Braves 3, Nats 2

Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals – Box Score – June 03, 2012 – ESPN.

The Braves finally beat the Nats. It wasn’t easy, and it didn’t start off well. Tommy Hanson allowed homers to the first two batters of the game. But after that, he was swell, allowing just four more hits, striking out six, and walking no one in seven innings.

He had to be good, because the Braves couldn’t do much on offense. In the third, Dan Uggla cut it to 2-1 with a two-out double to score Martin Prado. In the fifth, the Braves loaded the bases with two out, and for once came through with a hit, Jason Heyward singling home Michael Bourn and Uggla.

Eric O’Flaherty pitched the eighth, and walked the first two men he faced, but got a double play and a flyout to get out of the jam. Craig Kimbrel had no such worries, striking out the side in the ninth.

Andrelton Simmons had a double in the second for his first career hit.

297 thoughts on “Braves 3, Nats 2”

  1. JC’d:
    Kimbrel just got his 200th strikeout for his career. He has pitched 117.2 innings. Stupid

  2. Gio Gonzalez is better than Perez. With him in the rotation and the 4 left handers in the pen, the Nats are built specifically to beat the Phils and the Braves.

    The Braves need to get another RH stick for the bench.

  3. Gut check time. NOT DOOMED TIME. Nats announcers are bad and missed a good game. Smart to give Ross a two inning rest. Boscan can catch.

  4. I wasn’t real strong on sending Pastornicky down, but I think Simmons’ defense won the game for us. I don’t think Pastornicky makes two to three plays that Simmons made today.

  5. Was a little surprised Fredi didn’t send Hanson out for the 8th, he only had 84 pitches. It worked out, though.

  6. Glad Fredi didn’t send Hanson back out. Fourth time through the order, Stephen Strasburg becomes Jo-Jo Reyes, and Hanson didn’t exactly have Strasburgian stuff through the first 7.

  7. Simmons looked good in the field. That double play turn in the 8th was definitely a major league play, and he made a good relay throw to get Harper.

  8. The Heyward-to-Simmons-to-Prado play was great. May it happen a hundred times. And Kimbrel was pinpoint today — every pitch thrown with purpose and alacrity.

  9. Chip kept calling Kimbrel’s breaking pitch a slider, but I think it’s more of a slurve. It has the late break of a slider, but also has a little loop to it. And when he goes where he’s aiming, there’s no hope.

  10. Pretty darn good win. Full credit to Hanson to come back after that first inning. I hope Simmons is our SS for many years to come. Now it’s up to us to try to cool off the Marlins, since nobody else seems up to the task.

  11. @14 I don’t expect Chip to get anything right. He can’t even see whether a pitch is inside/outside or high/low.

  12. Thought Hanson was certainly in for a 4 and 2/3 kind of day. Nice recovery

    Hate to put too much emphasis on one game…but that was a biggun.

  13. 6-17 from Prado, Diaz, Uggla, Ross and Simmons. Decent day by RH hitters against some southpaws.

  14. Wow. Heckuva line from Teheran. Nice to see, too. He’s been inconsistent thus far.

    As for the correct name for Kimbrel’s breaking ball, Chip, etc. probably call it a slider because that’s what Kimbrel calls it. A lot of the time, a pitcher will have a slider that looks more like a curveball or a curve that looks more like a slider, but for whatever reason, they call it what they call it. So if you’re calling the game or giving a scouting report, I think the standard way is to just call it whatever the player calls it and if it deviates from what a “typical” slider (or whatever) would look like, you just add that to the description.

    Personally, I think “slider” is perfectly adequate for what Kimbrel throws, but if you want to say that it has a little more north-south break than a typical hard slider, I wouldn’t argue with you. Regardless of what you call it, it’s a disgusting pitch, and when he’s dropping it in for strikes like he was doing today…. Man. When he comes in and he’s one, I know the game is already over, but I never leave early because I want to see how silly he makes some hitters.

  15. I think Chip does enough other things that nit-picking him on Kimbrel’s slider/slurve is kind of silly.

    That, boys and girls, is the first defense of Chip Caray in Braves Journal history!

  16. It wasn’t intended as a nitpick of Chip — I was just thinking out loud in writing.

    Thus nullifying your defense! The record remains unblemished!

  17. @21 If it is 90 mph I think it is a slider. If the batter cannot pick it up what’s the difference what you call it?

  18. I agree, it doesn’t really matter. For the record, he was throwing it 85-86 last night, which is about 12-14 MPH slower than his fastball, which is a spread more common in a curveball.

  19. Pretty cool to see Eric O’Flaherty’s family members contributing to the last thread.

  20. You have to admit, if you’re using the “8 ER all last year” stat to try to justify criticism of O’Flaherty, you’re either an idiot or you’ve got some kind of grudge.

  21. I heard he’s read one more Southern Gothic novel already than all of last year, which is why I call him Eric O’Flannery.

  22. I like EOF. He’s been a very good bullpen piece for the Braves the past two years, and right now I’ve got as much confidence in him as any reliever not named Kimbrel. That said, when he screws up, the nickname “O’Failurty” is just too good to not use.

  23. @32: When it comes to relievers, a good man is hard to find. But overall, O’Flaherty has been a revelation. (OK, I’ll stop.)

