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Monday, March 19, 2018

Braves Ronald Acuna sent to Minors camp | MLB.com

Acuna getting sent down to learn to walk on water.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 19, 2018 at 08:09 PM | 63 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves, ronald acuna

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   1. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: March 19, 2018 at 09:49 PM (#5640027)
I am not sure what flaws Acuna has in his game but my guess no matter they are they will be corrected in a few weeks.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: March 19, 2018 at 11:24 PM (#5640043)
Or 9 days.
   3. stevegamer Posted: March 19, 2018 at 11:35 PM (#5640046)
He's got a bit too much MLB service time right now, they'd prefer it if he had about -40 days as opposed to his current 0.
   4. McCoy Posted: March 20, 2018 at 07:48 AM (#5640091)
Seems a little harsh to send him into the mines.
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 20, 2018 at 09:14 AM (#5640116)
Seems a little harsh to send him into the mines.

You know it's spelled differently, right?
   6. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: March 20, 2018 at 09:21 AM (#5640120)
I've heard a few talking heads on MLB network rail against the injustice of this. They get that it's a financial decision, they are upset that this will hurt Acuna's development,he needs to be in the Majors and given his chance to shine NOW! Send him down later in June if you want to keep the extra year, and so on.

Has this artificial 'keep him down until the service clock is in our favor' hurt any of the recent great young players? Trout, Harper, Bryant all seem to be doing ok.
   7. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: March 20, 2018 at 09:43 AM (#5640133)
I am not sure what flaws Acuna has in his game but my guess no matter they are they will be corrected in a few weeks.

A couple of weeks in the minors should fix the remaining issues with his fielding.
   8. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 20, 2018 at 09:48 AM (#5640135)
I've heard a few talking heads on MLB network rail against the injustice of this. They get that it's a financial decision, they are upset that this will hurt Acuna's development


Wow. That's a new level of stupid. I mean, complain about the kid being sent down for FA-clock reasons if you want, but saying it's going to hurt his development to see AAA for a couple of weeks is pretty stupid. He's friggin' 19. Yes, the Braves are doing this for the money come 2023, but it's not like a 19 year old can't learn something useful in AAA, even if he does have all the talent in the world.

At the earliest, he'll debut on 4/16, opening night of the Braves second homestand of the year.
   9. Zonk is One Individual Posted: March 20, 2018 at 09:49 AM (#5640136)
Weird that Acuna got exactly the same number of PAs (243) AND ABs (221) in AA and AAA last year.

In a perfect world, I suppose one might like to see that combined minor league BB/K line improve from 43/144 - but he hit 326/374/520 at AA and 344/393/548 at AAA so it's not like he really needs any more time. He did actually cut his Ks at AAA.



   10. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 20, 2018 at 09:54 AM (#5640138)
The Braves rushed Dansby Swanson, Jason Heyward, and Jeff Francouer in recent years. Essentially skipping AAA for all of them. Given that the Braves are unlikely to break .500 this year, much less push for a playoff spot, I see little reason not to leave Acuna in Gwinnett until the All Star Break. Minor league experience is a useful thing.
   11. Zonk is One Individual Posted: March 20, 2018 at 09:59 AM (#5640142)
The Braves rushed Dansby Swanson, Jason Heyward, and Jeff Francouer in recent years. Essentially skipping AAA for all of them. Given that the Braves are unlikely to break .500 this year, much less push for a playoff spot, I see little reason not to leave Acuna in Gwinnett until the All Star Break. Minor league experience is a useful thing.


Meh, it's useful to the Braves but I'm not sure I see how it's going to be useful to Acuna one way or another.... but by the same token, I don't buy the argument it's going to "hurt" his development either.
   12. wjones Posted: March 20, 2018 at 10:02 AM (#5640146)
The Braves rushed Dansby Swanson, Jason Heyward, and Jeff Francouer in recent years. Essentially skipping AAA for all of them. Given that the Braves are unlikely to break .500 this year, much less push for a playoff spot, I see little reason not to leave Acuna in Gwinnett until the All Star Break. Minor league experience is a useful thing.


