No No No No No

Oh, great:

[A]fter Heyward was scratched from the lineup Monday against Washington for a sore right shoulder, team officials made it clear this was a minor thing and that he was rested strictly as a cautionary measure with opening day still three weeks away. “It’s nothing major at all,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said. “It’s fine.”

“Little sore in his right shoulder,” Gonzalez said. “Just a precaution. I think it’s just fatigue, just a little soreness. I didn’t want to take a chance, so he’s going to stay back and hit some balls off a tee…. I didn’t want it to turn into something major.”

I am going to refrain from commenting on this. I will not even snark on this. I’m not going to say anything at all.

170 thoughts on “No No No No No”

  1. This will be the story in a few weeks. DOB will bury it in his blog after a couple of stories on how Pastornicky and Constanza are having great springs and they will be pushing for starting jobs.

    Heyward Takes Special Caravan Trip to Birmingham:

    Today Jason Heyward flew to Birmingham to sign baseballs at an Academy store in Birmingham. “Well, there are a lot of Braves fans in Birmingham that love Jason,” said Braves GM Frank Wren. “We just had so many letters that we felt like we had to send him. You know, for the fans.”

    “It will be good for him to get out of Florida for a day,” said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. “I heard he Smoltzy and Dr. Andrews are going to play golf or something this afternoon. They are all good friends”

  2. @1

    I came to ask the same thing. Hopefully they wanted to give the backup some playing time after that 8-run inning put the game out of reach …? That seems unlikely though. I hope we’re not doomed!

  3. Saw the title of the post, assumed we’d signed Rodrigo Lopez or something, didn’t read any further. Was only mildly disturbed. Went to bed, slept soundly.

    Awoke to…. this.

  4. Good news, Andrelton was not hurt just taken out of the game after Japan took a large lead. The game was only for seed.

  5. Wait, wait, wait!

    Is Andrellton hurt? Is Heyward hurt?

    What the hell’s going on out there?

  6. @8
    Sorry, wrong report as it does not fit the doomed mold, so here’s an altered version:
    From DOB:
    “Andrelton was removed from today’s essentially meaningless game because Japan jumped out to a large lead, and he was in need of rest. After being removed from the game, Simmons was walking to the clubhouse when a black widow spider leapt from the depths of hell and clung to Andrelton’s throwing arm, leaving it lifeless, deteriorating all of the arm’s muscles. The Nederlands official team doctor said that Andrelton, although limited to one arm, will be “good to go” tomorrow after the amputation.”

  7. With the caveat that the Braves are the only team I follow on a day-to-day basis, so I don’t know how they measure up against the rest of the league in these things, I wouldn’t take “he’s starting today,” as a sign that nothing is wrong. They ran Heyward out with the wrist thing. They ran McCann out there for half a season with a shoulder thing. They ran Schafer out there and then blamed HIM for not making it clear he was hurt as badly as he was, even though he did tell them he was hurt.

    It seems that unless your name is O’Flaherty, you have to have surgery to be taken seriously.

  8. Since they’ve already acknowledged he had some soreness going on, I really don’t think they’d run him out there for a spring training game unless he was OK. It’s a spring training game.

    Incidentally, I’m sure that Jason isn’t the only one with a sore shoulder or elbow or wrist or whatever in spring training. You’ve been off for most of four months and all of a sudden you start getting a ton of reps in the batting cages or on the mound or whatever. It seems like a little bit of soreness would be bound to happen.

  9. I suck at this internet stuff sometimes.

    I tried to find up-to-date statistics on the Braves for the current Spring Training and failed.

    I mean, how hard can it be?

    Every time I Google something, I’m led down the garden path only to be frustrated. Reminds me of high school.

  10. #16 – bingo. We took BP to other day for about 2 hours and it was my first time swinging since November. You feel like you’ve been hit by a truck.

  11. Dang, I know Spring Training stats are a small sample and their predictive value is debatable but the numbers that Terdoslavich, Gattis and Pastornicky are putting up are certainly encouraging.

