Braves 7, Rockies 4

Atlanta Braves vs. Colorado Rockies – Box Score – July 18, 2011 – ESPN.

Coors Field is am ammoying place. Even in a game in which the Braves led the whole way and had a six-run lead at one point, they still had to use their top three relievers to finish, largely because of terrible little flare singles.

The Braves took the lead in the second. They loaded the bases with none out, but Alex Gonzalez lined into a double play. Nate McLouth was intentionally walked, and Derek Lowe came to the plate. Lowe hit what should have been an inning-ending groundout, but Todd Helton lost the throw in the sun and two runs scored.

There was nothing cheap about the runs the Braves got in the third, though. Freddie Freeman hit a two-run homer to deep center with one out to make it 4-0, then Eric Hinske hit a second-deck solo shot to right to make it 5-1. The Rockies got one run back on a single by Helton in the bottom of the inning, but that was it.

Hinske doubled with two out in the the fifth and scored on an AAG single. In the sixth, Lowe singled leading off and eventually scored on a Freeman groundout.

I’ve complemented Fredi for getting Lowe out of there before things fall apart this year, so maybe I should be more critical for letting Lowe start the seventh, but with a six run lead… Eric O’Flaherty was ready after two were on and one out for Carlos Gonzalez, and Fredi should have pulled the trigger then. But Gonzalez singled in a run, and Mark Ellis singled to load the bases, and it was 7-2 and the tying run on deck when O’Flaherty came in. It was 7-4 after a sac fly and a single, but O’Flaherty got the next guy to end the thread.

Jonny Venters got three groundouts around a two-out walk in the eighth. Craig Kimbrel seemingly pitched around Helton but struck everyone else out in the ninth.

246 thoughts on “Braves 7, Rockies 4”

  1. First sentence, “Coors Field is am ammoying place.” Please leave it, as it adds to the annoyance.

    On trade notes, I found this interesting, and it makes a Beltran acquisition more attractive…

    “As noted by Cot’s Baseball Contracts, $22 million of Beltran’s $119 million deal is deferred. Specifically, $5.5 million per year between 2008 and 2011. That makes his 2011 salary a more reasonable $13 million and that prorated after the trade deadline is approximately $4.5 million.”

  2. Back to the last thread, as far as the line up goes, I would look to add a leadoff hitter. There are rally only tow gusy we should be discussing, Bourne and Jose Reyes.

    Adding one of those two guy would be perfect for this team. However, my barber says there is no way we get in the Jose Reyes sweepstakes.

    A RH reliever and an RH bench bat should be easy to add and could even be picked up at the waiver deadline or by someone on the farm.

  3. I don’t see how you can get around the fact that Beltran doesn’t match up with the Braves’ actual needs. They don’t have room for a corner OF. Once Chipper comes back, which outfielder are you supposed to bench? Nate’s the obvious answer, but he’s also the only one of them capable of playing CF. What the Braves need is a CF who is competent both offensively and defensively. That’s Bourjos or Bourn, maybe, but it’s not Beltran, Hunter Pence, Josh Willingham, or any of the other names being tossed around.

  4. Mac, it’s rare that I EVER think you’re slightly wrong when it comes to your Braves analysis but Coors Field had nothing to do with last night’s 7th inning meltdown. That would have happened in PetCo Park. Or Detroit.

    The issue was Fredi Gonzalez. He’s done the right thing pulling Lowe after 6 innings and I don’t even have an issue with him starting the 7th – but when you get to runners on base, you have to pull him. He waited until runs scored and runners on base.

    And this goes back to my even bigger issue with DOB in the AJC, trying to “sell” Braves fans that we HAVE to hang onto Derek Lowe this trade deadline. Sorry, but screw that.

    Let me ask DOB this question – how much post season experience did Matt Cain and Tim Lincecumb have before last October. Exactly. This whole notion that we have to hang onto to the most expensive 5th starter in MLB history and not get rid of him because he’s had past post season glory, is silly. He’s the 5th best starter on this team and if Hudson, Jurrjens, Hanson and Beachy all stay really strong in the 2nd half, I don’t see how Fredi justifies even putting Lowe into a post season rotation.

    The Giants (and Rangers) proved last year that post season experience matters little. Trade Lowe if the Tigers are willing to give something legit back.

  5. Beltran would require us to bench Prado, Heyward, or Uggla (none of which will happen), or else completely punt CF defense.

  6. Anon21,

    Beltran is a lefthanded hitter, plain and simple. This team should focus on prying Matt Kemp away from the Dodgers – he would be my #1 target. He’s younger and better than Beltran anyway.

  7. Also: As Peter and Ben from CAC are pointing out on Twitter, Beltran is currently +9 in right. The stats disagree with the Mets’ beat reporter; he could absolutely handle center, if his knees hold up. Seems worthwhile to take a two-month gamble on that happening.

  8. @5, well he would certainly start in left until Chipper returns, and thereafter probably get 2 starts in left per week to rest Chipper, and one to give Prado a day off, and if Heyward and Uggla both take one day off, voila – 4 or 5 starts per week, no CF required. Not that I am necessarily advocating for Beltran

  9. Yeah, Jim Powell on his one-man broadcast last night was also pushing back on the Lowe trade rumors. I guess he made a very slightly more nuanced argument–something about contenders not trading proven commodities–but he was definitely leaning on the mystical Veteran Presents too.

    My reservations about the potential Lowe deal are completely different. First, there’s the possibility that it doesn’t help, if the Tigers somehow wrangle the Braves into paying most of his salary (as some of the rumormongers report). Second, if it does go down as a straight salary dump, I don’t have any confidence that FW will get the go-ahead from ownership to invest that money back in the team. Liberty Media is a truly shitty owner, and I think that they would love to get some salary relief out of the deal, get no pieces back in return, and then just let the payroll sink to a lower level. That would be pretty pointless.

  10. Do we get to explain that to the Mets first, that we’ll have to bench core asset players in order to play Beltran 2/3 of the time, so can we please get, say, a 40% discount on the asking price? Why don’t we just fill an actual need instead?

  11. @11, You don’t think that between the trio of Jones/Heyward/Prado, all of whom have spent significant recent time on the DL, and Uggla (who I wish had) there isn’t a need for an offensive minded corner OF? Again, I am not advocating for Beltran per se, but to argue there is no “actual need” seems rather overstated. Sure getting a CF would be great, but what if there isn’t one at a price the team would like to pay? It just may be that because of his contract, the best deal (or perhaps only plausible deal) is a guy like Beltran.

