Jason Heyward (by ububba)

Will Jason Heyward finally break out with a full and healthy season of all-star offense to match his all-world defense? Will he ever put together the kind of year that both the numbers-counters and advanced-metric types agree upon? Trust me, you can make yourself crazy trying to figure it out.

Since his eye-opening, 6.4-WAR rookie campaign in 2010 (.277/.393/.456, 131 OPS+), it’s been a career of fits and starts for the RF, complete with transcendent moments (like this, this and this) and almost every kind of season-interrupting misfortune (nagging thumb, hamstring and shoulder injuries, an appendectomy, a beaning).

Projecting Heyward seasons (and, thus, estimating his future payday) has become an off-season sport in recent years. It’s a noble and interesting project, but given Heyward’s injuries and the (possibly injury-impacted) inconsistencies in so many offensive categories each season, you may be better off just crossing your fingers.

Perhaps true to the norm, Heyward’s 2013 season saw some fleeting excellence, but plenty of interruption. As the JUpton-powered Braves blazed to an early division lead,

Heyward got off to a brutal start on and off the field. Three weeks of offensive ineptitude (.121/.261/.259) was followed with the emergency surgery and another three weeks away from the field. On his return, it took him about another 15 games to get going, but… whoa, when he did, he was an offensive force.

On June 1, he was sitting at .146/.290/.243. The rest of the season—again, twice interrupted by injury—saw him go .297/.376/.500. This included the 30-game stretch where he hit leadoff, going .322/.401/.551. Tantalizing, huh?

It should also be noted that, when manager Fredi Gonzalez ran out of patience with B.J. Upton and his season-long funk, he moved Heyward to CF, where he showed impressive range. For the ’13 season, Heyward finished .254/.349/.427, 111 OPS+, 3.6 WAR (including 1.4 dWAR). For his career, he’s sitting at .259/.352/.443 (115 OPS+), 18.4 WAR (including 5.0 dWAR).

His Weird 2013 Platoon Splits: He had a mild reverse platoon split last year, hitting .250/.352/.415 in 316 PA against righties compared to.264/.347/.455 in 124 PA against lefties. Certainly, that was not in accordance with his career numbers—.273/.370/.426 against RHP and .232/.312/.377 vs LHP—like most left-handed hitters, he has typically hit worse when he faces southpaws. We’re only talking 124 PA vs LHP in ’13, but if those numbers continue to rise, that would be pretty sweet.

2013 Home-Road Splits: Here’s another example of Heyward’s occasional statistical weirdness: While he was terrific this year at The Ted (.294/.371/.502 in 250 PA), he plainly sucked on the road (.199/.321/.323 in 190 PA). In his career, his OPS has been .786 at home and .803 on the road, so I’m not going to strain my brain trying to figure this one out.

Other stuff: Also, after a year that saw him go 21-for-29 in stolen base attempts, he only tried six in 2013 (and was only successful twice). Certainly, the injuries hampered him, but the Braves didn’t try to steal very much in 2013, relying on its impressive power game. Additionally, Heyward’s walk rate rose a bit (10.9% up from 8.9%) and his K rate dropped noticeably (16.6% down from 23.3%).

Post-Season: His big October moment came in Game 2 of last year’s NLDS, when he laced a 2-run single off tough LOOGY Paco Rodriguez for the winning margin in the Braves’ lone series victory. He hit a late-inning homer in the blowout Game-3 loss & had 4 RBI in the series, but ended up going 3 for 18 with no BB and 7 Ks (167/167/333). It’s obviously still early in his career, but so far his overall post-season numbers haven’t been so good. In three losing October visits (40 PA), Heyward has struck out 16 times and earned only one BB, going 154/175/256.

Two Big Years Ahead: Speaking for myself, there are few current Braves players I enjoy watching as much as Jason Heyward. (Check these ’13 highlights.) When he’s right, he’s something else.

And as everyone knows by now, the Braves avoided all kinds of drama by buying out Heyward’s last two arb-eligible years with a two-year/$13.3 M contract that runs thru 2015.

After that, who knows? But, in the short term at least, I’ll join the legions of Braves fans hoping to see a pair of Heyward mega-seasons (not to mention a pennant or better). As for the next contract, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there— once Heyward hits the ripe old age of 26.

