It’s time for a collection of links and thoughts from the trade deadline.
My thoughts: First up, what did I think about the Braves move. Overall, I liked it. I understand there wasn’t much the Braves could do without moving some important pieces of the club, and that’s a rare thing to do in the middle of the season (even though the A’s and Cards both did it). To read my complete breakdown of this trade, head on over to my Bleacher Report column about the deal.
Called it!: Maybe I toot my own horn too much, but what’s the point of having your own blog if you’re not going to point out the times you got it right. Last week, I wrote this prediction of what the Braves would do at the trade deadline:
My prediction is that the Braves will go to one team for all their needs and pull off another two-for deadline deal.
And that’s what they did.
Schultz blames Wren: AJC columnist Jeff Schultz laid the blame for the Braves struggles this season squarely on GM Frank Wren’s shoulders. Essentially blaming roster construction and bad contracts for the team’s woes. While some of that is certainly the problem, that’s not where the majority of blame should be placed. This is a well constructed team, built within a tight budget, with accommodations made at the last minute to account for two devastating spring training injuries.
If I’m blaming someone for the Braves struggles this season, I’m laying the lion’s share of the blame on the players on the field. Freddie, BJ, CJ and J-Hey (and of course, Uggla) have performed well below expectations this season; especially when judged against the numbers some of them posted last year. No one on the team is really having a career year, everyone is about average or below, with the notable exception of Evan Gattis. It’s hard to win consistently when the majority of the team is performing below expectations.
That blame, though, could be erased by a couple of these guys getting hot down the stretch. The great 17-7 start the Braves got off to (which Schultz points out), could be repeated in August or September, should some of these batters start hitting again … then who do you blame? Or credit?
We’ll see what happens, but right now it certainly looks like doom and gloom on this West Coast swoon.
So long Caratini, we hardly knew yi: The Braves drafted Caratini in the second round just last year. For a few departing scouting reports on him, check out my mid-season prospect list, the Baseball Prospectus eyewitness report on him, and RotoScouting’s report. Baseball America ranked Caratini as the 8th-best prospect dealt on or near the deadline.
Lucas Sims: Meanwhile, the Braves top prospect toes the mound for Lynchburg today, and is coming off a string of 4 (maybe even 5) good starts in a row. That’s his longest stretch of good work this season, and hopefully the beginning of what will be a positive end to his challenging season. I still strongly believe that Sims is the best prospect in the Braves’ system, and the only pitching prospect with a good shot at developing top-of-the-rotation stuff.
CJ Wittmann of Baseball Prospects recently posted an eyewitness scouting report on Sims. He’s a little more bearish on Sims than I am, but you can still see the framework in his report for Sims to blossom into a top starter.