Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Once a Brave, Always a Brave - NL West

This week's return to Once a Brave focuses on a division with a lot of ex-Braves. The Braves have completed two deals with the D'Backs since March, two with the Dodgers since May, one with the Rockies, and a pair of pretty big deals with the Padres. Therefore, we have a lot of NL West guys to check in on. As usual, this list is not exhaustive and if you catch a player I missed, feel free to let me know.

Arizona Diamondbacks
P Randall Delgado - No longer even a consideration to start, Delgado just recently went to the DL with a sprained ankle. Before that, he had a 2.76 ERA, though other metrics aren't as impressed (3.71 SIERA).

C Gerald Laird - He played in one game this before hitting the DL because of his back. Five months later, he's still there.

C Jarrod Saltalamacchia - This is Salty's second stop this year after the Marlins showed him the door. He has an on-again, off-again relationship with the Mendoza Line since coming to Arizona which, amazingly, is an improvement. He's just 30 years old.

2B Philip Gosselin - He remains on the shelf, though I imagine a rehab stint is coming soonish.

SS Nick Ahmed - It's astounding that the Diamondbacks, who have a good chance of competing for a playoff spot, are sticking with Ahmed at short. But hey, he did go 4-for-4 yesterday to increase his OBP from .280 to .289. In Arizona's defense, Ahmed is a pretty stout defender at shortstop.

3B Brandon Drury (AAA) - Of all the guys the Braves traded to the Diamondbacks two years ago, Drury was the guy I immediately wished could have stayed with Atlanta. Yes, I was more okay with getting rid of Martin Prado than Drury. On the year, Drury is hitting around .300 with just four homeruns while moving from AA to AAA more than a month ago. He's coming off a .299 season with 23 HR.

Colorado Rockies
P Yohan Flande - The Dominican lefty pitched for three years in the Braves system and logged 95 games with the organization - all but one with Gwinnett - and during the 2012 spring training, Flande looked like he might be first in line to fill the void created by Jonny Venters' injuries. However, the Braves sent him back to Gwinnett. That's about as close as he ever came to pitching for the Braves. He's appeared in 25 games over the last two seasons, including a dozen starts, for the Rockies and hasn't been all that bad (3.90 FIP).

P David Hale - I never liked Hale much as a Brave, but I still wouldn't wish a groin strain on him, but that's why he hit the DL after his last outing. That outing was a win in relief. Against the Braves. Yeah, whatever. Hale recently stunk in a rehab start and has a 5.69 ERA this season for the Rox.

P Jair Jurrjens (AAA) - Yep, he's still around and he has been putrid this season for Albuquerque (6.68 ERA in 14 games, 13 starts). He turns 30 next January, but the the 2011 All-Star has only thrown 65 innings in the majors since the end of 2011. He's got a 7.20 ERA when he has been used.

P Gus Schlosser (AA) - Schlosser has had such an interesting career. He was so good in 2013 and parleyed that into a good run the following spring to earn a spot in the pen. The results weren't all that pretty...in fact, they were pretty bad, but Schlosser did accomplish something kinda cool. He got a hit in his only plate appearance. He was non-tendered after the year for "reasons," but the Braves snatched him back up before trading him with Hale to the Rockies. Love ya, Gus!

Los Angeles Dodgers
P Bronson Arroyo - Is there some kind of record for number of teams whose DL's a player has been on in one year?

P Luis Avilan  - He's still waiting to make his first appearance. His last outing with the Braves was against the Orioles when he surrendered an extra-innings walk-off homer.

P Brandon Beachy (AAA) - It was a cool story that Beachy made it back, but after two starts, he was DFA'd as a result of the moves the Dodgers made. He decided to stick around the Dodgers' system.

P Trevor Cahill (AAA) - Did the Dodgers sign every ex-Brave? Cahill stunk and is still getting a decent amount from the Braves to be awful in AAA. Aces!

P Caleb Dirks (AA) - Don't look now, but the Juan Uribe trade may ultimately hurt a little. Dirks, who was picked up in the 15th round last year, started this year in Rome and has added time with Carolina, Rancho Cucamonga, and most recently - Tulsa. His ERA is under 1.00 for the year with well over a K an inning.

