The Jadeite Jewel: Whatever’s Necessary To Get the Out

Andrelton Simmons standing on a baseball field with a glove on his hand is a web gem waiting to happen, and this winter Braves Journal is going to determine which of his gems is the best of his best—his Jadeite. To see the previous posts in the series, click here.

Round 2: Taggin’ Fool vs. Run At Your Own Risk

Taggin’ Fool

Editor’s Pitch: This astounding tag has gotten a lot of well-deserved publicity. Freeman’s throw was awful on what should have been an easy pick-off play, but through an instinct unique only to him, Simmons was able to apply the tag where he caught the ball–between his legs. I can’t find a clip of it, but I remember later on in that broadcast they showed an angle from centerfield that clearly showed Simmons got the tag down. How he was able to do that will remain one of life’s great unsolved mysteries.

Last Round: Taggin’ Fool beat The Faceplant 37-8.

Run At Your Own Risk

Editor’s Pitch: When a ball splits the gap and bounces away from even the most accomplished of outfielders, you pretty much concede the runner on first will score and focus on keeping the hitter held to a double. Not Simmons. Michael Cuddyer was over halfway home, but Simmons, well onto the outfield grass, threw a perfect strike to the plate to nail him. The ball could not have landed in a better place for Brian McCann had Simmons walked it in and handed it to him. Just wow.

Last Round: Run At Your Own Risk beat Split ‘n Throw 41-3

75 thoughts on “The Jadeite Jewel: Whatever’s Necessary To Get the Out”

  1. Went with the Tag, because Simmons will uncork a throw similar to this one once or twice a year. We’ll probably never see anything like that tag again in our lifetimes.

  2. The tag was the best tag ever administered by a mortal.

    Are pitchers reporting to spring today? I am anxious to see McDowell work his black magic on Folty. Speaking of which, I’m going to go down to McDowell’s now and get a Big Mick.

  3. Nice interview and analysis, Alex. Keep up the good work. It gives old retarded folk something to fill their hours.

  4. coop – Watch your language.

    The accepted term nowadays isn’t ‘old’ it’s ‘chronologically advanced.’

  5. Great job on Effectively Wild, Alex.

    I was pleasantly surprised this morning when I started up the show and you were introduced as the first guest.

  6. Nice job on the podcast AAR. It felt like you were holding back a little bit of criticism in an attempt to be level headed about it but that’s pretty admirable.

    Listened to the Bowman part too and really I am still continually insulted by the Braves mouthpieces acting like I’m not an intelligent baseball fan if I don’t understand what happened this offseason. It’s really patronizing to hear Peanut/DOB try to explain how the Braves won’t be honest about what they did and why then try to act like they have a shot at being good this year.

  7. I guess you have a shot at being good until you actually arent. The majority of their followers probably don’t understand baseball or the off-season rebuild.

  8. @12 They are trying to fool as many average fans as they can to buy tickets. At the same time, this is the first time in many years that we feel we have no legitimate chance to compete…maybe this will be the year which the Braves will surprise all of us.

  9. Well, the 1914 miracle team wasn’t supposed to compete, but through some clever platooning and quite a bit of luck (exactly what we would need this year), they made history. So, anything’s possible, I suppose. I’m sitting here not looking forward to digging myself out of a foot of snow tomorrow, but pitchers and catchers reporting this week promise spring is coming, and spring is the season of inherent hope for baseball fans. So, go ahead Braves, surprise us this year.

    I’ve been curious to see which of these Simmons plays will move on. They highlight completely different aspects of defense, so I think these two are harder to compare to each other than any pairing we’ve seen so far. I feel like this is incredible instincts (Taggin’ Fool) vs. incredible skill (Run At Your Own Risk). I am intrigued to see what the group consensus is on which is the superior play, because this is the first time all winter I’ve been truly stumped.

  10. Ryan C. posted an interesting piece re the roster on Tomahawk Take with parts 2 and 3 to follow.

    Thanks, Ryan.

