Boxscore: Panama vs. Atlanta – March 3, 2009 | News

The Braves jumped all over Panama, not that it matters. Also, Bruce Chen was their starting pitcher, so what do you expect? Tommy Hanson struck out the side (including Jose Castillo) in the first, gave up one “unearned” run in the third. Norton had two hits including a double. Francoeur was 1-2 then left to “take back the canal while they’re distracted”; Heyward took his place and hit a homer. The legendary Reid Gorecki also homered (for the Braves, in case you’re wondering). KJ had a hit and two walks, Diory Hernandez, backing up Slugging Third Baseman Martin Prado while Chipper is playing for Team USA, had two hits. Manny Acosta pitched for the Braves, even though he’s also on Team Panama. Sounds like a conflict of interest to me.

82 thoughts on “USA! USA!”

  1. From the previous thread, in case you missed it, Marc.

    It it a legit point that Chipper loses value because he has not stayed healthy, but it’s not the crux of the article.

    The guy says Chipper is not good any more, just a contact hitter and a statue in the field.

  2. Jason Heyward now has 4 walks in 7 official at-bats in Spring Training. That’s, um, pretty good. He also has 2 singles, a homer, an RBI, 3 runs scored, and three strikeouts. (That’s adding today’s stats, which really don’t matter, to those of the regular spring training games, which simply don’t matter.)

  3. Carroll Rogers said Acosta dropped off the Panama team at the last minute and that he didn’t stick around long enough to explain why.

    I guess he thought his spot was at risk? Even then, he wouldn’t be gone very long playing for Panama…

  4. I’d like to think Acosta started the game for Panama, and when it came time for him to enter the game he made a big show of ripping off his Panama shirt to reveal a Braves one underneath. All to cheers from the crowd.

  5. @6

    I think Rod Carew has retired and last year wasn’t Rivera’s best. Who are you referring to?

  6. Love the quotes from Hanson. From Carroll Rogers in the AJC blog:

    “The mistakes I’m making, I usually don’t make them,” Hanson said. “I don’t feel overwhelmed, or anything like that. I feel like if I go out and pitch, I’m going to be able to get outs and compete. So I don’t feel overwhelmed or like anything is really different. The mistakes I’m making they’re taking advantage of, but it’s only my first two starts. As time goes on I’m not going to be making those mistakes as often. I feel I should be all right.”

    And he wasn’t too pleased with his curveball, despite the one he snapped off to Carlos Ruiz, that was a beauty. You’d know that if only you’d seen it! Guess you have to take my word.

    “It was just coming out a little bit – I don’t know if the balls are dry or my fingers are dry, I’m having a hard time,” Hanson said. “I was licking my fingers so much today trying to get a little bit of grip. That could have a bit to do with it, but I still feel like I’m not finishing it wall the way.”

    He figured he’ll have it worked out by his next side session.

    Also, I asked him if he was starting to mix in more sinkers when his fastball dipped from 94, 95 in the first inning to 91, 92 in the second inning and his answer was basically no, he was mixing in a few, but otherwise didn’t feel the need to blow it past everybody. I thought that sounded mature.

    “I really don’t want to let it loose, let it go full out the whole time,” Hanson said. “I was just trying to hit my spots. I wasn’t trying to throw my hardest.”

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    show details 5:01 PM (1 hour ago)




    Game Will Mark Ken Griffey Jr.’s First Game With Mariners Since Return

    MLB Network will offer live national coverage of Ken Griffey Jr.’s first exhibition game since returning to the Mariners as Seattle takes on Team Australia in a World Baseball Classic exhibition game on Wednesday, March 4 at 9:00 p.m. ET from Peoria, AZ. The World Baseball Classic begins March 5, with 16 games shown on MLB Network along with a nightly studio show titled “World Baseball Classic Tonight.” Wednesday’s game will be a live simulcast from Fox Sports Northwest, including local announcers.

    # # #

    For more information on MLB Network, please contact:

    Jeff Heckelman, 212-931-7824,

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    Behind every play, a nation. Be there for yours!

    Tune in to the World Baseball Classic March 5 – 23.
    Catch the action on MLB Network and ESPN.

    Boo! Boooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. My standard policy is not to call any facility by the name of a bank or an airline or an underwear company or whatever because they aren’t paying me. And in the case of the Mets’ new stadium, I’m actually paying them. Which is all in the way of saying, new poll.

  9. I still don’t think Griffey’s a bad guy. I think he really wasn’t sure what he wanted to do and his old loylaties won out.

    Would loved to have seen him in a Braves’ uni, but no hard feelings from this fan.

