The Braves have not pitched particularly well, hit particularly well or fielded particularly well this season. The bullpen will be bad all season unless some trades are made to bring in new talent. Don’t hold your breath. Bad teams don’t spend future resources to bring in quality bullpen help.
Before the season I wrote an article stating that Julio Teheran and Freddie Freeman were the keys. They both had off seasons in 2015 and I figured they would both bounce back and with those efforts, the Braves could surprise. Not surprise as in competing for a playoff spot, but surprise as in being better than everyone thought.
So far the worst has happened. Teheran’s velocity on all his pitches is down. Rather than looking like the ace, Teheran’s pitching toolbox looks more journeyman. He has become a right-handed Alex Wood, only Teheran has a big contract.
Wood you will recall lost his velocity last season and was shipped away to the Dodgers. He was a throw-in on the Hector Olivera deal.
Freeman doesn’t appear to have lost his physical talents, but coming off that wrist injury, his .167 average and 1 homer in 54 at bats is a huge concern. Freeman has struck out a ridiculous 18 times, a number that places a punctuation mark on his struggles.
In his career, Freeman has always been a hitter who had good at bats. Even when he made out, he would either hit the ball hard, or at least have good swings at pitches. Didn’t matter who was pitching, either. Freeman could hang in there with any pitcher in baseball.
Freeman is supposedly healthy now, yet he looks worse at the plate than he did last season when his wrist was hurting.
If these two critical assets don’t resume their prior form, the Braves rebuild takes a huge hit.