    Re: dumb statements by Chip, I thought his description of Hewyard’s RBI single as a “hot shot” was noteworthy. The ball barely made it to the outfield grass.

  24. “Line drive. Base hit. Caught out there. The runner tags. Throw to the plate. On target. And in time! A double play.”

  25. 36—Actually, I’ve made it a point not to really defend minor on here.

    Nice try, though, Mrs. O’Failurety!

  26. (And note that the obvious reason I don’t try to defend him is that he doesn’t deserve much defense…)

    I wish he were doing better, because I do root for the guy a little bit extra, but I don’t think that affects my assessment of his play a whole lot.

  27. Who was the pitcher that his wife was posting on here? He made a few starts for us and went back to AAA.

  28. Rest assured that Braves players are failing at golf or whatever video game they’re playing today.

  29. Already saw Callis linking us to Florida lefty Brian Johnson this morning. That was depressing.

  30. I don’t like any Florida players right now. Especially Zunino and that Nolan Fontana dude.

  31. @49

    Ah, “Hell’s Bells”

    If he gets lit up do you think they will play “You Shook Me, All Night Long” ?

    Of course, if he ever drives back to Gainesville, he will be on the “Highway to Hell”

  32. @40- Eric O’Flaherty’s wife is more attractive than James Franklin’s wife. At least I hope so. The thought helps me cope…

  33. Throwing it out there for NYC-area peeps:

    Got 3 tix to Yanks/Mets Saturday night at Yankee Stadium–upper-level seats (Row 9) behind home plate, $28 each.

    Anybody up for it? (Everyone in my season-ticket group is away on business next weekend.) It could be icky rooting for Braves’ self-interest in this one, but it’s a unique experience, nonetheless.

    And if he gets really bludgeoned, you could play “If You Want Blood (You Got It).

  34. 29 – The first thing I thought of yesterday was Jason Shiell’s wife.

    I don’t usually get upset with anything about the draft because I’ve been wrong so many times, but it does make me upset when I read ‘they might take so and so because they are a team on a budget’ about the Braves so many times.

  35. @56

    I have thought that from time to time, especially when failing to draw them into conversation while they’ve busied themselves responding to more low-hanging fruit in the comments. It seems their mission has changed lately, though — I see far fewer opinion pieces there now.

  36. The Brian Johnson rumor hs been going for month–but I saw three mock drafts which have us taking Tyler Naquin, which is no less depressing….

    At this point, I would not be unhappy with anyone of Rahier, Davis. Trahan or Smoral. All of that assumes that Hawkins, Dahl, Shaffer, Stratton and Heaney are off the board at #21….

  37. I would hope that people could be happy with Rahier or D.J.Davis (though I know a few who would grumble) or Trahan. I cannot imagine anybody being unhappy with Dahl or Shaffer–both who I did see slide to the Braves in different mock drafts, but I am not sure how actually realistic they were….

  38. Stephen, I don’t really follow these guys but I can see why you’re depressed by those two ideas just by looking at Matt Garrioch’s draft board:

    Do you tend to agree with that order?

    I remain cautiously optimistic (damn it, hope still won’t go away!) that under the new CBA limiting over-slot dollars, the Braves won’t be stuck with safe picks because they’re unable/unwilling to go over slot. So, I’m hoping that we’ll be willing to go with the best player available.

  39. If the Braves go with Naquin, Ramsey or Brian Johnson, it all about saving money.

    However, I think that they can do that with Davis or Stroman or Stratton.

    Since we don’t draft again until #85, I would hope that they would feel comfortable taking the best signable player available which might well be Rahier or Davis or possibly Trahan.

    Carson Kelly is my darkhorse for the draft.

    Given the overall draft (and not just pick 21)I believe that the Braves will get as much for their money as team, but it might take a few years for us to realize it…..

  40. Want to know something fun? The greatest 21st overall draft pick OF ALL TIME is Rick Sutcliffe.

    Exactly 10 of them have accumulated at least 4 WAR in the majors:

    YearTm PosWAR ▾
    1974DodgersRick SutcliffeRHP31.2
    1993TwinsJason VaritekC21.3
    1969PilotsGorman ThomasSS17.2
    1996RockiesJake WestbrookRHP11.2
    1982CardinalsTodd WorrellRHP10.1
    2006Yankees via Phillies*Ian KennedyRHP8.1
    1979RoyalsAtlee HammakerLHP7.5
    1981Blue Jays via Brewers*John CeruttiLHP5.6
    1980Braves via Expos*Jim AckerRHP4.5
    1984PhilliesPete SmithRHP4.3
  41. @66-

    I know he played CF so I suppose it isn’t too much of a stretch, but it blew me away to see Gorman Thomas listed as a shortstop on that list.

  42. Goldstein had the Braves on “best talent available”, so I don’t expect them to be budget-restricted like they’ve been in the past. I mean, the going cheap on the draft was more a Schurholtz-is-the-guy-Selig-has-running-the-progam-to-keep-teams-around-slot thing than a Liberty Media thing. And now that Selig got his draft cap thingy, I think the Braves are likely to spend the full amount they’re allowed to.

    Besides, Minor worked out fine, and Gilmartin’s been at least all right thus far. It’s not like the Braves have done something stupid with a top 10 pick or anything.

