Jive Talkin’ is a great tune. I can’t listen to more than 2 Bee Gees tunes in a row, but I love when just one pops up on my MP3 shuffle.
Yes, PLEASE pay Bourn. Let McCann go to the AL and rake in the dough. Wherever he goes, I’ll pick them for my AL team. But Bourn is absolutely the thing we’ve been missing most. Even if his personality and Braves-passion is in Garret Anderson territory. Give him the 5 years. Our two big free agents: Uggla and Bourn. Slugger and leadoff. Three championships.
“Running the Numbers” segment took the show up a notch. I love it.
It’s bad that we have a hard time winning without Chipper, but how cool is it that he’s that much of a boost when he’s in there? I never ever saw that coming. I do think those numbers will even out a bit.
Agree with y’all that Venters is the bigger concern because of his role. Somebody named Bubdylan said the pen would be a concern (course, he said a lot of things…)
We aren’t going to sign Bourn and quite frankly we shouldn’t. No way we are are paying more than 11 million for a centerfielder who is having a career year. Speed is a main part of his game and that declines with age. We are a mid market club and we compete consistently because we don’t sign guys to huge unreasonable contracts. We draft, only sign key core guys, and use our farm system to trad for needs.
Regarding Heyward , I noticed you all just talked about his batting average as a way of critiquing his play. It’s a huge mistake to do that. Heyward’s overall skills of getting on base, and defensive range unfortunately fly over people’s head’s. He’s actually according to WAR has been more valuable to the Braves this year than Freddie Freeman and Brian McCann.
And yes I would take Jason Heyward any day of the week because his peripheral skills are off the charts and his hitting skills will only get better. And saying he’s been bad more than he’s been good is simply not telling the truth about the guy. Just like Fredi Gonzalez was blind to bench him last year, people will continue to undervalue the guy.
@3 – Walker it’s not just BA with Heyward. Here’s his slash line this past week:
.227 .292 .273 . And for the past 2 weeks: .213 .288 .426. And that’s what we said, the past two weeks, particularly, not good. Not hitting, not getting on base, not hitting for power. And, in the past 2 weeks, 15 SO in 47 ABs.
Great show as always, guys. A few thoughts in response…
Y’all mentioned Delgado’s “one bad inning” in his Rays start — but really, that wasn’t his only bad inning, even though it was the only one in which he gave up runs. Even in his first inning, which was 1-2-3, he went 3-2 to the first two hitters and started getting his pitch count up. The second inning, he walked two guys, then got a bit lucky to get out of it with the Heyward-McCann double play. As a pitcher, it’s good to get out of jams, but I also think throwing a lot of “high stress pitches” can cause a pitcher to wear down sooner and have impact later in the game.
Minor’s struggles…Minor to bullpen, bring up Teheran? Medlen as starter — no, cause he can’t get stretched out — unless you send Medlen down to the minors to get stretched out, move Minor to the bullpen, and bring up Teheran for a few spot starts while Medlen’s getting stretched out. Which seems all too confusing and they’d be messing with too many guys. Don’t know what to do with Minor, other than to hope that he’ll get it together for a good stretch.
I would agree that Bourn is worth around 12 million. One of you said that he’ll probably get 5 years at $60 million — and I hope that would be from the Braves. They don’t have anyone else lined up that could play CF and leadoff as well as Bourn does — it’s not coming from the minor leagues, and while Shane Victorino is intriguing, he’s not the dynamic player Bourn is. Sign Bourn to an extension, let McCann DH in the AL (I agree with you Bub), and bring up Bethancourt. Oh, also sign David Ross to another contract after this year.
Heyward — As one of the guys who, earlier in the season, had “Heyward blinders” on, I’ve recently backed off him a bit. I agree that he’s not hitting well enough to be in the top half of the lineup, and for now, hitting 6/7 is where he needs to be. Steve, you wondered what he’s hit the last two weeks and four weeks. Last two weeks: .208/.300/.396. Last four weeks: .209/.320/372
However, I will say that it’s encouraging to see him coming up with clutch hits and making pitchers work against him.
I’m gonna go 4-3 this week. We lose both Minor starts and the Delgado start. The thought of those two guys pitching in Cincinnati’s bandbox makes me want to watch something on Netflix and follow along on gameday…And are y’all sure that we’ll miss Strasburg? He pitched yesterday, so won’t that line him up for Friday or Saturday?
hey guys, Bourn turns 30 this offseason (december), not 32. id give him 5 years $60mil max. its $12 mil per year.
