All about the Braves and baseball events.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Barry Bonds Hits #756, But What Does The Future Hold?

The journey began with Craig McMurtry of the Atlanta Braves and ended with Mike Bacsik of the Washington Nationals. I wasn't totally interested in this game, of course. I flipped between the game and playing Resident Evil 4 on the Gamecube. But on Bonds's third at-bat of the day, on a full count, he launched one into the seats and everyone knew it immediately, even me.

I raised my arms with Barry and screamed "He did it! He did it! He did it!", and I watched as Barry rounded the bases with appreciation of history swelling within me. Although, as a Braves fan, it was bittersweet, since the record of Hank Aaron's was eclipsed. It's unlikely that a Brave will ever have that significant a record again.

The first things that went through my mind was how different Bonds's reaction and Hank's reaction were. Bonds stood at the plate for several seconds and just raised his arms in the air. Sure, he knew he got it, but what if he hadn't? That would have been very embarrassing.

The ending was a bit jarring too. Bonds's son Nikolai came out to hug him, and it seemed like Bonds held his pointing skyward poise a bit too long before he hugged his son. I bet that's just a caught-up-in-the-moment thing, though.

I appreciated Hank Aaron's congratulatory message. With all the controversy surronding Bonds, Hank's message seemed sarcastic when he said it takes "determination, skill, and longevity" to hit that many home runs. But being sarcastic isn't Hank's style. I'm sure he truly meant it.

I also felt good for his family, and I felt good for Willie Mays. I even wished that Bobby Bonds could have seen it.

But then, as expected, all the controversy entered my thoughts and began to stew around. What would happen if more was revealed about Bonds' alledged PED use besides the leaked grand-jury testimony? What if something actually comes out of the Mitchell investigation? What if baseball decided to penalize him with an asterisk? What if Bonds is indicted for perjury? But all those things are other chapters in the tale of Barry Bonds, and they will be written quite soon for history to judge.

Congratuations, Barry Bonds on breaking the most-hallowed record in baseball history and I hope you're ready for a warm and fuzzy welcome when the Giants come to Atlanta.

Braves win in final Spring Tune-up (re-posted because it was accidently deleted)

Braves Win In Final Spring Tune-Up

Ryan Langerhans drove in three runs, including two with a home run, as the Braves won their final spring game before going up to Philadelphia, beating the White Sox 4-2.

W - Mark Redman (1-1)
L - Javier Vazquez (0-4)
S - Bob Wickman (1)
HR - Ryan Langerhans (2)

Three Stars
LF Ryan Langerhans - 1-2, HR, R, 3 RBI
2B Kelly Johnson - 1-2, RBI, BB, SB
RF Jermaine Dye - 2-2, RBI

Final Spring Stats

Now we wait for the Braves to start in Philadelphia!! :D

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Ryan Langerhans Traded To A's

Langerhans, who was hitting .068 at the conclusion of today's play (a 9-7 loss to the Rockies), was traded to the Oakland A's for either a player to be named later or cash. Willie Harris was called up from Richmond to take the roster spot. He will hit singles and steal some bases, but I wouldn't expect much more from him. I do expect him to hit more than .068.

I do feel sorry for Ryan, and I wish him the best in Oakland and that his career doesn't fall down a cliff like Charles Thomas's and Dan Meyer's, the last two former Braves to be traded to Oakland.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Braves Held To Two Hits, Shut Out By Nats

The Braves had one hit in eight innings. They loaded the bases with two out against Chad Cordero, but Scott Thorman struck out and the Nationals won 2-0 to snap their six game losing streak.

Jason Bergmann had six innings of one-hit ball for the Nationals and Jesus Colome and Jon Rauch held the Braves hitless. Chad Cordero allowed a single and two walks, but was able to finish the game off.

John Smoltz went eight innings and allowed two runs in the eighth, on RBI singles by Ronnie Belliard and Ryan Zimmerman. Macay McBride and Tyler Yates managed to hold the Nats off the board in the ninth.

The offense has been positively anemic this season so far, batting just .226 as a team through tonight's game. Now the Marlins come to town next. Everyone send alarm clocks to the Braves' bats so they can wake up.

W - Jason Bergmann (1-1)
L - John Smoltz (1-1)
S - Chad Cordero (1)

Three Stars
P Jason Bergmann - 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 8 SO
P John Smoltz - 8 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 SO
2B Ronnie Belliard - 1-5. GW RBI

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Braves Get Late Burst of Runs, Beat Nats

The Jones boys homered in the same game for the 56th time, and the Braves put enough distance in front of the Nationals and won 8-3, extending their winning streak to four games and extending Washington's losing streak to six.

Chipper Jones opened up the scoring with a long two-run homer to right-center, his first of the season, and it stayed that way for a while. There were some wasted opportunities on both sides; Washington left 11 men on base and the Braves left seven. Chuck James allowed no runs through six innings of work and after Jerome Williams allowed Chipper's homer in the first, he didn't allow anymore runs the rest of his five innings. Andruw Jones made it 5-0 with a long three-run shot to left off of Ryan Wagner. This would prove to be very helpful, as Rafael Soriano had his first bad outing of the season, allowing three runs on four hits in the eighth. Kelly Johnson's two-run double and Renteria's subsequent RBI single made it 8-3, and Bob Wickman closed it off with a so-so ninth. He allowed a hit and a walk, but no runs.

The Braves are 7-1 for the first time since 1995, which is very encouraging. They've had the pitching. Now, they need the offense to be a little more timely and consistent. Then they'll be smoking. :D

W - Chuck James (2-0)
L - Jerome Williams (0-2)
HR - Chipper Jones (1)
Andruw Jones (2)

Three Stars
P Chuck James - 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 SO
3B Chipper Jones - 2-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
CF Andruw Jones - 1-4, HR, R, 3 RBI

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Glavine Loses Again To Braves, Wilson Saves Day

Tom Glavine pitched against the Braves for the 16th time tonight. Before this game, he had a 3-9 record with a 5.68 ERA, the worst against any other team with more than 10 games started against them. The Braves made it worse and tacked on another loss to that record, defeating the Mets 5-3.

But they almost didn't.

John Smoltz started the game for the Braves and pitched all right, giving up just two runs in six innings, despite a WHIP near 2 for the game. Paul LoDuca drove in the first run for the Mets with a solo homer, but the Braves got it right back with an RBI groundout by Jeff Francoeur. Matt Diaz hit a solo shot off of Glavine in the bottom of the second to put the Braves up 2-1. In the top of the fifth, Jose Reyes walked, reached third on an infield groundout and Carlos Beltran singled him home.

The Braves scored three in the bottom of the sixth, thanks to two sac flies and a bases-loaded single. The Mets got a run back in the seventh and the scored remained so going into the ninth. With one out, Carlos Delgado walked and David Wright singled him to third. Moises Alou flew out to center field and Wright stole second.

Shawn Green then smacked what looked like a double to right, which would have tied the game, but it found Craig Wilson's glove instead, sealing the game for the Braves.

W - John Smoltz (1-0)
L - Tom Glavine (1-1)
S - Bob Wickman (2)
HR - NYM - Paul LoDuca (1)
ATL - Matt Diaz (1)

Three Stars
1B Craig Wilson - 1-2, R, BB; game-winning catch made on Shawn Green line drive
P John Smoltz - 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 SO, W
RF Shawn Green - 3-5, 2B, RBI

Friday, March 30, 2007

Braves Set 25-man Roster, Prado Noticeably Absent

C Brian McCann
C Brayan Pena
1B Scott Thorman
1B/LF Craig Wilson
2B Kelly Johnson
SS Edgar Renteria
3B Chipper Jones
IF Pete Orr
IF Chris Woodward
LF Matt Diaz
OF Ryan Langerhans
CF Andruw Jones
RF Jeff Francoeur

SP John Smoltz
SP Tim Hudson
SP Chuck James
SP Mark Redman
SP Kyle Davies
SP/RP Lance Cormier
RP Macay McBride
RP Chad Paronto
RP Tyler Yates
RP Rafael Soriano
RP Mike Gonzalez
RP Bob Wickman

Why the heck is Chris Woodward on there? Martin Prado hit much better, plus he actually looks like he can play some defense. Oh well.
Few Runs, but White Sox Have Most

The Braves managed to make it exciting in the ninth inning, but the White Sox pulled out the win 3-2, getting a run off of Buddy Carlyle in the fifth and making it stand up. Chipper Jones and Paul Konerko traded homers and Mark Buehrle pitched seven innings and allowed just two runs.

The final exhibition game is tmorrow.

W - Mark Buehrle (1-2)
L - Buddy Carlyle (1-1)
S - Matt Thornton (1)
HR - CWS - Paul Konerko (4)
ATL - Chipper Jones (4)

Three Stars
P Mark Buehrle - 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO
1B Paul Konerko - 3-4, HR, 2 R, RBI
3B Chipper Jones - 2-2, HR, R, BB, 2 RBI

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Not Braves' day, Pounded By Indians

Tim Hudson allowed three runs in his last inning of work and Rafael Soriano got pounded for five runs and the Braves lost to the Indians 8-2. Also, the Braves were held without a hit for seven innings before breaking out in the eighth for two runs. Every team has one of these days, where they can't seem to do anything right, so no biggie. :)

And I also have a special announcement... *ahem*...


