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.
I love that tweet about Craig Kimbrel. It would be so nice to see him in a crucial situation from the 6th to 8th innings. Why does our best relief pitcher have to only pitch with a lead in the 9th inning? Dumb rules.
Hi, my name is Jason Heyward, and I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever shorten my humongous swing. So stop throwing it inside. I can’t hit it there. This message brought to you by: Stubbornness. Because adjustments, like injuries, are irrelevant.
Shaun, I was joking. I thought it was funny that Frank said that in light of our recent discussions. I know you don’t think he’s the best player ever, but a lot of the hype surrounding his arrival was something like Roy Hobbs in the Natural. You could almost here the theme music to The Natural when Jason hit his first HR off Zambrano.
I think the hype works for and against Heyward. I think expectations for him are very high, probably unreasonably high. I think he also gets a pass because of the hype. That the expectations are unreasonable and that we should cut him some slack because right around the corner is the next Hank Aaron and we just need to hang in there with him.
To me, you win with neither of those scenarios. He should just be Player X. Judge him by what he provides to the team. Not against some other guy or some historic player. And right now, he ain’t providing much.
But as a fan of the Braves, there are few players who’s success is more important to the long term viability of this franchise as Jason Heyward. He is vital to every aspect of their long term plans. And to contemplate having to develop or replace another corner outfielder has to be shaking them to the core. For that alone, we should all be rooting for him to have a long and prosperous career.
Curt @76, Heyward provides somewhere around above league-average offense (not much more), very good defense and very good baserunning.
I think the discussions about Heyward are more about what’s important in baseball and what stats are important and how to measure player performance than anything else.
I don’t think anyone would argue Heyward has been a great player. I think many would argue he’s been pretty solid, and better than some realize. And the folks on the other side would say he’s been worthless essentially because he has a low batting average and strikes out a lot.
But I think this is about valuing and evaluating players appropriately, more than it’s about Heyward and hype, etc. The areas where Heyward provides some value are generally under-relied upon. And he doesn’t look even like a decent player when looking at stats that are over-relied upon, because tradition and convention have spoon-fed us certain stats that really don’t do a great job measuring the things that lead to run creation and run prevention.
82 – I agree completely. I know that it’s different with position players than it is with pitchers, but maybe we just have to put up with a few years of Heyward struggling and figuring it out — just like we have to put up with a few years of the Delgados and Minors and Teherans struggling and figuring it out.
David @85, The thing is many are saying Heyward is “struggling” but I’m not sure that he actually is, at least to the degree some think. That’s the thing, he’s a middle-of-the-pack major league rightfielder while in his early 20′s, when you take into account his entire game (offense, defense and baserunning).
Just checked the link I provided in #84 — now Minor’s back on the docket to start Friday’s game.
86 — if it’s a matter of word choice, and the measuring stick isn’t the potential that Heyward has but rather a middle-of-the-pack, young outfielder, then I guess you could say that he’s not “struggling.” If we all expected him to be a guy who hits in the .240s every year, hits around 10-15 homers, and strikes out 125+ times, then yeah — he’s doing great, and we shouldn’t say that he’s “struggling,” but rather doing what we’re expecting him to do.
That ain’t the case, though. In my book, he’s struggling.
David @88, he’s pretty much been a middle-of-the-road rightfielder so far in his major league career, which isn’t really disappointing, considering his age.
That’s a different discussion from how well he’s doing well compared to other major league rightfielders.
Sure, it would have been nice if he’d have come up and been one of the best rightfielders in the game at ages 20-22 but should we really be claiming that he’s a disappointment because he’s just been hanging in there pretty well against major league competition? I don’t think so.
I’m honestly not trying to sugarcoat here. Clearly Heyward is not a top rightfielder and I’m not claiming he is. But let’s take a step back in proclaiming he’s a disappointment at age 22, especially considering he really hasn’t been an awful player, even ignoring age and the fact that it’s his third season, etc.
