Monday, June 15, 2015

OOTP: Week 10

For more on this series, click here.

Only three days late on this! Friday was preoccupied with school and I went to an actual ballgame this weekend, but that's over and done, so let's move on to week 10 of the season in Out of the Park. Week 10, much like the the previous week, includes the draft. We will draft 35 rounds, which is really too many for OOTP. If I keep doing this for next year, I will need to change it to 20 or 25 rounds. I'll put the draft update at the bottom of this update and it won't be too detailed. After an off day which included the activation of Christian Bethancourt and Kelly Johnson along with the call-up of Joey Terdoslavich, the lineup will look a little different.

Recent Results
Week 8 & 9
Week 7
Week 6

Injury Report
Josh Outman (on rehab assignment, can return anytime)
Daniel Winkler - Elbow Surgery (June/July Return?)
Shelby Miller - Torn back muscle (August Return?)
Jason Grilli - Elbow Inflammation (August Return?)
Shae Simmons - Elbow Surgery (Lost for Year)

June 5 vs. Pittsburgh
Actual Result - ATL loses 10-8
OOTP Result - ATL loses 3-2

Pittsburgh never trailed and we turned 10 hits and 7 walks into just two runs. It didn't help that every hit we had were singles and Cameron Maybin grounded into two double plays. Trevor Cahill was solid, but is now 1-7.

June 6 vs. Pittsburgh
Actual Result - ATL wins 5-4
OOTP Result - ATL wins 1-0

Mike Minor pitches into the seventh and the Braves win despite being one-hit. In the seventh, Andrelton Simmons singled and would come around on a bases loaded walk to Maybin.

June 7 vs. Pittsburgh
Actual Result - ATL loses 3-0
OOTP Result - ATL loses 3-2

Four hits. That's all we managed in the final two games of this series. Julio Teheran handed the bullpen a 2-1 lead, but Corey Hart homered off Luis Avilan to put the Buccos ahead. Freddie Freeman doubled twice.

June 8 vs. San Diego
Actual Result - ATL loses 5-3 (11 innings)
OOTP Result - ATL wins 5-4

Down a run and Craig Kimbrel on the mound, things looked dire. He struck out two of the first three he faced with KJ singling as the outlier. Alberto Callaspo followed with a base hit of his own - his third hit of the day. Bethancourt fell behind 0-2, but would rocket a single to left that scored KJ. Chris Johnson pinch hit and swinging on the first pitch, CJ singled the other way to score Callaspo and give the Braves a surprising walk-off win.

June 9 vs. San Diego
Actual Result - ATL wins 6-5
OOTP Result - ATL wins 5-4

Braves get back to .500 despite Jim Johnson blowing a save in the ninth. In the bottom half, Jace Peterson singled and made it to third after a bunt-hit and a fielder's choice. Joaquin Benoit must have had dinner plans because he threw an 1-0 pitch away, scoring Peterson for the walk-off Wild Pitch.

June 10 vs. San Diego
Actual Result - ATL wins 4-1
OOTP Result -  ATL loses 2-0

Trevor Cahill was again pretty good (7 ING, 3 H, 2 R, BB, 6 K), but took a loss and falls to 1-8 on the year with a 4.00 ERA. Braves had three singles with CJ picking up a double.

June 11 vs. San Diego
Actual Result - ATL loses 6-4 (11 innings)
OOTP Result - ATL loses 4-3

Disappointing to come away from this series with a split after winning the first two. Freeman homered twice off Ian Kennedy, but got no help from his team, nor his bullpen that blew the lead that Minor had given them.

Weekly Results
Actual Win-Loss Record - 3-4
OOTP Win-Loss Record - 3-4 (!!!!)

Yearly Results
Actual Win-Loss Record - 29-31 (2.5 GB)
OOTP Win-Loss Record - 29-31 (1.5 GB)
*Back-to-back weeks with OOTP finishing with the same record as the real club.

A Look Ahead - Up next is three in New York before two in Boston with the Red Sox. We then come home for two more with the Red Sox before welcoming the Mets to town next weekend. The OOTP Mets are just 25-36 on the year, which is a half-game worse than the Red Sox.