  11. Alex, great job on the BP blog. So you really think the Uggla extension was the tipping point for the Wren administration? I don’t disagree but it I find it an interesting take. So you presented yourself as cogent and a dedicated fan of the Atlanta Braves.

    Mark Bowman on the other hand. Geez. For some reason I listened to his part of the podcast. Wow. It was tough.

  12. @coop
    Thanks! Just put up part 2, although I hope it doesn’t happen the way I laid it out. I’d rather see Peraza get more time in the Minors.

    @Braves Journal Crowhoppers
    Who hasn’t responded yet? 2 more weeks, then I’ll open it up to the masses!

  13. I’m not convinced the Braves are going to be notably worse this year than they were last year. Certainly not better, but not notably worse either. I think the hit we’ve taken in the win column during the rebuild (to date) is over sold.

  14. Sam – I think you’re probably right… the Braves have a pretty deep and talented group of pitchers that will keep us from a 100+ loss season. We lost a ton of outfield talent and the 2015 squad probably projects as the MLB’s worst starting OF – but I suspect that given the sheer number of players and platoon options the Braves have brought in, they’ll be able to cobble together something minimally serviceable. The infield may well be more productive than 2014 – odds are in favor of increased production at 3B/SS/2B, offset by some decreased production at C.

  15. @19 – If that’s the case then there’s basically no reason for anyone to ever spend money on offense. You can’t lose 3 of your 4 best hitters, replace them with scrubs and not take a hit on offense. Markakis is a significantly worse hitter than Heyward (how this is lost on people is way beyond my reasoning abilities), Zoilo Almonte or whatever body gets planted in LF is way way worse than JUpton, and Bethancourt isn’t even a AAA hitter. The bullpen is pretty much garbage outside of Kimbrel unless multiple guys have way better years than they’ve had in the recent past, which there’s no reason to expect. Starting pitching has gotten younger and maybe better true-talent-wise than last year, but we benefited from a ton of lucky starting performances last year so actual results are unlikely to improve, and that ignores the fact that the whole staff is composed of fly ball pitchers now and the outfield defense has gone from high end to below average. Unless your argument is that any difference in wins below 82 isn’t notable, then there is every reason to expect a notable shortfall of wins. But thank you for that DOB-level drinking of the Schuerholz kool aid.

  16. Markakis is a significantly worse hitter than Heyward (how this is lost on people is way beyond my reasoning abilities)

    Jason Heyward, 2014: .271/.351/.384 (735)
    Nick Markakis, 2014: .276/.342/.386 (729)

    Jason Heyward, career: .262/.351/.429 (781)
    Nick Markakis, career: .290/.358/.435 (793)

    You can make the argument that due to age and development path/potential, Heyward is more likely to produce better numbers in 2015. That’s not a terribly outlandish argument at all. But if you can’t look at basic numbers and note that contrary to what you may think Jason Heyward was offensively, or what you think Nick Markakis is offensively, the likelihood of Markakis being significantly worse than Heyward’s 2014 this year isn’t particularly high.

    Jason Heyward’s value over the last two seasons has been defensive.

    (Also, one doesn’t have to “drink the Koolaid” to not run around with their panties on fire, stuck up their ass, screaming about the aliens.)

  17. @22
    Jason Heyward, 2014 wRC+: 110
    Nik Markakis, 2014 wRC+: 104

    Jason Heyward, 2015 wRC+ (proj.): 125
    Nik Markakis, 2015 wRC+ (proj.): 100

    Markakis was a really good hitter…in his prime, before major neck surgery and endless wrist injuries. I have no clue what career OPS has to do with anything. And no, looking at basic numbers isn’t helpful. I have no idea why you would do it other than to make a disingenuous argument.

  18. @22

    Heyward’s baserunning value and potential for further improvement given that he’s only 25 does in fact make him a significantly better option than Markakis. Heyward has been streaky but when he is locked in as he gets for stretches (think most all of 2012, the 2 months in 2013 before he got hit in the face) he’s one of the better hitters in the league. I think you’re picking and choosing some convenient stats here given that Heyward had one significantly down year in 2011 that skew his career numbers and Markakis was a very good player in 2008-10 or so but has not shown that sort of production since then.