You are right, there are no real comparisons, because Bourn has no equal on defense, and as long as he gets on base at a reasonable rate, he will be a pretty good offensive player.
walker “Speed is a main part of his game and that declines with age.”
there are plenty of players that this is not true about. alot of speed first players keep thier speed. its all about how healthy his legs stay. it is a risk, because if his legs go, there goes his defensive value and alot of his offensive value too.
Showing stats from a two week interval doesn’t mean a whole lot in a long season. Take into account slumps(Which all players go through), what his overall stats are now and what they will end up being. No doubt he needs to improve and definitely will improve. But Im just sayin, we get more excited about Pastornicky going 6-19 but in reality Heyward contributed way more to this team the past couple of weeks.
I think that we’ll still need a good story with either Minor, Teheran or even Redmond or remarkable rebound Jurrjens; or a late amazing successful emergence of starting Livan or Medlin in order for us to win the division. The Nationals aren’t going away, as soon as Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper become a solid back to back hitting pair, expect them to be on the track of potential Braun, Fielder pair…especially when they get Michael Morse back. And you can expect the Phillies to come around whether their offense gets in real gear or not. I don’t know what to expect from the Marlins, but they could be a force too. However, as good as the division is, the quality of every team in the division may help Atlanta because each team will likely beat up on each other. As yet, we have not even played every team in our division, so it’s going to be a very competitive and fun summer to watch. We are in a great position, but it’s WAY too soon to put Atlanta as a lock to win the division…it’s going to be a horse race. At least at this point things are going well and we are healthy…so Great so far!
I may be All WET, but I am looking for Minor to turn things all around against Cincy today…mainly because their best hitters (Votto & Bruce) are left handers. If he is somehow able to weather that storm, maybe he can get things going in the right direction.
Heyward is fascinating because he’s so controversial, almost to the point of polarizing, and when one brings him up, you know it’s going to be a good discussion.
There is no doubt he’s shown flashes of poor play and there may be a few people who have overrated him. But I think there are also many who have underrated him.
I don’t think he’s shown more bad than good in his career. As I commented last week, by some measures Heyward has been about as valuable or perhaps more valuable than Giancarlo Stanton over his career.
Heyward has 9.5 career Wins Above Replacement per Baseball Reference.
Stanton has 7.6 WAR per B-R.
Heyward has 8.5 career WAR per FanGraphs.
Stanton has 8.1 per FanGraphs.
I think you guys hit on why: Heyward is perhaps more streaky than some, maybe because of his skill set and perhaps because of his age. I don’t know that he’ll ever be a huge batting-average hitter nor do I think he’s a huge power hitter. So he’s going to put the ball in the field of play a lot, so when he’s not drawing walks and the hits aren’t falling/finding holes, it’s going to really show.
Also, I think he was so hyped that when he does have his downs, everyone takes notice, whereas if someone like Pastornicky has a down period, everyone can just chalk it up to him being a less-hyped rookie.
Maybe to some it’s tiresome but to me it’s always fun to discuss Heyward. I think it’s because he’s so talented, was so hyped coming in and his skills are somewhat unique for a player with his talent.
DAP @8, I think you are right about Bourn. There are plenty of speedy players who remain pretty speedy into their mid-30′s. There are a few that remain speedy as they approach 40.
I think the biggest *problem* with signing Bourn long term is that, while he’s a good hitter, he’s not a great hitter. I think he’ll provide plenty of defensive value for a while. I think he’ll of course be a fine baserunner. But I don’t know that he’ll add much on offense as he ages, especially if a team inserts him into the leadoff spot so that he gets more plate appearances than any player on the team.
I agree Bourn’s speed is as likely to hold up as not. For five-year contracts, I think player age concerns are overrated. It’s a coin toss. There’s no guarantee young players will keep their production (McLouth), and even our most dreaded recent old-guy contracts (Chipper and Lowe) have not been the albatrosses we feared.
By that I mean we’re in the much feared last years of both Chipper’s and Lowe’s contract. One is hurting us and one isn’t. AND neither of them is keeping us from contending. AND in fact both players are having fine years, just unfortunately not for the Braves in Lowe’s case.
I’m fine with a “Buy Now Pay Later” mentality on a couple of select free agents. Bourn and Uggla seem like the perfect guys to take that risk with. It’s all a gamble, but a couple of 5 year, 10-13 million gambles for players less than 35 seems like as good a management of limited funds a contending team can hope for. If the last couple years of Uggla and Bourn are down years, so be it. Like I said, we’re living with Lowe’s contract just fine.
