September 18, 2012 at 11:58 am by Ben Duronio under Atlanta Braves
Now that you’ve done that, let’s talk about what this means. The Braves will have to set their 25-man roster for the one game, which means carrying starting pitchers who wouldn’t enter the game anyway is unnecessary. The same is true for whomever they are playing.
As Dave pointed out, there are a lot of different strategies that could be employed. I like the one he mentions for the Braves the best, but I doubt that happens. Even if it doesn’t, I highly doubt the game will be managed like a normal game. The chances that one of the two teams, the Braves or their opposition, use a significantly different method to managing the game than a normal regular season game or playoff game seems really, really high.
This is putting a ton of pressure on Gonzalez and the Braves front office to develop a plan of attack, so to speak, for this game. I will be looking at different options over the next few weeks for how I would attack the game and how I think the Braves will attack the game, which will most likely be two different strategies. For now, it’s just interesting to note how important Fredi will be for that single game.
September 15, 2012 at 9:40 am by Ben Duronio under Atlanta Braves
Here are stats that Kimbrel leads over every other pitcher in MLB history, minimum 150 innings pitched:
ERA: 1.54, next highest 1.82
ERA-: 40, next highest 49
Strikeout rate: 45.3%, next highest 33.2%
Strikeouts per nine innings: 15.87, next highest 12.34
FIP: 1.29, next highest 1.92
FIP-: 34, next highest 60
September 5, 2012 at 11:22 am by Ben Duronio under Atlanta Braves
I know most of you are located nowhere near New York, but I also know that some of you are. I am organizing a tweet up after Saturday’s game against the Mets at Foley’s (they are renaming it Chipper’s this weekend) in NY. The specific time is kind of open since it depends on the end time of the game. But I expect we’ll go until around 10 or 11, depending on how many people come out.
So, if you’re in the area and want to meet a bunch of Braves fans, come down to Foley’s afterwards for some drinks and celebration of Chipper’s last weekend in New York.
August 28, 2012 at 3:22 pm by Ben Duronio under Atlanta Braves
As some of you may know, Mac Thomason, one of the original internet baseball bloggers, has been dealing with cancer for some time. Mac’s work can be found at Braves Journal, if you had never read it before. It is very unfortunate that I only have bad news to bring, as according to his blog, Mac is being moved to hospice.
Without Mac, I doubt this blog ever exists. I believe Peter would attest to this. I speak for all of CAC, and I imagine for the entire Braves blogosphere when I say this:
Thank you Mac Thomason, for everything.
August 26, 2012 at 1:11 pm by Ben Duronio under Atlanta Braves
With just over a month left in the season, here are the top 5 in the NL in Fangraphs WAR:
Andrew McCutchen: 6.2
David Wright: 6.2
Ryan Braun: 6.2
Michael Bourn: 6.0
Jason Heyward: 5.8
Now, most voters won’t be weighting Fangraphs WAR to chose their MVP for each league, but they will include each team’s playoff chances. That effectively eliminates Ryan Braun and David Wright from the competition, even though I vehemently disagree with that type of decision making. Additionally, almost all of the voters will be looking predominantly at offensive performance above all else.
Here are the players in contention for the playoffs with a higher wRC+ than Heyward (that haven’t been suspended for PEDs).
Andrew McCutchen: 162
Buster Posey: 154
Yadier Molina: 148
Matt Holliday: 145
Jason Heyward: 133
There is virtually no chance Matt Holliday wins the award, because for some reason people fail to even consider him a top player in the league even though he is nearly every season. McCutchen, Posey, Molina, and also Carlos Beltran (131 wRC+ but will have 100 RBI and 30 HR which voters will care about) are the main competition.
If the Pirates fall out of the race, the award will certainly be attainable for Heyward. Does that mean much for the team? No, but would be beyond awesome to see Heyward win the MVP after such a tough season last year and the fact that so many soured on him.
He would need to have a big last month of the season, needing to probably reach the 30 home run mark and at least have 100 runs scored, which is certainly not easy considering he has just 75 on the year. Voters are becoming a bit more progressive, so maybe they will consider his defense and base running more than expected. If he ends up going 30-20 and the Braves make the playoffs, in combination with the Pirates struggling and Posey having an off month, the MVP seems likely.
Even if Heyward does not end up winning the MVP, he will finish in the top-5 in voting barring an injury or awful month. Those can certainly occur, but this bounce back season from Heyward has been a site to see.
