Atlanta 5 Washington 4

ESPN.com – MLB – Box Score – Nationals at Braves

Suddenly the Natspos can’t buy a one-run victory, and suddenly the Braves are three games up in the division. Today’s game started off easy, the Braves jumping to a 4-0 lead after four, but got close quickly.

The big story was Jeff Francoeur. Starting his second game in a row against a righty, he hit a pair of home runs. The first was a no-doubter in the fourth to make the game 2-0. The second was a golf shot — it was practically in the dirt — which cleared the fence in the fifth to make it 5-2.

The bottom and top of the order did their jobs, which is good because the middle had a real off day. Back in the three-spot, Chipper was 0-4; so were Andruw and LaRoche (back hitting fifth). But all the other position players had at least one hit, and all but McCann had two. Furcal was 3-3 with two walks, tripled to set up the game’s first run, and scored twice. Marcus, back in the two spot, had two hits and a walk and drove in two with a fourth-inning double. Langerhans got the start in left and was 2-3 with a double and a walk.

Jorge Sosa was great through four innings, then fell apart. In the fifth, he allowed a double, got the next two guys, then walked the bases loaded, including one to Cristian Guzman who can’t hit water falling out of a boat. He then allowed an infield single to score a run but got out of it with a flyout. But in the sixth it was double-single-single-Jay Powell, who came in and put out the fire. Sosa’s final line shows seven hits, two runs, four strikeouts, and two walks, but that doesn’t really reflect his pitching, which was great, then terrible.

Brower allowed a two-run homer in the seventh, which probably means that Kolb is still the setup man even though he allowed two two-out hits in the eighth and McBride had to bail him out by striking out Church. Reitsma pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.

The rest of the division plays tonight. As of this moment, the Braves lead the Natspos by three, the Mets by five and a half, and the Phillies and Marlins by six… The Braves now host Pittsburgh for three. Horacio will face Dave Williams in the opener. I don’t recall ever hearing about this guy before, but he’s from Alaska so I’m guessing he won’t enjoy the weather. Saturday someone, probably Kyle Davies, will face someone, probably not Mark Redman, who is likely to be traded before then but is still listed as the starter for the Pirates.

90 thoughts on “Atlanta 5 Washington 4”

  1. Mac,

    You completely left out that BLAINE BOYER should be the set up guy. Forget Brower, forget Foster and we all want to forget Kolbb.

    We need to have a discussion on here about why Bobby won’t pitch Boyer?

    I doubt we’d waste a start on him considering we can call up Colon or Davies, ANY time?

  2. Is it just me, or do we always seem to play the Pirates around the trade deadline? Last year I seem to remember Mr. Anna Benson facing the Braves three straight times — his last two starts as a Pirate and his first as a Mutt.

  3. Why does no one get Betemit’s birthdate correct – not even the Braves’ announcers?

    During the game, the Braves’ announcers wished Betemit a happy 25th birthday. This seems reasonable, since when the Braves signed Betemit, they reported his birthday as June 28, 1980.

    The only problem is that Betemit’s true birthdate was eventually revealed to be November 2, 1981. The Braves were fined and banned from signing Dominican players for a year because Betemit was only 14 when they signed him (and there was a law suit over whether or not Betemit should be declared a free agent), so you’d think someone would have noticed.

  4. I think Colon is going to start for awhile. He may move into the closers roll soon.

  5. From Frank Robinson on the ESPN.com RECAP:

    Game notes
    Castilla snapped an 0-for-18 slump with a second-inning infield single. … Nationals manager Frank Robinson came out for a long argument with plate umpire Gerry Davis after the first pitch from Powell in the sixth inning. On Tuesday, Robinson showed reporters a DVD of Powell’s delivery, in which Powell picks up his right foot twice before throwing a pitch. Robinson believes Powell balks before every pitch, but Davis was not swayed by the argument.

    Comments: Frank Robinson is a bully and an ASSHOLE. I have never seen anyone so bent on making everything go his way and starting trouble at every possible turn. This guy is the guy who stole a win from us in D.C. when he got Brian Jordan’s HOME RUN reversed.

    what a total ASSHOLE.

  6. Strong games for both Franceour and Langerhans today. So the question is, have my prayers been answered and we have seen the end of the Kelly Johnson as an everyday top of the order hitter experiment?

  7. Joel, the Braves are the ones who say he is turning 25. Check the daily press pack

    I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s the Braves organization that is spreading the falshood if that’s what it is.

  8. Chuck James still isn’t on the 40 man so it won’t be him. Davies pitched two days ago, so he might be a good bet.

  9. what a total ASSHOLE.