Having this core locked up for the next few years seems like a fine way to contend:
That’s what I’d build my team around. Leaves plenty of money to fill in the gaps. Subtracting Bourn from that would be a huge blow, one of the biggest possible.
I’m wasting my breath, though. The Braves won’t go after Bourn.
I’m a regular listener and fan of the podcast for over a year now. I enjoy the podcast quite a bit, even though I don’t always agree with the opinions of the hosts. This week I really felt like you all missed the mark with the Bourn contract talk and–in particular–with the comparison to Andrew McCutchen’s 5 year 51.5 million dollar contract.
I want to preface my complaint with an admission: I don’t know how much Bourn is likely to make on the free agent market this winter. I think it would be possible to get a rough idea of how much Bourn might cost by considering contracts given to similarly talented outfielders of similar age and correcting those numbers for current market, but I have not taken the time to do that work (or seen any articles on Braves blogs, where those bloggers have put in the time and work).
However, McCutchen and his contract is not a good place to start to try and get an idea of what Bourn is worth. Comparing his contract to the one Bourn will get this winter is like comparing apples to oranges. McCutchen was not even close to free agency when he signed his contract. The contract pays him for his last per-arbitration year, what would be all of his arbitration years, and a few years after that. Here’s how McCutchen’s contract breaks down year-by-year (I’m getting these numbers from cot’s baseball contracts): 2012-0.5M, 13-4.5M, 14-7.5M, 15-10M, 16-13M, 17-14M, 18-14.5M (2018 is a club option year). McCutchen is a younger center fielder who is more talented than Bourn, but is limited in what he can make by the fact that he is not yet a free agent. Since Bourn will be a free agent after this year, his contract will certainly not start with him getting paid 0.5M a year. To be comparable to Bourn’s situation you would need to look for examples of outfielders who 1) were entering free agency and not arbitration eligible players; 2) had above average talent (very good, but not superstar level players); 3) were of a similar age to Bourn (i.e. late twenties to early thirties). If you could find a couple of players who fit that mold, they might give you a good idea of what kind of contract to expect for Bourn.
I think Bourn’s speed will hold up okay and of course his defensive instincts should hold up just fine. So he’ll provide plenty of value on that side of the ball plus on the basepaths for the next 4-6 years, even if he’s not quite as fast as he is now. The bat is where I think it will show because he doesn’t have some outstanding hit tool, he doesn’t walk a whole lot and doesn’t hit for any power. But I don’t think he’ll be a zero with the bat and his defense and baserunning should allow him to remain valuable. I just don’t know if he’ll be worth to the Braves what some team like Washington or some others will be willing to offer.
By the way, great show guys. One of the more entertaining I’ve heard since I’ve been listening.
Fingers crossed for Mike Minor. I’m afraid riding it out with him is the best choice unless we get a new starter from somewhere. All the internal options seem potentially more damaging than sweating out every 5th game. C’mon, Mike, just give us a breather: a couple of good games. You’ve got the stuff.
Heyward has K issues (just like Freeman actually) and the amazing plate discipline he showed initially has dipped into only very good range. However if you look at the whole picture Freeman and Heyward have had very similar seasons. Freeman has wOBA .346, Heyward .344, Freeman wRC+ 120, Heyward wRC+ 118. So ask yourself why are you disappointed in Heyward but not Freeman (really shouldn’t be for either of course)? It can really only be expectations. Both have been incredibly streaky but isn’t that often a product of youth?
Also you’ll never fully appreciate Heyward if you are still a devotee of the archaic batting average or don’t value defense enough. Heyward is the best corner OF in the game. That’s extremely valuable no matter what he does at the plate. People celebrate the defense of an average defender like Freeman far more when Heyward is the one who consistently saves far more runs.
It seems expectations will always hamper our views of Heyward, but we can still appreciate the extremely valuable skills he brings if we use better analysis.
You guys remember Mike Leake — Reds’ starting pitcher in the Brooks Conrad walk-off grand slam game. That game, Leake went 6 IP, gave up 3 runs (1 earned), 6 k, gave up 5 hits. Left the game with a 9-3 lead.
So, really, a three-run deficit is nothing. Um, yeah.
#66, Minor’s start was worse, but it’s close. I wanna say, “no, no, these are pro ballplayers, it only looks like they don’t play their A game when the opposing pitcher is weak,” but nah. If I’ve learned anything over the years watching games it’s that they actually do behave motivationally very much like the fans figure.
