Don’t Blow Up the Braves

Condolences are the only proper greeting for a Braves fan today. And anger is an acceptable response to the team’s play in September, as well. But as the emotion subsides, two truths should stick out. The Braves had a good season, and they have a roster that is poised to get better without an overhaul.

89 wins is not an impetus to cry into your coffee. There are reasons for Braves fans to keep their heads held high, too. They played in one of the toughest divisions in baseball — the only one to produce a 100-game winner, for one — and they came up a buck short. No matter how you slice it (FIP, xFIP, SIERA or good old-fashioned ERA), they had a top-three pitching staff in the National League this year. That’s a good foundation for success, and the rest of their problems are fixable.

Those problems come in two flavors: Defense and Offense. The Braves were third-worst in UZR/150 in the NL and 11th in offense (by wRC+). A couple relatively minor tweaks could make real headway in both of these, and when it comes to offense at least, time is on their side.

There are some unfixable problems on defense. Chipper Jones is not getting younger or better with the glove anytime soon. Even if he was only the third-worst regular by UZR, it might make sense to move Martin Prado to third base as often as possible in 2012. Or, as Lance Berkman has said, would the outfield actually be easier on his knees? In terms of defense, Chipper might just be a ‘sunk cost.’

The two worst regular culprits with the glove were Freddie Freeman (-13.3 UZR/150) and Dan Uggla (-11.6 UZR/150). Uggla has been on a free-fall with the glove for some time, as he hasn’t put up a positive number in the category since 2008. Prado wasn’t amazing at the position (career -8.4), but he’s younger and closer to his peak. This tweak seems like it could be an easy one. Hopefully the veteran will be happy to move aside if the team asks it of him.

Freeman? We all know about hardware decided upon by managing staffs (Shmold Shloves, cough cough), but Freeman was voted the best defensive first baseman in the International League by a Baseball America poll given to IL managers. It’s conceivable that another year of major league experience would be all it takes to improve the defense at that position.

Age is mostly on this team’s side when it comes to offense, as well. By average age of the entire lineup (28.9 years old), they don’t show as younger than average (28.8 years for the National League), but that ignores the specific players. Prado, Freeman, Brian McCann and Jason Heyward are all 27 or younger. It’s conceivable that most of them have better years with the bat next year. Well, except for McCann maybe. A 121 wRC+ from your catcher is a pretty good season. Add in a full year of Michael Bourn — even if he didn’t have the greatest September — and this offense isn’t as bad as it’s looked at times and has the chance to get better next year.

All of this is not to say that the Braves cannot make moves to improve the team. With Brandon Beachy, Mike Minor, Randall Delgado, Julio Teheran and Arodys Vizcaino all competing for the last spot in the rotation, they actually have a wealth of riches when it comes to pitching. Could they use a pitcher to wrest away a shortstop who can defend and hit a little? That’s the only position where the Braves don’t have a starter locked in next year.

And that’s really the best way of saying it. This pitching-rich team that came up one win short of the playoffs is returning everybody but their mediocre shortstop, whom they can easily sign if only to be a backup. Their two oldest and most expensive players (Jones and Derek Lowe) will be entering the last years of their contracts, too.

Keep your heads up, Braves fans, your team is on the right track. No need for them to change course dramatically. If they work around the edges, they’ll find their way to the postseason soon enough.



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Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.


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chiefglockandhummer
Guest
chiefglockandhummer
4 years 7 months ago

i’m confused, what are you suggesting about uggla, chipper, and prado? that uggla plays third, chipper plays LF, and prado plays second?

from watching the braves all season (and chipper for years), i think uggla’s and chipper’s greatest assets on defense are their position-specific skills. chipper charges choppers well and throws from the hole ok. uggla can turn double plays as good as a real second basemen. but they both have horrible range. how would taking them out of their comfort zones help anything?

i say leave ’em where they are. chipper and uggla had some of the best WARs on the offensive side of the ball for the braves this year.

chiefglockandhummer
Guest
chiefglockandhummer
4 years 7 months ago

*well

“as well as a real second baseman”

Surrealistic Pillow
Guest
Surrealistic Pillow
4 years 7 months ago

I agree with the conclusion, but is this not a straw man? Who in his right mind would suggest blowing this team up?

Michael Procton
Guest
4 years 7 months ago

The not insignificant lunatic fringe of the fanbase.

Enrico Dandolo
Guest
Enrico Dandolo
4 years 7 months ago

If you actually watch Freddie Freeman, you can tell he’s a good defensive first baseman. He has very little range, but first base is perhaps the least range-dependent position. His strength is doing ridiculous splits to catch throws early and often, and he scoops any bad throw that comes his way.

hunterfan
Guest
hunterfan
4 years 7 months ago

If what you’re saying is that Freddie Freeman is a good firstbaseman because he catches what is thrown to him, even though he stinks at range, I have to disagree. That’s basically Ryan Howard’s skillset.

Michael Procton
Guest
4 years 7 months ago

That’s not what he’s saying at all. He’s saying he catches what is thrown anywhere in his general direction. Try watching him some time. He saved three or four errors a week with his scoops.

don
Guest
don
4 years 7 months ago

Three or four errors a week? So the other Braves infielders would have had an extra 30 errors, each, if not for Freeman? Right.

RC
Member
Member
RC
4 years 7 months ago

“Three or four errors a week? So the other Braves infielders would have had an extra 30 errors, each, if not for Freeman? Right.”

Well, 2 of the 3 other Braves infielders were Chipper Jones and Dan Uggla, so……yeah, it’s possible that they would have each had an additional 15-20 errors. But even a bad 1b would save SOME throwing errors.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
4 years 6 months ago

Scooping and being able to gobble up everything at first is probably more important than range. Having the confidence to throw the ball wherever and not having to make a perfect play makes your fielders better. I know, this is fangraphs and “lol at emotion” but it’s true. Jeter got better because of Tex.

ecp
Guest
ecp
4 years 7 months ago

Actually, what would be REALLY good would be if everybody would just acknowledge that UZR stinks for assessing first basemen. Most experts agree that advanced defensive metrics have huge shortcomings when it comes to measuring 1B defense, and some disregard them altogether, preferring to use the “eye test.”

It’s also worthwhile to remember that, if you want to use UZR, you really need at least three years of numbers to even begin to draw conclusions. There is only one year of numbers on Freeman.

Brad Johnson
Guest
Brad Johnson
4 years 7 months ago

No, you need three years of data before it has predictive power or you can make statistically significant statements. The data we have is still useful, it just has to be heavily regressed to league average. Given his season, said regression would probably consider Freeman to be about a -1 to -2 UZR/150 player.

Michael Procton
Guest
4 years 7 months ago

Absolutely. He’s also got a hell of an arm, though that obviously doesn’t come into play very often. UZR doesn’t factor in what he’s best at, so it makes him look like a net minus, when he’s easily a plus.

Merlin
Guest
Merlin
4 years 7 months ago

As someone said earlier if you watched Freeman this year instead of relying on numbers that most agree do not reflect the true worth, skill and value of a first baseman, you’d know he played gold glove caliber first base this year. I watched 150 or so games, Freeman was superb. He made picks that had the opposition shaking there head and saved many a run. He gets to popups down the line well and saved McCann’s bacon more than once this year. Is he fast? No but he’s as fast a Teixeira and as sure with the glove. Our infield defense was bad last year mainly because we had concrete hands Glaus at first most of the early season. This year Freeman made Gonzalez – who had everyone gushing over his play – look better that he was. Many first basemen wouldn’t have handled some of those throws and Gonzalez would have been charged with errors. Freddie picked them and made it look easy. He’s better than Pujols who will will GG because he’s Pujols (and god apparently) around the bag and has a better arm. I haven’t seen Votto or Loney enough to judge them in the field. With the possible exception of Votto who folks rave about, there’s no NL first basemen I’d consider swapping Freeman based on fielding alone. If you offered me Teixeira at 31 for Freeman I’d turn you down
Your UZR 150 for Freeman show him with worse than Adam Dunn with the Nationals in 2010. Really? You cannot be serious. Dunn was an immobile, no scooping, poor throwing 1st baseman. That comparison alone should tell you the formula doesn’t fit that position well.

Derek Lowe, Ph.D.
Guest
Derek Lowe, Ph.D.
4 years 7 months ago

I apologize to the Braves fans for losing the penultimate game of the season in contrast to last season when I dominated September and contributed to a play-off berth.

Now I will clear my clubhouse locker of my stash of Nature and JACS issues, and read some interesting chemistry.

Derek Lowe, Ph.D.
Guest
Derek Lowe, Ph.D.
4 years 7 months ago

At least I hit a home run off of John Lannan. That was perhaps the best moment of my 2011 season.

bryan
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bryan
4 years 7 months ago

you did a pretty good job getting out of that DUI charge

Mr. Verlander
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Mr. Verlander
4 years 7 months ago

You are an imposter (unlike me).

I texted D-Lo and he said he’s never even heard of Fangraphs.

He also believes that pitchers can largely control their BAPIP.

What a silly goose! Everyone knows that only I possess this ability.

Nik
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Nik
4 years 7 months ago

I think you better look ‘penultimate’ up in a dictionary. Don’t use words if you don’t know what they mean.

Derek Lowe, Ph.D.
Guest
Derek Lowe, Ph.D.
4 years 7 months ago

Maybe you should look at what day I pitched.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
4 years 7 months ago

Wow, you looked smart there.

Derek Lowe, Ph.D.
Guest
Derek Lowe, Ph.D.
4 years 7 months ago

“I think you better look ‘penultimate’ up in a dictionary. Don’t use words if you don’t know what they mean.”

Okay.

“1. next to the last: the penultimate scene of the play.
2. of or pertaining to a penult. ”

Your puerile remark is indicative of your oligophrenia. I started the “next to the last” (161st) game of the season on Tuesday, and one can reasonably call that the “penultimate game of the season” from the (ex post facto) perspective of the Braves. I’m sorry if I didn’t consider the contingency of a play-in game, or even winning the play-in game and entering the post-season as the Wild Card, or adding the adjective “regular” to “season”.

Too add some levity. I once called Craig Kimbrel “the enantiomer of Billy Wagner”, Craig looked up the term and he agreed with me.

Bo
Guest
Bo
4 years 7 months ago

They’ll need to find a SS and perhaps a LF, which will allow Prado to get plenty of time at third while Chipper inevitably has to sit out.

Hopefully Medlen can continue his rebuilding and prove to be a viable candidate for the rotation again, which would allow the Braves to cut ties with Lowe and salvage what little $$$ they can (though for another team to take him I suspect Wren will have to cover $11M or so).

I agree that no major overhaul is needed, but definitely a few spots must be looked at during the offseason.

max
Member
max
4 years 7 months ago

Eno I’m confused about what you think they should do with Uggla and Prado. It looks like you’re suggesting they move Prado to 2B? Then what would happen with Uggla? I think they need his bat somewhere, and it can’t be at DH…

hunterfan
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hunterfan
4 years 7 months ago

I think he’s saying swap Uggla and Prado. Prado at 2nd, Uggla in LF.

TK
Guest
TK
4 years 7 months ago

I think it is anything but certain that would help the Braves defense overall.

JW
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JW
4 years 7 months ago

The way I read those two paragraphs, it seems he’s advocating that Prado join Chipper at 3rd, while also taking over for a retiring or reduced-role Uggla at 2nd.

deadpool
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deadpool
4 years 7 months ago

But why? The Braves were in the top 5 in fielding percentage. You can’t get much better than that. /sarcasm

t-plunk
Guest
t-plunk
4 years 7 months ago

impossible. here’s why: you’d waste the work prado put into adjusting to outfield… and soon he may be adjusting to spot starting or being the regular 3b if chipper is injured or reduced to a switch hitting bench player-

Also, dan uggla plays 2b better than prado, he turns the double play better than most and you don’t freaking want to mess with these two guys after the offensive season they just had, keeping em comfortable in the field will keep em relaxed at the plate

if chipper can’t contribute look for us to acquire/call-up a out fielder next season.

Brad Johnson
Member
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Throw Kris Medlen into the mix for that last rotation spot. He probably has a better shot at it than Delgado or Vizcaino, although he’s very likely to be a reliever.

Unfortunately for the Braves, their best starting pitcher will need to overcome a potentially dangerous injury. They certainly have the depth to handle that, but there’s a big difference between the certainty of Hanson and the youthful upside of Teheran, Minor, or Medlen.

t-plunk
Guest
t-plunk
4 years 7 months ago

nope rotation will be hudson (we will trade hanson or jurrijens or minor) lowe will be cut/ traded the rest will be the kids: beachy, teheran, delgado, vizcaino. medlen is a long reliever spot starter- he doesn’t have the stuff these young aces have.

kawakami is of course gone.

we have to allow our starters to pitch deeper into games- screw pitch counts let em pitch and save the pen this year- that new philosophy is soft and stupid.

Ryan
Member
Ryan
4 years 7 months ago

Lowe to the bullpen (In 2011 he had better than career average in K% and SwStrike%)

Trade one of their top SP prospects for Alexei Ramirez

Done.

Derek Lowe, Ph.D.
Guest
Derek Lowe, Ph.D.
4 years 7 months ago

No, I don’t want to be a long-reliever. I’m not as bad as Barry Zito.

t-plunk
Guest
t-plunk
4 years 7 months ago

yes you are.

Brad Johnson
Member
Member
4 years 7 months ago

This is actually a pretty solid idea if Hanson, Jurrjens, and Hudson are all healthy. With Beachy, Minor, Teheran, and Medlen all immediately viable options for the back of the rotation, the team may gain more that way.

An even better course of action might be to start Lowe in the rotation and Medlen in the pen. They can then flip flop the pair at a later date as Medlen further recovers or they could move Minor/Teheran into that spot.

Allan
Guest
Allan
4 years 7 months ago

Nobody wants to blow up the team but there are key, glaring issues that need to be addressed. Derek Lowe cannot be a starter for us anymore. The approach at the plate must be fixed somehow – if that means a new hitting coach, so be it. Fredi, if he’s still around, has to take an inventory of his player management. He can improve too but has to be willing to do so. Early indications for ATL is that the whole coaching staff is staying put…ugh…

But our future remains bright even if today really, really sucks.

cavebird
Guest
cavebird
4 years 7 months ago

Alas, IIRC, there was discussion of Uggla moving to left after he signed last offseason and he was not receptive to the idea. As for the general gist of the article, I agree, but I don’t see much in the way of SS upgrades available unless we seriously overpay in trade. Then again, as a Braves fan, today, I do want to see the team blown up, literally, not figuratively.

Tyler
Guest
Tyler
4 years 7 months ago

This is when it would sure be nice to have the Phillies’ payroll. Sign Reyes and/or Beltran. Profit.

Bobby Ayala
Member
Member
4 years 7 months ago

How would one even “blow up” the Braves? Trade Lowe? Chipper? They wouldn’t get anything back. Trade tyhe young core guys, like Heyward or McCann? Is anyone even suggesting that? Might as well have a “Don’t Blow Up the Diamondbacks” article next.

Slartibartfast
Guest
Slartibartfast
4 years 7 months ago

Yep…my thoughts as well. Strange choice of article.

Adam
Member
Adam
4 years 7 months ago

Buster Olney, for one. He wrote today that there might be some in the org who want to trade Heyward now. It’s not really clear whether that’s coming from his own speculations or something he has actually heard.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
4 years 7 months ago

Might be some in the organization that want to trade him now? In an entire organization, there might be lots of things. That’s Buster being about vague as one can be.

Have ATL call StL. Miller for Heyward, straight up.

Michael Procton
Guest
4 years 7 months ago

Ridiculous suggestion. After tolerating his awful season, they want to trade him NOW, at the floor of his value? They put up with Jeff Francoeur for what, three and a half years before letting go?

thebravestway
Guest
thebravestway
4 years 7 months ago

So… Heyward for Rajai Davis, Moises Sierra and bullpen arm.

Sound about right?

Marvel Goose
Guest
4 years 7 months ago

I think Buster was talking to the bartender at the 755 Club about four drinks after the 13th inning.

t-plunk
Guest
t-plunk
4 years 7 months ago

too bad we didnt keep melky cabrera around- would’ve been awesome to have a true # hitter this season

Scott
Guest
Scott
4 years 7 months ago

I don’t think they need to blow the team up, I think someone from the managerial staff should be fired, someone should be sacrificed for an epic collapse. The overall drop of walking would make me want to can Larry Parrish. 99% of the Braves issues were due to injuries to Jurrjens, Prado, Hanson, McCann, and of course Heyward. But they choked it up down the stretch, the Cards played well, but the Braves just win one game against the Cards and they clinched the wild card.

Lowe should be cut or traded, don’t care how much money you have to eat of his salary, he can be replaced by Minor, Delgado, or Teheran easily. I’d also trade Jurrjens to get prospects or in a deal for a real LF.

I agree that the team doesn’t need to be blown up, but some dead weight needs to be gotten rid of though thankfully most of them are FA except Lowe.

Gabriel
Guest
Gabriel
4 years 7 months ago

I’ve got to agree with chiefglockandhummer — yes, a guy like Uggla isn’t a great defender, but his offense is so good for a second baseman that as long as his defense isn’t unacceptably awful, he should probably stick there. Put another way, his offense is only so-so for a left-fielder, but he outmashes most any second-basemen, making up for his defensive liability (hence his 2.7 WAR despite the poor fielding).

I’m assuming that Chipper will probably get a fair number of days off, letting Prado play 3rd a bunch. What I’d do is probably see if there were a corner outfielder or first baseman they could sign — I hear there are some good ones on the market and the Braves do not have to be a low-payroll club.

Icebox
Guest
Icebox
4 years 7 months ago

Problem here, Gabriel. The position scarcity/WAR argument doesn’t work when the player’s replacements are on the same team. Uggla may be more valuable at 2B on the FA market, or his WAR might (probably would) be highest at 2B, but all things being equal defensively, rotating him through three positions on the field doesn’t affect his value.

I’m not worried about this team defensively. They had plus defense at the premium positions, and, whatever UZR says, looked about average everywhere else.

I will, however, join in calling for Parrish’s head.

Tyler
Guest
Tyler
4 years 7 months ago

It doesn’t help that the guys who would make the most sense to trade — Prado and either of Jurrjens/Hanson — are all coming off subpar years or injuries.

Priority #1 needs to be to fire Larry Parrish. A 31 point drop in OBP is unacceptable and Parrish has no successful track record as a hitting coach on which to fall back.

jrogers
Member
jrogers
4 years 7 months ago

After his success this year, I really don’t think Beachy should have to “compete for the last spot in the rotation.” Wouldn’t it be best to get rid of Lowe (even for nothing), and have Hudson, Hanson, Beachy, Jurrjens, and the best of the other young guys?

And I think you should clarify where you think is best for Uggla. “Move aside” doesn’t explain what his role would be.

TK
Guest
TK
4 years 7 months ago

Thinking about the Braves future has been a nice distraction from being forced to think about the past, particularly the past 4 weeks. At first, my thought was to improve SS, LF, and the top of the rotation, but I’ve changed my mind after looking at Prado and after thinking about the season. Prado’s BABIP was .266, which was after being .321 or higher every year of his career. Even at .300-.310, he would post a decent OBP and his defensive value (multiple positions, particularly 3B) is high. I think the real answer in the OF is another right handed bat that can play all 3 spots, won’t cost much, and is willing to be the 4th guy, but wouldn’t be awful as an everyday player if Chipper goes down and Prado moves to third. I think an old friend fits that bill. Andruw Jones.

As for the rotation, the two guys I would look at moving are Lowe and Jurrjens, but both are sell-low candidates. I’d love for the Braves to find a Saber-minded team to take Lowe and most of his salary (I wouldn’t mind paying 1/3) thanks to his 3.67 FIP and 2.5 WAR this year. But since that probably won’t happen, I think the best option is to start the year with the same rotation as last year, though with Lowe serving as 5th starter, and hoping that Jurrjens and/or Lowe perform well enough to sell high or at least sell even by June. Injuries at SP are always a concern, but with Minor, Teheren, Delgado, Arodys, and Medlan, the Braves would still have 5 guys to fill up the last 2 spots in the rotation after Hudson, Hanson and Beachy. The other benefit of this is that you would more likely have these guys under the necessary innings count if they are starting in the minors where it can be contained.

At SS, I think the smart move is to resign AGonz and look at Pasternicky as his replacement. Overpaying in trade or free agency at the position where you have two of your top prospects seems foolish (Matt Lipka being the other).

TK
Guest
TK
4 years 7 months ago

Oh, and the trade of Jurrjens (and possibly one of the young pitchers) would hopefully net a front line starter as well. The Braves have too many decent SP options, not enough studs.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
4 years 7 months ago

Why would anyone trade a stud pitching prospect for Jurrjens and loose change? I can’t think of a team that wants short-term pitching that much that they would sacrifice a future #1 for a #3.

You can’t count on teams just looking at ERA anymore, not even the dumb ones. …Okay, maybe the Angels.

TK
Guest
TK
4 years 7 months ago

My thought was a three team trade where we give team X Jurrjens and team Z Delgado (or Minor or Viscieno), and team Z gives team B something, and team Z gives us a stud pitcher. Or we trade Jurrjens straight up for Dan Haren.

TK
Guest
TK
4 years 7 months ago

I think I messed that up. You all know how a three team trade works.

Derek Lowe, Ph.D.
Guest
Derek Lowe, Ph.D.
4 years 7 months ago

BTW, I have a FIP of 3.70, while my ERA is at 5.05. I am not a bad pitcher. Also, my BABIP is at .327 in contrast to my career average of .295. Also, my GB% in 2011 is 59%.

RBR
Guest
RBR
4 years 7 months ago

Awesome. Another season of Prado being swapped back & forth, between LF & 3B, when Chipper’s banged up, causing his infield defense to suffer again & possibly his offensive game as well, as I don’t think that was any coincidence.

Not to mention, another year of trying to replace Chipper for half of our games, considering he played more than his norm this year & is due to pay heavily for that next season, while also having to replace the #3 hitter in our lineup & our starting 3B, while also having to deal with the many long droughts he’ll battle his way through next season!

Memo, when you’re 80% healthy, your most likely not any better than the worst player on your freaking roster, that’s why your ass is sitting over there on the bench in the 1st place, you’re too hurt to play, you’re never going to get healthy & go back to being the player you’re capable of being if you do come back early, &, most importantly, I’m the manager & I make the rules.

gouis
Guest
gouis
4 years 7 months ago

Hey, RollBravesRoll

BN 4eva

Kevin S.
Guest
Kevin S.
4 years 7 months ago

I know Baltimore just locked Hardy in with the idea that he’s their shortstop of the future, but given the issues they’ve been having with their own young pitchers, they’d have to listen if the Braves offered to open the hoard, right?

Nik
Guest
Nik
4 years 7 months ago

Everybody still think Bourn was a better pickup than Pence?

Michael Procton
Guest
4 years 7 months ago

Absolutely. In evaluating the cost:benefit ratio, the Braves owned the deadline.

Nik
Guest
Nik
4 years 7 months ago

Except in the end their benefit this year was 0.

Steve
Guest
Steve
4 years 7 months ago

Shut up, Phillies fan.

Nik
Guest
Nik
4 years 7 months ago

You Mad? How ironic that Bourn gets thrown out stupidly stealing 3rd base while Pence throws out a runner with an amazing throw and drives in the winning run.

Luke M.
Guest
4 years 7 months ago

Yeah Pence really drove in that run!

TK
Guest
TK
4 years 7 months ago

Yes, Pence was the penultimate pickup.

Derek Lowe
Guest
Derek Lowe
4 years 7 months ago

Anyone want to use the word “enantiomer”?

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
4 years 7 months ago

At least you didn’t say “Don’t Scalp the Braves”.

Is there anyone suggesting this team needs an overhaul? Or even major changes?

They need to be healthy … like everyone else.

Other than that, their combination of good veteran players and young talent (especially on the mound) seems to be in line with how they’ve done business for the past 25 years.

If there’s an organization that doesn’t panic or over-react to heartbreak, it’s the Braves.

MacK
Guest
MacK
4 years 7 months ago

Lance Berkman actually said that he prefers playing outfield, not infield, because the infield is harder on his knees. Not the other way around.

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
4 years 7 months ago

Chipper Jones of the Braves said much the opposite when he played in the outfield-that he was taking more of a beating on his legs and feet than he did playing third base, and that he had to move back to third base to prolong his career.

So perhaps there’s not a clear-cut case,and it varies depending on the player.

donizzle
Guest
donizzle
4 years 7 months ago

Of course it’s easier on Chipper’s knees. If the ball isn’t within his reach then he doesn’t try to move at 3b. You actually have to move in the OF–Garrett Anderson notwithstanding.

rohanvashi
Member
rohanvashi
4 years 7 months ago

Atlanta Braves Defense:
UZR: -21
DRS: 24

I don’t think the defense is as bad as everyone thinks it is.

The Nicker
Member
Member
The Nicker
4 years 7 months ago

Good point, at the same time, DRS agrees with UZR on a few of the players being pretty poor defenders. Namely, Chipper Jones, Nate McLouth, and especially Dan Uggla.

channelclemente
Guest
4 years 7 months ago

It would seem to me, if the Braves manager managed a bullpen better, the Braves would have been fine.

acr
Guest
acr
4 years 7 months ago

The Braves need help against LHP. They were last in MLB vs. LHP in BA and OBP. They were worst in the NL vs LHP in SLG and OPS. Jed Lowrie can hit LHP and Boston needs rotation help. I don’t think the BoSox want Lowe back but maybe they take him and a Braves prospect in exchange for Jed Lowrie? Just a thought.

AA
Guest
AA
4 years 7 months ago

What’s the official position on using a 1 year UZR sample on a rookie?

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
4 years 7 months ago

Officially it tells us something. But then you need to use other criteria to decide if he’s a good/average/poor defender.

* wink *

berrygin
Guest
berrygin
4 years 7 months ago

Well, if UZR says Freeman sucks, then UZR is truly useless. Anyone who watches him on a regular basis can tell you there are few better than him at 1st. People in 10 years will be laughing that people paid attention to UZR.

Hugekiwi
Guest
Hugekiwi
4 years 7 months ago

Do you know what UZR stands for?

Ryan
Guest
Ryan
4 years 7 months ago

Didn’t Chipper play LF a couple years ago? I swear he did.

ABravesFan
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ABravesFan
4 years 7 months ago

Concerning Freeman’s defense, UZR doesn’t really consider one’s ability to save bad throws. Freeman has been definitely quite good in terms of saving bad throws this year. His supposed lack of range may be more of the way the Braves position their 1st baseman than anything else.

I agree that the future is still bright in Atlanta. The only potential major pieces that may get moved this offseason was supposed to be either Hanson or Jurrjens. However, their injuries kind of knocked down their trade values and made it that much more plausible for the Braves to hold on to them both.

Anyhow, as I very slowly work toward acceptance with regards to the Braves’ collapse, I’m glad that the Braves is still young enough and talented enough to win. Most importantly, there is still one more year at least of winning Chipper another title. The only concern (and this is highly non-stat based) is really psychology of the team. One can either be stronger and overcome it or collapse mentally. Craig Kimbrel is talented enough to be a great closer for many years, I hope that will still be true (since he won’t get the chance to prove to himself that he can dominant again).

CircleChange11
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CircleChange11
4 years 7 months ago

2011 ‘Scoops’ Leaders (Fld Runs)
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[1] Carlos Pena — 58 (0.7)
[2] Freddie Freeman — 45 (-12.6)
[3] Eric Hosmer — 43 (-7)
[4] Casey Kotchman — 38 (1.6)
[5] Mark Teixeira — 38 (8.6)

Phantom Stranger
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Phantom Stranger
4 years 7 months ago

Freeman is no Keith Hernandez or Don Mattingly at First, but the UZR for him is simply unreliable in this instance. He does have limited range, but has excellent hands and a powerful throwing arm. I would heavily regress that number for future reference.

When we look back, it may have been prudent to sell high on Martin Prado last year. He just does not look like the same hitter after the staph infection, and he can only have real value if he maintains a high contact rate.

Derek Lowe has to be on a very short leash next year. Wren has to be willing to cut him if he pitches early in the season like he did this year. His stuff is decidedly mediocre now and MLB hitters feast on his hanging sinkers now.

I would probably resign Gonzalez if the price was right on a 1-year deal. His defense is still top-notch, though the hitting is not likely to improve very much.

PeteH
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PeteH
4 years 7 months ago

I’m slowly dragging myself out of shock. Losing your top two pitchers just didn’t help, but the Braves really need a LF bat and we have the pitching to get one. That might mean Prado becomes a supersub for a year or so, but that’s life.

I’m assuming that Gonzo will be back and could break in Pastornicky, assuming the Braves think he’s close to ready. As for Lowe, unless he can prove this year was a freak, he should be in the bullpen or gone. Hanson and Jurjjens will be healthy by spring, so we have absolutely no need for him. With that long list of kids who have already done pretty well in their debuts, plus Medlen, Beachy and Minor, with Gilmartin probably not that far away, plus JJ Hoover, pitching is not a problem. We can afford to dump Lowe and trade one kid for the LF help we need. Lowe could make someone a serviceable fifth starter if we eat a chunk of his contract. I just don’t see him being at all useful next year.

And Heyward just can’t be as bad as he looked this year. So I don’t really see any holes for next year. We might have to go out and find a 3B by next year, but we’re OK there for now.

adohaj
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adohaj
4 years 7 months ago

Next year the Braves will be the #6org

Robbie G.
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Robbie G.
4 years 7 months ago

I tend to think that a mediocre team defense can turn into a pretty good team defense by adding a superstar fielder at either the SS or CF position. Everyone agrees that SS is a glaring hole for the Braves.

The consensus top SS prospect in MLB seems to be the Rangers’ Jurickson Profar. Texas has recently demonstrated a willingness to promote a very young/raw SS prospect to the big leagues with Elvis Andrus. Profar is going to play SS in the majors and Texas is set at 2B with Ian Kinsler. I don’t think you can play Andrus anywhere else on the diamond in Texas because his bat isn’t good enough.

Would Texas consider trading Andrus back to the Braves for one of Atlanta’s top starting pitching prospects? I think they would. Andrus has a dramatically positive effect on that infield defense, in my opinion, and we aren’t talking about how Atlanta’s defense is a problem this time next season.

The other obvious thing to consider doing is acquiring a slugger to play in LF which would allow Martin Prado to return to super-utility man for Atlanta (or to the everyday 3B when Chipper inevitably spends chunks of time on the disabled list). Tampa Bay wants something for B.J. Upton this winter as they obviously do not plan on re-signing him the following winter. Josh Willingham will be a free agent and nearly hit 30 HRs this season yet should not cost a ton. Michael Cuddyer is another free agent with significantly more pop than Prado who wouldn’t cost a ton. Then there are a couple of veteran OFs whose current teams could be expected to pay a large chunk of remaining monies owed to a team willing to take them off of their hands: Torii Hunter and (don’t laugh) Carlos Lee (okay, maybe it’s okay to laugh, come to think of it).

Other than those two moves, seems to me that Atlanta can mostly stand pat.

tony
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tony
4 years 7 months ago

I wonder if this guy has ever seen a braves game or just looks at numbers? Freedie freeman is a problem on defense? You have to be kidding me. I would say he is one of the highlights of the season? His strecth play in the last day of the season saved a game ending run. Gonzalez is a mediocre fileding SS? O.k. keep telling yourself that. I don’t even see a problem with uggla, his range isn;t the greatest but he never fails in the big spot. His glove lost zero games for us this year. The problem is the hitting, no one can hit, defensively we are fine. And didn’t chipper have like the second least errors as a thridbaseman this year.

Merlin
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Merlin
4 years 7 months ago

Uggla said he would not like being asked to play third and as an outfielder he makes a good second baseman. His range is not that of Pedroia but he improved significantly this year because he played at Turner field instead of the hell hole in Florida with an infield everyone who played there hated.
Prado as a left fielder makes a good second baseman. He hates it and was promised it would not be permanent. That was before Chipper decided to play in a hoverround . Now Prado’s pouting and his hitting shows it. At third Prado’s not superb but playing there everyday he would get better and his range is better than Chipper’s. heck, my range is better than Chipper’s and I’m 62. Chipper does charge the ball well and survives because he handles things right at him so well. The reflexes are good but his legs are shot. He needs a wide ranging shortstop beside him to make up that if he comes back. Anyone thinking Chipper will play anywhere but third as a Brave however is mistaken. He says “I’m still the best third baseman in Atlanta and when I’m not I’ll retire.” After agreeing to left field when Castilla was signed then coming back to play better than Vinnie after he was gone Chipper made it clear he isn’t moving period, “I am Atlanta’s third baseman. I’m not moving again.” He may still reconsider coming back and I hope he does because I love him and want him to leave on top, not as a shell of the 1st ballot Hall of Fame player he’s been.

Tomas
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Tomas
4 years 7 months ago

You know, I like stats, and analyze by the number, but there are things that numbers can’t tell you. I saw about 140 games or more and I can tell you Freddie Freeman should be considered for a gold glove. Chipper is old and all but he is solid, I actually think he has improved in defense, and well Uggla is not Brandon Phillips but he certainly surprised me with his D, nothing compared to his rep.

Now if there’s one area Braves need to fill next season it’s SS no doubt. Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of fits in free agency, and if they make a trade it should be for a player with a max of 2 years remaining in his contract. And as good as the bullpen was, they need a few fresh quality arms to minimize O’flaherty, Venters, and Kimbrel’s work load. Medlen and Martinez are also part of that bullpen but they need improvements over Sherril and Linebrink.

And they need to trade or release Lowe and give Delgado or Teheran a spot if Hanson isn’t able to recover, and if he does they have a 5 man rotation without Lowe.

To win next year, 1. Uggla can’t get off to that horrible of a start again. 2. Prado needs to start hitting like he has done throughout his career instead of what he did this year. 3. Heyward needs to bounce back from his sophomore year. 4. Starters need to start going deeper, and stay healthy at least 80 % of the season. 5. Fredi Gonzalez needs to limit the workload of O’ventrel to respectable levels.

Really it’s not an issue of acquiring somebody, but it is an issue of underperforming players which need to get it together, and being smarter with handling the bullpen.

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