A Conversation On the Trainwreck in Atlanta

I am a Braves optimist. I believe that the Braves are just a typically bad team on their way to a typically bad season.

I am a Braves pessimist. I believe that 60 wins would be a miracle for this travesty of a team. I think they would be no better than average in the International League.

You’re overreacting. Yeah, an 8-24 record is nothing to brag about, but that isn’t an historically awful month. I mean, just least year, the Phillies had a 3-19 stretch in May and June, and they didn’t even lose 100 games that season. Or even better, look at the Twins, they’ve only won one none more games than the Braves. No one is talking about them as a historically bad team. I mean, the 2014 Giants, who won the World Series, had a 7-21 stretch in June. Calm down, it’s only May.

This isn’t simply a matter of the Braves having a poor stretch. The Braves simply don’t have good players. Freddie Freeman is good, Ender Inciarte is probably all right, and Nick Markakis is average. And that’s it. Their top two pitchers are Julio Teheran, who won’t be a Brave in two months, and Jhoulys Chacin, who hasn’t pitched 100 innings since 2013, and who has also now been traded so nevermind. The Braves have a severe lack of talent, and the little talent they have is going to be traded away.

Yeah the team doesn’t have very many established quality players, but help is on the way. Mallex Smith is already up and Dansby Swanson is on the way. Aaron Blair. Maybe they can get something out of Hector Olivera. The kids on the way will help boost the offense once Markakis and Aybar get traded away midseason.

What offense is there to boost? The Braves’ team wRC+ is 57. The 1920 Athletics, the worst hitting team of all time, had a wRC+ of 67. The team has hit seven home runs. Trevor Story did that in about a week. Ryan Howard’s rotting corpse has hit about as many home runs as this entire team. And it isn’t like they have been unlucky. The team’s BABIP is .289, which is just about league average. By BaseRuns the Braves have won exactly as many games as the ought to have. In fact, BaseRuns calculates that the Braves should be averaging 2.6 runs per game.

The Braves’ BaseRuns are bad, but the Brewers and Reds haven’t exactly been much better. Besides, the Braves are still projected to win 60 games if you look at the depth charts. Even if you think that’s too optimistic, its probably not 15 wins too optimistic, which is what it would have to be for the Braves to be historically bad.

The 1962 Mets were better through 28 games than the 2016 Braves have been. They lost 120 games. The Braves are on pace to lose 124.

Wait a second, you aren’t even responding to my points, you’re just saying scary things.

The Braves’ run differential is -63. Extrapolate that out to 162 games and that’s -340. The 119-loss 2003 Tigers had a run differential of -337.

I GET IT! The Braves have been truly awful so far. But they’ve had a ridiculous schedule too. The worst two teams they have faced so far are the Marlins and the Diamondbacks, and they went 3-3 against them. Once the Braves get some games against the Phillies, Reds, and Brewers, their record will improve.

The Braves are 2-16 at home.

But they’re 6-8 on the road! That’s actually not terrible!

Ryan Weber is sixth on the team in offensive value among players with plate appearances. He is a reliever. He grounded out in his one at bat.

But…. but..

Also, Jeff Francoeur.


Embrace the darkness, my child.

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Jaack is a pseudonym bestowed by one Jeff Sullivan upon a humble Fangraphs participant. His interests include Barry Bonds, Rutherford B. Hayes, and very bad baseball players.

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