2015 Draft Information - If you're curious, in my draft, Koly Allard goes to the Twins at #6. Since my goal is to act in accordance to the Braves vision, I had to consider pitchers heavily. I considered college lefty Tyler Jay...who, oddly enough, was drafted by the Twins, but ultimately went with high school righty, Carson Fulmer (picked by the White Sox at #8 in real life). With my #28 pick, Jay was still available. The Braves didn't go college until #75, but the value of Jay was too good. With pick #41, I landed on 3B Tyler Nevin out of California and not Austin Riley. I wonder had Nevin not been picked by the Rockies at #38, would the Braves have selected him? At #54, I fell asleep at the wheel and OOTP selected Cole Sands. With my next pick, #75, I went north of the border for Mike Nikorak. My next series of picks went C Dominic DeRenzo, LHP Hogan Harris, LHP Nick Sprengel, 3B George Hewitt, OF Dwanya Williams-Sutton, RHP Jordan Hicks, RHP Austin Rubick, and OF Kevin Strohschein to finish out the tenth round.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Catcher Remains an Open Position for the Braves

In my latest addition to the About.com page I run, I put the spotlight on behind the plate. With Christian Bethancourt's struggles giving us nightly viewings of the A.J. Pierzynski Show, is it time to look elsewhere? If not, when is that time? In this article, I look directly at the recently signed Ryan Lavarnway. Within four games with Gwinnett, he had already powered a homer for a walk-off win. It wasn't that long ago that Lavarnway looked like a real prospect with a "future starter" label attached to him. His struggles in the majors since then have took much of the shine away, but could he be on the rebound? With the Braves catchers hitting .246/.281/.367 on the season, I'd say Lavarnway deserves a shot as much as anyone.

Read the article for more!

Random Prospect Sunday - Britt Robertshaw

When it comes to independent league signings, it's hard not to root for the improbable. Taking out former major leaguers who go to the Atlantic League to extend their careers, young players who sign with independent teams do so with little prospects to get out of independent league baseball, nor little disposable income. For instance, each team in the Frontier League has a salary cap of $72,000 to try to find the best roster they can to compete and draw fans to their stadiums. The minimum for a player is $600 a month. You can make that writing sporadically for online websites. But players keep hope alive and dream of the day a major league organization will come calling.

It doesn't happen often, but it did for today's Random Prospect, Britt Robertshaw. On January 15, 1990, Robertshaw was born and would go on to be raised in Cedar Park, Texas. He was a big part of the roster that went to the fourth round of the state playoffs as a senior. Two other players who played with Robertshaw during that time, Hunter Bailey, and Nathan Thornhill, both went on to play college baseball and get drafted by major league teams after careers at big-time schools (Oklahoma State and Texas respectively). Robertshaw began his post-high school career with Blinn Junior College, a school that former Braves John Thomson, Chad Fox, and Trey Hodges once called home. He was an Academic All-Conference pitcher at Blinn before transferring to Northwestern State. He continued to perform in the classroom, though his numbers fell on the mound and arm injury prematurely ended his season. He was granted a injuryr redshirt for the year. Robertshaw remained mobile and transferred to Tarleton State. He pitched 2012-13 there and recorded 14 saves as a closer while adding 73 K's to 62.1 innings. With Tarleton State, his ERA was 2.30.

But draft day went in 2013 and nobody called Robertshaw's name. The business major's career looked like it may not continue, but a few months later in the August, the home-state Texas Rangers signed the righty after an open tryout where Robertshaw shined while over 275 other players went home. His time with the Rangers...didn't last long. He was cut after failing to make a roster after spring training. What was next for Robertshaw? How about a new jersey and this time with the Southern Illinois Miners. Do they mine a lot in Southern Illinois? I guess? Playing on a team with former Brave farmhand Matt Crim, Robertshaw appeared in 37 games and struck out over a batter an inning. He also walked 27 in 49.2 ING. And judging by his twitter, it's also worth mentioning that he appeared as a hitter once and singled in his only at-bat.

