I’m an optimist when things are going well, a pessimist when things aren’t. Guess how I’m feeling today?
*We should’ve seen Ozzie’s slump coming, and the peripherals are even more troubling. His OBP is down .50 points from last year. He’s striking out more, walking less. All those home runs seem to have taken him off course. A day off wouldn’t be a bad idea.
*The Braves have the second-best OBP in the NL, but its oddly distributed, which presents some problems in creating a line-up. The “table setters” have gotten on base at a below-average rate: Albies and Ender (.304 each), Acuna (.326), Dansby (.327).
*Looks like Brandon McCarthy’s days in the rotation are numbered. Mike Soroka should be back next week, with Julio not far behind. I’m not counting on Annibal Sanchez to finish the year in the rotation, though options are limited. I’d send Gohara back to Triple-A to get more work as a starter. Max Fried has a 5.17 ERA in 6 starts at Gwinnett, and while Kolby Allard’s 2.22 ERA is impressive, his K/9 ratio has fallen from 9.8 in 2016 to 7.7 last year to 5.7 in Triple-A.
*There’s a reason most teams with high draft picks tend to prefer hitters. Pitchers are just too unpredictable. Last year’s top pick, Kyle Wright, has struggled at Mississippi (4.71 ERA, 1.508 WHIP, 30 BB in 63 IP) while Bryse Wilson has been getting pummeled since his promotion to Double-A (7.43 ERA, 1.800 WHIP in 6 starts). On the plus side, Touki Toussaint has been dominant at times (76 Ks in 61 IP, 3.52 ERA) though command remains an issue. Regardless, there doesn’t appear to be a future ace matriculating on the farm.
Walker Buehler, currently the ace of the Dodgers staff, was taken 10 picks after Allard.
*Brian Snitker got heat for a good decision (one likely encouraged by the front office) the other day that didn’t work. With the Braves trailing San Diego 3-1 in the 8th, Ozzie on 2B with a lead-off double and 0 outs, Snitker let Dansby swing away. As he should have. Why trade an opportunity to score for an out? Unless the pitcher is batting, bunting with a runner at second base is ALWAYS a bad call.
*According to Baseball Reference, Jerry Royster’s 1977 season was the worst in baseball history (-4.0 WAR; Fangraphs has it at -3.8, next to the all-time bottom). Royster hit .216 that year with a .566 OPS and committed 28 errors with little range. Baltimore’s Chris Davis is threatening to leave Royster in the dust, with a 1.8 WAR already. Davis has scored but nine runs in 2018. Nine.
In 10 years with the Braves Royster had a -1.0 WAR. Then he went to San Diego and suddenly became useful, producing a 3.2 WAR as part of a second base platoon with Tim Flannery (Timry Flanster).