  43. Alex’s chart illustrates the reason I can’t bring myself to be a baseball draftnik. The greatest variable isn’t college vs. high school, or tools vs. savvy, or hot girlfriend vs. no hot girlfriend — it’s margin of error. And so the judgment of the success or failure of a particular draft is just self-contained logic and optics.

  44. Younger Braves fans—-at least the ones who experienced the 1995 World Series—-will always recall the one very valuable inning Pedro Borbon, Jr., gave us in Game 4 when he came to the rescue (of a suddenly ineffective Mark Wohlers), striking out 2, getting the save & giving the Braves a crucial 3-1 series lead.

    Dunno if any of you folks saw his dad pitch, but I wanted to give a shout out to Pedro Borbon, Sr., who passed away today at 65.

    I’ve mentioned before how much I value effective middle relievers who rack up the big innings over a long season—-guys like the Yanks’ Ramiro Mendoza & Dick Tidrow, the Orioles’ Moe Drabowsky, the Athletics’ Darold Knowles, etc. Well, the Reds’ Pedro Borbon was the very definition of that often unheralded, but very valuable guy.

    Between 1972 & 1977, Borbon threw 122, 121, 139, 125, 121 & 127 innings at a 3.01 ERA (120 ERA +) with a 52-27 record (an outrageous .658) & 70 saves for a club that averaged 98 wins during that span, (plus, 4 West division titles & 2 World Series wins). In 7 post-season series—-5 of them won by the Reds—-he had a 2.42 ERA.

    Those powerhouse clubs had terrific bullpens (Carroll, McEnaney, Eastwick), but Borbon was the real workhorse of the bunch. He wasn’t a big strikeout guy, but he could seemingly pitch every day—-and Sparky Anderson (aka Captain Hook) was never afraid to use him. Even when he warmed up, with his cap always perched a little too high on his head, he looked kinda rubbery.

    Bench, Rose, Morgan & Perez were the HoF-caliber players. Griffey, Foster, Concepcion & Geronimo might’ve been the quiet stars. But under-the-radar guys like Pedro Borbon helped make The Big Red Machine historically great.

  45. The thing about the draft is that you’re probably not going to find a franchise talent in the first round, at least, probably not after the first fifteen picks or so. (Mike Trout excepted.) But you’re probably going to find him somewhere in the first five rounds. It’s about quantity as much as quality. Draft a ton of raw toolsy guys and safe guys, sign a bunch of international free agents, and cross your fingers and eventually one of them will figure out the strike zone.

  46. Just got up–Dahl is gone, but the A’s just surprised by taking Russell. Many mocks had them taking Shaffer….

  47. Also, ububba, thank you very much for that memory. I remember that Borbon was pretty worthless when he came up, but there were a few magical moments where he turned into a Remlinger/O’Flaherty/Chris Hammond-style shutdown lefty.

    His dad will be missed.

  48. @74

    Right, get a bunch of everybody and then see. Leaving very little basis to form an opinion about anyone in particular beforehand. I don’t get it.

    That said, I could be wrong and tonight is for the draftniks.

  49. Can anyone explain this to me? This seems…excessive:

    @whygavs: If the Pirates pay Mark Appel what they paid Gerrit Cole, they won’t have a first round pick again until 2015.

    @jaysonst: Pirates have $6.6M to spend on first 10 rounds. If they have to exceed it to sign Appel, they can. But if they top $6.9M they’ll lose picks.

  50. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement tried to severely tamp down the rampant over-slot money that was affecting teams’ ability to sign the players they drafted. So now there are severe penalties for spending more money than you’re supposed to.

  51. @81 This rule may actually help teams which have refused to pay over-slot money….like the Braves….

  52. Boy, a whole lot of apparently high-ranked people left on the board. I wonder if there are a lot of signability concerns. Stroman, Wacha, Marrero, Shaffer, Piscotty, Stratton, Trahan, Sims, Eflin, Hensley, Roache, Smoral, Trahan…

  53. Yeah, Schuerholz was on the committee that helped draft the new CBA, and it was widely assumed that he refused to allow the Braves to go over slot in recent years — which is why we wound up with signability guys like Minor and Gilmartin when there were flashier, more expensive guys left on the draft board.

    So, we’ll see if it actually winds up helping us. But, to some degree, it was written with us in mind.

  54. “And with the 21st pick of the 2012 first year player draft, the Atlanta Braves pick: Big Righthanded Bastard Who Mashes.”

    See, draftin’s easy.

  55. @83 Force them to the lower rounds and force them to take less money…sounds like collusion to me!!!

    @84 JS still runs the ship. What a surprise.

  56. I hope we take Shaffer or Trahan, but Rahier would be great as well….

  57. Not a bad pick, but I am surprised that we went with a HS pitcher–I sure the Braves know they will sign him….

  58. Hey, it’s something new. At least it’s not a college soft-tossing lefty!!! I still want a power bat damn it.

  59. The only way we would take a power bat is if he was a pitcher from the greater Atlanta area.

  60. At this point in the draft I was hoping for Shaffer, but the Braves must have their doubts. Sims will probably cost more money as well….

  61. The Braves goal is to have an all-Georgia team so that at least they can be assured that the players’ families will show up at the game.

