Groundhog Day: Braves 4, Brewers 3

[Our movie inspiration is a bizarre yet classic tale in which Bill Murray’s character, Phil Connors, is forced to repeat the same day over and over. The basic link is that each inning for most of the game seemed the same. Braves score, Brewers score. Braves don’t score, Brewers don’t score. Only when Phil “gets it right” is he allowed to exit the repetitive loop and stop hearing “I Got You Babe” on the clock radio.]

Rob Whalen got another chance to pitch. 7 k’s, 1 bb, 5 hits, 6 innings, 3 earned runs. Earlier this year, that was 75% likely for a loss. Now, it is more like 60% likely for a win. Another “second tier” pitcher actually looking pretty good. In about a year, we should be dealing off a bunch of 3, 4, and 5 starters for decent returns.

Nick Markakis led off the scoring in the second by hitting one to Punxatawny. Braves led 1 to 0.

But, it was Groundhog Day. So, the Brewers version of Randy Ventura known as Keon Broxton singled home a run to return to “tie status.” So, the clock radio plays “I Got You Babe.”

In the 4th, Freddie Freeman is thinking 2 and trying to get in at second. He overslides second, but runs into the umpire who stops him, then Freddie dives back to second, and the tag seems late. Then Matt Kemp singles him in.

In the bottom of the 4th, the Brewers blow the pattern, scoring none. So, in the 5th, A. J. Pierzinski hits a solo shot.

About here in real life, a thunder storm shut down my satellite, so I retired to the bedroom listening on the clock radio. Why is it that the Braves org has its best 2 announcers on the less utilized medium? I am thinking about rigging a radio to mute the tv to watch. But, the satellite signal is about 3 to 5 seconds behind the radio, so it does take away a lot of the suspense.

So, obviously in the bottom of the fifth, this being Groundhog Day and all, the Brewers tied it up. The clock radio started playing “I Got You Babe” so I smashed it with a hammer. Not really, but I felt like it.

So, now, Groundhog Day REALLY settles in. Braves don’t score, Brewers don’t score. Braves don’t score, Brewers don’t score. Braves don’t score, Brewers don’t score. Braves don’t score, Brewers don’t score. Braves don’t score, Brewers don’t score. Braves don’t score, Brewers don’t score. Kind of like Bill Withers in “Ain’t No Sunshine.” Have you ever counted the “I know”‘s? So, yes, absolutely time to smash the radio. And, because I have dealt with the losing culture of the 2016 Braves so much (and this aspect goes back several more years), I just KNEW that there is now way Braves win an extra inning game on the road. But, Gordon Beckham got one home in the 12th, and since the Braves had “gotten it right” the Groundhog Day time loop ended.

Special note should go out to the bullpen. 4 guys, 6 innings, no runs. Cunniff gets the “win” and Jim Johnson gets the “save.”

115 thoughts on “Groundhog Day: Braves 4, Brewers 3”

  1. People laugh, but seriously, if the Braves win their next 50 games, they probably make the playoffs. Nobody would have guessed that would be possible a month into the season.

  2. I just don’t see how you don’t re-sign the Snit. How much of it he’s truly responsible for is hard to say. But he’s got them playing hard and through nine. The results are hard to argue with.

    Give him a two year deal if you want to groom Perez.

  3. @3, basically they use team ZIPS projections to forecast win totals over the next 5 years. Szymborski provides commentary and ranks the teams based (so far as I can tell) on how quickly their median ZIPS projection passes .500. For the Brewers, that happens in 2018 (they are first). The Phillies and Braves are second and third, respectively, each expected to be .500 in 2019. The Padres and Reds are 4th and 5th. The Reds are not expected to be .500 til 2021.

    Other things to note:

    The Braves are the only team of the 5 projected to win fewer than 70 games in 2017 (median projection is about 67 wins). I’m not alone in my pessimism ;)

    The Braves have apparently the highest variance, with the highest upper end (80th percentile) projection in 2021 (93 wins) and he lowest low end (20th percentile projection, 70 wins).

