Johnny Estrada

What do you think the Indians would have to throw in with Millwood to get Estrada? Scheurholz looked like a genius as Johnny, given the job (over the shouts of many members of the sabermetric community and national press, who thought Eli Marrero would take it) helped keep the Braves afloat while the outfield was injured, made the All-Star team, and wound up the season with a .314/.378/.450 line. This came as a surprise to many, but actually it’s pretty much what he did in Richmond in 2003 and just a shade better than he did in Scranton in 2001-02. He may actually be a .300 hitter, which when you add in doubles power (36 last season) and a few walks is pretty darned valuable.

On the other hand, if he can’t hit near .300, he’s a drag on the team, because he only hit nine homers and is painfully slow (no stolen bases or triples in his major league career, or in the minors since 2000) and his defense looked pretty shoddy. Interestingly, he wasn’t charged with a passed ball last season, despite seemingly having trouble blocking the plate. I guess everything was called a wild pitch.

While I was going to say he got off to a hot start and then cooled, that’s not quite accurate. He got off to a hot start and kept it up through August, hitting over .300 in every month, albeit with a little more power early in the season. He collapsed in September, which isn’t surprising since he’d never played nearly as much, and the climate in Atlanta isn’t what he was used to in the International League. It would help if the Braves had a reasonable backup, but… Hit much better on the road (.351/407/.498) than at home (.274/.348/.399) and much better as a lefty (.329/.401/.469) than a righty (.272/.311/.400). As I’ve said all along, he needs to be platooned, and the difference between him as a righthander and Eddie Perez isn’t that great — though Estrada is still better — especially since Eddie can’t throw anymore.

Johnny Estrada Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

15 thoughts on “Johnny Estrada”

  1. Why would we want Millwood? Why would we want to move Estrada? That makes no sense. And estrada will never be a drag on anything. Everyone doesn’t have to be all things. Estrada doesn’t hit many homers or run fast, big woop. He’s an incredible hitter with the uncanny ability to hit better with 2 strikes and he’ll hit plenty of doubles. Basically, a superb bottom half of the order hitter. I agree it would be nice to have a decent righthanded hitting backup to platoon him and keep him from getting overworked.

  2. Mac, once again, keep up the good work. Your writings are salve for the restless off-season mind.

    Looking at that roster, it does seem like it’s still missing one piece from being a ‘championship-lookin’ lineup. But it does look better than last years did at the outset, and we should know by know that it doesn’t mean much til it gets started.

    As usual, we’re just going to have to hope that certain players get more out of their years than expected, and to be sure there are a number of candidates. LaRoche looks to be a lot more confident this year, Giles if healthy the whole year could re-establish his all star offensive prowess, and heck Furcal is in a contract year. If that kid puts it all together with his eyes on a renteria-style contract, we could have a heck of an infield.

    And Mondesi could be a complete bust. But he also could be a bargain. I was so sad to lose Drew, but I’ll take a big bet that Mondesi will provide more than 1/11th of Drew’s 2005 production.

  3. Grst, I think he’s just trying to make an intriguing comment on Scheurholz’ uncanny luck/eye for value. Two years ago, everyone in the world blasted him for trading Millwood for Estrada, and Mac’s trying to say that now if the two were to be traded again, the Total Package would be the one with more value.

  4. What Troy said. As for the “drag” comment, that’s pretty simple — a guy whose value is mostly in batting average can’t afford to lose too much off that average, because there isn’t much else there. I think that Estrada really is a .300 hitter, but if he hits .270 — which he could just by bad luck — he’d likely wind up with a .330 OBP/.400 SLG, which really won’t help the team unless you’re a first-class defender, which he isn’t. It’s similar to what I’ve said about Mark DeRosa in previous years. Chipper and Andruw can help the team hitting .270, but guys without their peripheral skills can’t.

  5. Mac, good comments. If Estrada stays at .285 or above then he is a plus catcher. As for his defense, I guess that he can improve but he’s no Javy Lopez back there. (ouch!) The passed ball stat is fascinating. As a keen observer of Braves games (when TBS the freakin Sex in the City network broadcast them) he stabbed and backhanded at just about every low pitch. Wow talk about some fortuitous scoring. I’m not convinced that he is a legit .300 hitter but I don’t think that he is going to tank out at .240 either. I sure would like to talk to Schuerholz one of these days. I’m sure that he’d shrug off he genius label and say that he is just one lucky bastard. I for one hope that luck continues.

  6. This is off topic a bit but has anyone noticed the Braves payroll is up around 88 mil right now? Weren’t they sticking to the 80 million level? Does this mean the budget was expanded a little or could there be more deals coming? Or maybe I’m just looking at something too hard

  7. JS has apparently decided that he’d like to take his money out into the street and burn it, as he’s signed Brian Jordan.

    msn.foxsports.com/story/3336344

    Now, how many ABs of futility to you think it’ll take before Bobby shakes his bizarre fetish for veterans and goes with someone who has upside?

  8. Maybe Estrada is bad at blocking pitches and throwing out baserunners, but he is (supposedly) good at calling a game. Shouldn’t that count for something?

  9. Yeah, he hits lefties pretty well, and that would limit him to about 60 games, which is all he’s good for these days anyway. If it’s a minor league deal worth next to nothing, why not?

  10. To make Terrence Moore happy? Heck Bill McCarthy should be as good as Jordan projects. I wouldn’t sign him just to put him on the DL in May. Agree with Mac, no way he would be the starting LF. Rosenthal is as bad as the guy that said we were trading for Teixiera. Jordan while he was an ok player should be counted as one of John Schuerholz’s not so good signings over the past decade. He way over paid for Jordan’s production.

  11. AJC just confirmed that Jordan is on board. Can’t wait to read Mac’c comments on ole Brian.

    I guess that Schuerholz doesn’t want to gamble with an all rookie LF platoon and not have a ‘veteran’ outfielder as an option. I sure hope that this signing is for the minimum.

  12. Bell, you are right, there is more to catching than blocking balls (which it can’t be said enough, Estrada is really horrible at.) He seems to call a good game and he works well with his pitchers. That’s what they say anyway, it’s something that’s hard to measure from the outside. But, being a pitcher, I can’t emphasis enough how important that can be. It’s certainly worth mentioning when talking about Estrada’s defense.

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