  12. How much did all their playoff experience help the Braves in the late 90s and 2000s?

    The only real argument against trading Lowe is injuries are always possible to young pitchers. Lowe isn’t a terrible pitcher but the Braves have better options.

  13. IF Beltran can play center, it is a different story.

    I am not sure his knees will hold up and then we are back to what we have now, minus a pitching prospect that will be beating our asses come April.

    We can afford to have two guys that are always hurt (Chipper and Heyward), but probably not three.

    Let’s just get a RH leadoff CF that won’t cost us too much.

  14. I think Beltran’s availability is giving people (hopefully not FW) into a reverse hammer problem. We’ve got a nail, so we’re squinting until Beltran looks like a hammer. Left-handed corner OF is not a role that the Braves need to fill. Unless the asking price is stupid low, Wren should pass on this opportunity.

  15. What are some teams that have both an outfield option and a right-handed reliever?

    Padres: Ludwick + Bell/Adams/Gregerson
    Cubs: Byrd + Wood
    A’s: Crisp/Willingham + Balfour
    Mets: Beltran + Isringhausen

    Not even going to mention the Royals.

  16. I think we should get Ichiro and put him in CF.

    In all seriousness, with some of the recent comments from Fredi, the mouthpieces, and Chipper, it looks like Schafer is probably staying put. They might as well get a platoon partner for JHey and a RHRP. Juan Rivera made too much sense

  17. I don’t see why people think Pence would be a poor center fielder. I speculate that he’d be better than McLouth with much, much better offense.

  18. @12

    What if, what if, what if. Meanwhile, we have a very real and current problem at CF/leadoff hitter.

  19. Wow, Marc Schneider and I agree. Presses have been stopped :)

    I am definitely in favor of upgrading the offense. Prado is back, healthy and productive which is huge, but Jordan Schafer is simply not consistent enough to be reliable in CF in terms of a contending offense. In addition, Chipper will inevitably have nights off, another DL stint, minor injuries…we simply can’t rely on him everyday.

    We don’t need to overhaul the offense. It’s not perfect but ONE outfield bat, preferably a righthanded hitting center fielder, is the ideal. Beltran upgrades our offense, but I just don’t see the need for another lefty bat. In case Uggla returns to his toilet hitting, we have to have another righty bat we can rely on.

    Can the Braves still compete in the postseason without adding a bat? Absolutely. Especially with Prado back. But why not sure up the weakest areas. (oh, and maybe leave Proctor by the side of a road in a forest somewhere).

    Re: Lowe

    It’s strange to me how much it seems DOB and Powell seem to defend Lowe. He’s our 5th starter (at this point) with an above 4 ERA and costs a fortune. Again, why is he necessary? Mike Minor or Teheran would be just fine in his place.

  20. I second JoeyT wholeheartedly. I don’t see why people are down on Pence’s D. His D would be solid and his bat would transform our lineup (as would Kemp).

  21. Bourn is the best fit for what we have/what we want to give up:


    That is a balanced lineup. The bench will be utterly useless against lefties, but they generally are anyway.

  22. @6. Beltran is a switch hitter who has hit lefties better over his career. What this team needs is runs, and Beltran is the best hitter available (Kemp is a pipe dream). It’s easy to find Beltran five games a week even while having Schafer play half the games in center and playing Prado every day. Prado leading off with Beltran in the two hole sounds pretty good to me.

  23. #8
    One more reason not to offer full faith to defensive stats.

    Beltran has had trouble running. He’s played a lot this year, but according to the people who actually watch & cover the Mets every day, it hasn’t been easy. There have been numerous stories about how “Beltran is hurting, but he’s going to play anyway to show everyone that he’s healthy enough to trade for.” Beltran himself has discussed a possible trade (and possible trade partners for him.)

    And why would you put a guy who’s had tons of recent knee & leg injuries, a guy who you’re acquiring as short-term rental, a guy you’re getting mainly for his stick, in the one position where he’s most likely to get re-injured & miss more time? Not to mention the fact that you’re immediately downgrading your defense in CF?

    Again, this isn’t APBA or Strat-O-Matic.

    That said, if we didn’t have to give to the Mets anyone that’ll come back to hurt us, I’d get Beltran & play him in LF or RF. If we had to dump/bench Nate or rotate days off to Beltran, Chipper & Heyward along the way, I’d do it. We’d have stronger offense & a helluva bench.

  24. Coors Field gave us the two runs on the Helton error. It giveth and it taketh away.

    Stu, I’m very wary of mid-season defensive stats, even Plus/Minus. I’d be inclined to trust a scout’s eyes. Beltran’s legs were screwed up for a long time, and he isn’t stealing bases any more — which is telling, considering that he’s the best base stealer of all time. I just don’t think it’s worth the risk to try to put him in center field.

    Or what Ububba said. Anyway, I like Bourn a lot, but he has absolutely no power to lose — and he’s already 28. If his slugging gets any lower, he’s Luis Castillo with a lower walk rate.

  25. Frankly, the Braves’ hometown announcers and beat writers seem to have an extraordinary ability to just forget lousy performances. Like, you’ll hear Powell say something in a very mild tone of voice about how Lowe gave up six runs last time out, and then say that it was “un-Derek-Lowe-like.” Maybe he’ll mention that Lowe’s performance has been really mediocre over the past month, but then he’ll point out that “he’s looking much more like the pitcher we know out there tonight, getting that excellent diving action on his sinker.” And then Lowe will give up 4 or 5 runs, and they’ll just sort of ignore it, or say he had a good start but tired near the end.

    It’s possible this is all just giving the hometown crowd what it wants to hear (although I’m skeptical–sometimes the hometown crowd wants to hear an announcer really beat up on a player who’s performing badly, but Sutton and Powell seem to reserve beatdowns exclusively for young players). But sometimes I get the sense that they really do think Lowe is just running into a bit of bad luck, or that they are unduly influenced by his great results last September. So I think all the Lowe defense comes from a genuine belief that the team will be much worse off without him.

    Re: Kemp. Haven’t read anything to suggest he’s actually available. Just because a fire sale makes sense doesn’t mean the Dodgers will do it.

