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Espn Insider: Keith Law On Pads/braves Trade - Prospect Talk


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Here's some stuff Joe Sheehan put together last year.

Here's every pitcher 29 and under who's struck out 13 men per nine in a season, through 2010:
  • Rob Dibble: Great at 25 and 26, last good year at 28.
  • Armando Benitez: Long, intermittently effective career after early high K rates.
  • Billy Wagner: Borderline Hall of Fame candidate.
  • Matt Mantei: 13.6 K/9 at 25. 4.53 ERA in 171 IP over next six years, hurt at 27, career over at 31.
  • John Rocker: 13.1 K/9 at 25. Career over at 28.
  • Byung-Hyun Kim: 14.1 K/9 at 21. Last good year at 24.
  • Eric Gagne: Three awesome years 26-28, then hurt and basically done at 29.
  • Francisco Rodriguez: 13.2 K/9 at 22, was great for a few years after, still effective at 31.
  • Brad Lidge: Huge two-year peak at 27-28, then another big year at 31.
  • Jonathan Broxton: Dominant from 22-25. 3.66 ERA, 21.7% K rate, injuries since.
  • Carlos Marmol: 2.54 ERA through age 27. 4.25 ERA and dumped twice since.

Obviously we all all want Kimbrel to be the next Billy Wagner, but the odds don't favor it.

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Because the track record for hard-throwing young relievers is that they will have significant arm issues at some point.

I'm aware of this but Keith seems overly fascinated with it happening to Kimbrel. Seems rather obsessed with finding some flaw or points out some potential issue that hasn't happened yet.

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I'm aware of this but Keith seems overly fascinated with it happening to Kimbrel. Seems rather obsessed with finding some flaw or points out some potential issue that hasn't happened yet.

I haven't seen that. It just makes sense for the Braves to trade Kimbrel, and a big reason for this is the track record of injuries to similar pitchers to him.

If the Braves were expected to be a contending team, this wouldn't be a discussion.

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  • Rob Dibble: Great at 25 and 26, last good year at 28. (Roids)
Armando Benitez: Long, intermittently effective career after early high K rates. (Was always up and down)Billy Wagner: Borderline Hall of Fame candidate. (Freak of Nature)Matt Mantei: 13.6 K/9 at 25. 4.53 ERA in 171 IP over next six years, hurt at 27, career over at 31. (Bad Mechanics)John Rocker: 13.1 K/9 at 25. Career over at 28. (Roids)Byung-Hyun Kim: 14.1 K/9 at 21. Last good year at 24. (The craziest mechanics ever seen)Eric Gagne: Three awesome years 26-28, then hurt and basically done at 29. (Roids)Francisco Rodriguez: 13.2 K/9 at 22, was great for a few years after, still effective at 31. (Still going)Brad Lidge: Huge two-year peak at 27-28, then another big year at 31. (Bad luck?)Jonathan Broxton: Dominant from 22-25. 3.66 ERA, 21.7% K rate, injuries since. (**** happens)Carlos Marmol: 2.54 ERA through age 27. 4.25 ERA and dumped twice since. (**** happens)
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Sure, different reasons for all those guys.

And even Wagner had the occasional injury. Torn flexor tendon in 2000 that caused him to miss the second half; strained muscle in the hand in 2004 that caused him to miss half the season; Tommy John surgery in 2008 that caused him to miss the equivalent of a full year.

Obviously the total of Wagner's career was brilliant.

Edited by K26dp
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What I hate about that is it was Wohler's worst pitch. Get beat on your fastball if you're going to get beat.

It's been 18 years now, and I still don't know how we lost a series up 2-0 and 6-0 in game three.

It's not just they lost 6-0 in game 3. It was losing game 4 and blowing a 5 run lead only 4 or 5 outs away from being up 3-1 in the series.

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Some interesting chat responses from Kiley McDaniel over at Fangraphs. McDaniel is their main scout/prospects guy. Here's the Braves stuff.

