An Update on the Braves Pitching Situation:

The Atlanta Braves have been bit by the injury bug a lot so far this season, and it has hit their starting rotation the most.

With big injuries to Max Fried (left forearm strain) and Kyle Wright (right shoulder strain), a lot of the weight from the starting rotation has moved to the bullpen. Atlanta’s bullpen has done really well this year. However, when the big injuries to the starting rotation took place, it was like it changed something in the bullpen… and not for the better.

Obviously with the two big injuries a lot of pressure was placed on the bullpen, but the Braves bullpen normally doesn’t crack under pressure. But we saw in the last two series Atlanta played, against the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays, that the bullpen could not hold a lead. In three out of four of those games, the bullpen blew a 2-run lead late in the games, which didn’t give enough time for the Braves offense to come back.

A.J. Minter, who in the past has done really well for the Braves, has not been off to a good start in the bullpen. In fact, I’d say he’s struggled the most out of all the Braves bullpen pitchers this season. He is 2-5 on the season and has an ERA of 8.05 over 20 games. He’s only given up 6 walks over those 20 games, but it seems like almost everyone he faces gets a hit off of him. Minter started the season as the Braves closer while Raisel Iglesias was on the IL, and now that Iglesias is back Minter has resumed his role of pitching in the 7th or 8th inning.

Hopefully now that Iglesias is back as closer, it will take some of the added pressure off of A.J. Minter and he will return to being the great pitcher we saw in 2022.

The Atlanta Braves are currently running off of a three-man starting pitching rotation with Spencer Strider, Charlie Morton, and Bryce Elder. Ideally you want a five-man starting rotation, but for the Braves that is easier said than done. Because of the two big injuries to the starting rotation, the Braves have been doing a lot of bullpen games. Jared Shuster is set to pitch tonight (Tuesday, May 16th), and the Braves coaching staff called up Dylan Dodd for a game and then sent him back down to Triple-A Gwinnett. If Shuster does well, and Dodd continues to pitch like he has been, the Braves could easily place them in the rotation to fill in those two missing slots while Fried and Wright are on the IL.

Another thing to keep an eye on regarding the Atlanta Braves starting rotation is Michael Soroka. Soroka started the 2023 season in Gwinnett for the Braves – and with good reason. After coming off tearing his ACL twice in a span of almost two years, and straining his hamstring, doubts of whether Soroka would ever pitch again began to fill all of Braves Country’s minds. But Soroka did not give up. He hasn’t pitched a Major League game since August of 2020, but he is not letting that stop him. He has been working hard in Triple-A, and I’m sure he’s itching to pitch in a MLB game again.

The Braves training staff is playing his rehab assignment very carefully. I’m sure they want him to not only be comfortable on the mound, but for his body to be in good condition so that when he finally gets to pitch again he shouldn’t have any physical problems.

Soroka’s ERA in Gwinnett is 5.47 over 24 innings. He has had some scoreless starts, but he has also had some blowout games. With that being said, I also think the Braves are going to allow him to sort out his starts and become more consistent before they bring him back up to the Majors to resume his career.

Every Major League team will go through injury-plagued stretches during some seasons. Although the Atlanta Braves have been through a lot lately, I’m glad these inconveniences are happening during the beginning of the season rather than in late August/September when postseason baseball is right around the corner.

I strongly believe the Braves are going to be the team to beat this year, and I’m excited to see where this exciting season will take them!


My 2023 Starting Rotation Predictions:

It’s finally here! The Atlanta Braves’ pitchers, catchers, and some other eager players have reported to North Port, FL to begin Spring Training.

Pitchers and catchers are set to arrive first because pitcher-catcher bonding is important. If your pitcher and catcher aren’t comfortable with each other or don’t have a good understanding of what pitch is being thrown and the location of it, that is going to cause some serious trouble in a game. Communication for catchers and pitchers is why Spring Training is so important and why they arrive a week early.

Spring Training will be especially important for catcher Sean Murphy. He is who Atlanta got out of their three-way trade with the Oakland Athletics and Milwaukee Brewers. Just a few days after this trade, the Braves signed Murphy to a 6-year $73 million deal. He will join Travis d’Arnaud behind the plate for the Braves. He could also be used as a Designated Hitter if Marcell Ozuna does not start to perform better than he has the past couple of seasons. It’s safe to say there’s multiple roles Murphy can fill for the Braves.