  26. I just don’t see much risk, and there’s a lot of upside. It’s two months.

    But according to DOB, the Braves believe he’s a corner-OF, anyway, so it doesn’t much matter whether he can play CF. As I noted last night, I’d still take him in left/right.

    As for “the people who actually watch & cover the Mets every day,” uh, let’s just say that I don’t pay much attention to their opinion/analysis. DOB comes to mind.

  27. @8 – Half a season of UZR data is about 1/6th of the minimum sample its own creators suggest should be trusted. The CAC guys should know and remember that. We’re still thoroughly in scouting-only territory for analysis of creaky old Beltran’s right field defense.

  28. It’s not UZR data. You don’t see “+” or “-” in discussing UZR. It might even be scouting-based.

  29. So we’re just going to continue with the “Beltran can’t hit lefties anymore” bullshit and ignore that THIS VERY SEASON he’s slugging .547 against them, with a .839 OPS?

    Granted, that’s a very low OBP (.292) but that slugging would be the absolute best on our club.

    His overall .381/.512/.893 would only be matched on our club by McCann’s .380/.515/.894.

    Say Beltran can’t play CF, and you’ve got something worth debating, but Beltran’s bat in our lineup would be like letting Brian McCann hit twice.

  30. Well, Bourn is also an excellent center fielder. He gets on base, is a good base runner, and fields well. There are many ways to create wins.

  31. Plus the Mets are expecting to get real prospects back for him. That’s fine if it’s in exchange for a relatively known commodity for more than a couple of months, but betting that Beltran can play center in exchange for a real prospect just seems like too much when he’ll be gone after the season anyway.

  32. @19

    Those aren’t “what ifs.” Unless you think Chipper needing days off is a “what if” scenario. Heyward, being young and fragile, could use days off as well. Not a “what if” he needs a day off. He does. Beltran allows the luxury of resting either of those guys on a particular night, along with Prado and even Uggla, AND can fake a few games in CF should the need ever arise.

    It makes a lot of sense if it can be done for a reasonable price.

    The Braves don’t NEED a CF, they NEED a bat. Beltran is the best available, and he fits in the system. He may not fit as perfectly as Rasmus or Kemp, and if they can be had for the same price as Beltran then of course you should get them instead, but they are not known to be available.

  33. Plus the Mets are expecting to get real prospects back for him.

    I am shocked to hear that their public negotiating stance is that a guy they’re looking to deal won’t come cheaply.

    I would be stunned if it cost even Delgado, and if it did, I wouldn’t be in favor.

  34. Jim Powell is an employee of the Atlanta Braves. I expect him to be Mr. Possitive. DOB is not. He has become a strait up schill.

  35. #27
    Sports media in NYC is way different than it is in one-newspaper towns.

    Ed Coleman, despite the fact that he works for WFAN, the Met’s radio station, has never shrunk from reporting things that are controversial or things that might rankle the Mets. (Believe me, there have been plenty–the entire Tony Bernazard episode immediately comes to mind.) That’s why people listen to him.

    And when it comes to reporting Beltran’s issues, a strong relationship with the club’s staff is a real benefit.

  36. Also, to add to Stu’s list of combos, the Rockies have the combo of Wigginton and Betancourt that I think the Braves could have interest in.

    Wigginton’s IF versatility is a bit wasted on a team that has Martin Prado, but it definitely isn’t a negative. He’s right-handed, can hit the ball out of the ballpark (unfortunately isn’t much of an on-base guy) and between this season and last has played 1B/2B/3B/LF/RF.

    He makes a bit of sense as a RH Hinske (IE, bench-bat with double-switch possibilities, if Fredi knows how to do that.) This is not my preferred route, however.

  37. 36—Perhaps you’ll note the distinction I drew between reporting fact and stating opinion. I don’t particularly care whether Ed Coleman thinks Beltran can play center.

  38. A few thoughts…

    I just now realize how criminally underrated Bourn has been. He’s quite a good player. Go check out his pages on B-Ref and Fangraphs; I think that you’ll be pleasantly surprised with his caliber of play. I sure was.

    Mac, I’m seeing quite a few articles about Brian McCann being definitively the ‘best catcher in baseball’, using those terms exactly. That idea of yours spread extremely fast throughout the known baseball blogosphere.

    Capitol Avenue Club… it may just be me, but I can’t help but notice the change in attitude from the author. The snide remarks/snark (Orris excluded) has been creeping up quite a bit, even on opinions with no factual basis or evidence. It’s turning into an everyday Keith Law blog, in my opinion. It’s still a place for great, solid, and fully evidence-based analysis; but, that tone and how he treats his readership… well, congratulations anyway Peter. It’s becoming a successful place.

  39. If you say so. I wonder whether the Mets would play McLouth, Schafer, or Beltran in center, if given that choice. I wonder what most teams would do.

  40. @42

    Your point being that Beltran allows us to give days off to people who could use it, and that that’s a bad thing?

  41. Anyone know off the top of their heads what the Braves’ record is in games started by Schaefer?

  42. I’ve been thinking about it more, and I’m pretty sure Schafer is the way to go in center over McLouth after Chipper returns, crummy hitting and all.

    I know some of you might think this is crazy, but I think Schafer gives us one out McLouth wouldn’t have given us about once out of every two games on average. Assuming an outfield hit is worth about .83 runs (linear weights), you get about a three win difference between the two on defense the rest of the year. (This has about as much to do with McLouth’s poor defense as Schafer’s good defense, BTW. I’m not saying Schafer’s Andruw; he only looks like Andruw compared to McLouth.)

    Even if Schafer costs us a win or a win and a half on offense over McLouth’s replacement-level hitting, he’s still the better option.

  43. 40: Yeah, Peter is kind of a dick, at least in his online kingdom. He cannot accept being wrong; if he takes a position on something, it has to be correct, and he gets increasingly angry when he’s contradicted, perhaps especially when he’s contradicted by facts and reason (See for a sad example.) It is what it is; I still go there all the time for the good analysis, but his attitude (and the attitude of commenters who like to copy him) detracts from the value of the site.

  44. I agree with you; I just wish Schafer would hit 8th.


    would make me feel so much better.

  45. Presuming injury and creating an ironclad defense against it is luxury. Someone else is going to make Beltran their everyday right fielder, and is going to pay a hefty price to do so. We’ll have to outbid whoever that might be. Meanwhile, we have regular starters at every position he can play, or that we can shift around to accommodate him.