155 thoughts on “Jason Heyward (by ububba)”

  1. Alex, One of the most amazing things in the Remy article, is that a guy could make $18.02 an hour in 1997 being a Mass Turnpike Toll taker.

  2. Don’t know if anyone is watching this game, but ububba, you have a lot to answer for, addling Chip’s brains like that.

    I’m paraphrasing, but Chip was wondering whether 10-20 by nonroster player Steven Lerud makes him a candidate to be one of the Braves catchers when they break camp. Joe, then, upping the idiot ante, says, no, but if somebody gets hurt… Obviously these 20 ABs are more important than his 4 strikeouts in 5 plate appearances in the majors last year for a 29 year old catcher.

  3. @3

    I also noticed that. And how do you not hold a job where you’re making $18 an hour at a toll booth?

  4. I mean, I get that it would’ve been a cheapy, but the rule is that when your elbow hits someone in the face, it’s a flagrant 1. It’s never surprising when KY gets calls, but that was two bigs calls the refs didn’t give WSU. Oh well. If TEN winns like I think they will, that’s 3 SEC teams in the Sweet 16.

    Also, I’m really regretting hitching my wagon to Carolina. I have them in the Elite 8, mostly because I didn’t have any faith in Iowa St., and while I had UConn winning vs. Nova, I just didn’t see them as an Elite 8 team. Should’ve just gone with the team with guys you can trust rather than believing in a Roy Williams-coached team.

  5. I mean, I also talked to UNC fans who also had no faith in their team. The way that game ended was a joke, incidentally. Retroactively subtracting time off the clock because it didn’t start in time doesn’t make sense if a player/coach is calling a TO based on the displayed time.

    That said, why was Williams calling for a TO anyways? He wanted a set play with 0.2s on the clock? Either call it before the in-bounds or keep it in your pocket.

    I feel sorry for UNC fans. That team must’ve been horrible to have to root for game to game. They play no defense, offer no effort in (defensive) transition, and you see flashes from guys like MacAdoo but then they’ll just disappear.

    Win or lose (and UCLA looks pretty sharp right now), I’ll always love this year’s Florida team because they’re so damn fun to root for because they work hard and play off eachother SO well. I can’t imagine anyone saying something similar about UNC.

  6. @5 There are probably a number of people who have the privilege holding “jobs” for MassDOT and in return for that sinecure, something needs to be provided. In this case the old man, “RemDawg”, surely thought that as the unofficial mayor of Red Sox Nation, he didn’t have to do anything.

  7. You know what? I take it back, I think it’s clear that my fellow Tennessee fans were right. Bruce Pearl is obviously the only coach capable of taking us to the Sweet 16. My bad for not seeing the light on that one.

  8. @9

    As a lifelong Tar Heel, I have a few quibbles with your analysis. The players on the team have some redeeming qualities, and they, to my eyes anyway, seemed to put forth effort after the 1-4 start. But, boy, did they show a lack of basketball IQ at the most inappropriate moments. I can’t say that I’m happy with the ref’s decision, but at the same time, I can’t feel too disappointed the season is over. At least I don’t have to wonder when the next brain fart will strike.

  9. I guess I have to take your word, but there were like 5 just wide open 3s/layups from transition where the UNC players just didn’t get back on D. Most of the time, that’s just effort IMO.

    Any my wording was kinda strong. Even when Florida teams sucked, I usually find something I like about them enough to enjoy rooting for them. I think “frustrating” might be a better assessment.

  10. @13

    Frustrating is the perfect word.


    The media makes it just an athletic scandal when in fact it went deeper than that – EVERY student who took those classes got the no show benefit. The atheletes, who got preferential scheduling, just got into that class first. That’s the athletic part of it. Doesn’t make it any less embarrassing to the school though.

  11. It’s official: Uggla in the best feeling of his life (braves.com):

    “I feel a lot different than basically any other Spring Training that I’ve had,” Uggla said. “Knowing what I know now, last year was awful all the way around. I just felt [bad] during Spring Training and throughout the regular season. I ran into a few homers, and I don’t even know how I did that. Now, it’s like I feel better than I ever have. It’s a good feeling.”

