Answers On The Fly: A Reader Mailbag
Welcome to Answers On The Fly. Answers On The Fly is our weekly reader mailbag in which we answer questions submitted by our readers scattered all over the vast area covering roughly Midtown Atlanta. We have waded through the massive number of spam comments, misdirected emails meant for a vet’s office, and tweets to the wrong account to find the questions that our readers want answered.
You can submit your questions the following ways:
adi ade delay, here we go…..
Where can I see the Braves on TV in Spring?
– Half the members of nearly every Braves-related Facebook group
— Grant McAuley (@grantmcauley) February 24, 2017
And for those who don’t have MLB.TV:
Guys, I still don’t really get the Kurt Suzuki signing. At all. It’s not big enough to really suck, but it just seemed so unnecessary. What am I missing?
– Brent B.
This page right here
Andy Harris: He’s better than Anthony Recker. Suzuki also rates high on the intangibles: preparation, toughness, leadership. The Braves value that, especially from the catchers. In the end, I think that’s what doomed Christian Bethancourt, more than anything to do with his performance.
That said, the Braves signing Suzuki makes a hell of a lot more sense than the Nationals signing Matt Wieters, but I’m not complaining.
Chris: And, knowing this front office, they could have thoughts on selling high on Tyler Flowers. Suzuki gives them a veteran starter to fall back on.
Suzuki is depth, but he’s better depth than Recker or David Freitas, IMO. Mind you, all of the guys we’re talking about, including Flowers, are probably better served as backup catchers. But the Braves don’t have anyone close to the MLB level in the minors, and the market this year was full of guys who just wouldn’t be good fits for this team, at this time, IMO. Perhaps next year, when the team is closer to competing, the Braves may make a run at someone like Jonathan Lucroy. There are reservations there as well (primarily expected cost vs injury history vs expected continued production), but he is a very good bat to go along with great framing and solid defense.
Should I be worried about our Spring Training performance? We ended last year on a 20-10 run, and this year we look like a bunch of beginners. Pitchers are getting shelled, batters aren’t hitting, fielders are booting the ball…what gives?
– Stan H.
Chris: You know, it almost looks as if most of these guys haven’t pitched or hit in a competitive game for six months or so. Wait….
Spring Training serves several purposes:
- Allow players the chance to ease into game shape to avoid injury
- Give pitchers a chance to work on new pitches, new grips, and mechanics in games that don’t matter
- Give hitters a chance to work on new stances, new swings, timing, and mechanics in games that don’t matter
- Allow coaches the chance to evaluate fringe players and prospects and what contributions, if any, they can make to the team
- Allow the front office and coaches to see how young prospects perform against different levels of talent and interact with/learn from other players.
Think of Spring Training as your stretching and warm-up before your workout. You shouldn’t be concerned if, at the start of your warm-up routine, you can’t do a max lift. You warm up to avoid injury. And that’s what Spring Training is for. Guys getting injured in Spring Training is more of a concern to me than guys not performing well in Spring Training.
That said, the last three games or so should be a close-to-MLB ready roster, and should give us an idea of what to expect. Last year did end on a high note, but, we have to put that in context. The bulk of that 20-10 finish came against teams in September, when rosters expanded. One might argue that the level of competition faced in that final 30 game run may not be comparable to a true MLB squad that the team is likely to face for 140 games this year. But the 2016 finish does provide some promise and a little hope, so we got that going for us….which is nice.
Brent Blackwell: Since the team isn’t trying to win, I’m not upset when they don’t.
Braves fans are concerned because the Braves are losing exhibition games that neither team cares about winning.
— Brent Blackwell (@brentblackwell) March 7, 2017