  46. Incidentally, not enough of an issue has been made about Prado’s staph infection. Did we or did we not lose an All-Star for a month due to unsanitary conditions in the Marlins’ visitors clubhouse? Didn’t the NFL come down like a bag of hammers against the Cleveland Browns for a similar situation a few years ago?

  47. @52, A lot. Adam Jones is immensely valuable, and there’s no way the Orioles trade him.

  48. @50

    Except it’s not “presuming injury.” It’s accounting for regular days off.

    I’m not saying we should go all out for Beltran, I’m saying that he fits what the Braves need, even if not ideally.

  49. Hinske, Conrad, and McLouth do a good enough job of accounting for those days off, in my opinion.

  50. 53—Been wondering the same thing.

    54—Would you make the kind of deal — say, Teheran, Vizcaino, Hoover, and Salcedo — that would make it almost impossible to turn down?

    I think I would.

  51. From Buster Oleny this morning:

    “FROM ELIAS: Halladay also snapped a streak of 63 starts of at least six innings on the road. That was the longest in the live-ball era (since 1920) and the longest since Walter Johnson made 82 straight in 1911-15.

    With a game-time temperature of 91 degrees, Monday night was Halladay’s 10th start since 2004 in 90 degree temperatures or higher. He’s allowed home runs almost three times as frequently when the temperature is at least 90 degrees, and his ERA in those starts is over a run higher than his ERA in all other starts over that time (2.94 under 90 degrees, 4.02 90 degrees and higher).”

    I guess this means we need to turn on the damn heaters next time Halladay comes to ATL.

  52. I would play Beltran over McLouth in CF. Of course, I’d play almost anyone over McLouth in CF.

  53. I don’t think that Adam Jones is that valuable of a commodity. He’s 26, not a good defensive CF’er, and is only a league-average hitter in his four years at the MLB level. He’s also in Arb1 and is about to be paid nearly 7 million dollars next year. I’ll pass, especially at the price of Teheran, Vizcaino, and Salcedo.

  54. @57- Well, I’d probably start with a deal that was impossible for them to ACCEPT, and then work my way up to the deal that that was really hard for them to accept, but in the end, they felt they ought to.

    But, yeah. I’d trade a good amount for Adam Jones.

  55. Oh yes, and his current walk rate of 4.9% is lower than Francouer’s career rate of 5.0%. I don’t think he’s worth Teheran alone. Counterpoint?

  56. He’s an already-good, right-handed, 25 year-old CF who gets better every year and is under team control through 2013.

  57. Stu, you’re wildly overvaluing him. If he was an asset in the field, maybe. But he’s not great there or at the plate. He’s merely good, and about to become expensive. I’m just not a fan of his skill set.

  58. He can play CF at an ~average level — that’s an asset, IMO. “He’s merely good” is not a lot different than “He’s an already-good…” — I think we see the same player, but I put a lot more value on that type of player than you do.

  59. Well… ‘good’ is debatable. Walk rate is horrible, defense is below average to bad depending on which system you ask. Although there’s been a definitive uptick in power, it remains to be seen whether its a one year fluke. I agree that he’s good, but I don’t think he’s Teheran/Vizcaino/Salcedo good (two top-ten prospects in baseball?). And, I know it fits our needs, but I don’t think being right-handed makes him ‘good’.

  60. Count me on the side of those who think a corner outfielder helps this club. I’m only in on Beltran if we intend to, and believe we can, extract some value from him by getting him some starts in CF. Being a switch-hitter who is stronger from the leftside, he doesn’t have that much added value as a Heyward semi-platoon mate.

    I just don’t consider “regular rest” and “injury replacement” to be mutually exclusive. Regular rest, in my opinion, is injury-prevention. And when we’re talking about fragile players, I don’t consider it a luxury. If you can afford it, you do it. If you can’t, you do what you gotta do.

    If you figure you’ve got about 6.5 games per week, you’ve got about 20 starts per week at LF, RF, and 3B. If you’ve got 4 quality starters for those 3 positions, you’ve got 5 starts per player, and every single day you’ve got a Chipper Jones, Martin Prado, Jason Heyward or (ahem) Carlos Quentin on your bench for a high-leverage pinch hit appearance.

    And again, we’re not talking about Cal Ripken Jr. here. These guys can’t seem to stop getting hurt. Keeping them rested can keep them healthy, and keep them performing at their best.

  61. Why do you think Adam Jones is a poor defender? UZR doesn’t like him, but plus/minus thinks he’s pretty good, and total zone is neutral. Also, if you google around for opinions that don’t use UZR, he gets good marks from people who watch him play. If I had to guess, I’d put him as a defensive asset, but I’ve hardly seen him play.

  62. 67—I don’t think you’re right about his defense. I never said that being right-handed made him good, and it’s dishonest or lazy to imply that I did. The proposed package was for two (2) players, not just Jones.

  63. 69,

    Total Zone has him at -19 (!!!!) this year. That’s not neutral (I’m getting this from B-ref, by the way). Plus/minus has him at 5,1, and -7 the last three years, with the -7 coming this year (Fangraphs). That’s not good, that’s below average. You might want to check that.


    My apologizes. I thought that you were implying that his right-handedness was a reason for him being good, and I thought that the package was for just Jones.

  64. @70, well, yeah. The Cardinals are second in their division. They won’t be selling. The Orioles probably won’t sell Jones, but there’s more of a chance of that than a team in a pennant race giving up their young star center fielder.

    The reason Pence is discussed heavily is because he’s on the Astros.

  65. @20,

    It happens. :)

    I will say this, though, about Lowe: the money is irrelelvant at this point. It’s already been spent. The Braves would almost certainly have to pick up some of Lowe’s salary in a trade. No one will be sad to see Lowe and his salary leave but the real issue is whether you can flip him for someone at this point that would improve the team.

  66. 72—His handedness is a benefit to this club, given its construction, but I specifically listed it as a separate point from his being a good player.

  67. @72, Plus/Minus numbers: 3, 5, 11, 5, 1, -7. Considering the 11, 5, and 1 are from full seasons, I think that’s pretty good. Cutting off numbers for a full season in favor of numbers for a half season isn’t really a great way to evaluate a player.

    For total zone, again, I was ignoring the current half season in favor of three full seasons (0, 9, -10 is pretty neutral).

