Bored yet? game thread: May 22, Blue Jays at Braves

Distracting from epic majesty of interleague play, the third part of my epic series, “Even expansion teams have better outfields than this crap”.

The statistics of the 1993 Rockies are, obviously, odd; we really didn’t know what to do with them at the time. (Going in, we knew it would be a good place to hit, but really had no idea the impact the altitude would have on the game.) Journeyman Dante Bichette suddenly looked like a major star. He wasn’t, but he was able to take advantage of the altitude in a way that made him a valuable player, and even the pre-Denver Bichette was a better player than any of the Braves’ current outfielders. They had a bad centerfielder, Alex Cole, and a mediocre-to-poor leftfielder, Jerald Clark, though fourth outfielder Daryl Boston would be the Braves’ best outfielder — as would, probably, Clark.

The 1993 Marlins had probably the weakest of these outfields. Mr. Marlin, Jeff Conine, played every game and was league-average. Chuck Carr in center had no power, though he had decent enough on-base skills and could fly. They had no real right fielder, and their most-used player there, Darrell Whitmore, was about as bad as Francoeur.

The 1998 Diamondbacks were unusual in that they were strong in center, with the 35-year-old Devon White giving decent offense and top-notch defense, and weak in the corners. David Dellucci would eventually turn into a good player, and he was better than anything that the Braves have now, but Karim Garcia was hopeless, as were all their reserve outfielders.

The 1998 Rays had a lot of poor outfielders, but better than the sub-replacement players the Braves trot out. Quinton McCracken in center was probably their best, but the outfield corners were manned by future Brave Dave Martinez (in a bad year) and ex-Brave Mike Kelly (in a normal one). Randy Winn, who’s become a fine player, was their fourth outfielder, but he really wasn’t ready yet.

106 thoughts on “Bored yet? game thread: May 22, Blue Jays at Braves”

  1. Mac–Thanks for these articles which revisit expansion teams. As bad as we are in the outfield, its hard for me to believe tht we are as bad as the 1998 Devil Rays….

  2. our best case scenario tonight – get the game started maybe play 1 full inning and then a 3hr rain delay

  3. Seriously:

    LF Mike Kelly .341 OWP
    LF ACHE .222 OWP

    CF McCracken .457 OWP
    CF Schafer .394 OWP

    RF Martinez .354 OWP
    RF Out Machine .271 OWP

    We have one advantage:

    4OF Winn .421 OWP
    4OF Diaz .609 OWP

  4. Mac,

    If you replaced Wren, how would you improve the team if whatever moves you made had to have a net effect of being payroll neutral?

    I’ve seen (and thrown) a few ideas out there, but am curious as to what you think.

  5. I’d play Diaz full time and platoon Frenchy and ACHE until a better OF was acquired. If ACHE doesn’t improve, he’d be replaced by Brandon Jones.

  6. First move is Jeffy goes down, B-Jones comes up. Jeffy also goes on waivers, and if anyone claims him, caveat emptor. There’s some money to pick up a real player.
    Second move is I look for any veteran outfielder on the scrap heap, and sign/trade for him.
    Third, when he’s ready to go, ACHE goes on the DL with whatever.
    Fourth, I take a very close look at Brian Barton, and if I think he can handle the job, I put him in center and let Schafer have a couple of months in AAA.

  7. I guess I have trouble believing that Mike Kelly was better than anyone. Also, I think there is a decent chance that Schafer may make some adjustments.

    That said, the main point by your postings about the state of the Braves’ outfield are well taken….

  8. If they’ll do it, try a secondary pitching prospect plus Jeffy to the Giants for Randy Winn and cash. Winn’s overpaid, of course, but he’s a dead-average player, which makes him leaps and bounds better than anything we have in the outfield. Or call Beane and tell him to come up with some creative way for me to get Holliday and him to get Canizares. He loves that kind of thing.

  9. From the previous thread-article about Bobby Cox:

    There are at least two odd points in the article about Bobby. First, the writer says that “cynics” say that the Braves won only one World Series. Does that mean that non-cynics say the Braves won more? Second,the artcle says that Cox and Snyder decided to “pass” on Van Poppel and take Chipper Jones. My understanding is that the Braves would have taken Van Poppel but didn’t because he had made it clear he wasn’t going to sign.

    Sigh, Bobby will be here forever. Whatever happened to the notion that Bobby was floating a couple of years ago that it might be time to do something else?

