Brian McCann

Maybe the most underrated player in baseball. If Jason Heyward can stay healthy, Brian’s term as the Braves’ best player should be over this season, so he’ll just have to settle for being the best catcher in the league. (Yeah, San Francisco, I said it.) McCann had another strong season, albeit one with another little bout with eye problems. Hopefully, that’s all been taken care of for good, and he’ll be able to stay in the lineup. It remains to be seen how Fredi Gonzalez will handle the catchers in 2011. Brian was obviously worn down at the end of the season (he hit just .221/.318/.326 in September and October) and could benefit from a bit more rest. He doesn’t have to be any better to be a star, but if he can put together a couple of home run tears like he’s capable and can stay healthy, he might put up some really impressive numbers. No catcher is a more consistent power threat than McCann, who at 112 is already among the sixty most prolific all-time home run threats at the position and should move into the top fifty, possibly top forty, in 2011.

Played better on the defensive end, particularly throwing, where he erased thirty percent of basestealers; if you take out the guys who were practically standing on second when Tommy Hanson finally got rid of the ball that percentage would be much higher. Blocks the plate okay, but isn’t too agile. Nonetheless, the Braves’ pitchers were among the best in the league at avoiding wild pitches… Painfully slow, but stole five bases in seven attempts in 2010, and is 17-22 for his career now. His “little stats” — GIDP, HBP, etc. — are quite good. Took on more of a team leadership role last year, and expect that to continue.

Brian McCann Statistics

139 thoughts on “Brian McCann”

  1. By “best player” I assume you mean best position player. Huddy and he are wrestling for best overall Brave.

  2. McCann really picked up from Chipper some adept baserunning to make up for his lack of speed.

  3. I think it’s better if the best (offensive)player on the team isn’t the catcher because it’s such a draining position to play–especially in Atlanta. Piazza was one of the few that could really maintain his hitting but he did it by basically ignoring defense. Mauer can rest by being a DH.


    I’m very happy that things worked out. Now you can start worrying about important things–the Braves.

  4. Jeff K: I think your opinion of Huddy as being potentially the most valuable Brave is skewed by his (somewhat lucky) 2010 results. Hudson is a very good pitcher, and was quite valuable in 2010, but then again, so was Jurrjens in 2009. Going forward, Hanson is the best bet to be our most valuable pitcher, (probably) followed by Hudson.
    None of the pitchers are as valuable to the team as McCann and Heyward (though, again, Hanson could reach that level if he takes a step forward).

  5. We’re gonna wish we’d turned McCann into our backup 1st-baseman when Freddie is struggling and Ross is sitting on the bench.

    Would love to get Brian some rest without losing his bat. Our lineup (even with Chipper) can’t afford to lose anything.

  6. “By “best player” I assume you mean best position player. Huddy and he are wrestling for best overall Brave.”

    I’m pretty sure he means best player. And I’m pretty sure you’re undervaluing Heyward, Prado, and Hanson.

  7. justhank, i think it should be the other way around. the braves should be looking at ross backing up first to get his rh bat in against tough lefties.

  8. Charlie Weis is headed to Florida; Muschamp is putting together an impressive staff. It will be interesting to see if Weis has immediate impact on the Gators’ recruiting….

  9. ryan – that would work, too.

    Just worried about the wear and tear on McCann. Bobby hardly ever seemed to rest him. I can see why.

  10. @13-

    Ya, I’m actually really excited about the new coaching staff coming in. Florida’s offense under Meyer has never been… I don’t want to say “consistent” because for a lot of years they’d put up good numbers most weeks. But it would always seems like the plays were designed in such a way that they’d gain 10-15 yards or lose 2. It was all mis-direction and read-type plays where you get the ball in space to some playmaker or hope the defensive end runs the wrong way. I prefer watching West Coast style offenses where slants and rout timings are more important. And I’m optimistic that this is more what we’ll see under Muschamp/Weis.

