This week the Twins take on the Phillies in a cripple showdown at Target Field. We asked Kyle Parmley of Talking Chop a few questions about the Braves in advance of the series.
These are his answers.
Q: Where did the Braves go wrong? How did they get here?
A: The Braves' past GM, Frank Wren, became enamored with the big splash, and began overpaying free agents (BJ Upton) and making trades that depleted the farm system. A depleted farm system coupled with a handful of players that you have no chance of re-signing in guys like Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, and Evan Gattis means that it was going to get bad one way or the other. Either all those guys walk for nothing, or you tear it all down. And new GM John Coppolella tore it all down. Here we are today.
Q: How are fans taking the Braves' struggles? Is there any hope for the future?
A: Braves fans appear to have shifted from outrage over the state of the big league team, and have diverted much of the attention to the abundance of talent about to bubble over in the minor leagues. A sense of acceptance that the current team stinks has come over the fanbase, and now the daily questions revolve around when we are going to see the likes of top prospects Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies make it to the major league squad.
Q: Who do you think is the best player on the Braves right now?
A: Ender Inciarte and Freddie Freeman are the proven entities as far as quality position players go, but the best player is undoubtedly Julio Teheran. He's been the subject of trade rumors recently, but has been pitching at the level of an ace all season.
Q: I was very surprised when the news came out that the Braves were already building a new stadium. What are your thoughts? Are there things you like about it? Things you're not too crazy about?
A: Oh boy, the new stadium. Moving from a completely adequate stadium after just 20 years. The new stadium will be great, and it will be easier to find entertainment and dining options than the area surrounding Turner Field. But get ready, when the new stadium opens next season, the traffic nightmare could be national news. It's going to be awful.
Q: A.J. Pierzynski: Love him or hate him?
A: Loved him...last year. He had an extremely productive season and was a great mentor for the pitching staff along with being a great leader for the team. This year, he's been kinda blah. Not productive at the plate and not playing near as much, so he hasn't been much of an impact. But what you've always heard is accurate: you love him if he's on your team and hate him if he's not. [Editor’s Note: Yes. We were the first ones to figure that out.]
Q: If Kent Hrbek invited you fishing, would you go fishing with him?
As long as I can casually push him off the boat, and the runner be called out, I'm in.
Q: So, are the Twins and the Braves going to the World Series next year?
A: Ha, no. Sorry. A repeat of '91 is not likely.
Q: Tell us one thing about the Braves you don't think Twins fans know.
A: One factoid: new interim manager Brian Snitker has been in the Braves organization for over 40 years.