    Probably true, but I can’t imagine an interpretation of the rulebook that doesn’t make Powell’s set motion a balk. That first leg lift should be considered the start of his motion and could obviously be deceptive to the runner. His explanation of “but I do it every time” should be followed with a response of “well then you balk every time”. This is one of the many times that the umpires do not strictly enforce the rules just to avoid a hastle.

  10. Alex – I’m a Braves/Spurs guy too. Root for the Vikings and we might be brothers.

  11. Maybe Sosa should go back to the bullpen – he doesn’t seem to have the endurance for a starter.

  12. The worst thing about watching these afternoon baseball games is that I usually default over to cnn afterwards and invariably end up watching this insanely stupid “inside the blogs” feature on Inside Politics. Easily one of the dumbest things on TV.

  13. It’s not meant to deceive, and MLB has never enforced that rule that way.

    Obviously never is hyperbole, but yes I’ll concede that they are much more accepting of motions that could be considered deceptive these days. I don’t know why since stolen bases are already becoming extinct (Ryan Freel’s scintillating performance last night not withstanding), and it’s one of the more exciting plays in the game of baseball.

  14. Speaking as a blogger… Yeah, you’re right. They’re dumber than most things on CNN. They’re almost as dumb as Headline News Primetime.

  15. I think Francoeur should be in there every day. I’ve said that for a while. Ryan and Kelly should platoon in left for now and give Jeff the occasional day off. Francoeur is bound to slump at some point, but is a stud and will put up the numbers. He should be in there every day.
    As for Johnson’s struggles, he is just hitting that point where the pitchers are taking advantage of his patience. He will bounce back once he adjusts. Hes young. Give him time. He did need a day off however.
    Something else I was thinking about. We need a SS next year. Why not move Kelly back in there? He played SS in the minor leagues and was moved to the outfield a year+ ago. Something to think about.
    As for our everyday lineup right now. I think we should go with:
    1. SS Furcal
    2. 2B Giles
    3. 3B C. Jones
    4. CF A. Jones
    5. RF Francoeur
    6. 1B LaRoche
    7. LF Johnson/Langerhans
    8. CA McCann
    9. Pitcher

  16. Alex R., I agree completely with you about Frank Robinson. The guy tries to bully his way to wins(not doing much good lately). I’ve always seen him as a great former player(and mediocre–at best–manager)who keeps getting jobs because he’s a great former player. On the balk non-call by the umps, I thought I heard somewhere recently that if the player keeps the same delivery(for runners on and no runners on) then it’s not considered a balk. I’m sure Frank knows this.

  17. The dumbest is on right now (I won’t say who that is since it veers slightly into politics, even though perceived bias isn’t my issue, but he’s been mentioned in a recent investigation and his name rhymes with Rob Strovack).

    Anyway, if calling the balk by the book brings back the running game, I’d be all for it. I don’t know if that’s the answer, but I do hope baseball figures out some way to bring it back. It’s just too much fun to be without.

  18. Actually that was a mistake. I want LaRoche and Francoeur swapped their. The lefties should be split up.

  19. the kj to short thing is something we may consider this winter. My only question is why he was moved to the outfield in the first place. Was it just because we have a glut of SS in the minors or was his defense not up to snuff.

  20. I like Bill James’ suggestion of limiting throws to first. My version would be that you have one free throw over per at-bat, and after that if you don’t get the guy it’s a ball.

  21. A bit of both as far as I remember, Joshg. I think that at the time the Braves had lots of middle infield prospects in the minors and few outfielders. It’s just that most of those infielders have fallen by the wayside.

  22. I asked that question on minorleagueball.com a while back. The answer I got from someone who seemed to know what he was talking about (though it wasn’t Sickels and I have no idea who the guy is) said that he didn’t have the natural range and footwork necessary to make a good major league shortstop out of.

  23. I have to imagine that Francoeur is the everyday RF now, which makes the KJ/ Langerhans competition in LF strange; they are both lefthanded, making no natural platoon; KJ is more highly regarded, but Langerhans has had a better year, particularly aginst lefties (.323/.417/.548, standard small sample size caveats). When/ if Francoeur comes back to earth, that will further confuse things. So a corner OF still looks like a desirable pickup.

    Oh, and Skip wondered on broadcast if Frank Robinson got away with extra complaining because he used to be head of discipline. Bullies tend to continue their behavior when it doesn’t cost them anything.