W - Fausto Carmona (3-1)
L - Tim Hudson (1-1)
HR - Trot Nixon (1)
Casey Blake (4)

Three Stars
P Fausto Carmona - 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 SO
1B Casey Blake - 2-3, HR, R, 4 RBI
RF Trot Nixon - 2-4, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI

Honorary Star
RF Jeff Francoeur - 0-1, BB

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Francoeur Slams, Braves Roll Against Mets

Jeff Francoeur belted a grand slam in the first inning and the bullpen held the Mets off the board after Kyle Davies allowed three runs in five innings as the Braves beat the Mets 8-3. Steve Coyler, Tyler Yates, Macay McBride and Peter Moylan all had scoreless innings pitched.

W - Kyle Davies (2-0)
L - Jon Adkins (0-3)
HR - Jeff Francoeur (GS, 4)

Three Stars
RF Jeff Francoeur - 1-2, GS, R, 4 RBI
C Brayan Pena - 2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI
P Ambotrix Burgos - 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Smoltz Pounded, Braves Lose to Tigers

Smoltzie was pounded in his final start before Braves' Opening Day, but the bullpen allowed just one run in five innings; the Tigers winning 7-5. The Braves did have 11 hits and three homers.

W - Jeremy Bonderman (3-0)
L - John Smoltz (1-1)
S - Jose Mesa (1)
HR - DET - Marcus Thames (3)
ATL - Edgar Renteria (1)
Andruw Jones (3)
Brian McCann (3)

Three Stars
RF Magglio Ordonez - 2-2, 2B, BB, 2 R, 2 RBI
LF Matt Diaz - 3-4, 3 2B, 2 R
P Chad Paronto - 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO

Monday, March 26, 2007

Cormier Leaves With Stiff Shoulder, but Braves Still Win

Lance Cormier left the game in the second after reporting a stiff shoulder , but the Braves still won against the Astros 6-4. The Braves had five doubles, including reliever Peter Moylan's one off of Woody Williams. Chris Woodward and Doug Clark had two hits for the Braves. Steve Coyler had a shutout sixth and seventh.

W - Rich Scalamandre (1-0)
L - Woody Williams (0-3)
S - J. B. Miadich (1)
HR - Eric Bruntlett (1)

Three Stars
P Steve Colyer - 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO
P Dave Borkowski - 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO
2B Martin Prado - 1-3, R, 3 RBI

EDIT: Added a link I forgot.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

James Good Again As Braves Shut Down Nats

Chuck James shut out the Nationals for six innings on two hits and four walks, and also drove in two runs with a single. The Braves had a two-run shot from Chipper Jones as well and the Bravos shut out the Nats 6-0.

Scott Thorman and Edgar Renteria had two singles and Matt Diaz had three singles. Rafael Soriano struck out the side in his inning of work.

W - Chuck James (3-1)
L - Matt Chico (2-2)
HR - Chipper Jones (2)

Three Stars
P Chuck James - 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 4 SO, W; 1-3, 2 RBI
1B Scott Thorman - 2-3, 2 R, BB, 1 RBI
P Rafael Soriano - 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO

Saturday, March 24, 2007

RP Tyler Yates

The final preview post!

This guy's middle name is Kali, the name of the Hindu goddess of chaos and death (remember Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom?). That's really all you need to know.

... oh, about how he pitches? Yates is very inconsistent, and just today, he blew the lead in the fifth inning against Cleveland and that lost the game. He had a lot of situations like that last season as well. If he has a spot waiting for him (and he does), just hold your breath when he comes in the game.

BP: 2-2, 46 2/3 IP, 46 H, 27 BB, 40 SO, 4.48 ERA, 1.564 WHIP
BJH: 3-4, 62 IP, 62 H, 37 BB, 54 SO, 4.79 ERA, 1.597 WHIP
RW: None
SN: None

Sam's Projection: 2-3, 58 2/3 IP, 56 H, 36 BB, 50 SO, 4.69 ERA, 1.568 WHIP
IF Chris Woodward

Woodward can play all the infield positions all right. That's the only asset he has, since he left his bat in Toronto. It's quite possible that he could start the season in Richmond.

BP: .242, 5 HR, 27 RBI, .667 OPS
BJH: .247, 4 HR, 26 RBI, .676 OPS
RW: .250, 3 HR, 23 RBI, .672
SN: None

Sam's Projection: .240, 3 HR, 12 RBI, .670 OPS
IB-OF Craig Wilson

Wilson was originally signed to help out in left field, but is also projected to help Scott Thorman at first base. He should be doing that this year. He should provide some slugging prowess to help out.

BP: .242, 15 HR, 49 RBI, .759 OPS
BJH: .258, 18 HR, 55 RBI, .807 OPS
RW: .271, 15 HR, 46 RBI, .796 OPS
SN: None

Sam's Projection: .265, 15 HR, 47 RBI, .795 OPS
RP Bob Wickman

The stabilizer of last year's bullpen will continue to use his veteran presence (read: girth) to pitch in the closer's role for the Braves. Bobby Cox, however, doesn't have to rely on Wickman to close; he could turn that duty over to Gonzalez or Soriano to give Wickman a rest. It's probably safe to say that Wickman doesn't have to worry about being the closer: it's his job until he tires.

BP: 2-3, 41 1/3 IP, 45 H, 15 BB, 29 SO, 4.28 ERA, 1.451 WHIP
BJH: 4-3, 62 IP, 61 H, 21 BB, 50 SO, 3.77 ERA, 1.322 WHIP
RW: 1-3, 53 IP, 51 H, 15 BB, 39 SO, 3.40 ERA, 1.245 WHIP
SN: 1 W, 59 IP, 56 H, 19 BB, 43 SO, 2.75 ERA, 1.271 WHIP

Sam's Projection: 2-3, 58 IP, 59 H, 16 BB, 49 SO, 3.05 ERA, 1.293 WHIP
RP-SP Oscar Villarreal

A valuable spot starter last season when the Braves really needed him last season; he could do the same thing again this season. However, he has been very streaky this year in spring. He'll probably have a spot waiting for him, though.

BP: 4-4, 77 1/3 IP, 83 H, 26 BB, 49 SO, 4.57 ERA, 1.409 WHIP
BJH: 6-5, 105 IP, 106 H, 37 BB, 70 SO, 4.20 ERA, 1.362 WHIP
RW: 4-4, 54 IP, 55 H, 17 BB, 32 SO, 4.00 ERA, 1.333 WHIP
SN: None

Sam's Projection: 6-4, 107 IP, 99 H, 40 BB, 78 SO, 4.16 ERA, 1.299 WHIP
Braves Split Pair with Indians and Tigers

The Braves beat the Tigers 3-1 and lost to the Indians 4-3.

W - Rafael Soriano (1-0)
L - Preston Larrison (1-1)
S - Macay McBride (2)

Three Stars
P Tim Hudson - 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO
P Kenny Rogers - 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 SO
2B Kelly Johnson - 2-2, 2 BB, RBI

W - Fernando Cabrera (1-0)
L - Tyler Yates (0-1) <- gave up two runs in the fifth
S - Sean Smith (1)
HR - CLE - Ryan Garko (2)
ATL - Chipper Jones (2)

Three Stars
DH Ryan Garko - 2-4, HR, R, 3 RBI
P Juan Lara - 3 IP, 4 H. 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO
3B Chipper Jones - 2-3, HR, R, 2 RBI

Friday, March 23, 2007

SP-RP Lance Cormier

Cormier did an okay job relieving last season, and a so-so job in the starter's role last season, turning in a couple of good starts (and a few bad ones). However, this spring, he has emereged as a candidate for Mike Hampton's vacant starting spot. Is it possible that he has turned the corner? Maybe.

BP: 4-5, 87 2/3 IP, 100 H, 39 BB, 55 SO, 5.01 ERA, 1.586 WHIP
BJH: 5-6, 99 IP, 117 H, 44 BB, 65 SO, 5.45 ERA, 1.626 WHIP
RW: 5-5, 77 IP, 79 H, 29 BB, 47 SO, 4.56 ERA, 1.403 WHIP
SN: None

Sam's Projection: 11-9, 165 IP, 176 H, 52 BB, 105 SO, 4.32 ERA, 1.382 WHIP
1B Scott Thorman

The heir apparent to the first base job after Adam LaRoche was traded to Pittsburgh, Thorman got a vote of no confidence when Craig Wilson was signed. At first, Wilson was to play in left field, but then Thorman started poorly in spring and now it looks as if Wilson and Thorman will share time at first. Thorman has done all right this spring so far, batting .265 with a .716 OPS. Once we get going in the season, we'll all see how well Thorman will do.

BP: .273, 16 HR, 66 RBI, .779 OPS
BJH: .297, 8 HR, 28 RBI, .829 OPS
RW: .253, 6 HR, 15 RBI, .758 OPS
SN: None

Sam's Projection: .280, 18 HR, 58 RBI, .804 OPS
RP Rafael Soriano

In what was possibly the biggest steal the Braves have done in recent trades, Rafael Soriano was copped from the Mariners for Horacio Ramirez. At the worst (best?), the teams came out even. Soriano had a WHIP of 1.083 last season, and doesn't seem to have any ill effects from that concussion he had. He'll make a great setup man and sometime closer.