  12. @22 – <conspiracy theory>It’s a clever plan by the other pitchers in the league. They throw meatballs to those guys in order to inflate their ST numbers so they make the team instead of the guys they throw real pitches to. This way we end up with a weak bench at the beginning of the season and by the time we realize we've been duped we've lost enough ground so the best we end up with is the wildcard.</conspiracy theory>

  13. Also, JFK was assassinated by Bud Selig, who was upset that the Bay of Pigs failed, thereby eliminating the possibility of vast numbers of Cuban players coming over here and playing for the Milwaukee Braves.

  14. David O’Brien ‏@ajcbraves
    #Braves Simmons was not hurt, came out of Netherlands-Japan game today because Japan had taken big lead, game only for seeding.

  15. Check out these stats from players either fighting for a starting spot, a rotation spot, a bench spot, or a bullpen spot:

    R.Pena- .885 OPS
    Pastornicky- 1.089 OPS
    C. Johnson- .896 OPS
    Gattis- 1.217 OPS
    Terdoslavich- 1.073 OPS
    Not as fat Juan- .844 OPS

    Avilan- 3.46 era
    Gearrin- 0.00 era
    Graham- 0.00 era (not really competing for any spot now, but put him here anyway)
    Teheran- 1.29 era

    Impressive!

  16. At this point, I think the bench is

    Johnson/Francisco
    Gattis
    Pasty Knickers
    Reed
    Catcher

    This is risky, since there’s only one guy who can play in the middle infield and no real CF. I think this may be how things shake out even if the Braves are okay with Gattis at C just because if he’s your only backup catcher, I don’t think he ever gets into games as a pinch hitter.

  17. @33: No chance. Modern baseball teams don’t go into a season with no left-handed pinch-hitting option.

  18. @32, Portishead

    Which oddly enough, I discovered one day working in Soho in February at a half deserted Brazilian bar. Manhattan can be about the coldest and miserablest place on earth, and brother, I’ve been to lots of them for comparison.

  19. @33 – What about Ramiro Pena? According to the mlb site he solidified a roster spot since going to the WBC. I would guess that we’ll carry 13 position players and 12 pitchers. If this is the case it would most likely leave Gattis as the catcher behind Leard?

    I would guess when McCann gets back that either Pastornicky or Gattis (depending on what position they want him to play) would be the odd man out. When Janish gets back, it may be Pena’s turn to go to AAA.

  20. @33. a problem easily solvable if the Braves ever figure out you don’t need 7 relievers when your farm team is in Gwinnett.

  21. Teheran’s spring line is eye popping. Not sure if I want for that to mean anything, since all of the other starters have struggled.

  22. @39, Point taken, but after last year I’d say the jury’s still out on who the worse Rasmus brother is.

  23. Here’s my bench and bullpen: Gattis, R. Johnson/Francisco, Pena, Terdoslavich, Pastornicky.

    Backup 1b: Terdo/Johnson
    Backup 2b: Pena/Pastornicky
    Backup SS: Pena/Pastornicky
    Backup 3b: Francisco-Johnson/Pena
    Backup LF: Terdo/Gattis
    Backup CF: Pastornicky/Heyward
    Backup RF: Jupton/Terdo

    Only thin at Catcher, but bench could freakin’ hit!
    Pen: Gearrin, Avilan

  24. @38

    I like the idea of the Gwinnett/Atlanta reliever shuttle, too. Unfortunately, it only works optimally when both teams are at home, or one quarter of the time. I want to say they’ve done a little bit of it with Gearrin and Varvaro, but I’m not sure.

    Edit: I thought BBRef’s transactions included internal roster moves, but they don’t. Anyone know if this can be found anywhere?

  25. I have a feeling Jordan Schafer and Ramiro Pena will be joining Reed Johnson and Juan Francisco (or Chris Johnson) on the bench. If Gattis makes it, he’ll make it as the backup catcher and left fielder. But I’d be fine with him getting at bats every day in Gwinnett.

  26. @42 – Don’t you mean C. Johnson/Francisco? If that’s the case, where would you put R. Johnson?

  27. @37

    I might be wrong, but I think Ramiro Pena is out of waivers, which is the single biggest reason he’s pretty likely to get a bench spot and keep it.