    This organization sucks. If this was 1990 again, the Braves would have drafted Todd Van Poppel.

    I don’t even care if this guy becomes great. There is no way this was the best player available on the board.

  62. @100 We have not been drafting the best player available for who knows how long…

  63. @96, what’s old is new again – of the last 29 1st round picks (since Mike Kelly in ’91) , the Braves have used 13 on HS pitchers. Adam Wainwright was pretty much it out of all that.

  64. We would have taken Van Poppel in real life, remember, but he refused to sign… ostensibly because he wanted to go to college, but who in their right mind wouldn’t rather sign with an organization that doesn’t suck? So that’s why we got some schmuck named Larry.

  65. Van Poppel was from all the way over in Texas. For a long time, Braves scouts have covered Dixie like the dew.

    The only reason the Braves drafted Jones over Van Poppel in 1990 is that they thought he was going to college. He said he was going to college, and Phil Rogers wrote an article the day before the draft that said that he was almost certain. The Braves drafted Chipper because they didn’t think they could sign Van Poppel, not because they liked him more.

  66. Never is this board more hilarious than on draft day. I always make sure I’m here during our first pick just for entertainment value. You guys don’t have a clue in all the world what you’re talking about. I’m not even defending the pick. I have no idea who the hell this guy is. And neither do you.

  67. I don’t claim to know Sims from Adam, but he’s just such a Bravesque draft pick (Dixie high schooler with a big arm). Sometimes it works, sometimes it Francoeurs, and it’ll be years till we know which.

  68. Well, he isn’t a soft-tossing lefty. I agree-we really don’t know what the hell we are talking about. But it seems uninspiring.

  69. From reading on him he only has 2 above-average pitches with a 3rd average one. I guess the Braves feel like they can develop his repertoire, otherwise it doesn’t seem like a first round caliber pick to me.

  70. Sims has one ugly ass delivery. Don’t really like this pick. Would’ve preferred a bat. Apologies in advance for having an opinion.

  71. @115 I read that he has added a sinker to his repertoire. Seems like a guy who cares about pitching rather than just throwing hard. As he grows older, perhaps his fastball would sit on mid-90s rather than low-90s.

  72. Sims hit 97 on the guns, sits at 90-93. He is a high upside power arm.

    I like the pick.

  73. Anyone noticed our 3 hole hitter has a sub .300 OBP? Didnt know Freeman was struggling this bad.

  74. When you take a HS arm in the first round, it’s generally an upside play. Sims is a guy other teams were looking at, so I don’t think it’s like the Braves reached. They found a guy they liked and pulled the trigger. I don’t see any reason to complain.

  75. Well, he played last month blind, so that’s got to hurt his numbers some.

  76. Fangraphs

    9:20 Marc Hulet: 21. Atlanta Braves:

    Lucas Sims, RHP, Georgia HS
    Sims has a solid frame and a nice delivery. His fastball sits in the low-90s but he can get up into the 95-97 mph range. He throws two breaking balls – a slider and a curveball – and they both have a chance to be above average.

    9:21 Marc Hulet: Had him linked to Atlanta… Georgia product. Nice pick.

  77. Freeman’s been swinging-and-missing the whole year. I haven’t noticed much of a difference lately, to be honest.

  78. Braves wanted to take me in the first round, but we couldn’t work out a deal beforehand.

  79. The last five times the Braves selected left handed pitchers in the first round were 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2011. Only one of these made the majors (our pal Minor).

    The last five times the Braves selected right handed pitchers in the first round were Jason Marquis, Adam Wainwright, Luis Atilano, Joey Devine, and Cory Rasmus. Only one of these hasn’t made the majors.

  80. @73 ububba
    Thanks for the reminders. Pedro once wound up with the wrong team’s cap in a playoff brawl against the Mets. He ripped off a big chunk of it with is teeth.
    Forty years later, I still want to do that to every Mets cap I see.

    I wonder how his unique rubber arm would be used in today’s game.

  81. It’s not like the Braves have ever had a bad experience, using their first-round pick to sign a kid away from Clemson, so I have no problem with the pick.

  82. sansho @13 – combining purpose and alacrity is a pretty good definition of mastery. Good call.

  83. #129
    Yeah, that was Buzz Capra’s cap during the famous Pete Rose/Bud Harrelson scrap. (The next year, Capra won the NL ERA title for the Braves.)

    Dunno if you remember this, but that fight kinda marked the moment that Pete Rose became a bit of national villain. For a few years after that incident, Rose got booed in every AB in almost every city he played.

    I guess people didn’t like seeing a skinny shortstop getting beat up on national TV.

  84. From a drafting perspective, Francoeur was far from a bad draft. He was promoted too quickly and used incorrectly by the franchise, who wanted him to be a starting star rather than a useful part. But as a drafting of amateur talent, the guy is about to kick in 10 years of major league service, so it’s not exactly crap work by the scouts.

  85. @133 The scouts also couldn’t have known how incredible thick-skulled the guy would be.

    Well, except for the fact that he wanted to go to Clemson. That was a red flag.

  86. Really couldn’t agree more with Sam. Francoeur has 8.9 bWAR in his career and 11.4 fWAR (fangraphs gives more credit to his defense). Should be deemed a successful pick easily as many 1st rounders don’t even reach the majors.