  12. @16 – Come on guys, it is painfully honest that Uggla has fully turned the corner and is destined for an OPS of over .900 with a BA of .300! (At least this is what we want potential trade partners to think). I’m all for as many “feel good” stories on Uggla as possible.

  13. I have found something that will distract me in time for our September/October crash, I’m going to be a dad!

  14. Your world has changed, Smitty. Be strong and raise the child never to wear orange.


  15. Greetings from Miami Beach…

    Congrats, Smitty!

    As his grandfather once said about my beaning of Chip: “You probably knocked some sense into him!”

    Wow, the SEC is 7-0 so far. Who knew? (My “smart” Final 4 pick so far: Baylor. My dumb pick: Wichita St.)

    I met Vanilla Ice at this weird corporate event last night. (He was actually super nice.) Now that I’ve met him & the Milli Vanilli guy, my life is complete.

  16. How is the SEC 7-0? Wouldn’t they have to be [Even Number]-0? Every team has played two games.

    Unless the women’s teams figure into it somehow.

    P.S. Ububba your Heyward write-up was disappointingly even-handed. I’ve been priming everyone for his 32 WAR breakout season for a couple months now, and you’re letting all the air out of that balloon. Thanks a bunch.

  17. @26 – there must be a Vanille, a Vanillo, and a Vanillu you haven’t met out there somewhere.

  18. Optioned either to Minor League camp or Gwinnett today: Constanza, Greene, Terdoslavich, La Stella, and Buchter.

    Likely to make the bench: The Rev, last spot.
    Likely to make the rotation: Schlosser.
    Likely to make the bullpen: Ian Thomas.

    Spots available: 1 pitcher… I think.

    4-man rotation: Teheran, Wood, Hale, Schlosser
    7-man bullpen: Kimbrel, Walden, Carpenter, Avilan, I. Thomas, Varvaro, Gearrin
    Position players: you know the 8…
    Bench: Laird, Doumit, Pena, Rev, Schafer

    People left in camp, other than guys listed: Severino? Mejia? Anyone else? I agree with Seat Painter that a move for an arm is likely.

  19. I have the feeling that it is more likely that Santana has put us in the position where we are going to go with a league minimum guy until Floyd is ready.

  20. This is cryptic from DOB:

    “There’s a lefty throwing in #Braves ‘pen now with no name on jersey. Going out to see. Wren watching him.”

    I’m getting a picture of some drifter off the street.

  21. smitty… well done!

    Can’t be Jamie Moyer… you could recognize him without a number.

  22. I’m going out on a limb. Bedard opted out of his deal with the Rays. I asked DOB if the pitcher has a beard. Port Charlotte to Kissimmee is an easy drive.

    Timo, you’re a bad person.

  23. Was driving the daughters to a dance competition yesterday and caught an NPR interview with John Feinstien about his new book on AAA baseball – Where No One Knows Your Name.

    Sounded like a fun read. (One of the people he follows in the book is Nate McLouth – for the obligatory Braves tie in.)

    timo – how’s is @45’s splitter? You think it will grade out as a plus offering?

  24. Congrats, Smitty! More Braves babies are a good thing.

    Teheran, Wood, Hale & Schlosser sounds more like a Personal Injury firm than a starting rotation. It’s both in Braves Country.

  25. My comments from the last thread. I love it when I’m right (happens so rarely)

    “@122 – I don’t think you can go by how well Garcia does tomorrow to see if he’ll make the team or not. Scouts will be looking for velocity and how his breaking balls are working – it may or may not translate to a good outing. My guess is he’s really close to done. I’ll be kind of surprised if they determine a few starts will be worth $1.5 mil.”

  26. gondeee ‏@gondeee 2m
    You kept all of Twitter haning on for THAT! RT @ajcbraves: @gondeee He was unidentified and unimpressive. Was all over the place.

    David O’Brien ‏@ajcbraves 1m
    #Braves are keeping options open in last days of camp, to add a pitcher who might become available. If don’t add one, go with Schlosser

  27. I’m guessing the Santana signing put the front office in a position where they needed to axe Garcia if there were any doubts as to his utility and effectiveness this season.