  10. Schafer, despite a .220 average to the contrary, looks like he gets it. By that I mean I think he understands hitting, he just hasn’t adjusted to the quality of big league pitching just yet. Also, he seems like he has a pretty good eye and will use the whole field, and by the end of the season will not be a star, but he won’t be an offensive liability either. I guess I’m just saying he’s not hopeless like Francoeur, who has no idea how to hit and has been an offensive liability for some time now.

    Also, Schafer adds the elements of speed and good defense, which are obviously important in CF. I can live with him developing in CF, but it would be nice to have some corner OF’s worth a $0.02.

  11. I heard that Diaz finished the game in CF last night. How did he look? Was anything hit to him?

  12. Does anyone know if the guy who did the analysis of Jeffy’s swing a few years ago has, by chance, done an analysis of Schafer’s swing? I think someone said the other day that he was now a minor league hitting coach so he probably doesn’t do the analysis stuff any more. It seems to me, using my extremely uneducated eye, that Schafer has a much faster, shorter swing than the loooong, slooow swing of Frenchy so I have hopes that will, in the end, help Schafer make the adjustments Jeff can’t seem to make.

  13. @14,

    It just shows how much luck is involved in drafting and developing players. The Braves were lucky as hell with Chipper.

  14. 1 Chipper Jones Atlanta Braves SS Pierson, FL
    2 Tony Clark Detroit Tigers OF El Cajon, CA
    3 Mike Lieberthal Philadelphia Phillies C Westlake, CA
    4 Alex Fernandez Chicago White Sox RHP Miami Dade College
    5 Kurt Miller Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Bakersfield, CA
    6 Marc Newfield Seattle Mariners 1B Huntington Beach, CA
    7 Daniel Wilson Cincinnati Reds C University of Minnesota
    8 Timothy Costo Cleveland Indians SS University of Iowa
    9 Ronnie Walden Los Angeles Dodgers LHP Blanchard, OK
    10 Carl Everett New York Yankees OF Tampa, FL
    11 Darrell Andrews Montreal Expos SS Carlsbad, NM
    12 Todd Ritchie Minnesota Twins RHP Duncanville, TX
    13 Donovan Osborne St. Louis Cardinals LHP University of Nevada
    14 Todd Van Poppel Oakland A’s RHP Arlington, TX
    15 Adam Hyzdu San Francisco Giants OF Cincinnati, OH
    16 Daniel Smith Texas Rangers LHP Creighton University
    17 Jeromy Burnitz New York Mets OF Oklahoma State University
    18 Aaron Holbert St. Louis Cardinals SS Long Beach, CA
    19 Eric Christopherson San Francisco Giants C San Diego State University
    20 Mike Mussina Baltimore Orioles RHP Stanford University
    21 Thomas Nevers Houston Astros SS Edina, MN
    22 Steve Karsay Toronto Blue Jays RHP College Point, NY
    23 Lance Dickson Chicago Cubs LHP University of Arizona
    24 Rondell White Montreal Expos OF Gray, GA
    25 Robert Beckett San Diego Padres LHP Austin, TX
    26 Donald Peters Oakland A’s RHP College of St. Francis

    Pretty good crop 6 All Stars, couple of possible HOF’s and some darn fine other players too.

    FYI – Garrett Anderson went in the 4th round that year

  15. Hap,

    Jeff Albert is with the Cardinals, so I don’t think he can comment on other team’s players.

  16. Keith Law

    Tomm, MS: Keith, Would Jeff Francoeur be on any major league roster if he wasn’t a local kid in Atlanta?

    SportsNation Keith Law: No. Did anyone see the piece that indicated that Atlanta is looking at trading him? When you have an old car, and the alternator is dead, the battery is corroded, the undercarriage is rusted through so your left foot drags the pavement while you drive, the front windshield is shattered and the back windshield is gone, the starter makes a horrible noise when you turn the key, the car gets 4 mpg when it runs at all, and there’s only one working headlight, it’s probably too freaking late to try to sell it, don’t you think? You could probably leave it on the curb with the keys in the ignition and a sign that says “TAKE ME” on the dash and still find it parked there the next morning.

  17. So their top three that year was Van Poppel, Chipper and Tim Costo. Who the hell is Tim Costo?

  18. Law is right on the mark and because of that I can’t see anyone being stupid and blind enough to deal for Jeffy (unless Dusty Baker is now in a position to recommend trades).

  19. Frenchy: But I just need “a change of scenery.”

    Keith Law: I think Delta flies to Yemen. Hm… just checked the route map, and they don’t. They fly to Monrovia. That would be a change of scenery, and Braves fans would probably chip in for a first-class ticket, as long as it’s one-way.