As far as his batting average and strikeout total, we need to look beyond those numbers. He’s posted a respectable on-base so far in his career, which is extremely important, and he’s one of the better defensive rightfielders.
Win with your best and lose with your best. We are going to need Venters in order to go to the playoffs. Durbin is going to break sometime. Gotta go to the more talented player in a crucial situation. There is a “what if” if Durbin is brought in. No “what if” with Venters.
Anne, watched it again today. Might be my favorite filmed Shakespeare, even above Branagh’s Much Ado. Hope you dig it. Subtitles are very handy, especially to catch all the little pieces of dialogue Ralph (brilliantly) gave to the tv news playing low in the scene.
98 – definitely agree that Prado/Constanza is far, far better than Francisco/Prado. Even if Constanza does what he did last year and is only good in short spurts, that’ll get us through until Chipper returns from the DL.
Right now, Durbin is much better than Venters, and I never thought I’d say that.
I was shocked at first but now I understand. Simmons will provide outstanding defense with at least some on base skills. Pastornicky has a .281 OBP right now. He’s sucking offensively and defensively. Might as well get someone in here that can field.
It seems Pastornicky is the more skilled offensive player and maybe would have turned it around. But if the team hits to its potential, probably best to have the glove, and he’s probably no worse offensively than what Pastornicky has done so far.
The Braves are 5th in the NL in OPS+, 3rd in runs scored per game but have allowed the 6th-most runs per game and are tied for 5th-worst in defensive efficiency (percentage of balls in play converted to outs).
I like this move. You can’t have the Rev and Danny Pipes as your middle infielders. All Simmons has to do is hit somewhere between .200 and .220, even Jason Heyward can do that. I kid. But in all seriousness Simmons has sick range and a hose. Turning a dp won’t be iffy anymore.
@100 – fair enough. But he’s struggling so bad right now, and wins have been so hard to come by, maybe last night’s situation was not the best to bring him in too. Alls Well That Ends Well (that was for Bub and Anne right there).
Do you guys think that the Braves would ever ask Heyward to just take BP against inside fastballs for a week? Or would they tip-toe around it? Just curious. I hate that ego controls so much in this sport. I get the feeling they would not ask him to do that.
Looking at Baseball Reference, Heyward’s 1-hit-show is just as bad as I thought. It doesn’t just seem like he’s good for about a hit per night, with zeros liberally sprinkled in, it really IS what’s going on.
In 50 games, he has four 2-hit games, and one lonely 3-hit game way back in mid April against Astros pitching.
In 30 of 50 games, Heyward has 1 hit.
In 15 of 50 games, he has 0 hits.
His .739 OPS is at its low point of the season right now. It’s been steadily dropping for a couple of weeks.
Multi-hit games from others (to compare with Heyward’s 5):
He does have 22 walks on the season, which adds value, but sheesh, other than Pastornicky, everybody on the team has twice as many multi-hit games. I’ve never seen anybody with his tools become unable to get hot for a game or two for this long.
They’ve hurt Jurrjens’ feelings. They could at least keep dialogue open with the guy. That’s THREE pitchers who have complained of Wren not simply keeping them in the loop via discussion. Glavine, KK, and now JJ. I like Wren, and I seldom favor players in player-GM/Manager disputes, but the evidence is piling up. TALK to these people, Frank. What’s it hurt to pick up the phone and make these people feel like they count for something in the process??
“You hear stuff. When the Medlen stuff happened, people around here, my teammates, were like, ‘Wow, they didn’t even think to call you back up?’ People were asking me, ‘Did they say anything to you?’ It just shows me what I mean to them. It doesn’t feel good, but that’s OK. It’s business.”
#148, he’s done nothing. And I wouldn’t think twice about any of it except him being the third pitcher to mention not being talked to about what’s going on. It just seems to me that if he’s got the balls to cut ties with Glavine and Smoltz, and to make these moves with icewater in his veins (which I like), he ought to give these guys a call. It seems like Schurholz’s (sp?) intervention in the Glavine fiasco, along with comments from the players, backs up the idea that Wren is tactless.
