Game Thread: The Last Stand: Pirates at Braves, Aug. 22

Here’s the thing about hitter strikeouts… They don’t matter so much in the context of production. The Phillies lead the NL in runs scored, but they strike out a lot — fourth in the league. The Braves are right behind them in fifth, but they’ve scored the third-most runs in the league. The Cubs, who have the worst offense in the league, have the second-fewest strikeouts. But the Mets, who have the second-best offense, are in the middle in strikeouts, and the Giants, who have the fewest strikeouts, are middling on offense. The Reds normally score a lot of runs with a lot of strikeouts, while the Brewers normally don’t score a lot of runs but strike out almost as much. There’s really no correlation between strikeouts and runs scored, positive or negative.

At the same time, on the individual level strikeouts may have a predictive value.  Kelly Johnson, for example, struck out at basically an Adam Dunn rate last year — actually, not quite as much as Dunn per AB but as close as anyone.  That’s a concern, because strikeouts can eat a player’s career if they get excessive.  Dunn’s a fine player, but he’s a fine player with a career BA around .250 and it’s never going to get much higher than that, which limits his value no matter how much he walks or how many homers he hits.  One piece I have planned but never written is about the McGriff trade; I’m pretty much convinced that the reason that the Braves valued Klesko over Nieves is that Klesko’s strikeout rate in the minors was much lower; strikeouts derailed Nieves’ career.

Jeff Francoeur…  His strikeout rate isn’t that bad.  He’s struck out 99 times, which puts him in sixteenth in the league, tied with David Wright and one behind Andruw, and remember he’s third in the league in ABs.  His strikeout rate isn’t really worrisome to me in isolation.  The problem is that most people who strike out that much also walk a lot.  The walk/strikeout ratio of the other top 20 strikeout men ranges from .69 (Burrell) to .25 (Preston Wilson); next to Wilson, who sucks, it’s .34 (Bill Hall).  Francoeur’s is an extreme outlier at .12.  If I were more skilled at statistics, I’d know for sure, but I’m pretty sure he’s a standard deviation or more off.

The result is that even with comparable power statistics Francoeur’s one of the worst hitters in the group.  The only one worse is Wilson, who was released.  The next-worst is Geoff Jenkins, who has been benched.  Most of the others are among the best hitters in the league.

So… strikeouts:  Not all that bad, in isolation.  Francoeur’s strikeouts: not that big a deal, compared to other problems.

326 thoughts on “Game Thread: The Last Stand: Pirates at Braves, Aug. 22”

  1. 2nd posts too! I can handle the production that Frenchy gives us in the 6th hole. He has actually looked a lot more patient in the past few days and he’s seeing better pitches to hit. Pitchers aren’t going to keep throwing that low and away crap to him if he lays off of it.

  2. Maybe I can handle it…but why should I have to, when Diaz or LaRoche would offer superior production? If you’ll take Francoeur’s production in the 6-hole, wouldn’t it be a bonus in the 7- or 8-hole?

  3. yes it would, but I’ve watched LaRoche just like you have over the last two years. He sucked in the 5 and 6 holes and hit into a ton of DP”S. Now that he’s 7th or 8th in the line-up and tearing the cover off of it, you leave him where he’s at.

  4. Stu, csg, and Mac,

    The 6 hole is the best place for high slugging percentage, low on base percentage players. The chance of being driven in by 1, 2, 3, etc. makes OBP more important for 8 than for 6.

  5. Good post, Mac. I was about to post that what also concerns me about Jeff is how his ISO is lower this year by a substantial amount. He has basically deteriorated in every phase of the game offensively: hitting for average; hitting for power; taking walks; putting the ball in play; and controlling the strike zone. Of those things, the only thing Jeff has been better at is not striking out.

    IMHO, he should either be hitting 3rd for Richmond or 8th for us.