  4. Here’s the commentary:

    “Whenever you hear a rebuilding described as tanking, the team that most comes to mind is the Atlanta Braves. The Braves have rebuilt their farm system with a deep set of young high-upside arms, but once you get past Dansby Swanson, a theft that borders on criminal, and Ozzie Albies, Atlanta’s offensive prospects aren’t anywhere near as impressive a group. And that creates a problem when looking at the team long-term since pitchers, especially lower-level ones, tend to be riskier prospects. There’s still time to remedy this, by trading Freddie Freeman and Julio Teheran, both of whom would attract a great deal of interest over the winter. Given that Atlanta already faces charges of trying to lose intentionally while trying to keep these players, at this point, the Braves might as well say “in for a penny, in for a pound” and complete the task they’re accused of doing anyway and rake in additional prospects.

    Speaking of Albies, he’s among the players who have seen the biggest growth in their long-term projections this season. Playing in the Sally League in 2015, Albies instantly adjusted to the big jump to Double-A Mississippi at age 19 with a .326/.405/.448 line and while his .248/.307/.351 line for Triple-A Gwinnett is less impressive on its face, it’s actually top-tier for a player his age. ZiPS already sees Albies as a .270/.325/.385 hitter in 2017, putting him easily among the incredibly deep crop of strong young shortstops in baseball, despite him only being 20 next year.”

  5. “There’s still time to remedy this, by trading Freddie Freeman and Julio Teheran, both of whom would attract a great deal of interest over the winter.”

    I can see that being true about Teheran, but this is often said about Freddie as well but I’m not so sure about that. How many teams are out there that would be so covetous of Freddie that they’d give us a tank-worthy return of talent?

  6. Any article projecting the time to contention that doesn’t include the words “new stadium” and “expiring contracts” needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Taking only prospects and current MLers’ ZIPS projections is such an incomplete exercise. I know you’d be asking him to be Nostradamus to figure out how financials will play, but that’s why going off ZIPS is so incomplete.

    The problem with the Braves’ rebuild being subject to ZIPS is that Coppy has hitched his wagon to depth. That means that someone like Rob Whalen is going to have to come out of the mid-tier to become a #2 or #3 starter, and ZIPS is never going to give you that until it smacks them right in the face. If Coppy’s pursuit of depth doesn’t produce a few Brandon Beachy’s and Kris Medlen’s, then we’re all screwed.

  7. Welp, looks like I get to be annoyed by Szymborski anyway. If his evaluation of the Braves rebuilding plan doesn’t consider the $40M or so the team can spend this off season, then it’s worth what I paid for it …

    But thanks for posting, JohnWDB.

  8. @ 11 – Saw that too. In general, it’s surprising to me Dustin Peterson is so lowly regarded (18th prospect by MLB). He should push 60XBH with a 15.8% strikeout rate as a 21 year old in AA. Anecdotally, it would seem his HR’s are suppressed by Trustman Park on top of it.

  9. I would have made a move of Teheran for a king’s ransom of prospects at the deadline. But, I am now getting over trading current good for future “good to great.”

    If Teheran or Freeman go, then we need to get above average ML proven or essentially ML proven offensive players at positions of need. Meaning, in this order: catcher, third base, corner outfield. We have 2 credible centerfielders. We have two super prospects to play short and second. We have a “near all star” first baseman. We have craploads of good relief prospects and even after knowing some won’t pan out, a lot of ML rotation prospects.

    I agree that Szymborski hasn’t taken account of payroll to add. But doing so doesn’t completely solve the problem because the Phillies are about to be in position to spend again at bigger numbers than “the Johns” say the Braves can and will add. I do believe the payroll situation helps us v. Reds, Brewers, and Padres a lot.

    The big problem Braves have is that having money to spend this offseason is almost useless. The kind of players we need are not available.

  10. Cervenka with the Marlins: 2 games, 1 innings, 3 runs.

    Sent to the minors.

    Also, on Snitker. If you give someone a job and things go well they should keep the job. Like the four-A guy who tears up Spring Training, there is something to be said for preserving the meritocracy. They can always be fired tomorrow.