After the year, the Braves purchased his contract and brought him to spring training. This time, he stuck and was assigned to the Carolina roster to begin the 2015 season. So far, coming in Saturday, his numbers haven't been the best. He has a 5.56 ERA and 1.46 WHIP. However, there are some bright spots. His walks are down (4.9 BB/9 in 2014, 3.2 BB/9 this year) while his K's have been stable. His monthly splits have shown improvement, though the sample size makes them difficult to really make any informed opinion on.

Pitching-wise, you're looking a guy who has struggled to find consistency on the mound. J.J. Cooper of Baseball America said he could sit in the 95 mph range with the ability to add a couple ticks to his fastball at times, but a week later, he's lost 3-6 mph off his fastball. It then flips back the other way. Possibly could be due to arm strength, but hard to really tell. I've read he has three other pitches, but his lack of a decent hook probably is why no one drafted him. Robertshaw certainly doesn't have a great chance of ever moving up the ladder to become a Braves reliever (even a bad bullpen typically has guys with good minor league numbers and/or an x-factor like velocity). But considering it took him three different academic spots, an open-tryout, getting cut before his first game, and a year in the Frontier League...getting this far has been pretty impressive. We'll see how far he can go beyond it.

Follow Robertshaw on Twitter. And me. Don't forget about me!

Recent Random Prospects
Ozhaino Albies
Jorge Zavala
Jordan Edgerton

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Top Atlanta Braves Selections for Rounds 26-69

Yesterday, in two different articles here and here, I posted the top selections for the first 25 rounds of the draft. Almost as if by design, the MLB draft started last night as well. I'll let Gondeee provide you with solid scouting reports on the draftees for the Braves, but because I have access to Baseball-Reference and I like taking a look back, here's the rest of the rounds and the best players selected in those rounds (that signed with the Braves). Since we're deep into the draft, there will be many rounds that come up empty. Many of these rounds aren't even used anymore or were only used in select years.

69th Round to 54th Round - Nobody

53rd Round - Marcus Giles
I was a big fan of Giles when he got to the bigs and briefly there, he was a real force. Unfortunately, it did not last long and his own personal demons didn't help matters.

52nd Round to 49th Round - Nobody

48th Round - Jason Shiell (1995)
Though drafted by the Braves, he would finish his major league run with the Braves after debuting with the Padres in '02 and pitching (badly) for the Red Sox in '03. Things were so bad for the Braves in 2006 that Shiell pitched in four games with three starts. It was ugly. Shiell had been earlier traded to the Padres in a trade involving five major league talents.

47th Round - Roe Skidmore (1966)
The first 47th pick by Atlanta, Skidmore had a great name and finished his career with a 1.000 batting average. He appeared in one game for the Cubs in 1970 and singled off Jerry Reuss of the Cardinals. SABR has a nice profile on him in case you would like to read more.

46th Round - Darrell May (1992)
A soft-tossing lefty, May pitched in two games with the Braves in 1995. After the Braves waived him, he would pitch six more years in the majors with five other teams, though he got most of his experience in the majors with the Royals from 2002-04. His final year included 31 starts and a 9-19 record, which is bad even if you accept win-loss record doesn't have a lot of meaning.

45th Round - Brad Voyles (1998)
Nearly three years after joining the system, Voyles was traded to the Royals for Rey Sanchez. He would appear in 40 games over the next three seasons with the Royals with a sparklng 6.45 ERA.

44th Round to 40th Round - Nobody

39th Round - Mike Mahoney (1995)
Spent part of four years in the system before moving on and getting time in the bigs during 2000, 2002, and 2005 with the Cubs and Cardinals as a backup catcher.

38th Round to 34th Round - Nobody
34th Round is the earliest round where the Braves haven't drafted a single player to make it to the majors. Other rounds that follow had a player or two that did make it to the majors, but after re-entering the draft and being drafted elsewhere.

33rd Round - Tyler Flowers (2005)
Flowers is enjoying his seventh year in the majors and Fangraphs gives him a career WAR of 3. Baseball-Reference has him at 3.6. Either way, hard to imagine why he got over 400 plate appearances last year.

32nd Round - Nick Green (1998)
Green arrived in 2004 and was a pretty decent backup infielder. After the year, the Braves took advantage of a bad Tampa Bay front office and got Jorge Sosa for him and Sosa was pretty solid...until he remembered who he was.

