Atlanta Braves News: The Morning Chop, LHP Bullpen Competition, Mike Folynewicz
Pitching Notes: Hammel, Jays, Royals, Blevins, Blanton, Braves
Tomahawk Take Editor’s Note: The Atlanta Braves have nine left-handed pitchers on their way to Orlando, Florida in less than two weeks to compete for a role in the bullpen. The Braves have historically keep two lefties in their bullpen and this year should be no different (it’s possible they only keep one, but nothing is certain right now). The pitchers competing for a job that are on the 40-man roster are Ian Krol, Jesse Biddle, Jacob Lindgren and Paco Rodriguez. The ones that got an invite to camp are John Danks, Sam Freeman, Adam Kolarek, A.J. Minter and Eric O’Flaherty. Oh, the Spring season will be fun!
While there’s some uncertainty as to which left-handers will be working out of theBraves’ bullpen in 2017, Atlanta hasn’t expressed much interest in free agents such as Jerry Blevins, Javier Lopez, Boone Logan, Travis Wood and Chris Capuano, per David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Braves feel that those options are either too expensive or not definitive enough upgrades to sign. Ian Krol and Paco Rodriguez (if healthy) are likely to see significant work in the Atlanta relief corps this season, per O’Brien, who also runs down a number of other internal options.
Bridges preparing Braves’ road map to Draft
Tomahawk Take Editor’s Note: A very cool article up on Braves.com about scouting director Brian Bridges. I’m beginning to remember how exciting this time of year is! We’ve got spring training, opening day, the draft…throw in fantasy baseball, spring weather!! Bridges has done an excellent job since taking over this position. We’ve drafted smart and aggressive. That strategy is definitely paying off as you can see from our minor league affiliates. Braves future is very bright and it all starts with scouting.
Since assuming the role of the Braves’ scouting director two years ago, Brian Bridges has experienced some less glamorous aspects of the job. There was that 30-plus-hours of no sleep in 2015, when he watched a high school game in California before embarking on a red-eye flight in order to catch a game at the University of South Carolina the following afternoon.
Then there was that Saturday afternoon he found himself in Fort Worth, Texas, to evaluate Texas Christian University closer Riley Ferrell. Once TCU jumped out to an 8-0 lead and it was unlikely Ferrell was going to pitch, Bridges rushed to the airport to catch a flight that allowed him to be at the University of Houston for a game that evening.
During that particular trip, Bridges didn’t see Patrick Weigel — the right-handed prospect who has escalated through the Braves’ system since being drafted in the seventh round of the 2015 Draft. But his evaluation of Weigel had occurred that same year, on a day in which he caught a high school game in Houston and then raced across town in time to see the collegiate hurler toe the rubber.
Now is the Time to Trade Mike Foltynewicz
Tomahawk Take Editor’s Note: This is an article I saw floating around the webs’ and wanted to get y’alls take on it. I completely disagree with their statements in the article and don’t think the Braves should trade Folty. I’m expecting huge things from the righty this year…he was even one of my keepers in fantasy baseball for 2017. I’m not sure of the return the Braves would get for Folty at this point. The 25-year-old is entering his fourth season in the MLB and last year he went 9-5 with a 4.31 ERA in 22 games started. He threw 123.1 innings with 111 strikeouts, 35 walks, six HBP, 13 WP and gave up 18 bombs. I’m expecting Folty to win the 5th starter role for the Braves in 2017, have a great season, move up in the rotation and in 2018 be a 2 or 3. Who’s with me? Who thinks we should trade him? Who thinks he won’t make the opening day rotation?
Atlanta Braves fans have enjoyed an eventful off-season that on the surface has made the team better as they head into the new stadium. Whether or not the team is truly trying to compete this season is debatable. What isn’t debatable is that it is time for the Braves to focus on the youth and strength of their farm and to trade Mike Foltynewicz.
Foltynewicz joined the Braves early on in their rebuild and has dealt with a myriad of injuries in his career. Injuries alone are not the reason now is the time to trade Foltynewicz. Say what you want about his velocity, but he hasn’t shown anything as a starter to indicate that he is capable of being the ace that many Braves fans expect him to be.
Braves fanboys see Foltynewicz’s velocity and instantly think ace of staff, while velocity helps it does little if you don’t truly know how to pitch. Foltynewicz is a thrower who could turn into a great bullpen option late in games. His velocity is overwhelming enough alone to allow him to pitch innings as a reliever for short times. As a starter he struggles to continue to get outs and to pitch deep into games. The action on his pitches is limited at best and when they are hit result in a lot of balls hit a very long way.