    Don’t get me wrong, it was a lot of fun watching for those explosive plays every down, knowing that we could see Harvin or Demps break a long run at any moment. The problem was when no one broke anything, you’d just see three ugly looking plays and a punt. This was far more common after Mullen left. I think we’re going to see a lot more 2nd and 6 and 3rd and 2 type situations going forward, which for me at least will be refreshing. :-)

  11. This Georgia fan thinks the Weis hire is a really, really, really solid move for the Gators.

    South Carolina will be a reasonable favorite for the East in 2011, but Florida should soon wrestle that away and keep it unless UT has a massive rebuilding effort and/or Georgia’s AD finally presses the auto-destruct button on the Mark Richt Goodtime Excuse-Making-N-Traveling-Medicine-Show.

  12. If I were a young coach trying to prove something, not sure I would bring in a head-strong control freak like Weis.

  13. Anytime you can employ the words “Scorned Hooker” in a headline, you pretty much have to do it, no?

  14. I guess this eliminates any chance of Dykstra being nominated to the Federal Reserve Board.

  15. You know what’s weird? Dykstra’s career OPS+ is 120, and he has the exact same number of career WAR as Jim Rice. It’s just his dumb luck that, as he retired just before the prime of the saber era, no one wanted to champion him as a dark horse Hall candidate. He actually had a fringe Hall of Fame career, even though he retired at age 33. But this is a case where the barebones saber case would understate the fact that Lenny Dykstra is about as deserving of enshrinement as is Jose Canseco. So I’m kind of glad that the saber nerds have steered clear of him, even though he’s one of the better leadoff hitters of the last 30 years — other than Rickey and the Rock, of course.

    (Fun Keltner list idea: Kenny Lofton.)

  16. Terrific stolen-base percentage, walked a lot, didn’t strike out a lot, outstanding post-season numbers, got pretty bulky near the end of his career, got really crazy after it.

  17. It may not have mattered much in the scheme of things, but I rather enjoyed McCann winning ASG MVP last year.

  18. In terms of value while on the field Dykstra may be worthy of brief consideration, but he had a short career and missed a lot of time during it. Ralph Kiner (149 OPS+) had 1451 hits, the least of any HOF OF. Dykstra had 1298 hits, so he would have had to bring all his talent for self-promotion to bear in order to make his case. A Jim Cramer testimonial on his BBRef page, perhaps.

  19. Here are Dykstra’s most-comparable players:

    1. Terry Moore (928)
    2. Lee Lacy (921)
    3. Darryl Hamilton (909)
    4. Ira Flagstead (906)
    5. Al Bumbry (905)
    6. Terry Puhl (905)
    7. Roy Johnson (902)
    8. Lonnie Smith (901)
    9. Brian McRae (901)
    10. Jack Smith (900)

    I mean, come on. I’d take Lonnie before him.

  20. I find it hard to believe that Lee Lacy was that close to Dykstra….Dykstra brings me back to the 1993 season–the magnificant NL West Division race and the frustrating Championship series with the Phillies. Its hard for me to forget the monster year he had in 1993–a year he never came close to replicating. In fact, his drop off was rather quick. Dykstra’s latest mess also reminds me of something John Kruk said about this teamates in 1993: ‘they are not bad people–but you would not want to invite them over to your house”….At this point, I just hope he pays up….

  21. After seven months of hitting the gym on a daily basis, my old shirts don’t fit anymore. Could you guys please help me find websites online from which I can buy discounted Braves apparel?

    Thanks in advance!

  22. Every time DOB mentions Billy Wagner I get the slim hope that he’ll pull a favre and come back for one more year. I realize it’s completely unlikely, but man having him around for another year would be just wonderful.

  23. desert,

    Might I suggest not going to the gym any more? I think you will find that your old shirts will eventually fit again.

  24. I’m not undervaluing any of the other players, they just don’t match up to Huddy — 165-87 (.655), career ERA+ 128, career WAR 46.3 (12 seasons), career high WAR 6.7 and 6.6, highest as Brave 5.4. Heyward had a great rookie year (WAR 4.4), but come on there is no comparison to Hudson and Mac in terms of (current) value. Period. I agree Heyward has a huge upside, more so than Huddy, but he’s played exactly one year of professional ball.

