Optioned RHP Aaron Blair to AAA Gwinnett. (7/27)
Optioned SS Dansby Swanson to AAA Gwinnett. (7/27)
Recalled RHP Jason Hursh from AAA Gwinnett. (7/27)
Sent RHP Jason Motte to A- Rome on rehab assignment. (7/28)
Recalled 2B Micah Johnson from AAA Gwinnett. (7/28)
Promoted LHP Luiz Gohara from AA Mississippi to AAA Gwinnett. (7/28)
Demoted LHP Kevin Matthews from AAA Gwinnett to A+ Florida. (7/28)
Promoted RHP Andres Santiago from A+ Florida to AA Mississippi. (7/28)
Placed LF Matt Kemp on 10-day DL with a strained right hamstring. (7/29)
Recalled OF Lane Adams from AAA Gwinnett. (7/29)
Promoted RHP Junior Rincon from A+ Florida to AAA Gwinnett. (7/29)
Demoted RHP Guillermo Zuniga from AA Mississippi to R-GCL Braves. (7/29)
Demoted OF Stephen Gaylor from AA Mississippi to A+ Florida. (7/30)
Promoted C Alex Jackson from A+ Florida to AA Mississippi. (7/30)
Optioned RHP Aaron Blair to AAA Gwinnett
Blair’s return to the majors went as poorly as you could imagine, with the 25-year old giving up 5 hits, 5 walks, and 5 runs in 3 innings of work in last Wednesday’s loss. It’s disappointing, because, according to Brooks Baseball, Blair relied heavily on his slider, the pitch which saved Blair’s 2016 campaign (saved might be a strong word, but he got better when he started using it more). Blair’s AAA numbers haven’t been that impressive, and even with good pitch selection, he has still been mostly awful in the big leagues. It’s starting to feel like we’re getting close to the, “well, what now” stage of his career, and that’s never a good place to be.
Optioned SS Dansby Swanson to AAA Gwinnett
In baseball, luck matters. Luck can be the difference between being a pre-season pick for Rookie of the Year and being demoted in July. Last year, Swanson slashed .302/.361/.442, setting the world on fire. After a .213/.287/.312 start to 2017, he’s now in Buford.
2016 Swanson: 9.0% BB rate, 23.4% K rate, 22.7%/46.4%/30.9% LD/GB/FB, 88.2 mph exvelo
2017 Swanson: 9.7% BB rate, 23.2% K rate, 21.1%/49.2%/29.8% LD/GB/FB, 87.0 mph exvelo
So, what changed? Swanson is chasing a few more pitches outside the zone than last year, but not a lot (28.8% last year, 29.1%). He’s making contact on a lot of those pitches, which could explain the slight dip in exit velocity, but that’s not nearly enough to explain the difference in the production. There are negative trends, sure, but they’re very slight.
And then there’s the bad luck. The BABIP gods have not been kind to Dansby. After posting an unsustainable .383 BABIP last year, Swanson has sported a .266 BABIP this year. Let’s do the math, then.
If Swanson supported a league average BABIP in 2017 (.300): .238/.309/.336.
If Swanson had the same luck as last year: .299/.365/.398.
While Swanson wouldn’t be vying for awards, he probably wouldn’t be sent demoted. Sometimes BABIP changes due to a change in a player, but as we can see above, Swanson is doing most things similarly to how he did them a year ago. This tells us that his 2017 struggles are largely luck-based, and this demotion is either short-sighted or purely for his psychological benefit. Either way, Swanson is pretty much the same player he was a year ago, but in baseball, luck matters.
Recalled RHP Jason Hursh from AAA Gwinnett
In a move certain to excite NL hitters, Hursh brings his low-K, high-BB formula back to the bigs.
Sent RHP Jason Motte to A- Rome on rehab assignment
With all these young replacement level relievers shuffling back and forth, it’ll be good to have a veteran replacement level pitcher to show them the ropes. Joking aside, Motte’s an easy guy to root for, and probably one of my favorite people on the team, so here’s hoping he makes a full recovery.
Recalled 2B Micah Johnson from AAA Gwinnett
In a very small sample of just 11 games in AA, Johnson was slashing .378/.452/.568, so Atlanta decided to keep their fringe prospect hot by calling him up and immediately installing him… on the bench, where he has gone 0-2 with 2 Ks. Welp. Johnson’s ultimate home is probably on a MLB bench, though, so it’s fine for him to get used to it.
Promoted LHP Luiz Gohara from AA Mississippi to AAA Gwinnett
Gohara, the “oh yeah, we’ve got that guy too!” guy in the Braves organization, devastated Southern League hitters this season: 2.60 ERA / 2.52 FIP / 3.04 DRA with 10.4 K/9. His first AAA start there was a struggle (4.2 IP, 4 H, 5 BB, 5 Ks, 5 R), but there’s less concern when you consider that Gohara turned 21 on the day this post was published.
Demoted LHP Kevin Matthews from AAA Gwinnett to A+ Florida
Matthews’ ascent to AAA was unexpected and interesting, but it was also unsurprisingly short-lived. He’s still re-adjusting to life in the minors, so A+ seems like a fairly normal place to work through that before worrying too much about staying at higher levels.
Promoted RHP Andres Santiago from A+ Florida to AA Mississippi
Transaction man gets transacted. Again.
Placed LF Matt Kemp on 10-day DL with a strained right hamstring
Kemp is as reliable a hitter as he’s been for the last few years, a slightly above average power bat. That’d be more useful if the power bat wasn’t swung by a body whose legs are pretty much gone. Those legs have, via terrible defense and baserunning, sapped Kemp of the value his bat provides. Kemp is badly in need of a DH role, but stuck with a bad contract on a NL team.
Recalled OF Lane Adams from AAA Gwinnett
Adams has wheels (20 SB this year at AAA/MLB) and pop (8 HR, AAA ISO of .197), but he’s held back by striking out over a third of the time and rarely walking. His 2017 may more or less be his ceiling – a guy to stash in AAA and bring up for limited play when your starter goes down.
Promoted RHP Junior Rincon from A+ Florida to AAA Gwinnett
Another weekend, another Junior Rincon transaction. It’s his 4th of the month.
Demoted RHP Guillermo Zuniga from AA Mississippi to R-GCL Braves; Activated Zuniga from the 7-day DL
Zuniga was sent to Mississippi to hang out on the DL. Now that it’s time for him to pitch again, he’s back in the Gulf Coast League. He celebrated with a 3 inning outing where he allowed 1 run and struck out 3.
Demoted OF Stephen Gaylor from AA Mississippi to A+ Florida
While at Mississippi, Gaylor collected hits in 4 of his first 5 games. This improved his AA slash line to .184/.245/.204. When you’re struggling to keep your slugging percentage over the Mendoza line, your career is in trouble.
Promoted C Alex Jackson from A+ Florida to AA Mississippi
After a .272/.333/.502 year, the former C turned OF turned C again is having quite a return to prospectland. The 6th overall pick in 2014 finally reaches the high minors, so that’s pretty exciting. He debuted by walking 3 times in his first game. He’s certainly one to watch in the organization, particularly because the team lacks longterm options at the position, so it’ll be worth keeping an eye on how he adjusts to advanced competition.