With d’Arnaud and Murphy behind the plate, it’s time to take a look at the Braves’ starting rotation. Atlanta has a solid starting rotation, that is, if everyone can pitch the way we know they are capable of pitching. Charlie Morton had a down year last season. He still got a good amount of wins, but they were a struggle. The same goes for Ian Anderson. He was sent down to triple A twice last year because he had a hard time commanding any of his pitches. We know that Ian can be a very good pitcher – we saw this first hand in the 2021 Postseason – he just has a tendency to throw WAY too many pitches. Max Fried wasn’t a sharp as we’re accustomed to seeing last season either, but he still came through when the Braves needed it the most.

The two most surprising Braves pitchers in the 2022 season were Kyle Wright and rookie Spencer Strider. Wright had 21 wins last season. That’s crazy! He was Mr. Consistent for Atlanta, and when he was pitching we knew he was going to give a quality start. He seemed so comfortable on the mound, had such a dominating presence, and maintained control of his pitches. These things helped make him such a good pitcher.

Spencer Strider started out in the bullpen last season. But then, after the Braves coaching staff saw the velocity he had on his pitches and the command he had while throwing so fast, not to mention his strike-out-rate, they moved him into the starting rotation and there was no looking back. In just 131.2 innings he struck out 202 batters! He definitely belongs in the starting rotation and has proven how good he can be.

Last but not least, Mike Soroka. Soroka hasn’t pitched since the 2020 season when he tore his ACL during a game in August. It was heartbreaking to see a young pitcher like him, who had such good potential, go down with an injury like that. Then, he tore his ACL again in 2021 walking into the dugout. So, he hasn’t pitched in a major league game in 2 1/2 years. It will be exciting to see if he has the same command on the mound as he did before he was injured.

With all this to consider about these pitchers, it’s time to talk about how the rotation will be stacked. I think the Braves should start with a 6-man rotation at the beginning of the season so they have more guys available and can work their way into the season, eventually moving to a 5-man rotation.

Here’s how I think it would look:

  1. Max Fried LHP
  2. Kyle Wright RHP
  3. Charlie Morton RHP
  4. Spencer Strider RHP
  5. Ian Anderson RHP
  6. Mike Soroka RHP

Ian Anderson and Mike Soroka can easily be switched in their rotation spots. If the Braves start with a 5-man rotation these two will “compete” for that fifth spot. It will all depend on how comfortable Soroka feels on the mound and how Anderson’s command is.

One thing to note about Anderson is the pitch clock. He can take a LOT of time in between pitches. He will shake off a lot of signs and go through his windup multiple times just to throw one pitch. I’m sure the Braves coaching staff will be working with him during Spring Training to get adjusted to the pitch clock and it will be interesting to see how he does.

It’s so exciting to have baseball back, and I can’t wait to see what goes on in Spring Training for the Atlanta Braves and into the 2023 season!


My Offseason Predictions: Who I Think the Braves Should Re-Sign

Now that the World Series is over, it’s now time to start looking into the offseason. 2021 was a very exciting season, especially for the Atlanta Braves! #worldchamps They had a rough start but came through big-time at the trade-deadline. That being so, a lot of the players they acquired are now going to be free agents.

Here’s a look at the Braves 2021-22 free agents:

Ehire Adrianza (SS), Jesse Chavez (RHP), Freddie Freeman (1B), Chris Martin (RHP), Joc Pederson (OF), Tanner Roark (RHP), Eddie Rosario (OF), Jorge Soler (OF), Drew Smyly (LHP), Josh Tomlin- he has a club option (RHP), and Stephen Vogt (C).

There are a lot of names on this list, obviously some stick out more than others. Every single one of these guys on this list helped the Braves get to their World Series title in some way or another, and you would want to keep every single one. But realistically, that won’t happen.

Freddie Freeman. He is BY FAR the biggest name on this list. It is crazy to think about a Braves team without Freddie. Freeman has been with Atlanta for his entire career, and he has been the face of the team for many years now.. Through the highs and lows, Freddie Freeman has always been here, giving everything he’s got in him to help his team win. Personally, I don’t think the Braves will let Freeman go. Millions of Braves fans would be very disappointed if they did!

The Braves front office has offered Freeman a qualifying offer of 18.4 million dollars for one year. This isn’t another long-term offer like the one Freeman signed back in 2014, so he will most likely reject the offer. However, Freddie has made it very clear he wants to remain with the Braves for the rest of his life, and the front office and the whole team wants that as well. It’s just a matter of time, money, and negotiations.

