note what I have seen. I'm not going to list it by batting order. I will list it by position. Whoever the manager is in 2015 will determine Batting Order.

1B Freeman long contract
2B Peraza Speed, SS defense at 2B, Leadoff hitter
SS Simmons long contract, best defender in baseball, learning offense, will be complete package soon
3B Johnson Defense is ok offense up is too streaky. Swings at everything between the dugouts
C Bethancourt defense defense defense will grow offensively
LF J Upton is adequate on defense he is necessary on offense. Ride out his contract or extend him
CF ??????? Gaping hole both offensively and defensively
RF Heyward. Keep him in RF

Gosselin needs to be on team 2015

Now for the batting order

Peraza 2B
???????? CF
Freeman 1B
J Upton LF
Heyward RF
Johnson 3B
Simmons SS
Bethancourt C

Gosselin can be Super Utility ala Prado.


I can see a package of Gattis LaStella for a go get um CF with top of the order speed someone like White Sox Adam Eaton

Last edited 8/30/2014 12:32 PM by SpiltScotch

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Posted: 8/30/2014 3:50 PM

Re: 2015 Roster 


Sorry but Gattis and LaStella for Adam Eaton would be a horrable trade.

I would much rather trade Gattis for as many prospects as we can and get a cheap CFer sonewhere else.

I know sone think Simmons should ve traded but the braves will gladly play him the 3 mill next year just for his glove. As much as his bat is a work in progress his glove is worth more then enough money he is getting paid.
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Posted: 8/30/2014 5:35 PM

Re: 2015 Roster 


Eaton would only be a piece of the trade, so yes, only Eaton by himself would be disastrous. Since the key piece would be Eaton not sure who the surounding pieces would be. Korneko and Dunn are gone after this year the Sox will be looking for a long ball bat.

Wish I was able to name and predict every piece involved in all trades. Now that would be something.

Last edited 8/30/2014 5:38 PM by SpiltScotch

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Posted: 8/30/2014 5:37 PM

Re: 2015 Roster 


So, if I read correctly, Peraza for LaStella (who hasnt been a problem), inserted in Heyward leadoff role (which hasnt been a problem).......
A speedy CF (which we have but has been a problem).......
And Bethancourt for Gattis (who hasnt been a problem) whose defense is average at best......

Or as Skid posts after yours

Gattis for prospects (which solve none of the resident problems)
and a cheap CF which brings no answers to the current problems

Sorry, I pass.
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Posted: 8/30/2014 5:39 PM

Re: 2015 Roster 


I would love to see your roster and Wrens new roster as well

Last edited 8/30/2014 5:41 PM by SpiltScotch

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Posted: 8/30/2014 6:44 PM

Re: 2015 Roster 


Hang around for a few months and you can see Wrens.  Mine only exists in the abstract.      LOL
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Posted: 8/30/2014 7:44 PM

Re: 2015 Roster 


I would resign Bonafacio for next season.
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Posted: 8/30/2014 9:54 PM

Re: 2015 Roster 




No way does all 3 of gattis heyward or justin be on next years team. planning for 2016 needs to happen now.

Jon Jay
Dexter Fowler
Drew Stubbs

All CFers thats could be had in the offseason IMO.


Gattis isnt a position player period. Catcher or LF. He need to be moved now. Waiting another year where he has another injury would not be wise.
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Posted: 8/31/2014 7:35 AM

Re: 2015 Roster 


I agree that there is a good chance that a combination of the three and possibly all will not be Braves next year.

I disagree that the 3 CFers you named could be Braves.  All 3 will be FAs very soon and will cost 6-8M each next year.  Add in our dearth of prospects to trade for them.  I will grant that Gattis to Houston for Fowler may be doable but a much bigger return would be required.

I disagree also that Gattis has no position.  Nothing wrong with him assuming Lairds role against LH pitchers, Doumits role as first off the bench , and even an occassional turn in LF when in some of the smaller parks.
Depends on whether Justin is moved.

With almost 30M in sunk costs a possible payroll situation next year, Wren should be very hesitant to move any pre arb guy who can put up numbers that Gattis can.  At least for one more year.