    As for Prado, he’s my favorite Brave position player (sorry Mac) because I tend to root for the underdog/over achiever. But he’s no Huddy or Mac either (career WAR 6.2 over 5 seasons, last year highest career at 2.7).

    Tommy is a close third in my book, but he’s clearly third — 21-15 (.583), career ERA+ 128, career WAR 5.8 (2 seasons), career high WAR 3.3 in 2010.

    Now if you want to talk value considering contract terms or future projections, then I agree that Heyward and Hanson jump to the top with Mac.

  25. Luck was outstanding but some of those receivers were so wide open that I thnk I could have hit them. Anyway, I’m glad to see a school like Stanford doing so well. I always root for schools that I could not have gotten into.

  26. The Virginia Tech Hokies:

    Step 1- Start year either in Top 10 or close to it. Lunchpail defense! Beamer Ball! Special teams! Try really hard!

    Step 2- Crap pants against good teams.

    Step 3- Roll through ACC. Win ACC. Make BCS.

    Step 4- Crap pants against good team.

    Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

  27. I’m not undervaluing any of the other players, they just don’t match up to Huddy — 165-87 (.655), career ERA+ 128, career WAR 46.3 (12 seasons), career high WAR 6.7 and 6.6, highest as Brave 5.4. Heyward had a great rookie year (WAR 4.4), but come on there is no comparison to Hudson and Mac in terms of (current) value. Period.

    That’s just so wrong.

    There is no comparison to Hudson and Mac in terms of past value. Nobody really cares about the past, though.

    Take out the 41 games Jason Heyward played when he was very obviously injured (he hit .222/.326/.364 from May 14 to June 26) and his slash line was .301/.420/.497 with a 87/69 K/BB ratio in 436 PA’s. He’s a much better player than his 2010 WAR total indicates. Not to mention he’s 21 years old, has some of the most impressive physical tools and baseball IQ around, and should only get better–especially in the power department–as soon as next year.

  28. Im just happy to have Heyward, Prado, Hudson, Hanson, and BMAC. All are very valuable to our team going forward.

  29. Your 2011 Stanford Cardinals – a whipping from Oregon, more cupcakes than a Hostess factory, and a bowl win over a team that couldn’t take James Madison AT HOME. Clearly the #3 or 4 team in the country.

  30. 41—I don’t. He was the consensus top pick in the draft, should he choose to declare, before the game started.

  31. It looks like Texas is poaching Bo Davis from Saban’s staff to be their DL coach. Any Alabama fans out there know anything about Davis?

  32. @48:

    Stanford *did* have a TD lead at halftime in that game. Oregon’s not exactly the easiest team in the world to contain.

    Won’t get any argument from me w/r/t cupcakes, though.

  33. #50 – Bo Davis is a solid coach/recruiter. DL underperformed this season, but it was primarly due to injuries to Upshaw and Dareus. Good hire.

    Word on rivals today is that Bama could look to hire Rumph to replace him. Thats apparently going to increase Bama’s chances to land Clowney.

  34. @51 ububba
    Thanks for a good read.
    Still, I hate Jack Morris for 10 particular innings.
    It’s been 20 years. Maybe I’ll get over it.

  35. @56 I was 16 then, 36 now, I’ll never forget it. However, I dont dislike him as much as Kent Hrbek….just saying.

  36. @51, it’s okay – at least he addresses the reasons against. But the crux of his argument seems to fall afoul of the guidlines – “No automatic elections based on performances such as a batting average of .400 or more for one (1) year, pitching a perfect game or similar outstanding achievement shall be permitted.”

