All about the Braves and baseball events.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Braves Pound Dodgers 10-2, Have Good Practice Day

This is what you like to see in spring training: the bats clicking. There were a few errors today, which is not what you want to see, but it's all right. The Braves got ten hits and ten runs on the day, winning 10-3. Javy Lopez got the scoring started with a two-run homer in the third off of Esteban Loaiza and the Braves just poured it on after that. Kelly Johnson and Joe Borchard both had RBI doubles, with Joe's being of the ground-rule variety. Lopez also drove in another run with a sac fly and Jeff Francoeur, Josh Anderson and Yunel Escobar chipped in with run-scoring singles.

On the pitching side, Hiroki Kuroda, who started for the Dodgers, and Buddy Carlyle, who relieved Jair Jurrjens, pitched two innings of scoreless ball. Jurrjens allowed one run on two hits, walked one and struck out one in two innings of work. Tyler Yates, Will Ohman and Damian Moss each had an inning of scorless work.

W - Buddy Carlyle (1-0)
L - Esteban Loaiza (0-1)
HR - Javy Lopez (1)

Three Stars
C Javy Lopez - 1-1, HR, SF, 2 R, BB, 3 RBI
2B Kelly Johnson - 2-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI
P Buddy Carlyle - 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO


1B Mark Teixeira

Us Braves fans must enjoy Teixeira while we can, because it's most likely that this is his last season in Atlanta. I don't regret at all that the Braves traded for him, nor do I believe that it will hurt them in the long run. In the meantime, Teixeira will be able to provide the Braves with the top first base power they have lacked since Andres Galarraga. It's that simple. Teixeira can slug the ball to all fields and he is one of the best fielding first basemen around, if not the best.

AVERAGE - 8 - Teixeira upped the stakes for himself last season when he hit .317 with the Braves, after a .297 clip with the Rangers. He has hit more than .300 just twice in two of his five major league seasons, but the batting talent is there.

POWER - 9.5 - Teixeira proved that he could hit outside of The Ballpark in Arlington in his few months wtih Atlanta. Count on him to keep it up.

BASERUNNING - 6.5 - Teixeira doesn't steal any bases, but he can be counted on to move from second to home usually; he succedded in 9 of 14 chances. He was caught advancing and doubled off once each.

THROWING - 8 - Teixeira had 77 assists last season, but an arm for a first baseman doesn't really seem to be that important. Still, he does have a good arm.

FIELDING - 9 - Teixeira had five errors, one of a handful of first baseman to have so. However, it is arguable that only Albert Pujols is better with the glove in the National League.

TOTAL - 41 (A-) - Teixeira is the real deal and in the prime of his career. Atlanta fans will enjoy this season at the first sack.

BP: .294/.394/.546, 30 HR, 96 RBI, 3 SB
BJH: .289/.382/.545, 36 HR, 120 RBI, 1 SB
RW: .303/.389/.577, 39 HR, 114 RBI, 1 SB
SN: .302/.386/.574, 37 HR, 124 RBI, 0 SB

Sam: .295/.388/.563, 38 HR, 118 RBI, 0 SB

Thursday, February 28, 2008


C Brian McCann

Brian McCann enters into his third season in the big leagues and well-set into the Braves' catching role, despite his defensive shortcomings. It appears as if 2006 was a fluke season more than anything else, as McCann put up stats closer to his rookie campaign. Brian was slowed by hand and ankle injuries last season, so it's likely that he'll be able to put up stats somwhere between his 2006 and 2007 campaigns. It's that simple.

I'm going to try to do some "five tool" ratings just to give myself something to do. Maybe they'll be useful and informative to all of you. The rate is on a scale of 1-10.

For the record, I don't believe that the five-tool system is very effective in evaluating players. I just thought that it would be fun to do this.

48-50: A+
44-47: A
41-43: A-
38-40: B+
34-37: B
31-33: B-
28-30: C+
24-27: C
21-23: C-
18-20: D+
14-17: D
11-13: D-
0-10: F

AVERAGE: 7 - It's evident now that a lot of McCann's 2006 season was based on a lot of great hits and luck (.332 BABIP, for a .333 AVG). His BABIP was .282 last season, with a .270 average. Look for something between .270 and .333, because McCann is a very good batter. He isn't overly patient, but he does have a knack for smacking pitches a long way.

