I understand the lineup looks aesthetically good to have Heyward hitting 7th. However baseball wisdom says that you stack your best hitters at the top of the lineup. You aren’t supposed to even out your lineup with the purposes of putting lesser hitters at the top. Prado is doing well, but we all know what the stats are going to be like at the end of the year. Heck Heyward’s OPS is 50 points higher than Prado’s right now.Bottom line is either Chipper of Heyward need to be hitting 2nd.
Fredi has had the luxury of a big offense, to go along with innings eater like Livan and a great arm like Medlen. So he has no choice but to have better bullpen usage. Last year he had horrible pitchers like Linebrink and Proctor. Not to mention Sherrill was only a situational lefty. An he has gotten extremely lucky. 8 times out of 10 the Cardinals score on Livan in that extra innings game. He refuses to use Kimbrel if it is not a save situation. And in high leverage situations, the choice of Durbin still bothers me. He has handled Chipper well but lets not get out of hand. He is a horrible manager.
I really like Pastornicky. I love hitters that make contact. Oddly enough for McCann, he is making alot of contact, yet the balls aren’t finding any holes. His BABIP must be really low. He’s been really unlucky.
I really want to resign Bourn. He’s been a beast. However with Boras as his agent, I doubt we do. I say the Braves offer no more than 13 million/year for 5 years.
Looking forward to the Rays series and getting McCann and Minor going. Go Braves.
Spreading out the strength of your line-up has been proven faulty about a zillion times. You bunch it up at the top. Scoring in sudden bursts is the most effective way to win games. Sorry I don’t have the links to the articles, but they’re there I promise. It was discussed a lot during the Phillies’ big offensive reign a few years ago, but even before that I’d seen it hashed out a bunch. It’s universally agreed. Once again, though, it’s Fredi versus the Universe.
Great week for the Bravos, though. And really, there’s a limit to the damage even the dumbest manager can do, especially to an offense-first ballteam. However, if this clown gets some kind of manager award this year, I’m going to have a fit.
Chipper’s great where he is…he hits into too many DP’s to be in 3rd. Also, it does make the line-up look deeper cause he can get on in front of Heyward and Heyward can knock him in. Also, Minor will improve. He actually pitched much better against St Louis than his line looks. His pitches were generally where McCann wanted them. He just needs to learn where to be careful not to miss at, especially when he pitches inside. Also, McCann was setting up late against St Louis so as not to telegraph location to hitters. I don’t know if they felt St Louis was relaying the location to the hitters or not, but it’s a little more difficult to hit his target if it is setting up late. Fortunately, that problem seems less relevant when Hudson is pitching b/c his pitches run so much and he seems to hit his target by feel (I noticed Huddy doesn’t stay focused on the catcher during his wind up). Fredi is doing okay (IMO), but look to see if we become a little more “streaky” than when Bobby was managing. Bobby usually had many series wins, but swept teams only when the whole team regulars & reserves were playing well. B-Mac looks either hurt or just VERY out of rhythm. If he’s not hurt, he’ll be back to Ol’ Mac, if he’s hurt, then his problems may continue long-term. BTW, Gattis is a BEAST. I’ve been following him since he went to Lynchburg. The Scouts aren’t impressed, but if we lived & died only by scouts, LA Angels would be in first and Puhols would be batting .300. I think Gattis could provide value if he continues to hit in AA.
i remember DOB saying last year that several baseball people around the league saw Fredi Gonzalez as a good manager who had a bad year in 2011. I think he is doing a little bit better, in several areas.
dont forget, this guy won a Manager of the Year award.
Miami will be tougher than we think. Also, with all their struggles Philadelphia is better than we think. Don’t expect Halladay to continue to lose and when they get Cliff Lee back, I expect they will gain more momentum than they do even when they get Utley & Howard back. They will get a charge when they (Utley & Howard) return more due to walks than their bats, but there is less of a gap than appears; that being said, I am ecstatic that they are this far behind and at the bottom of the division now…we’ll need that boost come the “dog days of summer.” National’s pitching still looks very good and the series between them and us will be exciting…but don’t expect any blow outs. Also, Tampa’s pitching is phenomenal. Atlanta has obviously a better line up, but good pitching beats good hitting 9 times out of 10; that’s why they are atop their division against their Offensive Giant counterparts. How long they can go w/o Longoria is a bit in question.
I agree Fredi is doing a better job. This season he seems to merely be making the same kinds of mistakes that all managers (except Joe Maddon) make. Last season, he went beyond the typical mistakes of just managing by dumb conventions.
The Braves’ usual 1-7 hitters are all pretty similar in terms of overall quality. The way each hitter gets there may be different, but the production or potential production is all pretty similar. And even Pastornicky is no slouch at 8th. That’s a huge reason why batting order hasn’t mattered all that much and probably won’t this season.
Bub and Walker, your criticism of the lineup suggests there is a weakness high in the order. i dont think thats the case. i dont think fredi can make a big mistake with this lineup. although i like heyward or chipper hitting 2nd, you could argue that they are both hitting with enough power, that thier skills are better used lower in the lineup where more runners will potentially be on base.
prado is on base-ing better than heyward, and about the same as chipper, but without their power production. so he isnt a bad option hitting 2nd where he can help bourn set the table for the big dawgs.
again, this is not like fredi batting alex gonzalez 2nd last year (which was inexplicable), the argument can be made that he has all the pieces where they belong.