  10. Up here, some folks are calling it Bailout Field.

    #8 & #6, Panama’s Best
    Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer of all time, while Rod Carew, as terrific as he was, is not the greatest 2B of all time. But I’m not going to say that one is necessarily better than the other.

    A HoFer who plays every day vs. a future HoFer who dominates for 75 IP each year is a weird comparison. But I think Rivera’s otherworldly & extensive post-season numbers must factor into it a little bit. (FWIW, Carew had one great series, 2 awful series and another where he went 0 for 2—his teams never won a PS series in 4 tries.)

    Also, if Rivera’s ’08 stats aren’t his best (70+ IP, 41 H, 6 BB, 77 K, 1.40 ERA), that’s saying something as well. Personally, I’ll take his ’96 season, where he threw over 100 IP. But I try to forget how it ended.

  11. Last year, Mariano posted the third-best K/BB of all time (for seasons with at least 50 innings pitched). The first two are both Eckersley: 1989, 55 K, 3 BB in 57 2/3 innings (1.56 ERA, 237 ERA+), and 1990, 73 K, 4 BB in 73 1/3 IP (0.61 ERA, 606 ERA+). Mo’s third, and he posted an ERA+ of 308. Can’t argue with Eck in ’90, which is probably the greatest season that a modern closer will ever, ever have, but short of that, Mo last year was just historic, up there with Gagne’s juiced 2003 Cy campaign. No wonder some people call Rivera’s cutter the best pitch of all time.

    Anyway, I’ll go with Ububba, and call him arguably the best Panamanian of all time, and it was arguably his best season. I’m not saying he should be playing in the WBC or shouldn’t — I’m all for teams or players deciding that health/spring training development is paramount — just saying it’s a shame that a team full of guys were wearing “Panama” on their jersey, and they couldn’t have him too.

  12. It’s cool. I just wanted to show that I know Rod Carew is from Panama! However, I’ll take an everyday player with a career OBP of .393 over any reliever in his best season. I was thinking that Rivera’s ’96 campaign had to be his best but then again, I liek IP.

  13. I’d also like someone to run a runs produced calculation on Carew’s monster 1977 season.

  14. Guys if we had waited just a couple weeks, we probably could have picked up Bonds on the cheap. I realize he’s probably a terrible human being, but he’s definitely better at baseball than Garrett Anderson

  15. Here are some numbers on Carew’s 1977 season:

    155 G, 694 PA, 14 HR, 100 RBI, .388/.449/.570, 178 OPS+, 160 RC, 10.7 RC/G, .353 EqA, 9.5 WARP3, .440 wOBA

    Let’s compare that to Tony Gwynn’s 1994 season:
    110 G, 475 PA, 12 HR, 64 RBI, .394/.454/.568, 169 OPS+, 104 RC, 10.0 RC/G, .350 EqA, 7.7 WARP3, .437 wOBA

    And George Brett’s 1980 season:
    117 G, 515 PA, 24 HR, 118 RBI, .390/.454/.664, 203 OPS+, 135 RC, 12.2 RC/G, .377 EqA, 9.8 WARP3, .479 wOBA

    So there you go.

  16. AAR, thanks for the link to Rivera.

    Does anybody know how he grips his cutter and what he does to get the extraordinarily late movement?

  17. I caddied once for George Brett when I was in high school.

    Don’t know if you all have seen this, but it is exactly how the man was.

    Told outrageous stories the whole time and it was all I could do to not lose my s**t. Top 5 greatest third baseman ever, but dude talks like a sailor.

  18. @23: “Does anybody know how he grips his cutter and what he does to get the extraordinarily late movement?”

    Mariano Rivera sold his soul for that movement. How else could a 54 year-old man pass himself off as 27?

    He got a similar deal to Kurt Warner’s, but was able to meet more of the performance clauses.

  19. @18: Don’t know exactly what you meant by a “runs produced calculation,” but I had a few minutes to kill, so I put together the RBI/men on base on Carew in ’77:

    100RBI/364MOB= .275

    The 364 runners were on 1st/2nd/3rd:

    49.5%/34.6%/15.9% of the time.

    He also scored 41.2% of the times he earned his way on base (RS/(H+BB+HBP))

    The .422/.489/.596 line with men on base is pretty damn gaudy.

  20. @26

    I’m was just picking on your stat. I don’t want to shout you down though. I’m glad that someone is willing to try to defend Jeffy. This forum was quickly running out of people to tell that Jeff Francouer sucks. Now, you have given us a renewed sense of purpose.

  21. I’m was…

    I think I’ll use that construct more often. It really helps drive home the authority of my message.