  11. @10 – Sorry, but projecting the Braves to win 67 games in 2017 is a load of crap. It’s possible for that to happen, but we would need some injuries and for management to totally fall asleep at the wheel during the offseason. With us moving into a new stadium next year, I just don’t think the second part will happen. As it stands right now, the injury depleted team we have on the field today is probably a 67 win team over a full 162 game season. Does anyone honestly think we won’t improve just a little bit?

    Unless something unexpected happens, I can see us at somewhere between 75 and 80 wins next year, but I will never buy into the garbage that we are doomed for the next 5 years. My hope for this year is that we would show improvement over the course of the year. If we continue at our current pace and win over 20 out of the next 50 games despite having one of the greatest examples anywhere of a patchwork rotation, I’ll be happy.

  12. Honestly, it’s just a guy that needs to fill space. He needs to generate interest, and what better way than to tell a buncha fan bases their teams suck?

  13. OK, let’s do this, but in a completely original way (bledsoe)

    Player 1 and Player 2 are both outfielders (likely to wind up playing corner in the majors). They are exactly the same age (21, only 4 days apart). They have both played the majority of this season at AA. Here are their AA stats:

    Player 1: .276/.356/.469

    Player 2: .297/.356/.448

    Which one would you rather have in our system? (1, 2, or toss-up)

    If Player 1 is a top-25 prospect and Player 2 is not even top-100, does that change your answer?

  14. The fact that our team sucks as it stands right now is something we can all agree on. It is awesome that we are playing above our heads right now, but hopefully no one is mistaking Fausto Roberto Carmona Hernandez with Greg Maddux. The problem is when media types decide that they are all knowing and can project our records out for several years and predict eternal sucktitude.

    There will be a few teams next year that win less than 67 games, but I think it will be because they are either at a very early stage of a rebuild, their rebuild has gone bad, or they have a lot of money tied to aging veterans and those veterans either get injured or turn into pumpkins. Last time I checked none of the 3 scenarios above should apply to us next year.

  15. Nobody can project who we’ll acquire with the money we’ve been freeing up. Add a couple of good pieces and everyone’s outlook will change, mine included.

  16. I’m not saying we should sign Wilson Ramos, but I bet that will be our top target, and that could improve us by 6 wins relative to AJP. But projections can’t and shouldn’t consider that sort of thing, so 67 wins sounds pretty fair. We’re on pace for 61 this season and have been pretty lucky with injuries and the performances of journeymen pitchers.

  17. JWDB, assuming handedness is of no consequence and both are equal afield and afoot, I don’t have a preference. Hype aside, they look interchangeable.

  18. Well we know Player 2 hits in a home park that severely suppresses HRs so it could be that he’s actually got the most power too.

  19. jwdb,

    I assume hype is worth something. So, if this is ALL info I could get, I would take 1 over 2.

    2 is Dustin Peterson. Also, on him, he really can’t play right. So, if player 1 is a fringy centerfielder about to be moved to right, he has more positional value and probably would be slightly more plus even at the more plus position. Also, if Player 1 is a fringy centerfielder, he is probably worth about .3 WAR (or more) extra in baserunning.

    I do agree that Dustin is not properly valued by the prospect watching “professionals.” His brother has almost the same stats and is 3 years older and he gets more hype.

  20. Player 1 is Clint Frazier, so yep, the difference is positional value over player 2, Dustin Peterson. Frazier is a fringe CF likely to move to right. Dustin is a left fielder and reports are his defense is coming along well.

    Frazier is ranked #22. Dustin is not top-100, and he might not be top-300.

    Peterson is taller and stronger. The fact he hits more doubles and for a higher average but fewer homers may suggest more line drives. He also strikes out less but walks a tick less.

    I’d take Frazier right now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Dustin has a better ML career.

  21. Trade Freeman and Teheran, and this time next year, when we’re on pace for 55-60 wins again, the same pundits will be saying we should trade whoever next year’s best players are for more prospects, because our “window” is too far down the road.

    Rinse, repeat. At some point we have to actually start building a team.