  28. The issue is that he didn’t want to go to Triple-A, which meant that the team didn’t have much flexibility with him. Sort of like a Rule 5 draft pick, where you lose him if you can’t guarantee his spot on the 25-man roster. Roster spots in themselves are expensive, to say nothing of the $1.5 million salary. It’s a lot cheaper to call up a warm body from the farm to keep the seat warm at the major league minimum, then switch him out for someone else if he isn’t working out.

  29. Alex has it @56. Garcia was clear that he was simply not interested in going back to the minors. (Who can blame him?) The Braves knew that when they signed him, decided that they had as good a shot or better in the first two weeks with Schlosser(*) and let him go. I suspect they’re combing the releases wire to see if any stopgap journeyman might be interested in a rented apartment in Gwinnett, on the off chance that they might get a bump in their final pension payout down the road. Otherwise, they’ll muddle through with Tehran and Wood and pray until Minor and Santana are ready.

  30. All I can say is, Heyward better have that breakout year, maybe along the lines of Hank Aaron 1971. :) I have a feeling the Braves are going to need a lot of home runs from their corner outfielders.

  31. Aaron Harang would be a disaster. I would rather take my chances and get a youngster like Schlosser some experience. It also gives you another option to keep Schlosser and send down Hale when Minor comes back. You basically keep the guy that is pitching better between the two of them. At least until Floyd comes back.

  32. I trust our scouts. If they actually think the difference between Harang and Garcia is more than negligible, I believe them.

  33. Doesn’t make sense unless Harang is getting the minimum. Otherwise it’s trading one has-been for another.

  34. Dude. They’re down to running out GUS FUCKING SCHLOSSER! You give Aaron Harang a ride on the carousel. What on earth could it hurt? I mean, Gus Schlosser is pretty much this year’s Jorge Campillo, right?

  35. I can’t honestly say I’ve been overwhelmed by my curiosity with “what Gus Schlosser can do.” That might just be because until 3 weeks ago, I’d have guessed he made pickles.

  36. Exactly, JJ. We’re not talking about “we think Lucas Sims might be ready” or “we’re going to give JR Graham a shot for a couple of weeks.” We’re talking about a guy who no one on this board – THIS BOARD – had even heard of four weeks ago. I mean, yeah, Gus Schlosser could be the next Brandon Beachy I guess. But are you willing to bet on that?

  37. David O’Brien ‏@ajcbraves 14m
    #Braves’ Hale: 5-1/3 innings, 12 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 WP. Yikes. Threw 60 strikes in 94 pitches.

    This is our #3 starter right now…

  38. congrats, Smitty!

    67 – If Schlosser does get a chance, can we call him “Pickles?”

  39. Congrats, Smitty!

    Hale looked lost after the first trip through the lineup. Walden showed flashes of his good stuff. Is anyone surprised we signed Harang? Seems like he’s been on the front office wish list for years.

  40. I am spectacularly uninterested in seeing what Gus Schlosser can do. I’m also spectacularly uninterested in seeing what David Hale can do, but it looks like I might not have a choice about that one for a couple weeks. I frankly don’t understand the mindset of anyone who’d rather run Gus Schlosser out there than sign Aaron Harang if given the choice. We’re actually trying to make the playoffs here. You do realize these games in April count towards that, right? If you’re so interested in watching Gus Schlosser, make a trip up to Gwinnett. He can’t hurt our playoff chances there.

  41. I think Schlosser might break camp in the pen. And I’d be totally amped if we called him Pickles. It’d be my first nickname since the slightly convoluted Gary Tanderson and Joe Shanderson.

  42. You people seem to think Aaron Harang is still good. He put up a 5.76 ERA in Fucking Seattle last year and is 36. I would rather put out a rookie for 4 starts. It’s highly likely Harang is going to suck, at least we might find something with a kid who can maybe go to the bullpen later on. When/If Minor and Santana come back, where does Harang go? How much are we paying him for 4 starts? Is it more than the minimum?

  43. Harang vs. Schlosser is a false dichotomy. The choice was never Aaron Harang or Gus Schlosser. The choice was Freddy Garcia or Aaron Harang. And the team’s scouts picked Aaron Harang.

