The Atlanta Braves are on track for another NL East crown, but that doesn’t mean everything has been positive in the 2021 campaign.
Some players are beyond saving, while others struggle in part because they’re placed in less-than-ideal situations. The Braves, like most teams, have made their fair share of mistakes in the 2021 season, especially early on.
Atlanta suffered a rude awakening up until the All-Star Break, when something seemed to click in this bunch. A first half which included losing a future All-Star Game and a star outfielder to a domestic violence investigation evidently was not too much to bounce back from.
Give the Braves and Brian Snitker credit for doing so, but unfortunately for a few key contributors, they’ll have to recover on their own time.
Braves: Shane Greene among 3 players Braves screwed up in 2021
Greene’s demise is partially his own doing for waiting until May to sign, and starting in the minor leagues. Clearly, despite being a veteran at his position, he still needed a regular Spring Training to return to form — something he never did in a Braves uniform.
Yet, Greene’s failed negotiations are as much on the Braves as they are on him. The veteran was coming off a 2.68-ERA season in an Atlanta bullpen that without him failed miserably. Sure, part of that was due to the lack of a true closer once Mark Melancon left.
But Greene had closer experience during his time with the Detroit Tigers! Signing him initially back in free agency was the easy move to solve Atlanta’s bullpen woes. Instead, they waited until May, screwed up Greene’s routine, and never solved those bullpen issues.
Will Smith quite clearly has not been a consistent enough answer.
Braves didn’t help matters with pitcher Touki Toussaint
Once again — none of these players did themselves any favors as it pertains to getting the most out of their talent this season. However, whatever the Braves are trying with Touki Toussaint might as well end after his latest start.
Atlanta is desperate to find a fifth starter down the stretch. So much so, in fact, that they keep giving Touki chance after chance when he’d be better served as a long reliever in the bullpen, or perhaps elsewhere.
Giving up on a 25-year-old pitcher is never an ideal option, but how much more do the Braves need to see from Toussaint to prove he’s just not productive in his current role?
In his last start, Touki failed to make it out of the fourth inning against the lowly Rockies. That was the third straight start he’s failed to do so.
“I think I’m better than that and I need to be better than that,” Toussaint added. “It is frustrating, but it’s part of the process and you have to enjoy the process.”
The process should involve a change in roles. Starting big games the Braves need to win isn’t doing either side any justice.
“At this point in time, everybody is an option,” manager Brian Snitker said.
That’s the spirit.
What in the world happened to Cristian Pache?
Pache started the season as an outfield option next to Ronald Acuña and Marcell Ozuna, yet he hit just over .100 and failed to deliver any power or ability to get on base. The Braves top prospect failed to adjust to major-league pitching, and as a result was sent down, potentially for the rest of the season.
Why, then, was Pache on the Braves roster in the first place?
The 22-year-old is dominating in Gwinnett, which is exactly where he should be at this point. The Braves got plenty of looks at Pache both last season and in Spring Training, and there were few moments of optimism to suggest he should be a full-time major leaguer just yet.
Rushing top prospects is what can lead to their eventual failure, and despite what fans think, this is why scouting departments exist, in part.
Now, perhaps giving Pache another shot heading into the postseason could work in the Braves favor, but they likely delayed his eventual call-up by hurting not just his confidence, but taking away minor-league ABs and time in extended Spring Training. All of that is valuable in his eventual ascent from top prospect into — the Braves hope — an All-Star caliber talent.
Now, Braves fans are left waiting.Internet Explorer Channel Network