Homers Are A Residue of Hard Hit Balls
Chief Nocahoma began todayâ€™s comment string by noting that you have to hit homers to be a good baseball team in todayâ€™s game.Â I donâ€™t disagree, but I want to modify it slightly.Â What you really need is good Isolated Power, which is Slugging â€“ Batting Average.Â In other words, four singles is not nearly as good as a homer, but two doubles is pretty close.
Here is the list of the top Isolated Slugging teams of all time. This yearâ€™s Braves currently are 26th on this list, just a smidgin behind the 2019 edition. There are a few interesting thing about the teams in the top 25. First, other than the 1926 and 1928 St. Louis Stars of the Negro Leagues (boyâ€¦ Mule Suttles could mash the ball), every one of these slugging teams is from 1996 or later.
Second, without even talking about the pitching of any of these teams, all but three finished over 0.500 and all but a handful made the playoffs.
The top home run hitting teams are of course largely the same teams, but now the top 25 contain twice as many sub-.500 teams and even more teams that fell short of a postseason berth. My takeaway is not that you have to hit homers, necessarily, but you have to hit the ball hard. A lot of those hard hits will leave the yard, of course, but peppering the wall is a pretty good substitute.
(Minor statistical note: there are a number of 2020 teams on the ISO list, but obviously none on the homer list.Â It probably would have been fairer to do home run percentage, not homers, but Stathead provides no easy way to do so and I was too lazy to program it up today myself.)
Pennant Race Baseball
Twelve days ago I was at Citi Field when the Battle of the Maxes saw Scherzer best Fried, the latter pitching an inning with a concussion.Â He came back for an even tougher assignment: a matchup with deGrom.Â Neither disappointed.Â Neither walked a man. Between them, they pitched 13 2/3 innings with 15 strikeouts and no walks. The Braves took a two-run lead on a single-double-single from the law firm of Grossman, Swanson and Reilly.Â A poorly placed fastball a couple of innings later tied the game at 2.
And so it stayed until the bottom of the seventh. A two out Grissom single chased deGrom and a seeing eye 3-2 four-hop single from Harris plated Grissom all the way from first. It was a thrilling play, with Grissom leveraging his speed and Nimmoâ€™s less-than-stellar center field arm. It reminded me of Albies and AcuÃ±a making similar plays a couple of years ago. We are blessed.
Snit was criticized last night for not going to his best bullpen arms while down one. Well, he managed tonight from the other side: with a late one-run lead, he has no problem bringing in a fresh Iglesias for one batter. Successfully.
But then Jansen has the ninth.Â Lindor led with a single. Then came the sort of play that you need to get every once in a while: Lindor had 2nd stolen on the first pitch, but had to retreat when Alonso popped the ball into short right.Â When the ball fell between Grissom, Harris and AcuÃ±a, Lindor was out at second on a force play.Â A strikeout of Vogelbach and a tapper back to the mound by McNeil and the game was over.
Was deGrom pulled one batter too soon? The Mets are understandably being very conservative with deGrom, so it’s hard to second-guess. But unless he’s Gryboed (I promised I wouldn’t use that term any more, but the alliteration with deGrom makes it impossible to resist) I’m not sure how he ever loses a game.
Three out of four is not nearly as good as four out of five, but it was the minimum required to serve notice that the Braves arenâ€™t throwing in any towels yet.Â I’m going to double down on what I said after last week: the Mets have better starting pitching and the Braves have a better batting lineup. A few breaks here and there will determine what happens from here on out. Game on.
I watched the Mets announcers again, so my text today comes from Chip last night: â€œYou hear people talk about so-called high leverage situations. I donâ€™t like that term because these innings are important to the guys involved.â€ Sure, Chip, sure. But no. You cannot maintain that some innings and some situations arenâ€™t more important than others; you just canâ€™t. And of course Chip canâ€™t, with his â€œRight guys at the right timeâ€ and â€œTension grows with every pitchâ€ and every other idiotic thing he does during a game to try and raise the stakes. Try to deny the existence of high leverage situations, Chip, but then make sure in your announcing you treat the eighth inning of a 10-2 game exactly the same way you treat the bottom of the seventh of a tied game. But of course I know Chip doesnâ€™t believe thereâ€™s no such thing as high leverage â€“ he just has to find something to talk about in relatively low leverage situations. But be honest about it.
As you said, we did what we needed to to give ourselves some kind of chance at the division. Very good series all around.
