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Atlanta Braves news and links: Atlanta's front office just got better

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The Braves continued their rebuilding efforts on Monday afternoon by improving their front office with two major additions.

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Ted Simmons and Kiley McDaniel are among additions to front office

The Braves had a few additions to their front office staff yesterday, with two of those additions being very familiar if you've followed baseball over the years. Former player and GM Ted Simmons was brought on to the staff as a scout, and Fangraphs writer and well-regarded scout Kiley McDaniel was added as assistant director of baseball operations. Atlanta's received near-unanimous praise for both of these moves, and it's another sign that even though the present is kind of bleak, the Braves are still moving in the right direction as an organization.

Braves season in review: Left Field

If third base could've been described as a revolving door, then left field for the Atlanta Braves could probably be best described as a pet door. As Eric notes in this article, the Braves had no regular left fielder because nobody was good enough to nail down the position. The bad news is that this will probably be a weak spot for the Braves in 2016 as well, due to the lack of solid options in both the free agent market and in the organization. If this gets fixed, then the Braves will have to get "creative" in order to do so.

Braves take big fall in ESPN's Ultimate Standings

In case you guys care about this sort of thing, ESPN The Magazine has a yearly feature where they rank every franchise in the four major North American sports leagues, from 1 (the San Antonio Spurs) to 122 (the Toronto Maple Leafs). As far as local teams go, the Atlanta Hawks led the city with a rank of #29 (who could've seen this coming even a few years ago?), the Falcons slid in at #60, and our Braves ended up being ranked the 82nd-best sports franchise in all of North America -- Good for 20th in all of baseball. As you see below, this is a huge drop from the days when the Braves were a fixture in the top 30.

For nine straight years, the Braves finished in the top 30 in the Ultimate Standings. That streak ended last year, when they finished 45th, and it's just getting worse. The Braves' 37-place drop is the third biggest among MLB teams, and Atlanta's on-field performance doesn't point toward much improvement next year.


Astros blow huge lead to Royals, while Blue Jays take series back to Canada

The American League portion of yesterday's quadruple-header definitely didn't lack for drama or intrigue. The Houston Astros went into the 8th inning of yesterday's contest up 6-2 and only six outs away from advancing to the ALCS. Then the Kansas City Royals did what they've done in so many elimination games recently: They fought back, and did so furiously. Kansas City ended up scoring seven unanswered runs from that point forward, and won the game 9-6. This comeback was so unlikely that the only team who made a similar comeback to what the 2015 Royals did on Monday was the 2014 Royals. Go figure.

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Meanwhile, the Blue Jays have hopped off of the canvas and taken two games in Texas to bring the series back to Toronto for Game 5. Toronto's now looking to join an extremely small list of teams who lost the first two games of a Divisional Series at home but still won the series.

Cubs and Mets both win in convincing fashion

The National League nightcaps featured plenty of offense, as both the Cubs and Mets powered their way to crucial victories in their respective series. The Cubs beat the Cardinals 8-6 in a scoreline that's pretty flattering for the Cardinals. Chicago's offense put on an incredible display of power, as the Cubs broke a franchise record with six home runs in the victory. Later on, the Mets pleased a rabid crowd by crushing the Dodgers' pitching. New York had 10 runs by the fourth inning, and this game was never in doubt.