  68. JoeyT,

    The problem is that the defense seems to be getting quite worse. He’s going to be a worse defensive athlete going into his age 26, 27, and 28 seasons; it’s not reasonable to project his defense at 28 to mirror his defense at 22 or 23. He’s getting to the point that he’s below average in CF, and, again, UZR’s never liked him.

    He’s already got 800 innings this year (compared to 1100, 1200, and 1000 for the last three years). And because +/- is a counting stat, that -7 is only going to get worse once he reaches the 1300 innings he’s projecting to reach.

  69. Because it’s a counting stat, you cannot assume that it’s going to keep getting worse.

  70. Because it’s a counting stat that’s been decreasing for 3 years straight and is quite bad this year… you expect it to get better?

  71. I got my first speeding ticket in almost a decade last night for going 31 mph in the 3-4 blocks of a road that was marked 20 mph. Apparently Miami police pulls you over by shining a strobe light in your eyes from the side of the road (officers on foot, not in a car) and yelling at you rather than getting behind you in a car and turning on their sirens. A surreal experience.

    The ticket they handed me is sorta vague, but it sounds like if I elect to go to traffic school, I have to pay even more. That’s $226 plus the fees for traffic school. The joke’s on them though because I’m the richest man in Miami! *sobs gently into Ninja Turtles pillow*

  72. 80—I don’t expect anything. I recognize that the -7 is a half-season’s worth of data and therefore shouldn’t be relied upon to reach any conclusions.

  73. @81 Mac, I’ve been praying for you, hope this visit goes quickly and as painlessly as possible. I’ve been worried about you.

  74. Mac,

    Hope it’s not serious. Get better!


    So, it’s been conclusively shown that baseball players’ fielding/defensive abilities start declining in their early to mid 20’s. The data shows that. We know that Adam Jones’ fielding has not been highly rated by UZR, and has been trending down into the definitively below-average area by the other two systems, plus/minus and Total Zone.

    And… you still think that we can’t make some educated guesses going forward? Come on Stu, you’re smarter than that. Most of your posts are extremely educated and thoughtful, but I can’t warp my mind around this.

  75. @82, I hate it when they do that. The last speeding ticket I got was a few years ago, and it was on a 35 mph stretch of road that couldn’t be more than a half mile long with miles of 45 mph on either side.

  76. I usually disagree with Stu, but for like the third time this thread, I’m totally behind him. Oh noes! A couple of sketchy defensive stats have gone down (08-09), then up (09-10), then down again (10-11 so far). He must be getting worse!

  77. 85—You should really try to argue with what I’m saying and stop wasting your time shooting down what I’m not saying. Educated guesses are one thing; assumptions based on a half-season of controversial data are quite another. I’m not saying he’s going to put a well-regarded-by-plus/minus defensive season together; I’m saying that the fact that he’s currently at -7 does not mean that he’ll end the year at -14.

    Jones is obviously not going to be getting better than he currently is in center, but I dispute the notion that his present level is significantly below average, and I would further dispute that he’ll get significantly worse than his present level through the end of 2013.

  78. @88, you don’t have to say you’re kidding. It’s the internet.

    @89, You went bold and italic. That’s the blogland way of saying, “It’s on.”

    You have to realize what we’re arguing. We’re probably arguing the result of a handful of plays analyzed based on the location markings of some college kid who was up all night downing jeagerbombs until he passed out on his neighbor’s couch. Then the software’s all like, “Based on those markings, 85% of CFs would have made that play, and he didn’t, so he just cost his team 60% of a run with that play. What a loser.”

  79. 87,

    You found them to be fine when you thought they backed up your point. But, whatever. It’s less than half a win either way.


    Ok… so you’re saying two things, correct?

    1. ‘I would dispute the notion that his present level is significantly below average’. I’ll interpret that as meaning ‘He’s not below average’.

    2. ‘I would further dispute that he’ll get significantly worse than his present level through the end of 2013’. I’ll interpret that as meaning ‘He isn’t going to get that much worse in the next two years’.

    The first: The stats think that he’s below average currently. I’m not a scout and I certainly do not watch him everyday, so I can’t provide a useful scouting report. So, I’ll go to the stats. UZR shows him to be below average. TZ and +/- show him to be on a downward trend the last three years to the point that they now consider him below average. I can’t argue further than that. And I don’t think I can change your mind.

    The second hinges directly on the first. We can’t quantify how much worse he’s going to get, but we do know that he’s going to get worse. If you believe that he’s average right now and that he won’t fall very far, fine. I can’t disprove that.

    All in all, useless debate. But still interesting.

  80. @89 Like the wife of Julius Caesar, the defensive skills of anyone you’re paying two of the top 5 or so pitching prospects in baseball and the top position prospect in your system (a guy with Chipper Jones upside) to get for three years have to be above suspicion. Even one of those guys panning out could obliterate Jones in future value.

  81. 92,

    Yeah, I think that’s the entire point. Jones may (may) not be a usable CF’er for much longer, and his bat certainly can’t play the corners. Why pay a premium price (that is a lot better than the Teixeira haul, in my opinion) for him and a reliever?

  82. Also, I agree with desert in 68 that Adam Jones isn’t all that good. He’s essentially been a poor man’s Nate McLouth through the first few years of his career, which is fine if you get him for the league minimum, but that’s not what he’ll get paid for the remaining years of team control. I don’t get it.

  83. @93 Yeah, that’s the Texeira haul plus either the top or the second best starting pitching prospect in baseball for a 2 win/year player. That would be beyond disastrous, even with Uehara thrown in.

  84. 91—

    1. You can interpret it by looking at what I said at 67: “~average”

    2. Correct. Athletic 26 and 27 year-olds, barring injury, don’t typically decline a great deal, defensively.

    92—A lot of prospects “could” obliterate a lot of current MLBers in future value. Jones meets an immediate need and continues, in all probability, meeting it through 2013. Uehara does the same through 2012. These are seasons for which we know that the Braves are set up to contend for championships. It would be a worthwhile risk, IMO.

  85. I am very much in favor of acquiring Koji Uehara, however. Maybe for Hoover (or equivalent) and a Rome/Lynchburg pitcher.

  86. @91, All I’m saying is that it’s hard to tell a trend because the number of plays that can dramatically affect that number are small enough you can’t tell anything on an annual basis. The numbers tell us something, and over the course of years, things like bright sunlight and field divots and the stringers’ bleary-eyed hangovers affect everyone in a position roughly the same amount. You just have to look at it all together.