    Actually Jeff was the 23rd pick in 2002 which puts him as the 6th most successful #23 pick of the last 50 years. The ones higher according to bRef are:

    Jason Kendall 38.3
    Mo Vaughn 24.5
    Aaron Sele 17.5
    Jacoby Ellsbury 13.5
    Luis Alicea 9.8

  87. @134 I think the thick skull was partly a chicken and egg problem. Because the franchise mis-promoted him and played him up as a star, he expected to be a star, and never could quite grasp that he wasn’t. (Of course, there are still ML managers telling him he’s a star, so there’s that too.)

    If circumstance and marketing had not conspired to over-promote Francoeur he could have been a very inexpensive, young Matt Diaz with better defense for at least six seasons. He was mishandled and asked to do too much, but a draft of a near 10-year starter isn’t a bad draft at all.

  88. @136
    Francoeur has also complained numerous times of not being an everday starter. Sure it might have something to do with the way he was marketed at such a young age, but I’m fairly certain he’d never have been as humble about his baseball career as Matt Diaz.

    Furthermore, Francoeur was already more expensive than Diaz has ever been at the time of the trade to the Mets when he was probably the worst everyday player in baseball. Sure if he had been a part time player, he would have been cheaper when arb-eligible but were the Braves to do? The kid burst on the scene, tore up the league, hit for power the next year, then looked to put it all together his 3rd year before becoming terrible his 4th. In hindsight, when would you have benched him?

    And truth be told, Diaz plays the field just as well as Francoeur, without the arm and hits lefties better.

  89. I also think McCann was brought up too soon. While he was ready to hit, his work behind the plate was terrible.

    He has taken the time to improve (no that he is great). He has the open mindness to know his weaknesses and improve, Francoeur did not.

    Sam is right, Francoeur wasn’t a bust at all

  90. UGA LHP Alex Wood is the second-round pick.

    Unlike Minor (in college) and Gilmartin, Wood throws hard and has spotty command. So, it’s a different kind of pitcher, at least.

  91. Would love to see the Braves actually achieve the all-Georgia team goal that they seem to have.

  92. Braves’ third round selection, 116 overall, is catcher Bryan De La Rosa, a high school catcher from Jacksonville, Florida. Ah well, the spell is broken.

    Matt Garrioch of had him as #83 on his pre-draft board. said this:

    Bryan De La Rosa is a 2012 C with a 5-9 180 lb. frame from Toa Alta, PR who attends Bucky Dent Baseball School. Compact extra strong build, retains looseness and quick twitch athleticism. Outstanding catching/throwing tools, good receiver with energy and quickness, blocks and recovers athletically, excellent arm strength, quick controlled release, very accurate throws from low set, PG record 1.71 best pop time. Right handed hitter, aggressive swing approach but keeps it simple and short, good hitting rhythm, quick hands, gets extended out front, line drive swing plane with occasional lift, stays on the ball a long time, consistent barrel. 7.12 runner who is aggressive on the bases. If he was 6-2/200 he’d be a first round pick, has those type of tools, will still be major draft factor. Good student, signed with Florida State.

    On the other hand, ESPN had him as the sixth-best HS catcher, and said this:

    De La Rosa, a Florida State commit, possesses solid bat speed, generated from good hip rotation and quick wrists. His pop times sit in the 1.7-1.75 range, which is excellent, and despite his lack of size — 5-foot-9, 180 pounds — there’s some upside in his game. He’ll have to get stronger in his upper body and continue to work on his technique behind the plate and approach at it, but the Puerto Rico native is likely to garner a lot of attention in the middle rounds of Day 2, if not before.

  93. I thought those first two picks were pretty good.

    But, our 3rd round pick comes up a little short.

  94. As far as I can tell, how you feel about him depends a lot on how much you feel you need to discount his height.

    Me, I think a short catcher’s fine. Hell, Yogi was 5’7. If the tools play up, and apparently they do, I have no problem rolling the dice. I think short players still get a bad rap, and may well be undervalued. Just look at Altuve.

  95. @144 It is easier for young pitcher to improve command of pitches than velocity.

  96. Braves pick a Montana high school center fielder, Justin Black. Notes from ESPN:

    Justin Black is ranked as a top-500 player in the country by Perfect Game USA and the second-best player in the state of Montana * Standout outfielder from Billings, Mont., where he played in the Billings American Legion program under Head Coach Adam Hust * Led the Scarlets to a 51-11-1 record in 2011 * Billings came within one win of reaching the American Legion World Series, but lost to Waipahu, Hawaii, in the Class AA Northwest Regional final * The Scarlets were the first team from Billings to reach the regional final since 1971 * Nearly unstoppable at the plate in 2011 with a .495 batting average * Recorded 21 triples, 18 doubles, seven home runs and 86 RBIs, while also swiping 32 bases * Posted a .417 batting average with five home runs, 58 RBIs and 21 stolen bases during the summer of 2010 * Has been named both an Under Armour and Bobby Valentine All-American * Participated at USA Baseball’s 2011 Tournament of Stars in Cary, N.C., in June * Was invited to try out for a spot on USA Baseball’s under-18 national team, but didn’t make the final pool of 40 players * Chose Nebraska over Arizona and Utah.
    “We are extremely excited that Justin is coming to the University of Nebraska,” Erstad said. ” He will bring great athleticism and speed to the outfield. His work ethic and attitude are exactly what we are building this program on. We expect Justin to come in and contribute right away as a true freshman.”