You don't believe that will happen do you? He hits Suntrust Park in Mid April.
   13. McCoy Posted: March 20, 2018 at 10:03 AM (#5640148)
You know it's spelled differently, right?

Some people like shvts and giggles, you know?
   14. eric Posted: March 20, 2018 at 10:09 AM (#5640152)
Ronald Acuna has shown quite the progression since the beginning of last year:

A: .287/.336/.478/.814
AA: .326/.374/.520/.895
AAA: .344/.393/.548/.940
MLB ST: .432/.519/.727/1.247

Based on that trend, I expect him to hit .500/.700/1.000 in MLB during the regular season.
   15. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 20, 2018 at 10:31 AM (#5640164)
You don't believe that will happen do you? He hits Suntrust Park in Mid April.


I think smart money is on Monday, April 16, vs the Phillies. Gets them through the window required to keep him the extra year (2023), lets him debut in front of a friendly home team crowd at SunTrust, and gets them the extra attendance boost for the phenom's debut for their second home series this year.

That said, AA says in the article listed that he wouldn't have promoted him nearly as fast last year, and that he disagrees with previous management's general "send them to the bigs straight from AA" theories. If that is truly the case, and not just spin for banking the extra year of arb control, then he might stay at Gwinnett longer.
   16. dlf Posted: March 20, 2018 at 10:38 AM (#5640174)
Hey, I'm thrilled that he'll open the season in AAA. Of course I live about 15 minutes from CoolRay Field and go to many more games in Gwinnett than at the major league facility.

The Braves rushed Dansby Swanson, Jason Heyward, and Jeff Francouer in recent years. Essentially skipping AAA for all of them.


It's too early to say about the first, but the latter two had their best OPS+ in their first year in the majors. They were ready to play right away. Regressing from that point isn't a function of more time in the minors.
   17. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 20, 2018 at 10:47 AM (#5640187)
Some people like shvts
You know it's spelled differently, right?
   18. . . . . . . Posted: March 20, 2018 at 11:05 AM (#5640209)
If I were Ronald Acuna, I'd sue the #### out of the Braves. I would love to see the emails you'd get through discovery. There's no way they're smart enough never to put "limit service time" in writing. They'd be so ######.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 20, 2018 at 11:17 AM (#5640220)
If I were Ronald Acuna, I'd sue the #### out of the Braves. I would love to see the emails you'd get through discovery. There's no way they're smart enough never to put "limit service time" in writing. They'd be so ######.

Probably better done as a class action lawsuit.
   20. bfan Posted: March 20, 2018 at 11:29 AM (#5640228)
I've heard a few talking heads on MLB network rail against the injustice of this.


If those same people railed against Kris Bryant staying down when he did, I will listen to them and consider their comments. If they did not, they are just being shills for Theo and the Cubs operation.
   21. dlf Posted: March 20, 2018 at 11:40 AM (#5640238)
#18 & 19 - There have been arbitration cases under prior versions of the MLB-MLBPA collective bargaining agreements regarding similar service time decisions. Arbitrators have held consistently that as long as there is a plausible reason, they will defer to the team. I suspect that this issue would again be subject to the mandatory arbitration provision in the CBA instead of something Acuna, either individually or as a member of a class, could bring in court.
   22. . . . . . . Posted: March 20, 2018 at 12:01 PM (#5640258)

#18 & 19 - There have been arbitration cases under prior versions of the MLB-MLBPA collective bargaining agreements regarding similar service time decisions. Arbitrators have held consistently that as long as there is a plausible reason, they will defer to the team. I suspect that this issue would again be subject to the mandatory arbitration provision in the CBA instead of something Acuna, either individually or as a member of a class, could bring in court


The question is not whether its subject to arbitration, but whether Acuna would be entitled to discovery. He'd crush them if he can get emails.
   23. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 20, 2018 at 12:14 PM (#5640262)
The question is not whether its subject to arbitration, but whether Acuna would be entitled to discovery. He'd crush them if he can get emails.