  22. Kyle Muller on a summer’s day
    Kept the GCL Tigers West at bay

    An overslot bonus, newfound wealth
    To go with burgeoning strength and health

    Pitching just innings one through three,
    Fanned a half dozen batters, he

    And when we glance far down the road,
    We see a major league pitching mother lode

  23. @34 Clearly, the scouts like Clint Frazier’s physical tools a lot – scouts did (and do) give him excellent grades on speed and power (50 FV overall). Peterson was graded by scouts as having less impressive speed and power (40 FV overall – same as Jace Peterson actually).

    It’s a bit misleading to look at 2016 stat lines only when comparing Frazier and Peterson – Frazier has been a considerably more productive hitter than Dustin Peterson at each minor league level until this year. For instance, Dustin Peterson put up a .665 OPS last season in A-Ball, Frazier .842 OPS. That said, I have to think that Peterson’s performance this season is going to cause him to jump up the prospect rankings headed into 2017.

    @35 You do realize that the Braves are “building a team”, right? They’ve got a ton of talent, but much of it is currently too young and inexperienced to succeed at the MLB level right now. I’d be in favor of trading Teheran if the Braves could get back some top-tier positional talent (*cough* ALEXBREGMAN *cough*). While I don’t hold much stock in 5-year ZIPS projections, the fact remains that the Braves’ rebuild isn’t going to succeed until they can draft, sign or trade for 4-5 more good position players.

  24. Dustin Peterson is going to climb quite a bit. He is having a great year in Mississippi.

    If the doubles turn to home runs, he may be a very good player.

  25. One X factor in analyzing Dustin Peterson’s performance is last year’s bus crash. That’s gotta count for something in appraising last year’s numbers.

  26. Would Peterson be a candidate for next season in the bigs? Seems to me we’ve got four outfielders penciled in already.

  27. I can’t be the only person on here that is supremely skeptical that any money of consequence will ever be spent by Liberty Media, can I.

    I will believe it after its done.

  28. The Braves had a $110M payroll, $50M higher than it is currently, in 2014. Liberty Media has a history of ponying up some dough. Cool your jets.

  29. It seems very like that the Braves’ “logjam” of outfielders will resolve itself, likely by trading away first Cakes and then Kemp, followed possibly by Inciarte (or possibly Smith instead) if we’re trying to put together an OF with some power. If DPete has shown he can hit AAA next season then the Braves could make room for him by mid-season, I’d think.

  30. @44 – So with ~$100M in savings the last 2 years, then in 2017 we should be looking at a $210M payroll, yes?

  31. any money needs to ONLY be spent on either (a) foundational players (possible needs 1 corner OF, preferably right, 1 catcher, 1 3B) or (b) short term players, possibly “contract dumps” (Brewers send a prospect for us to take Braun, who is actually more long term).

    ONE player like a Martin Prado or Justin Turner for no more than 2 or so years at a decent price could make sense. But payroll space doesn’t need to be chasing 1 WAR upgrades around the field.

    First, get rid of the negative WAR players. Make sure you have positive WAR everywhere for cheap. Then, figure out your biggest holes and fill those.

  32. P.S.: No way the Brewers give away Braun. He’ll be top-10 in the MVP voting this year, and he’s only 32. The reason I don’t want to trade for Braun is that his contract will start to look ugly when we’re in contention. For the next 2 years, though, it’s actually a good value.

  33. Make sure you have positive WAR everywhere for cheap. Then, figure out your biggest holes and fill those.

    Yes, I agree. And that, to me, seems like the direction the team is trying to take. I am guessing they try to trade Markakis in the off season and then try to field a team sort of like this:

    OF Inciarte
    OF Mallex
    OF Kemp
    OF D’Arnaud

    1B Freeman
    2B Albies
    SS Dansby
    3B FA (Prado/Turner?)
    IF Garcia
    IF Peterson

    C Flowers
    C FA/Trade

    SP Teheran
    SP Folty
    SP Wisler
    SP Veteran FA
    SP Gant/Jenkins/Whalen/Blair?

    RP Vizcaino
    RP Cabrera
    RP Simmons
    RP Withrow
    RP(L) Paco Rodriguez
    RP(L) Krol

    I’m not usually a nuts and bolts roster guy, so there is probably something major I’m missing here, but that looks like an interesting team.