  22. Haha, yeah I guess I should have figured. If you guys want to stretch the usage of the term “sucks” to include people capable of having 162-game Major League seasons of above average production, by just about any measure, then go for it, but that seems like a sloppy use of language to me.

    As for my new statistic: I haven’t done enough calculation to really justify confidence, but everything I’ve done so far does seem to produce pretty meaningful and interesting results. Outside of the usual clutter, I don’t see any real flaw in it, and it actually tells you something, which I always prefer from any stat, if possible.

  23. If you guys want to stretch the usage of the term “sucks” to include people capable of having 162-game Major League seasons of above average production, by just about any measure, then go for it

    Gadfly, if Jeff Francoeur is capable of having a 162-game Major League season of above average production, I’d sure love to see him do it. Till then, I’m gonna go ahead and believe my lying eyes.

    Also, Ethan, thank you so much. That’s truly wonderful. God bless the man.

  24. Now there’s talk about Hanson starting the season in Atlanta. I hope not. It would be much more beneficial to get some innings at Gwinnett. We already have 5 pencilled in starters, and one of them isn’t even starting until April 19. There is no need to rush him.

  25. Hanson will start the season a G-Brave unless someone else gets hurt. And maybe not even then.

    Ethan, what a hoot. And I hate to say it, but I know what the man is talking about. Sometimes that road food will catch up with you at the most unexpected time.

  26. Re: George Brett’s Accident
    As Lewis Grizzard might’ve said, “I don’t believe I woulda told that.”

    My rule: When traveling, I try not to eat seafood. I love it, but it can be unpredictable.

    According to Wiki, Rod Carew married a member of the Tribe & brought up his kids that way, but never actually converted.

    I remember really liking that ’77 Twins team. Carew, Bostock & Hisle were the big guns, but they also had a real pitching oddity on the team: Tom Johnson saved 15 games & won 16, all in relief. Never started a game all year.

  27. @30: Were you in a coma in 2007? Or maybe under a rock?

    Jeff had a 103 OPS+ that year, which by definition is above average. I doubt there are many metrics that wouldn’t show Jeff’s 2007 numbers as above average overall. Add to that his gold glove defense, and I don’t see how you could say 2007 wasn’t above average…

    Now, slightly above average isn’t exactly what he’s been marketed as, and it isn’t what you want from your first round draft picks, but that’s the fault of marketing, scouting and development. However, slightly above average is certainly much different than “sucks.”

  28. Surely just slightly above average, considering all players, is not average for a corner outfielder. If a firstbaseman had a year where he had a 106 OPS+, that wouldn’t make him above average, even with good defense. The standards for offense for corners is just higher.

  29. I’m pretty sure that if Rod Carew married any Cleveland Indians I would have heard about it by now. WTF are you on about?

  30. Has anyone that’s been following ST closer than I noticed any Phil Stockman action? Does he have any shot at being on the opening day roster?

  31. Playing Panama….at least someone else is taking Yeliar Castro seriously. He is still young and under the radar….

  32. #32, might be a question of weighing up starting him at Gwinnett or paying Glavine another $3.5m.

    I’d guess Reyes or Morton could handle the 5th starter job for a couple of months though.

  33. another way to look at Frenchie’s 2007, in the context of his position. His OPS that year was .782. here is a general breakdown published by BP on OPS for RF:





    as a hitter, judged among right-fielders in 2007, Frenchie was north of bad, and south of average. Look at his career OPS numbers; he has never been even good for a full season.

  34. I’ll have to admit that I was a defender of Frenchy until last year. 2006 and 2007 were fair, but I was optimistic as long as I saw improvement. The big thing is that in 06 and 07 JF having a great year wasn’t required for the Braves’ success (they weren’t successful anyway, but it had more to do with pitching – JF was passable for his age). We needed Francouer’s production in 2008 in a big way and he was a huge letdown.

    With our outfield we can’t afford anything that even resembles Frenchy’s 2008 year. Unfortunately I don’t think 3 days with a new batting coach will yield remarkable results.

  35. Parish,

    I agree. The guy was just being an idiot and trying to defend a ridiculous position.

    Re the Met’s new park: Mac, in fairness, Citibank didn’t build the park. We are only paying for the naming rights, which is bad enough.

    Re George Brett: FWIW, Brett is apparently a good friend of Rush Limbaugh. Make of that what you will.

  36. td – I was on board for Francoeur until last year, too.

    It was the prolonged reaction to the demotion that lost me. Not the initial outburst either – that’s emotional and understandable. But, he still thinks the Braves wronged him in some way. Even if this is true, his unwillingness to focus on his own primary culpability makes me think he is not capable of the improvements he will need to make at the plate.