Also, if you have ESPN Insider, Bill Petti wrote a nice piece about Heyward’s power and how he has transformed his profile at the plate.
August 20, 2012 at 11:57 am by Ben Duronio under Atlanta Braves
The Braves came in at third for ESPN’s power rankings today. The only teams ahead of them also play in the NL, the Nationals and Reds. I do the SI rankings and I believe the Braves came in at 8th if I remember from what I did last night. Something around there either way.
Here’s Franklin’s quote from the article if you don’t feel like going to the rankings:
After addressing the pitching rotation, the Braves now find themselves occasionally struggling to score runs, scoring zero, one and two runs in their three losses over the last week (a period in which they went 4-3). Chipper Jones continues to be the best hitter on the team in his farewell season, boasting an incredible 147 wRC+ (Weighted Runs Created plus).
Bill from The Score had a good article on the new wildcard spot and how its looking this year. Particularly, he wanted to note how this season, it sucks for the Braves.
2. It sucks to be the Braves. My biggest criticism of the system is that it seems to me that the single most important thing it does is unfairly punish a team that does run away with the #1 wild card. The clearest example of this system being horribly unfair is the 2001 American League. The 2001 Athletics finished the season 102-60, the second-best team in the American League, seven games better than the third-best Yankees. They just happened to play in the same division as the 116-win Mariners, though, which left them with the wild card. Hadthis system been in place, they would have had to play a single game for their playoff lives against the 85-77 Twins. The A’s were seventeen games better than the Twins over the course of the season, yet the two teams would get basically identical chances to move on.
These Braves aren’t those A’s, but it’s set up to be a similarly rotten deal. BPro’s simulations have the Braves averaging out to 93.5 wins, four and a half behind the Nationals, but just 2.2 behind the Central-winning Reds for the second-best record in the NL, and more than four better than the fourth-best (a tie between the Cardinals and Dodgers). They could easily emerge as the second-best team in the league, right behind the Nats. It doesn’t matter, though; they’ll still have to play just one game against the plainly inferior Dodgers or Cardinals or Pirates or Giants, just because the #1 team happens to play in the same division. The system (even more than the old wild card system, with which I had that and other problems) arbitrarily doles out rewards and punishments based on nothing but geography. That struck me as really dumb back in November, and apparently it still does.
August 17, 2012 at 10:03 am by Ben Duronio under Atlanta Braves
With a complete game shutout of the Padres, which followed three consecutive starts with just one run allowed, it is exceedingly difficult for the Braves to pull Kris Medlen from the rotation.
Helping the fact that Medlen to the bullpen is a bad decision is the performance of said bullpen during Medlen’s stint in the rotation. Jonny Venters and the rest of the bullpen seem to be on track, so Medlen would not really even provide much value to the bullpen when all of those relievers are going right. Would he make the bullpen better and more flexible? Yes, but his importance to the rotation as the Braves battle down the stretch one seems to exceed the importance of adding flexibility to the bullpen.
The Braves are going to have to make a difficult decision, whether it be moving Tommy Hanson out of the rotation or sticking with the six man rotation until one man falters or gets injured. For now, going through the rotation two or maybe three times with six men may work, but it is a risky proposition for the remainder of the year, considering how thin it makes the bullpen.
The Braves winning 14 consecutive starts by Medlen does not influence my point of view, but it probably influences the Braves’ front office and coaching staff. It is more about the team winning than Medlen winning, but I think the Braves planned to put Medlen in the rotation when they did early in the year to cap his innings and maximize his value to the roster. They want him in the rotation, not in the bullpen.
This puts pressure on Mike Minor and Hanson, as one poor outing could effectively mean the end to their season as a starting pitcher with the big club. With the way Minor has thrown the ball lately and the way Hanson has thrown all season, the eye is focused directly over Hanson’s head and I think he knows this. Him being sent for a rehab start was likely to buy time to figure out a plan of action rather than a necessary start to see how he felt, which is probably why he had such disdain for going to Gwinnett to throw five innings. Sending him down or moving him to the bullpen will be an exceedingly hard decision for the Braves to make, but they made a similarly hard decision when they opted to go with Tommy Hanson in his rookie year rather than stick with future Hall-of-Famer Tom Glavine. Tough decisions happen in baseball, and unless an injury occurs, I expect Hanson to be the odd man out down the stretch run and in the playoffs. Hopefully tonight he makes his case.