  28. FWIW, they put restriction on how quickly you can shuffle guys back and forth from AAA without an injury.

  29. Barring injury, hard to imagine anyone beating Miami this year.

    This is LeBron’s time. Just depends on whether his run will be like Isiah’s or Jordan’s.

  30. As much as Fredi has been crucified for calling stupid bunts, it could be worse – Joe Torre could be managing the Braves, holy moly does he love a sacrifice bunt.

  31. Tomas: One of my favorite Braves memories was this game http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CIN/CIN198304040.shtml when Torre was managing the Braves. It was the first game of the season. Brett Butler doubled and Torre called for a bunt on the second batter of the season (it was Raffy Ramirez, but still). A one run inning ensued in a game the Braves lost 5-4. the man has ALWAYS loved the bunt. It’s why he looked so sour when managing the Yankees — way too few bunt opportunities.

  32. Yep – between the sac bunts, and also his order (against Canada, when the game was still very much in doubt) for intentionally walking Peterson Thomas Gord Howe “Bobby” Orr, to load the bases, I have really been scratching my head about Torre’s (over)managing. Agree with JonathanF in comment 56 – it looks at lot to me almost like LaRussa overmanaging syndrome; that is, if they win, it is because of the manager’s brilliant strategy, and if they lose, it’s because the players didn’t perform (after being put in more difficult, sometimes almost untenable situations).

  33. I think the U.S. struggles with runners in scoring position in the first two games against Mexico and Italy caused him to decide he needed to play small ball to get us out of the funk. Now that we’re hitting, he’s probably still doing it because “it’s working.”

    Incidentally, David Wright is becoming pretty likable here. I’m honestly not sure I can go back to forcing myself to dislike him after this. And if he continues doing this and the U.S. wins the whole thing, there’s a decent chance he even becomes my favorite non-Brave. I’m really not sure what to make of my feelings on this.

  34. With how bad the Mets are going to be for the foreseeable future I don’t think there will be a big problem with liking (and possibly rooting a bit for) David Wright.

  35. I think Pena is the backup at SS and 2B and plays third late in games. Patronicky probably starts out in AAA to learn other possitions.

    I’d like to see Gattis play some first as well.

  36. 59 – I’ve always found Wright likable. Even though it wasn’t likely (too expensive, didn’t match up), I always thought he’d look great in a Braves uni.

  37. If Gattis proves he can hit and catch at the Major League level, who else thinks the Braves might dangle McCann at the trade deadline to meet another need?

  38. Brennan Boesch was released by the Tigers. I’m not saying we should go after him, but that is shocking indeed. I’ve always looked at these types of questionable moves as a “they must know something we don’t” move.

  39. If Gattis proves he can hit and catch at the Major League level, who else thinks the Braves might dangle McCann at the trade deadline to meet another need?

    Not a chance, if the Braves are truly contending and McCann is hitting well.

  40. @63 I don’t see that as a possibility, even if the Braves are out of the playoff race. McCann means a lot to the organization and the fan base, the Braves wouldn’t want to take the PR hit.

  41. Players we can least afford to lose – in order:

    1) Hudson
    2) Simmons
    3) Medlen
    4) Heyward
    5) Justin Upton

  42. Braves won’t move McCann during the season if we are still competing for a playoff spot. He’s one of the few guys with postseason experience and no the play-in game last year is not considered making the postseason.

    Gattis really needs to be catching everyday or playin 3b in Gwinnett more than he needs to be PHing for Atlanta. Id love to see his bat but we need long term solutions at the other 2 positions also. If he’s solid catching in Gwinnett then we would have a nice trade piece with Bethancourt.

  43. I don’t know why we’d trade Bethancourt even if Gattis proves he can catch (which I still contend is a very big if). A cost-controlled offense/defense catching tandem could be a tidy situation.

  44. John Sickels ranked Julio Teheran #41 on his list of the top 150 prospects in baseball, and said this:

    The big move upward here is Teheran, who looks like his old self again and confirms reports that he made progress over the fall and winter. This moves him back into the B+ category and even 41 might be too low.