You are right. But We all know Heyward and Chipper will end up having a better obp, ops at the end of the year than Prado. But as long as we are winning, none of it matters. But if we have an extended losing streak, it will.
walker “But We all know Heyward and Chipper will end up having a better obp, ops at the end of the year than Prado.”
youre probably right, but its hardly a given.
“as long as we are winning, none of it matters. But if we have an extended losing streak, it will.”
if we have some sort of extended losing streak, chances are chipper and heyward are not hitting, so moving them up in the lineup might not affect much. no, i think the lineup is fine just like it is, with most every player getting their particular strengths maximized, and alternating lefty, righty.
I see a Tweet over on the sidebar about SI’s power rankings: “@homeboyupstairs Cards jump to 1st in SI power ranking after sweep at home by Braves (who drop to 5th)”
In fairness to SI, they are trying something different this year with their power rankings. It’s based on underlying performance metrics, not just gut feel or even in-depth projections for the rest of the season or anything like that.
So since we’ve still only seen a sample of about a month-and-a-half, the underlying performance of certain teams could be deceiving and cause them to rank higher or lower than their true talent and where their talent will likely take them.
I pretty much think all power rankings are lame because most sites don’t define what they mean by “power rankings.” This early it’s just kind of ridiculous. There is just not enough of a sample to drastically change one’s mind from preseason predictions or projections. Are you weighing the past month-and-a-half more than talent? Are you looking at projections? Are you look at underlying performance? Too much ambiguity to power rankings. At least SI’s power rankings are clear in terms of how they are actually ranking teams.
I agree that there is a mountain of proof/stats about how you should structure your lineup. There are two things that I would counter with:
- Your argument assumes that there are huge differences in the capabilities of the folks in our lineup, which I would argue is not true (of others have mentioned here.) Maybe Heyward has a higher OPS, but I think Prado is more reliable on a day to day basis and is a better situational hitter. (not more clutch necessarily, but more able to produce consistently in a variety of situations).
- secondly, the stats don’t take into effect that we have an “aging” third baseman who is not playing every day (by a long shot), you have a number 7 phenom who is still just as likely to strike out 5 times in a game as he is to hit a game winner. I don’t think moving him to the 2-hole would change any of that. I hate to be a hater, but despite his two clutch hits against the Cards (which don’t happen if he is in the 2 hole, btw), he has looked not so phenomenal as of late.
Let’s be honest – is Fredi all of the sudden Jim Leyland? No. But if we are going to ding Fredi for all the times the players don’t come through in certain situations, we have to give him a little credit when they do come through. You can’t say that the best offense and one of the best records in all of baseball is happening in spite of Fredi.
SI power rankings are very useful because it gives us an idea which teams have a noticeably better or noticeably worse record than their underlying performance, i.e., which teams are likely to turn things around going forward. And wouldn’t you know it, the Phillies are high on the list of teams with a worse record than their underlying performance.
However, I do think you can say, at least to some degree, that the Braves have one of the best teams in spite of Fredi, simply because I don’t think even the best or worst managers can make all that much of a difference.
That said, as I’ve mentioned, I think Fredi has clearly improved and is now merely making the same mistakes as almost all other managers, not those mistakes plus others.
Also, I’m not sure that if Heyward is better than Prado, even if he’s more likely to have some 0-for-5 games (i.e., is more streaky), the Braves wouldn’t still be better off with Heyward higher in the order. The potential for big games probably makes up for the possibility that Heyward is more likely to have some 0-fers.
All that said, I do think there is something to comfort level of players at certain spots and, I think more importantly, mixing up right-handed and left-handed hitters.
I think this is very different from last season when Schafer led off quite a few times and Alex Gonzalez and Nate McLouth hit second. Even if the lineup is not perfectly optimal, we are not seeing the signs that Fredi merely values speed or “veteran presence” or something at the top of the order, like we saw last season. Maybe that has more to do with the front office drilling it in to Fredi. But if that’s the case, give Fredi credit for listening and getting out of the way of himself.
Lets be clear. The Braves are not playing well because of Fredi Gonzalez. They are playing well because they are talented. I have not watched one game this year where Fredi made a game winning decision. I have seen him make plenty of losing decisions.
Walker (in the spirit of healthy debate), isn’t every decision (game winning or game losing) a Fredi decision? Again, I am not advocating that he is a Hall of Famer or anything, but until I get those naked pictures back from him, I feel like I should stick up for him just a little. I also think that a lot of us are carrying the “Fredi is an Idiot” Hammer and everything is starting to look like a nail.
Just having talent does not ensure playing well. Someone has to organize and inspire.
I do think they’re playing well in spite of Fredi Gonzalez. Absolutely. But I also thought Prado was a utility player, Chipper had hit his last homerun, and Venters would be in Dr. Andrews’ office by now. But my conviction is what it is, for better or worse. I think Fredi’s an awful manager and however well the Braves play, they’d be a bit (not much) better with a decent manager.
Good show, guys. It’s hard for me to get past the whole epic collapse thing when it comes to Fredi. If he gets the blame for that then I will give him credit for the way the team is playing. I like his mindset of focusing on this season and not worrying about last year. I think that’s working for everyone on the Braves right now.
However, more credit has to go to Larry Walker and Scott Fletcher and whoever made the decision to add video scouting. The team has an approach at the plate, and it’s working/awesome.
I think credit has to go to the organization for axing LP even though Fredi wanted the whole gang back for a reunion tour in 2012. Remember when Fredi said everyone would be back (coaching staff) right after last season? Good call, Fredi.