2016 Atlanta Braves Regular Season Thread

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1 hour ago, Unkn0wn said:

Looks like a great park

I like how they have the pennants on the light stands. That is how the Chicago White Sox have their championship pennants. I think it looks great like that.

One thing I haven't saw yet is where they're gonna put the retired numbers.

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3 hours ago, Reggie_Kelly said:

Is this your site?

No, it's been around a few years. I was invited to write for them a few months ago. 

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On 12/11/2016 at 3:40 AM, Reggie_Kelly said:

I see. I like the analysis. I'm gonna bookmark the site.. Really enjoyed reading the articles.


Speaking of which, there's another week-in-review up. I'll also have more "Get to Know a Prospect" pieces up, essentially repeats of what I posted here but updated and with more pictures, gifs, and YouTube stuff.

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Transcript for the baseball-related stuff from todays's #AskCoppy twitter event.

Q: Why has the off-season been such a bummer for fans? Signed old has beens. No splashes.
A: It hasn't been a bummer for us.  Dickey, Colon, Sean Rod, Jaime Garcia, Jacob Lindgren, Alex Jackson and we kept all our prospects.

Q: What part(s) of the new CBA will have the biggest impact on the @Braves, your job, etc.?
A: The biggest changes involve the amateur draft and foreign signing rules.  Ultimately we will be as good as our scouts & player development.

Q: What's the focus for the rest of the winter?
A: Don't do anything stupid.  We have gotten better and held our prospects.  We want to improve gradually not "win" the off-season per se.

Q: What are you the most excited for this upcoming year?
A: Lots of stuff.  1. Sun Trust Park; 2. Our revamped starting rotation; 3. Full yr of Dansby & Matt Kemp; 4. Our prospects; 5. 20 other things.

Q: How is Ozzie healing? Ahead of schedule or behind or right on?
A: Great question.  We got an update late last week that he will be able to resume baseball activities in early January -- ahead of schedule.

Q: What is going to be the best part of SunTrust Park?
A: I am pumped up about the mixed-use component, but the park itself is gorgeous and going to be so cool for our players & fans to experience.

Q: What prospects would you consider virtually untouchable?
A: Hate putting labels on anybody as "touchable" or "untouchable" -- will say there are about 20 guys we really want to hold & see what we have.

Q: Any idea of how long it will take for most of our big name prospects to be called up? 
A: It depends more on the prospects and when they tell us they are ready.  Like with Dansby last year when our guys are ready we will call them.

Q: Can we start Bartolo on Opening Day, since he originally debuted the same day that Turner Field did?
A: Snit's call, but really cool about Bartolo.  He's 10 wins away from DR record for wins and 13 away from Latin record.  Amazing guy.

Q: With the new gets in the rotation, how well do you think the Braves will compete in the division this year?
A: Don't want to make predictions about specific win totals etc, but feel confident we will be better & we will be a lot of fun to watch.

Q: As Braves consider catchers, looking at any prospect  on the cusp trade type deals or strictly veterans?
A: We added Kade Scivicque late in a trade last year & he tore up Fall Lg.  Also talking w/ Alex Jackson about catching which could be huge!

Q: When will single game tickets go on sale for 2017?
A: Greg Mize who is fantastic just popped his head in and told me in early March.

Q: Have you already contacted all 14 teams with competitive balance picks to discuss trades?
A: No.  Of the 14 teams only 5-6 realistically would even consider trading them -- but yes I have contacted those teams.  I love the draft.

Q: Thank you for doing these Coppy! The Braves' MO the last 2 drafts is HS Pitching first and foremost. Will that continue in 2017?  
A: Brian Bridges & Roy Clark & all their stuff have been tremendous -- trust them completely & see where they take us, knowing it will be good.

Q: Miguel Montero? Susac?
A: Also asked about Wieters by others -- we are good with what we have, but if something crazy falls into our lap we would have to consider.

Q: The Braves were recently ranked the #6 most technology-friendly team in American professional sports.  What are your thoughts? 
A: That's great and a credit to many people in our organization including Greg Gatti, Anthony Esposito, Paul Adams, Jim Allen, & Adam Zim!

