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Topic: Justin Upton

Colby Wilson’s Braves Report: Out of the Desert

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – It was hard not to feel as though Christmas had come early when news of the Shelby Miller deal broke.

A Dansby Swanson? All for me? And an Aaron Blair for my pitching collection? And wow… an Ender Inciarte! I’ve never had one of those! Oh here, I got you a Shelby Miller… slightly used. Hmm, I feel kinda bad about that now. Want a gift card?

If I knew any Diamonbacks fans, I probably would’ve felt bad for them. They’ve now mortgaged three first-round picks—including Swanson, the No. 1 overall in 2015—and a legitimately exciting defensive outfielder for Shelby Miller, a marginal pitching prospect and the right not to pay Bronson Arroyo any more money. The franchise is going for it, which is an exciting phrase to hear—it was also the same phrase Braves fans heard when Atlanta acquired the Upton’s, and that didn’t turn out all that well.

The Atlanta Braves trade pitcher Shelby Miller to the Arizona Diamondbacks for outfielder Ender Inciarte along with minor-league prospects Dansby Swanson and Aaron Blair. (Brett Davis-  USA TODAY Sports)

The Atlanta Braves trade pitcher Shelby Miller to the Arizona Diamondbacks for outfielder Ender Inciarte along with minor-league prospects Dansby Swanson and Aaron Blair. (Brett Davis- USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: Closing Time

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – The 2015 regular season has whimpered to a close. Let’s hand out some fake awards for an Atlanta Braves season that was all too real.

The Jermaine Dye Award for best season by a former Brave: This seems like one of those insanely stacked categories like the 1994 Best Picture Oscar nominees. In fact, lets draw some half-cocked parallels between baseball players and 20-year old movies!

Forrest Gump: Gets all the headlines and maybe (maybe!) it’s not the best, only everyone gets irrationally mad at you for suggesting that? Oh, this is so Justin Upton.

Four Weddings and a Funeral: Everybody always seems to forget about this movie… kinda like everyone forgets that Mark Teixeira used to play for the Braves.

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Shelby Miller (17) pitches against the New York Mets during the second inning at Citi Field. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Shelby Miller (17) pitches against the New York Mets during the second inning at Citi Field. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: Simba Stagnation

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – It’s easy to fly under the radar when you play on a team hell-bent on losing 100 games. The talented players tend to get the benefit of the doubt—Shelby Miller didn’t pitch perfectly in every one of those starts he was unable to win, just most of them, but you wouldn’t know that from listening to Chip and Joe—and the…less…talented guys bear the brunt of the blame (I can only imagine Fredi Gonzalez’s whole spiel to keep his job will be, “Whaddya want from me? I thought you were going to give me real ballplayers to coach.”)

Even so, I’m a little discouraged at Andrelton Simmons’ development.

(DEEEEEEP breaths, everybody. It’s not all bad, I promise. Andrelton Simmons is my favorite current Brave. Of course, he’s one of only like, three, that I recognize, but still, this is hard on me too.)

Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons (19) tags out New York Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores (4) on a steal attempt during the second inning at Citi Field. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons (19) tags out New York Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores (4) on a steal attempt during the second inning at Citi Field. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: Arms Racing

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – As I’m writing this, the Braves are imploding against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Actually, that’s not an accurate assessment of the situation. The Braves bullpen took a three-run lead into the bottom of the seventh on Wednesday night in Tampa and turned it into a three-run deficit in about four seconds. Matt Marksberry is looking, well, like a guy who was in A-ball to start the season—no shame on him either, that’s just what the situation calls for now.

It’s not fair to him that he has to play above his ski’s right now, but there’s just not much left in the cupboard. No Jason Grilli. No Jim Johnson. No Luis Avilan. If Arodys Vizcaino and Andrew McKirahan are the class of your bullpen, that doesn’t speak volumes so much as shout them, Lewis Black-style, from a mountaintop of crap, inexperience and ineptitude.

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Matt Marksberry (66) throws a pitch during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Matt Marksberry (66) throws a pitch during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: Checking it Twice

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – If you made a checklist entitled ‘Worst Ways for a Professional Baseball Team to enter/exit the All-Star Break’, let’s see how your 2015 Atlanta Braves might have fared:

  • Go to a hitter’s park, fail to hit.

Four games in hitter’s haven Colorado – 11 total runs. So… check.

  • Mount a losing streak, ensuring that you will both head into and out of the All-Star break with no momentum.

Five straight losses after being .500 and four games back in the division race – still in the hunt! – as recently as July 7th (That’s longform for ‘check’)

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Jason Grilli (center) is attended to by Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez (left) and team trainer Jeff Porter   (right), and teammates after being injured during the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Rockies won 3-2. (Chris   Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Jason Grilli (center) is attended to by Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez (left) and team trainer Jeff Porter (right), and teammates after being injured during the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Rockies won 3-2. (Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: The Middies!

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – That’s right, it’s time for everyone’s favorite hacky midseason awards column… The Middies!

The Braves hit the halfway point on Saturday night – a dominant 9-5 win against the Phillies that was over by the fifth inning and brought the Braves within a game of .500 at 40-41.

And that this team – with one consistently good starting pitcher, a revolving door of castoffs for a bullpen and an offense best described as ‘Freddie Freeman, Cameron Maybin and six guys you may have heard of’ – is sniffing the possibility of .500 ball and maybe not selling at the deadline is Fredi Gonzalez’s greatest achievement. Well done.

Atlanta Braves center fielder Cameron Maybin (25) hits a RBI single against the Philadelphia Phillies in the fourth inning at Turner Field. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves center fielder Cameron Maybin (25) hits a RBI single against the Philadelphia Phillies in the fourth inning at Turner Field. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: Put out the fire, already

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – So far, you have to hand it to John Hart. Shelby Miller, Mike Foltynewicz and Jace Peterson already look like potential long-timers, while Matt Wisler, Tyrell Jenkins and Mallex Smith show great promise.

Meanwhile, Craig Kimbrel has an ERA over 4.00 and Jason Heyward is making my MVP boasting look woefully misinformed (I swear I wasn’t reverse-jinxing it, Cardinal fans – I still believe he’ll be very good for someone), so Hart looks like Nostradamus right now. In fact, he’s set the Braves up to be pretty good for a while at almost every spot.

Almost.

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Shelby Miller (17) throws a pitch against the San Diego Padres in the fifth inning at Turner Field. (Brett Davis-USA   TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Shelby Miller (17) throws a pitch against the San Diego Padres in the fifth inning at Turner Field. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: The Ultimate Throw-In

 

Written by Colby Wilson

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – As throw-ins go, Cameron Maybin has been pretty good so far.

For all the talk about pitching wunderkind Matt Wisler – and that talk looks justified in the very early returns – Maybin was a distant third on most people’s list for ‘most important player acquired in the Craig Kimbrel deal’, behind Carlos Quentin, and may have mattered less to some than the acquisition of a competitive balance draft choice.

Yet Cameron Maybin has been the outfield presence the Braves have sorely needed in 2015, quickly becoming an every-day fixture in centerfield and playing exemplary defense as such to offset his sometimes-streaky offense.

Atlanta Braves center fielder Cameron Maybin (25) singles against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of the game at Dodger Stadium. (Richard Mackson-USA   TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves center fielder Cameron Maybin (25) singles against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of the game at Dodger Stadium. (Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports)

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