Emails, texts, internal budget documents. There's lots of ways of showing they made a purely financial decision well before Spring Training.
   24. Rennie's Tenet Posted: March 20, 2018 at 12:23 PM (#5640267)

I've heard a few talking heads on MLB network rail against the injustice of this.


On the radio side, they were lamenting that he'll miss out on the goose bumps of being a major leaguer on Opening Day.
   25. eddieot Posted: March 20, 2018 at 12:44 PM (#5640286)
**** this. There is no possible justification for keeping him in the minors besides purely financial. Add this to Tony Clark's growing list of priorities for the next CBA. This is a loophole tied to arbitration that should not exist.
   26. bigglou115 is not an Illuminati agent Posted: March 20, 2018 at 01:26 PM (#5640330)
I'm sorry, but this talk is all missing half the point. The Braves won't compete next year, they hope to open a multi year window next year that continues as long as possible. So competitively it makes more sense for the braves to want a year then as opposed to now. The financial aspect is that they won't be able to afford him after 6 years.

These decisions are never just financial.
   27. Dr. Vaux Posted: March 20, 2018 at 01:31 PM (#5640337)
There's no reason in hell why the Atlanta Braves shouldn't be able to pay a player a top-level contract. I know about the tv contract, but surely it must end at some point.
   28. dlf Posted: March 20, 2018 at 02:14 PM (#5640391)
I'm sorry, but this talk is all missing half the point. The Braves won't compete next year, they hope to open a multi year window next year that continues as long as possible.


I dislike this way of thinking. The Braves are playing in a division where (a) the best club just changed managers and has its best player on his way out at the end of the year so they could implode, (b) another club has just been sold and is getting rid of every MLB-caliber player they have, (c) a young up-and-coming club that is basically in the same position the Braves are in, and (d) the Mets and their team physician, Dr. Kevorkian. The division couldn't be weaker or more ripe for a surprise taking the crown with an otherwise blah 87 to 92 win season. I don't think it *likely* that Atlanta will do so, but they should be trying to improve the odds, not make them worse. Try to win today; tomorrow it might rain.
   29. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: March 20, 2018 at 02:23 PM (#5640400)
An obvious method to do away with the clock shenanigans would be to tie free agency to professional, rather than major-league, service. Probably graduated based on age at signing, like eligibility for Rule 5. Something like international amateurs signed at 16 can be held for 10 years, high school draftees for nine, college draftees for eight.

If a 2013 college draftee, to pick at random, is slated for free agency after 2021 no matter how much time he spends with the big club, then there's no reason not to call him up in, say, mid-2014 when he's laying waste to the minors rather than hypothetically holding him back for, I don't know, 12 days in 2015 to gain an extra year of his services.
   30. McCoy Posted: March 20, 2018 at 02:30 PM (#5640407)
Atlanta is part of the reason it is a weak division. I doubt they are in the running for a 10 game improvement year over year. But hell, the Cubs improved by 24 games the year they kept Kris down so in the end it is likely to mean nothing either way. Though there was an outside chance that the Cubs could have won the division outright had they played Kris from the start since they trailed STL by 3 games and they lost 3 games while Kris was in the minors with one of those losses being against the Cards. Though to be fair to end the season the Cubs went on a 8 game win streak while the Cards coasted to the end and even with three more wins in the bank they would still be trailing the Cards by 5.5 and the Pirates by 2.5.
   31. dlf Posted: March 20, 2018 at 02:47 PM (#5640417)
Atlanta is part of the reason it is a weak division. I doubt they are in the running for a 10 game improvement year over year.