  6. I meant to add, but the post was long enough already… If he isn’t going to Richmond, I think hitting eighth could have a good effect on Francoeur’s plate discipline, just as I think it helped Betemit (not a walk machine, but better in the majors than in the minors) improve his when he played regularly last year. Eighth-place hitters get pitched around a lot, especially with runners on base. They have to learn what pitches to lay off or they’ll get murdered. Now, you have to be careful not to confuse a real improvement with a contingent improvement (anyone is going to walk more with a pitcher behind him) but I think it would do Jeff good to hit there for awhile to get some training.

    The Braves’ most common eighth-place hitter this year is Langerhans. His overall numbers are .240/.340/.376. He’s better when he hits eighth, .256/.379/.364. Not good, but better.

  7. I think Francoeur is hitting 6th so you don’t have McCann and LaRoche (two lefties) back to back in the order. Diaz really doesn’t have the power to hit 6th. Not that I don’t agree with you Mac, I think Frenchy should hit 8th and it would be good for him, that is just the reason why he isn’t

  8. They can hit “lefties” in general. Both are vulnerable to lefty specialists, however, and Bobby doesn’t want to get trapped into a situation where the Joneses get on base but the guys after them are helpless.

    I’d hit Diaz sixth. The way I figure, the sixth-place hitter is actually likely to see runners in scoring position, in which case a single will score him. And there’s really not that great of a difference between Diaz’s power and Francoeur’s.

  9. My, my, my that sure sounds like a lot of the stuff I’ve been trying to communicate this whole time.

    I like Frenchy batting 8th because he is a good bad-ball hitter. Reference: his ankle high homerun the other day. Guys like him would be good to help prevent the pitcher from leading off the next inning because they are generally pitched around.

  10. I too think Renteria would be great in the six hole and Giles better in the two, but then who leads off? I don’t want Diaz or Francoeur to. McCann actually might be a good lead off hitter, excpet he is slow as dirt.

  11. Erin Andrews is hot.I guess if I get the job at ESPN I will fight Eirc Karros to prove my point and my love for her.

    Jill Arington blew me a kiss durring the a Tennessee game one time. She was on the side lines as the Vols were getting desimated by Miami. Durring the fourth quarter she walked by our section and I yelled, “I love you Jill!” She blew me a kiss and everyone in our section had something to cheer about.

    The next season the Vols went down to Miami and beat the Canes! Go Vols

  12. Gibbons, must have a quick temper. He could be gone after this year. He’s challenged both Hillenbrand and Lilly to fights this year. Not really a players manager, hmmmm..

    How about both, Erin Andrews and Jill Arrington. That would be, well I need to stop myself right there…

  13. Oh yeah, speaking of little league baseball. Did anyone see the kid that plays for Saudi Arabi.

    12 years old – 6’8 and he wears a size 19 shoe.

    are you freakin kidding me!!!!!

  14. I just saw Rudy for the first time last night, and it was amazing. Easily one of the best sports movies I’ve ever seen, up there with Brian’s Song. Wow.

  15. How had you never seen it before, AAR? That’s amazing.

    Also amazing is how huge John Favreau was before his gastric bypass procedure.

  16. Which one of these schools will win the ACC titile?

    A. Clemson- 12%
    B. Florida State- 39%
    C. Georgia Tech- 7%
    D. Miami- 30%
    E. Virginia Tech- 13%

  17. Volunteers ranked 10th? In the SEC, maybe.

    1914 Update:

    NY Giants 59-47 (–)
    Boston Braves 59-48 (.5 GB)
    St. Louis Cardinals 61-53 (2)
    Chicago Cubs 58-53 (3.5)
    Philadelphia Phillies 50-58 (10)
    Pittsburgh Pirates 50-58 (10)
    Cincinnati Reds 50-60 (11)
    Brooklyn Robins 49-59 (11)

    Today’s Games:
    Bost 000 001 001 000 – 2 12 0 LP- James
    Pitt 101 000 000 001 – 3 11 1 WP- Harmon

    Bost 110 000 020 – 4 8 0 WP- Hess
    Pitt 000 101 000 – 2 7 1 LP- Adams

    That first game took two hours, 12 minutes to play, to put yesterday’s “quick” game in perspective. Both pitchers went the route before the Pirates scored with two out in the bottom of the 12th.
    Joe Connolly’s 2-run triple kept the day from being a total loss for the Braves. Combined with the Giants’ 9-4 drubbing at Cincinnati and the Cards’ 4-2 win over Brooklyn, we now have three teams within two games.
    Look at that parity. The worst team has a winning percentage of .454. No league has ever had a last-place team that good.