    Fangraphs’s Marc Hulet ranked Julio Teheran #19 on his list of the top 100 prospects, and had this to say:

    I had a good chat with the org and felt comfortable that they had ironed out all the mechanical issues and he showed some real strides in the off-season.

    Commenting on Hulet’s list, Sickels said:

    ***Julio Teheran checks in at #19. In the comments section, Marc says that after consulting with the organization, he agrees with the idea Teheran has solved the glitches that troubled him last year. I’m hearing similar things.”

    Yes, I’m getting excited.

  45. That’s very exciting and certainly helps our chances of winning/competing for this division.

  46. I’m surprised its taken everyone so long to get back in on Teheran. Weren’t reports on him dating back to the end of last year plus winter ball generally that he’s basically “back”?

    But yeah, I’m excited, too. I think the fact that the Braves haven’t really gone out of their way to get another SP after trading away Delgado indicates they’re pretty confident in him, too.

  47. @67: A 37-year-old pitcher is never the player your organization can least afford to lose, not even if that pitcher is Walter Johnson. And Huddy ain’t that. I can think of a half-dozen more important players to the Braves right now.

    @63: I think the return would be pretty terrible, even if McCann fully bounces back to All Star form. Last year, teams cut way back on what they were willing to pay for rentals.

  48. I think Hudson has solidified our staff over the last few years and we need similar stuff from him this year. The staff has great potential, but Medlen, Minor, and Teheran still have some uncertainty. Maybe an injury to Hudson will be less devestating when Beachy returns, but I still think he’s our best hope for consistency if the others (including Maholm) go through some rough patches.

  49. @73
    While Teheran’s overall numbers in Winter Ball were quite good, his first 4 starts were less than stellar and there were still the same questions about his future. In his last 3 starts (the 3 that the organizational heads were in attendance) is where he was dazzling again going 16.2 innings and only giving up 1 hit and striking out 15. I don’t think that it’s unreasonable for people to jump back on the Teheran train this late as he’s really only shown consistent success (for the first time since ’11) for 3 games in Winter ball and 14 innings this Spring.

  50. If Hudson goes down, Gilmartin steps in. Over a full season, you’re probably looking at a loss of 3 wins (which might be a little generous to Hudson at this point in his career).

    If Heyward goes down, his replacement is… Joey Terdoslavich?! That could easily be 6 or 7 wins down the drain. Same deal with Justin Upton If BJ Upton goes down, I guess you’re stuck with Jordan Schafer, who is terrible. If McCann can’t play, you probably have to make a trade. Simmons –> Pena or Janish could be a 4 win swing. Medlen and Minor are likely both better pitchers than Hudson at this point, so replacing them with Gilmartin is a bigger loss.

    The only full-time players I would call less important to the Braves right now are the relievers, Maholm, Uggla, and Francisco. Freeman and Teheran are probably about equivalently important to Hudson.

  51. Lets don’t get too excited over the Bear. He is having a great Spring Training, but its Spring Training.

  52. I said merely that he’s the first OF off the bench if Heyward goes down for an extended period of time. Reed probably gets ABs, too, but I think Gattis will be the one getting the majority of the the PT.

  53. The fact that the Braves have been using Gattis in left in the minors might well indicate they don’t think he has the range to play right field on a full-time basis.

  54. Well, not to put a damper on people’s spirits, but it is spring training. And it’s still relatively early in spring training. No doubt Teheran will make the rotation but I’m going to remain somewhat skeptical until he proves something in real games.

  55. Gattis doesn’t need to play right. They can slide Jupton over (he’s got the arm) and play Gattis in LF.

  56. JUpton isn’t a great RF. His range numbers are only adequate, his assist totals are low, and he makes a lot of errors.

  57. Even if you realign the outfield and slide Gattis into left, the dropoff from Heyward to Gattis is still 3 WAR conservatively, 5 WAR possibly. It seems completely clear that Heyward would be a harder loss to absorb than Hudson.

  58. We have no idea what the dropoff would be as we have no idea what Gattis can do in the Majors.

  59. @89

    Alright, fine. In this hypothetical world where Heyward misses a significant amount of time, who do you put in right, then? I don’t see that there’s anything we can do except put one of the Uptons there, but if you have a better idea… And BTW, I don’t mean this as confrontational. I’m genuinely curious what you would do if not put Upton there.

