The Atlanta Braves came into 2015 with very little expectations because the organization is in rebuilding mode. The team sits at 51-60, 8 1/2 games back of the division leading Mets. Despite the record, this season has been very successful on and off the diamond with the innovative trades we’ve made to unload terrible contracts and stockpile young pitching getting back to the “Braves way”! John Hart has done a masterful job piecing together this team in 2015 and beyond! In my opinion, he should get the GM of the year, but of course I’m biased; he has also brought in some crafty veterans to teach the youngsters how to play the game right. The veteran presence has not only helped the play on the field, but the clubhouse chemistry has benefited greatly and has made this season more fun to watch because this team never quits.
AJ Pierzynski’s Impact on the Braves
AJ Pierzynski signed a one-year deal with the Braves this off-season to be the backup catcher and mentor to Christian Bethancourt. The 38-year-old is defying father time having one of the best years of his career; he has gone from a backup to the MVP of the Braves it’s been fun to watch. He is hitting .302 with seven home runs and 36 runs batted in. The offensive side of the ball has been great, but what he has done with this young pitching staff has been amazing. This season the Braves to be used 31 different pitchers in the rotation and bullpen Pierzynski has had to learn on the fly with many of these young pitchers making their debuts some and high-pressure situations. He has had to massage young starters when they don’t have their best stuff and instill his veteran wisdom into all his teammates.
He has been one of the most durable catchers in big-league history, he is 11th all-time in games caught with 1838. An amazing accomplishment considering the amount of punishment catchers take because of foul tips and wearing all of that gear. A 17-year career that in my opinion is underrated; he has a career average of .282, 184 home runs and 873 RBIs, not too shabby!
In his younger days he was voted the most hated players by his peers, he’s a guy that you love to have on your team but hate as an opponent. He has matured and been a consummate professional with the Braves this season and made a lasting impact this year and beyond with all the young guys whether he is here beyond this year or not. It’s been said many times on the broadcast where would this ball club be without AJ Pierzynski and I can’t answer that question I’m just glad he’s on our team. Thank you, John Hart for adding this guy! Go Braves!!!