If I had to bet, I'd take the under on a 10 game improvement, but that wouldn't be outlandish. Pick up half a win from a full year of an uninjured Freddie, add 2 wins from Dansby compared to his last season if he can be a league average performer, and prorate Albies to a full season and that is close to 2 wins more than the Phillips / Albies combo last year, a full season of Camargo instead of Ruiz, Garcia, et al could be another 1 win, and a couple of the young pitchers take a 0.5 to 1.0 WAR step forward, say Gohara, Fried, and Folty. None of these are unreasonable and collectively it would get ~7-9 wins. Then switching Matt Kemp's negative WAR for just a league average LF, and its a ten to twelve game improvement. And in this division of muck and mediocrity ...
   32. wjones Posted: March 20, 2018 at 03:11 PM (#5640445)
I think, barring injury, the combo of Acuna/Albies/Swanson/Newcomb will add 8 wins minimum. So if the remainder of the roster can collectively add 2 net wins, that's your 10 games. Maybe my glasses are rose-colored, but I see real room for growth here.
   33. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 20, 2018 at 03:25 PM (#5640461)

The financial aspect is that they won't be able to afford him after 6 years.

Right, it's still a financial decision as opposed to one based on his MLB readiness / player development.
   34. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: March 20, 2018 at 03:47 PM (#5640475)
I don't see any evidence that Heyward was rushed. He'd destroyed AA and excelled immediately in Atlanta. The Braves made the playoffs by one game over the Padres that year -- he was ready, and they needed him.

The fact that Heyward was never that good again is hard to attribute to lack of seasoning.
   35. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 20, 2018 at 04:42 PM (#5640536)
I worry about a very young kid who has never struggled at any level having his first taste of failure, and his first need to adjust on the fly, in season, at the ML level. I think there’s value in having that happen in the minors, away from the bright lights.
   36. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 20, 2018 at 05:17 PM (#5640571)
I don't see any evidence that Heyward was rushed. He'd destroyed AA and excelled immediately in Atlanta.
Hey, does that mean he might have option years left, or do they just go away after a certain point? Asking for a friend.
   37. Walt Davis Posted: March 20, 2018 at 05:31 PM (#5640583)
The Angels didn't play service time games with Trout. Possibly it was their intent but it really was just a dumb move. He has an extra 70 days of service time. If he'd been up for all of April 2012, he'd have about 95 extra service days. That's not close to any kind of service time threshold. If they played any games, that was sending him down for 3 weeks in 2011 and that was sufficient to keep him from being a super-2. But he was hitting 163/213/279 at the time.

Bryce Harper has more of a gripe with 159 extra service days. But that's nearly two weeks longer than necessary -- perhaps their intention was to keep him down long enough to avoid super-2 (about 120 days usually I believe) but they changed their mind.

However, both those guys were crazy young and it has been common practice to play super-2 games with the crazy young ones (and not-so-young ones). Bryant was different in that, by MLB standard practice, he should have been called up sometime after the super-2 deadline and Aug 1 2014. That would have been the traditional avoidance of super-2 and then clearing a roster spot for him maneuver. Instead, the Cubs kept him down for all of 2014 and the start of 2015 which is certainly rare and maybe unprecedented for a prospect of his age, pedigree and performance.

The Cubs actually did the same to Rizzo. The Padres made sure to wait until after the super-2 deadline to call him up but he struggled badly and they sent him back down after 43 days then called him back for Sept adding (at least) 25 days. Theo then kept him down until the end of June, putting him at 168 days at the end of 2012. That would have been pretty easy to defend against an arbitrator -- he struggled in 2011 and LaHair got off to a hot start in 2012. Still a top prospect with half-a-season under his belt hitting 342/405/696 at AAA usually gets a call-up before late June.

Given Acuna's age, it would be standard practice to try to hold him down until the super-2 deadline although Acuna is unusual (rare? unique?) in having already smacked AAA at 19 -- he at least doesn't fit perfectly with anybody else I can think of. Trout came from and went back to AA before starting 2012 in AAA. Stanton skipped AAA, so did Machado, Harper had a month at AAA at 19 before his call-up but didn't crush it.
   38. McCoy Posted: March 20, 2018 at 06:17 PM (#5640609)
Didn't Trout have like pneumonia or something like that is rookie year?
   39. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 20, 2018 at 06:36 PM (#5640625)
although Acuna is unusual (rare? unique?) in having already smacked AAA at 19 -- he at least doesn't fit perfectly with anybody else I can think of.