    He has a Nebraska commitment. As the Billings Gazette reported:

    Black’s draft stock has risen considerably in the past few months. The 6-foot, 200-pound speedster throws right-handed and bats from both sides of the plate — Black is a natural right-handed batter who’s recently become a switch-hitter.

    Black has done private workouts for the St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves and Seattle Mariners. He was flying home from St. Louis on Thursday, and he was in Atlanta last week.

    “These last two (workouts) both went really well,” said Black. “I ran a 6.4 in the 60 and the next-fastest guy was 6.7, so I felt good about that. I threw pretty well and hit pretty well, too, so it was a good trip.”

  97. The interview was on June 1, and he said: “I think I’m gonna go to the Braves or Cardinals… anything before the third round, I’ll sign. The lowest is like $450,000 or so.”

    But the Braves wouldn’t have taken him if they didn’t think they could sign him.

  98. “Justin Black is ranked as… the second-best player in the state of Montana”

    Honestly, the jokes write themselves. (Apologies to all the Montanans out there, if any.)

  99. I think the Braves’ picks generally make the majors. They tend to be, I think, relatively low-risk, lower-ceiling players (which, in fairness, partly reflects the fact that they normally draft pretty late). The Nationals drafted a guy (Giolito) with a bad arm who may not want to sign but who supposedly has a very high ceiling. It’s a high-risk, potentially high-reward pick. I don’t think the Braves would make that kind of pick and maybe they shouldn’t. Of course, the Nats are now in position to make these kinds of picks, largely due to years of accumulating very early picks and getting guys like Strasburg and Harper.

  100. Braves must be done with Fransisco, we just acquired Ruben Gotay again. I wish we still had JJ Hoover.

  101. This has turned into a very colorful draft after the first round. We have a hopping pitcher from UGA, a catcher who might not be able to see over his mitt, and a guy that had to dodge elk and moose in the outfield.

  102. We just picked up Gotay for cash. I think we’ll stash him in AAA as organizational filler/emergency injury callup. I don’t have a problem with that.

    No one thinks Gotay is a better baseball player than Francisco, no matter how bad Francisco has been this year.

  103. New pick: Blake Brown, University of Missouri, a 20-year old junior. Callis calls him a “boom-or-bust” pick, a raw tools guy who has good speed but is pretty unfinished.

    Notes from Mizzou:

    • All-Big 12 Honorable Mention Selection.
    • Hit .267 while leading the team with seven home runs in 2011.
    • Slugged .449 with an OBP of .397, good for an OPB of .846 in his first year as a starter.
    • Led the team with 38 walks and 20 stolen bases on the season.
    • His 20 stolen bases rank for the fourth-best single season total in Mizzou history.
    • Tallied 17 extra-base hits on the season, including seven doubles and a team-high three triples to go along with his seven home runs.
    • Became the first Tiger to homer in three straight games since 2009 as he hit solo shots in each game of the Oklahoma State series.
    • His 33 runs scored were second on the team in 2011 to only Jonah Schmidt’s 34.
    • Went 2-3 with a pair of runs scored and two more driven in during the Tigers’ season-opening game against Cal-Poly (2/18).
    • Went 3-4 with a run scored and an RBI in the series opener at Texas (4/1).
    • Went 2-5 with two runs scored and an RBI in the series finale at Baylor (4/23).
    • Homered against Eastern Illinois and went 1-3 with two runs and an RBI in that game (4/26) at TR Hughes Ball Park in O’Fallon.
    • Drove in a career-high five runs in a 3-4 night while scoring another in the Tigers upset win over Texas A&M (4/30).
    • In the Texas A&M series, Brown went 4-10 with seven RBI, two runs and a home run.
    • Homered again in the series finale at Kansas State, part of a five-run inning for the Tigers, as he went 2-3 with three runs scored and three more driven in during the series finale (5/8).
    • Homered in the Tigers’ upset win over Texas in the Big 12 Tournament, which proved to be the game-winning run, putting Mizzou into the Big 12 title game.
    • Played with the Santa Barbara Foresters over the summer and earned a spot on the CCL All-Star Team.
    • Went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored in the season opener against Gonzaga.
    • Was 2-for-6 with an RBI and a run scored against Auburn on Feb. 27.
    • Had three hits vs. Houston at the Houston Classic on March 5.
    • Recorded a pair of hits in the home opener vs. Western Illinois.
    • Had hits in 12 of 15 games between March 18-April 7.
    • Was 2-for-4 with a double and a triple against North Dakota on March 19.
    • Homered and doubled, driving in two against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on March 23.
    • Had a pair of doubles in the second game of the Texas A&M series.
    • Recorded at least one hit in each of the three games of the Baylor series.
    • Was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored against Illinois on April 7.
    • Scored twice against Texas on May 23.
    Was an All-State selection by the Illinois High School Coaches Association in his junior and seniors seasons … Selected to the All-Star Team by the Illinois Coaches Association in 2008 and 2009 … Named to the Under Armour Preseason All-American Team in 2009 … Was a two-time first team all-conference selection … Had a .423 batting average in his senior season … Hit 12 home runs and had 38 RBI in 2009 … Finished with a career average of .392 with 24 homers and 103 RBI … Was also 3-1 with a 4.40 ERA as a pitcher … Selected to represent Team Illinois in the 2008 USA Junior Olympic Baseball Championships and the 2007 Blue-Grey Classic National Battle of the States Showcase … Earned an all-conference scholar-athlete award in 2007, 2008 and 2009 … Attended the National Student Leadership Conference in 2008 … Participated in the 2008 Congressional Leadership Conference.