    I’d chip in…

  20. Greetings from Detroit…

    I remember the Van Poppel episode very well. He basically lied to everyone but Oakland. I knew Braves fans who rooted against him for some reason, but not me. I’m still happy everything worked out exactly as it did.

    Looks like I can’t get away from these Rockies. Going to see them at Comerica Park tonight.

    And, um, a very tough proposition tonight for the Bravos.

    BTW, these expansion-team OF reports are terrific, Mac. Some necessary historical perspective on our own cruddy OF. Thanx

  21. For whatever it’s worth, after forty games last year, the Braves were also 20-20.

  22. per DOB, Parr out – Acosta In

    Chipper is out tonight, Prado at 3rd. no Lineup posted yet

  23. good move. acosta was shaky in spring and at the first of the year. he has settled in quite nicely.

  24. Why can’t and or why shouldn’t the Braves and Jim Edmunds get together?

    A deal like $1 million guaranteed on a minor league deal, up to 60 days. Activate him or his option to go to another team. Then, when called up, say 2 million with some bonuses for high plate appearances.

    Last year Edmonds was as good or better fielder than anybody we have at ML other than Schaffer. He was a better hitter in Chicago than anybody we have by far. He could take over right and even with his bad work in the last few years against left handers, he wouldn’t be worse.

  25. I too remember l’affaire Van Poppel, and as it may have come across, yes, I did root against him. The A’s had won the Series the year before, and were heavy favorites to do so again (they were upset by the Chris Sabo led Reds). TVP set out to game the system and succeeded via the (active or passive) cooperation of the A’s. Damn right I rooted against him. Braves had enough against them at that point without being able to draft the universally accaimed best talent – they were more than willing to meet his signing demands. **** that guy – he had it coming.

  26. I’d bring up Barton or sign an Edmonds type, and hand him CF. Then I’d straight platoon Schafer and Francine in right, and Anderson and Diaz in left. Give it 25 games, and if anyone continued “Operation: Outfailed” he’s dropped and his platoon partner takes over. In the case of Barton/Veteran failure, Schafer moves back to CF and B. Jones takes his spot in platoon with Francine.

  27. Lineup per DOB

    1. Escobar, SS
    2. Kotchman, 1B
    3. Anderson, LF
    4. McCann, C
    5. KJ, 2B
    6. Prado, 3B
    7. Francoeur, RF
    8. Schafer, CF
    9. Kawakami

  28. @33: To see how many runs KK can give up?

    This is likely to be a very ugly game…

  29. Anderson batting third…sigh.

    EDIT: Of course, he does have a career .313/.333/.563 line against Halladay in 34 PAs.

  30. why do I feel that when I look at Garret’s career numbers, I feel like there’s no way possible? Dude’s washed up and the past means nothing to me

    I have Scutaro on my fantasy team, so I hope KK allows him to go 4-4 all doubles or triples, but with no runs or rbis..maybe a few SB’s, just not home

  31. @28: In 257 PA away from Wrigley Field last year, Jim Edmonds produced a .232/.335/.346 line. His power stayed in Chicago, and he couldn’t hit left-handed pitching to save his life (.146/.212/.229 in 52 PA)… and now he’s a year older. He’s also clearly lost many steps, and isn’t a plus-defender in center anymore. I’m sure Jim could help out some teams if he still wants to play, but the Braves just don’t need another over-the-hill left-handed bat.

  32. Quote from ole’ Peanut:

    When I look at myself in the mirror, I’d have to say that my fault is that I’ve given Francoeur a break for far too long. There’s no doubt that the leniency stems from the fact that he’s a great guy. But at the end of the day we all have a job to do. My job is to relay information to the public and thus, I’ve written two entries this week preparing you for the possibility that Frenchy’s days in Atlanta might be numbered. It will be very difficult for the Braves to trade him. As for a return to the Minors, I don’t know if that would help anybody. Thus, you can’t ignore the possibility that if things don’t improve soon there’s a definite possibility that they could release him.

  33. Well damn, it seems like they should at least see what he does in the minors. That whole “nothing left to prove” line is garbage. Frenchy never proved anything in the minors anyway.

    Edmonds could platoon in right with Frenchy (if we end up keeping him – I think he would be useful in a platoon) but he shouldn’t be anyone’s everyday centerfielder anymore. Besides, he looks like he’s enjoying himself in STL: http://deadspin.com/5260363/jim-edmonds-cougar-bait

  34. Fascinating quote from Bowman. I’d be shocked if the Braves really sent him packing.

  35. So, you go from running him out there every inning of every game to releasing him. No platooning, no time in the minors, he’s just finished?…I don’t get it. What is this organizations development philosophy?