    Mostly I think you like to point out how objective you are about this and everyone else is being emotional because they like Heyward but that isn’t the case here. Heyward is a very very good baseball player with potential to be great and at this point Markakis is a vet on the downward end of his career who will give you slightly better than league average hitting and limited defense. Arguing they are the same is just wrong.

    The win total this year is going to go significantly down unless you just think maybe we’ll luck into a bunch of 3-2 wins with our toughness and leadership. 79 was about the worst we could have done last year, once Alex Wood’s arm falls off this year what’s the floor then? Below 70 is in play, anything approaching 79 would represent significant overachievement.

  19. Heyward 2.8 2014, 13.5 career oWar, turning 26, Markakis 1.9 2014, 10.3 in that span, turning 31 recovering from neck surgery.

  20. Heyward’s baserunning value and potential for further improvement given that he’s only 25 does in fact make him a significantly better option than Markakis.

    A point stipulated in my statement(s) above. Perhaps you’re too overly emotional about losing him to read for comprehension. If you can suck up the tears long enough to clearly read what is written you’ll see that my argument is that Markakis doesn’t project to be notably worse offensively, in 2015, than Jason Heyward was in 2014. I have made no claim about the projectability of the two beyond that.

    You might then try reading what “Pete” was wailing incoherently about in response to that rather boring and uncontroversial claim I made. Here, let me quote him again, just to make it easier on you:

    Markakis is a significantly worse hitter than Heyward (how this is lost on people is way beyond my reasoning abilities)

    See how he isn’t making much of an argument there outside of “wah wah wah, I losted my bestie boo hoo hoo!!!” Or thereabouts. I’m paraphrasing, of course.

    I strongly suspect that Heyward will produce more offense IN 2015 than Nick Markakis. And I’m virtually certain he will produce more value between 2015-18 than Markakis will on his contract with the Braves. BUT THAT’S NOT THE ARGUMENT AT HAND. The argument at hand is whether the Braves have lost notable offense from 2014 going into 2015. The answer in LF is yes. The answer at C is yes. The answer in RF is “not really.”

    But hey, by all means, move the goal posts again and pretend like we’re having the conversations in your head instead.

  21. Heyward produced 2.8 oWar last year. Will Markakis have more or less than that? This would seem to be the answer to ‘Will we have less offense from RF in 2014?’

  22. Vegas is predicting the Braves to be the fifth-worst team in all of MLB in 2015, with 73.5 wins.

    Good news though, is if they’re correct, the Braves will finish in fourth in the NL East, as they have the Phillies dead last in the majors, at 68.5 wins.

  23. @27 – Please see @24 and maybe re-read @21 to see how little of it even referred to my “bestie” Heyward. Contrarianism leads you to some strange places occasionally.

  24. Yes, spike. That is the question more or less. Markakis produced 1.9 last year, and 2.5 two years ago. (Note, that I’m pretty sure oWAR counts baserunning, which is a perfectly reasonable thing to do, but not a component of traditional “offense” from a player.)

    Jason Heyward produced and OPS+ of 108 in 2014. Markakis produced an OPS+ of 107. If Markakis matches 107-108 I’m going to say we didn’t really drop “offense” from RF.

  25. Then it should’ve been real easy for you to disregard it instead of totally missing the point that is Markakis’ projected 2015.

    Heyward 2014 = 110
    Markakis 2015 (proj) = 100

    So either you disagree with the projection based on something like intuition, or you don’t think 10% decline is worth reporting. Did I miss an option?

  26. Spike, I’m fine accounting for base running, I just prefer to note it out as a distinct skill/value than dump it into something like “hitting.” And yeah, traditionally “offense” is hitting.

    No, Pete, I don’t really consider a drop from 110 magic bean points to 100 magic bean points to be massive or terribly notable, nor do I take the projections at face value. You may worship your little calculator gods as you wish.

  27. So if two guys have the same OPS+, you are going to claim their net offensive contributions were equal.

    I have enjoyed this conversation in English.