    Gus Schlosser doesn’t go anywhere. Gus Schlosser is still an Atlanta Braves property and will still be there if Aaron Harang fails. That’s why Garcia slotted in front of him yesterday, and why Harang slots in front of him today. If Garcia, or now Harang can’t do it, Schlosser is still there. If Schlosser was given first go, and failed, then who? Not Garcia and not Harang, because those guys can’t be stashed like Schlosser can.

  44. By the way, Gus Schlosser is older than Jason Heyward and hasn’t pitched at AAA yet.

    He had a good year last year, as a 24 year old in AA, and he’s had a good Spring Training. And that, coupled with two major leaguer’s arms exploding, was enough to move him from being “a guy,” to “depth.”

  45. It’s a 3 or 4 start sample size, though. Anything can happen in such a small sample. If Schlosser were to fail, Minor and Santana are going to replace him anyway. Why sign a new guy — especially if it’s above the minimum?

  46. Because you don’t know it’s only for 4 starts. None of Ervin Santana, Mike Minor or Gavin Floyd has begun REAL work yet. Alex Wood, as much faith as everyone has in him, is still largely untested. None of the first three has even thrown 50 pitches in a single day yet. And when they do, any of the three could explode. The fact that we’ve been snakebitten twice already has no bearing on the odds of another guy coming up hurt. Each guy is his own discrete scratch off ticket, the result of the last having no bearing on his odds.

    Floyd might go all Brandon Beachy on us, tear some scar tissue, rest 3 weeks, come back and turn out to have a bone chip. And Mike Minor’s shoulder tendonitis could become a shoulder strain. Alex Wood could go all Mike Minor on us and put up a 5.00 ERA in his first full season in the rotation.

    So you sign depth. Wood was depth to keep us until Floyd came back. Suddenly, he’s in the rotation all year. Hale was depth, now he’s holding a spot. Schlosser wasn’t even depth, and now he’s depth.

    In fact, I bet Wren is looking at the NEXT tier down from Harang, looking for guys who aren’t good enough to command a big league job, and might accept a minor league role from a team that needs them more than where they are now. And THAT guy will ALSO slot in front of 24 year old non-prospects who’ve never pitched in AAA yet.

  47. If all that ish happens, we’re going to suck anyway. Aaron Harang is not going to be a savior. I still would rather give the starts to kids. JMO.

  48. Yeah, sure, if it all happens. But if only one happens, but Teheran goes out and wins the Cy Young and Jason Heyward the MVP, it’d be malpractice to run Schlosser out there for 24 starts at a 5.88 ERA.

  49. Cody Martin, Aaron Northcraft, or another kid in the high minors would get the next shot. This whole thing just seems like Shane Reynolds all over again (when a young Jason Marquis was available).

  50. Except that Jason Marquis was good enough to pitch in the big leagues for 14 years, and had made 40 starts in the big leagues by the end of his age 24 season. Gus Schlosser, not so much.

    Perhaps it would help if you thought it as being similar to the time that we signed Freddy Garcia, when we already had Gus Schlosser.

  51. Or how about the time we signed Buddy Carlyle, even though Matt DeSalvo was available?

    Or the time we signed Jorge Campillo, even though we already had James Parr AND Kevin Barry just waiting for their chance to shine.

  52. I’m not saying Schlosser is going to be all that. Like I said if he sucks give the next kid a shot.

  53. But we were going to pay Garcia 1.25 million for the same thing a replacement level AAA pitcher could do for a rookie salary.

  54. And that time we signed Miguel Batista AND Ben Sheets, even though we already had Yohan Flande AND Todd Redmond. Gus Schlosser has a chance to be the next James Parr, Kevin Barry or Johan Flande!!

    We were going to pay Garcia to keep that kid at AAA.

    Here’s the thing. This might be the best way to make my point: I’d bet even money that Gus Schlosser still will make 5 starts in the big leagues this year. Without a Freddy Garcia or an Aaron Harang, that number is 15. And the 5 starts he WOULD have made, those would go to the next guy after Schlosser. THE GUY WHO’S WORSE THAN GUS SCHLOSSER.