IIRC you mentioned earlier about preparing for 2016.  I would think even farther down the road and look at 2017.
In fact, I think the uggla and BJ deals may lead to a complete write off of 2015.
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Posted: 8/31/2014 7:35 PM

Re: 2015 Roster 


Teheran is the Braves new Ace

Minor last 4 starts combined: 28.1 IP, 17 H, 7 ER, 7 BB, 24 K. That's a 2.22 ERA for the southpaw over that span

Wood last 7 starts combined: 48.1 IP, 34 H, 10 ER, 14 BB, 48 K. He's posted a 1.86 ERA over that span.

The future looks bright and until the roster changes the Braves are putting nice young players on the field now and soon that are coming from within the organization.

Gattis
A Simmons
S Simmons on DL
Kimbrel
Gosselin
LaStella
Freeman
Heyward
Hale
Teheran
Minor
Wood

On the way
Bethancourt
Peraza
Cunningham
Kubitza
Shlosser
Gearrin on DL

Last edited 8/31/2014 8:21 PM by SpiltScotch

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Posted: 9/1/2014 12:05 PM

Re: 2015 Roster 


@DOBrienAJC: During the month of August, #Braves JUpton, Freeman & Heyward accounted for 47 of the Braves' 99 runs and 50 of their 95 RBIs.

So nearly 50% was produced by 3 out of 8 players? 2 OF and 1 1B. So it took... 2B, SS, 3B, C, and CF to produced the other runs and we know CF was a bystander watching his teammates carry the load.
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Posted: 9/1/2014 1:15 PM

Re: 2015 Roster 


I think there will be significant turnover. We'll see who makes those decisions, but I think several things will happen.

1) B.J. Upton will be given away. They can't go through this again.
2) Evan Gattis will be traded. He's not a full-time catcher. Check AL rosters for needy teams (Boston!).
3) Tommy LaStella will be traded. He's good. He's got value. But they have Peraza ready to take over and he will.
4) Either Justin or Jason will be traded. They know they can't sign both after 2015, so they'll trade one this winter to get more talent.

It's going to be an active winter.
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Posted: 9/1/2014 7:49 PM

Re: 2015 Roster 



The first thing about Ryne Harper can’t be avoided. It’s his name. We natives of the South have gotten used to some words having multiple syllables in places that the dictionary couldn’t possibly imagine. But this native of NW Tennessee – Clarksville, specifically – has quite the opposite situation: one single syllable. So it comes out like “Rhine” … if you can imagine this with a Southern drawl extending the pronunciation for a couple of seconds.

Ryne Harper is a 25-1/2 year old right-handed relief pitcher with the AA Braves whose resume and throwing motion are enimgas. How he got to the Braves is rather interesting to begin with. How he’s stuck is even more interesting.

Getting Ryne Harper
“EVIDENCE SUGGESTS THAT THE BRAVES REALLY BELIEVE THEY HAVE YET ANOTHER GREAT GROUP OF FUTURE ATLANTA BRAVES’ PLAYERS STACKED HERE AT PEARL, MISSISSIPPI”

Harper was finishing up with Austin Peay State in 2011, winners of the Ohio Valley Conference, with stats that looked actually better on the offensive side (.329/.477/.842 OPS over 222 AB). He wasn’t the best hitter on the team, wasn’t the best pitcher (4.62 ERA, 1.48 WHIP). He probably wasn’t even going to be drafted, either.

But his Dad knew somebody… who knew a scout… who put a tip in to the Braves that Ryne might be a guy to think about if they didn’t have any better ideas for picks late in the draft.

The Atlanta Braves, drafting in the 25th position of the 37th round, took him. Not exactly high expectations, eh? But sometimes all you need is a chance.



The Harper Schtick
The one thing that did stand out about Ryne in his college stats was control: he was walking fewer than 3 per 9 innings and striking out nearly 11. Not shabby for a guy who even then was a relief pitcher.

So naturally, as he tells me, the first thing he did after being drafted was to change his throwing motion.

“Wait, what?? You changed your motion after being drafted??” Nobody does that!

“I used to get my arm out of my glove a little late, so all right, I’m just gonna over-exaggerate a bit – I’m just going to take it out instantly and just put it straight down. It just kinda stuck and now it just feels like I’m being normal.”

Turns out that this seems to be the key to what has made this 37th round pick not just somebody ‘hanging around’, but actually excelling at his craft. Notice that he used the phrase “feels… normal”. He agreed with me that this is exactly what helps to make the motion repeatable and consistent. This in turn has obviously helped him to maintain his control despite the change.