    He also seems to give major props for succeeding in the playoffs, and short shrift to Morris’ equally notable failures. But the big thing is the idea that “if you cared about baseball in Morris’s era, you probably wanted him on the mound when it mattered.” There isn’t a year in Morris’ career that I wouldn’t have picked somebody else. Since he never finished higher than 3rd in CYA voting, one can only assume nobody else even then did either.

  37. When you really get down to it Jack Morris’ HOF candidacy boils down to one extraordinary performance in one extraordinary World Series.

    After reading many learned opinions about it, IMHO Jack isn’t a HOFer.

  38. I also think Morris benefited from being a constant in a division with three of the signature franchises of the ’80s — Yanks, Red Sox, Orioles. Many current HOF voters grew up in a time when there was only one national game of the week, and the AL East seemed to me to be disproportionately represented in those games. I wonder how many of them Morris started, and how often Joe Garagiola repeated the “pitch to the score” mantra during them.

    Morris was being discussed as a future HOFer before the 1991 WS, because of the (arbitrary, but still impressive) “most wins in the ’80s” tag.

  39. kevin gregg signed a 2/10 million dollar deal. Good Lord, teams are spending stupidly this year.

  40. The only reason Morris is even sniffing the HOF is because Lonnie Smith made a baserunning blunder. Morris was actually not such a great “clutch” pitcher; he gave up a three-run homer to Damon Berryhill (I think) in Game 1 of the 1992 WS. I thought it was a pretty ridiculous article; basically it gets down to “he feels like a Hall of Famer because I saw him pitch good games.”

  41. He gave up one to Berryhill in Game 1, and one to Justice and a slam to Lonnie in Game 5. Losing pitcher in both games.

  42. @JeffK – I love Huddy too, but if you look at the statistics you’re trying to use, you’ll see that Hudson, while a good/great pitcher, is not as valuable as Hanson, let alone Heyward or McCann.

    First off, winning percentage is not a good way to measure pitcher quality – it is highly affected by the pitcher’s run support, which is completely outside of the pitcher’s control (and thus not a good isolated measure of how good the pitcher himself is).

    WAR is not a perfect measure either (it penalizes low-K pitchers like Hudson to some degree) but it’s a better estimator. Hudson has done this for the Braves: 2.0, 2.6, 5.3, 2.4, 0.7, 2.7. Leaving aside the high and low outlier seasons, Huddy has been very consistent, and will hopefully be able to put up another groundball-heavy 2.5 – 3 WAR year.

    Hanson has been good for 2.6 WAR in 2009 (21 starts) and 4.3 WAR in 2010, his only full season. He projects to be worth minimum 4 WAR in 2011, and could very plausibly reach 5 WAR if he can make any improvements.

    In terms of their on-field production going forward, Huddy’s true talent level is probably a 3.4 – 3.6 ERA at this stage of his career. On the other hand, Hanson put up a 3.33 ERA last year, which includes a 71% strand rate (not good). If that normalizes to 75% or so, Hanson will probably be in the 3 – 3.2 ERA range next year; in other words, ace territory.

    Barring injury, both McCann and JHey are locks for 4+ WAR, and there is a good chance either or both could top 5 WAR. There’s basically no ceiling for Heyward, either – if he can avoid injury, he’ll be a legit MVP candidate.

  43. Nick – are you really saying you’d rather have Hanson pitch an important game than Hudson?

    I think Tommy shows great promise (if he doesn’t hurt himself with his scary – to me – mechanics), but give me Huddy every time the Braves NEED to win.

  44. i just vomited in my mouth a little because i read that the yankees are considering andruw jones.

  45. Texas isn’t done poaching coaches from the SEC. Looks like hot name Manny Diaz will be the new DC. And Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst will be the new OC.

  46. I don’t think Kepner gives short shrift to Morris’ post-season failures. He quite specifically writes that Morris wasn’t as good as we remember in the post-season, and he offers details.

    He does bring up the fact that Morris was among the best during an odd era for pitchers—a relative downtime, a transitional period, etc. So, he considers Morris a borderline case for HoF and, for me, that’s the real quibble.

