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  1. Tough seeing Tiny Tim Collins go but Alex Gonzalez is playing way over his head with the swing for the fences Jays.

    This is a perfect buy-low sell-high for AA. Hopefully Escobar turns it around – if so he could be a top 10 SS again.

    This also gives Hechevarria more time to develop. Another good trade by AA.

    Comment by Renegade — July 14, 2010 @ 1:13 pm

  2. “who haven’t had a consistent shortstop for ages”

    Um, Scutaro? Is last year ages ago?

    Other than that, fine piece.

    Comment by Gabriel — July 14, 2010 @ 1:20 pm

  3. Great deal for the Jays! Wow!

    And at least we can put those Alex Gonzalez-to-the-Cardinals rumors to bed now as well! Whew!

    Comment by chuckb — July 14, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

  4. Is having a career year last year being consistent?

    Other than that, fine post.

    Comment by Renegade — July 14, 2010 @ 1:22 pm

  5. I have the sinking feeling that even if Escobar recovers his value he’ll still be the 4th best shortstop in the division.

    Comment by Torgen — July 14, 2010 @ 1:28 pm

  6. As a Braves fan, I loathe this trade. I had been discounting all the rumors swirling around Escobar because I figured Wren would not be foolish enough to sell so low on an obviously talented young player. If the organization wanted him gone, they at least should have waited until his offensive numbers rebounded and gotten more value for him. Huge disappointment, and I only hope that it won’t hurt the team this year. It will surely hurt us long term.

    Comment by Anon21 — July 14, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

  7. Escobar’s ZIPS (R) is like 30 points higher than Gonzalez’s.

    Comment by Jack — July 14, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

  8. As a Braves fan, I do fear Yunel’s potential being realized in Toronto. But in Frank Wren’s defense, if you cannot get a long with Bobby Cox, you should not be on the Braves. Plus, they owe it to Bobby to give the World Series a real run and we could not do that with the way Yunel was (not) producing this year. Toronto can sort out whatever is wrong with Yunel. I’m happy to have Gonzo. Go Braves.

    Comment by Chris20 — July 14, 2010 @ 1:42 pm

  9. Except every projection system in existence is screaming that Gonzalez is playing over his head and is extremely unlikely to sustain this pace. And they’re saying the exact opposite about Yunel.

    If this trade actually constituted a small mortgage of our future for a better chance at a title this season, I could get behind it. After the drought, I am ready to see the Braves playing good baseball in October again. But that’s not what this trade really amounts to. It amounts to mortgaging our future in exchange for an SS who is likely to produce LESS for the rest of this season than Yunel would. It’s bad business and bad baseball all around.

    Comment by Anon21 — July 14, 2010 @ 1:45 pm

  10. To pile on, Bobby Cox won’t be here next year. I understand that Yunel’s issues extend beyond just Cox, but that can’t be a good enough reason to sell low on the guy.

    Comment by Michael — July 14, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

  11. And that means what exactly? What does that have to do with anything?

    Comment by Boxkutter — July 14, 2010 @ 1:48 pm

  12. As a Braves fan, I am not disappointed in trading away Escobar. Yes, it is a gamble he hopefully does not return to his previously established level of play for the Jays. He had been very valuable and is still a good defensive shortstop. Though I trust the internal evaluations that likely led to this trade. Escobar looked noticeably out of shape this year compared to prior years as he had packed on the pounds. Except the total loss of power indicated that extra weight was not muscle at all. Some of the on-field antics indicated a lack of maturity that was tolerable when we had no realistic shot at the playoffs, but in the heat of a pennant race could not be tolerated.