BP: 3-3, 56 2/3 IP, 51 H, 22 BB, 57 SO, 3.66 ERA, 1.288 WHIP
BJH: 3-2, 43 IP, 35 H, 13 BB, 46 SO, 3.14 ERA, 1.116 WHIP
RW: 4-3, 68 IP, 51 H, 18 BB, 81 SO, 2.51 ERA, 1.103 WHIP
SN: 2 W, 62 IP, 47 H, 19 BB, 68 SO, 2.47 ERA, 1.065 WHIP

Sam's Projection: 3-2, 65 IP, 53 H, 17 BB, 82 SO, 2.69 ERA, 1.077 WHIP
Pena, Jr. Swapped For Minor League Pitcher Erik Cordier

Looks like the Braves got someone for Pena, Jr. after all. Li'l Tony (Mac's name for him) was traded to Kansas City for A-ball hurler Erik Cordier. This could turn out to be a steal, because Pena has never been that good a hitter. Cordier had a 1.044 WHIP in 52 2/3 innings between Rookie and A-ball, so I would guess that he'll be very nice. I wish all the best for Pena, Jr., but I really don't think he'll amount to much.
SP Mark Redman

Redman was once an All-Star in 2005; an All-Star with the Kansas City Royals. Enough said. I remember praying for him to get into the game so that the National League could pound him.

Obviously, I've had a change of heart. If he can be good as an emergency or fifth starter, as I'm sure he can, he'll be an asset, because that's one of the things the Braves lacked last season. I look forward to seeing what he can do if he does make the team, even if he's just like Shane Reynolds.

BP: 7-11, 148 IP, 183 H, 54 BB, 73 SO, 5.68 ERA, 1.601 WHIP
BJH: 9-11, 176 IP, 192 H, 58 BB, 102 SO, 4.40 ERA, 1.420 WHIP
RW: 12-13, 186 IP, 204 H, 69 BB, 88 SO, 4.69 ERA, 1.468 WHIP
SN: 10-9, 175 IP, 192 H, 64 BB, 89 SO, 5.04 ERA, 1.463 WHIP

Sam's Projection: 11-11, 183 IP, 199 H, 60 BB, 105 SO, 4.72 ERA, 1.415 WHIP
Davies Another Strong Start, Braves Best Phillies

Not only did Kyle Davies pitched six innings of three-hit, one-run ball, he also had an RBI double. The Braves pulled the game out at the end 7-4. Brayan Pena had a pinch-hit two run homer, Chipper Jones had a double and Corky Miller had two singles in three trips.

W - Kyle Davies (1-0)
L - J. A. Happ (0-2)
HR - ATL - Brayan Pena (1)
PHI - Greg Dobbs (4)

Three Stars
P Kyle Davies - 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO, W; 1-2, 2B, RBI
P J. A. Happ - 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO, L
PH Brayan Pena - 1-1, HR, R, 2 RBI

Thursday, March 22, 2007

SP John Smoltz

The longest-tenured Brave since Phil Niekro, Smoltz is, of course, the last member of the 1991 Miracle Braves still on the team. What is incredible is that he is still pitching at the top of his game. If the Braves' bullpen was better in 2006, he could have won the Cy Young Award. As it is, he'll be prepared to anchor the Braves' rotation once again. I don't know how many more years that he'll do this for the Braves; I don't think anyone knows. But I'm sure going to enjoy it. When it's all said and done, Smoltzie should be a Hall of Famer.

BP: 14-10, 212 IP, 207 H, 54 BB, 166 SO, 3.68 ERA, 1.231 WHIP
BJH: 18-7, 227 IP, 209 H, 50 BB, 200 SO, 3.17 ERA, 1.141 WHIP
RW: 15-10, 231 IP, 222 H, 57 BB, 191 SO, 3.58 ERA, 1.208 WHIP
SN: 14-9, 222 IP, 216 H, 55 BB, 184 SO, 3.57 ERA, 1.221 WHIP

Sam's Projection: 20-10, 242 IP, 228 H, 55 BB, 228 SO, 3.20 ERA, 1.169 WHIP

Yeah, that's right. Smoltz will pitch at the level he did last season and now that the bullpen doesn't stink, he'll get his wins. He'll get the Cy Young Award.
SS Edgar Renteria

It could be possible that Renteria will be remembered as "the veteran shortstop who was once traded for superstar Andy Marte", or he'll be remembered as "the veteran shortstop who was traded to Atlanta and had a few more good years with them." The latter will be true for a while. Renteria will continue to do what he does best: hit and do his damnedest to field the shortstop position well.

BP: .284, 10 HR, 59 RBI, .756 OPS, 16 SB
BJH: .284, 12 HR, 78 RBI, .759 OPS, 17 SB
RW: .284, 13 HR, 71 RBI, .767 OPS, 18 SB
SN: .289, 12 HR, 72 RBI, .773 OPS, 18 SB

If this isn't a cosensus, I don't know what is. :)

Sam's Projection: .285, 12 HR, 70 RBI, .765 OPS, 17 SB
IF Martin Prado

Prado, who was brought up last season to help out Marcus Giles at second base, has had a very strong spring so far. He doesn't have much power, but his defense is all right. It's possible that he could be one of the other benchies on the final roster, taking the "resevered" spot for Chris Woodward, who has been having injury problems this spring.

BP: .276, 5 HR, 43 RBI, .696 OPS
BJH: None
RW: None
SN: None

Sam's Projection: .275, 3 HR, 38 RBI, .684 OPS
2B Willy Aybar

When we traded for him and Danys Baez, he was supposed to be the heir apparent to second base since it was an open secret that Marcus Giles was going to be traded or released. Then, Kelly Johnson came onto the scene. Combined with the fact that Aybar somehow got the "supersub" tag on him, he'll start the season on the bench. Aybar will get some starts due to Chipper's inevitable trip to the DL.

BP: .273, 13 HR, 39 RBI, .764 OPS
BJH: .276, 6 HR, 35 RBI, .769 OPS
RW: .282, 10 HR, 50 RBI, .798 OPS
SN: None

Sam's Projection: .275, 10 HR, 43 RBI, .770 OPS
SS Tony Pena, Jr.

There was a lot of fretting earlier in the week about whether or not that the Braves would be able to keep Tony Pena, Jr. after they optioned him to Richomond, which means he would be put on waivers. Yes, that's right. All the other teams in baseball are just lining up to take the light-hitting, semi-good glove benchie Tony Pena, Jr.

Take a number, everyone!!

BP: .247, 4 HR, 31 RBI, .624 OPS, 12 SB
BJH: .263, 1 HR, 9 RBI, .645 OPS, 4 SB
RW: None
SN: None

Sam's Projection: .250, 2 HR, 5 RBI, .630 OPS, 2 SB
C Brayan Pena

It's not a good time to be a backup catcher in Atlanta right now with Brian McCann breaking out. But Pena will get some playing time, because Brian McCann will have to sit every now and then if he has ankle problems like last season. We'll see if Pena thrives in his bench role. I would guess that he'll hit better than Todd Pratt did last season.

BP: .281, 2 HR, 37 RBI, .687 OPS
BJH: None
RW: .289, 1 HR, 14 RBI, .682 OPS
SN: None

Sam's Projection: .285, 1 HR, 24 RBI, .685 OPS
IF Pete Orr

One of the famed "Baby Braves" of 2005, Orr regressed in 2006, probably because he was lucky in 2005 and he never really had much power in the first place. But he is useful. He's probably the best choice for an infielder benchie.

BP: .278, 2 HR, 18 RBI, .680 OPS, 6 SB
BJH: None
RW: .264, 0 HR, 9 RBI, .620 OPS, 4 SB
SN: None

Sam's Projection: .275, 2 HR, 15 RBI, .650, 5 SB
Braves Down Mets With Help From Pena, Jr.

The Braves hung around with the Mets, powered by John Smoltz's six innings of one-run ball, before blowing the game open off of Billy Wagner, of all people. Tony Pena, Jr., of all people, blasted a three-run homer off of Wagner for the big blow in the seventh. The Braves took the game 7-1.

W - John Smoltz (1-0)
L - Scott Schoeneweis (1-1)
HR - Tony Pena, Jr. (1)

Three Stars
P John Smoltz - 6 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO
P Aaron Sele - 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO
PR-3B Tony Pena, Jr. - 1-1, HR, R, 3 RBI
Braves Sign McCann to $27.8 Million Extension

That's right. Brian McCann, who finished second to Joe Mauer in VORP in 2006, signed an extension through 2012.

EDIT: Here's the progression for the salary:

2007: $500,000
2008: $800,000
2009: $3,500,000
2010: $5,500,000
2011: $6,500,000
2012: $8,500,000

There's a club option for $12 million and a $500,000 buyout clause for the 2013 season.

This is an absolute steal, maybe the best steal in the era of these kinds of contracts. :D

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Braves Lead Throughout, but Johnson Blows It In Ninth

The story of the game is Johnathan Johnson, who gave up three runs in the 9th to blow the lead and the game to the Nationals 6-5. Andruw Jones had a two-run homer in the first and eleven different Braves had hits.