  60. I was merely refuting Smitty’s claim that he’s the second best defensive RF in the league.

  61. Upton’s MLB defensive rankings for RF (last 3 years)
    UZR/150
    ’12- 9th
    ’11- 4th
    ’10- 3rd

    DRS
    ’12- 8th
    ’11- 3rd
    ’10- 8th

    Averaging those rankings, he’s about the 6th best RF defensively any given year.

  62. @91: We have no idea? We have many ideas, based on his minor league line and age vs. level. I’ll be generous and say he could be a 2.0 WAR player in a full season, which is about league average. That’s really leaning heavily on the assumption that he could give you league average defense from a corner outfield position; I have no idea if that’s true or not.

    Heyward I put as a 5 WAR player, based on his projections (and the fact that ZiPS is inexplicably assuming he’ll collapse from a 7.7 BsR to league average). But he could go to 8 WAR and it wouldn’t be especially surprising. He is easily the most valuable player on the Braves’ roster, and the dropoff to Gattis would be brutal.

  63. 90—I don’t think anyone disagrees with you. The Gattis thing was just a correction to the idea that J-Terds would be Heyward’s replacemet. It would suck, but it wouldn’t be J-Terds-bad.

  64. Limiting Gattis to 2 WAR or expecting him to be a 4 WAR player are just as silly as one another as there are no real projections as to what Gattis can do on a regular basis, only semi-educated guesses from guys that have seen him play less than we have.

  65. 97: No, expecting him to be a 4 WAR player is far sillier than “limiting” him to 2 WAR, because guys with Gattis’s tools and track record almost never show up and become instant All Stars, while they do show up and become average and below-average players all the time. And yes, there are “real projections” as to what Gattis can do at the major league level. ZiPS sees him as a 0.8 WAR player over 400 PA, and Oliver sees him as 1.8 WAR player in 450 PA. This is not scrying; there are well-established methods for translating a guy’s minor league line into a major league line that do just fine for the vast majority of players.

  66. Gattis is unusual as prospects go; his aging pattern is likely to be abnormal within the context of the regression. So I think it’s fair to say that the potential for error (on either side) is greater for his projection than it would be for a prospect who took a more usual path through the minor leagues.

    I think it’s within the realm of possibility for him to be a league-average player right now, at the age of 26, and it’s even possible to imagine him having an age 27-28 offensive peak where he’s an above-average player. It’s also possible that he totally busts, discovering that big league breaking balls are just more than he can handle. It’s hard to know exactly what to expect.

    But I still think he can have a career at least as good as Garrett Jones. Whom the Braves actually drafted, all the way back in 1999.

    (If you really want to dream, the absolute dream would be for Evan Gattis to have a career as good as Indian Bob Johnson.)

  67. @99
    What other player has Gattis’ track record? He was completely away from baseball for 4 years. Who else has done something similar to that we can compare him to?

  68. What has Gattis’s time away from baseball to do with the price of tea in China? Scouting and projection doesn’t go out the window because of an unusual path to the majors. We’ve got three years of minor league stats, he’s been scouted, and there is no reason to believe he is capable of putting up a 4 WAR season. Your position that it’s impossible to predict player development and ability is not getting any more tenable.

  69. @100: Don’t care about the Pope or any other Cardinals… Gibson, Maris, Brock, LaRussa….

  70. @103 Steamer Projections has him at .7 WAR over 100 PAs, so if you give him a full season’s worth, it’ll come close to that 4.0 mark you’re putting up.

    And yes, there is reason to believe he can be an above-average to borderline all-star player. It may not be an enticing reason, it may be based on some of the classical pitfalls of baseball thinking, and I definitely wouldn’t bet my money on it; however, it’s there. There is certainly more reason to believe that Evan Gattis can put up a 4.0 WAR season than somebody like Ramiro Pena or Gerald Laird. I’m not disagreeing with you that it’s not going to happen, but there is still a significant (however small) chance of it occurring.