  28. If two guys have the same OPS+ I will say they contributed the same amount of offense, and then note that one may have been a better base runner and all around player. Then, I’d account for defense. I would never add all of those aspects up into a single “number.”

  29. For the love of PeteOrr! Look, there’s no question that every MLB team would prefer to have JHey instead of Markakis going forward. But the fact of the matter is, the Braves weren’t going to be signing JHey past 2015, so they had to look to other options. One can quibble with the Markakis signing (seems like a weird move for a rebuilding team, for sure) as the best way to move forward in RF, but what’s done is done. Assuming Markakis’ neck surgery was successful – and the Braves must have felt confident on that score prior to signing him – he will be a solid, albeit low-ceiling contributor.
    The question now is, how are the 2015 Braves likely to do?

    There’s no question the Braves will get less from LF, RF and C as a whole than they did in 2014. However, there are a number of positions where they could be getting better production (3B, SS, 2B primarily). The Braves also have what appears to be vastly better depth than the 2014 squad, which featured a seriously awful bench. All in all, we’ll have fewer high-value contributors but (hopefully) also fewer negative-value contributors relative to the 2014 team. All in all, I would guesstimate the drop in position player value at 3-5 wins.

    On the pitching side, we’ll likely give up a few more runs, but not enough to move the needle a ton. For reference’s sake, last year the Braves’ ERA was 3.38, and the median MLB ERA was 3.58 (median NL ERA 3.5). An extra .2 runs per game comes out to 32 runs more… which in turn equates to a drop of about 3 wins on the pitching side.

  30. So we’re very certain there will be less production from LF, C and we’re certain production from RF will not be as good as it would have been and at least nominally lower than it was in 2014 give or take your view on what is material here. Hence the great hope for the 2015 Braves is that suddenly sub-replacement level hitters at CF, 2B, 3B, SS and the bench become contributors one way or another in addition to the pitching staff remaining healthy.

    Basically you’re hoping the random collection of cheap veterans and spare parts assembled to fill out a lineup card will somehow make up for the 10 WAR lost in the offseason trades. I guess it’s spring and all so yeah, go ahead and hope that but there is no logical reason to expect anything close to that production.

  31. @38, but the question is not whether we’d prefer Heyward or whether we could’ve signed him. The question is whether we will be appreciably worse in the W-column in 2015. Part of that question is whether we gave up as many runs scored as we think in the outfield. I’m like Sam, in that I don’t think we gave up that many, though we certainly did give up some. This has gotten twisted into an argument over Heyward’s actual value, which is not actually challenged nearly as frequently as some think.

    Would any of us be astonished if we scored 570 runs this year? That would be putrid, but we scored 573 last year. I’m projecting 550-570, which may cost us a win or two, but not much more than that. Isn’t this whole discussion about wins and losses?

    The point is not that Upton, Gattis, and Heyward were bad or over-valued but that the offense we had constructed around them was so historically putrid that it’s hard to be a ton worse even without them.

    P.S.: Not being “a whole lot worse” than 79 wins is no great shakes. Would anyone be surprised if we won 76 games? Is that a whole lot worse?

  32. I love a great relay throw as much as anything, but that tag may be once in a lifetime. What a wonderful series this has been!

  33. ‘More than his offense, Heyward’s value is derived from Gold Glove defense in right field. If he posts another slugging percentage under .400, his free agency will be a litmus test of whether teams will pay superstar money for superstar defense.’

    The money quote from MLBTR. Not to wish Jason any ill but I kind of hope he has the same kind of year he had in 2014 just to see.

    I still think the Markakis signing was just in case the Braves decided to stick with JUpton for his last year and maybe kept Gattis. I think the only reason they keep one or both is that a deal to their liking wasn’t forthcoming. Fortunately for the long term future of the team the Pads and Astros anteed up.

    Gosh, I am trying to be positive about the 2015 Braves but its tough. The odds are fairly good that at least one of the little 4 will hit better this year but pretty slim that we won’t be fielding at least two below replacement level hitters in the starting 8.

  34. @40

    You must be counting on some major bounceback years if you think this lineup is getting to 570 runs.