Time to see some of that famous resiliency tomorrow.
I agree our offense was horrible. I was referring to just Minor’s performance. Giving up 4 runs isnt a quslity start but it isn’t horrible either. I guess giving up 3 solo shots in an inning will do that.
The home plate umpire was horrible tonight though.
I don’t think Leake is terrible. He had good stuff last night. Former #8 overall pick. He’s only 24 and he posted a sub 4.00 ERA in 29 appearances last year.
He’s like Minor – a young guy off to a rocky start still trying to figure out how to get through a major league lineup. Tonight, he just happened to bring it against the Braves. I think I remember Leake doing that to the Braves last season as well.
I thought Minor was good for most of the night. I was happy to see him get through two more innings after the 4th, too.
Curt, did you check out the explanation for the SI power rankings up top? It’s completely based on SABR stuff, ignoring wins and concentrating on what they figure predicts future wins. With all the other knee-jerk power rankings out there, I kind of like having this one. If for no other reason than possibly proving SABR predictions aren’t that much more reliable than gut-feeling, momentum-swing predictions.
I would be interested in seeing which rankings took a snapshot of the league at, say, the 1/3 season mark, and better predicted the end of the year. Of course injuries and so forth would effect both results, but since it should effect them equally (subtracting WAR on the one side, making journalists go “well now that Berkman’s down, we gotta drop the Cards a few slots” on the other).
I find it supremely interesting that the Nats are current SABR favorites, because they are not quite so embraced by the rest of us yet. But even more interesting are SABR’s love for Philly, the slumping Cardinals, the last place Sox and Yanks, and SABR’s hate for the first place Braves, the contending Reds, and the Mets.
Bubdylan, it’s based purely on Fangraph’s Wins Above Replacement. It doesn’t exactly portend future wins. It’s more of an indication of a team’s underlying performance. When we are looking at a sample of the just under two months of the season so far, and nothing else, we could be seeing plenty of flukey performances that affect a team’s WAR that aren’t likely to continue going forward.
Probably the best thing to do if you want to try to rank where teams will end up at season’s end (say, if you have something riding on those rankings) is to consider underlying performance so far in addition to preseason projections, and to weigh this season’s underlying performances more and more heavily as the season goes on.
#77, to quote the site: “The system used to rank the teams is based not on the current standings or a gut feeling about team quality, but on how well they’ve performed at the underlying traits that predict future performance better than wins and losses.”
You may only be saying that it doesn’t succeed in doing this. But what I’m saying is that this is the claim of SI Power Rankings, and the part of it I’m most interested in monitoring. If SABR stats can’t predict the future, we may as well stick with Wins and RBI’s.
Point taken on supplementing the rankings with projections, but again, I’m most interested in contrasting one way of ranking with the other.
Bubdylan @78, “…predict future performance better than wins and losses,” so I think what they mean is that it is more reliable than a team’s win-loss record, if we are trying to predict future wins and losses, but it doesn’t mean it’s perfect or the best way to predict.
I think it’s just a compelling way to get a fairly easy, objective ranking. It’s not running several complex formulas, it’s not just eyeballing and coming up with power rankings and, most importantly to me, it actually defines what SI means by “power rankings.”
So many sites just throw up power rankings without any sort of explanation. It’s just someone’s opinion based on eyeballing standings and rosters and we really don’t know what it’s an opinion of.
I suspect they just flubbed on the White Sox but I don’t know. Maybe there is another variable. But I doubt they would have some of those other teams in certain spots if there were other variables. Every other team is perfectly aligned with team WAR, so I think they just messed up.
According to DOB, Fredi pulled Francisco aside and gave him a talking-to about the bat flip and home run trot from last night’s game; and, he talked with Dusty Baker about it as well. Gotta say — classy move on Fredi’s part.
What a dismal series. The continued inability of the Braves to win without Chipper is a serious problem. That they can’t even score any runs without him. Make the move now. Francisco ain’t getting it done.
#100, don’t overlook the damage Fredi can do to our record if he starts making the same mistakes we saw all last year. He didn’t single-handedly cost us the game, but he didn’t put the team in the best situation to get the win- bad personnel moves. That’s really all NBA, MLB, or UEFA coaches/managers have to do. The good ones do it very effectively, the mediocre ones like Fredi are bound to mess up every once in a while. Not having Chipper, Mac, or Jason in the lineup on the same night is DUMB. We squandered a great start from Hanson last night.