    Born June 30, 1991, in Murfreesboro, Tenn. … Son of Elwood and Robin Brown … Majoring in business at Mizzou … Was selected by Pittsburgh in the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft.

  104. @162 – Ruben Gotay? He looked about 40 years old last time he was in Atlanta and he played like it. Unless the guy has shown vast improvement, I don’t care too much for this. I’d rather have Fransisco.

  105. Sign Justin Black. If he’s one of the top 500 baseball players in America the Braves can use him.

  106. I have liked our draft so far.

    The Gotay pick is fine. I agree with Alex, he will be in AAA.

  107. Gotay hasn’t seen the major leagues since his stint with Atlanta in 2008. I won’t be shocked if we never see him in Atlanta. Don’t scare me like that csg!

  108. Seems like the Braves are going for a good mix of talent, HS and college, position guys and pitchers.

    I’m not as down on the catcher as others here. I’m glad the Braves are willing to take a risk on a guy some think might be undersized. Frankly, it sounds like three inches were the only thing between this guy and the first round. We’ll see where it goes. The Braves have done very well lately with catchers. Off the top of my head, they’ve developed about 1/10th of the starting catchers in MLB. (Although I guess Tyler Flowers is more of a platoon situation, so maybe that doesn’t count.)

  109. Is there anyone in the organization who’s recognized as a catchers guru, the way Glenn Hubbard is with our second basemen? We had a pretty good run for a while there: Saltalamacchia, Ramirez, Flowers, and of course McCann.

  110. Another catcher, although this one is from college and doesn’t seem likely to stick at the position. Josh Elander is 144th on PG’s list, though.

  111. Elander:

    Just looking at the stats, it doesn’t appear that there’s much special about TCU catcher Josh Elander… So how does Elander find his way onto the Collegiate USA National Team? Furthermore, how does a player with so little statistical talent find his name being bandied about in first-round conversation?

    With a career batting average just a shade under .350 and an OBP around .450, he’s very good at getting himself on base.

    For all the smack talk about his power, or lack thereof, it’s projected that he’ll actually hit for power at the professional level, thanks to a mysterious tool the insiders like to call “raw power,” also known as, “power that we’ve seen in batting practice, but that has had a difficult time translating into game play.”…

    On defense, Elander shows potential, but he actually hasn’t been playing behind the plate that long. During his time at TCU, he’s also been played in the outfield and has seen a decent amount of at-bats as the team’s DH…

    He has shown some improvement, though. He’s thrown out 24% of base-runners attempting to steal this season, showcasing his arm strength. He still has a long way to go, however… He has earned rave reviews for his work with TCU’s pitching staff the past two seasons… Also, for his size, he’s a pretty good athlete.

    Elander probably doesn’t have first-round talent, but he could end up going in the early rounds (2-5) based on his potential if he can stick behind the plate.

    College Sports Madness:

    The key for Elander’s draft prospects will be his play behind the plate. His bat is consistent enough to be a first round draft pick, but many are not sold on his leadership and skills as a catcher.

  112. Erlander’s swing looks OK. But he appears to be on the small side, compared to those guys on the other side of the cage.

  113. Unfortunately, when the scout said he had raw power, he really meant that the guy likes to talk about his Stooges albums.

  114. I just read that Sims lost the state championship high school game. He’s a loser! I want a pitcher that knows how to win in the clutch like Derek Lowe. He’ll probably be one of those pitchers that loses games because “he doesn’t get enough run support” or because his defense sucks or some crap like that. Give me a guy who knows how to get his teammates to score for him. I think the Braves should hire Joe Morgan to advise them on their draft. He would know how to pick guys that know how to win.

  115. Elander can join the World’s Greatest Batting Practice Hitter, who is occupying right field, and put on quite a show. Whatever happened to the guy who broke all those car windows? I miss him.

  116. Word on the street’s been that the World’s Greatest Batting Practice Hitter is Ichiro.

    Glaus was a pretty awesome Batting Practice Hitter when he was with the Braves, FWIW.

  117. Pete & Pete had a lot of stuff going for it that I definitely didn’t pick up on as a kid.

  118. The very weirdest, though, was playing American Idol. Part of my brain has yet to recover.

  119. Tonight’s lineup:

    CF Bourn
    3b Prado
    C McCann
    2b Uggla
    1b Freeman
    RF Heyward
    SS Simmons
    P Hudson
    LF Constanza

  120. Thank you, Michael. It’s nice to have a real centerfielder and a real shortstop.

  121. To the old Athens folks — Paul Hammond died today. A fine musician and a good and gentle fellow.

  122. Continuing the Braves’ aversion to non-Southern things, the Braves’ 11th and 12th round picks are high schoolers from Florida, the 13th and 14th round picks both went to Appalachian State in NC, and the 15th round pick is from South Carolina.