Joc Pederson, Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler, and Adam Duvall are all outfielders. With Ronald Acuña Jr. expected to come back and play outfield full time in 2022, it wouldn’t make much sense for the Braves to resign all of these players and let them sit on the bench and have an occasional pinch-hit appearance. It wouldn’t be fair to these very talented players, and it would not make the most sense for the team as a whole.

Joc Pederson. Pederson has declined his mutual option with the the Braves and has now become a free agent. Because of this, in my opinion, resigning Pederson is completely off the table for Atlanta.

Adam Duvall. Like Pederson, Duvall also declined his mutual option, but he is still Arbitration-Eligible. With the strong possibility of there being a universal DH in 2022, Duvall, a very powerful hitter, could fill that role for Atlanta. However, he is quite a good defender. He played every single position in the outfield for the Braves, and sometimes he would switch positions during games. He also won his first Gold Glove this year, proving his defense is better than most give him credit for. Duvall has come through for the Braves in the three seasons he has played for them. I think it would make sense for Atlanta to bring him back as an outfielder.

Jorge Soler. This man not only has a big stature, but BIG power. Soler came over to Atlanta after the trade deadline and was huge for the Braves. He brought big-time power to their offense and filled their leadoff spot. He also came through huge in the postseason. He hit a home run that left the Houston Astros ballpark in game six!!! To me, it would make sense for the Braves to resign Soler. Once again, with the strong possibility of the DH, it makes a lot of sense to bring him back to fill that roll. After all, when he was with the Kansas City Royals, he was their DH. And, he isn’t the greatest defender, but he has a very good eye at the plate and a lot of power. I think it would be a great decision for Atlanta to bring Soler on as our DH (should we have one).

Eddie Rosario. Talk about an exciting player! Not only was he the NLCS MVP, he had some other huge moments for the Braves in the short time that he played. After all, the Atlanta Braves front office signed him while he was injured, because they saw his possibility. Yes, he wasn’t known to be a great defender, but he made some very good plays for Atlanta while he was in left field. So, I think it would make sense to resign him with Marcell Ozuna’s legal affairs still up in the air, and not anticipating the Braves to resign him.

After going through the bigger names on this list, there are still some others on here that proved useful for the Braves: Jesse Chavez and Ehire Adrianza, especially.

Adrianza came through being on the Braves’ bench. He proved he could come off the bench and come up with a clutch hit…which is what your bench players are supposed to do. Johann Camargo was the Braves bench man, but he did not have a single hit for Atlanta this year, so he will start next year in Triple-A Gwinnett. It makes sense for the Braves to resign Ehire to add extra depth to their bench, but if the DH does come to the National League, a bench player wouldn’t necessarily be needed.

Jesse Chavez pitched very well for the Braves in his appearances. He was their opener for a couple games, and got Atlanta out of some tough spots in close games. While a player like Chris Martin is also a free agent and has pitched for Atlanta, Chavez was overall more constant. To me, that gives him the edge on being resigned.

After a review on these players, here is who I think the Atlanta Braves should bring back: Freddie Freeman, Adam Duvall, Jorge Soler, Eddie Rosario, Ehire Adrianza, and Jesse Chavez.

These are just my picks, and of course, I don’t have any say in who the Atlanta Braves bring back. It will be an interesting offseason for the Braves, and hopefully the decisions they make won’t hurt them in the long run!

A Wrap of the Braves First Half of the Season

To say the least, it was a chaotic, unstable, and disappointing first half for the Atlanta Braves. They did not end the first half of the season with a winning record, let alone a .500 record. They entered the All-Star break with a losing record of 44-45.

Inconsistency was a big factor in that. Their pitching was all over the place – especially the bullpen. In their starting rotation, Charlie Morton was the only reliable one. And that is still somewhat true coming into this second half of the season. Drew Smyly has gotten more consistent, as well as Max Fried and Ian Anderson. But Atlanta’s bullpen was, and is, the main problem. Their bullpen couldn’t keep a Braves’ lead in a tight scoring game or keep the run differential close in a situation where the Braves were losing. Another problem that their pitching staff has is that they walk WAY too many batters. It seems almost every time pitchers walk a guy, they come back and score. Walks will always come back to haunt a pitcher. They’ve also had some closer problems: AJ Minter and Will Smith. They come on to pitch in the ninth inning, and it seems like they try to find a way to blow the game. They walk batters, give up home runs, allow hits and runs galore. This season they have given up almost 30 hits, 30 runs, and over 20 walks. They doesn’t pitch every single day, but those aren’t the numbers you want to see from your closers.

