Cleat Geeks

Bravos Buzz

Spring Training Update

The Braves have been struggling in their spring training games so far. They are 3–8 right now. That record puts them near the bottom of the Grapefruit League, but it’s not a big deal. At the end of the day, spring training win-loss records mean absolutely nothing. They have no actual bearing on the regular season at all.

grapefruit

The records may not matter, but that is not to say that the spring training process has no impact on the regular season. Spring training gives managerial staffs a chance to take a close look at an assortment of players within their organizations. It helps them decided who is going to make the Major League roster and who should be put where in the farm system.

For organizations that have a lot of farm system talent but not a lot of Major League talent, like the Braves, spring training is invaluable. Where does last year’s number one overall draft pick, Dansby Swanson, need to start his professional career, Double-A or Triple-A? The same question applies to a number of other young prospects in the Braves’ organization. This makes spring training extremely helpful from a talent assessment standpoint.

Dansby Swanson

Dansby Swanson

Aside from talent assessment, spring training also affects the regular season when it comes to player injuries. Unfortunately, players often get injured during spring training, which can have a huge impact on the regular season depending on the severity of the injuries. Sometimes players can even sustain season ending injuries during the spring. For example, last year one of the best pitchers in baseball, Yu Darvish, tore his UCL after his first spring training start and wound up missing the entire 2015 season.

The Braves are not immune to the injury bug. Last Friday, Freddie Freeman had to leave the game early due to soreness in his right wrist. Freeman has since said that his wrist is ok, but it still has to make Braves fans a little uneasy. Freeman first injured his wrist on June 13, 2015. It has been a lingering issue ever since. He missed 44 games last year because of the injury. Freeman and his fans were hoping that his wrist would heal completely during the off-season, and things were looking good through the first few games of spring training. Before Friday’s exit, Freeman had already notched two home runs, three hits, and six walks in just 13 at bats. Furthermore, just last Wednesday he was quoted as saying, “I feel absolutely no pain in my wrist… Everything feels great, now it’s just getting more reps.” Unfortunately, it looks like Freeman is heading for fewer reps instead of more. Hopefully his wrist is just a little sore and not legitimately re-injured. Only time will tell.

Freddie Freeman

Freddie Freeman

To recap, the Braves have a poor win-loss record and their biggest star is starting to have problems with his troublesome wrist early in this year’s spring training process. With that being said, it’s not all bad news for the Braves this spring.

Mallex Smith has been giving Braves fans something positive to talk about lately… him. He has been on fire this spring. His stats so far are impressive: .350/.381/.850 with five runs scored, one home run and four RBIs (eight games, 20 at bats). If he continues playing at this level, it’ll be hard for the Braves’ front office to leave him in the Minors for very long. He may even get an opportunity to make a positive contribution to the Bravos at Turner Field as early as this year. Fans will just have to wait and see.

Mallex Smith

Mallex Smith

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