    All together, UZR says he’s cost his teams about 13 runs over his entire career. It likes his arm and hates his range. Plus/Minus says he’s saved his teams about 18 opponent runs over his entire career. Total Zone says he’s saved about 4 runs over his career, including this year’s whopping negative.

    You can’t really trust one-year subsets of this data, even for picking out trends.

  87. 95,

    Yup. Hopefully, if they’re even entertaining giving those three up in one deal, it’s for a player of Evan Longoria’s contract and caliber. So… Evan Longoria.

  88. 96,98

    Alright, I’ll try to take your views on the topic. But even if he’s going to play an above average CF for us… Teheran/Vizcaino/Salcedo? I think that’s wayyyyy too much.

  89. @100, me, too, but only because the little I’ve seen on the internet of Salcedo looks really, really good, thus biasing me against trading him.

  90. @96 Teheran and Vizcaino both meet immediate needs in the majors and would (in admittedly less probable fashion since pitcher attrition is high) continue to do so through 2017. Changing out Lowe and Proctor for those two makes the team better immediately. Runs saved = runs earned. Adam Jones is not sell-the-farm good, he’s just kind of average.

    @99 is right – that haul might not be worth Evan Longoria’s Contract, but it’d be worth Justin Upton+, Rasmus+, or Kemp++.

  91. DOB –

    •Salary relief is all that would matter. RT @dlefty33: @ajcbraves on Lowe potentially going to Tigers…who would the Braves get in return? 35 mins ago

  92. Mahay was pretty good, but we only got the remainder of that year from him, right? We’d at least have Uehara through 2014, and he’s maybe just a tier below Venters/Kimbrel good. Actually, Uehara might end up being the most valuable part of this Jones/Uehara trade.

    Edit: Actually looks like Uehara has been in pretty much the same Venters/Kimbrel tier so far.

  93. @86, The frustrating thing is the cops specifically stake out those misleading spots to nail people. If the road was a 25 like I thought it was, it would have been a non-issue. The road I turned off of to get there was a 40.

    Earlier that day I avoided two accidents on US-1 because no one in Florida knows how to drive, but God forbid they pull over the reckless drivers.

  94. Only speeding ticket I’ve gotten came in Myrtle Beach. I swear, the speed limit changed with such randomness that it was tough to keep up. It’d be 45 at one stretch and then all of a sudden it drops to 35, even though nothing about the road changed at all. Same lanes, same width, same amount of intersections, etc. 130 bucks for doing 50 in a 35. Granted, it was 9 at night on St. Patrick’s day so I should have known that they’d be on the lookout, but still…

  95. @107, $226 for me. I was appalled.

    On a related note, does anyone need a proofreader, music transcriber, or personal servant for a day or two? I charge roughly $230.

  96. Speeding Tickets are just an additional tax. Not trying to get political, but I doubt anyone is a huge supporter of speeding tickets.

  97. @106, I’ve never really had a problem with Florida drivers, but I’ve never ventured further south than the Orlando area. Some places, like Manhattan, just have a completely different set of unwritten driving rules that you might mistake for poor driving. Miami might be like that.

    The only place I’ve ever been with a super high density of bad driving is Long Island. It’s like they’re all insecure and indecisive, waiting to stop, turn, or change lanes until the last possible minute when they absolutely have to make a decision.

    @109, that’s not very political. It’s more a procedural issue. I tend to think of speed traps, when used effectively, as a way to spread police throughout a jurisdiction so when something does happen, response time is cut dramatically. I can’t speak to whether higher speeding ticket fines reduce the incidence of traffic injuries.

  98. @110, I lived in NY for about 4.5 years before moving to Miami and I had access to a car for about three months up there. NY driving is certainly very bad, but Florida takes the cake. Here, you have to expect people to cut you off or you’ll rear end them. Spotting the bad drivers is an invaluable skill here and they always seem to come in twos.

  99. I’ve started to talk myself into Schafer starting over McLouth when Chipper comes back. Of course, by all indications, Fredi is going to continue batting him in the leadoff spot, which is deeply irritating.

    re: Adam Jones. He’s a 3-4 win player at best, which is solid but not spectacular. I tend to think he’s hitting his ceiling this year. I also don’t think it’s fair to lump Teheran in with other “pitching prospects,” insofar as he, like Hellickson and Pineda, has reached a point in development where his projections are more grounded. Simply put, he’s not just a lottery ticket anymore. I would probably trade him straight up for Jones, but I would not include the other two players. Not for a guy with such poor on-base skills.

  100. Incidentally, I’d rather have Bourn and Keppinger than Beltran. They’d also be in Atlanta next season, as both are Arb 2 players.

  101. The only place I’ve ever been with a super high density of bad driving is the US.

    There is no such thing as “speeding” in your GREAT GREAT country where everybody is going 55 on interstates. I really wonder how you guys ever get from A to B. Try driving in Germany, where you go 200 km/h (this one’s for you, JoeyT ;) left lane, and still have someone behind you lights flashing.

  102. Just mocking you with “km/h” instead of mph because of your “,” comment from the previous thread.

  103. @116, you my friend, must have never been to say, Bangkok.

    And if you try to do less than 130kph in the left lane of I-85 in Atlanta, be prepared for some light flashing experiences.

    And if you are driving at 200kph, well, you are just not responsible.

  104. I’ve lived in Florida my whole life, and I will say that Miami is certainly a different experience. The whole Atlantic coast is like that. The gulf coast is not nearly as bad, even in more metropolitan areas like Tampa/St. Pete.

    Incidentally, the only traffic I’ve ever been in that is anything like Miami, is metro Atlanta.

  105. Okay, Yunel haters. Time to pipe up about how he’s a future All-Star and we were so wrong to hate that trade.

  106. 121,2 – I’m excited about it. Pastornicky seems like the most likely candidate to be Atlanta’s shortstop next season. The Braves could also retain Alex Gonzalez on a cheap deal as insurance. Hopefully he plays well in Gwinnett.

  107. Where do the Braves spend their cash this offseason? Lowe, KK, McLouth will all most likely come off the books. Thats almost $30m and the roster is probably set like it is minus some little tweaking (SS/CF). Do they just cut payroll? Where do they allocate those funds?