The Braves have also been tortured with injuries. The most significant of those would be the most recent: Ronald Acuña Jr. is out of the rest of the season. And, of course, his season-ending injury came against the Miami Marlins. In game two of the most recent series played with Miami (July 10th), Acuña was trying to field a well-hit ball at the warning track in right field. He ran full speed towards the baseball in mid-air and missed. He then fell and put all of his body weight on his right knee, which buckled under all the pressure. He then collapsed, and after being carted off the field, he was examined and he’d torn his right ACL. He had to have immediate surgery, and he will miss the rest of the 2021 season.

Atlanta will now have to finish their 2021 season without their young superstar. Obviously things will be different offensively and defensively, but I don’t think this takes them out of postseason chances. The Braves will just have to work harder and play a better. And if they do make it to the postseason, it will prove just how good this Atlanta Braves team really is.

Another injury- which turned into a shocking blow, came in the month of May. This came from Marcell Ozuna. On May 26th, against the Boston Red Sox, Ozuna fractured two fingers sliding into third base. He was sent to Atlanta for examination and treatment. Three days later, on May 29th an article was released that he had been arrested for domestic family violence. That was certainly a shocking and unexpected blow for the Braves. Not only is he hurt and won’t be able to play this season… but he was arrested, and got out of jail not too long ago. So he is definitely done for this season, if not for the rest of his career.

The Braves also lost Travis d’Arnaud to a torn left thumb ligament. He tore it on May 1st and has been on the injured list since. Hopefully he can come back in mid-August. He is such a good player, and it’s a shame for him to not be able to play.

The final injury that I’m going to discuss is that of Huascar Ynoa. Ynoa had pitched some with the Braves in relief during the 2019 and 2020 seasons, but his career as a starting pitcher really began this season. And boy, was he impressive! In fact, he was probably the best pitcher Atlanta had AND he could hit. In seventeen at-bats, he had six hits, and two home runs – one of witch was a grand slam. A GRAND SLAM!! He was beyond impressive at the plate and on the mound.

However, after a frustrating start on the mound for Huascar, he went into the Braves dugout and punched the bench. Nothing was said of it during the game in mid-May. But after his hand was evaluated, he had broken it. So disappointing. He was such an impressive young player and had (hopefully still has) such a great career ahead of him. He was, is, and will be missed by the Braves. Ynoa’s return date isn’t clear, but it is not expected until after the middle of August.

Although the Braves had many struggles and hard times in the first half of the season, they had shining moments that gave us hope that the Atlanta Braves we know and love are still with us!

Up to his season-ending injury, Ronald Acuña Jr. had an amazing season. He hit twenty-four home runs… TWENTY-FOUR! That is an insane amount. Multiple players across MLB don’t hit that many home runs in an entire 162-game season. He definitely had some sparks coming off his bat almost every time he was at the plate. Acuña was to make his second All-Star Game appearance as a starter this year, but obviously his injury robbed him of that great opportunity. He also led all of MLB players in All-Star votes. Wow!

Ozzie Albies had a great first half to his 2021 season. No, he hasn’t hit as many home runs as Acuña, nor is he the “face of the franchise,” but he is just as good – if not better than Acuña. He leads the Braves in RBI’s with 63, and he leads them in doubles with 27. Not only is Ozzie impressive at the plate, he is extremely impressive on the field. His defensive skills are through the roof! He may be smaller than everyone else… but he can run fast, field well, and make super hard plays look easy. My Ozzie is a consistent, reliable player that the Braves can count on. He was also voted into the All-Star game – and he got to play! It was his second appearance, and he wasn’t a starter, even though he should have been. Albies is such a fun player to watch, and I can’t wait to see what he continues to bring for Atlanta the rest of the season!

Freddie Freeman got off to a very, very slow first few weeks for Atlanta, but he finally started to heat up and look like the MVP Freddie we are used too. Coming into the break (and even now out of the break) his bat was hot. He was hitting extra base hits galore. Before his bat came to life, all he did was walk…or strikeout. Freeman was also awarded the honor of being in the All-Star game. It was his fifth All-Star appearance, and he was a starter.

There are SO MANY good things that have happened already for the Braves this season – even with them having a losing record and their struggles. However, with their two newly added players: outfielder Joc Pederson and catcher Stephen Vogt, I believe that Atlanta will hit a streak where everything starts to click and they will get to a winning record. They really need to put some major pressure on the first place Mets in the NL East.