    To me, guys like Schilling & Smoltz are on the borderline, not slam dunks. And those guys were immortals in the post-season.

    That’s the difference in my book. That’s what makes their inductions a clearer case. I don’t think Morris has a great case at all, in regular season or post-season. Overall, he just wasn’t a dominant pitcher in either situation, taking nothing away from his big ’84 & ’91 WS performances. (The author clearly overvalues them.)

    But, the column did get me thinking: If Morris pitched in the ’92 WS like he did in ’91, would I be more moved?

    I tend to doubt I’d put him in—a 3.90 career ERA is always going to get in my way—but it certainly would’ve pushed him closer to the borderline & made for a more interesting conversation.

  47. Interesting counterfactual, Ububba, but even if Morris were brilliant in ’92, I think that the case against Morris and his 3.90 ERA would still be pretty easy to make. It get more difficult if you handed him Schilling or Smoltz’s entire playoff record, instead of just one more successful series — but even then I’d probably vote no because he just wasn’t a great pitcher in the regular season. He’s more like Orlando Hernandez to me, a guy who was alright in the regular season but had a few moments of surpassing brilliance in the playoffs.

    Of course, this is partly a generational thing, because I really didn’t watch him in his prime in the ’80s. But even still, I can’t imagine Morris being a better pitcher than Dave Stieb, let alone Blyleven.

  48. I don’t think Kepner gives short shrift to Morris’ post-season failures. He quite specifically writes that Morris wasn’t as good as we remember in the post-season, and he offers details

    Then how is the one a ticket to immortality –

    “It is often written that without his 10-inning shutout for the Twins in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, Morris would not get nearly as much support. But he did pitch that game. That’s the whole point.”

    and the other a non-disqualifier?

    “Did Morris’s Most Valuable Player award in the ’91 Series make him overwhelmingly reliable in the clutch? No. He lost twice in the next World Series, when his earned run average was 8.44. ”

    It was a weird article. His con arguments, however suppressed, were way better than his pro arguments, and he didn’t even bother to rebut himself, and reaches the exact opposite conclusion to the facts he just stated above

    “We watch the game because we care about it and we want to see who wins the World Series. And if you cared about baseball in Morris’s era, you probably wanted him on the mound when it mattered. In Game 7 in 1991, he rewarded that belief with one of the greatest pitching performances, given the stakes, in modern history.”

    The fact is, he was a 7-4 3.80 postseason pitcher – plenty good, but not nearly as good as Tyler “remembers” – there’s a reason eyewitness testimony is the most flawed sort of evidence. For every “rewarded belief” there were many failures.

    I understand you don’t share these views, but this was the same (poor) recitation of Morris arguments, but with a dose more reality that somehow didn’t seem to impact the conclusion.

  49. I like it. Well done Frank! People will be talking about how good a deal this is in a few years (I think I think).

  50. spike,
    He simply overvalues Morris’ highest highs & believes they push a borderline case, well, over the line. I don’t agree, but that’s alright.

    In my book, there aren’t really any great Morris arguments, but I appreciate the attempt & it did make me look at him in another (albeit hypothetical) way.

    If Morris had a ’92 post-season like his ’91 post-season, his all-time post-season numbers would be closer to those of Smoltz & Schilling (despite the fewer innings).

    Almost all of Morris’ bad post-season numbers come from his 3 ’92 post-season starts (eg., 19 of his 39 career post-season ER come from those 3 starts). If, like 1991, he’d gone 4-0 with 2.23 ERA in the 1992 post-season, we’re talking 11-1 with a 2.46 ERA in about 106 IP.

    Again, an interesting conversation in my book.

  51. If he can put up numbers comparable to his career slash lines for 3 years of the deal, I call it a win for the Braves.

    Wonder if they backloaded it for when the Lowe/Chipper deals

  52. @69,

    That’s because Wilcox told them he liked the Real UT better.

    On another note:
    Whoooooooooooooooooooooo PIG!