  18. I don’t have time to research it, but everytime I see the Francoeur meter, I wonder if Frenchy has drawn a walk and hit a homerun in the same game this year.

  19. yeah, Philadelphia is having alot injuries including Tom Gordon going on the DL.Cincinnati is most likely going to pass St.Louis unless they turn it around that only leads the West…and they will be beating each other down for the last month. So I say our chances are very good.

  20. On September 26, 2005, Francoeur hit a home run and drew two walks against Colorado. (He did strike out in his other two at bats that day.) So far in 2006, Francoeur has walked in homered in the same game once (June 5, vs. Arizona).

  21. hey stat guys. How many games have been played in under 2 hours this year. Who has the shortest game played this year and how long was it?

  22. A few points – how can Fox Sports have AU at preseason #5, yet in the national title game?

    Oh, and check out the Auburn preview. Apparently some Washington State dude found my preview and calls it “the best he’s seen.” Hmm.

  23. Well, Wryn, maybe they think, on paper, Auburn’s only the 5th best team, but they’re schedule is more favorable than some of the teams ahead of them.

    Shoot, UT won in ’98, and they were only pre-season #14.

  24. Mac Thomason,

    In what way is Adam Dunn’s value limited? If you mean limited in the sense that he will be undervalued by general managers because of the low avg. , I can agree with that. If you mean limited in a real sense of production I cannot agree with that. I guess defining what you mean by limited might also be useful.

  25. I mean that Dunn will never post a 1.000 OPS or anything similar, because for all his walks and power he isn’t going to get his slugging percentage above .600 (career high .578) or OBP above .400 (his career high is exactly that). Players with similar BB and HR rates are guys like Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols, and David Ortiz, who are far superior players because their BAs are 50 or more points higher. Dunn is fourth in the league in walks, third in homers, and sixth in isolated power, but 13th in OPS because of his low batting average (only six qualifiers are lower).

    Dunn has struck out 148 times in 443 AB this year, near his 2004 record pace. To have hit .300, he’d have to have hit .451 when he puts the ball in play. (133 hits in 295 times he doesn’t strike out.) That’s not feasible. Miguel Cabrera leads the NL in BABIP at .379.

    Terrific player, wish we had him, but Dunn will never be one of the best hitters in the league.

  26. Or… The difference in value between a Rafael Belliard-level hitter and a Lance Berkman-level hitter is about 700 points of OPS. Of that, about 200 points are batting average. The difference between a Belliard type and a Dunn type is more like 600, entirely because of batting average.

  27. If Francoeur becomes another Adam Dunn, I’d gladly take that. That would be a drastic improvement over Jeff’s current performance. I agree the strikeouts are not a problem by themselves. They’re just a sympton of the larger problem which is an unintelligent, overly aggressive approach to batting.

  28. I will point out that Dunn is 9th in the league in RC and 14th in RC/27. That qualifies as one of the best hitters in the league for me. If your standards are higher than mine that is fine and perfectly reasonable.

  29. If Francoeur becomes another Adam Dunn, I’d gladly take that.

    In his first full season in the majors Adam Dunn walked 128 times. I won’t even say the rest.

  30. Today’s lineups

    C.Duffy CF
    J.Wilson SS
    F.Sanchez 3B
    J.Bay LF
    X.Nady 1B
    R.Paulino C
    J.Castillo 2B
    J.Bautista RF
    S.Chacon P

    P.Orr 2B
    E.Renteria SS
    C.Jones 3B
    A.Jones CF
    B.McCann C
    J.Francoeur RF
    A.LaRoche 1B
    R.Langerhans LF
    O.Villarreal P

    Orr and Langerhans…WHAT!!!! Prado was great yesterday!!!