But you know me, Stevie, I’m not crying much over these millionaires feeling left out. Just seems like enough to raise an eyebrow and wonder if we might not get the best out of our players – and the best considerations from free agents – if Wren would tighten up this part of his game.
Venters, third-highest BABIP among pitchers with at least 10 IP this season.
But he’s also allowed 1.4 HR/9 and 30 percent of his fly balls allowed have been homeruns. So he’s getting hit hard. You have to wonder if there is an injury or some sorts of affects from all the innings last season and in 2010.
Bud Selig is a moron. Hey Bud, fix the replay situation and your old, crotchety, terrible umpire situation before you crack down on local broadcasters being homers for the teams they have to watch for 162 games. Just stupid. Good job with the All Star game, btw, that whole thing makes a ton of sense, too.
The second wild card is truly bad. Don’t want to beat a dead horse, but you will likely have the second or third best team in the league playing a barely-over-.500 squad in a one game play-off as often as not.
Some decent schedule news: after June 24 when we end that Death Tour against the AL East, our non-Division schedule, which makes up a much larger portion of the second half than I thought, is against a lot of teams that suck out loud. Other than the two Giants series and the last Dodgers series, it’s a crapload of Cubbies, Brewers, Astros, D-backs, Padres, Rockies, and we end against the Pirates (I know they’re a game over .500 now, but they’ll be dust by the end. They’ve scored 26 fewer runs than they’ve allowed). Our last three series: Fish, Mets, Pirates. Not easy, but way better than facing Phils’ starters or in-out-heads Nationals.
The Nats have it a little tougher on the non-East front, mainly due to 6 Cardinals games and equal Western toughness. They close out the year like this: Phils, Cards, Phils.
Just gotta beat the East, which we haven’t done. However, the softer non-East should keep us close enough to enjoy (i.e. pull our hair out) multiple chances to do so.
Sorry for the late night session. People rained hate on Yunel. He is a Cuban defector with no formal education. That puts him at the maturity level of a 12 year old. Go talk to a street kid in a poverty stricken neighborhood in America. They’re behind to say the least. Multiply that by 500 and you get the environmental opportunity Yunel Escobar experienced when he was a youth. Guys struggle in baseball whether you come from a middle class family in Georgia or a poverty stricken ghetto is a communist country.
You guys question the Braves front office on how they handle personnel decisions but not their development of Yunel. Let’s let Edgar teach him in 6 months on how to be a major leaguer. That’ll work. You accept what Atlanta media told you about Yunel, but you question a JJ story? Hmmm.
Nate, speaking only for myself, I have a big heart when it comes to ultimately judging somebody like Yunel, but I’m pretty closed when it comes to what behavior I enjoy watching on my favorite baseball team. In other words, all sympathy for what’s made Yunel a petulant, entitled, stunted, whiny and profane human being, but no desire whatsoever to watch it played out on the field over and over via his role as a ballplayer. I think that’s pretty reasonable, since after all we’re talking about what we choose for our entertainment, not some moral responsibility we have toward our fellow man, etc. Only what I see when I turn on my tv.
I’m sure if I was placed in similar circumstances and then became a millionaire I would be an insufferable ass. The kind of guy that reasonable fans would like to see traded off their favorite team.
*I’ll give you this, though: I shouldn’t gloat over his continued petulance. That’s a failing. It’s just hard not to when we’ve been hurting at the SS position since his departure. It would be hard to take seeing him “get off scott free,” and ride off into the Toronto sunset, but that’s what I should root for, or at least not root against.
Bub, I agree with most of what you say about Yunel. I just wanted to get that off my chest. I don’t think he’s the villain everyone makes him out to be. I think he was mistreated by Atlanta media and the Braves 100% failed Yunel. They need to stop getting guys like Yunel and Salcedo because they can’t develop them.