Acuna is a really strange prospect, really. He was an "also-signed" guy out of the international free agent pool. No one ever really talked about him as a high level prospect at all. His first couple of seasons weren't exactly pedestrian, but they weren't interstellar-galactic either. 800-850ish OPS+ across various rookie and A ball circuits, although notably at 2.5-3.5 years younger than the respective leagues. But he didn't become RONALD ####### ACUNA JR!!! until his very brief stint in the Australian league between the 2016 and 2017 US minor league seasons. He went down there as an 18 year old, 6 years younger than the league, and splattered a 1.000+ OPS on them. Even then, most of us were writing that off as a 20 game small sample, but he came back to the States and turned in last year's domination at three levels, followed (obviously) by his kray kray spring numbers. It's a very odd development track, which is another reason I really don't mind seeing him take a month or two at AAA and play against shuttle-worthy MLB/AAAA types.
   40. Jason Dean Posted: March 20, 2018 at 07:27 PM (#5640641)
But he didn't become RONALD ####### ACUNA JR!!! until his very brief stint in the Australian league between the 2016 and 2017 US minor league seasons.


What looked somewhat like a dental or baking instrument
   41. Walt Davis Posted: March 20, 2018 at 08:18 PM (#5640667)
I don't know what cut-off he used but he didn't qualify for the leader boards ... but Acuna's 1002 OPS would have led the vaunted ABL over Tim Kennedy's 964. Mitch Nilsson, I assume Dave's son, tied for the league lead with 7 HR.

Cool, b-r does have ABL stats. Marcus Greene was down here that year too apparently. LeDarious Clark was not so successful (hit worse than in the US) and DJ Davis was even worse.

There seems to have been an offensive explosion in the 2017 ABL. Lars Anderson hit a pretty unimpressive 290/336/402 and ... I'll be damend ... apparently Delmon Young was here at 280/351/561 ... I recall there being a bit of unrest in Melbourne around that time but I don't think it was his fault.

So we can safely conclude that Acuna is probably better than Tim Kennedy, Mitch Nilsson and Delmon Young. :-)
   42. Walt Davis Posted: March 20, 2018 at 11:41 PM (#5640729)
Didn't Trout have like pneumonia or something like that is rookie year?

Rookie (2012) or debut (2011)? Slightly surprised he wasn't over the limit in 2011 but according to b-r that was 2012. Either way, in the game logs there's no evidence of it. In 2011, he had 75 games at AA, got called up for 3 weeks, went back down for 2.5 weeks, came back and played the rest of the season in the majors. He then played fall ball. In 2012, he had 20 games at AAA then in the bigs for the rest of the season.

Or did you mean something like he was sick in spring training 2012 and that's why they sent him down?

That said, I don't see how he got up to 70 extra days. He had 22-24 days on the roster in July 2011 then 41 days in Aug-Sept. Then 161 days on the roster in 2012. That's just 226 days with 180 days being a full season. Was his return to AA in 2011 not long enough so it counted as MLB service time? That was just 18 days but starts getting us close. Also last game of 2011 was on 28 Sept, maybe they keep counting until Oct 1 or the WC game or something? Or maybe for partial seasons, they treat 172 days as the magic number plus the mid-season AA time?
   43. McCoy Posted: March 21, 2018 at 08:32 AM (#5640767)
It looks like he had some viral infection, lost some weight, and had tendinitis to start the 2011 season.
   44. PreservedFish Posted: March 21, 2018 at 08:49 AM (#5640776)
I would love to read a story about Delmon Young in Australia.
   45. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 21, 2018 at 12:38 PM (#5640937)
I don't know what cut-off he used but he didn't qualify for the leader boards ... but Acuna's 1002 OPS would have led the vaunted ABL over Tim Kennedy's 964. Mitch Nilsson, I assume Dave's son, tied for the league lead with 7 HR.