  24. That is a good idea, Mac.

    As for KJ’s switch from short, i believe they were uncertain about his defense and thus moved him out of there. Originally, he was to be a 3B. I’m sure the promising future of Luis Hernandez had something to do with it as well.

  25. whoops! I was reading both your sites, Mac, GREAT stuff…posted in the wrong place! ha! :-)

  26. I don’t see why any of them needs to be given an everyday job. If anybody did, it was Kelly Johnson… and I only say that because he has particular skills (namely, getting on base and working the count) that could be a big help to this particular lineup. But now that that hasn’t been working out so well, why not just a rough three-way rotation that’s weighted a little towards Francoeur and Johnson? Maybe limiting their exposure a little would be a good thing for a while.

  27. That is what I am thinking Mr. Reynolds. I like the weighted platoon idea, however, the trick is weighting it towards the hot players. Right now, that means keeping Francoeur in there.

  28. No kidding. Ride the horse ’til it dies, right? I don’t know if he’s ready or not, but this sure is fun.

  29. I hate to see guys quit running like Marcus did in the 8th. How many times do you think Pete Rose turned grounders like that into base hits?

  30. (sorry, another day where I obviously don’t have enough work to do)

    So if we’re sold on Francoeur (ready or not, he at least looks to be up for the duration), and more worried about Johnson now that he’s going through his second funk and actually earning it this time, does Matt Lawton now make sense if something can be done with the budget? Somebody mentioned a rumor about this earlier. The Pirates need just about everything. The one rumor I’ve heard is Larry Bigby. You’d have to think the Braves can beat that… but I don’t know if they can do enough to get the salary concessions necessary.

    I had been thinking another OF would need to be right-handed, but maybe that’s not so anymore (which is good, because there aren’t many worth having out there). I like Langerhans, but he’s not the kind of guy you make a stink about hanging onto, and you gotta figure that between them KJ and Frenchy can hold down right (I’m assuming Kelly can play right ok).

    ASG – My best answer is “probably many more times than he saw his kid while he was growing up.” Sorry… I know what you mean, and you’re right. I just hate Pete Rose.

  31. If you can make the money work with Lawton, I’d do it. It’s just the money for this year, since he’s a free agent. I’ve always liked him, and he can hit at the top of the order.

    Reasons I Love Google, number 34,517: Type in Matt Lawton contract and see what happens. It’s obviously beta and doesn’t work for everyone, but gosh.

  32. “I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s the Braves organization that is spreading the falshood if that’s what it is.”

    I understand that the Braves, for whatever reason, have never bothered to update Betemit’s birthdate in their team information.

    But the Braves were fined $100,000 and prohibited from scouting or signing Dominican players for 6 months because MLB determined that July 28, 1980 was NOT Betemit’s birthdate. According to various sources at the times (including the lawsuit filed by Betemit’s agent Scott Shapiro), Betemit’s real birthdate is supposedly November 2, 1981. His corrected birthdate was supposedly confirmed as accurate during the visa age scandal when hundreds of prospects were revealed as having falsified their birthdates.

    Maybe the Braves don’t like to dwell on the fact that they apparently signed Betemit when he was 14. But (AFAIK) they’ve never denied it, and they paid a hefty penalty over this issue. I’m just not sure why everyone (ESPN, BPro, etc.) has continued using the supposedly fake birthdate.

    If Betemit’s real birthdate is July 28 after all, why hasn’t that ever been reported (in view of the penalties, lawsuit, etc.)?

  33. Other corner OFs that may be available (beside B. Giles!) and could fit, assuming budget works out:

    W. Pea – how much do Reds want? He’s clearly the one out in their 4-man rotation at the moment, but with the Reds, that mayt mean nothing…
    D. Hollins, TB – the Mayor should be far more gettable than Gomes, and is hitting pretty well this year.
    R. Hidalgo, Tex – very hot and cold, but superior defender.
    D. Mohr, Col – assuming they keep Byrnes, he looks expendable.
    R. Ibaez, Sea – highest paid here, so least likely

  34. Not sure why we’d want any of those 5 OF other than Pena, who too can be hot and cold. I don’t see any of them as improvements, only bringing experience to the table. I’d rather roll with what we have and make a bigger move in the offseason than try to throw money at a perceived problem (that may or may not be there) right now. Just my personal preference, though.

  35. Personally, if we could get one of those 5 (esp. Pea) for a B-grade prospect, I’d vote for sending down KJ until he gets his act together. Langerhans makes a nice 4th OF, but neither he nor KJ should be starting regularly on a good team, and if the league figures out Francoeur, that’ll be both corners with susbtandard production. Hence the expected improvement – though I’d be loathe to offer KJ or Langerhans for any of them (save Pea).

