May 04, 2014

Show #260: The Braves Offense and Wins Disappear

What to do about the offense? What’s Gavin Floyd’s fate? Is BJ no longer a concern? And is Chris Johnson’s extension the right move?



63 Responses to “Show #260: The Braves Offense and Wins Disappear”

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  1. 51
    Mark in Memphis Says:

    Article: Lack of patience hurting Braves offense by Buster Onley

    Without reading the article, do you buy the premise?

  2. 52
    Mark in Memphis Says:

    Interesting fact:

    Colorado has 12 players with at least 30 ABs. Of those 12, only 1 has a BA less than .273

    To put in perspective:

    Braves have 11 players with at least 30 ABs. Of those only 3 are .273 or higher. The lone BA on Colorado less than .273 is .239. .239 is greater than the bottom 6 averages for the Braves.

    The top average on the Braves is less than the top 8 players on the Rockies…

    If the past is an indicator of the future, this should level out when the Rockies spend more times on the road…

  3. 53
    Steve Says:

    Not sure I buy it. 6 of our starters are in the top 77 of pitches seen per PA. And 3 are in the top 22.

  4. 54
    Mark in Memphis Says:


    I was really buying it at face value either. Don’t really think it is “patience”… more “approach”… They mostly seem to go up there with a “if it is to be, it is up to me” attitude… but you can’t hit a three run homer with no one on …

  5. 55
    Mark in Memphis Says:

    Funny line from an article:

    Good thing, then, that Tommy La Stella basically is the anti-Uggla.

    Goes on to say:
    Whereas Uggla is—or rather, was—known for home runs and strikeouts, La Stella is a contact machine with a career strikeout rate of just 8.6 percent in his three-plus pro seasons.

    A 2011 eighth-round pick, La Stella has battled injuries but also has shown an uncanny ability to hit for high averages and get on base, as the lefty hitter’s .325/.407/.478 career triple-slash line shows.

    (showed me something – didn’t know he batted lefty)

    …La Stella won’t be a stud, but Atlanta doesn’t need him to be. Plus, his approach would be a welcome change to a lineup that is extremely strikeout prone, with a 24.1 percent strikeout rate that checks in as the third-highest in MLB.

  6. 56
    Shaun Says:

    Mark, the Braves’ hitters’ skill sets are such that they are not going to hit for all that high an average but they should get on base at a pretty good rate and slug well, when all is said and done.

    I honestly don’t think they consciously go to the plate with an approach that maybe many of us would consider flawed. I think the offensive skill set, their strengths and weaknesses are such that they hit for a low average, strikeout a lot but post decent OBP’s and very good SLG’s (and also many of the Braves’ players are very good baserunners, so they add offensive value that way). I think maybe we tend to overstate the degree to which batting approach is a learned thing that can be easily changed, at least by the time a player is in the majors or in high-level pro ball.

    I agree that La Stella isn’t a star. I think his lack of power will hold him back. But I think the Braves will be better off when they decide to go with him over Uggla. However, if the overall production was better (higher OBP and SLG), I would take a low-average, high-strikeout second baseman over La Stella. It’s not that La Stella’s approach is going to make a difference. It’s his overall production relative to Uggla’s.

  7. 57
    Mark in Memphis Says:

    Having someone who gets on base a lot can only help…

    Perhaps, he can take over the leadoff role (not right away – but that “pitcher batting 8th” thing might work with La Stella in the ninth hole)… a .400-ish OBP could certainly go a long way toward more RBI.

    The only problem I see with La Stella in leadoff is lefty-lefty-lefty assuming La Stella, Heyward, Freeman as the first three…

  8. 58
    Shaun Says:

    Yeah, I mean La Stella’s approach, per se, isn’t necessarily what’s going to help. Of course his approach, for him, means good things. But it’s the added production over Uggla that is going to help. My point was that the added production would be just as welcome if Uggla’s possible replacement was a guy who offered better production but hits for a low average and strikes out a lot.

  9. 59
    Mark in Memphis Says:

    With a .295 team on-base percentage, Atlanta sits 28th in the majors in one of the most important batting stats to exist. Only the Houston Astros and San Diego Padres are worse at getting on base.

    Great early-season slugging numbers from the likes of Justin Upton, Freddie Freeman, Gattis and others are being squandered because no one is on base to score runs.

  10. 60
    Mark in Memphis Says:

    By failing to get on base at a reasonable clip, the Braves are making it very hard for their players to score runs. Atlanta has just 105 runs scored on the season, good for 29th out of 30 teams.

    While pitching is great—and limiting opposing runs is important—a team cannot win without getting its own runners across home plate. A very poor OBP leads to fewer baserunners in front of power hitters and a 1-6 record this month. In the lone May victory, Atlanta won by a score of 2-1.

  11. 61
    Mark in Memphis Says:

    Very interesting perspective:

    B.J. Upton has been the butt of jokes for two years now. He was so bad last season, Atlanta probably wished Major League Baseball would have taken a page out of the NBA’s playbook and created an amnesty clause.

    But while Boss Junior is barely hitting his weight, he has accumulated a positive WAR of 0.3 thus far this season, according to FanGraphs. This is because he is able to contribute in ways other than swinging the bat.

    That FanGraphs chart shows Upton has already been a big minus at the plate. However, his defense and baserunning have made up the difference, bringing a net positive to the Braves’ starting lineup.

    For some comparison, Freeman has looked like Babe Ruth at times this season. His bat has been on fire. However, because of very poor baserunning and limited defensive worth stemming from playing first base, Freeman’s net worth to this team is only 0.6 WAR, just 0.3 more than Upton has brought.

    With casual fans looking at his .211 batting average and calling for his head after the 2013 debacle, it would be easy to agree. However, B.J. still brings other tools that make it necessary to keep him in the lineup.

  12. 62
    Steve Says:

    @61 – Good stuff

  13. 63
    Bubdylan Says:

    Homers! Runs! Yay!

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