Comment From Travis
Where do you rank Atlanta's farm system now?
Kiley McDaniel
Haven't done the Braves list yet, so they aren't slotted into my (for the time being, private) org rankings yet. I have the Rockies 9th of the 16 teams I've done and the Braves have a better system than them. The next 2-3 teams above COL are kinda coinflips with ATL and the teams I haven't done there's only a couple that may be in this range. So probably 9th or 10th, give or take a few spots.

***

Comment From Ryan
Other than age, James Hoyt doesn't appear to have any obvious red flags. Is he an underrated piece of the Gattis trade?
Kiley McDaniel
I've heard middle reliever and inventory piece. He would've been one of the better others mentioned on the ATL list. 60-65 FB, 50+ SL, good numbers so makes sense HOU was interested, but that stuff can be found in the others section of most of these lists.
***
Comment From Ryan
How would you compare Jorge Mateo and Ozhaino Albies?
Kiley McDaniel
I'm very bullish on both. Both are shortstops that haven't played full-season ball but everyone thinks they can stick, both are at least 70 runners and have show very good handling of the bat, with a little pop. Both 50+ FV guys.
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Comment From RotoLando
Between Bobby Bradley and Braxton Davidson, who do you think becomes the better major leaguer? Opinions tend to say Davidson has better hit tool, Bradley moe power. Which is more important?
Kiley McDaniel
Both 60 power, both feel to hit, Davidson is trying RF but at some point probably ends up at 1B like Bradley. I'll take Davidson but they're reasonably close.
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Comment From Proswagnoist
Law was pretty hard on the Astros in his writeup of the Gattis trade, but the one thing that stuck out to me was his grade on Foltynewicz's curve. He graded it a 70! A SEVENTY! I've watched Folty pitch 20 times throughout his minor league career, and I'd like to know why he wasn't using this "70 curveball" of his because he sure as **** wouldn't be failing to hit 9K/9 his entire minor league career while throwing upper 90s with a 70 breaking pitch. Is that the most generous grade you've seen on Folty's breaking stuff?
Kiley McDaniel
I was told it's a 60 and it plays down due to his command. Once you get to 60, the higher grades get thrown out much more often. 55 is usually 55 for everyone. If I put a 65 on something, that means some scout somewhere put an 80 on it. Oddly, the older scouts tend to be the ones throwing out the big grades and the younger ones tend to put everything 40-60, which I've been accused of doing too often.
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Comment From Brian
How big of an upgrade is Rio Ruiz over Kubitza?
Kiley McDaniel
Real big. 50/55 FV for a pretty standard 45 FV, both reasonably close to MLB.
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Dan Szymborski chat. Naturally it was mostly about Scherzer and the Nats, with a dose of Cubs/Astros thrown in, but here's the Braves stuff.

Comment From Sadwick
So what pushed Aoki's value down? He's basically the same player as Markakis. Did the Braves just massively overvalue Markakis , everyone undervalue Aoki, or a little of both?
Dan Szymborski
Braves massively overvalued Markakis. Aoki is probably a little underrated right now - even with teams generally better at evaluating players, a lot of teams will still look at a corner outfield and go OMG WEAR R TEH DINGERS??!!!

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Comment From mtsw
Was Markakis's overvalue a symptom of teams being unable to evaluate current production or of teams unrealistically citing his legacy as a former top prospect as a reason he would overperform projections?
Dan Szymborski
To an extent. In this particular case, I think it's more then game has passed John Hart by.
***
Comment From the son of frogleg...
if "OMG WHERE ARE TEH DINGERZZZ" hurt Aoki's value, why didn't that also apply to Markakis?
Dan Szymborski
Markakis hit 14 homers in 2014. Aoki has 19 in 3 years.
Dan Szymborski
And the OMG THE GOLD GLOVE WHICH WE CARE ABOUT FOR SOME UNKNOWN REASON
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I don't know him specifically, but every offseason the WAR to AAV ratio updates. Nobody of course uses it as some sort of hard-and-fast rule though.

