September 23, 2010 at 1:25 pm by Capitol Avenue Club under Atlanta Braves
I think it’s about time to try something else in the lead off spot. Omar Infante simply doesn’t get on base enough to warrant hitting in the top-half of the order, much less the lead off spot. As of right now, Infante has 26 walks in 464 PA’s. Jeff Francoeur, one of the most impatient, hack-tastic, and several other adjectives hitters in the game, has 29 walks in 471 PA’s. Infante’s season .367 on base average (falling fast, BTW) is entirely a product of his .330 batting average, which is entirely a product of his .368 BABIP, which isn’t sustainable in the least bit. I don’t have a wonderful solution, but perhaps trying McLouth there again would be better.
Speaking of former lead off hitters, this is the type of news that makes me want to throw the chair I’m sitting on through a window.
Martin Prado is playing with a sore groin, but said he’d use neither it nor the pinkie finger he broke on July 30 as an excuse for his recent offensive struggles.
That’s cute, isn’t it. A good ‘ole fashioned appeal to the dumb portion of our fan base, the portion that would rather see the player play through pain and act <insert gritty adjective here> about it than the team win games.
The Braves third baseman and No. 3 hitter was batting .247 with no homers, 11 RBIs and a .284 on-base percentage in his past 23 games before Wednesday, and was 5-for-31 (.161) with one extra-base hit and one RBI in his past eight games.
“I’ve pushed through this before,” said Prado, who has played through previous groin injuries. “I don’t have any excuses. I don’t want to rest. I don’t have that in my mind right now.”
Why, on earth, is this Prado’s decision? Baseball players–and I hope you’re sitting down for this–aren’t very smart. They’d rather jeopardize their own career and the fate of their team by playing through injuries than do the smart, responsible thing and take a seat when they’re not fit to play. Can’t do that, can’t be reasonable and logical. Because if you do that, everyone will think you’re nothing but a big pussy, right?
Anyway, that’s not the issue. I hate the fact that baseball players won’t admit they’re injured, but it is a fact and it’s something the clubs just have to deal with. So why, if they’re completely unwilling to be honest and responsible about their injuries, is the decision whether to sit or play that of the player? Why? WHY? WHY?
The answer is somebody is fucking up. Somebody, and I don’t know exactly who, should have the authority to say, “you can’t play today”, and instead is ceding the authority to the players. That’s unacceptable. That’s downright idiotic. That runs completely contrary to any reasonable and logical discourse.
You see, no matter how good the player is, if he’s playing injured he’s hurting the team. Playing injured leads to two things: poor play and more injuries. The most productive thing a player can do when he’s injured is take a seat. By letting the replacement play (who is going to be better than the injured player) and ensuring they’ll be healthy and ready to contribute later, they’re dually helping the team. The least productive thing a player can do when he’s injured is continue to play, because he’s just going to suck, injure himself further, and suck more on account of it.
Of course, the baseball player is going to choose the latter every time, despite the fact that it’s completely counter-productive, for reasons detailed above. Therefore, letting the baseball player decide whether he’s fit to play or not is downright criminal. I want to ring someone’s neck for being so stupid.
And this isn’t the first time we’ve dealt with a situation like this. Jordan Schafer–twice a Baseball America top-50 prospect–will probably never have a productive major league career because last year the team’s medical staff allowed him to play for two months WITH A BROKEN WRIST. Jason Heyward–the future of the franchise–was allowed to hit .172/.274/.232 over 25 games while clearly injured (after hitting .301/.421/.596 in 46) before the team bothered to shut him down (BTW, Heyward has hit .322/.437/.491 in 62 games since the DL stint). Troy Glaus got in 31 games of a big fat .189/.281/.292 line while he could barely stand up because his knees were hurting so. Last year Mike Gonzalez was allowed to pitch 8 times in 12 days while he could barely feel the ball coming out of his hand he’d been used so much, and gave up 8 runs in 7 innings.
Either the medical staff simply doesn’t care (‘eh, we’ll just let the players decide’), they’re completely incapable of determining whether or not a player is injured, or they don’t think it’s counter-productive to let players play through injuries. How many more top prospects’ careers are they going to ruin? How many more times are they going to let their cleanup hitter hit .200 for a month before they do something? How much longer will this continue?
It’s time for a change. The medical staff has fucked up enough over the past two years. They’ve been more detrimental to the team’s playoff chances and long-term success than Jesse Chavez or Melky Cabrera possibly could have been. Enough is enough, it’s time to bring in some competent people to monitor the health of the players, because the current group is doing a piss-poor job of that. It’s not that they’ve fucked up, it’s why they’re fucking up. And the ‘why’ is because their fundamental philosophy is in some way flawed beyond repair.
If the Braves don’t do something to address this during the off season, they’ll probably find themselves in a similarly shitty position next year, despite a talented and thoroughly built roster. There’s too much at stake to let the current group of idiots ruin the team’s success again.