“Call Up the Kids!” – But Don’t Really

With the Atlanta Braves struggling through the first month of the season and now every Braves fan across the globe wants Atlanta to bring up the prospects. That’s a fine thing to think and I’d be lying if I didn’t secretly want that as well, but it’s also good to keep in mind what is at stake. What happens if you call up a lot for the kids from Gwinnett and Mississippi and throw them out on a big league roster? I can assure you that it’s nothing good. Let’s take a look.

Who remembers when Aaron Blair and Matt Wisler were top notch prospects in baseball? I do. Wisler was thought to be a top-30 prospect in 2015 and Blair was ranked as high as the 25th best prospect in baseball in 2016. The Braves then called up the two prospects, who met competition that was far greater than what they were ready for. Wisler and Blair are now in Gwinett and have become afterthoughts in the minds of the braves and their fans for pieces in the rotation? Why? Because they were rushed up. They weren’t ready.

Wisler has a career ERA of 4.53 in AAA. Does that sound like a guy who can come up and see MLB success? I was excited as the next guy to see Wisler make his debut against the New York Mets on June 19th, 2015 and was stunned to see him throw eight strong innings and pick up his first major league win. But it went downhill after that.

Blair had an ERA of 4.65 in Gwinnett in 2016 in 13 starts and yet still was able to pull off 15 starts in the majors with an ERA of 7.59. Yikes. Can you honestly say that Blair was ready? I can’t.

How about Dansby Swanson? He had some success in 2016 but has been completely overmatched in 2017. Sure there has been some bad luck involved, but can you honestly say that it’s all bad luck that the 23-year-old shortstop is hitting .150 through the first month of the season? Aren’t you a little worried that Swanson might have been rushed up from Mississippi? I am. Swanson was slashing .261/.342/.402 at the Double-A level last season. Do those scream stats that he is ready for the big leagues? It doesn’t to me.

So now fans want the next wave of Braves prospects to come up because 2017 seems to be a lost cause. So should the Braves trade off the veterans to bring up Lucas Sims, Ozzie Albies, Sean Newcomb, Rio Ruiz, Max Fried and more?

Probably not. Check out the lines for the kids that I mentioned and you’ll see that they could still use some extra seasoning.

Real life baseball is not a video game. It’s great to buy MLB the Show and call up the prospects to your big league club and watch them develop, but the real world offers some real consequences. Many minor leaguers were rushed up to the big league level and their development was stunted because of it. So before we auction off Nick Markakis and Brandon Phillips off to the highest bidder, lets’ make sure the young guys are ready to be here. 2017 is not the big picture, but the talent in the Braves organization is.

2017 is not the big picture, but the talent in the Braves organization is.

 

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