Bylines

There’s some comments over at No Pepper about the Braves’ chapter in Baseball Prospectus 2005, which seems to have been written by a chimp. Leaving aside the introductory essay, which duplicates some of JC’s study on Leo Mazzone but which is probably an innocent mistake, the comments not only show that the writer isn’t particularly familiar with the team but not even with the work in the rest of the book.

  1. Kyle Davies is dismissed as “Live arm, good K rates, not much else.” Leaving aside that that’s pretty much the description of a pitching prospect (I know, TNSTAAPP) and that his control isn’t nightmarish or something, BP rates him as the 47th best prospect in baseball. The chapter writer whines about Davies’ “mechanics being overhauled several times”; Rany Jazayerli in the prospects chapter mentions one overhaul (the only one I was aware of) by the Braves, which improved Davies’ velocity. But what would the Braves know about pitching?
  2. Jose Capellan will “probably do a fair Matt Anderson imitation”. BP rates Capellan the 43rd-best prospect in baseball.
  3. Gregor Blanco is listed as a third baseman, though the comment (correctly) calls him a centerfielder. The writer actually thinks higher of Blanco than I do, for what it’s worth.
  4. Johnny Estrada’s still being considered a fluke. I think he’s at minimum a .290 hitter, and I see no reason to think that he’s going to regress any more than that anytime soon.
  5. The continued claim that Chipper Jones is a total butcher at third base, rather than a slightly below-average, and well above replacement-level, third baseman. I dealt with this argument in the comments to this post; I’ll summarize by saying that they’re making an elementary mistake of comparing a player to the average rather than the replacement level, which penalizes a serviceable defensive player like Chipper; a guy like him who ranges from C to D+ defense winds up looking far worse than one who ranges from C+ to C-. They also fail to account for Mark DeRosa’s poor defense, which was a lot worse than Chipper’s; moving the latter improved the team at two positions.
  6. They give an entry on J.C. Holt while ignoring more prominent, and often more advanced, prospects like Jerrod Saltalamacchia, Luis Hernandez, and Brayan Pena, which is just weird.
  7. The writer salivates at the possibility of Chuck James getting beaten up. Not a figurative beating, like having a 6.00 ERA or something, actually being assaulted in the clubhouse.

The problem is compounded by the anonymous nature of the chapter. Former BP writer Derek Zumsteg rightly calls this dumb, but it serves a purpose. If you’re a hack, you can write something and hide in the collective rather than accept responsibility for your own statements. Since the BP group doesn’t have any Braves fans, or really anyone with a second-hand connection with the club, it’s not surprising that they aren’t too familiar with the team.

5 thoughts on “Bylines”

  1. OK guys we need a Braves chapter. Anybody know the team? …… No?…….
    OK two choices: hire somebody or give it to Joe’s friend Vinny from Staten Island – he knows Jason Marquis’ aunt.
    All for hiring somebody?……. No?…….
    Great, it’s Vinny’s. Tell him we need it tomorrow.

  2. The Hudson signing was finalized at 4 years and close to 12 million per, plus a vesting option based on IP, just as reported. It’s over at AJC. Press conference at 1pm.

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