31st Round - Nobody

30th Round - Jonny Venters (2003)
Sure, his arm is broken now, but we are still talking about a guy who has a 2.23 ERA in 230 career games. It's a shame he couldn't stay healthy - especially considering how much this current bullpen could use him.

29th Round - Adam LaRoche (2000)
For everything LaRoche wasn't and how replaceable he always seemed, he has had a pretty good career.

28th Round - Nobody

27th Round - Mark Lemke (1983)
The Lemmer will forever be remembered for saving his best for the postseason. A career .246 hitter, Lemke hit .272 in October, including .417 against the Twins in the 1991 World Series. Sadly, his last postseason at-bat was a pop-up to end the 1996 Series.

26th Round - Dusty Baker (1967)
Before he was ruining the talented arms of major league pitchers, Baker was a young outfielder who appeared in the majors a year after he was drafted. He spent his first eight years in Atlanta, though only the last four were as a full-time player.

Once a Brave, Always a Brave - AL West

Time to revisit the Walk-Off Walk look around the league. Our focus this week - the AL West. Considering there were two notable deals with the AL West this offseason, you can bet we will run into a few former Braves.

Houston
P Brett Oberholtzer - Long ago a piece of the Michael Bourn trade, Oberholtzer has made three starts in the majors and generally looked pretty substandard. He's also had issues with blisters on his finger.

P Jose Veras (AAA) - He was kind of a Brave. Picked up on a minor league deal with a good chance to make the Braves this spring, Veras struggled before eventually being cut. He hooked back up with the Astros, who he has played twice before, and recently made his season debut in AAA.

P Blaine Sims (A+) - Sims was an undrafted free agent out of Arkansas Tech (go Wonder Boys (seriously, that's their name)) who spent four years in the Braves system, never advancing past Lynchburg. He may have been cut after five starts this season where he gave up 30 runs.

DH Evan Gattis - His first month in Houston was about as terrible as you can imagine a first month going, but Gattis belted nine homers in May so the Astros aren't feeling as terrible as they ought to about that deal.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
P Nate Hyatt (AA) - Traded to the Angels in the deal that sent Ricardo Sanchez to the Braves, Hyatt has been awful with Arkansas in AA. His control, which has always been concerning, has completely left him. In one outing, he gave up a hit, walked three, and was charged with five unearned runs against Tulsa. Odd numbers.

P Cory Rasmus - The guy we gave up for Scott Downs, Rasmus has yet to play this season due to an abdominal/core injury.

P Atahualpa Severino and Zach Stewart (AAA) - I'll put both of these 2014 Gwinnett Braves together. Stewart has done okay, but Severino has been awful. He was actually pretty solid for Gwinnett last year and would probably love to go back.

3B Kyle Kubitza (AAA) - His over .800 OPS is a little tempered by the fact that it's the Pacific Coast League and just having a pulse gives you a .725 OPS. Still, Kubitza has produced so far, though not at a level that will amaze anyone.

Oakland
P Jesse Chavez - I want to kind of hate this guy. He was so unlike-able as a Brave and has been very productive once he came to Oakland. In parts of four years, he has a 3.52 ERA, 3.48 FIP, and 1.27 WHIP...not superstar numbers, but great numbers for a swingman.

P Eric O'Flaherty - Another season, another trip to the DL for EOF, but on the bright side, he is back in the majors. On the not-so-bright-side, he has sucked this year. He went to the DL with a 11.57 ERA and in two outings since coming back, he has only decreased that to 9.35 while allowing three of the eight he has faced to reach.

Seattle
P Joe Beimel - He appeared in 30 games for Gwinnett in 2013, but the lefty has found a second chance in Seattle and has been productive for the Mariners.

C Jesus Sucre - He has a career OPS of .633 in the minors, but Sucre keeps getting shots with the Mariners. He played in the Braves system from 2006 to 2011.

Texas
P Matt Harrison - He has thrown less than 30 innings over the last two years, but Harrison might be on his way back. He's currently on a rehab assignment. Part of the Mark Teixeira trade.

P Neftali Feliz - He finally got healthy for a few weeks and even saved six games, but didn't look like his former dominant self. He did the DL for an "abscess under his right arm." Ouchie. He just started a rehab stint.

