Open thread, 6/22, #Braves vs. Grover Norquists

The line-ups haven’t been posted yet, so we hope against hope that Fredi will use some common sense for a change and bat Justin 2nd and B.J. 8th. Slotting a hitter with a .608 OPS ahead of one with a .845 OPS is something only Ned Yost would understand.

Yes, we can be pessimistic here, but, unless Ervin Santana rediscovers his April mojo, I fear a split. The offense just can’t be counted on.

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6 comments

  1. So I was watching Yasiel Puig on MLB’s Plays of the Week just now, and I started thinking how much better off the Braves would be if they had spent the money they threw at B.J. Upton at Puig instead. But that got me thinking, and I was hard-pressed to come up with many current Braves whom the team signed as free agents from other countries. Turns out I had good reason: There aren’t very many.

    First off, Andrelton Simmons may be from Curaçao, but because he played juco ball in Oklahoma, he came to the team via the draft. The only guys on the active roster the Braves signed as free agents from other countries are Julio Teherán (Columbia) and Luis Avilán (Venezuela). Is there another team in baseball with that few foreign free agents that it initially signed? I kind of doubt it. And looking at the 40-man roster doesn’t make things look a lot better, providing just three more players: Carlos Pérez (Dominican Republic), Christian Bethancourt (Panama) and Elmer Reyes (Nicaragua). (Other foreign-born players don’t count: Pedro Beato grew up in New York and was drafted by the Orioles, Juan Jaimie was signed by the Expos (!), Ervin Santana was signed by the Angels, Luis Vasquez was signed by the Dodgers, Ramiro Peña was signed by the Yankees, and José Constanza was signed by the Indians; Anthony Varvaro was born in the U.S. and drafted by the Mariners.)

    This is beyond alarming. The Dominican Republic plays the best baseball in the world on a per capita basis, and the Braves, with only one Dominican player on the roster, seem to have largely abandoned the country. And although the Braves’ Latin American scouts have been good at finding players in places like Venezuela, Panama and Columbia, the lack of presence in the Dominican is inexcusable.

    So the next time a Braves fan wants to bitch about Liberty Media’s penny-pinching ways, the place to start is with the scouting department. The farm system has fallen in rank to the bottom third of baseball, and before Liberty took over, it was consistently one of the best in the game. I can’t recall the team making a serious effort to sign a Cuban refugee since picking up Yunel Escobar several years ago, and the signing of Kenshin Kawakami is a good indication that the Asian scouting staff isn’t up to snuff. Compound that with little to no presence in the Dominican and Puerto Rico, and you have an organization desperately short of talent.

  2. I’m pretty sure the Braves have a baseball academy in the Dominican. CB has actually been there.

  3. Do the Braves still have that academy? I know, for instance, Neftalí Feliz came through there, but that was a full decade ago, and close to that for Edward Salcedo. If it’s still open, its operations need to be retooled, because the Braves haven’t been getting a lot of talent out of the Dominican in recent years.

  4. I assume it’s still there — was top-notch facility when I visited in ’06. In fact, Neftali was there at the time. But it’s fair to say the Braves haven’t been importing much talent from there of late.

  5. I thought we signed Yenier Bello, out of Cuba in the spring, but I haven’t heard anything about him since. I didn’t see his name on any of the minor league rosters. His numbers out of the Cuban national series looked pretty good if I remember correctly.

  6. But Bello is a 29-year-old catcher with two younger players (Gattis and Bethancourt) ahead of him in the system at that position. I don’t see him being of a lot of help

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