POWER: 8.5 - For a catcher, it's excellent. McCann finished fourth among all catchers in baseball in SLG (.452), and fourth in doubles (38).

BASERUNNING: 1 - Let's just say that McCann might be the slowest catcher since Ernie Lombardi. What I can say is that he doesn't take many risks on the basepaths. According to Bill James's Player Baserunning stats, McCann rarely tried to take extra bases and, thus, he didn't run into any outs. McCann at least gets a courtesy point for that.

THROWING: 2 - McCann seems to have a poor throwing arm; his CS% was just .20, one of the lowest totals in all the majors. If errors are a reflection of his accuracy, then 13 of them say that it's not very good.

FIELDING: 6 - Believe it or not, McCann only had six recorded passed balls. He was also able to make a lot of putouts, though (907). Few catchers got more than 900 putouts last season.

TOTAL: 24.5 (C) - McCann is focused mostly on offense.

Now, just like last year, here are four sources for projections and my own projection.

Baseball Prospectus (BP): .282/.345/.472, 19 HR, 80 RBI, 3 SB
Bill James Handbook (BJH): .297/.360/.586, 21 HR, 92 RBI, 1 SB
Rotowire (RW): .297/.349/.501, 20 HR, 88 RBI, 1 SB
The Sporting News (SN): .285/.340/.482, 20 HR, 93 RBI, 0 SB

Sam's Projection: .293/.352/.513, 19 HR, 92 RBI, 1 SB

Dodgers Defeat Braves, Score Three In Ninth

I believe that it's safe to say that Matt DeSalvo has punched his ticket to the minors or his release today. The former Yankee walked five batters in 1 1/3 IP, and Colter Bean hit a batter and career minor leaguer John Lindsey smacked a two-run double to win the game for the Dodgers by a score of 5-4. Braves first baseman Tyler Flowers hit a two-run homer to break a 2-2 tie in the top of the inning to give the Braves the lead briefly. Chris Resop and Blaine Boyer both had two inning stints that weren't perfect, but neither allowed a run. Jordan Schafer had two singles for the Braves. James Loney and Matt Kemp had two hits each for the Dodgers. Former Brave Andruw Jones walked twice.

W - Brian Shackleford (1-0)
L - Matt DeSalvo (0-1)
HR - Tyler Flowers (1)

Three Spring Stars
1B John Lindsey - 1-2, GW 2B, 2 RBI
1B Tyler Flowers - 1-1, HR, R, 2 RBI
P Chris Resop - 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO

Exhibition Season Opens; Braves beat Bulldogs

Continuing a tradition of even Bulldog years and odd Yellow Jacket years, the Braves began their season by pasting UGA, winning 6-0. Chipper Jones and Gregor Blanco drove in two runs apiece for the Braves, each with a double. Josh Anderson had two singles and Joe Brochard had two hits, including a triple, and scored three runs for the Braves. Senior third baseman Ryan Presiel had three hits for the Bulldogs.

W - Charlie Morton
L - Dean Weaver

Friday, February 08, 2008

Braves Player Progresses And Projections

Yes, "progresses" is a real word.

Here's the lineup, we're going around the positional horn:

C Brian McCann
1B Mark Teixeira
2B Kelly Johnson
3B Chipper Jones
SS Yunel Escobar
LF Matt Diaz
CF Mark Kotsay
RF Jeff Francoeur

Next, various members that I think are in the pool to make the bench:

OF Josh Anderson
OF Gregor Blanco
OF/IF Omar Infante
OF Brandon Jones
SS/CF Brent Lillibridge
C Javy Lopez
IF Martin Prado
1B/LF Scott Thorman

And then, the pitchers:

RP Manny Acosta
RP Jeff Bennett
RP Blaine Boyer
SP Buddy Carlyle
SP Tom Glavine
SP Mike Hampton
SP Tim Hudson
SP Chuck James
SP Jair Jurrjens
SP Anthony Lerew
RP Peter Moylan
RP Will Ohman
SP Jo-Jo Reyes
RP Jeff Ridgway
RP Royce Ring
SP John Smoltz
RP Rafael Soriano
RP Phil Stockman
RP Tyler Yates

Brian McCann's up first!