  34. I’ve said that I am undecided about bringing McCann back however, I’m not undecided at all about bringing back Prado. Prado was one of my favorite all-time players with Atlanta, but getting him would be the ultimate “buy high” proposition. At age 32, he’s having his best season since 2010 at age 26. Going forward, I would be shocked for him to bat over .300 for two years and to OPS much higher than .750. That’s pretty good, but not a huge improvement over Garcia’s current .268/ .713, and not the high impact player we need if we plan to trade Adonis or lessen his role.

  35. I don’t know if this has been discussed here before, but Tommy LaStella was optioned to AAA on July 29. He still has not reported. Joe Maddon said the ball is in Tommy’s court.

  36. Prince Fielder’s career is over due to chronic neck probs. The Rangers will be forced to pay him to sit on the DL for the next 4 years. He ends his career with exactly the same number of homers as his dad Cecil–319.

  37. Aaron Blair got rocked today in Gwinnett. He need to get back in some Twitter feuds. Get some vim and vigor back in him.

    From the same box score: Poor Brandon Cunniff… gets the win in extras in Atlanta last night, then has to Uber his way up the road 20 miles* to pitch some slop innings behind Aaron Blair the next night. Such is the life of a AAAA pitcher.

    * Actually 37.3 miles according to Google Maps.

  38. More from the minors:

    • Rome got one-hit today by Andrew Church. That guy’s putting up some sick numbers for the Mets affiliate. This is the second time he’s one-hit Rome in the last month. Touki had a mediocre-but-not-terrible start for the loss. The one hit the Braves got was by Justin Ellison. I don’t know who he is either.

    • Brett Cumberland hit his first homer for Danville. Good for him! His one hit on the day brings his average up to .167. Bad for him!

    • Luis Gamez took the loss for Danville. 6 runs, only 1 earned. Bet that was a fun game. I hope Luis Gamez makes it to the majors. There’s a lot of fun stuff you can do with a name like Gamez.

    • Speaking of fun names, Willians Astudio got two hits for MS. Willians is a catcher, leading to what one can only hope is the inevitable Williams-Willians battery of all time.

  39. I have Brett Cumberland with 3 HR and hitting .220-ish. He had a 6 RBI day for Danville a couple weeks ago.

  40. @63, Thanks for the compliment! Oh, and everything I reported was wrong!!! For some reason I pulled up a cached page of old boxscores from last month. At least there’s a few facts in my reporting that’s unassailable, such as the distance between Turner Field and Coolray Field, and that Willians Astudio has a funny name.

  41. Lol, I was going to point out that all of those teams’ games just started…but…it’s all good.

    Is Max Fried still pitching or is he shut down for the year?

  42. This is great. Could a rotation that includes Jenkins, Whalen, Teheran, and Folty + someone else (Wisler, Ellis, Blair, Newcomb, Perez, random FA, …) actually be pretty good next year? I’m afraid it’s too early to tell, but it would be awesome if Jenkins and Whalen turned into Medlen and Beachy.

  43. when Younginer came in I was sure we were throwing the game. And then a K of their cleanup hitter. Baseball a funny game.

  44. I knew something had to be wrong with some of those numbers the two Johns produced. Too much of a Gap.

  45. Also, if we didn’t have so many pitching prospects we would probably be excited about Patrick Weigel, 6-6, 220 lb righty pitching for Rome this year. After today’s 6 inning, 2-hit shutout (2 bb, 7 K), he is 9-4 with a 2.66 era with 126 k in 122 innings against 45 bb. He was a 7th rounder out of U Houston who reportedly could hit 100. Command was the concern. So far, so good. has him as our #30 prospect.

  46. Shae Simmons was activated from the DL and optioned to AAA. He should be back soon. Vizcaino threw BP and could be back “in a couple of weeks”.

  47. Good ol’ Yasiel:

    “Dodgers president Andrew Friedman wrote in a statement that he is “disappointed” in Yasiel Puig for his actions in videos posted to Snapchat on Monday night.