Rays catching prospect David Rodriguez OPS'd 1.247 in 19 games for Brisbane that year (2016.) The very well traveled corner OF/IF Donald Lutz put up 1.005 in 19, also for Brisbane. Mike Walker (Melborne) and Stone Garrett (Sydney) both tied Nillson for the league lead in HRs.

Stone Garrett should be a 1980's action hero.
   46. Kiko Sakata Posted: March 21, 2018 at 12:50 PM (#5640945)
I worry about a very young kid who has never struggled at any level having his first taste of failure, and his first need to adjust on the fly, in season, at the ML level. I think there’s value in having that happen in the minors, away from the bright lights.


But per comment #14, Acuna's returning to a league where he hit .344/.393/.548 last year. It seems unlikely that he's going to get a "taste of failure" at that level. Maybe you're right in theory, but if a player's so good that he's not going to fail until he hits the major-league level, what can you do?
   47. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 21, 2018 at 01:05 PM (#5640964)
But per comment #14, Acuna's returning to a league where he hit .344/.393/.548 last year.


In 54 games. 243 plate appearances. 221 at bats. That and his destruction of last year's AFL is the entirety of his career above AA. 77 games. 97 depending on how you rate the level of competition in Australia.
   48. , Posted: March 21, 2018 at 01:11 PM (#5640970)
Emails, texts, internal budget documents. There's lots of ways of showing they made a purely financial decision well before Spring Training.

Is there anything in the CBA (or anywhere) saying teams can't make purely financial decisions on players?
   49. dlf Posted: March 21, 2018 at 01:40 PM (#5640995)
Is there anything in the CBA (or anywhere) saying teams can't make purely financial decisions on players?


Too lazy to look this up (and missing Ron J who had this stuff at the tip of his fingers) but there have been arbitration cases at least going back to the Padres in the 1980s and as recently as Kris Bryant which implicitly or explicitly were based on the proposition that there had to be at least a plausible baseball reason for demotions.
   50. flournoy Posted: March 21, 2018 at 01:47 PM (#5641002)
It would seem to me that a plausible baseball reason could easily be, "Preston Tucker is hitting .375/.457/.575 this spring and we want to give him an opportunity. Meanwhile, Acuna would be better served starting at AAA than sitting on the bench."

While it's obvious that Acuna is being sent down for service time concerns, there's really nothing to be done about it, and he'll be in the majors soon enough. The rule is stupid and begs to be exploited, so the rule itself is what needs to be addressed.
   51. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 21, 2018 at 01:47 PM (#5641003)
Is there anything in the CBA (or anywhere) saying teams can't make purely financial decisions on players?


I don't see anything in there. This seems to be an issue the MLBPA simply failed to negotiate a clause for.
   52. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 21, 2018 at 01:50 PM (#5641006)
While it's obvious that Acuna is being sent down for service time concerns, there's really nothing to be done about it, and he'll be in the majors soon enough. The rule is stupid and begs to be exploited, so the rule itself is what needs to be addressed.


I have a piece going up at Braves Journal tomorrow on the Acuna question. I have no doubt there is a valid baseball reason to send Acuna down. Notably, the fact that he's never played a single season in the same league, and he's never played more than 140 games in a single year. I think the argument from the YOU MUST PROMOTE HIM NOW! contingent relies very heavily on the Spring Training Stats fallacy.
   53. PreservedFish Posted: March 21, 2018 at 02:08 PM (#5641026)
I agree with Rickey on all this. It's entirely reasonable to leave Acuna down for a little bit.
   54. dlf Posted: March 21, 2018 at 02:09 PM (#5641027)
I think the argument from the YOU MUST PROMOTE HIM NOW! contingent relies very heavily on the Spring Training Stats fallacy.