I know someone at Fangraphs makes that argument. I just find it funny since by their own numbers and arguments Markakis got less than his value based on last season (2.5 WAR = $12.5 million) yet they're flipping out about how overvalued his contract was. On the flip side, Heyward is worth over $25 million per season to them. It makes no sense.

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I know someone at Fangraphs makes that argument. I just find it funny since by their own numbers and arguments Markakis got less than his value based on last season (2.5 WAR = $12.5 million) yet they're flipping out about how overvalued his contract was. On the flip side, Heyward is worth over $25 million per season to them. It makes no sense.

I think the "flipping out" is due to a misreading the Braves. I contend that the Braves off-season strategy flip-flopped sometime in early December. It's not the AAV of the Markakis contract that confuses people, it's the length. Also, it's based on projections. Heyward has been really good already and is now entering his prime years. Markakis was really good five years ago, hasn't been that great since, and is now on the wrong side of 30.

Going into the offseason, everyone knew that something was going to happen with at least one of the Braves outfielders, Upton or Heyward. What wasn't known was if the Braves were going to re-tool for another shot in 2015 or do a more thorough re-build. I suspect that there were actually two schools of thought on that within the front office as well.

"Numbers" people took a look at the Braves, looked at the competition, looked at the projected payroll, and came to conclusion that the Braves should fold their hand and go for the re-build (I subscribed to this school of thought). The math was such that there were too many holes and not enough budget to fix them.

Early on however, I think the "re-tool" faction of the Braves FO held sway. While they did trade Heyward, instead of a bunch of prospects like the Braves got for Upton and Gattis, they got a major league player and a mid-level prospect. The inclusion of Shelby Miller in the trade instead of a couple of high-ceiling prospects showed that at least at that point, the Braves were trying to get back immediate-impact talent.

This was followed up by rumors of the Braves being interested in and meeting with Jon Lester, the signing of whom would definitely have been a win-now type of move. It wasn't long before reality set in and bidding went beyond the Braves budget. I also suspect that it was at this point that reality started to set in for John Hart as far as to the hurdles the Braves would have to clear in order to contend in 2015.

At this point, I think Hart was still leaning on keeping Upton and playing Gattis at C (this jibes with some Fredi comments about keeping Gattis at C), unless the team could couple BJ Upton in the same trade. The Lester signing however showed what free agent talent was really going to go for this offseason, and even if the Braves could get back some or all of BJ's contract lay-out, most impact free agents would still be out of range.

The Markakis contract was the last move of the "re-tool" train of thought, because it only really makes sense if the FO felt like the team would contend in 2015/16. There is a very reasonable chance that Markakis will be worth his $11M AAV next season, maybe even the next as well. The problem is the back end of the contract, $22M for the 33/34YO seasons of Markakis is more likely to be wasted money than not. While he'll no doubt be on the team, if Nick Markakis is actually the everyday outfielder in 2017, chances are the Braves still aren't contending, because they haven't either traded or developed a better option.

So I suspect that after the Winter Meetings, the FO did a re-evaluation. They still had BJ and CJ2.0 on the payroll, and no one would take them. They still had Gattis behind the plate. They had Miller, but he's not really as much of a "sure thing" as Ervin Santana was. The fifth starter options were not exciting. And they didn't have enough cash on hand to be real players in this offseason FA market. At this point, the "rebuild" faction gained control, and all of the Braves moves since then have been with the idea that 2015 is a lost cause, but 2016 is a possibility and 2017 should be a good year.

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Here's a timeline of the major Braves transactions this offseason.

11/16: Traded Tommy La Stella to the Chicago Cubs. Received Arodys Vizcaino. While this looked more like a "future" move in that it opened a spot for Jose Peraza at 2B, it also was a win-now move in that Vizcaino is expected to win a bullpen spot this season. And that was important because at this point the Braves probably knew that they were going to trade Jordan Walden.