Braves vs Blue Jays Series Wrap

Photo by Steshka Willems on

Well, the Blue Jays have been a good team so far this year, and they proved it with a series sweep against the Braves. Injuries have continued to be a very concerning problem for Atlanta. Not to mention the starting rotation needs to become more consistent — along with the bullpen. Hopefully, when Fried and Soroka return (crossing my fingers that it’s sooner than later), the rotation problems will dwindle down. Injuries, we all know, will happen. The Braves have just had an extremely high amount for the first month of the season.

Game One: Drew Smyly vs. Robbie Ray, Braves lost 13-5

After hitting a ton against the Cubs, the Braves bats were not as lively in this game. Smyly’s pitching problems continued in this game. He has a tough time controlling the strike zone and giving up multiple long balls. In just four innings of work, he pitched into the fifth inning but could not retire a Blue Jay batter. He gave up seven hits, six runs, and three home runs. He threw a total of 84 pitches in those few innings of work. Only 46 of them were strikes. His command so far has proven to be his biggest problem along with getting batters out after he gets them to two strikes. The Braves did have a home run of their own. That was courtesy of my man, Ozzie Albies! He hit an absolute bomb in the top of the seventh inning to left center. It went a total of 424 feet and gave the game a score of Toronto 10, Braves 2. The Blue Jays however, kept scoring. Their bats were hot and stayed hot throughout the entire game (and series). They scored three more after Ozzie’s home run, and the Braves scored three more in the top of the eighth on RBI singles to bring the final score of the game to 13-5 with the Blue Jays on top.

Game Two: Charlie Morton vs. Blue Jays Bullpen, Braves lost 6-5

If you told me that Christian Pache would hit a grand slam in his first at-bat in his first game back after being on the injured list, I don’t think I would’ve believed you. But guess what, he did it! After three straight Braves singles to load the bases in the top of the second inning, with two outs, Pache came up to the plate and gave the Braves a huge second inning lead of 4-0. This was Pache’s first career grand slam, and it left the field in left center. That was a very exciting way for him to return and for the Braves to start the game!

But of course…Pitching, pitching, and pitching. That is something the Braves need to figure out. Morton has been the consistent guy on the mound for most of the season for Atlanta. Today wasn’t awful for him, but he wasn’t as “on top” of his game like we have gotten used to seeing. He gave up five runs in 5.1 innings of work. He didn’t qualify for a win, or ultimately the loss. In the top of the fifth inning, Ronald Acuña Jr. went long-ball again with an absolute missile over the left field wall. Man, this kid’s got some serious power!

Injuries. The Braves have gotten hit with the injury bug big time in the early days of the 2021 season. They had another one in this game, and it happened to Braves catcher, Travis d’Arnaud. In the bottom of the sixth inning, on a bad base running play by the Blue Jays’ center fielder, Randal Grichuk, he was thrown out at home plate on a relay throw from Marcell Ozuna to Dansby Swanson to d’Arnaud at the plate. Something happened to Travis’ thumb on his catching hand when he tagged out Grichuk at the plate. Obvioulsy that isn’t good for someone who has to catch 150+ baseballs almost every single day. He was taken out of the game and is now on the Braves 60-day IL with a torn thumb ligament. What a loss! Game 2 remained tied, so it went into extra innings. So far this season, the Braves have not done well in extra-inning games. They have only won one, and that didn’t come in this game. It was the bottom of the tenth inning, game is tied 5-5, and Nate Jones was on to pitch for the Braves. He started out well, retiring the first batter he saw and then, after an intentional walk to Vlad Guerrero Jr., he got a force out. Two men out, one more to get. But that didn’t happen. The next batter he faced, Randal Grichuk, had an RBI, game winning single. The Blue Jays won 6-5.

Game Three: Ian Anderson vs. Ryan Borucki, Braves lost 7-2

Ugh. Another Braves loss. Once again, the Braves started out looking like the game was going to go in their favor. William Contreras started off the second inning for the Braves with an RBI single, which scored my man Ozzie Albies, who reached base on a double. That 1-0 lead didn’t last long. The Blue Jays tied it in the bottom of the second, and they kept scoring from there. Anderson only went four innings. He gave up six hits, four runs, and three walks. Then it was up to the Braves’ bullpen. In the top of the fifth inning, Acuña hit a sac fly to score the second (and final) Braves run of the game.