  31. Hernandez was hitting 267/ 328/ 350. That looks like the kind of transaction made mostly out of boredom.

  32. Oh, if only we’d known Villareal had been this good a starter. We wouldn’t have futzed around with Shiell or Cormier or Barry.

  33. That trade is a good trade for the DBacks by the way. Carlos Quentin is a stud and ready to play now. Chris Young will be ready next year as well, so they had no use for Green, and they dump his salary (well most of it anyway). DBacks have the best farm system in baseball and they are gonna be stacked in a few years, so dumping Green will help them immensely.

  34. If the Braves can’t solve Chacon again, I am going to cry.

    In respect of KJ, if some of you preach patience for Adam, perhaps we should apply the same thing for KJ. The kid only played half a season last year, and we should come to a conclusion on a player’s skill until he has played at least two full years in my personal opinion.

  35. Villareal’s being our fourth starter does not mean we suck. Villareal’s having been at least our second best reliever for most of the season does.

  36. @ 81

    Brian, were havign to good fishing into the bullpen for “quality” starters. Villareal ain’t a dog, but come on!

  37. Having one of *OUR* relievers (excluding Wickman and Baez) being inserted in the rotation in 3rd-4th spot THIS LATE IN THE SEASON, means we aren’t doing too well.

    Well, what is our record again?

    Sure injuries have something to do with this, but Shiel, Sosa, and the rest of the gang weren’t exactly kicking butt and tkaing name swhen they were healthy.

  38. I’m not saying Villareal’s great, or that it’s a good thing that we don’t have a more reliable rotation. But we had [Name Redacted] as a reliably healthy starter for half the year. Would you rather see him again?

  39. Frenchy grounds out on the first pitch. A change of pace from his usual popup on the first pitch.

  40. Oscar is not the worst pitcher on the team. Thats what i meant.

    If I said “He’s not the fattest pig in the pen” I would be talking about Wickman dominating the “WHOSE THE BRAVES MOST OBESE RELIEVER” poll which if I beleive were taken, he would register with 100% of the vote.

    figure of speech.

  41. [NAME REDACTED] and Shiell were mangy flea bitten creatures given the task of serving up monster home runs to opposing players all to the detriment of every Braves fan’s mental health.

    They are gone, now if only Tony Pena Jr. will go with them.

    Is he still up…please say no, please I beg you, please

  42. I also wish Pratt would retire, today, from the dugout and just wlak away never to return. Bring up Pena already….I’m sick of seeing a old fat guy with no kneecaps flail at pitches.

    Tank needs to be scraped.

  43. Send him down for anything, even the A-clubs bat girl, she will have a better chance at getting the ball out of the infield.

  44. Bunting and stealing bases- Bobby, if we don’t have anyone who is any good at these things, why do we keep trying them?

  45. So far Oscar’s pitched well, I’m still not that sold, even though I wanted to see him start. Goign to lon relivers late in the season is desperation. I would much more prefer a better option, but if your not blind, and I’m not, you can plainly see the Braves have nother option-besides Smith or Kevin Barry etc. ehh

  46. I love bashing Brave’s players before they hit. I’ve done that Giles and Frenchy, even Pratt(!) everytime I did so they delivered with a good night’s worth or smacking the baseball.

    I’m gonna go after Andruw and see how that works.

  47. The BABIP thing would make sense, I guess… Okay, he’d still have to be among the league leaders, so it’s not impossible, just very unlikely. He’s a good player but not a guy who can be an MVP with his bat alone, which is what I think of as “one of the best hitters in the league”. That’s Pujols, Berkman — those guys. The 1.000 OPS crowd.

  48. “Mets have bases loaded with 0 outs.”

    I kicked my wall when I heard this, sure my toe hurts, but my hatred blocks out the pain.

  49. Yeah, Mac, he will release a version 2 for his book at the next spring training. It will be another quiet off-season for JS this winter.


  51. No, he isn’t. At best, he’s a poor man’s McCarver. Remember, when he runs out of Dodgers anecdotes Torborg has his “I managed the Expos and Marlins” anecdotes to fall back on, which are always fascinating.