P Wandy Rodriguez - The decision to keep Eric Stults over Wandy was, well, a poor one. Rodriguez has looked pretty solid in Texas while we celebrated a trade that sent Stults away.

SS Elvis Andrus - What a tease. In 2012, he looked like he was blossoming into a decent enough bat, but since, he has gone south. I don't know if it's by habit or need, but Texas still likes to him second.

UT Tyler Pastornicky (AAA) - Given his release out of sympathy, Ref has posted a .708 OPS in stints with Frisco and Round Rock.

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

Japan and Korea

Monday, June 8, 2015

Top Atlanta Braves Selections for Rounds 11-25

Today, I posted the top picks in each of the first ten rounds in Braves history at my page at About.com, but we can certainly continue with this exercise as the draft begins later this evening. So with that in mind, you can consider this an extension to that article as I focus on rounds 11-25, starting with the latter and working our way down with small blurbs about each selection.

25th Round - John Foster (1999)
Pickings are slim this low. Foster played in 90 games in the majors and even though he was traded for Ray King in 2002, he got his biggest exposure in the majors with the Braves in 2005 with 62 games as a LOOGY.

24th Round - Brandon Jones (2003)
There was a time when Jones looked like he might join far more famous guys who shared his last name in Atlanta. Between 2006-07, he hit 33 homers and stole 32 bases, but his major league career would include just one of both in 51 games. He continues to toil, though, and has been a fixture in independent leagues for the last five years.

23rd Round - Brett Butler (1979)
I thought Evan Gattis would make this list, but 31 years before he was drafted in the 23rd round, the Braves hit on Butler. While his best years came after the Braves dumbly traded him away, Butler would play 17 years in the majors and steal over 500 bases.

22nd Round - Tommy Hanson (2005)
A draft-and-follow guy when that was a thing, Hanson had a promising start to his career turn into epic disappointment. In the end, Frank Wren did good to get Jordan Walden for him.

21st Round - Jeff Wetherby (1985)
Who? Exactly. Braves have only selected three players in this round that have made it to the majors and Wetherby was the only one who signed.

20th Round - Glenn Hubbard (1975)
He was never much of a hitter, but Hubbard could field as well as anyone at second base over the last 40 years. His knowledge and ability at the position apparently continued in an educator form as he has worked with Braves infielders over the years - most notably Kelly Johnson.

19th Round - Larry Bradford (1973)
His career was short, but Bradford was rather good when he played, posting a 2.52 ERA in 104 games. You could also go with Charles Thomas (2000), who was productive in 2004 and helped the Braves acquire Tim Hudson.

18th Round - John Rocker (1993)
Was he as good as we remember him before he opened his mouth? Absolutely. In his first two years, Rocker K'd 146 in 110.1 ING with 30 saves and a 2.37 ERA. But hey, nobody's perfect, right?

17th Round - Jermaine Dye (1993)
The top 10 rounds provided nothing of substance for the Braves in 1993, but they got a few hits in the next ten, including Dye. After a great rookie season taking over for David Justice in '96, Dye would get traded (for some stupid reason) and eventually became a pretty good hitter. He belted over 300 homers after the Braves traded him.

16th Round - Jaye Chapman (2005)
No really good options here. Sadly, Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg (2009) wasn't more than an amazing name. Chapman pitched 14 games in the majors during 2012 and is currently looking pretty good in the Brewers system.

15th Round - Mike Hessman (1996)
Another round with not a lot of options. You could have gone with Tony Tarasco (1988) if you wanted to as he got the most extended look in the majors, but Hessman is still bashing homers. Granted, they're International League homers, but hey, it's something.

14th Round - Garrett Jones (1999)
Another underwhelming choice, Jones spent three years in rookie ball with the Braves before they gave up on him. He would stick with it and has been a fixture in the majors since 2009. David Nied (1987), who was the first pick of the 1993 expansion draft, was Jones' nearest competition.

13th Round - Mike Stanton (1987)
He pitched in over a thousand games and batted .333 in the majors. Pretty good career. He added 84 saves - including 55 as a Brave - before the Braves sent him packing at the 1995 trade deadline. Not really sure why Atlanta pulled the trigger on that deal, but hey, they won the title.