  53. After I win the Mega Millions jackpot tonight, I’ll buy the Braves and we will get Puljos.

  54. Its beginning to look like OSU will finally beat an SEC team…Lets hope Arkansas gets it act together….

  55. I like how I can’t watch an SEC team play that has off the field issues and not hear about them the whole time. Not once have we heard about Ohio States issues.

  56. 86 – I am too. I hate Petrino.

    Also, I’ll join those who are nervous about the Uggla deal, but I’d already come to accept that it would happen weeks ago so it’s not a shock.

  57. I hate Petrino as well–but I would still like to see OSU suffer another defeat….

  58. 79- Ethan, I couldn’t agree with you more. Even if you account for a steep decline (age, possible position change making him a 1-1.5 WAR producer) in the fourth and fifth year, he should accumulate enough value in the first three years where it will be worth it for five.

    You have to do these types of things when your farm system is barren of corner outfielder types and infielders not named Freddie Freeman for the next couple of years.

  59. I wonder if Harbaugh has already told them “no” and that is why Rich Rod isn’t out yet.

  60. Honestly, this is not a bad deal. We are essentially buying out his four FA years, which there is no way we could have done the same thing in open market. In fact, this is a great deal given the current market.

    Adam is joining the Nats!!!

  61. I think the deal for Uggla will end up being at least a pretty good one. The team needs and will need RH power. (I think I’d prefer him in LF, though, in order to have a better glove at 2B.)

  62. My immediate supervisor at my new job is a big Twins fan. Today he asked me about Chuck James and if I thought he could pan out. I laughed and told him that he’s probably worth a minor league deal as long as he stays away from the pine cones.

  63. I don’t like the Uggla signing. I know he can hit, but he can’t catch the ball.

    The braves started their run in the 90s by developing young pitchers and signing guys who catch the ball, (Bream, Pendleton, Belliard) and developed young hitters (Justice, Gant, Chipper), and made wise trades (McGriff)

    It just seems that Frank Wren is going away from what worked. Prado in LF and Uggla at 2B will help the offense, but how many runs are we going to allow? Our defense is going to be terrible.

    I don’t like how this team is constructed. We don’t have enough offense or pure strikeout pitching to overcome our defensive liabilities.

  64. Is there a way to view Uggla’s home/away splits when it comes to defense? Isn’t Miami’s field notoriously difficult to play on? I don’t think Uggla is going to turn into a Gold Glove candidate by any means, but he might not be as bad a butcher on a good field.

  65. Adrian Beltre, ‘age’ 32 in ’11, 6 years $96 mill, last five years 18 bWAR. Dan Uggla, age 31 in ’11 5 years $62 mill, last five years 14.9 bWAR. I’ll grant you that Beltre is better, but you give me the choice of the contracts and I’ll take Uggla’s. Again, I’m not thrilled about the fifth year, but this is what happens when you don’t develop 2B/SS/3B that can actually hit.

  66. 113 – That’s an either-or fallacy. You don’t have to sign either guy to a deal like that.

  67. 115 – Adam M, I disagree, the Braves were going to have to sign somebody, via free agency or trade, either this year or next, preferably they be right handed and with some power. They were going to have to at 2nd if Prado plays 3rd or left, at 3rd or left if Prado plays 2nd, or in left if Prado plays 3rd and Uggla plays 2nd.

    The only way they wouldn’t have to would be if Chipper stays healthy the next couple of years, McLouth plays great the next couple of years and somebody internal (Schafer, Mather, whoever) steps forward.

  68. @115 Yes, you don’t have to, but then who else is available? Or you would let Uggla leave after this season and go through the trouble all over again?

  69. Glad to see Rochey got a multi-year contract. I predict he’ll be a Colorado Rockie by the end of 2011.

  70. I understand the reservations about Uggla–especially his defense, which I don’t think will improve. I would feel better about it if I thought that he could play 3B.

    Somehow the Braves will have managed to have 3 All Star caliber 2Bs in 3 years at the position. Meanwhile, it is not obvious to me what will happen at SS and 3B.