  35. I’m enjoying this argument of “I know we’ll suck, and we will miss the playoffs, but how bad will we suck, and by how many games will we miss the playoffs?” If I can accurately read the comments, we’re stuck between 5 and 10 less wins than last year. I need everyone to buckle their chin straps, grab their calculators, channel their inner Nostradamus and definitively figure it out if we will win 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 less games in 2015. Doesn’t sound that much fun anymore, huh? I think the answer is in figuring out if 2B, SS, 3B and CF will be any better, and how much worse will LF, RF, and C be. When you’ve got that answer, you’ve won the prize.

    Seriously, I thought this group had agreed that Heyward wouldn’t be a Brave from 2016 to 2023. When that premise is accepted, the trade of Heyward and signing of Markakis makes more sense. And like someone mentioned, probably everyone agrees that Markakis’ signing is a bit of a head-scratcher (was he the best option and we had to give 4 years, did they want to lock him up for 4 years, did they know his injury concerns, etc.).

    I’m going to also weigh in that the triple slashes of Heyward’s 2014 and Markakis’ 2015 will be probably be within a couple percent. Heyward is a better baseball player because he’s a better baserunner and defender, so thus he’s a better option to stick in right field if all things are equal, which we agree they are not.

    Off-topic, I really enjoyed Alex’s interview on the podcast. It supplanted for one day Mike and Mike as my morning listening of choice. Great job, Alex!

  36. The Braves may suck major ass this year, but I am still looking forward to my favorite part of any season: When the Braves play the Rockies, and Simpson starts talking about how they (the Rockies) were great defensively in 2007, because the team made a spring training pact to not let the ball touch the ground.

  37. I need everyone to buckle their chin straps, grab their calculators, channel their inner Nostradamus and definitively figure it out if we will win 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 less games in 2015. Doesn’t sound that much fun anymore, huh?

    The dumb thing is, I sort of doubt that Sam and Gaz/PeteOrr have greatly divergent expectations for the Braves’ eventual 2015 W/L record… they’re just talking past each other with great noise and fury about the loss of JHey and The Good Upton.

  38. In modern MLB, the difference between 81 & 88 wins is a big deal — but 71 & 78? Just can’t get too worked up about it.

    Not that I’m deviating too much from the conventional wisdom, but I see something like this:

    5th. Phils. They win 73 games, but lose a few due to forfeit caused by fans throwing batteries & Swiss-Army Knives at Ryan Howard. Also, some time during the season Ruben Amaro goes vegetable shopping in South Philadelphia & is never seen again.

    4th. Braves. They win 75 games, but go back to 1988-level attendance. Simmons shines with the glove, but the historical analogy would be “When Ozzie Smith played for San Diego.”

    3rd. Marlins. They win 83 games. They get out to a fast start, leading the division until the trade deadline when they move their entire active roster for the Yankees’ Single-A affiliate.

    2nd. Mets. They win 84 games, almost entirely on the strength of their power pitching. However, they don’t hit a home run or turn a double-play the entire season.

    1st. Nationals. They win 100 games. They sweep the Cubs in the NLDS. They sweep the Dodgers in the NLCS. They take a 3 games to none lead over Detroit in the WS, then lose 4 consecutive 1-0 decisions, all of which are closed out by Craig Kimbrel.

  39. The point is not that Upton, Gattis, and Heyward were bad or over-valued but that the offense we had constructed around them was so historically putrid that it’s hard to be a ton worse even without them.

    This is unquestionably true, as is it’s converse – it will take a ton of offensive production to not suck. Production that is not on the team, in the minors, or available for purchase at a price the Braves will pay and no reason to think this will change for the forseeable future.

  40. @46

    To the extent that you think the difference between 79 wins and 69 wins is significant maybe. To answer the quote in 49 here about how it’s hard to be a ton worse than the 2014 offense… I suggest the solution to that question would be trade your 3 best hitters and replace them with shit you’ve thrown against the wall and you’ve got a good shot at being a ton worse.

  41. @46, this is the truest thing yet said.