12th Round - Chris Brock (1992)
Wow, no luck in this round of the draft. Brock was a crappy pitcher who the Braves briefly used in '97 before moving on. Both the Giants and Phillies let this guy throw over a 100 innings for them. They hated winning at the time.

11th Round - Kevin Millwood (1993)
The '93 draft was completely salvaged by Millwood, Rocker, and Dye. Millwood finished his career with a 4.11 ERA, but he had a 3.73 ERA as a Brave and pitched his longest string of good ball in Atlanta. I'll never forget his 1999 NLDS work. Throwing a one-hitter with 8 K's in his first postseason appearance and two later, he pitched the 12th inning for a save.

That's my choices for the top picks in each of round 11-25. Remember to visit my other site for my picks for the top players selected in each of the first ten rounds.

The Top Players Selected in the First Ten Rounds by the Braves (About.com)

With the draft later tonight, I felt it was a good time to look back at the best players selected in each of the first ten rounds. Obviously, names like Chipper Jones in the first round and Tom Glavine in the second round are big winners, but who did the Braves get in the seventh round that made an impact? The ninth round?

Find out by clicking here.

You can also feel free to continue reading on this blog with the best selected in rounds 11-25.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Random Prospect Sunday: Ozhaino Albies

This series typically focuses on the guys you may not hear about too often, but this week, the spotlight is on someone who is pretty used to receiving praising digital ink at this point - shortstop Ozhaino Albies. He turned 18 last January and is already handling the South Atlantic League (A-ball). It makes us that look at projections pretty intrigued by just how good Albies can be.

The Braves have had ridiculous success from the small island of Curacao. Andruw Jones stands out the most, of course, but Andrelton Simmons is a native to the island as well. Albies could be the next in line provided he continues to hit, which has yet to be a problem. Signed in 2013 for $350,000, Albies has a slight build (listed 5'9", 150 pounds), though he's young enough to foresee him adding a little bulk to that frame. It won't make him a homerun hitter or anything, but should assist him picking up extra-base hits.

Albies skipped the Dominican Summer League last year - a sign of how much the Braves thought of him. Instead, he began his career on June 20th with the GCL Braves. After 19 games in which he hit .381 and walked more than he struck out, the Braves promoted the 17 year-old to Appalachian League to finish the year. He only hit .356/.429/.452 with 15 steals and an even BB/K rate. That kind of polish and maturity is unusual for rookie ball. That goes double for a guy who jumped to the highest rookie league team Atlanta within the first month of professional ball at the ripe old age of 17.

For his success, he received several high grades by prospect experts and was named the APPY League Top Prospect over guys who signed million-dollar bonuses as a high draftee or international signing. Before the season, I named him my seventh best prospect in the system and gave him a B- grade - sandwiched between Manny Banuelos and Christian Bethancourt. He dropped to eighth when Matt Wisler joined the system, but with Mike Foltynewicz graduating from the prospect list, Albies will be back to #7 when I start my midseason list.

Of course, looking at what he has done at Rome, it's a good bet that he will climb up another spot or two. In his first 55 games of A-ball action, Albies has hit .317/.379/.402 with 21 steals, good for fifth in the league. He had an underwhelming beginning to the year, but since May 1, Albies has slashed .340/.403/.435 while successfully swiping all but two of his 17 attempts. He has yet to face a younger pitcher this year and is the second youngest hitter in the league to receive at least 55 ABs to this point. While the narrative of Frank Wren leaving the system bare had some traction, it severely ignored what the Braves still had - namely a guy like Albies.

Albies has yet to play anywhere but shortstop, but like Jose Peraza before him, that is certain to change the closer he gets to the majors. With Andrelton Simmons firmly entrenched at shortstop, Albies - again like Peraza - might profile as a second baseman. This is where this all gets murky, though it's premature to worry about such a thing. The Braves apparently like Jace Peterson enough to entertain the idea of Peraza in center field, though the latter might be only a product of adding trade value to Peraza. If they do trade Peraza, it would appear that it could help Albies project to eventually claim a spot in the majors as Simba's double-play partner sometime in 2018 or after. But again, that is premature.

