Like Wilson Betemit, Langerhans is out of options so will either be on the team or will go elsewhere. Unlike Betemit, he appears to be ready. Langerhans bears some resemblance to Adam LaRoche a year ago. Like LaRoche, he was never considered an elite prospect (Langerhans was probably rately more highly, at least until last season). Like LaRoche, he’s been a guy who worked his way through the system, and like LaRoche he’s had some adjustment years.
Langerhans first came onto the prospect screen in 2001, when he repeated Myrtle Beach and put up a .287/.374/.413 line — which is pretty good for MB. But he never did figure out Greenville, putting up stats in a half season in 2003 that were pretty much identical to what he did in 2002, and neither of which was very good. The Braves promoted him to Richmond late in the 2003 season anyway and he’s been strong there. Last season, he had what looked to be a breakout campaign, hitting .298/.397/.518. Leaving aside that Mike Hessman hit .287/.365/.562, making me wonder if anyone in the International League can throw a curveball, Langerhans’ effort was enough to get him noticed a little. If Charles Thomas hadn’t gotten off to a hot start, the Braves probably would have given the next shot to Langerhans.
Langerhans was compared to Paul O’Neill coming up, an unfair comparison maybe, but his AAA campaign was close to one of O’Neill’s Yankee seasons. Langerhans drew a good number of walks, hit 20 homers and 34 doubles, and almost hit .300. None of his numbers blow you away, but they’re all good. He’s reportedly a good defensive outfielder who could play center on the major league level and would work well in right.
If he plays much for the Braves in 2005, it will likely be in left, however. He might wind up platooning with Brian Jordan. Or the Braves could spot him around the outfield, getting 50-100 starts against righthanded pitching. Or they could keep him on the bench as a traditional fourth outfielder. (If that happens, it won’t last, because as I’ve said Jordan will get hurt playing everyday.) If he’s good in spring but they’re married to Jordan anyway, they could shop Langerhans even though there’s not a real backup on the roster.
I’ve mentioned in the past that the Braves’ high draft picks haven’t been too productive lately. Langerhans was a third-round pick; I believe that would make him the second-highest Braves draft pick on the 25-man, after Chipper.
Ryan Langerhans – MLB Minor League Statistics – Baseball Cube
T. Hudson has placed a March 1 deadline on contract extension negotiations with the Braves. I am want to interpret this as a positive. i.e. he’s looking forward to playing the whole year with a clear understanding of his future with the Braves. Any thoughts?
It’s pretty common. And not unknown for that to be violated. When Glavine and Maddux re-upped with the team, all those years ago, they weren’t going to negotiate with the team during the season but wound up doing so anyway.
The thing I like best about Langerhans’ 2004 numbers is his OBP. His ZiPS projection for 2005 is .276/.369/.441. That slugging percentage is pretty underwhelming for a corner outfielder, but his OBP (if he could match the projection) would be one of the best on the team.
That’s what I hoped you’d say.
Thanks Mac, and that goes for the roster anlysis your doing for us too.
You’re right, Jay. He runs pretty well, too — the Braves could do worse than give him leadoff when Furcal leaves.
Has anyone seen what PECOTA has for Langerhans? No Pepper did a pretty good analysis/projection of him earlier this year. Still the zips projection looks better than what Jordan is going to give us.
I was really thinking that his AAA season meant something until you pointed out the Hesseman thing.
If I really try to think positively maybe they just signed Jordan just in case Langerhans fails instead of Jordan is the starter unless Langerhans has an overwhelming spring. What do y’all think?
No where have they said Jordan is getting a starting job. In fact, from their language I’ve interpreted the opposite. Langerhans will probably get as many if not more starts than Jordan, depending on how spring goes.
I find it odd, Mac, that you criticize the Braves’ philosophy for being more concerned with risk avoidance and too little with winning games. The team has averaged almost 100 wins per season for 14 years and won 13 division titles; how many more games could they have won with a more aggressive philosophy? But I do agree that this approach has problems when it comes to the playoffs.
I don’t know if I agree completely with Mac’s thesis at its extremes — the Braves have had a number of high risk, high reward players lately, including JD Drew, Mike Hampton and Gary Sheffield. But I understand the concern that players like Jordan and Mondesi (and before them Surhoff, Castilla, Byrd, and others) are brought in as “proven” veterans when their ceiling is clearly limited. It was that mindset that, in 2001, brought Rey Sanchez in at the trade deadline rather than go with Mark DeRosa at SS after Furcal’s injury. Get someone we *know* is a C- player instead of taking a chance with someone who could have been anywhere from a D to a B.
I’m not saying that they’re only concerned with risk-avoidance, or even primarily concerned. I’m just saying that at the fringes of the roster — the 24th and 25th man — they’re more concerned with it. Rather than give themselves a chance to win a game in the 10th inning with a pinch-hitter, they’re worried that it’s going to go fifteen and they’ll run out of pitchers. And they’re worried more about losing two infielders and having to use Julio at third base or something instead of losing all their pinch-hitters and having Smoltz hit for a reliever with two out and two on.
That is something I’ve always thought about. You’re getting paid millions upon millions of dollars to play baseball. Just think if a team had a bunch of guys that could play several positions, like a buncha Shane Halters, Chone Figgins, Placido Polancos, but with more talent! Like in high school where your LF could also be your 3B, and your CF could double as your 2B, and your #1 starter is the starting RF when he’s not pitching, and your other 3B is the RF when your ace is on the hill. See what I’m saying?
Yes, I understand that the major leagues are a little bit different than high school. But honestly, major league players are so athletic, couldn’t they handle just about everywhere in a pinch? Now yeah, Ken Griffey Jr. isn’t gonna be able to play SS because of handedness, but I would say he could man 1B for a couple innings in a pinch. Would Rafael Furcal just be totally terrible if he had to stand out in LF in the 16th inning? He’s got the speed, and he’s got the arm. Now I know, raw speed only goes so far in the outfield, and knowing how to play the corners and communication with outfielders and whatnot is what seperates outfielders from good outfielders, but to go back to the beginning, they’re getting paid millions of dollars. I’m sure he could work in the outfield a little bit every now and again.
Alright, I’ve ranted enough, but it’s just something I’ve wanted to talk about.