Alex Cora, who now works as an analyst for ESPN after spending 14 seasons in Major League Baseball, recently did an interview with Talking Chop to discuss a variety of topics. Here is part one of the interview.
On the Braves striking out a lot:
"That was one thing from the get go that I was worried about for them. Obviously, over 162 games things are going to change, but as you can see, when the Braves put the ball in play and cut out some strikeouts, they're a very dangerous team. They had a great series against the Twins, and (striking out less) is something they have to continue. I understand it's kind of a new era and teams are striking out at alarming rates, but there are certain situations where you have to make contact. They need to get better at that."
On the Braves' losing Eric O'Flaherty and Jonny Venters:
"Those two guys were a huge part of the bullpen. Let's be honest; they're going to miss them. One thing they have going for them is they have one of the best closers in the league, so they don't have to worry about that. So now people have to step up when they're called up because Fredi loves his bullpen. The good thing about them is they started off great, so the margin of error is less and you can see what guys are going to step up. But there's no doubt they are going to miss them, though."
On what the Braves will do when Brandon Beachy returns:
"They'll do the same thing as they did with Medlen last year. If it worked, why change it? You can never have too many arms in the bullpen, and when they feel he is ready to go and someone else may be struggling, you put him in the rotation. Things like this in baseball take care of themselves. Adding another proven arm can only help."
On Julio Teheran:
"I haven't see too much, but he pitched really well in his last start and he's showing why everyone always talked about his potential. Nothing against Gattis, but having McCann back should really help him out. He's been around, and when you're a veteran catcher with a young guy, it's a good mix. It can only help."
On Evan Gattis and the bench:
"One thing about him, he's been huge not only for his personal numbers, but his production has covered some holes in that lineup. They thought BJ and Uggla were going to be better. Gattis having 10 home runs already ... he's been as important as Justin Upton. Having a weapon like him in that lineup where he can play left field and behind the plate is great, and with interleague play coming, he can DH.
One thing about the Braves, they have one of the best benches in the league. We all talk about the Nationals and how deep they were 1 through 25, but the first month and a half, there hasn't been a better bench than the Braves' one. You have Francisco, you have Johnson, and while they've had injuries, guys continue to step up. Peña has played great, too. That's something that really helps the manager when you have to insert a guy or two on the field and you still have a shot to win that night."
Look for part two of the interview to be posted on Monday.
Here is a bit more on Cora:
Former Major League Baseball player Alex Cora joined ESPN and ESPN Deportes as an MLB analyst prior to the 2013 MLB season. Cora provides analysis on various platforms across both networks, including Baseball Tonight, Beisbol Esta Noche, SportsCenter and other studio programming. He also contributes to ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes Radio.