W - Mike Bacsik (1-1)
L - Johnathan Johnson (0-3)
HR - ATL - Andruw Jones (2)
WAS - Felipe Lopez (1)

Three Stars
P Mike Bacsik - 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, W
2B D'Angelo Jimenez - 2-2, 2B, 2 R
CF Andruw Jones - 1-2, HR, BB, R, 2 RBI

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

RP Chad Paronto

Paronto benifitted from the chaos of the Braves' 2006 bullpen in order to land himself a bullpen role. He did a decent job, but not spectacular. He seemed to have a problem with letting inherited runners score. Maybe he can change that, because he'll still have his job in 2007. He'll do about the same job that he did last season.

BP: 2-2, 49 1/3 IP, 52 H, 20 BB, 34 SO, 4.42 ERA, 1.459 WHIP
BJH: 4-3, 64 IP, 68 H, 26 BB, 46 SO, 4.36 ERA, 1.469 WHIP
RW: None
SN: None

Sam's Projection: 58 2/3 IP, 62 H, 24 BB, 48 SO, 4.26 ERA, 1.466 WHIP

Monday, March 19, 2007

Duel of Zeros, then Braves are Heroes

Adam Miller and Chuck James threw zeroes at each other for five innings, and then Brian McCann, of all people, got an RBI triple, to jumpstart the scoring, and Scott Thorman capped it with a two-run homer in the eighth and the Braves won 6-0.

W - Bob Wickman (1-0)
L - Aaron Fultz (0-1)
HR - Scott Thorman (1)

Three Stars
P Adam Miller - 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO
P Chuck James - 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 SO
1B Scott Thorman - 2-4, HR, R, 3 RBI
Yesterday's games

Braves tame Tigers

Tim Hudson had a very strong five innings and Brian McCann and Brandon Jones went deep for three of the Braves' four runs. However, Peter Moylan barely held on in the final inning as the Braves won 4-3.

W - Tim Hudson (1-0)
L - Zach Miner (1-1)
S - Peter Moylan (1)
HR - Brian McCann (2)
Brandon Jones (1)

Three Stars
P Tim Hudson - 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO
RF Brandon Jones - 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
2B Martin Prado - 2-3, 2B, BB

Braves squeeze out win versus Reds

Jeff Francoeur had a two-run homer in the first inning, Kelly Johnson led off the third inning with a homer, and Buddy Carlyle had a four-inning shutout start and the Braves won 6-5. Will Startup made it difficult in the ninth, but he managed to finish the game despite giving up two runs.

Nice to see Jeff can still hit easy pitches. ;)

W - Buddy Carlyle (1-0)
L - Aaron Harang (2-2)
S - Will Startup (2)
HR - Jeff Francoeur (3)
Kelly Johnson (2)

Three Stars
P Buddy Carlyle - 4 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO
C David Ross - 3-3, 2B, R, RBI
SS Tony Pena, Jr. - 2-3, 2B, R

Saturday, March 17, 2007

C Brian McCann

Believe it or not, McCann was the best offensive catcher in the National League, and arguably the second-best offensive catcher in all of baseball (Joe Mauer). There is no reason to believe that he'll stop hitting. But there are reeasons to believe that he'll have to sit a couple of games with injuries. So, that means that whoever backs him up (Pena? Miller?) will have to pick up the slack on offense.

BP: .303, 24 HR, 85 RBI, .893 OPS, 2 SB
BJH: .315, 23 HR, 87 RBI, .928 OPS, 2 SB
RW: .308, 23 HR, 88 RBI, .899 OPS, 1 SB
SN: .308, 23 HR, 84 RBI, .914 OPS, 1 SB

Wow, look at RW and SN's predictions, they're almost identical except for the OPS. Nice.

Sam's Projections: .309, 25 HR, 86 RBI, .922 OPS, 1 SB
RP Macay McBride

McBride may be a LOOGY specialist this time around. Last season, lefties batted .181 against him in 116 plate appearances. That could help him be more effective. If not, hope he doesn't go up against too many righties.

BP: 3-3, 56 IP, 57 H, 29 BB, 45 SO, 4.52 ERA, 1.535 WHIP
BJH: 3-4, 63 IP, 65 H, 34 BB, 59 SO, 4.71 ERA, 1.571 WHIP
RW: 3-2, 42 IP, 41 H, 24 BB, 38 SO, 3.86 ERA, 1.548 WHIP
SN: None

Sam's Projection: 3-3, 58 IP, 57 H, 28 BB, 52 SO, 4.07 ERA, 1.466 WHIP
LF Ryan Langerhans

Ryan Langerhans is still in line to have his left-field platoon with Matt Diaz, now that it seems that Craig Wilson is going to be splitting time with Scott Thorman at first base. He should do about what he did last season. I think he was lucky that he got better in spring training. That might have saved his job.

BP: .265, 13 HR, 49 RBI, .811 OPS, 3 SB
BJH: .260, 9 HR, 37 RBI, .781 OPS, 1 SB
RW: .251, 9 HR, 40 RBI, .748 OPS, 1 SB
SN: None

Sam's Projection: .260, 10 HR, 38 RBI, .798 OPS, 2 SB
3B Chipper Jones

"How healthy is he going to be this season?" is now the sentence that is always connected to Chipper Jones, ever since he had that catastrophic injury in 2002 in left field. Some people blame is current problems on that, but Jones has also decided that he's not going to have surgery on his problematic feet. So this means that Chipper will be injured the rest of his career. We have to hope that he'll be healthy enough to play. When he plays, he produces, there's no question about that. I wouldn't bet money on him playing more than 140 games, though, especially now that he has an injured right oblique muscle right now.

BP: .291, 22 HR, 73 RBI, .920 OPS, 6 SB
BJH: .293, 27 HR, 90 RBI, .925 OPS, 6 SB
RW: .300, 25 HR, 83 RBI, .960 OPS, 4 SB
SN: .300, 25 HR, 82 RBI, .955 OPS, 4 SB

Sam's Projection: .304, 28 HR, 89 RBI, .950 OPS, 5 SB

I would love to see Chipper stay well enough to hit more than that.
Braves downed by Cards

It wasn't a good effort after the Braves took the lead 4-1, aided by a Craig Wilson home run. The Cards scored eight more, especially off of Johnathan Johnson in the 9th, and they won 9-5. I'm afraid that I can't say much about this one today. Don't really feel like it.

W - Brian Falkenborg (1-0)
L - Johnathan Joesph (0-2)
HR - STL - Scott Spiezio (2)
ATL - Craig Wilson (2)

Three Stars
P Brian Falkenborg - 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, W
1B Craig Wilson - 2-3, HR, R, 3 RBI
3B Martin Prado - 2-3, 2 2B, BB, R

Friday, March 16, 2007

Braves, Cards, seesaw to tie

The Braves and Cards settled to a 6-6 tie at the Wide World Of Sports. Edgar Rodriguez and Chris Duncan drove in three of the Cards' runs via the long ball. Mark Redman gave up three runs in his fourth inning of work and Cris Carpenter gave up four in his four innings.

Pete Orr had three hits for the Braves and three RBIs while in the lineup for Chipper Jones, who injured his right oblique muscle during batting pratice. It is not known how long he'll be out.

HR - Chris Duncan (4)
Edgar V. Gonzalez (3)

Three Stars
3B Pete Orr - 3-5, 2B, R, 3 RBI
C Yadier Molina - 2-3, 2 R, 2 RBI
PH-C Edgar V. Gonzalez - 1-2, HR, R, 2 RBI
CF Andruw Jones

One of the greatest centerfielders in Braves franchise history is also about to finish his career with some other team. Face it, the Bravers just don't have any extra money to give Andruw what he is probably going to demand ($18-$20 million per year). Besides that, why would any team, much less the Braves, want to sign a .270 hitter with declining defensive skills for that kind of dough? Plus, the Bill James Handbook rates Andruw at a "high" injury risk. With all those balls he dives for, he's bound to injure himself badly sooner or later.

Just thought I'd get that off my chest.

My bet is that Andruw will continue to produce like he has lately. There's no reason for me to believe that he won't. He'll get his payday after the season, and the Braves will lose their best center fielder since Dale Murphy. The best courses of action depend on how the team does in 2007:

If the Braves are in contention by July: Andruw stays with the team to help them get to the playoffs, because he'll be concentrating more to get better stats and a big payday (or so they say), and the Braves won't get anything in return.
If the Braves are way out of contention by July: Find a team who will take Andruw for one or two blue-chip prospects so that the Braves get something for Jones in order to reload for 2008.

BP: .277, 35 HR, 103 RBI, .899 OPS, 5 SB
BJH: .264, 40 HR, 113 RBI, .882 OPS, 5 SB
RW: .266, 43 HR, 122 RBI, .912 OPS, 6 SB
SN: .263, 43 HR, 126 RBI, .894 OPS, 5 SB

Sam's Projection: .265, 38 HR, 115 RBI, .904 OPS, 5 SB
2B Kelly Johnson

Have to let Marcus Giles go because of budget concerns? That's okay; just stick a guy there who has played in the infield before and one of the best second basemen the Braves have ever had can teach him how to play second! That is what's happening with Johnson. He'll be fine at second. In fact, I would go so far as to say the Braves and their fans would not miss Giles because Johnson is better equipped to be a leadoff hitter. My guess is that Johnson will be as good as Giles was last season, which is fine.