  108. JJ, Prado, and O’Flaherty are all due large raises. If we keep all three, that’s probably an extra…$8-$10 million? Plus an extension to whatever OF we might trade for this summer, perhaps.

  109. I don’t know off hand which players are due arbitration raises, but Jurrjens, Hanson, and Prado come to mind.. plus McCann’s deal probably includes yearly raises.. I’d say that whatever we save by moving Lowe (say we eat $7m) will almost come out to be a wash.

    But Kawakami and McLouth will provide some money to spend.

  110. I was in a period of apathy towards the Braves when Yunel was coming up as a prospect – any old timers remember how he was regarded then, potential-wise? Was he a top-10-in-the-system kind of guy?

  111. If the Braves don’t deal Lowe and their projected payroll remains the same, they’ll have very little to spend. Uggla’s salary also goes up.

  112. @128, Yunel was never a top guy, and actually went lower in the Braves rankings as his career progressed. you won’t find him on some pre-2007 Braves top ten lists

  113. Thanks Spike. Not that it really means anything I guess, but it does at least set a recent precedent for a fringey top 10 SS doing well in the majors, which is what we’re all hoping for from Pastornicky.

    The anti-Heywardian rhetoric coming from Bowman this afternoon combined with Fredi’s insanity RE: Schafer’s unquantifiable contributions has me unreasonably depressed about a team that’s 18 games over .500. Good young pitching in the form of Beachy will hopefully brighten my outlook.

  114. The team has been 18 over since Schaffer came with some good players on DL. Mere coincidence I am sure. Playing at a band box like Philly a below average defensive CF can survive, but not in Atlanta. McLouth has played well in left

  115. Denver, NY and Florida also have big outfields where defensive ability is needed. If JH can hit well enough batting second Prado can lead off with McLouth batting 8th. He has better eye than JS.

  116. Traffic is one thing, but just in terms of driving ability FL is not near as bad as the DC/MD/VA area. I grew up in Florida, and FL drivers are far and away better than the morons around here. The people here simply cannot drive. They are woefully incompetent to a degree that I have never experienced anywhere else.

  117. I find it hard to believe that the Braves couldn’t offered more than two non prospect minor league middle relievers, perhaps Keppinger was too expensive next year for the Braves taste, I don’t get it.

  118. You can give Schafer some slack on the poor numbers because he’s forcing quite a few errors. That said, he’s got to start hitting better or even I am going to get sick of him. I truly feel like Nate is not going to be a big enough upgrade offensively to offset the lost defense of Schafer in CF at this point. I would rather the Braves go all in, get a great CF, and pave their way to the playoffs. A middling trade isn’t going to do this team any good. All in or stay out.

  119. The AL and NL standings creepily mirror each other right now, with the exception that the NL Central bonus team is also in contention.

    Phillies -> Boston
    Braves -> New York
    Giants -> Texas
    DBacks -> LA
    Pirates/Cards/Beer -> Cleveland/Detroit
    Reds -> Chicago

  120. Ed Wade is stupid. He acquires a 25 year old AAA pitcher with a 5.51 ERA this year and a 22 year old that may have some upside but has serious control issues (1.4 career WHIP) in the minors for a utility infielder having a great year. I’m so glad I’m not an Astros fan.

  121. Heh. You know the name of tatu’s first album, and you know the capitalization and punctuation intricacies.

  122. Sending positive vibes your way, Mac. You’re in our thoughts and prayers.

    Get well soon!

  123. Apparently the Phillies are high on Beltran. Could the Mets use that as leverage against the Braves?

  124. @148
    Rough run, my man. We braves journalers will be praying for a quick recovery.

  125. Mac, Uggla said he’s going to hit a home run for you tonight or fall down trying. Get well soon!

  126. Smitty’s barber and I both hope you get well soon Mac. If only there was smittysbarbertraderumors dot com this time of year ….

  127. @141, I noticed that yesterday too! Crazy parallels.

    Since the Brewers used to be in the AL maybe you can count them on both sides.

  128. Get well, Mac. I too am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Thanks for all you do.

  129. Get well soon, Mac. We need you back in the lineup.

    Re: Driving
    Recalling the near accidents or odd driving experiences I’ve ever had in South Florida, all (except one) involved an elderly person driving the other vehicle.

    The one exception was caused by a woman who stepped out of her traffic-jammed car, hiked up her party dress & took a leak in the middle of Collins Avenue on South Beach. Obviously distracted, the driver in the next lane swerved into my rental (at about 10 MPH, thankfully).

    NYC driving can certainly appear crazy to those who don’t live here, but it actually makes some sense. A little aggression is actually necessary, but in Manhattan, mind the taxis by staying out of the right lane as long as you can. It’s a battle for the middle.

    Long Island driving, however, can be ridiculous. You get all all the attitude & aggression—light turns green… HONK!—but there’s little necessity for it.

    You’ll see left turns out of Northern-Blvd strip malls against 6 lanes of traffic, people tailgating 18-wheelers on the Long Island Expressway, just insanely stupid/dangerous stuff.

    The LIE—with its heavy load of commercial traffic & odd things bouncing off trucks—is treacherous enough without anyone tempting fate. The freaky demise of filmmaker Alan Pakula comes to mind.

  130. My barber says the Braves are looking at a three team deal:

    Hou gets: Delgatto, Francisco Martinez, Paul Clemens, Phil Coke
    Det gets: Lowe, Mark Melancon, Wandy Rodriguez
    Atl gets: Bourn, Ryan Raburn, Wilton Lopez and cash
    Scott Proctor’s House gets: Scott Proctor

  131. Game will be delayed. And Morosi thinks that Detroit’s trade talks have heated up because Furbush is being activated to be put in the ‘pen, not the rotation.

  132. Mazzone and Lemmer just started “talking” about advanced stats on the radio, and I swear on a bible Leo just said,

    “What is that WHIP thing?”

    My brain can’t compute how that is possible for a guy who coached one of the greatest pitching staffs ever.

  133. How can Fredi Gonzalez say Schafer and his .295 OBP in the leadoff spot is helping? ‘Baghdad Bob’ sounded less ridiculous.

  134. I don’t know that WHIP would be that important to a pitching coach. Heck, I don’t know that it’s important to anyone.

  135. I think a pitching coach is more worried about mechanics, velocity, so on.

    Don’t question Leo.

  136. Leo knows what it is without realizing what the statistic is, since his staffs were excellent at keeping men off base in general.