A switch-hitter, so far, Albies has shown no real preference and is reported to have smooth, fluid mechanics from both sides of the plate. Defensively, he is quick and and projects to have the ability to play a solid shortstop and and even better second base. If he's able to add a little bit more strength and find the gaps with more frequency, he could be an All-Star. Even if he doesn't, he still projects to be a first-tier starter provided he continues to mature and hit.

More Random Prospects
Jorge Zavala
Jordan Edgerton
Felix Marte

Friday, June 5, 2015

OOTP Week 8 & 9

For more on this series, click here.

We're going to keep this update short and simple. As an aside, I am finishing week 3 of a 4 week course in Analyzing Data in Organizations, which is as thrilling as it sounds. It's hurt my ability to write, though, as my time has been thoroughly decreased. After this week, I will still be in a different course, but that one is more stretched out. Anywho, I'm going to catch up in the OOTP replay with a two week post. I did want to mention this, though. Unlike real life, when I DFA'd Carlos Quentin, a team claimed him on waivers - the D'Backs. In his first game, he suffered a knee sprain and was removed before he even batted. After missing nearly a month, he came back for two games and went 4-for-7, but tore some ligaments in his ankle. He might make it back in July.

Recent Results
Week 7

Week 6
Week 5

Injury Report
Josh Outman (Rehab stint begins this week in Rome)
Christian Bethancourt - Post-concussion syndrome (Should be ready for a rehab assignment this week)
Kelly Johnson - Shoulder tendinitis (Two weeks out)
Daniel Winkler - Elbow Surgery (June/July Return?)
Shelby Miller - Torn back muscle (August Return?)
Jason Grilli - Elbow Inflammation (August Return?)
Shae Simmons - Elbow Surgery (Lost for Year)

May 22 vs Milwaukee
Actual Result - ATL loses 11-0
OOTP Result - ATL loses 5-0

Mike Minor couldn't get out of the fifth and despite three good innings from Michael Kohn, Braves had to no answers.

May 23 vs. Milwaukee
Actual Result - ATL wins 3-2 (11 innings)
OOTP Result - ATL wins 5-3

Braves came from behind twice to take the lead with Pedro Ciriaco's two-run homer in the seventh putting Atlanta ahead for good. Nick Markakis added a two-run homer of his own. No decision for Julio Teheran, but Jim Johnson pitched a quiet ninth for his fifth save.

May 24 vs. Milwaukee
Actual Result - ATL wins 2-1
OOTP Result - ATL loses 10-3

Alex Wood handed over a 3-2 game to the bullpen after five innings and seven K's. Eric Stults, Luis Avilan, and Michael Kohn all got roughed up in this one.

May 25 at Los Angeles Dodgers
Actual Result - ATL loses 6-3
OOTP Result - ATL loses 1-0

Clayton Kershaw K'd 13 Braves and despite a rather solid game from Trevor Cahill, the Braves couldn't mount many scoring chances. In the first, the Braves put runners on the corners, but they didn't get a runner in scoring position again until the 8th. In each situation, they obviously failed to plate a run.

May 26 at Los Angeles Dodgers
Actual Result - ATL loses 8-0
OOTP Result - ATL loses 5-4 (15 innings)

The Dodgers tied it up in the third and it remained that way until the 15th. Cody Martin didn't have it, but the pen did its best job to keep it where it was until the Dodgers got a pair of hits off Brandon Cunniff to walk-off. Andrelton Simmons had his first homer - a 3-run bomb - in the second. On the plus side, Christian Bethancourt begins his rehab assignment in Rome. Josh Outman's rehab stint continues as he heads to Mississippi.

May 27 at Los Angeles Dodgers
Actual Result - ATL wins 3-2
OOTP Result - ATL loses 4-1

The sweep is finished. Ugly. Braves managed just three hits against Zack Greinke. Hopefully a trip up north to San Fran will help.

May 28 at San Francisco 
Actual Result - ATL loses 7-0
OOTP Result - ATL loses 4-3

Five straight loses and this road trip is off to a winles start. Julio Teheran went six, but had to be perfect to beat the Giants and he wasn't.