BP: .291, 13 HR, 50 RBI, .871 OPS
BJH: .276, 7 HR, 32 RBI, .823 OPS
RW: .254, 6 HR, 28 RBI, .746 OPS
SN: None

My take is more near the BP one; with major league playing time at second, Kelly should flourish in the leadoff role.

Sam's Projection: .287, 10 HR, 48 RBI, .860 OPS

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Braves lose lead to Yanks and game

Oscar Villareal allowed a game-tying homer to Raul Chavez and a go-ahead squeeze by Kevin Reese and the Braves lost to the Yankees 3-2. That was about the only thing that went wrong for Atlanta. Chipper Jones had a solo homer to put the Braves up 2-0. Lance Cormier had an excellent five innings where he allowed just three singles. Kei Igawa pitched three innings and got five strikeouts, but he walked four.

W - Sean Henn (1-0)
L - Oscar Villarreal (0-1)
S - Brian Bruney (1)
HR - ATL - Chipper Jones (1)
NYY - Raul Chavez (1)

Three Stars
P Lance Cormier - 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO
C Raul Chavez - 1-2, HR, R, 2 RBI
P Kei Igawa - 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 5 SO

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

SP Tim Hudson

Another one of those love-hate relationships. Since coming to Atlanta in the lopsided trade. (admit it, it was VERY lopsided), Hudson has just gotten worse. Last season, he made a career-high 35 starts, but he also had his worst season since his rookie year in 2000. He allowed a huge amount of runs last season. Some would say that was due to the fact the Braves had a bad defense, but I'm not entirely sure.

I realize what I said before, but I still think that Huddy will improve. In fact, I'd look for a markedly improved Hudson this season; he can't be that bad forever. If he does improve, and the Braves are out of contention by July, look for him to be moved, along with Andruw Jones.

BP: 12-10, 198 IP, 209 H, 62 BB, 126 K, 4.14 ERA, 1.369 WHIP
BJH: 15-10, 223 IP, 220 H, 71 BB, 147 K, 3.75 ERA, 1.305 WHIP
RW: 13-10, 204 IP, 215 H, 69 BB, 126 K, 4.24 ERA, 1.392 WHIP
SN: 13-9, 225 IP, 231 H, 71 BB, 145 K, 3.84 ERA, 1.342 WHIP

Sam's Projection: 16-9, 230 1/3 H, 202 H, 65 BB, 158 K, 3.90 ERA, 1.160 WHIP
James doesn't have good outing, Braves fall to Astros again

Chuck James allowed three runs in four innings, including a solo shot to Chris Burke, as the Astros won 4-2. Bob Wickman also gave up a solo homer in the fifth, that one to Lance Berkman. Blaine Boyer pitched two scorless innings to finish the game's pitching for the Braves.

Scott Thorman had two doubles for the Braves and Jeff Francoeur added two more hits, raising his spring batting average, thanks to fat pitches, to .414. Yunel Escobar and Ryan Langerhans also had two hits each.

In other news, the Braves have reached a crossroads with Tony Pena, Jr. Either he makes the team or he's waived. Quite frankly, it makes no difference to me whether he is waived or not. He's valuable as a late-inning defensive replacement and pinch-hitter. Besides that, he's pretty much the second coming of Rafael Belliard. Don't forget that the Braves also have Yunel Escobar, who could easily step into that role if need be. Let someone else take the role of that kind of benchie. ;)

W - Jason Jennings (1-1)
L - Chuck James (2-1)
S - Ezequiel Astacio (1)
HR - Chris Burke (1)
Lance Berkman (1)

Three Stars
CF-2B Chris Burke - 2-2, HR, R, RBI
1B Scott Thorman - 2-4, 2 2B, R, RBI
P Blaine Boyer - 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Manny Acosta Stamps A Ticket to the Minors

Ascota came into the ninth inning and had a 3-2 lead. He didn't record an out. The Braves lost 11-3. That's the story, pretty much. :)

Chipper did take the field and get two singles in four trips. So maybe that ankle wasn't as bad as we thought.

W - Trever Miller (1-0)
L - Manny Acosta (0-1)

Three Stars
P Dave Borkowski - 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO
1B Eric Munson - 2-2, R, 3 RBI
LF Hunter Pence - 1-1, 2 R, BB, RBI
IF/OF Willie Harris

Willie Harris, who has been bouncing around the majors, is a versatile player, who can play a few positions, but doesn't hit very well at all. His real asset is stealing bases, but his carrer high is only nineteen. That is pretty much it with him. He will probably start the season in Richmond.

BP: None
BJH: .242, 3 HR, 12 RBI, .676 OPS, 11 SB
RW: None
SN: None

Sam's Projection: .238, 2 HR, 8 RBI, .690 OPS, 8 SB

Monday, March 12, 2007

Deja vu: Braves lose, Chipper hurt

Chipper Jones sprained his ankle and the Braves lost to the Cardinals 3-1. John Smoltz had four scoreless frames and Braden Looper had 4 2/3 innings of shutout ball. Tyler Yates gave up a home run by Rick Ankiel in the sixth. Yes, that Rick Ankiel. Peter Moylan took the loss, giving up two runs in the ninth.

W - Ryan Frankin (1-0)
L - Peter Moylan (1-1)
S - Dennis Dove (1)
HR - Rick Ankiel (1)

Three Stars
P John Smoltz - 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO
P Braden Looper - 4 2/3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO
RF Rick Ankiel - 2-2, 2B, HR, 2 R, 1 RBI

Sunday, March 11, 2007

SP Mike Hampton

As we all know, Mike Hampton is once again injured. It's a shame, because he seemed to be ready to come back and give it another go. He is projected to come back in May. It is hopeful that he can be league-average. Mark Redman was signed to take his place.

No offense to Mike, who has put a lot of hard work into coming back, but things will be a lot better for the Braves once his contract runs out.

BP: 4-6, 84 1/3 IP, 101 H, 32 BB, 43 K, 5.15 ERA, 1.577 WHIP
BJH: 7-7, 130 IP, 141 H, 54 BB, 71 K, 4.50 ERA, 1.500 WHIP
RW: 4-3, 52 IP, 54 H, 17 BB, 24 K, 3.98 ERA, 1.365 WHIP
SN: None

Sam's Projection: 5-4, 78 2/3 IP, 90 H, 31 BB, 69 K, 4.30 ERA, 1.538 WHIP
Braves turn bad outing by Gonzalez into victory

After a hiccup by Mike Gonzalez in the sixth inning, giving the Cardinals a 3-0 lead and ruining Kyle Davies' excellent outing. Fortunately, the Braves rode a five-run eighth, capped by a two-run double by T. J. Bohn, to a 6-3 victory. Davies had four scorless innings and Cris Carpenter had 4 2/3 scoreless as well.

W - Blaine Boyer (1-0)
L - Tyler Johnson (0-1)
S - Johnathan Johnson (1)

Three Stars
Cris Carpenter - 4 2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO
Kyle Davies - 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 0 SO
T. J. Bohn - 1-1, 2B, 2 RBI

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Redman with decent debut, Braves win against Blue Jays

Mark Redman pitched three innings and gave up a run on four hits, but Lance Cormier bailed him out with four scorless innings and the Braves took the lead on back-to-back homers courtesy of Andruw Jones and Brian McCann as the Braves took the game 4-1. Rafael Soriano had a shutout inning and Macay McBride finished the game going 1-2-3 and getting two strikeouts. Scott Thorman had two singles.

W - Lance Cormier (3-0)
L - Dustin McGowan (0-1)
S - Macay McBride (1)
HR - Andruw Jones (2)
Brian McCann (1)

Three Stars:
Lance Cormier - 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO, W
Andruw Jones - 2-3, HR, R, 2 RBI
Josh Towers - 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO

Friday, March 09, 2007

Braves down Pirates with three dingers, James and Carlyle

Chuck James allowed four singles in three innings and no runs. Buddy Carlyle shut out the Pirates for two more innings on just a single. Willy Aybar and Kelly Johnson hit their first homers of the spring as the Braves won 8-5. Matt Harrison unfortunately allowed two runs in an inning of work. I would guess that he's going to get more seasoning in the minors, and he'll be a true emergency starter.

Ryan Langerhans also hit a home run.

W - Chuck James (2-0)
L - Zach Duke (0-1)
HR - ATL - Willy Aybar (1)
Kelly Johnson (1)
Ryan Langerhans (2)
PIT - Ronny Paulino (1)

Three Stars
P Chuck James - 3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO
3B Willy Aybar - 3-5, HR, R, RBI
2B Kelly Johnson - 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI
RP Mike Gonzalez

Was it a high price to trade Adam LaRoche to get Gonzalez? Well, we got Brent Lillibridge as well, so it'll probably be worth it. :) He will be the closer soon, especially if Bob Wickman starts to falter. The Braes are set in the closer's role, something they really couldn't say in 2005 and 2006.