Q: Do you plan on trading for additional draft picks before the next draft?
A: I will try like **** to do this -- last two years there have been five picks traded and we have gotten four of those picks.

Q: What player in the system do you believe will surprise people this year?
A: I would say Acuna, but cat is out of bag there -- maybe Cristian Pache or Bryse Wilson.

Q: If it was up to you to expand MLB, which cities would you choose?
A: I'd put a third team in NY & go back to Montreal.  That ESPN special on the Expos was awesome.

Q: Will Adonis Garcia platoon with Rio Ruiz at 3B for 2017 or will Ruiz start in AAA for 2017?
A: Rio had a nice year & did a great job of conditioning.  He has a very bright future & will get opportunity along w/ Adonis.

Q: It's early, but with the draft position you have, do you see yourself having a similar draft strategy as last year?
A: Depends on so many things, but safe to say we value quality over quantity -- meaning less players w/ higher upsides, so in that regard, yes.

Q: Mallex Smith is gonna be good...really good. Please don't move him. Haha, no question there.
A: We love Mallex, too, and hope he will be here a long time.  He just began playing winter ball in Puerto Rico last night.

Q: Who is your bet to be the first pitcher we see in the majors from last years Rome rotation? 
A: Likely Max Fried or Patrick Weigel just because they are older so intuitively that makes sense, but all six of those guys are legit.

Q: Are there any details you can give us about the festivities planned for the exhibition game against the Yankees on March 31?
A: We are planning a video montage of Gordon Blakeley & Alex Cotto.  Just kidding.  Lots of things in the works & will be a lot of fun.

Q: Ender Inciarte: high average, low walk rate, good speed, great D. Attributes don't age well. Sell high candidate?
A: Again, I don't want to say anybody untouchable or not, but love Ender & what he does for our team & how he fits with our other outfielders.

Q: Kelly Johnson a target for you to fill out the bench?
A: I've stayed in touch with Kelly throughout the off-season & spoke to him earlier this week.  Terrific talent, better person, can help us.

Q: Will Mallex Smith play in the spring?
A: Yes.  He will get every shot to make our club in the spring.  He's one of the most exciting players we have had in a long time.

Q: What pitching prospect do you believe will have the biggest impact this season? 
A: Again, tough to do anything more than guess -- Albies comes to mind for sure. (K2 note: Albies is not a pitcher)

Q: As of right now, who is most likely to be in the starting rotation in Atlanta on Opening Day?
A: Front four will be Teheran, Colon, Garcia, Dickey.  Fifth spot will be competition between Danks, Folty, Wisler, Blair.  Competition good!

Q: Do you think Ronald Acuna if progressing could be in AA by end of year, moving quickly as Andruw Jones did?
A: Desperately trying not to make some lame Lion King reference ... trying ... Acuna is tearing it up & one of our most exciting prospects.

Q:  Is our roster set or is there still some moves under that magic sleeve of yours? 
A: You know the 7-Eleven/Boondock Saints line ... always open even if not always doing business.  We make calls each day trying to get better.

Q: Lester was right guy at the wrong time, same with Sale. When will it be the right time?
A: Sale was the right guy at the right time -- we just couldn't pay the price to control the dice. #c&cmusicfactory

Q: With the league moving to 8 man pens, do you foresee hybrid players who can both hit off the bench and pitch in relief?
A: It's a possibility.  The name that immediately comes to mind is Ohtani from Japan, who is extremely talented.  It will happen in future.

Q: Trevor Plouffe seems like one of those bounceback candidates that you love to gamble on. Anything there?
A: Would rather see about Adonis & Rio while saving our $$ for more pressing needs.

Q: Were you surprised at the high prospect prices for established major leaguers? Seems worse than usual.
A: Agreed that prices were high which is why we did not play.  Think it's a function of such a weak free agent market.

Q: Plans for the draft? Trade for more picks? College bat/Arm or stick to going bpa and take pitching?
A: Stick to the plan & trust our scouts.  Biggest thing for us is upside.  We aren't going to beat Cubs, Dodgers, etc w/ nice, safe players.

Q: Is there any possibility of Matt Wieters coming to Atlanta this off-season?
A: Lots of questions about Wieters because he's good -- never say never, but it would have to make sense for him and for us.