P Juan Jaime (AA) - Not news: Jaime can't stop walking people.

P Jim Johnson - In his first game, Johnson did exactly what he did in his final game with the Braves. He gave up a run. A home run to be exact which led to the Angels tying the game up in the 8th. Starting the game for the Angels was Cory Rasmus. Former Braves everywhere!

P Eric Stults (AA) - On the bright side, Stults, who joined the Dodgers as a AA pitcher, had made it back to AAA. I don't think I used "bright side" correctly. Unfortunately, because Beachy came back to AAA, Stults got pushed back to AA. Whole world is unfair.

P Ian Thomas (AAA) - The former independent league pitcher got his first major league start with the Dodgers earlier this year. He's been up a couple of times for the Dodgers, but mostly has been pretty bad in Oklahoma City.

P Alex Wood - On the night Jimmy Rollins returns to Philly, there won't be much of a spotlight on Wood, but he'll make his Dodgers debut against the Phils tonight. Former Brave Jeff Francoeur has had some luck against Wood in his career.

2B Jose Peraza - The former Braves top prospect has already added a homerun during his Dodgers organization run, his fourth overall of the year. He had five coming into this year. It's going to be interesting to see if Peraza sticks with the Dodgers long-term. With Howie Kendrick and Rollins free agents, the Dodgers could consider a Peraza/Corey Seager combo up the middle.

3B Alberto Callaspo - How does this guy stick around? He's OPS'd .609 since the trade.

San Francisco Giants
P Tommy Hanson (AAA) - Yep, he's around. In fact, there might be a game this year where Jurrjens and Hanson face one another. It's like the "What If" Bowl. Or maybe the "remember when these guys were our future?" Of course, that's under the belief Hanson doesn't get cut beforehand because he has been lit up in his first five starts with Sacramento.

P Tim Hudson - His back or his shoulder or his toe hurts so he's on the DL because it's fun to blatantly use the disabled list as a place to stick veterans when you don't have room for them. He wasn't that good before the "injury" and will retire at the end of the year.

IF Brandon Hicks (AAA) - A former 3rd rounder by the Braves out of Texas A&M, Hicks made it to the majors in 2010-11 with the Braves, but was extra-strength bad in a small amount of at-bats. After a stint in Oakland, he had a small run last year before reality set in. He's missed most of this year, but recently made it back to the active roster.

OF Gregor Blanco - He just keeps plugging along and has kept his OPS close to .800 this year. Pretty good year for a guy who was one traded for Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth.

San Diego Padres
P Craig Kimbrel - His strikeout numbers are a little down (3.5% from last year) and a .289 BABIP has made him a little more hittable than usual. Still, while this could easily go down as his worst season, he's posted a 2.22 SIERA and 2.49 xFIP. I'd say that's still pretty good.

P Aaron Northcraft (AAA) - Also known as half of what the Padres got for Jace Peterson, Mallex Smith, Dustin Peterson, and Max Fried. Northcraft once threw a seven-inning no-hitter for the Lynchburg Hillcats in 2012, but never seemed to be a guy the Braves consider a real player in their system. He started this year in El Paso and stunk. A trip back to AA was successful, but he's been hit hard in his return to El Paso. He won't give up a lot of homers even in the Pacific Coast League due to his downward movement, but that won't stop hitters from reaching.

IF Ramiro Pena (AAA) - He's been an everyday player in El Paso where he has hit .312 this season while logging time at three infield positions. Because San Diego is who they are, Pena can't find a spot on the roster that has graciously given 264 PA to Alexi Amarista and his magical .576 OPS.

OF Justin Upton - He got off to a good start, but his overall numbers are pretty sad - even though he has been great at swiping bases. Upton turns 28 this month and has a good chance to enter free agency with his second sub-.800 OPS in the last four years. His free agency case will be interesting to watch in case someone overspends for potential over results. Amazingly, he's been great at Petco (.911 OPS) and awful on the road.

OF Melvin Upton Jr. - He's hitting better with the Padres than he ever did with the Braves. He's hitting .218. That said, getting his walk rate back to his days with the Rays has upped his OBP over .300 for the first time since 2011. He's been worth 0.6 fWAR this year. His fWAR with the Braves - 0.3. Slacker.

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