    Comment by Phantom Stranger — July 14, 2010 @ 1:48 pm

  13. I have a suspicion Escobar could be the best shortstop in the division by next year.

    Comment by mowill — July 14, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

  14. It’s okay, he’s used to that.

    Comment by don — July 14, 2010 @ 1:55 pm

  15. I think it’s pretty obvious Escobar is going to turn back to his normal self soon and same with Gonzalez and neither of the prospects will amount to anything and the Braves are going to be eating crow in 2012 with A-Gonz walks and gives no picks cause I already said he’s going to be a pumpkin earlier so it’s a total and easy lose for the Bravos and AA has another steal awesome.

    Comment by Holier — July 14, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

  16. Well, do you know what it means, let’s start with that, because if you did you wouldn’t be asking that question.

    Oh, unless you’re autistic, in which case I apologize.

    Comment by Jack — July 14, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

  17. First off, I disagree with the implication that Giles leaving was anything less than the guy had run out of steam, he played like a half season of pro ball after Atl cut ties.

    Second, if you go back 2 years every single stats guy criticized Atl for their faith in Escobar. They called him a .280 hitter with empty batting average. I have a hard time seeing how two years of above average power that still fell within expected variance of average has so dramatically changed everybody’s mind on him, especially when the player in question was 25-26 and 26-27 at the time.

    Comment by deadpool — July 14, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

  18. I don’t understand this move from the Braves’ perspective. Pitching & defense wins championships. The Braves just got weaker defensively.

    Gonzalez has had a career 1st half & Escobar has had a horrible 1st half. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Escobar outhit Gonzalez in the 2nd half. If so, the Braves got weaker both offensively & defensively. Does that outweigh Escobar clashing with Cox? I doubt it.

    I love the moves the Braves have made over the past year or so, but I think this move will backfire on them.

    Comment by Cheeseburgers — July 14, 2010 @ 2:01 pm

  19. I’m not convinced that Escobar will turn it around, but there is no question that Gonzalez will hit 4 home runs to go along with his sparkling .290 OBP.

    Comment by Jack — July 14, 2010 @ 2:03 pm

  20. What evidence is there that the Braves dabble in sabermetrics? Schuerholz’s book takes pot shots at the “computer kids” and Wren seems to follow that mold. Every front office pawn that has come from Atlanta has been strangely militant against the idea of statistical analysis (see Moore, Dayton).

    Comment by Coby DuBose — July 14, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

  21. I have two thoughts:

    1. The Braves are not going to bring in a manager better at handling players than Bobby. It does not matter that he is gone. It will get no better – manager most players want to play for in the entire league.

    2. Watching Yunel this year has made me lose all faith. He simply does not hustle and constantly looks downtrodden. I believe he will be a talented pain in the ass for years to come, always a great defender and we will see what happens to his power stroke. I just won’t miss him.

    Comment by Chris20 — July 14, 2010 @ 2:08 pm

  22. The Braves got ripped off big here. Escobar still has some good years left even if this year is lost. Gonzalez is having a far outlier year. There isn’t much evidence he can keep it up the rest of the year much less a year from now.

    Comment by PJ — July 14, 2010 @ 2:15 pm

  23. He’s under the impression they were using “consistent” the way that Joe Morgan does. Meaning consistent = good

    Comment by Bronnt — July 14, 2010 @ 2:20 pm

  24. Annnd at 4th in the AL East he would be roughly…. 6th in the league?

    Comment by KP — July 14, 2010 @ 2:34 pm

  25. Spoiler Warning: ZiPS isn’t always right.

    Comment by Jack's Kidney — July 14, 2010 @ 2:39 pm

  26. When only 4 teams make the playoffs, and at most 2 from a single division, 6th in the league is pretty bad.

    Comment by Torgen — July 14, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

  27. The Jays have had a consistent shortstop for years: John McDonald.

    Comment by Torgen — July 14, 2010 @ 2:54 pm

  28. This has the potential to be an epic trade for the Blue Jays. There isn’t a jays fan in the world that likes Collins and Pastornicky more than me but they just aren’t high upside guys at all. Collins could be a solid reliever and Pastornicky projects as a utility infielder which isn’t bad but not what you really need in the AL East.

    Comment by R.J.K — July 14, 2010 @ 3:05 pm

  29. This was an awful trade for the Braves. I to this day think the problems Escobar had were way overblown by the fans and media in Atlanta. The Braves have no leaders in the clubhouse in my mind. In his half season in Atlanta Billy Wagner seems to be the only leader on the team. It doesn’t make sense to trade away a young shortstop who has outplayed the guy you just brought in. I think this trade will backfire and I hope Escobar has success in the future because I think he got a bad rap in Atlanta. Heck, when Escobar plays great he “is the reason we traded Elvis Andrus” according to Braves fans. When he isn’t hitting well, they just usually make racial jokes or slurs about him. I wish Yunel the best in Toronto. Jays fans give the guy a chance, you will love what you are getting if you don’t get caught in the overblown ideas Braves fans will put in your mind!

    Comment by BG — July 14, 2010 @ 3:07 pm

  30. Wow, really? I thought it was. Thanks for this edifying contribution.

    Comment by Jack — July 14, 2010 @ 3:17 pm

  31. I’d have thought that one of the things this site would eschew is numerical hyperbole of the *a million times* variety. Leaving aside that I don’t think there’s necessarily a great case for saying that Escobar has a massively better track record (decided edge as a defender to Escobar but both are 27-year-olds with attitude issues and it’s easy to forget that Encarnacion has always posted strong walk rates, strong power numbers, and Age 24 and 25 seasons that were quite promising), employing the phrase *a million times* is a complete inanity for a statistican.

    Comment by E Dub — July 14, 2010 @ 3:30 pm

  32. Punctuation can be your friend.

    Comment by Chet — July 14, 2010 @ 4:00 pm

  33. Periods are your friend, dude. ;)

    Comment by Jim — July 14, 2010 @ 4:18 pm

  34. Putting aside the virtues of the phrasing “a million times”, I think it’s fair to say that Escobar has been significantly better than Encarnacion in the period leading up to their respective Toronto acquisitions.

    Escobar has been worth a bit more than twice as many wins as Encarnacion over the 3-year period preceeding their trades.

    Comment by Coby DuBose — July 14, 2010 @ 4:27 pm

  35. Weaker defensively? I know that Escobar currently has a 4.4 UZR and that is higher than Gonzalez’s, but if you look at the data over the past few seasons…

    Escobar UZR/150:
    +1.8 (2007)
    +3.6 (2008)
    +1.7 (2009)
    +9.5 (projected 2010)

    Gonzalez UZR/150:
    +14.6 (2006)
    +7.9 (2007)
    +12.2 (2009)
    +4.0 (projected 2010)

    The advantage is clearly in Gonzalez’s favour.

    Comment by spindoctor — July 14, 2010 @ 4:28 pm

  36. ‘Or, “not!?”.’ :-)

    Comment by Alan Marshall — July 14, 2010 @ 4:37 pm

  37. i always read the chat after an article but this is the first time i’ve ever commented – because this is the most mature bunch of comments i’ve ever read – well done people – guess i’ll be visiting fangraphs more often …

    Comment by robnorton — July 14, 2010 @ 5:02 pm

  38. and since i’m commenting – wow AA is doing a great job for the blue jays whether it was going to work out for yunel in atlanta or not its almost a complete no risk move for the jays with high reward potential – seems simple but its been years since the jays had a GM who understood that –

    Comment by robnorton — July 14, 2010 @ 5:05 pm

  39. My girlfriend doesn’t seem to think so.

    Comment by Nick — July 14, 2010 @ 5:27 pm

  40. I hate this trade but it had nothing to do with upside or production. Cox wanted Escobar go so Escobar’s gone.

    Comment by TRad — July 14, 2010 @ 5:35 pm

  41. The problems Cox had with Escobar were not just a matter of clashing personalities. Look at the cause of those clashes. I hope Jays fans are ready for a guy who won’t run out ground balls, who has endless mental lapses in the field, and who refuses to adjust to opposing pitchers. His production is down because his attitude sucks. As a Braves fan, I was ready to send him packing and letting Infante play SS. Sabremetrics be damned.