But what this new motion provides is deception, and he uses it for every pitch (fastball, curve and change-up). He’s not an overpowering guy, but like Alex Wood, this change means that hitters are getting a decidedly different look out of Harper, which seems to bring their bats to the hitting zone a little late… and perhaps in a different place from what they might have expected. That might not work for a 2-pitch relief specialist, but since Harper uses 3 offerings, it provides yet another means for guesswork from the opposition.



The Results
This young man carries himself with some confidence, too. And why not? As a full-time pitcher, this motion has worked at virtually every level thus far: 0.59 ERA in 2011, 2.73 in 2012, 1.79 in 2013, and a bit of an aberration in 2014 – up to a still-solid 2.65 ERA (though his K’s are up and WHIP is essentially the same). In fact, he’s striking out hitter at the same rate he did in college - 11+ per 9 innings… at the AA level.

So that begs the question: with all the bullpen needs that Atlanta has had this year, why is Ryne Harper still at AA Mississippi… for a second full season??

I asked that very question to Kyle Tait, radio voice of the M-Braves: was it too many RH arms already at AAA? Did he kick Gwinnett manager Brian Snitker’s dog? Or… was there something going on that the Braves wanted to do here with this particular Mississippi Braves club?



Creating a Team
Seems that the last option might be at work here. In 2009, the Mississippi Braves had an interesting group of players on the roster. See if you can recognize some of them:

Jason Heyward
Freddie Freeman
Gorkys Hernandez
Brandon Hicks
Craig Kimbrel
Jonny Venters
Cory Gearrin
Scott Diamond

Many of these guys were “brought up together” in the farm program. It was a way to build a winning atmosphere, team chemistry, shared experiences, and the whole team concept. Some didn’t make it to the majors with Atlanta, but many did – and obviously some are still there.

Asst. GM Bruce Manno is the executive in charge of player development for the Braves. This necessarily includes the planning for putting together the ‘programs’ for individual players, but also for the organization of teams in the entire minor league system.

Evidence suggests to me that the Braves really believe they have yet another great group of future Atlanta Braves’ players stacked here at Pearl, Mississippi… just waiting in the wings to graduate over the next couple of years.

At the beginning of the year, I wrote the following about this club:

“This team will live and die with its pitching – honestly not very much offensive potential. Look for Hursh and maybe a couple of the other pitchers to move up through this year. Definitely hoping that Graham regains his promise. Others may be replaced if Lynchburg turns out to be as good a cradle as Ben suggested.”

So what has happened to make me think there’s a Master Plan as work? Here’s just a few highlights:

Myke Jones was pulled back to AA to improve the offense after starting on the Gwinnett roster with an injury.

The prophetic call-ups did occur: Jose Peraza, Kyle Wren, and Greg Ross – just to name three.
Neither Jason Hursh nor Williams Perez were promoted – despite solid years.
James Hoyt was just brought back from AAA for the final weekend to support the playoff push.

The Future

Tait’s take is that Ryne Harper is acting out his role as part of this bigger philosophy – perhaps being held back just a bit in order to keep this core group together – which has the effect of producing a really good squad at AA this year, plus providing the promise of better things to come by growing their own prospects for a trip to Atlanta – probably sometime in 2015 to 2016.

Who are these future core players? This probably isn’t even a complete list – especially on the pitching side.

Jose Peraza
Kyle Wren – who I think is better than I had guessed.
Jason Hursh
Greg Ross
Williams Perez
Kyle Kubitza
Ryne Harper
J.R. Graham (who is now a relief pitcher, by the way)
Brandon Cunniff
any one of 2 or 3 additional middle infielders

This is a team built around speed, defense, OBP and pitching… with hitters that generally do a lot more hitting than carrying their bats back to the dugout. That’s something to really get excited about for Braves’ fans!

Summary
This story is about introducing you to Ryne Harper, but in digging about him, I learned even more about the Braves. It isn’t necessarily about a single player or a single team: it’s also about a group – an organization. There is a plan… one that likely has to constantly be tweaked as players live up to expectations or (sometimes) don’t reach goals. But if I’m reading the tea leaves correctly, the overall attempt to develop a cohesive group of home-grown Braves players is a plan that is fully alive and well – and living at AA Mississippi.

How’s that plan working? The 2014 Mississippi Braves, despite stumbling to a 6-12 start, completely reversed that and have a franchise record 81-55 record. They are still going to have to finish strong to make the playoffs, but it’s still a testimony to the blueprints being set forth.