  71. So, did a little bit of digging. To reach 4.1 WAR, Gattis has got to provide approximately 39 runs during the course of the season. Let’s start with the simple; if he has 563 PAs as a catcher, that would be:

    18.8 Runs by replacement
    9.9 Runs by position

    And now comes the debate. Last year, there were 28 catchers that had at least 300 PAs in the bigs. If we grade Gattis’ defense at -6.0 runs, it would place him 26th out of 28th catchers in terms of defense. So, we’re up to 18.8+9.9+(-6.0) for a total of 22.7 runs, leaving us 16.3 runs shy of the 39 run benchmark. If we grade his baserunning at -1 runs (would place him 10th among last year’s 28 catchers, we’d need 17.3 runs of offense to reach that 4.0 war benchmark. This would mean that if he matched Andre Either’s output from last year (.350 wOBA, 124 wRC+) or Jason Kubel’s performance (.352, 115 wRC+), he’d get to 4.0 WAR. Steamer has a .329 projected wOBA, and Oliver has .337. So, I mean, it’s not entirely inconceivable in the next few years, especially given that he should be reaching his peak during that time.

  72. The main point is that losing Hudson will hurt less than losing at least five regulars, and probably also less than losing Medlen, Freeman, and maybe even Minor.

  73. 106: Steamer is very likely assuming that those 100 PAs come overwhelmingly against left-handed pitching, in a bench role. You can’t just scale it out to 600 PA and come up with a sensible estimate of his value as a starter. And also, it grades him out as a league-average defender, which… maybe, but probably not.

  74. @109, Where did you find that Steamer projects that those 100 PAs come against left-handed pitching? Oliver gives him a better line over 451 PAs, and all those sure aren’t coming against left-handed pitching. I would imagine that it would be very hard (almost impossible, I would say) to actually make projections based on a set number against LHPs and RHPs for every player in baseball (not to even start on the minor leaguers, like Gattis).

  75. I’m leaving this argument as it seems hopeless to come to any sort of mutual agreement as I haven’t seen one scout say anything poor about Gattis, not even defensively and I think that the projection systems on Gattis are reaching uncharted waters. Many Minor League scouts have admitted that they have no idea how to rank a player that has had Gattis’s journey.

  76. Maybe Uggla is just getting his streak out of the way early. Another 0’fer today and sporting a .195 average.

  77. Could he be any worse there than his is at 3B?

    Actually, the answer to that is probably yes. I bet he would be a lot worse at 2B.

  78. They won’t pitch around Uggla anymore. His bat has slowed and he’s still trying to pull everything. He will get a lot if pitches on the outside corner of the plate.

  79. Uggla’s 2012 reminds me of Jimmy Wynn’s 1976 Braves season. You don’t want to look at Wynn’s ’77….

  80. #126

    I know. I know. Of course you’re right: Just put your $50,000.00 suv in drive, Dan, and get outta there!…

    Still, though. That was fascinating, and more than a little disturbing. Good on Coughlan, I think, for peace-making.

  81. Sorry for the double post, but I meant to add:

    Now, it’s surely true that “…these guys are the same people you knew in high school, just 5 years older and without the benefit of a college education”– which is a great way of putting it, I think.

    Still, though. I think you could see in that clip how the magic carpet ride so easily turns into a stroll through the snake pit.

  82. So I just got back last night from a week’s vacation chiefly spent on remote beaches in a country that rhymes with tuba. The most memorable moment by far was walking into the hotel lobby late one morning to have an espresso at the bar and I noticed a sizable percentage of the staff watching the television behind the reception desk. It was an ESPN Deportes feed of the Cuba-Netherlands game. It was 4-4 in the bottom of the 7th. I joined the small crowd and there was a good deal of excitement when Cuba scratched out two runs in the top of the 8th. In the bottom half their reliever Gonzalez was throwing some nasty breaking pitches and the game looked well in hand to me but the Cubans still seemed pretty nervous. Of course I had no idea that the Netherlands had already beaten them once. Gonzalez gave up a walk but then managed to get two outs and who do I see stepping into the box but Andrelton Simmons. I was just starting to tell one of the bartenders that Simmons was one of my favorite players when he jacked that homer to left. Needless to say I got out of there quick.

