Braves President of Baseball Operations John Hart recently spoke with Mark Bradley of the AJC, and he had nothing but glowing words to say about where the Braves currently are in the process of their grand rebuild. While he did admit that there were certain moves that didn’t work out (such as the one when it came to the left fielder of the future), he did seem to be of the belief that the Braves are ahead of schedule when it comes to reaching the point that they want to be at.
They’re probably another year from actual contention, but the combination of a winning second half of this MLB season and the playoff success of their top three affiliates has served to lift every heart in this proud organization. Things are starting to happen – good things, big things – and they’re happening sooner than anyone would have guessed.
Said Hart: “We have a full system now. The major-league club had a good second half. We have a new ballpark. This has all happened in short order. Instead of this being a five-year thing, we’re thinking it’s going to be quicker.”
While guys like Austin Riley and Ozzie Albies may not have graduated from the farm to the big leagues this season, there’s no doubt that they still had great seasons for the Braves in the minor league system this year. Josh Jackson of milb.com decided that this was the perfect time to take inventory of who had the best seasons in the Braves minor league system this season. From Dansby Swanson to Emilio Bonifacio (!), this is a good time to take a look at who stood out from the rest of Atlanta’s talent-rich pack.
In what has to be some of the least surprising news ever, a last-place baseball team wasn’t exactly a huge ratings draw on TV. The Braves finished the season with the fourth-lowest TV ratings in baseball in 2016, and Tim Tucker of the AJC gave us the details on just how low things got for Atlanta this past season.
The Braves’ ratings in the Atlanta market for their game telecasts on Fox Sports South and Fox Sports Southeast, which averaged 1.35 in the first half of the season, had fallen by last week to 1.18 for the season, the study showed.
That tied for the fourth lowest local TV rating among MLB teams this season and was down 35 percent from the year before, the third largest drop among MLB teams.
The only teams with lower average ratings than the Braves’ 1.18 were the Angels (1.04), White Sox (0.96) and A’s (0.68), SBJ’s analysis showed. The only teams with larger declines than the Braves’ 35 percent were the Diamondbacks (down 37 percent to 2.28) and Padres (down 39 percent to 2.40).
The Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers renewed their contentious rivalry in game 1 of their half of the ALDS, and the Blue Jays seemed like they were the ones who were clearly locked in. Meanwhile, the Rangers looked like a team that didn’t realize that the playoffs were underway, and they ended up getting whooped to the tune of 10-1.
While the game in Texas may have been a rout, we got an exciting and close game between Cleveland and the Red Sox at Progressive Field. Both teams brought their power stroke to the ballpark last night, but the big story ended up being that Cleveland manager Terry Francona chose to lean on Andrew Miller for an extended relief appearance. The move paid off, and Cleveland was able to hold off Boston and take the crucial Game 1 victory.