The upshot? 2016 is looking pretty good.
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Posted: 9/8/2014 5:48 PM

Re: 2015 Roster 


Im fascinated by Joc Pedersons position in LA with the already overloaded OF.  30/30 potential  and may be made availale.
Nick Costellanos could fill 3rd nicely but probably wont be available tho Detroit will lose Tori Hunter and Martinez and Avila isnt great behind the plate.  Gattis and either of Heyward or JUpton anyone.  Tho I dont like the idea of moving Gattis this year.
Mike Morse is a FA and Dominic Brown will supposedly be on the block.

I agree with Shanks that there will be a huge overturn of the roster this winter.
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Posted: 9/13/2014 4:28 PM

Re: 2015 Roster 


LaStella has 7 errors in his short time
BJ Upton has 7 errors and Justin Upton has 8 errors and that is unacceptable for outfielders

Heyward has 2 errors

I'm all for trading BJ and Justin. Justin is going to be way too expensive in 2016, as a free agent, so they should move him and get what they can for him this offseason. Johnson strikes out too much. Get rid of the players that SO

Extend Heyward and give him Uptons money.

Keep on roster
Freeman
Simmons
Heyward
Bethancourt
Gosselin
Laird
Gattis can't be any worse in LF than Upton (8 errors)


Teheran
Wood
Hale
Minor
Schlosser

JR Graham
Carpenter
Varvaro
Shae Simmons
Shreve
Walden
Kimbrel

Peraza 2B
Gosselin 3B
Freeman 1B
Gattis LF
Heyward RF
SImmons SS
Bethancourt C
Anybody but BJ CF


Braves are going to need a very low payroll to compensate for Uggla and BJ salaries. Low payroll equals young team.

@Buster_ESPN: ELIAS: Matt Holliday has 23 game-winning RBI in 2014, by far most in MLB; third-most ever for STL player. Torre 27 in '71, Pujols 25 in '06

If Matt Holiday can play LF, as bad as his defense is, than Gattis can play LF. For that matter Upton is god awful in LF so it can be done.
Pitching and Defense wins Championships

Last edited 9/14/2014 10:01 AM by WilliamJames

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Posted: 9/14/2014 12:52 PM

Re: 2015 Roster 


Braves should play Gattis in LF to get his bat in there everyday. Again, he can't be worse defensively than Holliday (6 errors) or Upton (8 errors). Upton is going to be way too expensive in 2016 so get something for him offseason.

CF-3B are two areas that would need replacing. Johnson strikes out too much and BJ is just horrible. J Upton could probably bring a young defensive CF in return and maybe more. 3B could be filled internally by Gosselin or with a trade.

The Braves could compete with what they have with 1st Freeman-2B LaStella Gosselin Peraza-SS Simmons-C- Bethancourt RF Heyward-LF Gattis if he plays there. These are good players and it's doubtful they will all have underperforming seasons in 2015.

Braves will still need some sort of long ball pop in 2015. That could come from 3-Freeman 4-Gattis 5-Heyward. They will need OBP guys in the 1-2 hole. Gosselin looks good at 2 hole. They will probably look to keep payroll as low as possible in order to eat Uggla and BJ contracts. That's why they should keep Gattis (move to LF) who will be pre-arb in 2015. A full month of ST in LF should be all Gattis needs. A little time in LF at Instructs might help Gattis too.

Offensively the Braves need fewer strikeout types and more OBP types. Removing the Upton's and Johnson would remove a lot of SO's. If this scenario is repeated over and over again maybe it will happen. Gattis and. Freeman strikeout their fair share, but are still productive, but do not strikeout like the others.

Andrelton would be awesome if someone could convince him he is not Giancarlo Stanton. If Simmons had a goal for 2015 and that goal was to get 200 hits..... he would be so valuable.

The key to 2015 is Leadoff and the 2 hole hitter.

With Freeman Gattis and Heyward ahead of 6 or 7-Bethancourt, 6 or 7- Simmons and the 8th place hitter the lineup should do fine filling out the offense.