    And then I get home and discover that not only do we have a budding superstar at SS but El Oso Blanco spent the whole week mashing and Teheran is still pitching like a future ace. Could be all the Vitamin D speaking but I really can’t work up even the slightest bit of anxiety over Dan Uggla struggles.

  83. I remember reading Bill James say that when you see an old player’s walks spike it’s a sign that his bat speed has slowed because he’s being more selective as a way to compensate and the following year you’re likely to see a decline. I worry that this might apply to Uggla and the career high 94 walks he had last year.

  84. Good thing we only owe him 39 million more dollars!

    Man, who could have guessed that his contract would look so bad at this point?

  85. At what point do you just sit your player with roughly $40M left on his deal. If he keeps his high OBP and his 20 HRs it will take car of itself. Once he loses those two and plays his below average defense then the Braves will have an easier decision to make. Next time he’ll get benched for more than 3 games.

  86. @131 Yep. That’s my fear – the walk rate spike may be evidence for declining bat speed and skills. I say that because his walk rate has spiked alongside a rise in infield fly percentage:

    9.8% career
    11.9% 2011
    16.9% 2012

    Meanwhile, his swing percentage was a little lower than his career average. More ominously, his Z-Contact % was the lowest of his career.

    All of this together means: Uggla is swinging a little less often, is missing more hittable pitches than ever before, and is hitting a lot of popups when he actually does swing and make contact. That spells a decline, and if 2012 is any indication, a rapid one.

  87. As the last Ugglite on earth (well, maybe his mother) if they were going to start throwing him strikes, they’d have done it last year. The BA probably won’t come back, but I think he’s still a 90 walk, 20 HR guy, or a 40 walk, 30 HR guy. And there is still no evidence that those aren’t your choices. Either guy justifies his salary.

  88. I couldn’t help but notice everyone is looking at spring training stats again. You guys just can’t help yourselves, can you?

    In all seriousness, Uggla could be done, but can we please wait until the season starts to decide that? Please? Wasn’t he always a slow starter anyway?

  89. I haven’t once looked at his spring training stats, personally. But I’m gathering they’re of a piece with his 2012 regular season decline, and that strikes an ominous note (which others here are also backing up with regular season stats). There’s no joy in predicting his downfall, should it prove true. But you gotta worry.

  90. @134 – I think your iPhone is trying to get us all to get naked with you. You should get that fixed.

  91. I think if Uggla just tired to put more balls in play instead of trying to hit the Coke bottle, that might help him.

  92. One of my oldest friends is the eternal adolescent. Upon acquiring his I-Phone, he requested a certain, er, favor of Siri. Her response?

    “You’ll have to ask nicely.”

  93. I couldn’t help but notice everyone is looking at spring training stats again. You guys just can’t help yourselves, can you?

    Seriously. Not only that, but in a tiny sample size too. If Uggla goes 3-3 in his next game, his batting average will jump 55 points, from .195 to .250.

  94. Ahh, nuts. At first I didn’t realize @143’s line for Uggla was hypothetical. I thought for a second that he was back to peak form. :-(

  95. There are now more people ridiculing “everyone” looking at Uggla’s spring training stats (2) than there are comments about Uggla’s spring training stats (1). I know you guys like to set yourselves apart, but couldn’t you wait until someone actually says something stupid?

  96. …than there are comments about Uggla’s spring training stats (1).

    Maybe they’re not directly mentioning Uggla’s spring training stats, but there sure are a lot of ‘woe is us’ comments here lately about Uggla. Comments that likely would not exist if Uggla was hitting extremely well in spring training.

  97. JCM,
    Love that kind of stuff.

    Headed to Miami tonight, but I have a feeling that South Beach won’t exactly be buzzing with the results of the USA/Puerto Rico tilt.

    Rob Broadforth, if you’re around…

  98. Dan Uggla is the new Andruw Jones. He will constantly be criticized for the aesthetics of his game by folks who simply refuse to believe that aesthetics are not production. Uggla’s game is ugly. It’s the kind of ugly that casual fans think they can diagnose and fix by watching television feeds and parroting Joe Simpson’s color commentary as “real analysis.”