    In the context (and fantasy baseball) of the Chipper article discussed yesterday, an interesting comment from Marc Normandin in a B-Pro chat:

    Q): Looking at the numbers I don’t see why anyone would draft A-Rod over David Wright. Thoughts?

    Marc Normandin: Wright’s my favorite for the position, but I also like Chipper Jones a sliver more than A-Rod, which apparently makes me a terrible person ;-)

  37. CourtneyC – I did not see the movie, but Rod Carew does make it into Sandler’s Hannukah song.

  38. @44

    Rush was a marketing director for the Royals back in the late 70’s/early 80’s…when both Brett was playing and Schuerholz was the GM. I don’t think it unusual that they might have formed a relationship.

    Though I’m sure you thought it was just interesting and weren’t implying anything political.

    He’s just an awesome guy…which is good, as he’s had to carry the mantle of Royals baseball for the past quarter century.

  39. Is it wrong to hope that Manny pulls a Furcal and ends up signing with the Giants (or really anybody not the Dodgers and not in the NL East) tomorrow?

  40. Anthony Lerew cleared waivers, was outrighted and accepted an assignment to AAA Gwinnett

  41. did frenchy get hurt? or did they just decide one at bat today would be plenty since he’s tearing the cover off the ball?

  42. My, how he has fallen. Lerew apparently did something that upset the Braves (it may have been not properly reporting an injury) and is supposedly in the doghouse. If there is any organization in which you want to avoid pissing off the higher-ups, it’s the Braves. He was never all that special to begin with, and now he’s old for Triple-A. I think he’s about done. If he has any future, it’s probably as a reliever. (Of course, my saying this means he’ll be at the top of the rotation by the All-Star break).

  43. Lerew is one of our 35 soft tossing lefties, no value.

    I wouldn’t want to piss off this front office. I have never seen a bunch of guys get pissed off and whine like they do. Good lord.

  44. I know that they’re mostly running out no-names today, but it still seems weird to me that we’ve 1-hit the Yankees through four innings, and the one hit came from Angel Berroa.

    If he were a southpaw, through the power of WHIL (Well, He Is a Lefty, the acronym I coined last year) he’d be a lot more likely to catch on somewhere.

  45. On the other hand, if you are in their good graces…

    oh, apparently Jeff has a golf outing today with Tiger Woods and John Smoltz. Still seems odd to get only one at-bat, but I guess that was it

    From the AJC.

  46. In some organizations Lerew would probably still have a chance at becoming a 5th starter–but between the Braves obvious disregard for him, his age and the presence of Morton, Reyes, Hanson, Redmond and Medlen, its not clear that he can be much more than a reliever. Still, I am glad that he cleared waivers because he ought to have enough upside to relieve or be a swing man at some point….

  47. @53

    I’ve kind of been harboring that thought. I just remember a start he made in San Diego two years ago when he had a legit two seamer at 92-93 and a four seamer at 94-95. He had just started throwing the two seamer and was seeing results.

    Granted, after that he got hurt and I have no idea what he looks like now. But at the time, the raw talent was intriguing.

  48. @50,

    Absolutely not. :)

    On a completely different subject, MLB Network showed the 1992 World Series last night; it was, of course, depressing–the Braves lost three or four one-run games. If the Braves could just have hit a little better, they could have won at least four World Series and potentially more. Damn!

  49. I don’t think Lerew needed to upset the front office – he’s been pitching poorly enough over the last few years to merit a DFA. Wasn’t he called up from Richmond and hid an injury? He looked decent a few years ago, but has been horrible since then. If the FO was still mad, I wouldn’t see much point in keeping him – even at the AAA level.

  50. @61, we covered this before ;-) No Business (or more properly, No Bid’ness)

    As in Keith Law’s assertion that Heyward had no business making it to the Braves’ #14 pick in the 2007 MLB Draft.

  51. Before his injury, Lerew had a live arm, so he does probably have a little tiny bit of value. I would agree that his best chance of any career would be as a reliever.

  52. @35 & 40: If you want to have higher standards for offensive production from corner outfielders that’s fine, but judging statistics throughout a group of players at one position isn’t as easy as it may seem. Just a quick glance at OPS+ averages for 2007 shows an obvious flaw:
    (minimum 100 PAs, 50% games at position)

    Mean : Median
    RF: 111 : 105
    CF: 97 : 88
    LF: 107 : 101

    Now, look at the difference between mean and median. This occurs because the mean is heavily weighted by the upper echelon of players who tend to get a much higher proportion of PAs. Vlad Guerrero’s 660 PAs account for a much larger weight in the mean than Cliff Floyd’s 322 and Matt Murton’s 261. For instance, just between these three players the mean OPS+ comes out at 125.5, but the median is Floyd’s 102, quite a distortion.