  55. And here’s my point: if any of those guys have to make a lot of starts, WE ARE IN TROUBLE ANYWAY. Why pay the desicated corpse of Aaron Harang to do the same thing that some 24 or 25 year old pitchers could do? At least find out if Schlosser, Northcraft, Martin et. al have major league talent.

    But yeah, Buddy Carlyle and Jorge Campillo were real difference-makers on some championship teams.

  56. Harang has upside. The Braves usually don’t strike out on this stuff. Harang has more potential, and if he fails, Schlosser will get his opportunity soon enough.

  57. With the inning cap on Alex Wood, he will not be able to stay in the rotation for the entire season. We will need to find a fifth starter to close the season after Santana, Minor, Teheran, and Floyd. Regardless if the guy is Harang or Garcia or Hale or Schlosser, we need whatever depth we can find to get through the season.

  58. Look. Last year, 10 guys got starts, including scrap heap finds Kameron Loe and Freddy Garcia, and never-in-the-plans David Hale. That team won the division.

    The year before that, 10 guys got starts. And to get to 10, we brought Ben Sheets out of retirement, traded for Paul Maholm, and gave starts to Delgado and Teheran, who were in the plans, but not in the ideal 5. That team still won the Wild Card.

    This year, we haven’t played a game yet, and we’re already looking at running out our 10th guy in Schlosser.

    Medlen, Beachy, Teheran, Minor, Floyd was the ideal 5. Add Wood because Floyd’s not ready. Add Garcia (and Harang, same depth-position, I’ll count them as one guy) because Wood has an innings limit. There’s 7. Then two went down, so add Santana and Hale. There’s 9.

    Hale is ALREADY a reach. Hale is not Teheran or Delgado, a big arm prospect we just aren’t sure if he’s ready yet. There were Hale guys BEHIND Teheran and Delgado. This year, there’s no Teheran or Delgado type to keep Hale in the minors, Hale is breaking camp with the club, with a rotation spot guaranteed to him.

    So… are we already in trouble? Is it already throwing good money after bad? When you say “if any of those guys have to make a lot of starts, WE ARE IN TROUBLE ANYWAY” IT’S HALE AND SCHLOSSER THAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT.

    So do you feel doomed? You’d be satisfied with them just packing it in, saying “It’s not our year?”

    Of course not. That’s why you sign guys you hope will be better than Schlosser and Hale. Because you aren’t out of it until you’re out of it. So you keep solving problems until you’re problems are solved, or until you’re eliminated.

    Harang is here to keep Schlosser in “depth” mode. If Paul Maholm suddenly became available, you can bet your ass he’d be signed, slotted ahead of Aaron Harang, and he’d move David Hale back to depth mode.

    This desperate team is just holding it’s breath, trying to piece April together until Minor, Santana and Floyd are all back, hoping by some miracle Harang can force Wood in to the bullpen to keep his innings down, maybe by June JR Graham has proven healthy enough to jump ahead of Schlosser and Hale as that Delgado-Teheran prospect type, and maybe another Paul Maholm becomes available when some almost-contender drops out of the race….

    And since all of that breaking perfectly is just astronomically unlikely, you spend March trying to keep the Gus Schlossers of the world in AAA.

  59. The Schlosser versus Harang debate – really, I mean, they both are definitely “not good”. It’s a coin flip over four starts over which will be worse. I don’t think it’ll matter much who they pick. But Pickles – now that is inspired.

    //and if it does turn out to be the difference, I suspect we’ll have far more substantial issues to discuss

  60. Let’s sign them all for depth!!!

    Scott Baker (32)
    Odrisamer Despaigne (27)
    Freddy Garcia (37)
    Jon Garland (34)
    Jair Jurrjens (28)
    Jeff Karstens (31)
    Jason Marquis (35)
    Jeff Niemann (31)
    Clayton Richard (30)
    Barry Zito (36)

  61. Sign every one of them that is willing to spend the summer riding buses.

    Because if Gus Schlosser is on your radar… Man. You’d hate to have to use him. But you’d hate it even more to run out of him.

  62. I’d give Jason Marquis a call. JJ is correct on this one. When you’re running out Gus Schlosser, you robo-dial anyone who’s pitched 5 innings of league average ball in the last three years.