BP: 4-4, 54 2/3 IP, 47 H, 29 BB, 61 K, 28 SV, 3.22 ERA, 1.390 WHIP
BJH: 4-2, 50 IP, 39 H, 25 BB, 59 K, 40 SV, 3.24 ERA, 1.280 WHIP
RW: 3-3, 51 IP, 38 H, 27 BB, 61 K, 26 SV, 2.29 ERA, 1.275 WHIP
SN: 3 W, 65 IP, 57 H, 22 BB, 68 K, 27 SV, 2.77 ERA, 1.215 WHIP

Sam's Projection: 1-2, 68 1/3 IP, 52 H, 28 BB, 70 K, 25 SV, 2.32 ERA, 1.171 ERA

Mike Gonzalez is still dynamite when healthy, and when put into the game in the late innings, he is NOT giving up the lead very often, that's for sure.
Three New Players to Add to The List

P Mark Redman
2B Willy Aybar
INF Chris Woodward

EDIT: Plus two - IF Pete Orr and SS Tony Pena, Jr. That's everyone, I guess. :)

I'll add them at the end and keep going like I am here.
Braves sign Mark Redman to minor-league deal

Former All-Star Mark Redman, who got there in 2005 because the Royals needed someone to be there, signed with the Braves and was invited to spring training. If he does well, he'll be the replacement starter for Mike Hampton.

I like this signing because it gives the Braves a little more pitching depth in an emergency, and Redman has had some success at the major league level. But according to his recent major league experiences, he may not be any better than Shane Reynolds was in 2003 with Atlanta, and he hasn't had an ERA+ over 100 since 2003. Oh well. Good signing, JS. :)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

RF Jeff Francoeur

The subject of many a discussion in the baseball world. You either love him or hate him. You either think he'll improve or he'll flame out. I love him and I think he'll improve.

From what I've seen and read, the people who think that Francoeur will flame out rely heavily on sabermetrics and cite his low slugging percentage, his impatience at the plate and the sheer number of outs he made in 2006 (507, 3rd in the NL). However, sabermetrics also relies on a traditional method of player progression of talent and output:

1. The player improves steadily until age 28.
2. The player peaks from age 28 to 30.
3. The player steadily declines after age 30.

Those who criticize him seem to toss this progression out for Frenchy, and he's only 23 years old!

BP: .284, 26 HR, 81 RBI, .825 OPS, 6 SB
BJH: .276, 31 HR, 111 RBI, .803 OPS, 4 SB
RW: .278, 28 HR, 97 RBI, .810 OPS, 3 SB
SN: .277, 31 HR, 107 RBI, .788 OPS, 1 SB

Look at all these pretty projections. Everyone would kill to have this kind of stuff out of a 23-year old kid. But I'm going to add something to it:

Sam's Projection: .287, 35 HR, 120 RBI, .852 OPS, 15 SB

Yes, fifteen stolen bases. Francoeur is a better base-runner than people think he is. That will become an asset for him. I can gaurantee that y'all will see a new and improved Frenchy this season.
Yanks top Braves in extras, and Hampton out

Not only did the Yankees beat the Braves 5-4, but Mike Hampton got injured in batting practice!

I suggest we get used to the idea that Oscar Villarreal, Lance Cormier, or even Rafael Soriano, will be starting full-time. Oh, and Frenchy homered today. Huddy pitched four innings and allowed two runs on a Giambi homer.

W - Chris Britton (1-0)
L - Steve Colyer (0-1)
S - Ron Villone (1)

Three Stars
P Tim Hudson - 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO
P Colter Bean - 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO
RF Jeff Francoeur - 2-4, HR, R, RBI

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

LF Matt Diaz

Matt Diaz had problems hitting with the Royals and Devil Rays. The Braves then picked him up and their doctors saw that he had vision problems and gave him corrective lenses. He only gave Atlanta fans a .327 season in 322 plate appearances. However, his defensive prowess is weird. He runs around like a chicken with his head cut off out there, but his fielding stats of FRAR and FRAA indicate that he's a better fielder than Ryan Langerhans, mostly because of his range:

Diaz: 16/11
Langy: 10/3

As you can see, that doesn't really make sense, as it's obvious that Langerhans is the better fielder. But it doesn't really matter. You can do it ugly, just as long as you do it right.

BP: 375 PA, .302 AVG, 53 R, 12 HR, 50 RBI, .830 OPS, 6 SB
BJH: 348 AB, .316 AVG, 46 R, 10 HR, 46 RBI, .846 OPS, 7 SB
RW: 223 AB, .314 AVG, 29 R, 6 HR, 29 RBI, .837 OPS, 6 SB
SN: None

Sam's Projection: 402 PA, .308 AVG, 60 R, 16 HR, 55 RBI, .842 OPS, 6 SB
Braves tie with Tiggers, Smoltz getes nice start

John Smoltz allowed just three hits in three innings and the Braves tied the Tigers 4-4. Johnathan Johnson was the only one who had a bad day flinging the cowhide for Atlanta.

Craig Wilson went 2-5 and scored a couple of runs, driving in himself with a second inning homer. The immortal Trey Hodges finished the game for the Braves, pitching two innings, walking one and striking out two.

HR - Craig Wilson (1)

Three Stars
P John Smoltz - 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO
1B Craig Wilson - 2-5, 3B, HR, 2 R, RBI
P Trey Hodges - 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

SP Kyle Davies

Kyle Davies, a young starter for the Braves, missed a lot of time last season due to a groin injury. When he was pitching for the Braves, he didn't do well at all. Some of it could be a function of pitching while injured or coming back too soon from injury because the Braves were in such dire need for starters last season.

BP: 6-8, 119 2/3 IP, 125 H, 55 BB, 95 K, 5.02 ERA, 1.504 WHIP
BJH: 3-4, 63 IP, 66 H, 8 HR, 31 BB, 51 K, 4.86 ERA, 1.540 WHIP
RW: 5-6, 73 IP, 81 H, 9 HR, 35 BB, 57 K, 5.05 ERA, 1.589 WHIP
SN: None

Davies has the fifth starter spot here in the spring and I doubt he'll pitch himself out of it. Because the little data that we had to go on when it came to Davies wasn't good at all, no one seems to project that Davies will do that well. I don't exactly think that he'll tear the National League a new hole, but I do think that he'll stay healthy enough and pitch well enough to win 10 games. I have a little more confidence in him than they do.

Sam's Forecast: 10-9, 151 1/3 IP, 160 H, 65 BB, 102 K, 4.73 ERA, 1.487 WHIP
Stat Projections!

I've decided to show some stat projections from several sources and come up with some kind of a cosensus for my own. :)

The Sources:

* Baseball Prospectus 2007
* The Bill James Handbook 2007
* Tuff Stuff Rotowire Fantasy Baseball 2007
* The Sporting News Fantasy Baseball 2007

Our candidates for comparisons:

P Kyle Davies
LF Matt Diaz
RF Jeff Francoeur
P Mike Gonzalez
P Mike Hampton
IF/OF Willie Harris
P Tim Hudson
P Chuck James
2B Kelly Johnson
CF Andruw Jones
3B Chipper Jones
LF Ryan Langerhans
P Macay McBride
C Brian McCann
P Chad Paronto
C Brayan Pena
IF Martin Prado
SS Edgar Renteria
P John Smoltz
P Rafael Soriano
1B Scott Thorman
P Oscar Villarreal
P Bob Wickman
1B/LF Craig Wilson
P Tyler Yates

I'll do some predictions myself, even though it is proven that it's notoriously hard to predict batters and pitchers off-hand. ;)
Braves put up double digits on Nats again, win see-saw battle

Today, the Nationals jumped out to a 6-4 lead in the third inning, thanks to a two-run shot by Brian Schneider. However, the Braves took the lead back 7-6 in the fifth inning and tacked on a few more, winning 10-6. Two solo shots were belted by Yunel Escobar, Ryan Langerhans and Corky Miller launched a two-run homer. Kevin Barry and Joey Devine both had two shutout innings apiece.

W - Macay McBride (1-0) <- gave up four runs in two innings
L - Emiliano Fruto (0-1)
HR - ATL - Yunel Escobar (1)
Ryan Langerhans (1)
Corky Miller (1)
WAS - Brian Schneider (1)

Three Stars
LF Willie Harris - 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 SB
2B Kelly Johnson - 2-4, 2B, 3 R
C Brian Schneider - 2-2, HR, R, 4 RBI

Monday, March 05, 2007

Braves swat Nats big time

Pounding seventeen hits, the Braves treated the fans to a 14-5 drubbing of the Nationals. Lance Cormier and Chad Paronto combined for 5 shutout innings and ten different Braves drove in runs. Craig Wilson drove in three and Chipper Jones drove in two.