Great game, & loved the recap as always. A couple of nits, though:
Are you saying that four singles aren’t nearly as good as a homer or that they aren’t nearly as good as a homer and three outs? I’m not sure I believe the latter is true, since the three outs are the equivalent of a scoreless inning. It might depend on whether you’re in a high-run environment (which makes the singles a little more valuable than otherwise) or a low-run environment (which makes the HR a little more valuable than otherwise).
On Chip & leverage, what always bugs me is the implication that how a player has performed in high-leverage situations is relevant to the questions of how good the player is and how well the player is likely to perform in future high-leverage situations. Put another way, a player who has done relatively better in high-leverage situations has been more valuable than one who has done the same in all types of situations, but it doesn’t really say much about how good he is (since the trait doesn’t seem to be repeatable) or how well he’ll do in future high-leverage situations. One example is Will Smith – his 11 scoreless postseason innings last year were extremely valuable, but they didn’t really say any more about how good he was than an 11-inning scoreless string in July would’ve, and I don’t think many of us would’ve wanted to bet that he would do any better than his underlying talent level this postseason. Ian Anderson with his postseason success might be another.
The radio broadcast reported that Grissom deked Lindor into believing that the ball had been caught and that the second baseman was taking the throw–a wild one to the outside of the bag. Do I have that right? Anyway, it was a big play for the rookie.
Wow! Soroka’s really filled out! Put on some muscle.
@2: Agree on both. A homer + 3 outs is indeed worse than four singles, even though the SLG are identical and ISO is much higher for the 1-in-4 slugger. You have to hold BA constant. I was being metaphorical… And inaccurate.
And I fully agree that “clutch” is not a skill. But you still want to manage a team to have better talent in higher leverage situations, all else equal
I hate to say it like this, but Arcia injuring his hamstring last week was one really lucky break for the Braves.
3/4 was really satisfying, is it correct that this is the first series the Mets have lost to an NL east team all season?
@4. The Mets had a hit-and-run on, so Lindor was running full speed to first as Alonso popped up the ball. Grissom’s deke was pretending to get into position to field a throw from the catcher, which prompted Lindor to slide into second. At that point, Lindor realized the ball was popped up and might be caught, and because he was already on the ground, he got up and scrambled back to first with extra urgency to avoid the double play Grissom was trying to bait him into. Then the ball dropped and Lindor was already most of the way back to first with his momentum unable to recover to second. This play, a mix of luck and skill, probably saved the game.
Thanks for that detailed description of the play. Grissom definitely has his head in the game. He plays like a veteran. I agree that the Braves would have been in big trouble with Lindor standing at 2B.
@7 The Braves’ broadcast team did report that this was the Mets’ first series loss to an NL East team this season. I haven’t checked to confirm completely but can say that the Mets have definitely beaten the Phillies each series they’ve played and (until yesterday happened) had beaten or tied* the Braves in each series played this year.
split a 4 game set May 2 – 4
@9 That pivotal AB for Alonso in the 9th inning featured a bad decision on Alonso’s part (swinging when Lindor had 2nd stolen), a fortunate outcome for the Braves (popup to RF that looked like it would be caught), and heads up defensive work by Grissom (deking Lindor at 2B briefly). I will say, though, that if Grissom had completely deked Lindor such that he was tricked into staying at 2B then when the ball dropped in RF it would have totally backfired. It was only b/c Lindor stole 2nd, slid in, then saw the popup to RF and raced back to 1B to avoid being forced out there, that the play worked out as well as it did. The Baseball Gods were definitely Braves fans last night, my friends.
A note on DeGrom: he’s pretty good, right? I do find it interesting that he basically uses the same fastball-slider combo to lefties as to righties, and a down and in / back-foot slider to lefties just isn’t quite the same killer as the down and away slider is to righties. It still works quite well (he carved up MH II with it) but lefties actually stand a chance if they can get on top of one of his fastballs.
Ozuna was arrested for DUI early this morning in Norcross (Gwinnett County). This era needs to end.
Wonderful recap of an exciting game, JonathanF. You never fail to inform and entertain.
Last night Scarlet and I attended (first time at Truist) with two great ex-NYC natives with childhood ties to first the Dodgers, then the Mutts. What a great game!
I for one am willing to open the Braves coffers to put DeGrom in our laundry. Big D to little d is a battery ordained by heaven.
