Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Call to Arms

Being a Braves fan has caused me to have strong convictions about building a farm system and a major league roster. I'm a firm believer in stockpiling as many arms (i.e. pitchers) as possible. Arms at the major league level, prospects in the minors. Injuries happen and position players are sometimes needed, so you can never have enough pitching. It was an integral part of the organization's philosophy for a number of years and worked well for them. The team moved away from that philosophy during the Frank Wren years but have (seemingly) gone back to it with John Hart. 

After a busy offseason, there are plenty of new arms in spring training- some of whom might make the opening day roster, while most will be re-assigned to the minors. Wherever they end up, they are surely destined to appear on cardboard wearing the Tomahawk across their chest.

Welcome Back, ARod!!!

Arodys Vizcaino, that is. Former Braves farmhand who was traded to the Cubs in the Maholm deal, Arodys is a nasty, nasty pitcher. Er, he has nasty stuff.

Out of all the recently acquired arms, Folty is the one I'm most looking forward to following this spring. Pure gas- but can he harness his control and command that 98 MPH heater? Time will tell.

It's unfortunate that Miller's first Braves card is an autographed Spring Fever offering from Topps. And, it's numbered to something like /75. #ThanksTopps
At least he's supposed to be in the soon-to-be released Heritage set.

Pitch Count

Here's a fun little fact (via Elias Sports): with John Smoltz' election into the Hall of Fame, the Braves have become the first MLB team to start Hall of Fame pitchers in Games 1, 2, and 3 of the World Series- doing it twice, in 1995 and 1996. 

And there's also this little piece of trivia (via CBS Sports): John Smoltz is the first pitcher in the Hall of Fame to have undergone Tommy John surgery. So take heart, those 33% of you major league baseball pitchers who have also undergone the surgery: there's still hope for a HOF career.

Finally, the Braves have seven HOF pitchers who made at least 300 starts for the team- no other team has that many. The Giants are second (5), with the Dodgers third (4).

The Braves AA and AAA rotations will be fun to follow this year, especially with Banuelos- the one-time top Yankee prospect- and Jenkins ticketed for the high-minors. Jenkins, like so many of this season's acquisitions, is a high risk-high reward player. His stuff is often described as 'electric' but has battled injuries and inconsistencies throughout his career. Reports thus far this spring have been good. *fingers crossed*

Fried, who will miss most, if not all, of this season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, has previously been described as 'the best high school pitching prospect since Clayton Kershaw.' By the time he throws a pitch for the Braves organization, he will have missed almost two complete seasons. Atlanta (or anyone else, for that matter) never would have been able to acquire him from San Diego had he not been injured. *fingers and toes crossed*

Safe to say the least known of all of the pitchers featured, Winkler was picked up via the Rule-5 draft after undergoing Tommy John surgery this past season. And while he doesn't have the pure stuff of many of the previously mentioned pitchers, he has been a strikeout machine his first four professional seasons- striking out 9.5 batters per 9 innings (396.2 innings). A low BABIP and low WHIP have been friends to the 20th-round pick from the 2011 draft who uses deception and pitching to contact to his advantage. 

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