On a slow day for Braves-related news, MLB.com beat writer Mark Bowman answered some fan questions, which included inquiries about surprises, the bench, and Dansby Swanson. Here is an excerpt from his comments regarding pleasant surprises:
As for the pleasant surprise, I touted Mike Foltynewicz as this year's breakout player and mentioned he would make the most significant strides this year. So, maybe it's not necessarily a surprise, but now that he has impressed us with the front-line stuff he's shown during these past two starts, we at least have to consider his progress to be this season's most encouraging development.
Paul Hagen, also of MLB.com, writes that the Braves and Phillies could make for an interesting rivalry in the future. Hagen notes that both organizations are in the midst of rebuilding, but the fruits of their labor could lead to individual success along with mutual hatred.
Now, both are following rebuilding paths that appear remarkably similar. With young, sabermetrically-inclined first-time general managers, John Coppolella and Matt Klentak, who also have solid baseball backgrounds. Both feature older managers who weren't household names when hired, also getting their first chance, in Brian Snitker and Pete Mackanin. With a liberal sprinkling of veterans brought in -- Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey, Jaime Garcia, Brandon Phillips for Atlanta; Howie Kendrick, Michael Saunders, Pat Neshek, Joaquin Benoit for Philly -- to give their touted youngsters time to mature.
The Braves traded away a piece of their bullpen depth on Monday, though it is apparent now that David Hernandez was not a serious candidate to make an appearance in Atlanta given how badly they need bullpen arms and how committed they seemed to leaving him in Gwinnett. The deal reportedly brings back either cash or a PTBNL.
Braves left-handed Drew Harrington, currently with High-A Florida, was named to the MLB Pipeline team of the week on Monday after pitching 12 innings without allowing an earned run. Over that span Harrington had eight strikeouts and only one walk.
After struggling in his second start for the Fire Frogs (6 ER on 12 H in 4 1/3 innings), Harrington worked 12 innings without allowing an earned run last week to lower his ERA to 2.42 through four turns. The 22-year-old lefty was particularly sharp on Sunday, tossing seven frames of three-hit ball with three strikeouts against Clearwater.
In case you missed it, Matt Barnes of the Boston Red Sox tried (and failed) to put a fastball somewhere in the vicinity of Orioles slugger Manny Machado’s head on Sunday. The ball missed and strangely hit the bat for a foul ball, but Barnes’ intent was obvious enough to for league officials to award him a four game suspension.
Good for Eric Thames. The man is still mashing, this time against a team who hopefully won't call him a steroid user afterwards. Seriously though, who would have thought this guy would have ten homers at this point?