  99. There are now more people ridiculing “everyone” looking at Uggla’s spring training stats (2) than there are comments about Uggla’s spring training stats (1). I know you guys like to set yourselves apart, but couldn’t you wait until someone actually says something stupid?

    Funny how that works. It’s almost as if my comment about Dan Uggla had nothing at all to do with either spring training stats or the “aesthetics” of the game, whatever the hell that means.* And from what I can tell, few above are discussing Uggla solely, or even mostly, based on his spring training stats.** So that means one thing: strawmen are back! I suppose the season must be close to starting.

    *And for whatever it’s worth, I always thought Andruw Jones played the game beautifully.
    **I count two comments, and both are throwaways – simply noting the game happening in the moment.

  100. 149: Who’s criticizing Uggla’s aesthetics? I think the .220 batting average and sub-400 slugging percentage are what most people are finding fault with.

  101. Alright, let me clarify: No one should ever take anything that happens in spring training and apply any meaning to it whatsoever. I’m not saying that nothing that happens in spring training is meaningful, but I am saying that no result in spring training is meaningful, whether it’s the final score of a game, the result of an at-bat, or a pitching outing. With respect, you have no idea what the players are doing as far as getting prepared for the season. The fact that Dan Uggla hasn’t been hitting in spring training couldn’t possibly matter less. It doesn’t mean that he’s washed up and if he were raking, it wouldn’t mean that he’s not washed up. He could be working on an adjustment to his stance. He could be purposefully taking pitches he knows he can hit. He could be purposefully swinging at everything to get the kinks out and then will become more selective as the spring goes on. Once again, nothing in the way of results, short-term or long-term, matters in spring training. Ever. Whether it’s stats or results or how a player looks. That’s what I’m saying.

  102. Whatever Mac said is the rule on this blog. Spring training stats mean nothing, and he said that for many many years.

  103. So the NBA is essentially saying Kobe Bryant can not be touched and the Lakers have to win.

  104. I still think the Falcons need to have more defensive talents than a running back, but I guess Jackson is giving the Falcons a good deal.

  105. The whole Kobe Bryant thing today was beyond absurd IMO. Jones closed out on him to prevent him from hitting a game-tying shot. If he got under him a little bit, it wasn’t intentional, and you can’t call it in that situation. Nor will it ever be called in that situation. It’s called defense. And by the way, had this happened to almost anybody else, no one would’ve thought twice about it. It’s Kobe Bryant and playing defense against him is now “dirty” all of a sudden.

  106. I went to Roger Dean for the game today. It was a really beautiful 65 degree sunny day and Minor looked good until the fifth. There were only a few regulars in the line-up, which is too bad because I really wanted to see the Uptons in action and up close.

    Frank Wren was sitting one row over so I went over between innings and shook his hand, telling him that I was a big fan and that he did well in the offseason.

    Pastornicky damn near tied it up with two outs in the ninth but the RFer made an outstanding diving catch to end the game. Oh well.

    Ready for meaningful baseball.

  107. Ah, Nashville. A great Southern city always, but at its best when covered by the Big Blue Mist.

    (Hope we’re there for more than one night.)

  108. I’m probably only speaking for myself, but I’d have traded an arbitrary midseason Braves game for that one. Yeah, I’m pretty into this, I guess.

  109. I assume you all saw the Charlotte-Richmond game. I’m not a big fan of how the refs handled the situation.

  110. Rough outing for Kimbrel. That can happen when you aren’t pitching more than 1 inning per week.

    SEC prediction. Bama knocks off UT today

  111. Best thing about Charlotte-Richmond deal:

    “Richmond led 63-60 with eight seconds left and lost 68-63. Worth noting amidst the techs? Total was 130.5.

    Yeah that’s a little fishy”

  112. I know there has been talk about the DC people getting together for a Braves game. However, my season ticket distribution draft is on Sunday. (I get two tickets per game.) Is anyone interested in catching the Saturday 4/13 Braves (1:05)game? The tickets are roughly behind the left-hand batters box in the 300 Section-$20.

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