I wouldn't CAPITALIZE my feelings, but I would promote him because he is the best option to help the Braves win games now. I believe this because of his performance in 2017, his subjective scouting reports / prospect status, and to a lesser degree his performance in 2016, and only after all that because he hasn't been overwhelmed in the big league camp and only after that and to a tiny degree my personal observation from Coolray last year.

The reasons you've posited in this thread seem to be excuses (hey, we want him to fail somewhere else first!) for a predetermined position AA took based on cash and contract retention. But since I'm not a Liberty shareholder, my considerations are not based on what is good for John Malone's bottom line but rather what makes the team I root for more likely to win games and be fun to watch while doing so.
   55. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 21, 2018 at 02:11 PM (#5641031)
I believe this because of his performance in 2017, his subjective scouting reports / prospect status, and to a lesser degree his performance in 2016, and only after all that because he hasn't been overwhelmed in the big league camp


This spring, Acuna's OppQual score (B-REF) is 6.9. 7 is AA quality opponents. 8 is AAA. 10 is MLB.
   56. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 21, 2018 at 04:37 PM (#5641158)
   57. bfan Posted: March 21, 2018 at 04:50 PM (#5641167)
If you're interested,


That is very well thought out and pretty darn compelling.
   58. Walt Davis Posted: March 21, 2018 at 05:19 PM (#5641182)
Right, so the Braves gave him limited exposure to ML pitching this spring because .... His OppQual score is not his doing, it's the Braves' doing. If they wanted him to experience failure, let him fail in the spring against ML pitching. If you want an excuse to send him down, don't even risk giving him a chance to show his skills against ML pitching.

As far as I know, Bryant's grievance was never ruled on -- not sure he ever pushed it. But interestingly, in his first year of super-2 arb, Boras and the Cubs quickly agreed to make him the highest-paid ever for that class at nearly $11 M. A very close comp, Nolan Arenado, got only $5 M in his first super-2 year. Manny Machado got only $5 M as a full arb, Trout just $6 as part of his long-term buyout and Harper signed for just $7.5 to cover his first two super-2 years (he was already under contract for the first so the Nats had leverage). Bryant is making nearly as much as Arenado and Machado in their 2nd arb years.

Bryant was always going to get a nice arb award -- at least Machado/Arenado plus inflation plus a MVP bonus -- but more than double what they made at a similar point? I don't think that was very likely at all yet the Cubs agreed to it pretty readily ... and Boras didn't hold out to try to drive the price up which suggests he got something very close to what he wanted.(Admittedly, Boras has actually been fairly agreeable regarding arb and buyouts that don't include FA years.)

I said back in real time that if Bryant couldn't win a grievance on service time games, then nobody would ever be able to do so. I mean "he needs to work on his defense ... oh look, it only took 9 days for him to get straightened out, how lucky was that?" was as thin a "baseball reason" as there could be. That deal kinda looks like "we both know you screwed him out of some money and we both know I might actually win this grievance and you don't want to set that precedent, so let's agree to make it up to him later."

As to specific wording ... there is always a good faith assumption in any contract. Arbitrators have always made it clear that they will accept almost any "baseball reason" but that there needs to be a "baseball reason." When they have played these games, GMs have always been very careful to lay the groundwork for a "baseball reasons" defense and never, ever mention salary or control. And sometimes when players have gotten off to hot starts in the minors, teams have caved to pressure from fans/media/managers to bring the guy up (Harper, Stanton) even though they haven't hit whatever magical threshold (usually super-2) ... which suggests they realize that sometimes the "baseball reason" is no longer plausible.

That said, Longoria and (allegedly at least) Springer are possibly even more egregious cases than Bryant that, as far as I know, never went to an arb either.

As to Acuna, as I said above, it is standard MLB practice to keep a guy his age down until super-2 is passed ... although again he's seen more advanced competition than most of those other guys saw even after they were held down (i.e. they were held down in AA for the start of age 20). It's not quite the same as Bryant ... although it is the reverse of the decision the Braves made years ago with Heyward (different FO, different team circumstances).

