September 11, 2009 at 2:30 pm by Capitol Avenue Club under Atlanta Braves, Draft, Farm System, Stat Leaders
Hey! A win! And Derek Lowe was pitching! Weird. Of course, it wasn’t an unusual Lowe win, as he allowed 11 baserunners in 5 and 2/3 innings. He’s got to get it together.
Heyward Named Minor League Player of the Year
We had already learned that USAToday named Jason Heyward their minor league player of the year, but Baseball America has followed suit. That’s good to see. Heyward certainly deserved it. Here’s a few quotes from the article:
And unlike Francoeur, who struggled in his first exposure to Double-A in 2004, Heyward has thrived. In fact, he improved after moving up from high Class A Myrtle Beach to Double-A Mississippi, batting .336/.434/.605 with seven home runs there after batting .296/.369/.519 with 10 homers for the Pelicans.
Taken together—his .314/.399/.557 overall performance in his second full season, plus his ascension into the role of future franchise cornerstone—Heyward was an easy choice as Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year, a singular distinction for a singular talent.
“We’re always looking for weaknesses we can develop. In all honesty, I’ve spent two months looking for things we can work on, and it sounds crazy, but I can’t find any,” Wellman said. “That’s a credit to his ability to make adjustments. He’s very cerebral. He’ll strike out twice on changeups, and I’ll say, ‘Now maybe there’s something.’ And the next time up, he’ll hit a 2-0 changeup 500 feet.
In spite of the surface similarities between Heyward and Francoeur, when you break it down, differences are there. The biggest by far comes in their approach at the plate. Francoeur is one of the game’s great free swingers, with just 132 career walks in 2,819 plate appearances. He has struck out 503 times.
Heyward? Not so much.
In fact, scouts had difficulty pinning down his skills as a hitter when he was in high school because so many opponents pitched around him—and he rarely went fishing for balls out of the zone. For this, Braves scouting director Roy Clark will be eternally grateful, because it allowed Heyward to slip to the 14th overall pick in the 2007 draft.
They also include a chart of players stats during their 2nd full season, comparing Heyward to the likes of Gary Sheffield, Joe Mauer, Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., and our own Chipper Jones. Heyward’s numbers are the most impressive of the bunch. Congratulations to the farm’s crown jewel. He’s made us proud this season.
Which One Would You Rather Have?
Of the following two players, which would you rather have in your starting line-up?:
Player A is Martin Prado. Player B is Kelly Johnson. Speaking of Kelly Johnson.
Kelly Johnson Fan Club
Kelly has started 12 games since he came off of the disabled list. The Braves are 10-2 in those games and averaging 7.25 runs per game. Kelly had a good performance last night, reaching base 3 times in five tries via a single, a double, and a walk. He boosted his post-DL OPS to .903 with his strong showing last night. Keep him in the line-up!
Wild Card Standings
I suppose this will be the last time I post the wild card standings. I said to myself I’d keep doing it until the Braves are mathematically eliminated, but let’s be honest, they might as well be mathematically eliminated. Here goes:
No fucking comment.
Protected Draft Pick Race
If the Braves plan on signing a Type A free agent, they might want to start tanking. They need one of the 15 worst records–between 16th and 30th best records in the league–to secure a protected draft pick. That is, the draft pick isn’t eligible to compensate a club for signing a Type A free agent of theirs. The Braves are currently tied with the Rays and Cubs for the 12th best record. Here’s what those standings look like:
There’s still a lot of baseball to be played, so hopefully the Rays, Cubs, Twins, and Mariners start winning some games. Check out how freakishly similar (or identical) the Tampa Bay and Atlanta lines are.
Stat of the Day: EqBRR
Equivalent Baserunning Runs, courtesy of Baseball Prospectus, is a metric that takes in every baserunning event and converts it to an equivalent number of “runs”. Remember ~10 runs is a win. Basically, this metric allows you to see how valuable each player has been on the basepaths. Other methods, like stolen bases, fall short. Stolen Bases don’t account for non-base-stealing baserunning events and don’t subtract value when you’re caught stealing. It isn’t a perfect metric, but it’s close. I’ve created a few charts. First we have the top-10 most valuable baserunners, a snip, and the most valuable Braves baserunner surrounded by the most proximate places on the master list:
When your most valuable baserunner a) is a utility player, b) has been out for a good portion of the year, and c) is #51 on the list, your team sucks at baserunning. Now for the antithesis of that list:
Casey Kotchman was actually way worse than Chipper, but I didn’t include him. I do this for a reason. If our worst baserunner is #777 and our best is #51 and there’s only half a win of difference between them, you can’t make that much of an impact on the basepaths. It helps, of course. Every little bit helps. But if you’re building a team and try to build it such that the only secondary offensive skill is baserunning, you’re going to have a really fucking shitty offense.
So, those of you who say, “what the Braves need is a true lead-off hitter”, no, no, and fucking no. They need power. Lead-off hitters are overrated.
Off to St. Louis
Jurrjens vs. Pineiro Friday. Hudson vs. Lohse Saturday. Vazquez vs. Carpenter Sunday. Those are some pretty good pitching match-ups. I can’t believe Kyle Lohse is still alive. These games are important for nobody, the Cardinals have a huge lead and the Braves are out of it.
Kelly Johnson Fan Club Round 2
Kelly Johnson has a 1.538 OPS against Piniero in 13 career PA’s. He has a 1.917 OPS against Carpenter in 6 career PA’s. Knowing how fucking terrible Bobby Cox is at making decisions, he’ll probably sit Kelly vs. those two guys and play him against Kyle Lohse, whom he has a .400 OPS against in 10 career PA’s.
That’s all for now.