  36. Bit of a shower over the stadium now, but it will pass. It will be doing this all night though. I am playing at Bubbapalooza tonight at the Star Bar, should any of you ATL folks be interested in an evening of hardcore honky tonk music from several acts.

  37. What is this organizations development philosophy?

    Objection your honor – Mr. Mason is assuming facts not in evidence.

  38. @39 – I don’t want Frenchy platooning. I don’t want to see him at all. Also, we need a real slugger, not someone past his prime. Edmonds would still be better than all of our outfielders, but if you are going to go after someone, make it someone that can really help.

  39. By some distance KK’s best inning this year. The second time through the lineup will be the real test though.

  40. There are some good movement on KK’s fastball tonight…good velocity too…91-92 tonight…

    …time for the hitters to go 1-2-3…

  41. cutter…and that pitch that struck out anderson was his curve, not slider. dont let joe’s stupidity fool you.

  42. Man…that was a Maddux like backdoor cutter…there is no way that was a strike…otherwise good to force Halladay to throw so many pitches in the first inning at least…

  43. KK is looking good tonight! Good location, good velocity…at the same time the strike zone looks pretty wide tonight…

  44. How did the Marlins get off to that hot start? I’m glad they’ve come back down to Earth.

  45. i guess american league teams having 9 quality starting position players versus the national league’s 8 isn’t an advantage in joe’s mind

  46. @60 – the umpire sucks. Neither of those strikeouts was even close on Kelly.

  47. @64 – b/c Bobby wanted to get 1 run across the board with Halladay pitching tonight. If he bunts him over, we get a run on the Franceour flyout. But Frenchy probably would have struck out with someone in scoring position.

    I usually don’t like it, but I can’t fault the logic there.

  48. So Chip is going on inanely about nothing, eventually asking the infinitely interesting question, “So I wonder what’s getting more attention in Japan: Dice-K’s start for the Red Sox or Kawakami pitching against Halladay”, to which Joe responds, “Or Stanley Cup Hockey.”

    Skip-esk sarcasm right there. Makes me miss the good ‘ole days.

  49. Has Chip asked Joe if he’s a “Moneyball” guy yet? He asks it at least once a broadcast.

  50. You guys see all the stuff Bowman is saying about Frenchy in his blog? Hope on the horizon……..?

  51. KK is dealing tonight. Easily looks better tonight than in any previous start. I think he’ll be in the rotation for the duration. After June 1, Hanson should be up and our rotation will be one of the better staffs around.

    Now can we please get some outfielders….

  52. Hitters 5-9 tonight: 0-10, 4Ks. Yikes. What hope was there anyways, after Aaron Cook dominated us last night…oh well

  53. Kami looks great. It’s good to see him make progress from his last start, where he was throwing strikes but with no movement and got clobbered.

    If Frenchy goes I will be the happiest person on the planet. I’m shocked that it’s being brought up, and I hope it’s serious.

  54. Chip mentioned “I know you’re not a Moneyball guy, but you do like on-base percentage.” Which is about right to describe Joe, honestly. Joe knows that making outs is bad, he just trusts scouts more than statistics. Old baseball guys are like that.

    Anyone else notice Kawakami is more animated tonight? His follow through has a bit of jumping around that I hadn’t noticed before.

  55. sdp- I think in the 3rd or 4th inning, Chip said something like, “Now, I know your not necessarily a Moneyball guy, Joe…”

    Does that count?

  56. Let the record show that Frenchy got lucky on that hit.

    His new walk-up music “You Find Out Who Your Friends Are,” by the way. I heard he was pretty good friends with Wellman…

  57. We’re silent… with disbelief that Braves management is clueless enough to let this abomination continue.

  58. How does Roger give the scouting report on this pinch hitter to Kenshin? The interpreter wasn’t out there. Does he just tell McCann and he puts a sign down?

  59. Suddenly, Kawakami has respectable peripherals and has lowered his ERA by a run.

  60. Amazing game from KK. I love his emotion. I’m still on the fence about him, but I love me a pitchers duel.

  61. At the end of this season, that game will still be among the contenders for best start of the year. Hope we get him a run this inning…

    Excellent.

  62. Now that game brings back memories of the good old days. Let’s hope that we see more like it.

  63. The UnPrado?

    Hahahaha. That was amazing. And for what it’s worth , it was a tough ball to have to field, what with the in-between hop and everything.

    Still, awesome win. Wish Cox had used Soriano to face all of those RH batters though. :-)

  64. Best I’ve seen from KK yet, and no bullpen meltdown…I hope this isnt another just fucking with your head Braves moment.

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