W - Lance Cormier (2-0)
L - Jerome Williams (0-1)
HR - Robert Fick (1)

Three Stars
P Lance Cormier - 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, W
1B Craig Wilson - 2-3, 2B, R, 3 RBIs
P Chad Paronto - 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Bravos' pitching does it again

Chuck James gave up a first-inning, two-out RBI single to Jeff Kent and that's the only run the Braves gave up, winning 4-1. The Braves staff turned in a very nice performance, not even allowing a double by the Dodgers. Buddy Carlyle turned in another scoreless two-inning stint and Manny Acosta had two shutout innings as well. Tyler Yates, Steve Colyer and Will Startup finished the game with a goose-egg inning each.

Martin Prado went 3-4 with a double and drove in a run and scored one. Yunel Escobar had two singles in five trips and scored a run.

Three Stars
3B-2B Martin Prado - 3-4, 2B, R, RBI
P Buddy Carlyle - 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO
P Joe Mays - 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Astros bat around the Braves

Houston used a 14-hit attack, mostly on Johnathan Johnson, and won 6-1. The Braves had just four singles, Andruw Jones' being an RBI single. Tim Hudson started the game for Atlanta and pitched two scoreless innings. Jason Jennings and Paul Estrada had two-inning stints of scorelessness for the Astros.

W - Dave Borkowski (1-0)
L - Johnathan Johnson (0-1)
HR - Jason Lane (2)

Three Stars
P Paul Estrada - 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO
P Jason Jennings - 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 SO
P Tim Hudson - 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO

Friday, March 02, 2007

Atlanta pulls out win against Pittsburgh in 10

Willie Harris scored the winning run on a Martin Prado chopper to third and the Braves pulled out a see-saw game against the Pirates in extra innings 5-4. Peter Moylan, who pitched two scoreless frames in the 9th and 10th, got the win.

John Smoltz pitched two scoreless innings to start the game and Ian Snell matched him with two goose eggs. Tony Armas, Jr. pitched another two scoreless frames.

Down 1-0, the Braves tied the game on a solo shot by Jeff Francoeur, his first of the spring.

Mike Gonzalez, in his first appearance against his new team, gave up a two-run homer to Brad Eldred and the Pirates took a 3-1 lead with that in the sixth.

The Braves retook the lead with three runs in the sixth, on the strength of two doubles by James Jurries and Iker Franco. Oscar Villarreal then gave up a solo shot to tie the game.

W - Peter Moylan (1-0)
L - Romulo Sanchez (0-1)
HR - PIT - Brad Eldred (1)
Brad Bixler (1)
ATL - Jeff Francoeur (1)

Three Stars:
P John Smoltz - 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO
1B Brad Eldred - 2-3, HR, R, 2 RBI
P Peter Moylan - 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, W

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Braves open spring with win; beat Dodgers

Following the easy pasting of the Yellow Jackets, the Braves continued to score, beating the Dodgers 7-2 in their Grapefruit League opening game.

Yunel Escobar turned in a perfect day with three singles and an RBI, and Kelly Johnson singled and had an RBI. Jarrod Saltalamacchia had a pinch-hit single, driving in two. Brent Lillibridge scored two runs.

On the pitching side, Kyle Davies had an encouraging two-inning start where he gave up no hits and struck out one. Lance Cormier vultured the win when he gave up two runs in two innings after Davies. Buddy Carlyle pitched two scoreless innings and three other pitchers had one scoreless inning each.

W - Lance Cormier (1-0)
L - Chad Billingsley (0-1)
HR - None

Three Stars:
P Kyle Davies - 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO
SS Yunel Escobar - 3-3, RBI
P Buddy Carlyle - 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Braves shut out punchless Yellow Jackets

In the 20-year tradition, the Braves still remain the top baseball team in the state of Georgia.

Atlanta defeated the punchless Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets by pitching them to death, shutting them out on two singles, winning 5-0.

The Braves got on the board with a Ryan Langerhans homer leading off the third and just expanded the lead from there. Five different Braves had one RBI each.

With pitching, the Braves got two shutout innings from promising lefty Matt Harrison, spot starter Kevin Barry and prospect Jose Ascanio. The three combined for 10 strikeouts.

W - Kevin Barry
L - Jared Hyatt
HR - Ryan Langerhans

Three Stars:
LF Ryan Langerhans - 1-1, HR, BB, R, RBI
P Kevin Barry - 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K
P Matt Harrison - 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Lou Burdette Passes Away

The former Braves hurler passed away Tuesday morning, losing his battle with lung cancer. He was 80 years old.

Burdette pitched for the Braves from 1951 to 1963. He is probably best known for his 3 complete games in the 1957 World Series, joining Christy Mathewson as the only other player to accomplish this feat. He also served as the Braves pitching coach in 1972 and 1973.

He will be missed. May he rest in peace.

(Note: The article is incorrect in saying that Burdette led the league in strikeouts three years in a row. He did lead the league in hits allowed three years in a row and led the league three times in K/9 ratio in the space of four years. Maybe they meant that.)

EDIT: I didn't read that his preferred spelling was "Lou" instead of "Lew". Changed to reflect that.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The State of the Braves pitchers, Feb. 2

John Smoltz - The ol' reliable rock of the pitching staff. It's amazing that he's still pitching as well as he is. I hope it lasts as long as possible. Smoltz turns 40 in May and I'm sure the injury questions will pop up again with him, just like they do every other season. He'll pitch like he did last year, and maybe there will be a few little injuries, like last season.
Mike Hampton - The last time he stepped on a mound in the regular season was in August of 2005. So after a year and a half of relative inaction, can Hampton contribute even an average season for the Braves? That's about what I expect, which would be a step up from all the other people who filled in the fourth and fifth starter slots after Horacio Ramirez and John Thomson went down with injuries.
Tim Hudson - Even a bigger question mark than Hampton, and he started 35 games last season. What was the cause? He gave up a lot of home runs, but not many more than he gave up in Oakland at worst. Was he trying to pitch through an injury? Was this just a fluke bad year? I sure hope so. The Braves Wild Card chances hinge on that, at least.
Chuck James - Chuck allowed a chunk of runs for someone who won 11 games, but he should be fine in his second season as a starter. The Braves are going to need him as well. I think him being a flyball pitcher is a bit valid: he allowed 20 homers in half the innings that it took Hudson to allow 25 dingers.
Kyle Davies - Hampered with injuries most of last season and inconsistent otherwise, let's hope that a full off-season of recovery can help him be the pitcher that he could be and what the Braves really need out of the back end of their staff. I can't say much more than that because I don't have much good things to go on. ;)

Oscar Villarreal - Nicknamed "Vulture" on Braves Journal because of his penchant for getting wins off of others, a lot. He was the signature long reliever of the team in 2006 and did a decent job there. He'll do a decent job there again. Also, the Braves won three of his four starts.
Macay McBride - The upside here is that he rarely allowed more than two runs in any sitting. Since he had experience in 2006, he may do better next season.
Tyler Yates - His middle name is Kali. That's all you need to know. Oh, how does he pitch? Ahem, well. He's not that great: he allowed two or more runs six times in 56 games with Atlanta, which ballooned his ERA. However, he seems to have a lively fastball, so that's why Bobby Cox is keeping him on the squad.
Blaine Boyer - One of the early injuries that decimated the Braves bullpen, Boyer will be looking to earn one of the four bullpen spots up for grabs. Yes, I said "four". Why? Well...
Mike Gonzalez - Obtained from Pittsburgh, Gonzalez has a cannon for a left arm, probably one of the best fireballing left-handed leaders in all of baseball. His stats show it as well. However, he has had a history of some elbow trouble and never pitched more than 54 innings in a season. But he may not have to. :)
Rafael Soriano - Imported from Seattle, Soriano is another fireballer that will probably share setup duties with Gonzalez, which creates a strong young combination. I would guess that he is part of the only trade in baseball history that involved two players who got beaned with a line drive in the same year.
Bob Wickman - He was the Braves' savior, stepping right into the closer's role after being traded to Atlanta and blowing just one save, converting 10 others. He'll be a dependable closer because he does know how to pitch in the closer's role. Kind of like Trevor Hoffman or at worst, Doug Jones. :)

The bullpen, the Achilles heel of the 2006 Braves, is much improved. The starters are about at the same situation they were last year. However, if the offense holds up, these Braves could be Wild Card contenders. :D
State of the Braves batters, Feb. 1

Starting Lineup
2B Kelly Johnson - The organization seems poised to hand over the second base job to Johnson, who started his career as an infielder. No one exactly knows how he'll respond after playing very little over the last two seasons. What is encouraging is that since Glenn Hubbard, former Atlanta second sacker and current first base coach, helped Marcus Giles improve his fielding, he can do the same for Johnson.

SS Edgar Renteria - Pretty dependable batter, but has the range of a statue. Mac Thomson at Braves Journal believes that Renteria's fielding is one of the prime reasons that Tim Hudson failed at pitching so badly in 2006, since he is a groundball pitcher and Renteria can only get to balls hit right at him. I'm inclined to agree with that.

3B Chipper Jones - The best third baseman with Scott Rolen and Alex Rodriguez when he's healthy, thanks to his prolific batting. One negative is that he has the range of a statue as well, giving the Braves the worst left side defense in baseball. The other negative? His feet and legs are still giving him problems. If he's on the field, he'll perform. If he's not, he needs to make sure he gets better!