    “You must be counting on some major bounceback years if you think this lineup is getting to 570 runs.”

    Yes, because I clearly said “I think this lineup is getting to 570 runs!” What I did say was that it wouldn’t surprise me that much if they did score 570, but my projection is somewhat less than that (in the 550-570 range).

    You might think for a moment on the qualitative difference in those statements. Then again, it’s a lot more fun to decide I said something that’s easier to argue against.

  42. Thanks for the kind words, guys!

    Again, I think that the interesting thing about the 2015 season will be seeing whether the Braves are actually able to outperform rock-bottom expectations. This is the first time in a long, long while that Braves fans have no legitimate expectations of anything at all, and it’s almost certainly going to be our worst team since the mini-morass from 2006-2008.

    Basically, we have starting pitching, but the bullpen’s shaky beyond Kimbrel, the defense is shaky beyond Simmons, and the offense is shaky beyond Freeman. The entire question for the 2015 season is whether Hart and Capolella’s platoon strategy will work, and whether the bench will actually produce replacement-level production or better, unlike the sub-replacement level performance of the second stringers in 2014. Frankly, I found Mark Bowman’s almost religious faith in Jonny Gomes fairly hard to stomach, and it’s hard to imagine that Pierzynski or Callaspo or Eric Young Jr. will produce much of anything either. It remains to be seen whether Peraza can actually hit at the major league level, though he appears to have a major-league ready glove; I think we all agree that whether or not Bethancourt ever figures out how to hit, he probably won’t figure it out in 2015.

    But the bottom line is, when you can’t hit, field, or throw, and you don’t have anyone reliable in your bullpen other than your closer, you’re going to lose more games than you win.

  43. @52

    trade your 3 best hitters and replace them with shit you’ve thrown against the wall and you’ve got a good shot at being a ton worse…

    I think you’re missing the forest for the trees here, bub. In point of fact, the Braves retained their best hitter (Freddie Freeman). Beyond that, the 2014 team had so many bad performances that it would only take some decent improvement (on average) by the guys who sucked in 2014, plus a reasonable level of contribution from the boatload of spare parts the Braves have brought on (some of which are bound to be playable, right?), to mitigate somewhat the loss of JUp and JHey.

  44. That’s a very interesting equation I’d like to see fleshed out – don’t have BRPI amd am working on a tablet or I’d have a go. Look at the Braves oWar by position, plug in some ‘bounceback’ values for the returning starters and look at what’s needed to get to last year/league average, and parse it by the remaining positions.

  45. @57 Interesting question

    As a team the Braves were 12.7 oWAR (per BR). Of the guys who left this offseason:

    Bonifacio (-0.2)
    Constanza (-0.1)
    Doumit (-0.4)
    Gattis (2.8)
    Heyward (2.8)
    La Stella (0.2)
    Laird (-0.6)
    Schafer (-0.1)
    Uggla (-0.7)
    JUpton (3.5)

    All told this is 7.2 oWAR walking out the door which you’d have to replace in order to get to the 2014 total.

    So let’s say the bench guys we got replacing Laird, Schafer, Bonifacio, Constanza, Doumit wash to league average so that’s 1.4 back.

    Gosselin was at 0.4 in spot duty last year let’s say he replicates that in a similar role this year and let’s give Callaspo the difference between his last two years which comes to 0. We’re at 1.8 now.

    We’ll give Markakis 2.5 assuming he’s healthy so that’s an improvement on last year where he was 1.9. That’s a total of 4.3.

    Assuming Gomes/Almonte will work in a platoon we can give them 1.0 so 5.3.

    Bethancourt as above league average so 0.5, and we’re at 5.8.

    So that’s all the positions filled from last year and we need to make up 1.4 oWAR to match last year’s total from:

    Freeman (last two years 4.7, 4.0)
    Johnson (3.2, 0.3)
    Simmons (2.2, 0.4)
    BJ (-1.4, 0.6)

    Splitting the difference on the last two years for these guys give us 1.7 more so we made it with a bit to spare!

