Braves mid-week lines: Snitker, Dascenzo, Hudson

Throughout the off-season I will occasionally post during the week as news piles up and I feel I have something to say about it. Hopefully it will also be a good place for you to catch up on Braves news during a time when you may not be paying attention from day to day.

Snitker to Gwinnett: Third base coach Brian Snitker was reassigned to become the manager for the triple-A Gwinnett Braves. Replacing him as the home run hand-shaker will be Doug Dascenzo, who was previously serving as the Braves roving minor league outfield/baserunning coordinator. Wren uses that title to describe the impetus for the change:

“We had a need for a Triple-A manager and we had the need to have an outfield and baserunning coach at the Major League level,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said. “We had every other aspect and discipline covered. We just didn’t have [baserunning and outfield play] covered as well as we would have liked.”

Jeff Schultz at the AJC thinks Snitker was scapegoated:

For those who are uncertain whether this constitutes a step up, step down or step sideways for Snitker, let me be clear: It’s a demotion. Snitker already has been a minor league manager in his career. The move to work on a major league staff generally is viewed as a stepping stone to a major league managing job, not the move to a minor-league team.
But it’s a shame Snitker is being made the scapegoat here for the Braves’ losing again in the postseason. He had nothing to do with the season-long hitting problems of B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla, or the pitching issues in the playoffs, or the injuries through the year. The Braves might as well have fired the popcorn guy.

The AJC sports editorial page has been a place of hyper overreaction to the Braves playoff exit, so it’s no surprise that this demotion equals scapegoating. I tend to think it’s about finding the right mix of coaches for the players, while injecting some new blood into the staff. I also tend to agree with Wren’s assessment that the team needed a coach who could teach baserunning (read: base stealing).

It’s really about Doug: Dascenzo is also an up-and-coming managerial candidate. From 2006 until 2011 he was managing teams in the Padres minor league system, making it to double-A and earning Texas League (AA) Manager of the Year (2011) after leading his team to the Texas League Championship. That’s when the Braves poached him and got him into their system for the past two seasons as a minor league coordinator. This promotion was likely necessary or else he might have left for another organization. The promotion to the Majors may also have been preordained when Dascenzo was signed two years ago. Yet another reason that Braves fans (or commentators) shouldn’t read too much into this move.

Hudson back in 2014?: That seemed to be the beat writer consensus early in the week after talking with the GM. We’ll see. I wonder if they will wait to re-sign him until they see if they can get a big starter in a trade, or if they go ahead and wrap him up knowing that they may potentially trade one of their other starters (Meds). I just hope it doesn’t turn into a John Smoltz situation where the Braves want the veteran returning from injury to take an incentive-laden contract instead of guaranteed money, and the veteran takes offense at that. Huddy’s an important member of the Braves clubhouse, so I hope he’s back, though I’m on the side of an incentive-laden deal (and let’s hope something like that doesn’t piss him off like it pissed off 29). Since Huddy’s injury was not one that affected his arm I would also expect some other teams to be interested in bringing him aboard, so we could see some competition for his services.

Braves sign two “Minor” leaguers: The Braves quest for young pitching is never over. The Braves signed two players from the Southern Illinois Minors of the independent Frontier League, right-handed pitchers Pete Perez and Race Parmenter. Earlier in the year the Braves signed RHP Brandon Cunniff from the same team, and he ended up having a good year for Lynchburg (see post here on Cunniff and other independent league signings during the season). “Race Parmenter,” that’s quite a name. Both pitchers were ranked on this year’s Baseball America Top-10 Independent League Prospects list (released today). Perez ranks 2nd, and Parmenter 6th. Perez drew raves for his mid-90s fastball, and Parmenter apparently features a virtually unhittable split-fingered fastball.

Braves sign Campos: The Braves signed minor league RHP Albert Campos, who was formerly with the Rockies, but released before the 2012 season. That release was apparently due to an off-the-field indecent speculated to be a physical altercation. Campos had an impressive debut in his first season state-side in 2010 as a 19-year-old in rookie ball, winning the Pitcher of the Year award for the Pioneer League and ranking 2nd in Baseball America’s Top Pioneer League Prospects. At the time he had a developing low-90s fastball that scouts thought he could add more to as his 6-foot-4 frame filled out. He’s still only 22-years-old and should fit somewhere on a Braves A-ball team if he makes it out of spring training. Click here for an extensive scouting report on Campos from Purple Row, and click here for another extensive scouting report from friend of the blog Mike Newman at FanGraphs. There was clearly a lot of buzz about this kid a few years ago, with Ubaldo Jiminez and Michael Pineda comps flying all over the place.

We will sign all the Independent League players… The Braves also signed independent league second baseman Marquis Riley, who was ranked 7th on this year’s Baseball America Top-10 Independent League Prospects list. He’s got plus speed and good strike zone judgement to go with above average defense. He would fit on one of the Braves A-ball teams if he plays well in spring training.

Tweet of the week: From Monday night’s NLCS game following Puig’s epic bat flip on a triple:

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