11/17: Traded Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden to the St. Louis Cardinals. Received Tyrell Jenkins (minors) and Shelby Miller. As discussed above. The Braves were ready to move on from Heyward, and got back a replacement for Ervin Santana. They already had secured Walden's replacement, and saved a total of about $10M in the process, which they probably naively thought would actually make a difference in this market. Jenkins was a nice piece to get back, but absolutely superfluous to the Cardinals at this point.

11/18: First rumors that the Braves were interested in Jon Lester.

12/1: Rumors that the Braves were "out" on Lester. First rumors that linked the Braves and Nick Markakis

12/2: Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen granted Free Agency. Even if they had stuck around, they wouldn't be available until mid-season. I suspect the team may now regret letting Beachy go, who wouldn't have been too expensive (less that $2M in the arb process), but if the team was still in a "re-tool" mindset, they may have thought they would need that $2M.

12/3: Signed Nick Markakis and Jim Johnson as free agents. The last gasp of the "re-tool" faction, Markakis in the short term would provide similar production as Heyward in RF. I suspect the next move for this faction would be to trade Gattis/BJ Upton to the Astros for Dexter Fowler, but the Astros wouldn't bite.

After this the Braves go nearly two weeks without a trade or signing. It was near the end of this that I suspect Hart decided to switch gears.

12/15: Signed Alberto Callaspo as a free agent. An ambiguous move. Callaspo could play 2B, so at the time it indicated the team was unsure if Peraza would be ready to assume 2B duties, or that Phil Gosselin and/or Corban Joseph could man the position adequately in the meantime, which would make it a "win now" move. However, it could also be a sign the team was looking to move CJ2.0, or was looking for low-risk signings that the team could possibly flip mid-season.

12/17: Traded Anthony Varvaro to the Boston Red Sox. Received Aaron Kurcz (minors) and cash. I didn't understand this move at the time, and I pretty much still don't. Maybe they had already targeted Jason Grilli at this point, or maybe they just wanted to save themselves an arbitration case.

12/19: Traded Aaron Northcraft (minors) and Justin Upton to the San Diego Padres. Received Max Fried (minors), Dustin Peterson (minors), Mallex Smith (minors) and Jace Peterson. While Jace Peterson will likely make the team out of spring training, this is definitely the first 100% re-build move of the offseason. They was just no way that the team would be able to replace Justin Upton in this market for short-term success.

1/1: Traded David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve to the New York Yankees. Received Manny Banuelos (minors). Carpenter and Shreve would have been key pieces to a contending team's bullpen.

1/7: Signed Jason Grilli, Josh Outman, and A.J. Pierzynski as a free agents. We know the team had deals in place with at least Grilli and Pierzynski before the holidays. Grilli and Outman are reclamation projects that, if all goes well, can be dealt mid-season. A win-now team would simply have kept Carpenter and Shreve, who are likely to outperform Grilli and Outman.

1/14: Traded James Hoyt (minors) and Evan Gattis to the Houston Astros. Received Rio Ruiz (minors), Andrew Thurman (minors) and Michael Foltynewicz. The best trade of the off-season from the prospective of getting back likely future impact players.

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No need to go after him. We have a plethora of 5th starter candidates.

Who knows when Beachy will be ready to pitch or if he ever will be. We do have options for 5th starter but none of them exactly inspire confidence. I'm not saying Beachy should be that guy, just saying. Wandy Rodriguez seems like the most likely to me since the Braves would be hoping they could flip him at the trading deadline but it's been a long time since he was effective in the majors. I've seen enough of David Hale to know he's not the guy. He's your average, run of the mill, replacement level pitcher.

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Who knows when Beachy will be ready to pitch or if he ever will be. We do have options for 5th starter but none of them exactly inspire confidence. I'm not saying Beachy should be that guy, just saying. Wandy Rodriguez seems like the most likely to me since the Braves would be hoping they could flip him at the trading deadline but it's been a long time since he was effective in the majors. I've seen enough of David Hale to know he's not the guy. He's your average, run of the mill, replacement level pitcher.

Are we looking for someone to inspire confidence in 2015? What I see is a bunch of spare parts that can be flipped during the season for a prospect or two. Just pick one..... it's not like it really matters.

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