Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Once a Brave, Always a Brave - NL East

In today's look around the league at former Braves, the focus is on the NL East. Because teams to not deal with their divisional rivals often, there aren't a lot of ex-Braves in the NL East - though most of the ones that are populate major league rosters. As usual, this list cannot be considered exhaustive and there is a better than average chance I'm missing a player or two. If you know of one, please comment below.

Miami Marlins
P Mike Dunn - He only spent 25 games with the Braves back in 2010 and walked way too many batters, but Dunn has been a solid reliever for Florida/Miami since arriving in the trade we try not to talk about involving a current National. He's been a little iffy this year for the Marlins, posting a 1.43 WHIP to go with an ugly 1.0 HR/9. But sample sizes involving just 26.2 innings can be problematic. He's signed through next year and here's a fun fact...his only experience in the postseason came as a Brave. He retired four-of-six Giants he faced in 2010 during three scoreless outings.

1B Jeff Baker - There are currently two players in the majors who were born in Germany. Edwin Jackson of the Cubs and Baker of the Marlins. He appeared in 14 games with the Braves after they picked him up in 2012 and had just two singles in 19 AB. Oddly, the Braves sent the Tigers Greg Ross to complete the deal. Ross, a pitcher, was cut at the end of spring training in 2013 without appearing in a game for the Tigers organization. He then resigned with the Braves and has spent the last year-and-a-half in Mississippi.

3B Martin Prado - Go ahead, name a Brave who was more beloved than Prado over the last five years. Freddie Freeman? Maybe. Craig Kimbrel? Possibly. But Prado was impossible not to like. A non-prospect who was supposed to have a best-case future of being a utility guy, Prado pushed Kelly Johnson to the side in 2009 and was an All-Star the following year. A trade moved him to left and over two years, he remained a pretty solid option out there. However, the Braves moved him to the D'Backs for Justin Upton as Prado wanted more money than the Braves were willing to give up. He has also played for the Yankees and now Marlins since leaving Atlanta and his numbers just don't look nearly as impressive as they did as a Brave (.280/.324/.407). He's on the DL with a shoulder injury.

New York Mets
P Buddy Carlyle - Last year, when Carlyle signed a minor league deal with the Mets, I looked at what Carlyle did for the Braves. In a certain way, Carlyle mimics Prado in that it's impossible not to like him, though that didn't make Carlyle beloved by any means. Carlyle was drafted in 1996 and despite making it to the majors in 1999, he has just one year where he has thrown 100 major league innings in a single season - 2007 with the Braves. If anyone bitches about how awful the Braves pitching has been at times this year, I point them to 2007. When Carlyle started 20 games, Chuck James started 30, Kyle Davies started 17, Jo-Jo Reyes started 10, and Lance Cormier started 9. I would mention Mark Redman's five starts, but I would have flashbacks that would send me under the desk in a fetal position.

P Sean Gilmartin - I remember someone getting upset we traded this guy for Ryan Doumit. Now, Doumit was an utter failure, but Gilmartin wasn't much of a prospect. Unfortunately, he's been pretty decent this year as a Rule 5 LOOGY for the Mets. I'd like to suggest it's all smoke and mirrors, but it's not. He might not ever be a major league starter, but he's got a shot to be good in limited bullpen action.

2B Brooks Conrad (AAA) - With Conrad, you get two memorable things that show the highs and lows of being a professional athlete. There were his two pinch-hit Grand Slams in 2010, including the one that made the Braves walk-off winners on May 20 against the Reds - still one of the coolest moments since The Streak ended. But...that kind of gets overshadowed by one of the worst postseason efforts in history. Not only did he managed just a single in 12 AB, but he was a nightmare in the field. His total four errors for the series was bad...especially when three came in Game 3, including on a grounder right between his legs that led to the go-ahead run in a 3-2 loss. Oh, his second led a to a run, too (though Jason Heyward should have called him off). 2010 should have been the best season of his career. Anyway, he has hit .205 for Las Vegas this year.

Philadelphia Phillies
P Aaron Harang - Harang has seen his strikeout rate fall a tick and his homer rate go up due to the park he plays in, but he's continued to show that he's not finished. Sadly, the Phillies are and have lost 11 of his 17 starts, which saddles Harang with the Senior Circuit's most losses. He hit the DL last week with plantar fasciitis.

OF Jeff Francoeur - After a year mostly spent in the minors, the now 31 year-old Francoeur is back in the majors and receiving significant playing time for the Phillies. He's hit about how you'd expect him to. He also got a chance to pitch this year and threw two innings against the Orioles on June 16, giving up two runs, walking three, and striking out Nolan Reimold, the first batter he ever faced.

Washington Nationals
P David Carpenter - His first name is actually Darrell so we have the REAL David Carpenter now. OldCarp flamed out in the Bronx and was shown the door after just 22 games. So, again, they gave up Manny Banuelos for Chasen Shreve and 22 games of OldCarp. Thanks! The Nats sent a minor leaguer to the Yankees for OldCarp and in his first eight games, he looked kinda better. He's currently on the paternity list so congrats!

2B Dan Uggla - At this point, Uggla's value is kind of the same as Jonny Gomes. You can use him against a starting lefthander and left-handed relievers, but you have to hide him against righties. Uggla has actually struck out as a lower rate than each of the last three years so maybe he's seeing the ball a bit better.

OF Reed Johnson - Another guy limited to only platoon advantage at-bats, Johnson spent a year-and-a-half in Atlanta and was pretty decent, though he posted better numbers as a Cub. He spent last year with the Marlins and now continues his NL East journey with the Nats. Well, except that he has been on the shelf since the 13-12 comeback win over the Braves that sent many a Braves fan in a downward spiral. The "big pop" in his foot required surgery and he is not expected back before rosters expand in September.

Recently profiled in Once a Brave, Always a Brave...
AL West
AL Central
AL East

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