  36. does anyone think Guillen’s slide into Chipper was intentional today. It looked like he tried to spike him in the leg. If no one saw it, Chipper was catching a throw from McCann and was stretched out towards home plate. Guillen slide in between Chippers legs and basically flipping him in the air.. Any thoughts on this

  37. Watching Francoeur you can understand how all the scouts are in love with this guy. His bat speed is ridiculous. Still, you want to see his walk totals rise so he can become elite.

  38. Everyone was rough on Furcal but now he’s hitting and the defense and base stealing was always there. I don’t think we should dump him or move kj to short we should try and resign now before the offseason. Love or hate him I think he’s worth holding onto. Name a better shortstop that atlanta has had Belliard, Blauser I mean come on. Plus his shoulder has been messed up. Enough bad mouthing this guy he worth keeping.

  39. …and the Braves can’t afford Furcal. It is not badmouthing, he will just be too expensive, so we need a replacement.

  40. I have to ask, where did all the people suddenly come from around here? It seems like for years until a few months ago this was a forum frequented by a small but regular number of posters. Don’t get me wrong, I like the newfound popularity, but did something in particular happen to driv eup the numbers?

  41. I think its great all these people are here, I was just a reader for years, no I post on occasion if its a subject I wont make a total ass of myself….

  42. Part of it is that we’ve gotten some traffic from the game threads that used to be posted over at the BravesBeat blog and before that at BravesBuzz. Some may just be natural growth. There may be a few people who came over from the Road From Bristol, though that’s only the last couple of weeks.

  43. Yeah I have read this site for a couple of years now and only recently been posting. I don’t know what it is, maybe the excitement the rookies have injected into the team. It doesn’t feel like we are going through the motions this year.

    To Alex R.
    I apologize for my comments a few weeks ago. Your comments are valuable to the site and keep it interesting, and you mean no harm in what you say. My summer job is the first I have ever had just sitting at a computer and its boring and frustrating.

  44. Chipper’s comments on Guillen:

    As Jones was awaiting the throw from McCann, he had his back to Guillen, who slid with his cleats high, tearing Jones’ pants. Jones said he initially did not know he had been spiked.

    “I didn’t know what had hit me, I just knew it was high and hard,” Jones said. “I turned around and said ‘What’s up with that?’ and he immediately started apologizing. It’s kind of hard to deck a guy when he is apologizing.”

    When it was suggested Guillen and the Nationals were frustrated, Jones said: “The next time I get frustrated, I’ll try to take it out on their best player and see how he feels about it. … We’ll see what happens the next time we play them.”

  45. Just sort of wondering about the population increase. As I said, I think it’s cool (especially if all these people hang around for the offseason), it just seemed pretty darned sudden.

  46. Here’s Guillen’s response, courtesy of ESPN:

    “Guillen said he was just trying to prevent a double play and didn’t think he did anything wrong.

    ‘Wait until next time and I’ll show you what a dirty play is,’ Guillen said when told of Jones’ comments.”

  47. I like the newfound popularity, but did something in particular happen to driv eup the numbers?

    I would vote for ‘exciting young team in a real pennent race’ view. The sense that we can start printing playoff tickets in April is gone and has been replaced by desire to keep one of the best streaks in sports alive. Seems to have revitalized the fan base if the crowds during this Nats series are any indication.

  48. For those who have CSS, the R-Braves are on. Bonus – if you hurry, you can catch Bernero pitching (are you still there, JC?)

  49. This is going to wind up with a fight.

    From a team that can often times be described as lethargic, I’m glad to see the competitive spirit from the team leader here.

    But still, couldn’t we pick a fight with a guy who’s not, you know, clinically insane?

  50. Hey, that’s an idea. Let’s use the guys who are hurt and can’t play anyway to charge the field. Eddie, Jordan, Hampton. If they need help, send Kolb.

  51. I think that’s a pretty bold statement by Chipper to say he’s the best player on the Braves. Don’t get me wrong; I love Chipper, but Andruw is having a ridiculous season offensively and throw in Gold Glove centerfield defense and I think it’s pretty close.

    With that said, Chipper grew up about an hour away from me, and I think he’s one of the best quote-machines the Braves have. “It’s kind of hard to deck a guy when he is apologizing.” I’m sorry but that’s hilarious.

    Anybody got any good quotes by Braves to share?

  52. Here’s a thought. If we ever drop Kolb, we can sign an enforcer with no baseball skills whatsoever and just dare Guillen to say somethin’. I’d pay to see that.

