Braves 9, Cards 0

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Five more scoreless innings from Smoltz, mostly against the real Cardinals — I think Reggie Sanders was the only one off today. John allowed four hits and didn’t walk anyone, though he only recorded one strikeout. Childers, Miner, and Colon finished up.

Andruw hit another homer, his seventh of the spring. His slugging percentage is now 1.034 and he’s hitting .310, though he hasn’t walked much. (Not that you expect many walks in spring. Chipper hasn’t drawn one yet.) Langerhans homered as well, playing right field for the injured Mondesi. Jordan played left and was 1-3. Furcal had three hits and is hitting .357. Esix Snead relieved Andruw and was 1-2 with a triple, and is now hitting .360. That’s scary, especially if Mondesi isn’t ready to start the season. I’d hate to see the Braves give up on Langerhans to keep a nonentity like Snead, who is DeWayne Wise without the power.

12 thoughts on “Braves 9, Cards 0”

  1. This may have been talked about before but I was wondering who the hell is Esix Snead? I’ve never heard of the guy, how did the Braves acquire him? Judging from the pic on espn’s site he looks like a Juan Pierre wanna-be.

  2. Here’s what I wrote on Snead in the Player Analysis:

    “The Braves signed Esix Snead to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. If someone gets hurt in spring he might have a shot at a job with the big club ala DeWayne Wise last season. Snead, a switch-hitter has had a long minor league career with the Cardinals and Mets; he was a college player and will turn 29 this year. His major league line is .308/.357/.538 but that’s in 18 AB. His career minor league BA is .230, his SLG .297; last season he hit .264/.348/.316 for Norfolk. Hey, he really is like DeWayne Wise!”

    Stats

  3. Give Bobby Cox a little credit for knowing what he is doing. If he thinks the guy can play, there’s probably a decent chance that he can. If not, he’s not going to throw him out there just because he gets some hits in Spring Training.

  4. I might be willing, if he hadn’t already done that last year. There’s no real difference between Snead and Wise last year. Both are very fast, both swing at everything, both are good outfielders. Wise is younger and has a little power, Snead walks a little more. Both have long minor league track records showing that they can’t hit. Wise had a hot spring last year, and the Braves gave him 162 AB during the season. He hit .228/.272/.444, and the average and OBP are exactly what we’d have expected, and the occasional power doesn’t come close to making up for it.

    Meanwhile, Little Sarge, cut in favor of Wise, hit .275/.350/.461. That’s better than we would have expected and it’s helped by the park in Texas, but at the same time there’s no question who had been the better ballplayer through 2003, Matthews or Wise. But Wise had a hot spring, and the Braves were fooled.

  5. A guy like Snead can make a pretty good 25th man. A pinchrunner, defensive replacement type guy has value. As long as he doesn’t play much it works out ok, and you can keep a real prospect in AAA getting regular at bats.

    But since Bobby will always carry at least 12 pitchers and loves to use his bench (and will need to use it with two gimpy corner outfielders), there is a pretty good chance Snead would end up playing way too much. Not much room for Otis Nixon lite in today’s game.

  6. NYB nails it. As long as there is a deep enough bench, a player like Snead is a very good addition. Pinch runner / defensive replacement, though is a role that has largely disappeared with the addition of 11th and 12th pitchers. There is both an esthetic problem: too many pitching changes break the flow of the game. And there is an apparent tactical problem: too many very short appearance pitchers, particularly lefties, who (in my always humble opinion) have less intrinsic value than a defensive replacement or pinch runner.

    One of the things that seems pretty consistent for Cox’s bench players is that they rarely have one outstanding skill and a bunch of substandard parts; instead, they are complete players, but a notch below standard at every skill. He doesn’t have a pinch hitter who can’t play defense or a defensive sub who can’t hit. Oddly, he has used backup middle infielders, like Lockhart or DeRosa, as pure pinch hitters far more than any manager I can think of. I have a lot of respect and admiration for Cox, but I’ve always preferred the benches of an Earl Weaver or Whitey Herzog where each player filled a clearly defined role and was good to excellent at that role.

  7. The thing with Bobby is that he really really backs his players even if they are shitty! While that works out in lots of cases, it also leads to cases like Lockhart, Wise, Jordan et al..and not to forget Travis Smith from last year. Wonder how he didn’t get bombed in AAA…Was he really better than giving Juan Cruz a start and see what we have? That decision had me foaming last year!

    Anyway since Bobby is going to give you a fair trial, I am fairly optimistic for Langerhans.

  8. It looks like Andruw is going to bat 4th this season, according to the wire article about the Cards game. IMHO, that’s great news. Furcal, Giles, Chipper, Andruw, Estrada, LaRoche, Mondy, left fielder; not too shabby.

  9. This is my first time trying an entry, so here goes. Love the insight and commentary Mac, glad I found the site. Regarding Kyle’s potential lineup, which I also kind of like, the only tweak I might make to it would be to switch Laroche and Estrada. I think Laroche will offer more pop and protection to Andruw than Estrada, and probably not ground into as many double plays.

  10. FWIW, I like LaRoche better also, but in all likelihood he’ll have a tough time passing Estrada in the lineup, who now has a reputation as a “clutch” hitter after his performance with RISP last season. I’m happy that Estrada won’t be hitting 4th, to tell you the truth. Andruw needs to cut down on DPs himself though; his DP rate was incredibly high last year given his opportunities, suggesting that he’s a lot slower than he used to be.

  11. Mac, I am loathe to disagree with you, but I think the main reason Matthews was let go was his “hound dog” work habits. He supposedly is one of the laziest guys in the majors.

    But nyb and bama have the Snead issue encapsulated perfectly. Guys like Snead were peppered here and there in the big leagues when the 10-man pitching staff was in vogue. With most pitching staffs at 11, or even 12, you have to opt for versatility over “one great tool” on the bench.

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