Ozuna, really man, a DUI? my wife and I take an Uber to go 1.5 miles. Into town when we are gonna have drinks and he makes a few million more than we do.
@12 Oh wow. This may help to end it.
It was a big win, sure, but there’s no need to get loaded. I hope no one got hurt.
This should be the end. AA should DFA him now.
Ok, the media finally caught it: https://www.cbs46.com/2022/08/19/atlanta-braves-player-marcell-ozuna-arrested-dui/
I would imagine with the money involved, McGuirk is going to have to sign off on it. But this should be an easy decision now. At minimum, he’s become toxic to the brand.
So who takes Ozuna’s place?
@11 I like it
@12 He needs to be gone too quick.
@10, I saw on one of the highlights an utterly unhittable low and away changeup that DeGrom featured for lefties. That’s a classic lefty-killer for a right-handed pitcher.
Our long regional nightmare is over. Marcell, I hope you and your wife can achieve some domestic tranquility and bliss as far the hell away from here as possible.
A big issue with me on this DUI is when. Like, you are on the roster. There is a game tonight. Last night’s game ended around 10. Use an hour to shower, get a snack / supper in the clubhouse, dress, and get out of the clubhouse. Then, 5 hours later you are wandering around. Really?
And, I agree with sentiment that at the money they make, and with the potential disruption to their team and their livelihood, why would you not just go ahead and pay $20.00 to Uber (maybe you are going where you are not supposed to go?).
With Grissom’s play, there is no way that even I (who HATES paying other teams to keep players) don’t say, “suspend without pay as long as you can and then maybe cut right then, or if not, before the season next year if the damn problems aren’t fixed.”
I would have to think this is the end of Marcell Ozuna. JA just needs to stroke a check and get him gone.
Okay, but who replaces Ozuna in the lineup? Neither Adrianza nor Arcia have the pop. Is there anyone slugging at AAA?
@25, It seems as if he has already been replaced by the non catching TDA or Contreras (at least over the last 4 games)
Thanks. That works.
Ozuna wasn’t in the lineup last night. Bring up Tromp. DH Contreras, then catch, catch d’Arnaud, then DH. Play Rosario (who Dh’d last night) and Grossman at the same time. If Ozzie is o.k. to hit, but not field, use Ozzie. If Ozzie is ready to go, use Grissom at DH.
If production by Ozuna in the remaining contract is no more than what we have seen last year and this year from Ozuna, we have plenty of options better than that. If there is a 25% chance that 80% of 2020 Ozuna would show up, THEN, you can make an issue of how we replace Ozuna.
@28 I think the ship sailed on the 2020 version of Ozuna
Good riddance hopefully to an absolute clown of a human being. In totality, after I saw the video, I didn’t think the domestic stuff was as bad as originally reported.
But this shows this guy is just an absolute numbskull. Use that Battery money and Q2 revenue to deep six this guy today. Do it today. Make a stand, say enough to this idiot.
@28 I think the ship sank.
Ole Copey loves his Old Fashioned’s, so I throw no shade. But if Ozuna is pounding the sauce until 4am, then that explains his massive weight gain.
I’d be shocked if Ozuna plays another 200 PAs in the bigs for anyone.
I’ll propose an Ozuna-for-Tatis Jr. swap. Change of scenery for the both of them.
Ozuna must go. Tatis Jr. can stay where he is. The Braves do not need either of them. What they need is 2 of 3 from Houston. You say 3, okay.
Ziggy and Jack tonight.
Wow…DeRosa named manager for the USA team for the WBC
I love DeRo. Definitely would not mind him replacing Snit when Snit retires. Weren’t there conversations about him replacing Snit before Coppygate happened?
@36 I don’t remember that but I agree that he would be a great choice
@25 ..I think you use Rosario and Contreras in DH .. let Grossman play LF ..his LH hitting has picked up some … so ride with Grossman , Rosario and Contreras in LF and DH … unfortunatly ..the Braves may have to eat 41 MILLION .. I dont think Ozuna will ever get back in good graces
I sure would like to see the Braves become able to eliminate the rest of Ozuna’s contract and apply that money to someone (anyone) else. We are still nearly at the bottom of the league in LF and DH production. For this year, getting Rosario back to form and Ozzie back in the lineup should do. I agree that Tromp at backup allowing TdA and Contreras to rotate at DH (along with Grissom and Albies doing some rotating). Next year, Pina can be the backup. I’d hope Tromp, Arcia, Albies could replace Goins, Heredia, Ozuna. Maybe keep Heredia or Adrianza as 14th position player after Sept 1st. I’m not sure how we would add both Anderson and Soroka back to the roster. One could be the 14th pitcher after Sept 1st but the other? Odorizzi and Stephens seem to be low men on the totem pole.