Q: Are there any big trades you're currently working on?
A: Always -- 90% of trades never happen, but you still go down the rabbit hole.

Q: I really tip my hat to you and your staff for not giving up top talent for an Ace pitcher! Thank you, Braves Country respects you!
A: Thanks Chad!  I would have loved to have gotten Sale or Archer, but we need to stay disciplined & trust in our kids & process.

Q: Why did you trade Tyrell?
A: We liked Luke Jackson better, felt he had a higher upside w/ better stuff.  We love Tyrell & he was great on phone.  Glad he's back home.

Q: Do you see AJ Minter starting the season in Atlanta? And will he be on any sort of innings limit this year?
A: AJ Minter is somebody we speak about often & likely to be a very big part of our 2017 team.  Nasty in a good way.

Q: Why are you bringing in so many veteran starters? Will they be in the pen or will the younger guys be sent to Gwinnett? 
A: Maybe some of the younger guys who don't make rotation are considered for bullpen or they go to Gwinnett.  Options & competition are good.

Q: Where do you expect to start Kevin Maitan in 2017?
A: Likely either Danville or GCL -- up to Dave Trembley, Jonathan Schuerholz, & our PD staff who do a tremendous job each day.

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Q: Is there a move still to be made for the catching position? Or are you going to stand with Flowers and Recker?
A: It's those two and Tuffy Goeswisch -- don't forget about Tuffy! -- unless something else falls into our lap.

Q: All I want for Xmas is Chris Archer.
A: You and me, Chris.  You and me.

Q: What do you want for Christmas?
A: Archer or another ace-type pitcher.  In all seriousness, just health & happiness for family & friends.  I don't need anything else.

Q: What is the biggest goal for the 2017 season?
A: Get better.  Advance prospects.  Continue toward a path that will result in a World Series championship for this city.

Q: Does the warming of relations with Cuba allow more scouting opportunities of Cuban talent?
A: Still too early to tell, but can promise you our foreign scouting group -- Gordy, Alex, Marc Russo Mike Silvestri, etc - will be all over it.

Q:  How excited were you with the progress Touki showed 2nd half of last year? Do you see him as potential 1-2?
A: Touki has as much upside as any pitcher in our system & could be 1-2 type.  One internal comp on him is actually Archer.

Q: Do you ever think we will trade for a 3rd baseman like Joey Gallo in the future?
A: It's possible.  We discuss all 29 other teams each day searching for ways to get better.  Gallo is good & would make us better.

Q: Do you think #braves sold low on Kimbrel given today's market on premium closers?
A: I'm a bit biased, but not at all.  We shed $48 million from BJ, added Matt Wisler, and added a pick that become Austin Riley.

Q: How many homers you think Dansby Swanson will hit this year? 
A: Dansby brings more than raw statistics or counting numbers -- he's a winner who does a number of things that lead to victories.

Q: What does a Brad Hand type demand on the trade market?
A: Too much.  I've asked AJP about him a # of times & price too high.  Btw -- Preller is like a college-level basketball player.  Ridiculous.

Q: What position player prospect do you think will have the largest impact in the next two years, Dansby excluded?
A: Don't want to list names because if leave somebody out don't want them to think they matter less etc but there are 8-10 guys we really like.

Q: What do you see in Tyler Flowers and do you think he can handle being the starting catcher? 
A: Tyler is a really good player on both sides of the ball & continues to improve.  More than anything he cares so much about our pitchers.

Q: Since the initial international splurge, the Braves have not made any high profile signings. Do you anticipate any more? 
A: Most of the signings occur early, but we did make some nice later signings.  I tease Gordon & his group, but they are terrific.

Q: John Danks. What was your thought process of signing a guy coming off 5 bad seasons?
A: He's due for a good season.

Q: Is Alex Jackson viewed as a catcher right now?
A: We are going to try it in the spring and see where it goes -- if he can stay there and continue w/ power it's a big upside play.

Q: How do you feel Dickey and Colon will fit in with the pitching staff you have now?
A: One of the cool things about these two guys (besides AARP) is that they provide different looks w/ their stuff & should help others play up.

Q: What prospect do you think has the best chance to make the opening day roster?
A: Albies.