  137. I don’t think that’s a home run anywhere else. Could be that I just hate Coors Field.

    Smitty, I’m a little disappointed your barber only had a four team trade brewing, I was expecting at least five actual teams, but as long as one of them involves Scott Proctor returning to his house, I’m all for it.

  138. I’m glad Brandon Beachy is so confident in his abilities. Someone should be.

  139. I’m glad Brandon Beachy is so confident in his abilities. Someone should be.

  140. @178

    It is early, he is just now getting the goods.


    Didn’t he start the game?

  141. Doctors are keeping me up, so I may actually watch the end of the game!

    And what an exciting game to be able to see the conclusion to.

  142. As if this infernal park and Beachy’s hubris weren’t horrendous enough, I am sitting three rows from the field and am being subjected to piercing, glass-shattering screeches every 20 seconds from a stumbling drunk 20-something woman sitting immediately behind me.

    Burn this place. Burn it to the freaking ground.

  143. Beachy implied that pitching at Coors Field is like pitching everywhere else and didn’t require any unusual preparation. I admire confidence, but abhor stupidity.

  144. His name is Dan Uggla!

    Am I the only one here? I’m certainly the only one drinking…

  145. The answer to the triva question is cool. I never would have guessed it. Dude had a 5.04 ERA that year.

  146. Rockies commentary–all those cameras and they confuse Freeman and McCann….

  147. Intentionally walk a .146 hitter. Buffoonery. This team deserved the punishment it received from Fowler.

  148. Wait, Fredi is making a double switch? Is it bad that I hope Proctor cant get out of this??

  149. Gearrin’s a side-armer, so he should probably be a ROOGY, not a long man. Where the hell is the Lisp?

  150. I’m not sure about that yet. It’s Coors. Everybody sucks at Coors.

    I actually think Gearrin’s looked pretty good so far this year.

  151. 214 – Because we don’t need long relievers! Fredi said so–at some point before he derided stats and argued that a .290 OBP wasn’t as bad as it seemed.

  152. He’s great until the part where he releases the ball.

    He shit the bed in Philly, too.

  153. Just went and looked at Al Olivers stats. I was surprised by his career totals. Over 2700 career hits and a .303 batting average. Borderline HOF in my opinion, although I think Harold Baines should be in as well.

    On another note, just watched the Curt Flood story this evening. Didn’t realize what a good player he was either as I only saw him when he tried to make a comeback with the Senators. What a tragic story!

  154. I hope Fredi has the strength to just leave Proctor in the rest of the game, no matter what happens.

    I have a feeling we’ll see Linebrink and Sherrill, though.

  155. To be fair to Fredi Gonzalez, maybe his comments about Schafer are just the usual spin? Bobby Cox had plenty of bad players he pretended were doing well.

  156. I wonder if the Braves coaching staff realize Proctor has an ERA over 6, or if they have no idea and think he’s pitching beautifully.

  157. Jim Powell opening up the topic of how the relievers after the Big 3 kinda suck. I think that’s the first time I’ve ever heard it put so pointedly.

  158. Check out this post from AJC…

    Fredi talking about Proctor before tomorrows game –

    “They’re all about the same [statistically]. But you feel like Proctor’s done so much more. Maybe it’s just us looking, or maybe it’s what he does by challenging hitters, the watching of film, but you feel like – and I’m not putting the other guys down – but you feel like Proctor’s K/BB ratio is just flat out better.

  159. @227, mostly because it’s not accurate. Sherrill, in particular, is having a very good year. All of the pitchers except Proctor are doing pretty well. This team’s bullpen is very deep.

  160. Jim Powell opening up the topic of how the relievers after the Big 3 kinda suck. I think that’s the first time I’ve ever heard it put so pointedly.

    A team can live with Sherrill and Linebrink though.

    The others need to go.

  161. #227: I wouldn’t say Sherrill is having a very good year. He’s supposed to be a LOOGY but isn’t reliable in that role. In a bullpen with EOF and Venters, it would be nice if our third lefty was a shutdown option against left-handed hitters, but he’s not. His K/9 rate is really solid, but his WHIP ain’t all that.

    And Linebrink’s numbers are merely okay, not pretty good.

    Are they unworthy of their roster spot like Proctor? No, but I’d definitely be looking to upgrade.

  162. Sherrill has a 24-1 K-BB ratio against lefties, which is good for a .73 FIP. He has been considerably more than reliable as a LOOGY. He has been astonishingly LOOGY-like.

  163. Who has All-Stars in middle relief roles? Sherrill and Linebrink have been fine. Take a look around the league at other teams’ fourth and fifth relievers.

  164. Ascencio and Lisp in. Gearrin and Proctor out. Should give serious consideration to Vizcaino.

  165. @228, I shouldn’t be so baffled by comments like these any more. The man is dumber than a bag of dirt.

  166. #234: Like I said, his K rate against lefties is really good. But his OPS allowed to opposing left-handed batters is .736. That’s halfway between Jason Heyward and Martin Prado’s OPS production this year. In my opinion, a LOOGY isn’t someone that turns the lefties he faces into someone just under Prado’s productivity as a hitter. If you’re going to use a slot on your roster for a LOOGY, he ought to be a shut ’em down type of pitcher, and in my estimation Sherrill’s not.

    It’s nice that he does seem to be getting righties out at a good clip, but that just makes him redundant with EOF and Venters, who do the same.

    I think Sherrill has been okay, but not really good, that’s my only point.

  167. Yup. If you’re gonna get stomped, just welcome the rest & be thankful nobody got hurt. Forget it & win tomorrow. Hope Huddy’s got that sinker working.

    BTW, Al Oliver was a helluva line-drive hitter in his day, but certainly not quite HoF-calibre, IMO. Rate-wise, he was kind of a left-handed-hitting Matt Diaz, but someone who played every day in a lighter-hitting era—high average, didn’t walk a lot & some power.

  168. #221
    Yeah, that Curt Flood HBO documentary is terrific.

    It tells the central story of his case very well, but doesn’t pull any punches on his life’s many painful/self-defeating elements, and that’s what makes the few moments of redemption really affecting.

    But overall, it makes sure that you understand his legacy and where he got the will to do what he did.

  169. Depressing. Posnanski has a poll up on his site about the DH and more people would prefer to see the DH remain as is or expanded to the NL than would see it abolished.

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