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  1. Ninth for 2012, I find that very hard to believe

    Comment by Ted Williams Head — April 4, 2012 @ 12:10 pm

  2. I have a question. Earlier Toronto had a score of 60 on the 2013+ Outlook section and it said they were tied for 5th. Now Atlanta receives a score of 57 and it says that they’re tied for 3rd. It’s probably just a typo, but some clarification would be nice. I’m guessing the typo is in the score for Atlanta’s future talent, as their scores shouldn’t average out to 57 currently.

    Otherwise great article.

    Comment by JT — April 4, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

  3. Good evaluation. As a Braves fan I don’t want to go ahead and place all of the offensive woes last season on bad luck, but I do believe there is a fair amount of regression due for most players. This article from CAC shows the xBABIPs compared to actual BABIPs from last season. As you can see, Bourn and Freeman were the only two players to exceed their xBABIPs, and even then it wasn’t by much. Most everyone else was off the mark quite a bit. Still I’m not attributing it all to luck– as Heyward’s BABIP was definitely brought down by his constantly pulling the ball to second base and hitting an IFFB seemingly every other at bat.

    Comment by wilt — April 4, 2012 @ 12:24 pm

  4. “[Chipper Jones’] lectures to younger players about playing through injuries while putting in his typical Ripken-esque schedule”

    Damn, even I think that was cold-blooded, and I’m a Phillies fan.

    Comment by harry — April 4, 2012 @ 12:24 pm

  5. Which way?

    Comment by Ben Duronio — April 4, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

  6. This was a very good writeup of the Braves’ current and future situation.

    Comment by Ben Duronio — April 4, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

  7. It was really annoying, following the team last year, when Heyward’s shoulder was hurting, and there was no remedy for it other than rest, and Chipper Jones was complaining that he wasn’t doing anything. Especially since, about 5 years ago, Chipper got called out for lingering with his injuries too much by John Smoltz. And when Heyward came back, he wasn’t hitting nearly as well as he had been, was in fact a below league-average hitter after that point, so it seems like he felt the pressure to rush back into the line-up because a respected older player made some unwarranted comments.

    Comment by Bronnt — April 4, 2012 @ 12:44 pm

  8. Wow, that was a great article, I wish xBABIP was available on Fangraphs player pages

    Comment by Ted Williams Head — April 4, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

  9. Seemed like a needless cheap shot to me. I liked the article otherwise. I could honestly see the Braves winning the East every year from 2013-15 or missing the playoffs every year. The young talent is mostly volatile (health and performance) or unknown how well they’ll do (young starting pitchers).

    Comment by TK — April 4, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

  10. Probably better have somebody edit this quick before these comments get snarky on your spelling, syntax and punctuation. (No, this is not editorial snark thinly disguised as in polite tones.)

    Comment by manuscript — April 4, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

  11. xBABIP is still really speculative, and hardly as reliable as something like FIP or even xFIP.

    Comment by Bronnt — April 4, 2012 @ 1:05 pm

  12. I just wonder if the Financial Resources ranking might be a bit generous. At least they’ve got some money coming off the books, but this past offseason they let Alex Gonzalez walk, they dumped $5 million of Derek Lowe’s salary, and they were STILL essentially maxed out on their payroll. They’re signed to a pretty terrible TV deal that has no opt-out or renegotiation clause for 25 years while other teams are getting huge TV deals. And they’re not spending heavily in the draft, while having never spent very heavily in the international market (with the two notable exceptions being Julio Teheran and Edward Salcedo).

    The situation for Atlanta could be worse than middling in just a couple of years.

    Comment by Bronnt — April 4, 2012 @ 1:13 pm

  13. If the TV deal is really going to hamper them from having any chance of succeeding, I think it would make sense for both parties to negotiate out of it. If the Braves start to suck, it will not be as good for the network or the Braves. Could the Braves negotiate a huge TV deal while providing the current TV partner with a good chunk of money to make them willing to walk away? Of course, this wouldn’t put them in line with the teams that don’t have awful deals right now, but it would mitigate their problem a bit.

    Comment by TK — April 4, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

  14. uh oh. this looks to be shaking out with the phillies as the #6org.

    Comment by cable fixer — April 4, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

  15. interesting point. i think the concluding paragraph summed it up. atlanta could be in the WS or 4th place in the NL East and would people be surprised either way?

    Comment by cable fixer — April 4, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

  16. Sometimes I do wonder if ANYONE copy-edits anything on this site. To me it takes away a bit of legitimacy.

    Comment by Ryan — April 4, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

  17. “but this past offseason they let Alex Gonzalez walk, they dumped $5 million of Derek Lowe’s salary, and they were STILL essentially maxed out on their payroll”

    This is what happens when you are a mid-market team who traditionally does not dabble too deep in the FA market that also has a large core of players in or about to be in their arb. years.

    Comment by Todd — April 4, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

  18. No such thing as a “needless” cheap shot at Chipper.

    Comment by Richard — April 4, 2012 @ 2:04 pm

  19. I would have thought the Braves operations would actually rate out higher, given their track record. There have been a few duds under the current regime, but for the most part Frank Wren has done an amazing job. The trades of Edgar Renteria and Javier Vasquez were huge wins for the Braves, and the Braves paid well under market for Michael Bourn and (at the time) Nate McClouth. Plus they have consistently drafted and developed legitimate major league talent while maintaining a reasonable budget.

    Comment by Brent — April 4, 2012 @ 2:04 pm

  20. @bronnt. Matt Cain disagrees.

    Comment by Shane H — April 4, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

  21. It’s interesting that this write-up suggests that the Braves might possibly be favorites in the East, but on the predictions post earlier today, not a single Fangraphs’ writer picked them to win the East, and more than half of them predicted the Braves would miss the playoffs.

    Comment by Bronnt — April 4, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

  22. I’m not sure if it works this way, though. I don’t know if a RSN will decide that, if a team is struggling and ratings are down, that it needs to spend MORE money for that team’s TV rights. They’re already on a crappy network that struggles to sell its advertising space, even when the team made the playoffs two years ago. That year, it seemed like every single commercial break also included one of those PSAs about crystal meth.

    Comment by Bronnt — April 4, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

  23. i wouldnt pay a lot of attention to the predictions. the writers seemed to take a “lets pick someone who isnt mainstream that we think will have a really high WAR” approach. id imagine if the writers were betting real money on what they thought, dan hudson wouldnt be a CY pick. its for entertainment and to get attention by going against the grain, not useful for analytical purposes.

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — April 4, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

  24. If that were the case, why did the Phillies get picked almost unanimously?

    Comment by Ben Duronio — April 4, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

  25. A cheap shot at Chipper and one that isn’t really fair. Chipper averaged over 153 games during the first 10 years of career (and 1995 was a shortened season). How is Jason Heyward doing in that department so far? When Chipper was young he was one of the most durable players in baseball. Heyward is either an injury-prone 22 year-old or soft. I’ll let you pick.

    Comment by Kevin — April 4, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

  26. While the Braves long-term financial outlook is not good because of their TV deal, next year looks very good. Lowe’s $10M and Chipper’s 14M come off the books which will give them much more flexibility next offseason for extensions and a free agent or two. That coupled with their youngsters’ continuing development, should make 2013 a special year in Atlanta.

    Comment by Bob — April 4, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

  27. Nobody would confuse Heyward for Cal Ripken at this point either, but Chipper really had no place saying that Heyward should play through injuries last year. It was similar to when Smoltz got at Chipper for a similar issue.

    Comment by Ben Duronio — April 4, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

  28. Definitely not reliable, but something that looks favorably heading into the year. Heyward needs to hit fewer grounders and pop-ups, which most don’t need xBABIP to figure out.

    Comment by Ben Duronio — April 4, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

  29. It is encouraging that Heyward, despite his injuries and struggles last season, put up the 15th best Age-21 season since 1990. The 14 on the list above him include Pujols, Ken Griffey Jr, Andruw Jones, Juston Upton, A-Rod, Mike Stanton, Ryan Zimmerman, Adrian Beltre, Sterlin Castro, Gary Sheffield, Miguel Cabrera, Pudge Rodriguez, Delino Deshields Sr, and Juan Gonzalez.

    Pretty good company for such a terrible season. Remember, he is young!

    Comment by TomahawkChopper — April 4, 2012 @ 3:58 pm

  30. I’m not certain how Freeman had the most underrated rookie performance last year when he finished 2nd in AL ROY voting and Hosmer finished 3rd in the AL behind – drum roll, please – Mark Trumbo. Trumbo ahead of Hosmer means to me that Hosmer’s year was the most underrated.

    Comment by geo — April 4, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

  31. My comment was intended to be more of dig at the author than a slight to Heyward. Unfortunately, I don’t think I really succeeded in that regard. The irony is that I actually like Heyward quite a bit. I also have a sneaking suspicion that he’s destined to be a super talented player who can only get on the field for about a 135-145 games a year (also known as JD Drew Syndrome). The point I was trying to make was that the author has gone out of his way on multiple occasions to bash Chipper about one comment he made during an 18 year career. Chipper was asked a question by a reporter and he gave an honest, albeit slightly misguided, answer. I see absolutely no relevance between that one quote and the Braves’ organizational ranking or, for that matter, Chipper’s place among switch hitters. Yet, somehow, it was brought up in both articles.

    Comment by Kevin — April 4, 2012 @ 9:28 pm

  32. Bronnt, I’d like to think Chipper Jones knows when his body is ready a little more than John Smoltz; that’s hardly the first ex-teammate Smoltzy has “blasted”. Of course it was a cheap shot at Chipper.

    Comment by bstar — April 5, 2012 @ 5:39 am

  33. Chipper was on the Braves before the Braves were in the NL East. Enough said?

    Comment by TomahawkChopper — April 5, 2012 @ 7:22 am

  34. This doesn’t really matter, but Atlanta’s numbers don’t compute. When you put in 57, 57, 49, 49, you get an overall of 53, which is both a) not 57 and 2) not higher than the Blue Jays 54. Just curious which numbers are off.

    Comment by Ben Hall — April 5, 2012 @ 8:51 pm

  35. That was a very fair analysis, speaking as a Braves fan. I think the position players in the minors are a bit better than usually thought and there is an unending supply of good young pitching, the Braves’ hallmark since the Cox/Scheurholz era. During their futures game, J.R. Graham got clobbered but he wowed everyone with his electric stuff. A lot of Braves fans grew up with a dynasty and can’t deal with less than that. I go back to the Milwaukee days, so I have seen incredible ineptitude. This management seems to be doing a great job on a relatively skimpy budget. Sean Gilmartin is almost ready for the majors and looks like another Mike Minor pick. Christian Bethancourt and Evan Gattis are both terrific catching prospects, although Gattis probably won’t last at catcher. The Matt Lipka move to CF seems to be paying off. I think their position player situation is underrated. For the rest, the comments appear to be accurate. This year, four divisions have clear winners before the season starts. But both East divisions are way to tough to call, since both have four really good teams. Toronto and the Nats might be overlooked, but those are two good, solid teams with tons of young talent. Which, to me, is what makes baseball fun. I hate dynasties, even when it’s my team. I like being surprised, and those two divisions are almost certain to have surprises.

    I think the best comment here was about the front office. Wren et al are doing a pretty great job of turning marginal prospects who have no chance in Atlanta into pretty decent players, a couple of whom did not pan out. We can never know, but perhaps his greatest strength is in the trades he didn’t make. We haven’t coughed up a single top prospect, and the reason is simple…no one offered a bat with equivalent talent. I’ll stick with great pitching and filling in where necessary, as opposed to finding sluggers and tossing out AAAA arms.

    Comment by Mekons5 — April 6, 2012 @ 12:24 am

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