  123. Oh, he deserves to. Check under the hood. It may be the shift to some degree, and he is hitting a few more grounders and a few less fly balls, but there’s no contesting McCann’s been one of the unluckiest hitters in baseball.

  124. McCann’s ISO:
    2006 – .240
    2007 – .183
    2008 – .222
    2009 – .205
    2010 – .184
    2011 – .195
    2012 – .168

    His HR/FB% is holding at normal levels for him, and his line drive rate is actually on the rebound from last season. Something tells me he’ll start hitting a few more in the air, and will be fine.

  125. @225

    Hope you’re right. I can’t help but think a normal BABIP for a pull hitter hitting into a shift is destined to be lower than we’re accustomed to seeing. It’s like playing against 10 fielders.

  126. Seems like pitchers are going to have to figure out how to adjust to Andrelton in a hurry.

  127. Before this season, I’d always get Gaudin and Durbin confused. Tonight isn’t helping matters.

  128. Ha! Freddie must have found out I was raggin’ on his defensive range the other day. Silencing critics!

  129. Someone must’ve been reading when I asked for a CG after Johan’s no-no. Thanks, Timmeh!

  130. Actually Gotay was acquired so they could drop Terdo to AA. Probably a good move at this point.

  131. I am perfectly find with having Prado being our full-time third baseman going forward. We need a big bat in leftfield.

  132. Yeah Chipper will be back by the weekend hopefully. I like the left side of the infield with Prado and Simmons over there. We need to keep Bourn and get that big bat in left field.

    Mets are trying to give the Nationals this game.

  133. What would you guys think of trading Teheran for Wil Myers and then plugging him in LF starting next season w/Prado at 3rd…fyi Myers is a combined 337/.399/.712 this year in AA/AAA.

  134. If you’re looking to trade Teheran for a young bat, Myers would be the type of guy to look for. But most teams aren’t willing to trade potential “#1” starters, so I guess it comes down to whether you still think Teheran’s got that upside. I know his results in AAA have been inconsistent, but he’s still just 20.

  135. @282 It would be another Pineda/Montero type of trade for sure. The conventional wisdom of course is that bat is more valuable than arm.

  136. I’m not necessarily looking to trade Teheran, but the Braves need an impact RH OF bat and the Royals need SP. Obviously, I wouldn’t start the negotiations w/Teheran, but I doubt the Royals would take less…I wouldn’t. Myers seems the real deal, and if you’re going to pay Bourn, you probably don’t have the money to spend on a decent FA LF (especially if you’re looking to take care of Prado/McCann in the near future).

    You’d still have Delgado, Hudson, Hanson, Minor, Medlen, and Beachy with which to fill a rotation, but the issue (as 282 points out) is if any of those guys are a legit #1 starter

  137. The Braves will have the money to spend for a LF and CF next year (approximately 25-30 million). There’s really no need to trade a cheap, cost controlled pitcher, especially one who’s already damaged his trade value more than what any Minor League numbers he puts up from here on out can recover.

    If the Braves were to trade a pitcher after the season, they should look at trading Hanson. They’re just delaying the inevitable with him and Tommy will be an expensive Arb-2 and Arb-3 player. Trade Tommy for a guy that can man LF cheaply for a few years and put up a 4-5 WAR, re-sign Bourn, and use excess cash to start locking up young talent.

  138. Seems I missed an entirely enjoyable game. Went to Yanks/Rays instead & saw Pettitte pitch really well against a really weak lineup, plus a grand slam from Russell Martin, of all people.

    Paul was a terrific & versatile musician (guitar, bass & sax, IIRC). I remember him mostly with the Little Tigers (reggae/ska) and Time Toy (just no easy musical category). Of course, some might recall Time Toy from the “Athens Inside/Out” documentary. A bummer to hear.

  139. I’m not sure about that being the conventional wisdom, KC. My impression is that pitchers are more risky because they’re more vulnerable to injury, but frontline bats are slightly more plentiful than true ace starters.

  140. Teheran isn’t worth as much now as he was before MLB facing players. I wouldn’t cry if they traded him, but I’m not sure the return would be worth it.

    I’m becoming jaded about all of these blue chip pitching prospects.

  141. I think it’s more the dip in his minor league numbers that has hurt Teheran’s value somewhat. If anyone cares that much about a 20 year-old’s first 20 IP, they shouldn’t have a job in baseball.

    He could still certainly be part of a Pineda/Montero-type deal.

  142. @291 If Gattis stays healthy or Bethancourt finally learns how to hit. I don’t think the team would make Ross a starter with two prospects like that in the wings.

  143. @292

    I agree. I am sure the team will pick up the option, but I would think that he could bring a decent return. If they think they can’t resign him, this might be the way to go.

    We are really going to need another bat or two next year. We aren’t a very good team without Chipper in the lineup.

  144. I don’t think the Braves are looking to trade Teheran, but its been reported that he’s spent a lot of time this year working on his curve ball, which could explain the inconsistent results. And if he gets that pitch looking good, he really might be a monster.

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