I’m just kinda stunned how good a rotation of Fried, Soroka, Strider, Wright, Anderson might be next year with Muller in reserve. Certainly don’t need Odorizzi.
@39 Odorozzi has 3.25 Mil player option which im sure he will decline ..and move on probably in 2023 ..
On Odor is He to Ryan,
You seemed to indicate that under Odor Is He’s contract, O man gets 6.25 from Braves even if he walks away (not just if Braves don’t exercise a 12.5 option [net cost that way 6]). That seems like an absolutely stupid contract provision, but I am sure the Braves got whatever the previous idiot put in there and probably realize it, but wow.
@32- Fat, drunk, and -1.2 WAR is no way to go through life, son.
@40, you can never have too much pitching…
@42, here’s what Cot’s says: https://legacy.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/cots/national-league/atlanta-braves/
That particular contract provision may be one reason he was as available as he was.
@ 43: amen, brother.
@45 – So I’m seeing Odorizzi’s contract says for ’23: $12.5M player option ($6.5M buyout). I presume the way that works is that (1) Odorizzi has the option to exercise or not his player option at $12.5M; if he declines then he’s an FA; if he exercises then (2) the Braves either take him on the roster for $12.5M or pay his $6.5M buyout. There shouldn’t be a scenario where Odorizzi can force the Braves to elect/decline the $6.5M buyout without first agreeing that he will play for the Braves for $12.5M.
But as stupid as it seems, that is the way Ryan described it (or I misunderstood Ryan). As in if you are willing to pay him 12,5, he can say”give me 6,5 and I’ll ease on down rhe road.”
Watched the Ozuna dash cam. Goodness, please get rid of this guy.
Lol, handing the cop his MLB identification card lmaooo I’m dead.
@48 If Mr. Odorizzi can choose between making the Braves pay him a parting gift of $6.5M or $12.5M as a 2023 salary, I would assume he’ll choose Door A and become a free agent. At that point I’d say hasta luego pardner.
Excuse my language.
Fuck Ozuna and his worthless speeches.
Please get rid of the loser. There is a stink around that dude.
MVP! MVP! MVP!
Brilliant interview with Tom Glavine on the show In The Spotlight. Brilliant.
Thank you Tom Glavine.
I don’t think they have even mentioned Ozuna on the broadcast.
They did. They showed the statement from the team and the video of his statement in the locker room.
And they showed him briefly standing alone in the dugout
just got home; has Wright looked good aside from the homer?
Probably safe, but no overrule, presumably.
EDIT: My pessimism is unfounded!
Outside of the 5th inning (homer and then 3 singles to plate another run), Wright has been great.
Okay, anyone who had “Riley takes another step forward this year, on top of the step he took forward last year,” on their prediction sheet for the season, put your hands up. Then put it back down, you lying liars.
I thought Chip was being his typical self when he enthused about how much better Harris has been (well, I think he said, “is”) later in games, but per BRef, Harris’s OPS going into tonight’s game was .585 in innings 1-3, .873 in innings 4-6, and 1.012 in innings 7-9. Only 81-94 PAs in each group, but that’s still a pretty big difference.
Hey, they wrote a song about Marcell:
What a great win! I’ll get a recap posted first thing in the morning (not promising what “first thing” will turn out to be on a Saturday morning)
Lying liars, wow that’s bad. I never thought he would be this good. He is a ball player. He works hard, and I am sure he listens to those smarter than him at this point. One interesting fact, how with the same home runs and a lower average does Alonso have 102 RBI’s. Not a criticism just curious.
Sweet win tonight.
Try and see Glavine’s interview.
Ray’s had the bases loaded and the man on second allows the pitcher to pick him off. Ladies and gentlemen, that is not major league baseball. Where the hell was he going. Today game as Tom G said, can be an embarrassment. Yes, daily.
Grace Potter and The Nocturnals
@66 trying to get a bigger jump and score two on a single? By how many runs were they down at the time?
I’m just guessing. You’re right, still dumb.
McHuge yesterday. Impressive outing from him. He has the odd game where he stinks but what a great acquisition he has been.