    Basically if we get a league average bench, league average 2B, league average LF and pretty drastic improvements from Simmons and Johnson then we can come close to replicating 2014 which was one of the worst offenses in Braves history. That’s 13 players who have to improve performances in order to get close unless you disagree with my assumptions.

  46. Your War total includes pitchers, so it’s a bigger total, closer to 13. I actually did a bit of back of the envelope math and came to the same conclusion – if ‘everything’ goes right, Simmons and CJ come way back and nobody regresses, we ‘might’ be as terrible as last year at the plate.

  47. Yeah the 12.7 includes pitchers but that’s extraneous to the question. We’re only trying to make up 7.2 that went out the door and we’ll assume the pitchers are a wash. I don’t see the bench making all 1.4 back, I don’t see LF working at all, I don’t see Bethancourt being an above replacement hitter, and I think asking Johnson/Simmons to make up almost 3 WAR between them will be tough at best.

    Guys who are optimistic about this, what is the rationale behind it? I’m really trying to see it, I just don’t.

  48. Guys who are optimistic about this, what is the rationale behind it? I’m really trying to see it, I just don’t.

    Nobody is arguing that the 2015 Braves should be projected to score as many runs as the 2014 team. However, the 2014 Braves were already a *terrible* offensive team – did you know that B.J. Upton had the 5th best oWAR on the team? That is a true thing according to Baseball Reference’s “facts”. Thing is, there’s just isn’t that much further that an offense composed of MLB players can fall below the 2014 Braves. As an example, the 2014 Padres were the worst offensive team in baseball. The 2014 Padre aggregate slash line was .226/.292/.342, which is like a lineup full of 2014 Chris Johnsons (minus some SLG). Even with that level of incompetence, they still scored 535 runs.

    In summary, even a team full of crappy hitters are going to score 500+ runs in a year… and it’s likely the Braves will have at least several decent to very good hitters. To my mind, that does lead one to expect the Braves will score something like what JohnWDB mentioned earlier: 550 – 570 runs.

  49. All of this talk is nonsense. We should just all be looking forward to the trade deadline. Our offense may suck but our pitching should be solid. All in all we should win close to 75 games.

  50. From the scratch your head department, it looks like the Braves are interested in trading for Jackie Bradley, Jr from the Red Sox. I get it that he was a strong prospect and he had some decent years in the minors, but 164 ML games over 2 years with a .196 avg and a .548 OPS is BJ Upton territory. Can anyone offer more insight on why I should be glad that the Braves apparently want to trade for Bradley?

  51. That was a riveting discussion on the topic of whether it’s possible that the 2015 Braves, by being their best selves, might approximate the performance of the 2014 Braves, who were mostly their worst selves. Bravo to all.

    As to Bradley, if you can get him for 50% of what it would have cost to get him last winter, do it and see what happens…

  52. The Red Sox have a bajillion outfielders, so Bradley might be available at a price pretty low for his upside. You grab guys like that where you can, and figure if you get enough at least one will turn into a contributor by the time you’re looking to actually win.

  53. So I guess what we’ve concluded here is that it was stupid to trade for all those minor leaguers when we don’t even play in a keeper league. Am I getting that right?

  54. This thread was infinitely better to read after the fact than it must have been to participate in.

    If two guys have the same OPS+ I will say they contributed the same amount of offense, and then note that one may have been a better base runner and all around player. Then, I’d account for defense. I would never add all of those aspects up into a single “number.”

    Crowning achievement of the thread. It’s a good thing Markakis walks a good deal, otherwise I’m sure we’d be treating taking a walk as distinct from hitting too.

  55. Bradley plays awesome defense, has great makeup, and everyone seems to think that he’s very likely to hit enough to be somewhat useful. His first major league auditions haven’t gone well, the Red Sox are crowded with outfielders, and Mookie Betts has passed him on the depth chart, so maybe we could get him for a reasonable price. I’d be happy for us to take a chance on JBJ.

  56. @72 I’ve got it! When BJ rediscovers his power hittin’ stroke this Spring, we trade him for JBJ! It’s the perfect plan!

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