    Comment by Blozzy — July 14, 2010 @ 6:25 pm

  42. Then why don’t the player pages list the error bars?

    Comment by Torgen — July 14, 2010 @ 6:28 pm

  43. Are you kidding? Wagner? Really?

    The Braves’ leaders are Brian McCann and Tim Hudson. Wagner is a veteran and a HOF closer, but he ain’t the Braves’ leader. I would also argue that there are a lot of guys who play the game with a lot of heart and hustle; guys like Diaz and Prado, who show more leadership in their approach to playing than with their words, are great leaders. Escobar was a hot-shot, but he is an attitude problem and he is a lazy player. I’d rather have anybody who will play hard than a brat with all the upside in the world!

    Comment by Blozzy — July 14, 2010 @ 6:30 pm

  44. That’s the only defensive metric in the world.

    Alex Gonzalez DRS:
    2006: +3
    2007: +5
    2009: -5
    2010: +13

    Yunel Escobar DRS:
    2007: +1 (SSS)
    2008: +12
    2009: +13
    2010: +21

    Watching Yunel is one of the the reasons I’m slowly beginning to favor DRS more than UZR. He’s been a wizard with the glove this year.

    Comment by Bronnt — July 14, 2010 @ 7:27 pm

  45. I’d love to hear people describe some of the “endless mental lapses,” to me which I keep hearing about. Seems to me they’re largely upset because Yunel missed a pop-up that he lost in the lights a couple of days ago.

    The one valid complaint I’ve heard is that he didn’t take the time to make the most crisp throw to Troy Glaus on a groundball, forcing Glaus off the bag and getting his wrist slammed into by the runner. Beyond that, he’s out there working hard and making great defensive plays for the team and has very few lapses.

    Comment by Bronnt — July 14, 2010 @ 7:30 pm

  46. Running out ground balls is the mark of a great player.

    Comment by Eric Byrnes — July 14, 2010 @ 7:46 pm

  47. Escobar has had more than a couple lapes, and does not hussle at times …

    but more importantly he was not a good team mate

    Chipper Jones had a birthday party a couple weeks ago , 24 of the 25 Braves players were there….Escobar didn’t …..was not invited !!!

    How many years has Escobar been in ATL ? and still hasn’t bothered to learn English. …. But that shouldn’t be a big deal in Canada

    Comment by Baves fan — July 14, 2010 @ 9:04 pm

  48. There’s an “r” in the word Braves.

    Also, how many languages do you know? How many have you learned and mastered in the last 3 years? Thought so.

    Also, they speak English in Toronto.

    Perhaps Chipper didn’t invite Escobar to his birthday party because he’s worried Escobar might not keep his little secrets. Who gives a damn about slimy Chipper Jones the home destroyer?

    Braves fans bring a weird, creepy, Georgia bulldog mentality to their baseball fandom. For the most part, they’re ridiculous bandwagon homers.

    Additionally, given your zealous and wanton use of …………., it appears Yunel isn’t the only Atlanta resident who has failed to master the English language.

    Comment by Coby DuBose — July 14, 2010 @ 9:10 pm

  49. Tim Collins has god awful mechanics.

    Comment by Marc — July 14, 2010 @ 9:36 pm

  50. 4th best in the division if he recovers his value?

    How do you figure that?

    Jeter’s aging, and his BABIP is reflecting that, along with his average.

    The Bartlett / Brignac platoon isn’t as strong as Bartlett used to be.

    Scutaro’s having a good year again.

    Cesar isn’t better than Yunel.

    I see second best in the division. Where do you see fourth?