    “Puig and his Triple-A Oklahoma City teammates hit the town in Des Moines on a party bus after losing to Triple-A Iowa (Cubs) on Monday evening. “My team is so funny, we lose today and everybody’s happy,” Puig said the camera in one of the first videos. What followed was a string of “snaps” showing players drinking, dancing, and chanting obscenities. “We are aware of what Yasiel posted on social media last night,” reads the statement from Friedman. “And while we are disappointed in his and some of our other players’ judgement, this is a matter we will address internally.”

  48. I don’t tend to get excited about someone until they get to AA or higher. Then…. I struggle. Like if Soroka can make it to AA next year as a 20-year old, then I’m going to be excited.

  49. Let’s see: Ender’s hitting streak ended, but his glove still sparkles; Kemp’s out early doing flexibility exercises to help his legs; Markakis is driving in huge runs, and both starters and relievers are pitching lights out.

    That’ll play. Thanks, Braves, for the eminently watchable game.

  50. The Cardinals are on a nine game stretch playing the Reds and Braves, and are about to go to 2-6. Heh.

  51. I think .500 is very achieveable next year if we indeed have the money to improve our ML roster on top of the current group. I honestly like the Kemp trade because it’s really not easy to find a power bat in the market.

  52. Cakes BRS % (base runners scoring) this year is 19%. Chipper’s career mark , 17%. Murph, 16. He’s also on pace for his best rbi year since 2009.

  53. Dario Alvarez and Chevanka have both been optioned to AAA. Coppy just lives that Thug Life.

  54. He picked up our #9 and #19 prospects (Demeritte and Seymour) with those career minor leaguers.

  55. We are 43-70 (.381)

    Replacement level wins after 113 games: 32.8

    Current batters’ WAR (ref): 5.4

    Current pitchers’ WAR: 5.0

    Expected wins based on 10.4 WAR: 43.2

    Projected full season record: 62-100

    Projected full season WAR: 14.9

    WAR needed to go .500: 34

    WAR improvement needed for 2017 Braves to go .500: 19.1

  56. Chevanka just isn’t good. Alvarez is probably in most teams’ bullpens, but the Rangers’ ‘pen is now stacked. That’s not to take away from Coppolella’s work.

  57. JohnWDB – my guess is that the Braves as currently constituted are better than 14.9 WAR over a full season. The team started out absolutely awful for the first 60+ games. I’d give this team credit for being more like a mid to high 60’s win team, which means we’d need something like 15 more WAR next season to get back to .500. That’s a tall order, but not impossible.

    Fun fact time! The Braves are .500 over their last 50 games, which is better than the Cardinals (24 – 26 over that period). GO BARVES!

  58. Chevanka was optioned b/c the Fish played a 14 inning game the other night and needed fresh arms. He’ll be back after 10 days or however long it is the rules require him to stay down.

  59. Ok, I just this week figured out “Game, Blauser.” I’m old, and had never heard that particular story.

    And yeah, you’re right. I don’t think the preseason crowdsourced win total of 69 was off by that much. You can probably shave 2-3 wins for jingoism, but 65-67 sounds right. Like I said elsewhere, the Opening Day roster of this team couldn’t come close to the depths of dreck that we rolled out in the late 70s and late 80s, and only two of those teams lost 100 games. I think we have a roughly 50% chance of dodging 100 losses, and that is remarkable starting 9-28.

    I just think you have to throw out the Fredi Weeks as not reflecting the capabilities of this team.

  60. Fun fact: Braves have the 2nd best record in baseball over the last 10 games at 7-3, behind only the Cubs.

  61. I get that athletes should be disappointed when they lose, but its hard to imagine a lower stakes contest than a AAA baseball game the first week of August.

  62. @89

    Really gotta throw Fredi’s tenure out of your calculations for the following reasons: the schedule, IIRC, was decidedly more difficult, we don’t have the same roster as we did previously, and Fredi sucks.