Q: What is your opinion on MLB getting rid of rookie hazing?
A: I trust MLB and likely more bad than good comes out of it, but I'm not a player & haven't been through it so tough to say.

Q: Tempted to be opportunistic and kick the tires on any of the veteran stars lingering on the market or value dp's higher? 
A: Always tempted -- prices will be even better in January.

Q: Any chance we bring back Medlen as another depth option?
A: Can't rule it out.  Kris is such a great person & has meant so much to the Braves.

Q: Easy Christmas question.  What is your favourite part of the Christmas holiday? 
A: Spending time w/ my kids.  It's really the only "break" we get.  That being said, we signed Grilli & Pierzynski Dec 23 & 24 #hamrumors

Q: Theres a pattern of acquiring former 1st rounds picks. What makes you think these guys will "turn it on" with the braves? 
A: Nothing.  Just young guys w/ tools & upside that maybe we thought were a bit undervalued.  Roll the dice & see what happens.

Q: What were the chances on Prado being a braves if he didn't resign with Miami? 
A: We all love Martin.  Tough to give a percentage, but we had hoped he would have become a free agent.  Kudos to Marlins.

Q: I thought y'all said we would trade prospects for needs when we were ready....so is 2017 not the year...?
A: It's time, but we don't want to just trade for needs if the prices are exorbitant.  When the price is right we will strike & strike hard.

Q: This off season you unloaded some SP prospects in Whalen, Povse, Jenkins and Gant. Of those were any difficult to include?
A: Difficult to trade all of them, but felt they would get better opportunities elsewhere & we had others we wanted to provide w/ chances here.

Q: How do you view things when the "experts" say our prospects are overvalued and nowhere near as good as we think they are? 
A: I don't care about the "experts" unless they praise me -- just kidding.  We really like our kids, so time will tell who ends up right.

Q: Do we have any pitching prospects that you feel will be an ace in the future? Out of all prospects there has to be one.
A: We feel there are 6-8 who have a chance.

Q: Are you done adding to this team for '17?
A: Never done -- always looking for ways to get better.

Q: Can we bring back Jose Constanza? Man has the highest BA in playoff history. We need that experience.
A: Love Jose & what he did for the team.  If we get to the playoffs we will consider it on a trial basis...

Q: How good can Acuna be? Hearing a lot of A. Jones references.
A: Tough to compare anybody to Andruw -- who I think should be in HOF.  Acuna has a chance to be special & we like him a lot.

Q: Obviously worked out because we have Dansby now, but what are your thoughts on the Simmons trade a year later?
A: Only through the first year of the trade so time will tell, but there have been some disappointing aspects to it.

Q:  What is your response to Ken Rosenthal's remarks about the prospects? Please kick him in the throat next time u see him.
A: I hear you, Brandon.  Last year he totally bashed us whereas this year he's only kind of questioning us.  I guess that's progress?

NOTE: following are translations from the @LosBravos section of #AskCoppy:

Q: My mother is from Honduras and loves baseball. is the team looking for players in Central America?
A: Yes.  Many talented players are in Central America.

Q: Any possibility of signings from Mexico?
A: We signed a pitcher of the Mexican League named Manny Barreda.  We are always looking for talent in Mexico.  We want  the future Urias.

NOTE: now back to @Braves and in English:

Q: Do you think the White Sox rebuild will take less time than the Braves?
A: Hard to say, but we have had two tough years.  Never lost 100 games.  Primed for great things this year & continue to improve.

Q: As a college freshman recovering from TJ surgery, with hopes of continuing to play, what's some advice you could give me? 
A: Listen to your doctors & don't try to rush back too fast.  You have plenty of time, just make sure you are healthy when you do return.

Q: Whatever happened to the Brian McCann talk last season of him possibly coming back to ATL?
A: The Houston Astros offered to trade the Yankees better players and take on more money than we did.

Q: Of all the Braves affiliates which park would you suggest making a visit to this year?
A: They are all good.  I'm interested to see our FSL affiliate.  I love Gwinnett & Rome.  Mississippi is a good setup too.  Danville classic.

Q: How are you planning to utilize your 3 super utility players (Rodriguez, Chase, and Jace)?
A: All will get a chance to play a lot, often at multi positions.  The versatility will help us w/ potential 8-man pen.

