First, the good news. Emilio Bonifacio was DFA’d today. Finally. He finishes the season with a .361 OPS, .004 points higher than Jaime Garcia.
Now, the bad news. Adonis is back, and, even though the Braves face a right-handed pitcher tonight, he’s in the starting line-up. So much for the platoon with Rio Ruiz that was promised upon Garcia’s return. It’s a stupid move by Snitker and, along with his affinity for dumb bunts and questionable line-up constructions, one more reason he should not be brought back in 2018.
Nick Markakis shouldn’t be here, either, and if the Braves are going to deal him this year’s trade deadline would be the best time. In 22 games at Mississippi, Ronald Acuna is batting .402 with a 1.097 OPS and has stolen 26 bases overall in 2017. It looks like he could be ready for the majors by Opening Day so room must be made.
Many will argue Matt Kemp should be the one dealt, and I’d be for that if I thought you could get a proper return. But considering his age and contract, the Braves aren’t likely to get enough back. And, as Mark Bradley pointed out in today’s AJC, Kemp’s bat is more than making up for any other deficiencies in his game.
Last year Kemp hit 35 homers and drove in 108 runs and managed an 0.7 FanGraphs WAR. This year he’s at 1.3, which puts him on pace for 4.1, which wouldn’t just be his best since 2011 (8.3) — it would almost double his previous four seasons combined (2.1).
Will Folty, tonight’s starter, ever maximize his potential? I’m starting to have my doubts. He still seems plagued by an inability to get focus, and so far this year he’s missing fewer bats and giving up more long balls. Folty is averaging only 7.3 K/9 IP (compared to 8.1 a year ago) and his WHIP has risen from 1.297 to 1.441.
Which begs the question I’ve been raising all year: Who’s going to compose next year’s rotation? Allard and Soroka are probably not going to be ready and shouldn’t be rushed. Lucas Sims has come back to earth after a dominant stretch and while Sean Newcomb’s 2.97 ERA and 11-plus Ks per 9 tantalizes he’s still struggling with his command, walking 30 in 51.2 inning.
Let’s bookend this post filled mostly by bad news with a very promising development from the farm. Brett Cumberland, drafted in the 2nd round last year, has been raking at Rome. The young catcher, known more for his bat, struggled mightily at Danville last season and got off to a poor start with the R-Braves. But he was terrific in May and sports a 1.028 OPS for the year (.453 OBP, .575 slugging).