October 23, 2009 at 8:00 am by Capitol Avenue Club under Atlanta Braves
Yesterday was the 6 month anniversary of Capitol Avenue Club’s opening. I first opened this blog after my last project ended up going south (had nothing to do with me, the site’s owner decided to close shop). I originally opened this site because I wanted to have my own site, one that I owned and operated, with a focus on providing quality, unique content. My goals were simple. I wanted to establish a readership, write 100 posts, and figure out what the hell I’m going to turn this into. This is my 182nd post, so I’ve accomplished that goal. I’ve found my niche and figured out exactly what I want to do and I’m doing it. And I’ve established the best group of readers in the world. Looking back, I don’t think the first 6 months could have gone any better. I’ve written a lot, learned a lot, and made some great connections and relationships. I’d just like to take a second to thank all of my readers for all the support, all the ideas, all the discussions, all the encouragement, etc.. I couldn’t have done it without you. I don’t say it enough, but thank you so much for your patronage.
After 6 months, I’ve figured out what I’ve got. What I’ve always been concerned with is the analysis, and my goal is to be a 1-stop shop for analysis on everything Braves. Prospects, statistical analysis, economic analysis, scouting, and history, with a splash of humor and bad tastes. I didn’t have much of a vision when I started this site because I didn’t really know where this would take me. All I tried to do was model it after aarongleeman.com, write well, and see where it was going. In the end, I think I am exactly where I want to be. We don’t do much in-game stuff here, which is pretty much what I was trying to avoid. There are a few excellent communities for that already and I wanted to be able to provide something unique. Instead we’ve got a discussion-based community that covers every facet of the game today. All of the comments and discussions are well thought-out, intelligent, and respectful, exactly the way I’d hoped it would be.
With the first six months gone by, both you and I have a better understanding of what this site is. I’ve laid the groundwork and established everything I wanted to, got the site networked, and have it looking the way I want it to. As good as these past 6 months have been, I expect the next 6 months to be even better. And in 6 more months, the Braves will be three weeks deep into their 2010 schedule.
Whether you stumbled across this site drunk or read it every day, I want to once again thank you for your patronage. I’m flattered that people value my opinions and analysis. It means a lot to me, so give yourself a pat on the back and enjoy Friday’s links.
Lots of off-season chatter is already going on.
- SI’s Jon Heyman thinks the Braves, along with the Mets and Giants, will be big players for Matt Holliday. However, Jeff Schultz of the AJC doesn’t think so.
- JC Bradbury of Sabernomics and Martin Gandy of Talking Chop stir the Kelly Johnson pot a bit. I’ve done plenty of that myself. Bradbury uses the new Bill James Projections as the basis for his discussion. Some Braves projections (slash stats for hitters, ERA for pitchers):
Yunel Escobar: .302/.381/.432 Jason Heyward: .303/.371/.465 Omar Infante: .278/.331/.392 Kelly Johnson: .274/.354/.445 Chipper Jones: .296/.408/.496 Adam LaRoche: 271/.348/.485 Brian McCann: .291/.362/.511 David Ross: .238/.333/.429 Nate McLouth: .263/.348/.449 Matt Diaz: .305/.358/.471 Ryan Church: .271/.342/.425 Martin Prado: .303/.357/.430 Jordan Schafer: .239/.339/.376
Mike Gonzalez: 3.12 Manny Acosta: 4.62 Tommy Hanson: 3.30 Tim Hudson: 3.64 Jair Jurrjens: 3.69 Derek Lowe: 4.06 Kris Medlen: 3.60 Peter Moylan: 3.58 Eric O'Flaherty: 4.20 Rafael Soriano: 2.39 Javier Vazquez: 3.60
I can’t say I take exception to any of them, really. Except maybe Schafer. Though he’s hardly a known commodity.
- Speaking in general terms, David O’Brien of the AJC provides some Frank Wren quotes and insights of his own about the upcoming off-season. One thing I know, it won’t be as transparent as last off-season was.
- Steve Phillips has been suspended by ESPN for an alleged affair with some employee or something. The running joke has been, he’s never had an eye for talent. Woof. I only wish this could have happened during the baseball season. Now that he’s not annoying the shit out of me on Sunday nights, I don’t really care. Though this makes it infinitely more probable that he won’t be joining the Sunday Night Baseball team in 2010. Which would be just fantastic. Steve Phillips sucks.
- Speaking of Steve Phillips, Keith Law provides a juicy tidbit about the incompetence of Steve Phillips and J.P. Ricciardi in his latest chat. Apparently Steve Phillips, serving as the Mets GM at the time, offered a young David Wright for Jose Cruz Jr. and Ricciardi responded:
“I’m not trading a major league player for some guy in the Sally League.”