  63. @99, exactly… I’m thinking maybe we went after Harang because he, unlike Garcia, was willing to go down to Gwinnett if needed.

  64. Given the Tigers’ problems and gaping hole right now, they’d ask for Andrelton for Scherzer.

  65. Pickles!

    I’m firmly in the Camp of Meh about the Harang signing. Maybe he’ll be the Second Coming of Kim Jong-Il (The Good Season), maybe he won’t. But it probably wouldn’t make a huge difference in either case whether we used him or Garcia, or Schlosser.

    I think that with the Braves being in Win Mode versus Rebuild Mode, you roll the dice on Harang. Otherwise, give Pickles his turn in the barrel and see what you got.

  66. JonathanF is right, Pickles Schlosser is a phenomenal old school-style nickname.

    I think we should come up with similar nicknames for our other fringy or bench guys, like David Hale, Ramiro Pena, Anthony Varvaro, Cory Gearrin, and Joey Terdoslavich — I know that we can do better than “Terds.”

  67. “Squeeky” Pena
    Joey T- “The Polish Prince”
    “Visa” Vavaro
    Gearrin- “The Gwinnett County Sherriff”
    “Bacon and Eggs” Hale

  68. Anyone think Roger McDowell can work his bullpen voodoo on Mike Gonzalez? Nats just cut him loose.

  69. Also, I like Squeeky for Pena. I think there might something for David Hale in the Princeton thing…… Brainy David Hale. David Ivy Hale. Just Ivy. I dunno.

  70. Hale could go with the Colonel (for Nathan) or the Skipper (for Gilligan’s Island’s Alan Hale).

    If the latter, maybe Pickles could be his “Little Buddy”.

  71. I kind of like Prince for Hale. This plays off the Princeton thing and can be used as in “Hale to the Prince”.

  72. Gearrin just came out of the game after throwing a wild pitch, could be another arm injury.

  73. I hate it for players who get injured, but losing Gearrin wont affect the Braves at all this year or any in the future.

  74. Fredi is planning on hitting BJ second this year with Chris Johnson hitting cleanup. Gattis would drop to 6th or 7th.


    That would certainly be interesting.

  75. I’m a Georgia fan who got miles of Internet Argument experience last season discussing whether or not we were better building the injured offense off the third-string RB or the fifth-string WR, so all this is eerily, and unfortunately, familiar.

  76. If BJ “Shyster” Upton would hit how he did when he came up with TB, he would be an excellent #2 hitter, or as I would like to call him, “Andrew McCutchen Lite”. For now, “Shyster”. Add that to the nickname list.

  77. I’ve got Minor on the 23rd and Floyd on the 30th (or May 5), because of how the off-days line up and the days the temporary guys line up to go. Slotting Floyd in earlier than that would mean giving someone an extra day of rest.

  78. Yes, that’s pushing Floyd back real early. But the upside is, if we get Medlen’s 2013 out of Floyd, and then he goes TJ 2, Electric Boogaloo on whomever signs him next year… Not our circus, not our monkeys.

  79. Yeah his surgery date was May 7 of 2013, so it would make about 50 weeks. It’s pretty fast, but it’s what they’ve been saying all spring.

  80. Braves evaluating bullpen options after Gearrin’s arm injury today. Scary thing is he was actually in line to get a spot.

  81. @126 – Of course Fredi wants to bat BJ second. Ugh.

    I guess we get to watch him try to bunt, get behind 0-2 then whiff at a slider in the dirt?

  82. @137 That’s definitely what I have been thinking for the past weeks. Something very wrong with our pitching program in general.

    I thought Floyd wouldn’t be available until June…I guess that’s Venters instead.

    @138 That’s exactly what I am thinking as well. The great thing about having Justin in the second hole is that there is no way Fredi would ask Justin to bunt.

  83. I’m betting that Fredi’s main goal with a lineup spot for BJ is to find a place where he won’t overthink. Hitting second is relatively easy, mentally: you’re just supposed to make contact and put the ball in play. They’re not counting on you to do anything beyond that. He needs to get his head right. I think it might help.

