MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary of Brian Snitker taking over as the manager of the Atlanta Braves.
The team is 74-86 in the 160 games Snitker has managed. That’s two games shy of a full 162-game schedule. Think back of the team Snitker inherited on May 17th, 2016. The Braves were 9-28 in the first 37 games of the season. They were on pace for less than 50 wins. The roster was a mess. Some of the players who are doing well now – like Freddie Freeman – were not doing a thing then.
Now, the turnaround cannot be attributed all to Snitker. The roster has obviously improved over time. But Snitker does deserve tremendous credit for steadying the ship. The Braves were an out-of-control race car ready to crash and burn, and Snitker simply grabbed hold of the wheel and slowed it down a bit. The Braves played really well at the end of last season, going 20-10. That got Snitker a contract extension for 2017.
It is necessary to continually remind everyone – even Atlanta’s front office – that this team is in year three of a rebuilding plan. While we want them to play better this season than they have, we still need to remember that. This is a bridge season, to try and get the Braves from a losing team to a winning team. They’ve got to inch closer to the 82 wins that constitute a winning team. I still believe this team will be better in the second half of this season than it has been so far. More changes are coming to the roster which will make the team better. But that confidence is also based on Snitker. He’s patient with this team, which is exactly what is needed in a rebuilding plan. He didn’t panic about Dansby Swanson’s struggles, and Swanson is slowly turning it around at the plate. Snitker has stuck with basically the same lineup, and the Braves entered Wednesday’s game averaging 4.6 runs per game. And even with the struggles in the bullpen, Snitker is using it very well.
We’re just seeking consistency from the Braves, and that’s what you go through with a club trying to become a winning team. The ups and downs we’ve seen so far this season will be the norm this year. We’re going to see more. There will be more good weeks, followed by a bad week. That’s what a team trying to get to .500 goes through. It’s frustrating, but that’s why the Braves are lucky to have someone in the dugout who is patient and who stays consistent. Snitker doesn’t get rattled, and the players appreciate that. They know what to expect from Snitker. They know how he’s going to react and how the team should go about its business.
Sure, at some point, the Braves must take that next step. But as the Braves do that, it’s certainly comforting to know Snitker will be in charge. This ship is slowing turning the corner, but remember, it didn’t get in bad shape overnight and it won’t get back on track overnight either. And the best thing that could have happened was when Brian Snitker took over the Braves one year ago Wednesday.