    I would be really interested to see how Snitker’s work extrapolates to an entire season, and where that puts us for next season. But even with that, WAR is so limited. When you go into every single game missing one clear facet of the game, then it creates pressure for the other facets to over-compensate. So, for this conversation, it creates additional pressure for the other components to produce more WAR. Imperfect analogy, but imagine a football team trying to win without a kicking game. How much is a kicker worth? Not much, until you don’t have one. The offense, defense, and other special teams have to be exponentially (and unattainably) better to compensate for the clear deficiency of not having a kicker. The Braves have gone into most games just simply out-gunned and out-manned in situations where you really just need 3 position players to each be able to put the ball over the fence once every 6 games. If 40% of those home runs could decide a game, you’re taking about a win increase the WAR is just simply not meant to quantify.

  63. Maybe this is obvious, but if players start pressing in attempt to compensate for other deficient players, and they then play worse than they should have…they’ll just accumulate less WAR they would otherwise. And WAR is still a fairly good reflection of their value on the field.

  64. I have good news. With the improved play of AJP and Aybar, neither is in the 10 worst players in the league anymore. Only Daniel Castro remains at #10 with -0.9 WAR. And since he’s not playing anymore this season, there’s a good chance he will fall out of the top 10. It would be nice to not have a bottom-10 player for the first time in several years.

    Erick Aybar is now grading out at -0.1 WAR in his long road back to replacement level. He’s not even one of the worst 100 players in the league. That’s an astonishing accomplishment.

  65. His defense seems to have improved. It’s hard to ignore that Aybar and Markakis seem to be in better shape than they were at the beginning of the year, and I heard on the broadcast that Kemp and d’Arnaud were doing agility drills before the game yesterday. Lord knows Kemp needs to drop a few. Snitker might be actually getting these guys to be professionals.

  66. @99, Rob is convinced that WAR undervalues homers, or at least there is some synergistic effect whereby if you have no team power, it costs more wins than WAR would otherwise capture. Pretty sure Chief Nocahoma and krussell are on board with this. I am highly skeptical, but I don’t know how to disprove it without computer simulations that I don’t have access to.

  67. I guess I believed the hype about how Fredi was getting the team in shape, but our bad start this year and the way Fredi’s teams burned out at the end of the year made me think that the sustained conditioning program was not there.

    The other thing I’ve noticed lately is that some of the quirky carry overs from Fredi being the manager have gone away. Our batting order seems to make a little more sense now and when was the last time we batted a pitcher 8th? This was done a lot when Snitker first started. I wonder if someone behind the scenes was encouraging that.

    I’m still undecided on Snit, but the two things I disliked most about Fredi were the way his teams finished the season and what appeared to be tentative control of the team at times. Hopefully Snitker has corrected both of these issues. It looks like he has.

  68. @104 I think the only reason Snit was batting the pitcher 8th was because he specifically wanted Mallex hitting 9th. Once Mallex got hurt he stopped doing it.

  69. Batting the pitcher 8th was one of the few stat-savvy things I ever saw Fredi do. But then someone asked him about it and he said he did it bc LaRussa did it, so I was no longer impressed.

  70. Remember when Savoy Fredi warmed Kimbrel up in the pen and then didn’t go to him and we lost a playoff game.

  71. John WBD at 103,

    I disagree with the premise. And your calcs at 89 help show it.

    By the end of a year, cumulative WAR comes very close to matching team wins after adjusting for “replacement level.” If the different components were weighted so erroneously, don’t you think it would show up as out of balance?

    The only thing that usually causes more than a minute differential is if a team has a VERY good section of bullpen used only in high leverage and another bad section used in low leverage. Thus the WPA and WAR disalign in an explainable way that is not essentially luck.

    That is not to say that having more power can’t or won’t create more offense. The late 90’s Yankees illustrated that as well as any team I can think of. They made you pitch to them. If you did, they tried to hammer it. In that setting, with power in the lineup all over, but without mass strikeout impacts, a little power adds a lot of offense. But, I think you will find that WAR will come close to measuring that effect.

  72. Fredi sucks in a whole set of ways, but do we actually know anything about the conditioning plan he did or didn’t implement?

  73. At this point, if you have a problem with WAR and you want me to take you seriously, you have to demonstrate some understanding of how it works first.

  74. @110

    He looked better than he had in years hosting recent Sports Reporters. A year or two back it was very different, fighting cancer i believe and showing it. Always sad when someone appears to have won out and then, bang. Liked him.

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