  52. What Mac, you didn’t want to know that the Dodgers clinched against the Braves on a Saturday night before the last game of the season ??? I wish there was a way I could watch this game on FSN Pittsburgh or something.

  53. I’m with Mac, I hate it when Torborg brings up his past managerial experiences and always tries to make a joke about his terrible records.

  54. He gets under the ball. Jeff can’t help it. See swinging at the pitch right down the middle is something he won’t but breaking balls that are no where near the strike zone he will miss or pop-up everytime.

  55. You know, when the Fox network originally got the rights to baseball they had a specific “No Costas” rule where the announcers were not supposed to go on and on about what happened forty years ago before the target audience was even born. What happened?

  56. “I managed a Fantasy Football team in 1999 called Big Nasty Hairy Men, “we” finished 3rd, in fact I think we beat out the Braves that year…”-Torborg

  57. Ok, that’s not too bad. Not as bad as the offense failing to solve Chacon. That makes me sicked to my stomach.

  58. Ahaha! I dunno what is more surprising: that we’ve got three (3!) weak-hitting utility MIs on the 25-man roster, or that two of them have extra-base hits tonight.

  59. So, they’re not giving Renteria a sacrafice on that. Which is stupid. Basically, they’re saying that if he had just not bothered to run down the line, he doesn’t get penalized the AB. But since he tried harder (and still got the same result!) he’s penalized.

  60. Don’t we have enough people who can kill rallies by swinging at the first pitch without McCann getting into the act?

  61. Ya’ll actually watch the games on FSN? I’m proud to say that I’m all radio! Who decided that Ron Gant would make a good announcer? I suppose they could have gone with Mark Lemke at which point I would have either committed suicide or picked a new team. Alternately, I would just listen to the opposing teams broadcasters on MLB radio. Anyone who remembers Lemke on the radio back when Sutton was having his surgery understands.

  62. Whatever you want to call it.

    Pleasantly plump, big boned, husky etc.

    Or you can get freaky with it and call him a BBW….eewww

  63. According to AJC:

    “Jarrod Saltalamacchia is returning to the Arizona Fall League for a second year, and he’ll have a lot of the Braves’ other top prospects playing with him.

    The switch-hitting catcher will be joined on the Peoria Javelinas by pitchers Anthony Lerew, Joey Devine, Will Startup and Sean White, infielder Yunel Escobar and outfielder Josh Burrus.”

  64. Bay can’t hit it here

    000 000
    000 000
    000 X 000
    000 000

    Thats where Oscar kept throwing it and he couldn’t do anything with it and Paronto went there and got him on three straight pitches.

  65. I wish there were an internet gambling site that allowed bettors to bet on whether or not a player would swing at a particular upcoming pitch.

  66. So this information concerning Jason Bay is like the scene in “Independence Day” where one of the Quaids goes kamikaze up the alien’s spaceship’s butthole and then “President Bill Pullman” tells everyone assuringly “We know how to take them down”?

  67. I cannot remember how long it’s been since I actually disliked a player. I usually just blame the manager for playing bad players like Lockhart, Jordan, electricity thief, etc. It’s not going to be long before I actually hate Jeff Francouer.

  68. Wow, first the Hawks “traded” Harrington, then the Falcons just traded Duckett. JS needs to pull a deal today to pull a hat-trick for Atlanta!

  69. Uhm some Mets fan just told me that the Braves aren’t a “classy” organization and that they were surprised that Chipper and Smoltz said nice things about Glavine since the Braves never say anything “classy.” I was like riiiiight.

  70. Don’t kid yourself. Portis will play, T.J. probably ain’t gonna get what he would have got in Atlanta.

    Maybe Gibbs thinks he can Riggins it.

  71. I know Portis will play…but either way he is still questionable for the opener…and going out and getting Duckett would lead me to beleive he is more doubtful than probable.

  72. [quote]
    Uhm some Mets fan just told me that the Braves aren’t a “classy” organization and that they were surprised that Chipper and Smoltz said nice things about Glavine since the Braves never say anything “classy.” I was like riiiiight.