    That said, I can’t get too upset about locking up an All Star 2B who might have a couple more peak seasons in him…..

  71. Just finished watching my DVR version of the Sugar Bowl. What a weird game.

    When the Hogs blocked that punt, I stood up and said, “Why did he fall on the ball? At least bat it towards the end zone.”

    Of course, upon replay, I could see that it was yet another football that an Arkansas player couldn’t handle tonight.

  72. Quoting from Talking Chop…

    “One thing about Uggla defensively, he has played half his games on the absolute worst infield in the major leagues. Here’s something for you, over his 5 year career Uggla’s UZR is -26 at home and 3.4 on the road. That’s no small sample size phenomenon, its a 776 games. The Marlins home infield is extremely fast and has routinely been voted the worst playing surface in the league.”

    If that holds up and he can drink the Atlanta-based OBP kool-aid, we’re looking at a potential 6 WAR player next year. Additionally, not a lot of people catch it, but Uggla was the 25th most valuable position player in baseball last year, according to fWAR. In fact, the Braves figure to have 3 of the top 30 position players and 4 of the top 50 position players in 2010 on their team in 2011. Of course, after that, everything is up in the air.

    JJ3bagger… Prado and Yunel, along with Chipper, can hit a little bit…

  73. 121 – I was referring infielders currently in the system that would be able to play the next couple of years. Other than Freddie Freeman of course.

    After Yunel was traded and KJ was non-tendered, there’s virtually nobody left after Freddie that can contribute in the minors at 2B/SS/3B in ’11 or ’12.

    That is very, very interesting about Uggla and UZR, if he could make up some of the UZR difference, he might be pretty close to Beltre over the next five years in terms of WAR.

  74. Uggla’s an overpay, and I don’t really like the deal, but I don’t loathe it. I love his bat in our lineup this year and next year, and if he can hit well in year 3 and decently in year 4, it’s a deal worth having done.

  75. Stephen,

    If the concerns regarding defense are kindled by measurements such as UZR, then there really aren’t any concerns. His defense is going to improve. If they are sparked by legitimate scouting reports (as opposed to the mainstream sports media), then there may be a concern.

    Forgive my inept use of Occam’s Razor, but if the numbers and the general media disagree so much, then I have a theory. One scout, somewhere, didn’t like Uggla on the day that he observed him playing 2B. Some respected traditionalist reporter took this, along with the fact that most historical power-hitting (middle infielders or not) players have been defensive liabilities and churned them together for a label that is extremely hard to remove.

    I think that this is the simplest solution, with the other being that either defensive statistics or scouts are wildly wrong in the game of baseball (which would be a much harder point to validate).

  76. JJ3bagger,

    Yeah, I understood your point (and agree with it); I was just being stupid.


    Is it really an overpay? We are basically buying out four years of FA. If we assume (apologizes to Peter) that he is a 4 WAR true value player this year and the year after, and deduct the standard .5 WAR every year from then on (using the 5 million/1 win current market rate), then we have:

    2011: 20 mil
    2012: 20 mil
    2013: 17.5 mil
    2014: 15 mil
    2015: 12.5 mil

    For an overall contract value of 85 million. I think that this is a reasonable, if not conservative, estimate. If the postulates about his UZR hold true, this contract holds tremendous upside in terms of value.

  77. One more thing…

    fWAR value position player top 50, 2010 (on roster for 2011):

    McCann: 20
    Uggla : 25
    Heyward: 29
    Prado: 47

    Utley: 23

    Wright: 47

    Ramirez: 34

    Zimmerman: 4
    Werth: 26

  78. Wow. I really don’t understand how any Braves fan isn’t doing cartwheels over the Uggla signing.

    He is exactly what the Braves have needed for so long and he is a PERFECT fit for our ethos.

    I wish they had kept Diaz, but otherwise this is going to be one of my favorite Braves teams of all time.

