I think the hitting will rebound. I think the offense could be even (a little) better than they’ve already been. Bourn, Prado, Uggla, Heyward, McCann, and Freeman really ought to make the best offense in the NL even without Chipper. That’s a silly amount of batting talent in those six.
The pitching, both starting and bullpen, I don’t expect to be very good this year. I still expect Venters to go down at some point. And the youth movement, Beachy-Delgado-Minor will put up as many bad starts as good. All year long. Beachy is obviously the best of the bunch, but not as far ahead, IMO, as the results so far would indicate.
I’m with y’all on 2 wins the rest of this week. But I think we’ll hit bottom soon, and something – luck, health, Chipper, a hot streak from Heyward or Freeman, SOMETHING will trigger another good run led by the potent offense.
Fredi Gonzalez is a moron.
BTW, I think it’s a little lucky that we’ve fallen all the way to last place. The team is in a mental funk, and when they rebound, this will give them a step-by-step mental goal as they pass each of the teams in front of them. Somebody’s bound to stumble beneath us almost immediately when we begin to rebound. Etc, etc. It’s just a much better scenario than trying to catch one team that’s way ahead and nothing but a five-game empty space between you and them.
In short, this team is disgusting right now. But I still think the Braves or Nats will win the division and the other is WC bound.
Good to hear someone who actually LIKES the Braves!
I was expecting such a doom-and-gloom show, I almost didn’t press play. A refreshing change from the normal cast. Good to hear someone who is realistic, but not constantly pessimistic.
“I think for the immediate future I have some pessimism.” -Ballpark Frank
Great way of summing it up and a great way to approach where we are right now.
We really need all these untouchable pitching prospects to blossom into what we projected them to be. We’re relying on them a lot right now, and so far it is backfiring.
The Nats have won a lot of one run games, so I don’t think they are at juggernaut status yet. They are heading that way though. Harper, Morse, Zimmerman, Werth, Gonzalez, Strasburg. They’ve got a solid ‘pen. That’s a team that’s not going away for another 6-7 years.
Careful with the trade Heyward talk, Frank. He is immortal and the best baseball player ever according to a faction of Braves fans. And I agree on Francisco, his behavior has too much in common with one of our former SS for him to remain a Brave, and nowhere near the talent to tolerate the behavior that comes with it.
Fransisco could be a good hitter powerwise, if he worked on his swing a little bit. he needs to stay a little more closed in his swing…when he gets his foot down, he just flies open, and there is too much movement.
Nice job Steve and Frank! Ham and Curt are inconsolable right now, I’m sure. Bobby didn’t mess up Heyward in 2010, by the way. If you look at what Heyward did after Bobby suggested he be more aggressive, Heyward had his best stretch of baseball in his MLB career after that, until he hurt his thumb.
I personally think Heyward could use a little bit of that right now. He is watching too many hittable pitches go by. Pitches that he could destroy. Than, he is already in hole and has seen the fattest pitch the guy is going to throw in the AB. It is way past time for Heyward to start carrying his weight.
i agree with steve. heyward doesnt need to be traded because he is good defensively and making the minimum, but when he starts making arbitration salaries (after this year i believe) and still isnt OPSing in the .800s? i may not feel the same way then.
Comparing Stanton and Heyward’s career WAR numbers is misleading. Stanton has been consistently better than Heyward, who has regressed.
Heyward’s WAR: 6.3, 2.4, and 1.2.
Stanton’s WAR: 2.7, 3.9, and 1.6.
Stanton’s OPS and OPS+ have both gotten better every season too. Not so with Heyward.
This is why fans view Heyward as a disappointment. Teasing us with huge potential while delivering very little during his last 160 games. Heyward’s probably the most talented player on the Braves, and he’s really young. I have no reason to think that he won’t become a great player, but at this point, Stanton is ahead of Heyward. And it’s not even really that close.
Steve @11, I brought up WAR to show that perhaps we need to take a step back and realize Heyward really hasn’t been as awful as we may think at first glance. I don’t see very many people calling for Stanton to be sent down or traded.
Has he helped the Braves the past month? No. But we can’t learn too much from 99 ABs. Look at Uggla through half a season last year. I don’t think he’s destined to be that bad from this point forward through the end of the season.
Also, I’m not sure there is very much evidence of a lack of focus.
I think Heyward is an *okay* major leaguer right now. And I think we should have expected an *okay* major leaguer his first few seasons.
I don’t think that’s a particularly rosy or unrealistic view of Heyward. But it seems that if you hold that view, some think that you view Heyward as the best player ever. How about some realism? Sure, he’s not yet a star-type player but nor is he worthy of being sent down.
Shaun, the fact that Stanton has improved and Heyward hasn’t is a little bit alarming when comparing the two, but I think most people agree we should let the season play out before even considering trading him or whatever. Even sending him down to AAA is probably a little rash for my taste.
@14: I’m not in the camp that we should send him down or trade him or any of that. I am in the camp that he’s not been a very productive member of the team in the past month. And, given some of the other unproductive stretches he’s gone through, since 2010, I’m concerned that he won’t be a face of the franchise/All-Star/Silver Slugger type of player.
And, regarding focus issues, what about his lackadaisacal play this past weekend that allowed Harper to take 2nd? He admitted himself that he didn’t play it hard enough and apologized to his team for it. We’d never be talking about that kind of play with pretty much anyone else on the team. Right?
I don’t know that it’s all that alarming for a player to be up and down his first three years in the majors at ages 20-22. It’s not always a perfect slope into peak seasons. As long as he’s not completely falling off a cliff. Even last season, his OPS+ was 94; not great by any means but not absolutely dreadful.
The perception of Heyward is so interesting to discuss.
There is definitely disappointment with Heyward. But there is also disappointment with McCann, and Uggla the last couple years. And also people look at the numbers. Freddie Freeman really isn’t as good as you think he is either. This team needs to get it together.
Steve @16, that was one play and Jim Powell said it was a first and he bets the last time we see Heyward do something like that. I’m not trying to excuse it, really. But I’m not sure it is a huge factor in determining whether he’ll be an All-Star type player.
And I don’t think unproductive “stretches” from a 20-22-year-old are a cause for concern as to what he’ll be going forward.
I think the biggest question mark for Heyward is the same one it’s always been since he was in the minors: Health.
I honestly think his performance so far in his career has been within the range of what we should have expected.
Heyward has had stretches of offensive productivity, but the norm for him in 2011-2012 has been unproductivity. And not just for expectations of him based on minor league hype and first year success. He’s been flat out bad.
At this time last year, the average NL outfielder had an OPS of .796. Heyward finished the season with an OPS of .708. This year he’s at .754.
Other franchise guys – Stanton, Chipper, Wright, Longoria, Pujols, Hanley Ramirez – have not put up the ugly offensive numbers that Heyward has and is continuing to compile.
He’s looked bad doing it, too. The strikeouts are alarming. Based on the games I’ve watched, he’s not waving at bad pitches. Pitchers are challenging him, and he’s not making contact. He’s not going to opposite field often, and he looks like he’s always swinging for fences.