Bubdylan @103, well, if the Reds were in Atlanta in a tie game in the bottom of the 9th, I’m sure Baker also would have lost the game before he used Chapman in a non-save situation. It’s the way of the managerial world today: Worry about saves before wins.
Nate @104, I agree. We should kick and scream whenever a manager does dumb things. I don’t think he was the only reason or even the major reason the Braves lost. But he didn’t do his part in at least a few instances, which is all we can ask.
@104 – It’s not like Jason has been any good the last month offensively. I doubt having him out of the lineup cost the Braves any runs. Maybe a night or two off and some time in the cage will get him back on track.
Costas and Verducci discussing closer usage. Good stuff.
Verducci just said, “it’s not a criticism” that the way teams use closers, that it’s just the way the industry is. Why the heck isn’t a criticism? Someone needs to criticize reliever usage. That’s the only way it’s going to change.
The game is less entertaining when you are seeing a teams 4th or 5th best reliever with the game on the line in, say, the seventh inning when the other team’s best hitters are up.
08:13 AM ET 05.25 | Where or when will Roy Owalt pitch this season — if anywhere? Two friends of [Oswalt] say they still believe his preference is to play in Texas, Atlanta or St. Louis. But since there’s no indication the Braves or Cardinals are interested, his challenge is likely to be trying to convince the Rangers to pay him the significant dollars he’s hoping for. … Oswalt has been linked to the Phillies and Red Sox. But both of those teams are right up against the luxury-tax threshold. So they’re highly unlikely to dangle the kind of dollars he’s looking for. Meanwhile, one executive who speaks frequently with the Orioles’ brass says: “Don’t discount [reports on] Baltimore going after Oswalt.
Should we start calling for McDowell to be fired? This is really a joke. I can’t wait for it to be that Chipper has been out and that’s why we can’t win. We can’t win because outlet pitching staff is a joke right now and our manager is a saboteur. So glad I will be out of the loop on these guys for a week. Compete for gods sake
“There’s nobody dragging themselves into this clubhouse,” said Gio Gonzalez, who starts on Sunday Night Baseball against the Braves’ Brandon Beachy, in a matchup of early Cy Young candidates. “Everybody’s excited. Everybody’s fired up. You don’t see guys yawning as they’re going out to take batting practice. They’re into it.”
On the other hand, there is a completely different environment in the Braves’ clubhouse these days: They are in survival mode.
“No I can’t,” Jones said when asked to point to the reason the team has struggled in his absence. “It’s frustrating to watch. Somebody has to step up. There are a 162 games to look forward to next year. Somebody has to step out. Somebody has to get the big out, get the big hit, make the big play – all those things that you have to do on a daily basis to win ball games.”
Who do you trust on this team right now? Including the coaching staff? Fredi seems to lack the ability to turn the thing out of a tailspin. Embarrassing effort. I don’t care how short-handed you are. Think the Nats care? Think this doesn’t carry over this season? That the first time they faced us they best us like a mule?
By my count you are now 2-4 against the Mets, 1-2 against the Phils, 1-1 against the Marlins, and 0-3 against DC. With 346 games yet to play against them all. Good luck.
Fredi has no clue. The only way we were winning is because our offense was on fire. Our pitching has been suspect all year, so when our offense slumps like they did this week we are going to lose a lot of gams. And again, we have a very bad manager.
#180, he did that in Florida all the time. He just leaves guys in way too long. We’ve gotten lucky a lot this year that it hasn’t backfired more. I really think he’s gone after this year. No way he gets fired during the season unless we absolutely tank it, but even if we make the playoffs he’s gone, imo, unless we somehow win it all. He learned nothing from last season’s collapse and missing the playoffs. He’s making the same mistakes again, costing us games that we could at least stay in with better bullpen use and a better feel for when a starter is “done”. Wren and the rest of the organization have to see this, it’s so blatantly obvious.
It’s been just an awful month with the pitching issues, the offense going in the tank last week, Freeman’s eye issues, Chipper’s leg, McCann’s tummy. Bad stuff. Hopefully the team can just put this behind them and start tearing it up at the plate again.
The trouble with the “Wren and company have to see this” is that it’s the same company who hired Chad Durbin while Gearrin wastes away for a third year in Gwinnett with a 0.94 ERA and 0.837 WHIP, striking out 34 and walking 8 in 28 innings. I mean, who could have predicted that after the Spring he had?