CF Andruw Jones - This is most definitely Andruw's last season in Atlanta. I do believe that Andruw wants to finish his career in Atlanta, but I also think that the almighty dollar will talk louder. Alfonso Soriano makes $18 million a year thanks to his new contract. Vernon Wells makes $17 million a year thanks to his new extension. How much do you want to bet that Andruw's going to get $19-$20 million a year in his new contract? The Braves won't be able to afford that. I've enjoyed the ride, I have no qualms with him leaving if he does because that's the state of baseball today: where people rarely take what the team can give them to stay.

C Brian McCann - Who's the best catcher in the National League? This guy. In just his second year. That's freaky. He's not perfect: he is as slow as a snail on the bases and could be prone to ankle injuries again. But he projects to be a wonderful batter.

RF Jeff Francoeur - All right... calm down. Keep perspective... he is just 23. And he has 43 home runs in his short career, which is nice. But I still believe in these two things:

1. He needs to cut down on his first-pitch swings. He seems to make an uncanny amount of outs that way.
2. He needs to be develop a better batting eye so he can get a few more walks.

He does those things and he'll be a great hitter and realize his potential.

LF Matt Diaz - Unquestionably, he can hit. Credit could go to his corrective lens, but he is talented. The strange thing about him is that his fielding statistics are deceptive. He has a wonderful range factor, but in real life, he reads balls poorly. He needs to start full time; the Braves need his bat in the lineup.

1B Scott Thorman - With the trade of Adam LaRoche to Pittsburgh, Thorman is thrust into the first base slot. He is the seventh best Braves prospect, according to Baseball America, and his minor league career has been compared to that of Adam LaRoche's. But I don't think he's ready for a full-time first base job. He hasn't proven to me that he can hit consistently enough to do that.

2B/3B Willy Aybar - Obtained from the Dodgers at the trade deadline last season, Aybar was once thought of to be the next candidate for the second base job, because it was assumed that Marcus Giles would be traded. Giles did leave, but it seems that Aybar has done something to make the "supersub" tag stick on him. He's going to be a back-up for Chipper Jones at third base. He'll get some starts there once Chipper goes down with an inevitable injury.

OF/1B Craig Wilson - Signed to help boost the bench, he's going to get some playing time in left field and first base. It was said that Thorman is going to start first base by himself, but that's bogus.

OF Ryan Langerhans - This could possibly be Langerhans' last time to make good for the Braves. He's 27 and his slugging dipped from 2005. It's quite possible that he could go the way of Mark DeRosa if he doesn't improve in a platoon role with Wilson or Diaz.

C Brayan Pena - He'll most likely be the backup catcher, because he has the most major league experience out of any of the other candidates. It's that simple.

UT Chris Woodward - He's a very versatile fielder and that's the reason why he'll make the club. Beyond that, he has practically lost his ability to bat effectively.

All-around, the offense is relatively intact, and if everyone does what they're capable of, the 2007 Braves should have no trouble equaling the offensive prowess of last year's club.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Time To Talk About Outfielders; More Gushing About Francoeur

I know that second base was and still is hotly debated, but it looks like

The 2007 Braves outfield projects as thus:

LF - Some combination of Matt Diaz, Ryan Langerhans, and Craig Wilson
CF - Andruw Jones
RF - Jeff Francoeur

Left field is yet again a three-man position, and that's just fine with me, considering the three-man position wasn't a burden last season.

Diaz's fielding statistics are pretty good, but if one watches him field, he looks like a chicken running around with its head cut off. But, hey, if you can do it right, I don't care if you do it ugly; unless a particularly ugly missed catch causes the Braves to lose the game. According to FRAR/FRAA runs from last season, Diaz fields better than Langerhans! (16/11 - 10/6) Of course, Langerhans is considered the superior fielder, and he basically is. But Diaz can at least field well enough.

As for Andruw, the only thing I can say about him is this: he had better have one of those "contract years", even though they don't really exist. That would be like Javy Lopez just decided in the middle of the 2003 season to turn on the hitting switch on his machine so he could get paid the big bucks. But if that really is the case... Andruw had better turn on his hitting switch when the season starts and not in the middle of it. Whatever happens with Andruw, I'll accept it. If he leaves and the Braves get nothing, I'll accept it. If he's traded in the middle of the season, I'll accept it. If he's signed to another contract by Atlanta, I'll accept it.

Now for the fun part.

Jeff Francoeur, the next Tony Armas, Sr.

Baseball Prospectus, in their interesting book Baseball Between The Numbers: Why Everything You Know About The Game Is Wrong, has a list of their worst 100-RBI seasons since 1972, based on a correlation between their RBIs on the season and a statistic called Value Over Replacement Player, which measures the value of a player's offensive output against a theoretical AAA player from the same position in the same amount of plate appearances.

Here are the three worst 100-RBI seasons since 1972, which is how far back BP's database goes:

Joe Carter, 1997 Toronto Blue Jays - 102 RBI, -2.4 VORP
Tony Batista, 2004 Montreal Expos - 103 RBI, -1.1 VORP
Tony Armas, 1983 Boston Red Sox - 107 RBI, 6.9 VORP

They're ranked by RBI per VORP. I don't know how they calculated it, but I do know this:

Francoeur's 2006 campaign falls between Batista and Armas. Why? His 2006 VORP was:


Because he had the same number of RBIs in 2006 as Bastista in 2004, Francoeur takes the third spot. But it's a dubious spot: just the third player since 1972 to have a negative VORP and 100 RBIs in the same season.

But hey, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's have Mark Bowman talk about our buddy Frenchy instead:

Jones' need to venture toward right field has been lessened since the arrival of the athletic Francoeur, who some believe is capable of being a quality center fielder at the Major League level. Francoeur's strong and accurate arm has enabled him to notch a Major League-high 26 assists since making his Major League debut on July 7, 2005.

That is nice. That means he has a pretty good arm, but from what I recall, Francoeur had a few throwing errors as well. We'll see these assists drop because Frenchy will get a reputation for throwing people out, just like Andruw. :)

After starting last season with just two hits in his first 36 at-bats, Francoeur managed to hit .272. By the end of the season, he'd tallied 29 homers and collected 103 RBIs -- allowing him to join Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews as the only players in franchise history to enjoy a 100-RBI season before their 23rd birthday.

That doesn't mean that he's going to be as successful as them: at least they could take walks.

Oh, oops, did I say walks? Is that what's so bad about Francoeur? Sorry, my bad. Wait, I'm not sorry.

Francoeur's plate discipline has drawn ire from his critics. He swings at the first pitch more than anybody in baseball and hasn't entirely proven that he has a keen since of the strike zone.

*The Price is Right* Ding ding ding ding ding!! That's right!!!

But while drawing eight walks in his final 29 games in 2006, he showed some signs of being a little more patient.

Wow... what a small sample size. This rate would produce 44 or 45 walks. That is not good enough.

Still, it can't be said that Francoeur isn't able to come through in the clutch. He hit .320 (55-for-172) with runners in scoring position and .288 (80-for-278) with runners on base last season. His 53 two-out RBIs ranked second in the Majors, trailing only Philadelphia's Ryan Howard, who had 55.

And he hit something like .226 with two outs. Isn't that more when he HAS to hit?

Wow, two-out RBIs. Fascinating. RBIs are about a matter of circumstance, not about how good people are. It's just a plus when people drive others in.

Francoeur's RBI Opportunities: 74, 33rd in the majors
Howard's RBI Opportunities: 91, 4th in the majors

Lots of RBI opportunities mean lots of RBIs.

"[Francoeur] can sit on pitches now," Cox said. "He's sharp kid. He is still working. He is not going to walk an awful lot, which is fine with me where he is hitting in the lineup.

This scares me to no end, that Bobby Cox is comfortable with the idea that Francoeur won't be able to walk a lot. Well, what about when Francoeur is the cleanup hitter for the Braves or somewhere around there when Chipper Jones is retired and Andruw Jones is playing for some other team? I bet he'd want more walks then.

And I think if you took his aggression at the plate away from him, I don't think he'd be as good."

That may be the case, but you'd also cut down on his atrocious number of first-pitch outs.

Francoeur and Jones combined for 232 RBIs in 2006, tying them for the third-highest total among any NL duo.

With 162 RBI opportunities between the both of them. :)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

LaRoche Traded; At First I Was Upset, But Then I Felt Better

ATL gets:
P Mike Gonzalez
SS Brent Lillibridge

PIT gets:
1B Adam LaRoche
OF Jamie Romak

At first, I was upset about this trade, and so were a few other Braves fans on Baseball Fever, because we thought that this was a trade of LaRoche for Gonzalez straight up. I was against that because it just didn't seem right on it's face. Trading a young first baseman who appears to be just hitting his peak for an excellent reliever who just happens to have a problematic elbow. I then learned that there were prospects involved. I left for dinner, I came back home and read more about the trade.

I think the Braves came away nicely in this one. Who is Brent Lillibridge? One of the top prospects in the Pirates organization, that's who. :)

The downside of this whole thing is that Scott Thorman is starting. He has no business doing so and the upcoming season will show that. On the other hand, this means that Jarrod Saltalamacchia could get a look at first base in Richmond in 2007 and be the first baseman in 2008 if it doesn't work out with Thorman.

Blog Archive