Back to Trout and illness ... OK, I assume that's correct. But he played his first game of 2011 on April 7 and played 156 games that year (ML and minors). He did get off to a bit of a rough start by his standards -- 268/342/535 in April -- but not really any evidence that the illness affected him. Anyway, nobody was expecting him to be on the opening roster at 19 I don't think ... although he was #2 on a couple of lists so maybe there was speculation. In May, he hit 333/462/495 and was well past the super-2 deadline but still wasn't called up for another 5 weeks (349/418/563) so no service time games were being played by that point. That simply looks like the Angels (in their circumstances) didn't think he was ready -- which is what his MLB performance looked like, especially in the first stint. Of course if not for the big commitment to Vernon Wells, maybe that timeline plays out differently.
   59. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 21, 2018 at 05:48 PM (#5641210)
His OppQual score is not his doing, it's the Braves' doing.


I'm not terribly interested in who's "doing" it was. I'm interested in the fact that his outsized spring numbers came against AA level competition. I think that is a very good reason to abide by my decades long belief that spring training statistics are meaningless.
   60. bfan Posted: March 21, 2018 at 05:58 PM (#5641216)
His OppQual score is not his doing, it's the Braves' doing.


Well, actually it is the other team that puts a pitcher on the mound. The Braves penciled Acuna in to start games; they cannot control who pitches for their opponent. And of course, the Kershaw's and Sale's of the world normally have a much smaller percentage of innings/batters faced in spring training, because teams kind of know what they can do. Just to be clear here, I agree with the writer who down-plays Acuna's successful spring based upon who he has faced. I feel very confident in saying the Braves did not look for opportunities to put him at the plate in front of inferior pitchers; he just faced who was on the mound for the other team.
   61. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 21, 2018 at 06:08 PM (#5641228)
I said back in real time that if Bryant couldn't win a grievance on service time games, then nobody would ever be able to do so. I mean "he needs to work on his defense ... oh look, it only took 9 days for him to get straightened out, how lucky was that?" was as thin a "baseball reason" as there could be.

Not to rehash all those discussions, but Mike Olt also got hurt* which led to Bryant coming up at exactly 9 days. He may have been down even longer were it not for the Olt injury, but even if the "defense" thing were true there was an immediate need for a 3b on the ML roster.

*Maybe he was hit by a pitch or something? Googling, yes, hit on the wrist. Looks like Herrera started some games after that, but Olt still PH, only to then disappeared after Bryant's arrival. More:
Hard-pressed to find a healthy third baseman to put in the lineup, the Cubs might have found their justification for calling up top prospect Kris Bryant in the short term.

Bryant, who must remain in the minors until at least Friday to assure an additional year of club control, could be a consideration for the roster quickly after if the injury issues with Tommy La Stella (rib cage) and Mike Olt (wrist) linger past midweek.

Asked if the Cubs could see third-base prospect Bryant “sooner rather than later” in that case, team president Theo Epstein said, “Maybe, yeah. We’ll see. We’ll just weigh all the factors.”

Olt, who was hit on the right wrist by a fastball in Saturday’s ninth inning, was scratched from Monday’s lineup. La Stella hasn’t played since Wednesday because of soreness in the right oblique area and was to try to swing a bat Monday for the first time since then.

Utility infielder Jonathan Herrera started at third for the Cubs the last two games.
   62. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 21, 2018 at 06:15 PM (#5641232)
I'll note that the guy that is almost certainly going to start in LF instead of Acuna is Preston Tucker. A former prospect for the Astros who never could carve out playing time on their ML squad, he's hitting .375/.457/.575 (1.032) this spring. His OppQual is 7.6.
   63. Rally Posted: March 22, 2018 at 08:09 PM (#5641955)
Trout did have an illness in spring 2012 that contributed to him starting in the minors. While he was at that point a great prospect, Angels were probably not expecting him to immediately become BEST PLAYER EVER! Had the team started 2012 better, or Trout started 2012 worse (not hitting .400 in AAA) they might have kept him down until mid season in order to avoid the super 2 arbitration status.

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