Q: Do you think there's a good chance that the Freeman will win MVP and Dansby will get ROY in 2017?
A: Sure hope both happen, Josh, it's possible.

Q: What's up with Braves scouting In Asian areas? Not a focus or dearth of talent? And how many flights per year do you avg? 
A: Good question, Champman.  We do a lot of scouting in Asia, led by Gordon Blakeley and Chad MacDonald.  Chad went over 4x this year.

Q: Besides versatility and some pop, what is the best thing Sean Rodriguez beings to the table?
A: Killing Gatorade coolers.  All kidding aside, Sean is a great teammate who can do so many things well.  We are fortunate to have him.

Q: If you could have any Chicago Cub at a fair price who would it be?
A: Kris Bryant -- just won the MVP.

Q: Have there been talks of moving Demeritte to 3B since Albies is also [the greatest of all time] like you?
A: We are exploring Demeritte and others playing multiple positions to increase their versatility so they provide more options at ML level.

Q:  How do you think the addition of a guy like Colon will help guys like Folty and Wisler develop?
A: My hope is young pitchers look at guys like Colon & Dickey who have been around so long & how they have stayed around.

Q: why was the MVP vote for Freddie Freeman so weak? Just because of the teams record?
A: That's the only things that I can think of because Freddie had a tremendous season.

Q: Was the Garcia trade something y'all had been eyeing for awhile or a sudden transaction? It seemed to come out of nowhere.
A: Began speaking with Cards GM John Mozeliak in early October.  We always liked Jaime and thought he could big a big add for us in 2017.

Q: What time frame do you see for Sean Newcomb coming to the majors. Any chance for 2017?
A: Sean will have a chance to impact our team this season -- if he shows us he is ready we will call him up to the Major Leagues.

Q: Really proud of the way we finished last season. What are your thoughts on next season and having Snit back as skipper?
A: Love the way we finished at 20-10 and with the additions we have made it should be a really fun 2017 season.  Snit was awesome.

Q: Why sign 3 pitchers that are 40+ years old when the braves are still rebuilding?
A: The same reason we signed Troy Glaus in 2010 -- it makes the club better and does not block our top prospects who are close to ML.

Q: With Jaime [Garcia], he does best when he stays ahead in count & keeps runners off. This something Chuck will focus on in training? 
A: Every pitcher does better when he stays ahead in the count and keeps runners off.

Dan Szymborski: You guys should be proud of me for never sending an #AskCoppy about what hallucinogenic drugs are recommended to play Matt Kemp w/o a DH.
A: Love your work, Dan.  I also love Matt's work, with 35 HR and 39 2B while hitting cleanup for our team.

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Q: Let's play what if: if every current player was a FA, who would be your top priority? This includes Trout, Bryant, etc...
A: Depends on the money, but I love pitching and would like for somebody like Kershaw or Sale.

Q: When do you expect Lindgren to be 100%? Sounds like high ceiling arm. Also could Minter get a call up soon? 2 pieces of future pen.
A: 2018.  We won't pitch Lindgren at all in 2017 and allow him to rehab.  He may be the most upside sign of the off-season.

Q: Player development is obviously hard to track, but what do you think our timetable is for the team to legitimately compete?
A: Think we can compete this year.  With our starting rotation I feel like we have a chance to win everyday.

Q: Folty had a a bone spur in his elbow. Is it fair to say that having Danks and Collmenter in the system is good insurance?
A: Folty is healthy, but it's always good to have depth and we feel like those two will have a real chance to help us in 2017.

Q: If you could sacrifice one pinky toe to win the next 3 WS, would you do it? 
A: Right now -- wouldn't even think about it.

Q: When was the last time you saw Matt Kemp?  Has he lost any weight?
A: I don't need to see Matt I can feel his presence in the wind.  All kidding aside, Matt is a respected veteran & we trust him completely.


And that ended a marathon 3-hour #AskCoppy. There was a lot of silly questions the he took that I didn't transcribe, clearly he was having some good fun with the fans.

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Mark De Rosa is currently hosting Hair Nation on XM Radio. It's so weird I just felt the need to point it out somewhere.

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