    Still think we need one more piece. We’re whistling past the graveyard at 1B. We can’t have Royals-level talent at two positions and right now 1B and CF are very suspect. Shortstop ain’t exactly HoF, either.

    Keep working, Wren.

  79. So the fact that the Compass Bowl is played right before the National Championship means it’s the second most important Bowl, right?

    O, how I hate O hio State.

  80. Gerry Rafferty died. Hard to describe how his “Baker Street” captured Atlanta.

    “Just one more year and you’ll be happy …” – seemed to be what all of us Buckhead-running singles had in the back of our minds.

    Oh, to have those issues again …

  81. @119 Prado will take over third base once Chipper retires.

    I think our main concern on Uggla is that he is paid a lot of money in terms of the Braves pay scale and we definitely want to make sure the money is well spent. However, I don’t think Uggla is overpaid in terms of market.

  82. desert–The speculative theory about how Uggla’s reputation developed is worth considering and may well explain the disparity between the fielding metrics and the perception that many have about his defensive skills. I take the point that assessing a player’s capacity in the field may be more difficult than it would first appear. In fact, I generally take the view that those in the industry (that is, players and coaches) are normally better at making these kinds of calls than statisticians. Obviously, the best or at least the most comprehensive analysis will draw upon both.

    That said, I am afraid that Uggla’s range will only diminish with age so I don’t see his defense improving.

    KC–It may well be that Prado takes over 3B, but I would certainly like to know that Uggla could do it. I am afraid that he may be a one position player whose value will decrease even more rapidly as he ages.

    Again, I don’t think it is bad signing, particularly because if salarys continue to inflate, he will almost look like a bargain by 2014….

  83. @132

    If Fulmer would have started Jamal Lewis in the Florida game as a freshman, every town in Tennessee would have a Peyton Manning statue in it. For now, just every other town has one.

  84. Good news on the Uggla signing — I really like that there’s no contract year issue with Uggla going into the spring. Man, if (yes, big if) Chipper comes back strong we now have a realy good looking top and middle of the order.

    @45 – Carpool, while the post really doesn’t warrant a response given the silly conclusion (“Nobody really cares about the past, though.”) and then internally inconsistent reliance on Heyward’s past performance stats, I’ll give you this (which I said in the post to which you respond): Heyward has the most upside by most people’s reckoning, including my own. But that’s one definition of value, and a definition that I expressly said I was not using. Nor should it be used in isolation, especially for a rookie. We’ll see how pitchers adjust to him, and how he adjusts in response, in his sophomore season. As much as I *hope* that Jason lives up to his potential, there is no way I will ever say that a player with 520 ML ABs is more valuable to a team than a player with Huddy’s ability and track record.

    @65 – Well the statistics I used support my view. While you may choose to ignore Huddy’s 5.4 WAR last season, I won’t. And W-L record is influenced by many other factors, yes, but Huddy’s is one of the best of all time — hard to ignore the importance of that.

    I don’t know the source for your numbers, but Baseball Reference shows Hanson’s WAR at 2.5 (not 4.3) last season, and 3.3 (not 2.6) in 2009, both numbers that are more believable given his performance. Therefore, the 4-5 projection you offer seems, well, unlikely given that his career WAR is 5.8. Don’t get me wrong, I love Hanson, but I’ll choose Huddy if I need to win a game.

    @103 – I recall a number of leaded gloves in our infield in the hey-day 1990s.

  85. Seems like a pretty good deal to me. 12 mil isn’t that much for a bat like that. I agree the Braves have not built the team like they did in the 90s but you can’t always replay the same movie. At the time, Pendleton and Bream were available and fit in to what Schuerholz wanted to do. If they weren’t, perhaps he would have gone in a different direction (e.g., more offense to cover up defensive deficiencies). I think that the Braves pitchers in the 90s would have been pretty good regardless of who played first and third. I would certainly like the Braves to improve their defense substantially (and I’m sure Wren would as well), but you can’t bring players in out of thin air. Anyway, getting rid of Melky has to help the defense even if they put Smitty in CF.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *