– MLB – Neyer: Roster mysteries

I quote at probably too much length:

Braves outfielder DeWayne Wise — and I write this with the considerable respect a professional baseball writer should have for a professional baseball player — doesn’t have any business being in the major leagues. In 112 major league at-bats (with Toronto in 2002), Wise batted .179 with four walks. In 285 Triple-A at-bats (with Syracuse in 2003), Wise batted .218 with 17 walks. Yet somehow Wise is one of four outfielders the Braves are carrying right now. Maybe they see something in him that I don’t.

Braves first baseman Mike Hessman doesn’t have any business in the majors, either (and the presence here of both Wise and Hessman makes me even more skeptical about the Braves’ pennant chances). He spent most of last season with Triple-A Richmond, and showed good power (16 homers in 359 at-bats) but also posted a .296 on-base percentage, which exactly matches his career OBP in the minors. That’s Hessman’s career in a nutshell; he’s always hit home runs, but otherwise he’s rarely made contact. In 887 minor-league games, Hessman has 152 home runs … and 1,013 strikeouts.

I don’t know why Wise is on the roster myself. Like I said about last night’s game, if you’re only on the bench because you’re a lefty, and they have the 79-year-old righthanded platoon first baseman be the first pinch-hitter against a righthanded pitcher, what are you doing here? Wise really doesn’t seem, by all his minor league credentials, to be a major league caliber ballplayer. If he’s just around to be Chipper’s glove and J.D.’s legs, Damon Hollins can do that and maybe even get the occasional hit.

I need to write a player analysis on Hessman sometime. Unfortunately for him, he’s a temp, only up to fill a spot until Marrero comes back, so by the time I get around to it he might be back in Richmond. Hessman’s not as bad of a player as Rob makes him out to be, at least by his minor league career. His OBP was .321 in 2002, and he’s usually drawn some walks; his problem has been making contact. He’s capable of being Wes Helms, which (as I said several times about the latter) is enough to be a major leaguer for several years if you can actually play third base. The Braves don’t seem to think he can, considering that seemingly everybody else in the organization — including, I believe, Pat Corrales at one time — played third base this spring. Anyway, Hessman’s only on the roster because he has options left and can stand around at third base, and because they wanted Betemit to play instead of vegetating on the bench. (And maybe because they’re reading too much into his 26 PA, mostly off the bench, in the majors in 2003, when he hit like Albert Pujols.) Maybe that’s enough of a player analysis.