Weekly Results
Actual Win-Loss Record - 3-4
OOTP Win-Loss Record - 1-6

Yearly Results
Actual Win-Loss Record - 23-24 (5.0 GB)
OOTP Win-Loss Record - 24-23 (1.5 GB)

Injury Report
Josh Outman - On Rehab Assignment
Christian Bethancourt - On Rehab Assignment
Kelly Johnson - Shoulder tendinitis (Should be back in a week)
Daniel Winkler - Elbow Surgery (June/July Return?)
Shelby Miller - Torn back muscle (August Return?)
Jason Grilli - Elbow Inflammation (August Return?)
Shae Simmons - Elbow Surgery (Lost for Year)

May 29 at San Francisco 
Actual Result - ATL loses 4-2
OOTP Result - ATL loses 3-2 (11 innings)

Winning is a distant memory. Alex Wood did everything he could to give the Braves a winning effort. He pitched six quality frames, gave up just earned run, and tripled in a run and scored a second one. But the Braves couldn't save the lead he gave them and Jim Johnson gave up a run to end it in the 11th.

May 30 at San Francisco 
Actual Result - ATL wins 8-0
OOTP Result - ATL loses 8-2

Oh, under .500 now. Ugh. Trevor Cahill picked a fine time to remember who he is. Cameron Maybin homered and the Braves led 2-0 early. Then stuff happened.

May 31 at San Francisco
Actual Result - ATL wins 7-5
OOTP Result - ATL wins 6-2

Braves end a seven game slide and get their first win of the road trip. Andrelton Simmons picked up a pair of RBIs to help Cody Martin improve to 4-1. Braves banged out nine hits, but only one went for extra bases. Christian Bethancourt heads to Mississippi to continue his rehab. He might be ready after this upcoming series. I imagine there might be a series of changes.

June 1 at Arizona
Actual Result - ATL wins 8-1
OOTP Result - ATL wins 13-5

Where did that offense come from? Johnny Gomes, Nick Markakis, and Phil Gosselin all homered with Goose's coming as a pinch hitter. Freddie Freeman homered twice and added four hits. So did Gomes and Jace Peterson. Mike Minor wasn't that good, but he didn't need to be.

June 2 at Arizona
Actual Result - ATL loses 7-6
OOTP Result - ATL loses 5-2

Julio Teheran struggled over just three innings and Andrelton Simmons was hurt after being hit by a pitch. Not a happy game, but Simmons looks day-to-day. Meanwhile, Kelly Johnson joined Gwinnett for a rehab stint.

June 3 at Arizona
Actual Result - ATL loses 9-8
OOTP Result - ATL loses 4-3

Braves homered twice, but a costly run surrendered by Luis Avilan in the 8th meant that a ninth inning run only got the Braves closer rather than tying it up.

June 4 - IDLESeveral changes. Yenier Bello was demoted while Pedro Ciriaco was designated. Both will be replaced by Kelly Johnson and Christian Bethancourt. Will allow Josh Outman to continue his rehab. Eric Young Jr. was also designated for assignment. Joey Terdoslavich will replace him.

Weekly Results
Actual Win-Loss Record - 3-3
OOTP Win-Loss Record - 2-4

Yearly Results
Actual Win-Loss Record - 26-27 (3.0 GB)
OOTP Win-Loss Record - 26-27 (1.5 GB)
***Holy crap, same record through 53 games. Not so shabby, OOTP.

A Look Ahead - After a day off, the Braves open a seven-game homestand against the Pirates before the Padres come to down on Monday. The Pirates have been massively disappointing and are 19-34, the second worst record in baseball. The Padres by contrast are 33-22 - third best in baseball and best in the NL.

Simple Changes to Fix the Braves (About.com)

The Braves have been able to compete, which has surprised many, but have often fell victim to the performances of players who simply aren't giving them major league quality numbers. In my latest column at About.com, I look at a few easy fixes that could help the Braves be a better team. No, these moves won't make the Braves a team to beat overnight, but if the moves bring results, the Braves might simply be a squad better able to compete while also seeing if there if some of the youngsters will be more than just minor league numbers. After all, what is the point of retaining the services of Eric Young Jr. and Nick Masset? Why not bring back Joey Terdoslavich and call up Ryan Kelly?

For more on this, click here.