  84. You can’t argue with the overall results: 1st in R/G in ’13, 4th in ’12, 3rd in ’11. You can argue that the results are inefficient (paying a lot of guys to sit on the shelf instead of standing on the mound), but the end result is a dominant pitching staff.

    It may be hard as a fan to watch guys you root for (after all, Medlen, Beachy and Gearrin seem to be great guys) go down, but this isn’t a league that acknowledges cumulative accomplishments; this is a league that rewards the 2014 World Series to the best team in 2014. It’s not Atlanta’s job to worry if a guy is going to be effective three years from now.

  85. It’s a mercenary way to put it, but that’s entirely true: teams don’t really care about their players’ health, except insofar as that player may be under contract and they’d like to recoup their investment. The science of how to actually keep players healthy is still in its infancy.

  86. 140 — I think you’re on to something there, AAR. How many times if we heard the phrase “hit the ball the other way” about the #2 hitter?

  87. Didn’t Leo Mazzone make his pitchers throw twice between starts? And he was all “less effort, more command low and away from the hitter.” With McDowell, it seems like we have more guys trying to max out on velocity, which means more effort and more injuries. Results have been good, but lots of guys getting hurt.

  88. I don’t think it’s as much an approach/strategy thing. And I’m not sure there’s a THING at all.

    But if there is “a thing,” I think it’s that the Braves look for value, try to find guys who aren’t thoroughbreds, because every team is hip to every thoroughbred. The Braves of recent vintage are famous for uncovering hidden gems and turning them in to something.

    But the 5’10” starting pitcher might be rare for a reason. Maybe no coach saw the junior college outfielder and thought “starting pitcher,” for a reason. That kind of thing.

    A lot of teams didn’t like Tommy Hanson’s delivery, a lot of teams didn’t like Medlen’s size. No team liked Beachy for some reason. And, a little scary, a lot of teams didn’t like Wood because of his delivery, too. JR Graham is undersized and throws over-hard…

  89. @141 But there is a cost on guys getting hurt. For example, injuries have taken two years of control away on each of Medlen and Beachy. They make a combined of $7.2m this year, and we had to spend another $14m to sign Santana because the two of them being hurt.

    This is not an emotional concern at all. The Braves have limited resources and we count of young pitchers to deliver value when they are still cheap. That’s basically the foundation of how the team can stay competitive.

    @145 That’s a very interesting and possibly relevant point. Maybe the Braves by default take more chances on these high risk/high reward guys. We are just seeing these risks being realized.

  90. 145 — Good observation. Also, Jurrjens is listed on his BRef page as 6’1, 200 lbs, which seems generous to me.

  91. It is a mercenary way to put it, but the Atlanta Braves Baseball Club is a business meant to make money. Unless you’re Jeffrey Loria, you make money by winning baseball games. The Braves seem to have a philosophy of running players into the ground, from Bobby’s management of the staff now to Fredi (though Fredi seems to be even worse). You could make the case that it’s not results-first; how many of these fungible relievers would be getting their second and third contracts unless the Braves are providing an opportunity to build their stats? Chris Hammond, Darren Holmes, Eric O’Flaherty, and others have been nobodies who have been made somebodies by Bobby/Leo/Roger/Fredi. Had they not been put in that situation and compiled those stats, they would would not have parlayed them into better contracts.

    Then there’s your point as well that we don’t even know how to prevent injuries. Do they throw less? Do they throw more? Do they throw in the offseason? Do they throw on Tuesdays? Why would you withhold the use of an asset because of a perceived, but not proven, risk?

  92. Medlen/Beachy haven’t lost any value to the Braves. Their value on the open market has significantly decreased based on their injuries. While the Braves don’t enjoy the benefit of team control because they’re injured, they will probably enjoy diminished value when they reach free agency. If Medlen and Beachy stayed healthy, they would command top dollar on the open market, but most teams won’t give them anything close to top dollar, so the Braves have a shot to have them in their peak years.

  93. Out of all places, Frenchy landed a minor league deal with the Padres. He should really look for jobs with the Reds or the Phillies or the Astros so that the park accommodates his “power”.

  94. Beachy’s injury is odd. He just had TJ and pitched probably 70-80 innings total and has to have it again? He should sue someone.

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