    Comment by Matt — July 14, 2010 @ 9:38 pm

  51. The Jays got a steal in this deal. Yunel is one of the top young shortstops in baseball and they got him for nothing but an old journeyman SS and two mid-tier prospects.

    Comment by KJ — July 14, 2010 @ 10:26 pm

  52. boom!

    Comment by INFO — July 14, 2010 @ 10:27 pm

  53. Exactly my point. People quote ZIPS like they are the real stats and act like the real stats are meaningless. Don’t get me wrong, I think this was a classic buy low, sell high move for Toronto and I give them their props, I think it is likely that Yunel and Sea Bass will have similar Post ASG numbers… but quoting ZIPS is worthless. It’s a nice little projection for players and I look forward to it every season, but it has absolutely no bearing on how players will actually perform. None. Zero.

    Comment by Boxkutter — July 15, 2010 @ 2:41 am

  54. Despite there being no metric to measure it, attitude and how a guy plays the game are both important aspects of baseball.

    Comment by NEPP — July 15, 2010 @ 9:02 am

  55. Look at Jeter’s age and his 2010 numbers.

    Very, very likely.

    Maybe even the best shortstop in the AL, with how awful AL shortstops as a whole are doing.

    Comment by BX — July 15, 2010 @ 10:23 am

  56. a couple of weeks ago he just topped running on a ball he could have scored on, realized it, acted like he hurt his hammy and then was magically fine the next inning. There are a million examples of this happening. I really love when people who don’t watch Braves games keep saying “you’re upset about one time”

    Comment by fjrabon — July 15, 2010 @ 11:35 am

  57. Why would you go to a party when you werent invited–specially one in honor of a guy who rips you in the press every chance he gets?

    Do you have a source for that “info” BTW?

    Comment by rick11p — July 15, 2010 @ 2:13 pm

  58. i am an avid braves fan and watch every game. i continue to have very mixed feelings about this deal. escobar has a poor attitude and does consistently fail to hustle. this clearly is not the “braves/bobby cox way.” that having been said, there seems so little potential for gonzalez to keep hitting homers at his current clip, and surely escobar will return to some semblance of the guy who carried the offense in the second half last year when the braves played well.

    prospects aside, the braves clearly made this trade for chemistry reasons which is brilliant if you are buster olney and ridiculous if you are keith law. i didn’t respect escobar for the way he played the game, but the raw potential is clearly there and if he can somehow channel it the jays will have fleeced the braves here.

    Comment by haynes — July 15, 2010 @ 3:40 pm

  59. one more thing, my accountant works with the club and has had a conversation in english with escobar. this complaint about his fluency is total crap. with the amount of latino and japanese players in baseball these days, language issues are moot

    Comment by haynes — July 15, 2010 @ 3:45 pm

  60. I live in Atlanta and I hate that the Braves traded Yunel. There are a lot of players on the Braves roster that struggled this year, so it’s not about performance. Chipper is still not producing consistently, but you don’t see him being traded. There was a chemistry issue, that was obvious just watching things unfold in the dugout.

    I know that Yunel will do well in Toronto, in fact I just signed up for so that I can continue to follow his career. It’s a matter of time before he turns things around, you can’t keep a good player down for long.

    Comment by walker — July 16, 2010 @ 9:19 pm

  61. i agree with walker!!!! i also live in atlanta and escobar is my favorite memeber of the team! i was sooo sad to see him go!!! i might just have to pull for the blue jays now….. p.s. i hate bobby cox

    Comment by escobarFAN — July 25, 2010 @ 3:48 pm

  62. i am a big braves fan and bulldog fan. and why are you hashing atl?

    Comment by escobarFAN — July 25, 2010 @ 3:51 pm

  63. You’re right, there are various different metrics, and there is no one metric that is perfect. My point was I don’t think the Braves ultimately got a lot weaker defensively, if at all. I love the trade for Toronto regardless.

    Comment by spindoctor — July 25, 2010 @ 7:55 pm

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