I observed a couple of weeks of silence as we all watched the World Series. We all watched it, right? Right.
Time to catch up on the latest Braves news from the fortnight past.
Roger that: The Braves re-signed pitching coach Roger McDowell to a two-year deal. There was some buzz about him being interviewed for some open managerial positions, and certainly someone that spent as much time as he did under the wing of Bobby Cox would be a viable candidate for such a position. He chose to stay with the Braves, though. Not as much seems to be written about him as there was about the supposed “genius” of Leo Mazzone, though there probably should be; and now that he’s entering his eighth season as the Braves pitching coach perhaps more will be written about how much he’s done with what he’s had to work with. Last year’s bullpen alone should elevate him to genius status.
To arb or not to arb: While the beat writers have hinted that they don’t think many big moves will be forthcoming this winter, there will be a lot of action with current Braves players who are arbitration eligible. Significant time should be spent trying to sign some of these guys long term, and I will take this off-season as somewhat of a failure if several of them are not signed long term. Per MLBTR, here are the Braves arbitration eligible players with estimated service time in parentheses, and the MLBTR estimated 2014 salary.
- Craig Kimbrel (3.066): $7.25MM
- Kris Medlen (4.137): $5.9MM
- Freddie Freeman (3.033): $4.9MM
- Jason Heyward (4.000): $4.5MM
- Chris Johnson (3.144): $4.2MM
- Mike Minor (2.138, Super Two): $3.5MM
- Jonny Venters (4.000): $1.625MM
- Jordan Walden (3.043): $1.5MM
- Jordan Schafer (3.121): $1MM
- Elliot Johnson (3.028): $900K
- Brandon Beachy (3.014): $900K
- Cristhian Martinez (3.158): $750K
- Paul Janish (4.115): $725K
- Ramiro Pena (3.089): $600K
Golden Simba: And another guy not on the list above who should be considered for a long term contract is Andrelton Simmons, who won his first Gold Glove award last week. It will likely be the first of many as Simmons seems to have no current equal at shortstop. Click here for a Simba fielding porn reel.
BA Top-10: Baseball America released their Top-10 Braves prospects for 2014. It’s a good list, though I disagree with Bethancourt being that high, and no inclusion of Edward Salcedo. I’ll have my list out sometime after Thanksgiving. Here is their top-10:
- Lucas Sims, rhp
- Christian Bethancourt, c
- J.R. Graham, rhp
- Jason Hursh, rhp
- Mauricio Cabrera, rhp
- Jose Peraza, ss
- David Hale, rhp
- Victor Caratini, 3b/c
- Tommy La Stella, 2b
- Sean Gilmartin, lhp
Braves add 2 to 40-man: The Braves added LHP Ryan Buchter and RHP Wirfin Obispo to their 40-man roster. Both are relievers with a modicum of upside. Buchter had a ridiculous strikeout rate this year, which was well chronicled by The Hardball Times. He still needs to reign in his control, and he seems to be doing that from his early returns in Winter Ball, where he has 15 Ks to just 2 BBs in 6.2 IP.
Speaking of Winter Ball: I could list all the performances, or you could just go here for all the stats of Braves players in Winter Leagues. Take any performance in a short season league like this with a grain of salt. The abilities of the players is often not level like it is in the minor leagues. There are also a ton of other factors — from rainy weather to playing in a foreign country — that make stats from Winter Leagues less than stellar indicators of future performance. Yes, the legend of El Oso Blanco was minted during last year’s Winter League season, but as good as Evan Gattis performed, Ernesto Mejia played just as well. Mejia then had just a so-so year at triple-A, while Gattis did what he did in the Majors. Those were two guys who had awesome Winter League seasons, with two very different outcomes after that.
Chris Jeezey getting cheezey in Jezebeezey: Chris Johnson appears in the latest issue of Jezebel Magazine, on their list of Atlanta’s 50 Most Beautiful. I have significant eye rolls amassed for any mention of Jezebel Magazine, but I guess it’s good to see one of the Braves getting some props (hat tip to Lauren over at Love My Bravos):
La Stella: A great article on Tommy La Stella from Bill Mitchell at Baseball America. A must read to learn about our upcoming second base prospect.
Tweet of the week: And finally, the best tweet from the past couple of week… little Christian Bethancourt:
When I was 9 years old !! Lol pic.twitter.com/fpt6C5BrzE
— ChristianBethancourt (@ChristianBeth27) October 24, 2013