Question of the day, who is the more incompetent GM? Steve Phillips for making the proposal or J. P. Ricciardi for rejecting it?
- Braves prospect and AFL Representative Jeff Lyman made the first post on the Braves AFL Blog. He was actually kind enough to return and answer questions from readers and he’s a good writer. I highly recommend the read. Of note, Braves number 3 prospect Freddie Freeman and number 5 prospect Craig Kimbrel have both gotten into car wrecks in Arizona. Lesson: Don’t let prospects drive!
- Keith Law has a glowing report on Lee Hyde from his trip to the AFL (subscription required). He says that if Lee Hyde’s stuff and approach will play in any MLB ‘pen right now and if he is healthy and pitching as well as he is now in Spring Training, he should have a very good chance of making the club.
- Mark Bowman of MLB.com has a report on Jason Heyward. I didn’t read it, someone said it was horse shit (not the writing or content, just doesn’t tell prospect huggers anything we don’t already know), but I figured I should link to it anyway. It’s hard for a site like Braves.com to appeal to people who study prospects. They can get loads of very detailed information at sites like Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus, whereas the general public probably isn’t interested in that sort of thing.
- Matt Diaz did a chat with fans on ESPN.com. It was good stuff, he’s such a great human being. It’s impossible to hate him, even after he made the 2nd biggest base running gaffe in Braves history.
I predicted Peoria Saguaros would be a bad team because of their poorly constructed roster. They’ve only won one game so far. Brandon Hicks was right in the middle of that one, he got the start at SS and hit 2nd in the batting order, going 2-2 with a double and 2 walks. Overall, for the week, Hicks went 3-9 with a double, 2 walks, and 2 strikeouts. Keep the good games coming, Brandon. Freddie Freeman has been struggling big-time in the AFL. Over the past week he went 1-12 with a walk and 5 strikeouts, bringing his season line down to .067/.222/.067 with 8 strikeouts in 18 PA’s. No need to panic, people, it’s 18 PA’s. On the other hand, there may be some reason to panic about the farm’s crown jewel, as Jason Heyward was pulled from Saturday’s game after going 0-1 with a walk in 2 PA’s and hasn’t returned to action. Word is he strained a glute (butt muscle) and he’s day-to-day. He shouldn’t miss significant time, so there’s no reason to be super-concerned. Before the injury, Heyward was hitting .286/.375/.500 with 2 SB’s, 2 BB’s, and only 1 strikeout in 16 PA’s.
The standout among the group of pitchers has been AA reliever Lee Hyde. I mentioned him earlier, but he had two excellent outings this week, pitching 2.0 perfect innings with 5 strikeouts. Overall, he’s allowed 1 hit, 1 walk, and struck out 6 in 3.0 innings of work. Perhaps I should have considered him for my prospect rankings. Craig Kimbrel was the usual Craig Kimbrel this past week, pitching 2 and 2/3 innings, allowing 1 hit, but 3 walks and a run. He struck out 4. Overall he’s got a 2.45 ERA in 3 and 2/3 innings with 5 walks and 4 K’s, yet he’s only allowed 1 hit. He was able to sustain this high walk, high K, low hit pattern in the minors this past season, but he’s got to get the walks under control if he wants to ever effectively pitch in a major league bullpen. Jeff Lyman was given a spot start in the first week of the season but will be used primarily as a reliever in the AFL. This past week didn’t go well for Lyman. He saw his first action out of the bullpen on the 17th and was touched up for 5 runs on 3 his, two of them being homers, and 3 walks while recording only 1 out. He backed it up with a better performance last night, pitching two innings allowing 1 home run (his only base runner) and striking out a batter. He finished the week pitching 2 and 1/3 innings allowing 6 runs on 4 hits (3 HR), 3 walks, and recording 1 strikeout. His ERA is sitting at 14.54 for the season right now. The good news is that his stuff looked good on pitch F/X. He was sitting mid-90′s with the fastball that featured some good sink. He only threw 1 slider, it was 81 MPH and he got a swinging strikeout on a batter chasing it out of the zone.
Mike Minor made 1 start this past week. He went 2 and 2/3 innings and allowed 1 run on 4 hits and a walk with 3 K’s. His ERA is sitting at 1.93, but it’d be twice that if one of the runs he allowed wasn’t scored “unearned”. His 1.71 WHIP isn’t great, either. But he showed some encouraging signs in his start this past week with solid phereperials.