Sometimes it just gets down-right hard to come up with something to say when you have to talk about a Braves loss. Again. On paper everything looks great for Atlanta. They have a good lineup, there’s no doubt about that. The main problems are 1) the Braves players can’t stay consistent in the positive. You will have some games where the whole lineup can’t stop hitting, and the others where they can hardly make any contact with the ball at all. 2) They have had too many injuries, and some of them are coming back to bite big time. And 3) Pitching. Pitching is a HUGE component of any baseball game, and if your starters can’t go at least five to six innings, that puts a ton of pressure on your bullpen and requires more work from them. The pitching is what is showing to be the biggest problem for the Braves. Hopefully, once Max Fried comes back, it will add more depth to the rotation and the Braves will start wining games more consistently.

Braves vs Phillies Series Wrap

Okay Braves fans, I know, this series was not what we wanted the season to start with… a sweep — with us being swept. I really don’t know how to put it in words except disappointment and a shock. However, in 2019 the Braves started off the season on the road against the Phillies and they got swept then, too. Yet, that didn’t stop them from winning the NL East for a second year in a row and playing the rest of the season very well!

While this series was a tough pill to swallow and not what anyone in Braves country wanted to start out with, there was still some hope sparked and potential shown in this series!

Game one: Max Fried vs. Aaron Nola, Braves lost 3-2

What a game to start the season. Extra innings and everything. The only thing that would’ve made this game better is if the Braves had won. Let’s start off by discussing the “good” stuff from the game, shall we? Fried pitched well. He had eight strikeouts over five innings, and he only gave up two walks. He did give up six hits and two runs, which isn’t awful but not exactly what I expected from him. We do have to keep in mind that it was his first real start of 2021, and he is still filing in for Mike Soroka in the number one spot in the rotation until Soroka returns. The Braves did have some late inning sparks as pinch hitter Pablo Sandoval hit a two-run blast off of Nola in the top of the seventh inning. That is definitely something that the Braves were happy to see from him. He has big time power in the bench role, and it showed. There were a couple minor things like Freddie’s error in the fourth, and Ozzie’s aggressive base running in the top of the tenth. Maybe if those things were different, the game’s end result would have been as well… but it’s too late for that now.

Game two: Charlie Morton vs. Zack Wheeler, Braves lost 4-0

Whew. Game one was tough to watch, this one might’ve been even harder. I wish I could talk about the Braves’ offense and how it really came through for this game, too bad they didn’t score anything. They didn’t really do much of anything at the plate. They had one hit courtesy of d’Arnaud and struck out a total of 14 times. Morton’s pitching wasn’t top notch. He gave up three of the four runs that the Phillies scored, he gave up two walks, but he did strike out five. One of the toughest things about this game for me besides that the Braves didn’t score, was that the Phillies pitcher had two hits, two RBI’s, and scored once. That just shows how hot the Phillies lineup was — even the pitcher had something to say at the plate.

Game three: Ian Anderson vs. Zach Eflin, Braves lost 2-1

Once again offensively the Braves weren’t exactly there. However, they did get one run on a solo homer by Travis d’Arnaud. Pitching wise, Ian Anderson had a very decent start against the Phillies. He went five innings, gave up one earned run, walked two, and he struck out seven. Chris Martin gave up the other run for the Braves in the eight inning and then exited the game and hasn’t pitched since. He was experiencing numbness in his fingers, which the Braves training staff gave immediate attention to considering he is a key pitcher for the Braves.

Overall this series wasn’t a very enjoyable one in Braves’ Country. But losing is a part of the game. You can’t always win every single game every single day, it doesn’t work like that. There is always going to be a team who is hotter than you are when you meet them on the field. That’s how it goes. We just hope that the next time two teams meet up on the diamond, it’s the Braves who are hot!

Player Production so Far This Spring Training

Even though Spring Training games don’t exactly count, they are none the less fun to watch and important. Spring training is a time for Minor Leaguers to show their stuff and try to make the roster, and for veterans to try and earn a spot on the bench. Spring Training is also super important for the everyday players to warm up their bats, sharpen up their defense, and face other teams’ pitchers.

As a manger, in this case Brian Snitker, you watch player production carefully to see which Minor Leaguers and Spring Training invitees are showing great skill and production. They also look at the shape that their everyday players are in and how well they are preforming during the spring.

The Braves have had a very impressive Spring Training so far this year. Their young players have really shown out in their talent, and the every day players have continued to be strong, reliable, and have proven their talent levels. Here are a few Braves players who have had a good Spring Training so far:

Ronald Acuña Jr.

This kid. His amount of talent continues to grow with every season. He has hit four home runs so far this spring…four! And they haven’t been cheap little line drive home runs either. Another thing is his strikeout rate hasn’t been as high as we normally see, which is encouraging. He has also gained more patience at the plate, not swinging at every pitch or getting an out after only seeing a couple of pitches at the plate. Acuña will be an exciting player again to watch this year, and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for the Braves in 2021!