    Using the mean finds you the average production of the group, in this case major league RFers, but using the median finds you the production of the average member of the group, which makes more sense in our context. Judging on the median, Jeff Francoeur’s 2007 was pretty damn close to as good as 50% of major leaguer RFers, and it was better than more than 50% of LFers. In short, it was likely as good as, or better than, 50% of major league corner outfielders in 2007. (Note that this doesn’t include defense, where Jeff was undoubtedly huge strides ahead of most other corner outfielders.)

  53. @45: I don’t live in Atlanta anymore, and outside of this site and, I don’t read a whole lot of Atlanta-based media, so perhaps I’ve missed out on what you call “the prolonged reaction to the demotion.” I’d love to take a look at anything you guys would like to point out to me, because outside of the initial outbursts I haven’t really seen anything that seems bitter or arrogant.

  54. @73: Average is a real loaded term, so I won’t get into that. Judging by OPS+, considering all Major League players, Francoeur’s 2007 season was above average (OPS+ of 103 is, by definition, above average.) Judging against only corner outfielders he basically comes in right in the middle of the pack. I’ll agree it is hard to call the middle of the pack “above average,” but it is MUCH harder to justify saying it “sucks.”

    Moreover, adding average offensive production for a corner outfielder with gold glove defense over a durable 162 games played makes the case for “above average” overall much easier.

  55. Gadfly,

    What Alex said. If you want to argue that Frenchy was no worse than average in 2006-2007, that’s fine, but you can’t realistically say that he was an above-average corner outfielder. Moreover, saying he is above average relative to other lousy outfielders isn’t helpful. Was he better than Austin Kearns? Perhaps, but Austin Kearns sucks. It’s like saying a country is richer than Sudan; that’s nice but so what?

    And there is a reason that “the mean is heavily weighted by the upper echelon of players.” The best hitters are usually corner outfielders for the obvious reason that they are easier defensive positions that focus on offense. I don’t know this for a fact, but I would bet that there are more corner outfielders in the Hall of Fame than any other position (other than pitchers) and many of those guys weren’t necessarily great fielders.

    Most of the value from those positons come from hitting. That’s why you don’t judge hitting by catchers and middle infielders by the same standards as outfielders. If Francouer was a shortstop, you could possibly say he was an above average hitting shortstop; as a corner outfielder, you cannot say that.

    Obviously, the Braves differ from most teams in that almost all of their production comes from the infield and catcher. But that has its own problems because these positons (especially catcher and middle infield)involve a lot of wear and tear on the player and they are more susceptible to injury; you can’t realistically expect Brian McCann to catch 150 games.

    So Francouer’s lack of production relative to better corner outfielders takes a real toll on the team, more so than, say, a poor hitting centerfielder.

  56. @78, obviously:

    First off, Austin Kearns isn’t quite the equivalent of Sudan, and I wouldn’t say he “sucks” either. At least not if we’re using that term in any reasonable sense.

    More importantly, I might not have clearly expressed what I meant by the weighting down of the upper echelon of players. Every position has its stars, and corner outfield spots generally will have more than their share. However, when you look at the mean statistics they weigh according to every plate appearance, so that Vlad Guerrero’s 147 OPS+ in 660 PAs, counts for more than double of Cliff Floyd’s 102 OPS+ in 322 PAs.

    Again, it is the difference between finding the average production level of a group, and the production of the average member of the group. In 2007, Jeff’s OPS+ was right at that average level for corner outfielders. An average offensive player who also provides 162 games of exceptional defense and durability, sounds “above average” to me, but even if it is only average you certainly can’t explain the term “sucks” with this metric.

  57. Okay, not sure who here was saying that Jeff “sucks” because of his 2006-2007 production. I thought the point is that he “sucks” because of what he did last year — which was downright atrocious.

    Average (whether mean or median) has a fairly clear meaning when dealing with statistics, assuming as Gadfly rightly points out that we understand what we are comparing. Average is murkier when comparing disparate stats (offensive/defensive) and intangibles. I’d say I agree that Jeff’s overall production in 2006-2007 was something close to average for his position.

    Sucks, on the other hand, is quite hard to define in the abstract. But applying the wisdom of Potter Stewart, I can say without reservation that I know sucks when I see it, and Jeff Francoeur’s production sucked in 2008.

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