Coppy with Keri – Atlanta Braves GM goes long on number of big subjects

Braves General Manager John Coppolella. Photo from @Braves twitter (photo edited by
Braves General Manager John Coppolella. Photo from @Braves twitter (photo edited by /
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Atlanta Braves 18 year old Rookie third baseman
Atlanta Braves 18 year old Rookie third baseman /

Scouting, Analytics and How to Build

Here’s the meat. You’d think a guy with a business management degree would be largely numbers-based, but according to Coppy, he liked scouting more. His reasoning? He could’ve made more money somewhere else with numbers, but he liked scouting and the nuances of discovering a player and how that process works.

A middle-of-the-road approach—not too heavy on analytics or the eye test—is what you want from the guy at the top. He trusts his scouts, and he cites his draft record in 2015—taking guys based on scout recommendations rather than the biggest name left on the board, turning to high schoolers with his first four picks—as evidence that his Braves are willing to trust their collective gut and pass on ‘the big name’.

Fifteen years (the date of Atlanta’s last playoff series victory) is a long time. Coppy pulls no punches, lamenting that the Braves, “Lost their way” over the years, by virtue of picking later due to their success and trading away players in an effort to produce a winner but also going “safe” (i.e. established college player) rather than drafting for upside. The Braves Way, to Coppy, is young, raw, talented players in a good developmental system. That means high-schoolers and the foreign market.

(I listened to this podcast three times and unless I missed it, nobody said Frank Wren’s name, not even once. I screamed it at my computer twice, but that’s pretty much it.)

Coppy said that, at no point since arriving in 2006, did he ever look around at Spring Training and think he was seeing a World Series team. A lot of people either lied to themselves or really felt like the Braves had a contender during the 2010-13 era. And he didn’t. I like to think this isn’t revisionist history and that the reason he’s the man the John’s ultimately leaned on for the rebuild is because he wasn’t willing to anoint the Up-Up-and-a-Hey group as title contenders just because they were big names.

Next: Misery