Ozzie Albies

My man! Ozzie has continued to show his talented ability as a switch-hitter. He has improved from the left side of the plate, and continues to be great from the right side. Albies has hit two home runs this spring and has a .250 avg. so far this Spring Training. He was 1 for 2 yesterday with a single and a stolen base. We can’t forget to mention his defensive abilities. It surprises me greatly that Ozzie hasn’t won a Gold Glove in his career. (He should’ve won one in 2019.. but don’t get me started on that!). Albies has been and will continue to be a Gold Glove worthy, powerful switch-hitter in his career, and I cannot wait to see him play in 2021!

Marcell Ozuna

Like last year, Ozuna had a slow start to his Spring Training. However, his bat has started to come alive within the last few games. In 31 at-bats he has a .226 average, has six RBI’s, and has hit two home runs. In yesterday’s game against the Rays he was 2 for 3 with a home run. With the National League not having the DH this season, Ozuna will be the Braves left-fielder. His defensive skills aren’t the greatest, but he has worked on them this spring and has done a good job in left field. Obviously, given how he hit last year, he has a big time power bat. He will once again be such a bonus hitting cleanup behind Freddie Freeman in the lineup. He will be a fun one to watch for sure this season!

These are just three of the Braves players that have really shown up this Spring Training. Obviously Braves manager Brian Snitker isn’t worried about how well Ozzie, Acuña, and Ozuna have preformed this spring. He knows their abilities and that you can’t have your best stuff every single game.

One thing to point out is the empty spot on the bench. In my opinion the Braves are either going to add Jake Lamb or Jason Kipnis to the bench. Lamb is currently riding on a .188 average in 32 at-bats. He has hit one homer, has had 6 hits, and has five RBI’s. He has also struck out 11 times. Kipnis isn’t doing much better.. he has a .240 avg. in 25 at-bats with one home run, six hits, and three RBI’s. He has struck out 7 times.

Neither of their spring stats are eye-opening. They have both struck out a good number of times and have hit the same amount of home runs — one. It will be interesting to see who the Braves go with in the end…if they go with either of them! Like I said, they are just my two predictions for who will round out the Braves bench.

My 2021 Opening Day Starting Rotation Predictions

Photo by Steshka Willems on

Now that I have done a post on my lineup predictions for Opening Day, I thought I’d do one on my starting rotation predictions. With Mike Soroka’s return not yet known, he most likely won’t be pitching on Opening Day. Note that this rotation order doesn’t include Soroka given he is still on recovery.

Here is my projected Starting Rotation:

  1. Max Fried
  2. Ian Anderson
  3. Charlie Morton
  4. Kyle Wright
  5. Drew Smyly

Obviously, when Mike Soroka does return, he will be the Braves number one starter. Upon his return, one of those guys would have to leave the rotation and would only really be used as a backup pitcher, and most likely in the bullpen. Depending on how Spring Training goes, and his work on the mound during the beginning of the 2021 season, I think Kyle Wright will be the one guy who gets “kicked off” the rotation once Soroka returns. I have nothing against him, I just think, considering his experience level and his troubles in the majors, he will be replaced by Soroka. Or the Braves could do a six man rotation. That way he will still be in the starting rotation, and it would give the other guys an extra day’s rest.

Last season, after Soroka got hurt, it was hard to imagine the Braves being able to have such a strong rotation with him gone. But, Max Fried really stepped up and proved how good he is, and the younger guys did their part, too. Not to mention Ian Anderson who came on the scene and in his fist Major League appearance, got a win against the New York Yankees!

Braves vs Mets Series Wrap

This was a good series for the Braves. It was also the last time the Braves will see the Mets until mid September.

Game one: Sean Newcomb vs Rick Porcello

This game was the best come-from-behind win I’ve ever seen! Not to mention, it was by far the best Braves game of the 2020 season (so far). Starting off to a good start, the Braves took the lead 2-0 in the bottom of the first. However, the Mets weren’t going down easily. After the Mets scored two in the top of the fourth, and having a six-run inning in the top of the fifth, the score was 8-2. Braves scored three in the bottom of the fifth making it an 8-5 game, but things still didn’t look good for the Braves. To make things worse, the Mets scored two more in the top of the sixth maiking it a 10-6 game. Yet the Braves – being the relentless team that they are – scored one in the bottom of the sixth and didn’t stop there! Dansby started the rally in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI single. Then Travis d’Arnaud, a new addition for the Braves, came to life with a bases-clearing double and took the game to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL giving the Braves the lead 11-10, with which they won the game with.

