The Braves just lost two games to a terrible Orioles team, but they’re still in first place. While many of our fellow Braves fans and bloggers are wallowing in despair, we’re still smiling. Why? Well, because baseball’s fun and the sun is scheduled to rise again.
This is a very special episode. This week we’ve got our buddy Michael Cooper on the podcast. Michael’s a die hard Braves fan, living in Texas, with his wife and kids Maddox, Glavine, and Avery. We had Michael on so that he could talk about his son, Maddox.
Maddox (named after some feller named Greg) has Koolen-de Vries Syndrome. Michael’s on the board of directors for the Koolen-de Vries Syndrome Foundation and educated us on what KDVS exactly is and how us Braves fans can help raise awareness.
If you’d like to learn more about KDVS check out their website here. If you’d like to donate, go here. The organization is run entirely by volunteers and all donations help them continue to support their mission: To educate, increase awareness and promote research for the support and enrichment of individuals living with Koolen-de Vries Syndrome and their families.
Oh, Josh and Kenny also talk about the Atlanta Braves. Especially Johan Camargo. Enjoy!
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P.S. Don’t forget to check out their website and spread the love. https://kdvsfoundation.org/
This week on the podcast the boys make a very special announcement, and they’re joined by the newest member of Walk Off Walk, Brittni Swanson.
Brittni recently came onto the Braves writing scene with an outstanding article about how the pressure the Braves put on Dansby didn’t really help him. Check it out here.
We also recap the FO meetings the Braves had with the players recently. Legend has it that Anthopoulos and his guys sat down with some Braves players and went over some analytics with them via PowerPoint.
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P.S. Make sure you knuckleheads support our buddies Doc and Dylan. These two of these knuckleheads (who’ve both been guests on the show) have started their own podcast called The Platinum Sombrero Podcast. It’s killer.
Spring Training has started, boys and girls. We’re excited. Well, Ken’s excited. I don’t really care. I mean, I care, but just not as much as Ken cares.
Spring Training is too long, in my opinion. Besides the whole fun of Spring Training used to be watching guys get back into shape. That used to be part of the beauty of baseball. Guys would go back home, take the winter off, and then use Spring Training to get back in shape. These days, these over-achieving knuckleheads are in the gym at 5 am in December.
Here’s a quick breakdown of things we talked about on Knockahoma Nation this week:
Does Spring Training matter?
Do the new pace of play changes matter?
Does Nick Markakis matter?
Braves off-season recap (Does Snitker matter)
Braves Options Guy stops by to talk about payroll stuff
Josh explains AR-15s
And much more
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The famous Abbott and Costello skit “Who’s on First” unforgettably amuses the audience as Abbott befuddles his pal Costello with the confusing names of the players on his baseball team. In the skit, the third baseman is “I Don’t Know”. The Braves feel like they’re right in the middle of that skit when it comes to the identity of their 2018 third baseman and “I Don’t Know” is on third for Atlanta.
Most of us know the usual characters and options that are sitting there available, so I’ll not waste your time by giving a detailed analysis of each player that could be a 2018 third base option for the Atlanta Braves, but I will skim them.
Frazier batted .213 last season. Yep, .213. He did crush 27 home runs, though. He had a terrible BABIP. But even projections for this next year have it only jumping up about 20 points. He’s a plus defender at 3rd. The end.
He’s a name not heavily talked about, but the Pirates have made it known that he’s available. While I think Harrison is one of the best utility players in the game, his third base defense is average at best, and his batting has traditionally suffered when he plays the hot corner. Not only is he owed $10.25MM in 2018, but his asking price could be hefty. While I think Harrison wouldn’t be an atrocious stopgap, ultimately he costs too much.
With the Marlins turning into the Flea Market of baseball, it feels like Prado is probably available. Prado’s name will always be loved in Braves Country, but at this point I believe getting Prado would be a bit like grabbing the Matt Kemp of infielders. While he’s not quite as overpaid as Kemp was, he’s still getting $28M + for two more years. That’s not great for a guy coming back from some serious knee issues. Besides, his defense was only slightly above league average for the last few years before he was injured.
Yeah he’s my darling pick. Anyone that follows me knows that I love the idea of Castellanos at the hot corner and seeing what he can do.
He hit 26 bombs last year. The knock on Nick is his defense. It’s not good. In fact, last year it was so bad the Tigers moved him to the outfield. I personally believe Ron Washington is a miracle worker and if he can make Freddie Freeman into an incredible third baseman, he can fix anyone. But even if Castellanos doesn’t stick at 3B, he could certainly move to left field and add quite a bit of pop to the lineup. With the Tigers in a rebuild it feels like you could get him without having to give up too much, but you can’t be sure.
Last but not least, Camargo. Some have complained about his splits, but when you dig a little deeper he actually doesn’t have any problems against lefties or righties. He did struggle against relief pitchers, many of which had a single very dominant pitch.
However, he batted .305 against RH starters and .296 against LH starters. He also crushed the ball when he hit it. His average exit velocity was 88.12 mph. For comparison, Freddie Freeman’s average exit velocity in 2017 was 89.68 mph. Undoubtedly, Camargo hasn’t shown the pop and home run power that you traditionally expect from a third baseman. But I also think it might still be in hiding in there. In the winter league, Camargo is slugging .511. That’s only 1 home run, but a triple and 5 doubles in only 54 at bats.
I mentioned Josh Harrison earlier as an option for third, but the truth is the Braves already have their Josh Harrison and his name is Johan Camargo. Unless the Braves want to try a double fix with a move for Castellanos, with Camargo backing him up as a utility man with lots of playing time or taking over at third if Castellanos can’t play defense, I prefer they stay put with Camargo.
Frazier may have more pop, but his batting average is atrocious and he doesn’t seem destined to make any giant leaps. (Hitting baseballs matters.) I know Atlanta could use a bit more pop in their lineup, but slugging may be the better measure of just what Camargo can add than simply his home run totals, and Camargo out-slugged Frazier last season by more than 24 points despite only hitting 4 home runs.
Somehow, over the course of this offseason, it feels as if fans have forgotten how solid Johan Camargo was this year. Prognosticators have chalked it up to a high BABIP or pitchers not figuring him out. Skeptics have questioned his power while ignoring his slugging. He’s not the sexy big money name of Machado (oh by the way the Braves would be insane to pay for one year of Machado). He’s not the traditional third baseman that Todd Frazier is, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a place on this team and it doesn’t mean that place couldn’t be third base. He currently fits a bit more of a utility profile, but I think limiting him to a utility role is short sighted and judgmental.
I’ll be honest Johan Camargo is an “I Don’t Know” for me. I don’t know what he will hit, I don’t know what his power will be, I don’t know how his defense will end up, and I don’t know that he’s the permanent answer for the Atlanta Braves.
At the end of the day, this team is young. Very young, and very fast. I like the idea of creating a culture of young guys discovering exactly who they are. Challenging the assumptions about who they are and who they are not. Not being limited to trying to fit some mold that the previous guy has always played to answer the Who’s on First, What’s on Second and I Don’t Know is on third. If I’m making the decisions, I Don’t Know is playing third for me, but I do know who he is. He’s Johan Camargo.