    I guess she was basing her opinion on the idiot Atlanta fans that always boo Glavine when he returns to Atlanta.

  73. I like that deal a lot. Duckett’s carries can go to Norwood and they needed a receiver badly. Not that Lelie’s that great, but he’s a lot better than what they had.

  74. Yeah I said to her “Sorry to break it to you but if you’re comparing organizations, I’d say the Braves are a ‘classier’ organization than the Mets.” and she just said “If you say so” haha.

  75. Wait… his first name is pronounced in the Spanish style, but his last name is pronounced to rhyme with “play-doh”? I don’t believe that. I honestly think that the Latin players are messing with the announcers now.

  76. Paciorek would never lead you astray would he? I’m pretty sure it’s prounounced with a short a sound. Kinda like Prada but with an “o” on the end.

  77. isn’t it unusual to pinch-hit for one’s leadoff batter? i wonder how many times that’s happened this year. that said, pete orr is probably one of the worst players to hit leadoff this year, so i fully agree with the decision :)

  78. This post lacks substance and any content that anyone reading this forum might find interesting yet I will post it anyways.

  79. What’s up with Kyle Lohse? He couldn’t get an out in American League ane he is suddenly pitching well with the Reds. Boy, I guess the National League teams really suck…

  80. I love this about Bobby. Let one player screw the whole team so as not to damage that one player’s confidence. Or, maybe it’s some other asinine logic involved.

  81. What’s up with tonight’s game? Edgar struggled with defense, McCann swung at the first pitch, Baez lost his control…what else can go wrong?

  82. This just in: National League teams really suck. In other news, blood is thicker than water, tobacco leads to emphysema, and drinking alcohol in college will get you laid.

  83. No. I’m not. I’m glad Renteria is on the team but his bat is what gives him value.

  84. Number of errors is pretty much the worst way to judge defense available. I prefer star charts to error rates, actually. The decline of Andruw’s fielding, the replacement of Furcal with Renteria and Chipper’s sieve like defense at 3rd is a huge factor in Schuerholz’s scrap heap bullpen failing mightily this season. The other main factor is Cox’s idiotic loyalty .

  85. right now, it seems as though a good one two punch would be prado and giles with renty riding the pine for a while, but i dont know what kind of ss experience prado has. renty is looking pretty bad of late.

  86. Dany Baez: example A of why all the bleating for “bullpen help” back in mid-June was so silly.

    People wanted to trade LaRoche for him over the offseason, if I remember correctly.

    *Sigh* what a depressing team.

  87. Wow. The Bucs got this Gonzalez kid and Freddy Sanchez from the Sox for Jeff Suppan. Boy, did Theo get bent over on that one.

  88. Davey, you should have been here when it happened. I sensed a shock over the internet even before any posts were posted.

    We all thought of the Joe Buck quote at the same time.



  89. Torborg just said putting in Pena was “great move” on Cox’s part? yeah sure after he gets luckier than a POWERBALL winner and hits homer you say something like that. This was a fluke and most liekly he would have striked out or rolled over one easily to a middle infielder, or the pitcher. Torborg is ridiculous.

  90. Our grading system down here works from a 0 to a 10.
    The last exam for that subject, I had a pathetic 2.3 so, need to do something about that

  91. What makes it worse is that I’m doing it “advanced”. I’m the first one at that Univ. to do this study “advanced”…and I’m basically regretting it now as it’s bending me over and having it’s way with me.

  92. LOL, well, right now it just pisses me off cause I’m in Honors classes or in classes for older people and there are retarded upperclassman who throw bits of paper at me and ask me what the answers are. It’s all I can do to not scream at them to to do their own freaking work. And to top it off, I couldn’t fit all my book sin my bookbag, I had carry an Algebra 2/Discrete book around all day.

  93. Kaitlin in Middle school my locker and protable classrooms were so far away form each other, and the lock on the locker so screwed up if I tried to go and replace book for book class for class, I would always be late 100% of the time for every class… SO I had to carry around 50 pounds of books in my back pack 2 miles each day.

    I thought I was training for the Special Forces or something.

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