Game two: Touki Toussaint vs. Michael Wacha

What a game for Braves fans and Ronald Acuña Jr.! With the rotation being uncertain, Touki showed great promise that he could pitch in the starting rotation. He may not go as many innings as Max Fried, but he showed some promise in this game. Pitching four scoreless innings, only allowing three hits, he showed improvement from the 2019 season. The only thing he needs to control more is his walk-to-strikeout-ratio, striking out five and walking three is this start.

Now on to some offense… Ronald Acuña Jr, what a game he had! Starting off slow in the start of the delayed 2020 season with a .184 batting average and striking out a bunch, this was his breakout game. With a double and two RBIs his bat finally came alive. But to make it even better… he hit an absolute bomb to left center feel giving him his first home run of the season! He was all smiles as he celebrated with the cardboard fans above the dugout. The Braves won this game 7-1. Marcell Ozuna also hit a home run, becoming a key player in the Braves’ every day lineup.

Game three: Kyle Wright vs. David Peterson

The Braves’ rotation still showed struggles in this game. Only going 3.1 innings it was a rough outing for Wright. Not to mention he didn’t pitch a clean inning and walked four guys. But the Braves relief corps showed excellence on the mound. Tyler Matzek pitched very well. Throwing two scoreless innings- only giving up two hits- he showed that he could very well become an important part in the bullpen, perhaps even making it to the starting rotation. The Braves were very good offensively tonight as well. Scoring two runs in the third, one in the fourth on a home run by Johan Camargo, his first of the year, and one in the eighth, the Braves ended up shutting out the Mets 4-0. Giving them a winning streak of five games.

Game four: Mike Soroka vs. Jacob DeGrom

This game’s starting pitchers brought on a rematch from Opening Day. Mike Soroka was looking to win the game but sadly, in the top of the third inning, running off the mound to try to field the ball, Mike Soroka tripped falling off the mound and had to be helped off the field in pain. After the game we learned that Mike tore his right Achilles and will be out for the remainder of the season. Prayers are with you Mike! And if that didn’t set the tone of the game enough, Jacob DeGrom had total control of the mound striking out ten Braves which ultimately helped the Mets win 7-2.

This was a good series, with the Braves coming out on top. The Braves team and fans are devastated by Soroka’s injury, and we are now left wondering what this loss will do to our season. But, Mike Soroka is a young guy with a lot left in his career. Right now, we just hope the Braves can come back from this loss, creating a new pitching rotation that will carry us through the season.

Better Late Than Never Braves vs Tampa Bay Rays Series Wrap

With the Braves’ second series finished… it’s time for a blog post wrapping up the series!

Game One: Mike Foltynewicz vs. Tyler Glasnow

This game was not Foltynewiz’s finest start. Arguably it could be his worst start in regular season play, which would exclude game five of the National League Division Series where he gave up SEVEN runs in the first inning- in which he only got one out. In this first game agasint the Rays , the Rays were on point offensively scoring a total of fourteen runs and four home runs, which ultimately helped win the game. Foltynewiz got DFA after this start.

Game two: Kylie Wright vs. Yonny Chirinos

The Rays came through in this game again winning 5-2, sweeping the Braves in a two-game split series in Tampa. The Rays’ bats continued to be alive in game two-of-two in the split park series, having a total of seven hits and winning the game. The Braves had six hits, but failed to score more than two runs.

Braves Home Opener: Braves vs. Tampa Bay: Mike Soroka vs Charlie Morton

The first game at home in Truist park, and the Braves put on a show for their cardboard cutout crowd. With a great pitching performance from Mike Soroka, he carried the win throwing 5.1 one innings, striking out 5, and only allowing two runs throughout his preformance on the mound. The Braves’ bats also came alive during this game with Freddie Freeman hitting his first home run of the season, a three-run shot to right center field. The Braves won this game 7-4, giving them a record of 3-3.

Game two of home opener: Braves vs. Tampa Bay: Max Fried vs Ryan Yarbrough

Let’s face it, Max Fried is getting GOOD. In this game he threw 6.2 innings, only giving up one run and striking out seven. Winning this game 2-1, the Braves bullpen is showing that they can preserve a lead to let them win.

Highlights of the series:

Dansby Swasnon has been on FIRE since the start of this season. If he can keep this up, the Braves will have an amazing chance at making a run for the postseason and an even better run to win the World Series.