Peraza at 2nd Base and Leadoff could be key if Peraza can rise to the challenge. AA seems to be the new stepping stone to MLB and he handled AA like a Major Leaguer. Don't forget Kubitza did well at 3B also at AA. Braves may have to get even younger to eat BJs contract.
Pitching and Defense wins Championships

Last edited 9/14/2014 1:02 PM by WilliamJames

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Posted: 9/15/2014 10:00 AM

Re: 2015 Roster 


IMO the viable trade chips that we have in order to correct the current shortcomings are, again IMO and in order:

Justin Upton:  To the right team could bring a decent return but not as great as some would expect due to impending FA and cost for a one year deal. 
Jason Heyward:  Could bring back a GREAT return from the right team.  One willing to gamble that they can resign him at whqt he would seem to be wanting.
Simmons:  Could bring back a package of superior talent tho young.  It is worth considering the plethora of SS out there who are productive and also just how many teams consider themselves contenders and would place a premium on defense.
Johnson:  An AL team that could hide him in the lineup.  Could have more value to other teams than us.  Question is who takes his place?  Return projects to be average.
Kimbrel:  From big payroll teams or contenders the question should be "What do you want from us.?
Gattis:  The absolute last guy I offer up.  Value to my team would have to be exceeded and overwhelm me.  Would I trade him.  Not this year unless I was absolutely overwhelmed.
BJ:  Dont bother.  Wren wont be allowed to release him this year at least and no team is foolish enough to gamble $45M.  I think the FO has reached the limit on eating cash for lunch.  Lowe Kawakami and Uggla money is already too much.

Thats it.  Next up going to the GM meetings in Dec is who/what would you like in return?
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Posted: 9/15/2014 1:09 PM

Re: 2015 Roster 


If it is decided that both Justin and Heyward are not going to sign and they are ended up being traded then IMO Gattis might as well go too. 2015 will be a lost season. Might as welk trade Gattis when his value will never be higher. Its not like keeping him 1 more season is going to change that.
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Posted: 9/16/2014 11:27 AM

Re: 2015 Roster 


Time to get semi serious about what is going on.and what we would like in the off season tempered with a bit of reality.

My Roster preference:
SS Jose Peraza (R)  Good obp and tremendous speed.  Was projected as a SS all along til Simmons and his glove
CF Joc Pederson (l)  30/30 potential tho you must consider that his minors topped in Albequerque
1b Freddie Freeman (L) Need I say more
LF Evan Gattis/Dominic Brown (R/L) Take a chance on Brown, 1st year arb.  Must come cheap in trade
RF Jason Heyward (L)  CF backup in emergencies.  Last chance Jason if you want the big money.
3d Nick Castellanos (R)  One of current or recent #1 prospects in the lineup so far.  Tigers could use Justin Upton
2b Tommy LaStella (L)   Tie a fish hook to his scrotum if that is what it takes to lose the recent bat waggle.
C  Christian Bethancourt/Gattis  Best twosome out there IMO.

Bench:
Brown (L) fourth OF, regain 2013, make Jason buckle down.  Heck, make us want to keep both.
Gosseliin (R) Pretty much the ideal reserve IFer tho hope we dont need him that much
Rob Brantly  LH hitting catcher/seldom used pinch hitter
Bonifacio   Speed guy for those times you really need speed and can fill in anywhere
BJ Upton  End of the bench because I think there is little hope that he can be traded and even less hope that he will be released this year.  Dont let your frustrations make you forget the accountants and the MLB Players Union
and maybe more importantly if you ever want to sign another FA.

Rotation
Teheran
Wood
Minor
Santana   Offer 3/39 or QO His choice but offer early
Lester       Kinda max out at 20M per and would like to backload til BJ and Uggla are cleared

Would like Hammels but dont think we can meet the asking price in trade.

Bullpen;  I am not against trading Kimbrel or Walden but would like to keep them.  Depends on Shae Simmons I guess


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Posted: 9/16/2014 6:57 PM

Re: 2015 Roster 


I'd see what the Rangers wanted for Beltre. Upton or Heyward I'm sure but I'd do it and send CJ back to give them a 3b. Our infield would be nasty and set all the way around. Then check on the Edwin Jackson for BJ swap and see what the Astros want for Dexter Fowler or the Dodgers for Peterson. We would need one OF'er and one starter at that point. Gattis could be used to get one of those. Jon Lester would be the pitcher I'd target if we could swing the money. But a team of:

Peraza
Fowler
Freeman
Upton/Heyward
Beltre
Outfielder
Simmons
Bethancourt

Lester
Teheran
Wood
Minor
Jackson

Jackson and Upton both need a change of scenery and with BJ hitting in Wrigley and Jackson pitching here it could really help both of them out.
I only support gay marriage if BOTH chicks are hot.
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