I really believe this down fall at the end of the season will carry over to next year!!!!
lineup should be:
SS- Alexi Ramirez
LF- Carlos Lee/Martin Prado
The Braves plans for Vizcaino is for him to be a SP. I don’t think you’ll see him in the bullpen. The Braves ar not going to disrupt his development as a SP by putting him in the bullpen next year.
3. O Flar
7. (not Vizcaino)
Curt, I’m holding you to #2. Also, you had great discipline during that interview. When DOB was venting about fans wanting Constanza benched while hitting .400 instead of Heyward I would have had to, “cou…steve…gh”.
Regarding the whole Heyward segment, with all due respect, I think there are some misunderstandings about those who thought Heyward shouldn’t have been benched 2-3 games in a row or don’t agree with those who thought he should be sent to the minors.
It’s was never about Heyward fandom. It was never about messing Heyward up or scarring Heyward. It was never not about anything other than production. All these things were true from the reasonable people that thought Heyward shouldn’t be benched 2-3 games in a row or didn’t think Heyward should be sent to the minors. There may have been some nuts out there who thought Heyward should play simply because they are fans.
Let me try to explain in a reasonable fashion the thinking of me and others who didn’t agree with Heyward being benched 2-3 games in a row and didn’t think he should be sent to the minors. These arguments and thoughts can’t be brushed aside by saying that folks who think this way are just Heyward fans or are just worried about the Braves messing up Heyward or are ignoring production. So they are going to have to be addressed in more direct and appropriate ways.
First of all, no one denies that Heyward was one of the worst rightfielders in baseball this season. No one would have had a problem with Heyward being benched for more that a game or two consecutively or if the Braves had sent him to Triple-A, if the Braves had better options.
The problem were with the options the Braves had. Based purely on performance, not hype and not fandom, Heyward was unfortunately the Braves’ best outfielder this year. No one thinks that is a good thing. Heyward had a 95 OPS+. Prado had an 85 OPS+. McLouth had an 85 OPS+. Hinske was at 96. Bourn was at 87. Schafer, 73. Constanza, even by setting the world on fire for a few weeks, finished at 100. The Braves outfield options were horrible.
So the argument for Heyward playing more has as much to do with the Braves horrible options as it does with anything to do with Heyward. Heyward’s performance and who he is as a player, ignoring hype and ignoring whether anyone is a fan or not, indicated he should be one of the three options not sitting 2-3 games in a row.
Perhaps some don’t see this. Perhaps some want to look at other aspects of performance besides how often a hitter is making outs and how many bases he’s gaining. But that is misguided because baseball offense is all about avoiding outs and gaining bases. And unfortunately the Braves outfield didn’t do a good job with these things and unfortunately Jason Heyward, in a horrible season, was one of the three best options, when you also take defense into account. (Heyward tied for the team lead in defensive runs saved, which I seriously doubt is a conspiracy by some Heyward fan to come up with a stat to prove that Heyward is a good defensive player, but you may choose to believe that.)
Regarding Constanza and the hot hand fallacy, it is valid to bring that up. It’s like flipping a coin, the coin landing on heads 4 out of 5 times and assuming that it will keep landing on heads at that pace. And by watching the games, we saw Constanza hitting a lot of weak, seeing-eye singles. We also knew that Constanza’s minor league numbers indicated he was a Matt Young, Gregor Blanco type player. This has nothing to do with Heyward. This view of Constanza has everything to do with Constanza.
Now guys like Matt Young and Gregor Blanco or Constanza have value, even in the majors. No one had any issues with Constanza getting some playing time and starting some games. Heck, even if there is no way to know if he was truly hot or if his hot streak would continue beyond his next plate appearances, I have no problem with assuming he’s hot until it stops.
The issue was not that Constanza was spelling Heyward. The issue was that he was playing over Heyward for 2-3 games in a row, against right-handed pitching when Heyward was one of the 3 best outfield options. Constanza should have also spelled both Heyward and Prado, because Prado was a worse outfielder both offensively and defensively than Heyward this season. That has nothing to do with whether anyone is a fan of Heyward, Prado or Constanza, or hype or anything other than the Braves putting the best outfield on the field.
Regarding Prado not being a star or a superstar or not having the kind of potential Heyward has, no one denies this. But if one is objectively trying to determine the best outfield options, ignoring which players have the best potential and which players are projected as stars, etc. there is no way around Heyward being better than Prado, certainly against right-handed pitching. No one wants this to be the case. Saying Heyward was only slightly better than Prado in 2011 is not good. No one pretends that it is. But unfortunately, the truth is that Heyward was better than Prado, at least against right-handed pitching, and against right-handers, when Chipper was also in the lineup, the Braves didn’t put their best outfield on the field with Prado and Constanza at the corners.
Now, we can talk all day long about whether Heyward had a disappointing season, whether or not people are Heyward fans, Heyward’s potential, etc. But with regard to playing time, all we want to know is who were the Braves’ best outfield options. Completely ignoring fandom, completely ignoring hype or potential, and looking at performances from a purely objective perspective, Heyward was clearly the best or one of the best outfielders on the Braves in 2011. When a right-hander was in there, as long as he was healthy and on the roster, he should have been in the lineup. The fact that he was the best or one of the best Braves outfielders shouldn’t make Heyward fans or fans of the Braves very happy because he was still bad this year and, if the Braves had even decent major league corner-outfielders, Heyward should have been in Triple-A playing everyday. But if we are just being cold and objective, the Braves should have generally played the best outfielders and Heyward was one of them.
Completely agree that Heyward should have been able to play through the slump or he should have been sent down. Sitting him for long periods was ridiculous and completely ignoring Prado’s struggles was also ridiculous. Fredi should have shuffled Canstanza, Prado, and Heyward in and out. It would have been way more efficient.
When will Milwaukee stop pitching to Pujols? It’s reminds me of Cox refusing to not pitch around Bonds when he was in the prime of his Steroid use, and now 1/2 of Bonds’s HR highlights take place in Turner Field in 2003.