May 24, 2012 at 6:42 pm by Franklin Rabon under Atlanta Braves
First we will head over to Facebook, where Ben also already gave his take (which I will include here as well as mine)
1) From Justin Wylie: What’s the deal with Venters lately? Last year it seemed like no one could touch him, and this year balls are flying off opposing hitter’s bats. I expected a bit of regression, but he’s not nearly as automatic as last year. Has this got something to do with an unusual BABIP so far or what?
Ben: Just bad luck. K and BB rates are fine, but balls just not going at defenders. Smaller sample too, no worries with him.
Franklin: I think it’s mostly bad luck, though I do think his mechanics look a tiny bit out of whack. I think he’ll fix the very minor mechanical issue any day now. I definitely agree with Ben that there’s absolutely nothing to be worried about with Venters. Venters (and O’Flaherty) were lucky in multiple ways last year, A) they had fairly good luck past their peripherals and B) they were lucky that they never went through any mechanical issues for prolonged periods. Due to the erratic and unpredictable work schedules of relievers, they seem prone to occasional bouts of getting their mechanics slightly off, and something like this is to be expected from any reliever from time to time.
2) From Michael Rich: Why is there such a disparity in the team’s record with vs without Chipper? Sample size is small, but this has gone on for a few years now despite a steady decline in Chipper’s talent on offense and defense. He’s still talented enough to warrant a starting job, but the disparity in record seems out of whack. (I could be wrong, but it doesn’t seem as pronounced for other top Braves.)
Ben: There’s a big difference between a 141 wRC+ and a 65. It’s not all luck, as losing arguably the best hitter on the team hurts the offense pretty significantly. Even so, most of it is sample size, and the drastic difference between the W/L records with and without him will likely even out over the course of the year.
Franklin: Totally agree with Ben here. It’s probably 60-70% small sample size weirdness and 30-40% The relatively huge gulf between Juan Francisco and Chipper.
3) From Tim Bliss: Do you see the Braves landing a veteran starting pitcher like a Roy Oswalt, Ryan Dempster or Kevin Millwood? (additionally, a few others asked virtually this same question via Twitter)
Ben: No, I highly doubt it. A few guys are struggling, but there is no reason to do something drastic at this point. Minor should figure it out and Delgado has been a suitable fifth starter. Injuries could alter this later in the year though.
Franklin: No, but I’m less confident about it than I was maybe two weeks ago. I still don’t see any reason to believe that any of the avialable options would be worth it. I don’t believe Oswalt or Millwood would even be upgrades over Minor or Delgado over the course of the rest of the season. Dempster is an interesting case, as he has been lights out this year, but was pretty bad last year. He would probably be too expensive in both $ and prospects for Frank Wren’s liking though. My main worry isn’t so much Delgado and Minor, as much as it is Teheran and Jurrjens. I’ve seen both pitch in Gwinnett recently, and neither looks remotely ready to face MLB hitters. So, any injuries to the current starting five could drastically change my stance here if neither of those two get their act together. Though, to be honest, Jurrjens just looks done.
4) From Ben Wargny: What happened to the CAC podcast?
Franklin: Kevin, Ben and David all graduated college and/or started new jobs. My father recently had a brain aneurism and stroke and this is the busiest part of the year at my job that pays actual money. We’ve all been much more slammed than we anticipated. I know we’ve all been trying to get one together and we promise we will make it up to you guys soon. Glad you guys are missing it, though I’m sorry we haven’t gotten one done.
Now, I got a few questions from Twitter (all answers to these will be from Franklin only):
5) From @rj_brown77 : Will the Braves draft strategy be changing for this upcoming draft with the new CBA rules? Or do you see them staying cheap?
Well, ostensibly the change is that other teams will be now forced to spend like the Braves already did. It will be interesting to see if the Braves go even cheaper or if they spend the allotted amount. Furthermore, it will be interesting to see how they divvy up their allotment, do they really spend heavy on top picks and have nothing left for the lower guys, or do they skrimp up front, but sign low signability guys towards the end with bigger bonuses? We really have no idea for certain, though there is no reason to believe that they’ll actually deviate from what they’ve already been doing. The biggest impact will come from other teams not being able to outspend the Braves on the draft now by substantial margins. Which will certainly comparatively help.
6) From Peter Hjort: why don’t the barves call up jurr Maddocks and trade mike miner for Mac kemp?
One does not simply… call up Jurr Maddocks. Though hall of fame EMS Technician Mac Kemp may prove a boon for the medical staff (which I have serious questions about our medical staff’s efficacy) I don’t know that such a trade is even legal under the current CBA. Additionally, a pitcher who can start and is making the league minimum is a valuable commodity for a cash strapped team such as the Braves.
7) From David O’Brien (@fakeDOB): I think the #Braves question on everyone’s mind is…. Texas style, Memphis Style, KC Style, or NC Style BBQ?
8) From @bradblackburn : Where’s Andretoln Simons?
There’s a very good chance he is at a Chipotle somewhere in north florida.
9) From @ScottBravesFan: what’s your opinion of Tommy LaStella? The guy seems to get on base quite easily. Does he project to a big leaguer?
I like his offensive game for 2B. I don’t think he will be able to stick there. I don’t know that his bat will be good enough for LF or 1B which is where his glove profiles him at. I think he ends up a fringe bench bat, if that.
Thanks for the Q’s guys, and I hope my A’s were all you ever hoped and dreamt for. Until next time.