  53. TBS of course shows a game when I am at work. I hope to see some baseball sometime this summer.

    Thanks to whomever suggested foxsports game feed. It is superior to ESPNs.

    Bobby will play Francouer until he goes 0 for 50 or something and thats the right thing to do. Although most of us believe the kid has some holes in his game he is red hot now and Cox should ride that streak as long as it lasts. Bobby showed the same amount of patience with KJ whom I still think can come out of it and be productive. Langerhans is a terrific 4th outfielder. He hits a little and is a superior defender at all 3 OF positions. But again if he is playing better then he should get the start over KJ.

    Man the relief pitching is scary inconsistent. Just the mention of Foster or Kolbb’s name brings a cold sweat. It will be very interesting to see what if anything comes via trade.

  54. Great sweep!!! I am pumped up. Francoeur looks like the real deal. He’s going to have some bad days but he brings the energy this team has lacked for awhile. I just wish we had Marte up doing the same thing. (For collectors, there’s a Marte/Francoeur card in this year’s Topps Set that might be worth the pickup.) The Businesslike attitude of past teams has been replaced.

    Mac, Someone important must read these boards because I suggested Francoeur in the lineup everyday On Saturday/Sunday and a Langer/KJ rotation in left, and you suggested swapping Giles and Chipper in the lineup. Coincidence???? I think not.
    Who the heck let Kolb out of the locked bathroom in Arizona? I thought we had this Kolb Yeller problem solved.. Padlock with armed guard people.

    Frank Robinson reminds me of that kid in school who took notes on who was talking while the teacher was out of the room. He’s really getting annoying. Frank, your were a great player and you were the Head of Discipline YOUR NOT ANYMORE..

    We still need 1 more arm in the pen… Sorry for the long post but I’m Pumped about this team…

  55. yea foxsports is a good way to go. Your welcome Johnny.
    I was also PO’d about the broadcast while I was working. Bah. I was also not home at 7pm, when minorleaguebaseball.com broadcasted the video of the Richmond game live. At least they have audio for all the minor league games. In fact, some dude just hit his 5th homer of the WEEK against Mississippi. Ouch.

    The Yanks just got Shawn Chacon.

    As for the Guillen thing, I figure nothing will be made of it. The Braves have too much class. Typical Guillen however. Its too bad he acts like he is 12. Hes a good talent.

  56. I hate Baseball Tonight. Harold Reynolds basically just said that Cano should win AL Rookie of the Year because he came up with the Yankees.

    Bowa, at least, gave Street some props. I’d go for Iguchi, a five-tool second baseman, but Street is at least reasonable.

  57. HOLLY CRAP

    I just now saw Jeff’s second homer today. What a bomb. That ball was low and away and he reached down and crushed it to left. That was Vlad-like. He has a helluva future guys.

  58. Colin, I’ve been wondering the same thing. I remember when threads would get like 3 to 10 comments max (unless they degenerated into someone fighting with Raoul about religion or something).

    What’s interesting is that “Braves fever” is carrying over into the stadium too. Three weekday crowds of 40k plus probably hasn’t happened in quite a while (that’s me, assuming and not actually confirming with data :).

    It’s too bad that Brad isn’t running No Pepper any more, because it would probably get a bunch of traffic too. Oh well.

  59. B-b-b-b-but it can’t be Iguchi. He played in Japan for years.*

    *That’s about the dumbest argument you could possibly make not to give someone an award named after a guy who didn’t debut until he was 28 because he was playing in another league (one probably much better than in Japan). I know a lot of people say Jackie Robinson’s case is different. It was, but while it was certainly unspeakably uglier (and prevented lots of guys from ever playing Major League baseball), Iguchi wasn’t exactly free to play in this league before now.

  60. Of course, that’s another part of it, since No Pepper and Future Braves aren’t getting updated there’s fewer places to go. (We’re working on it.)

  61. I just saw Joey Devines stats in the minors, his ERA took a very big hit in the last game. Anyone know what happened in that game?

  62. re: Iguchi & creynolds comments.
    I know that the rules are written the way they are, and that Japanese players pretty much always get an advantage regarding ROY (not saying attacking or defending, just saying). However, I’m hearing a lot (and by a lot, it obviously means circles I pay attention to, so BBTN, and web writers w/ the occasional paper magazine artice) of arguments that, to name a specific example, Ichiro’s Japanese league stats should be taken into account regarding HOF eligibility. And I’m sorry, but that’s having your cake & eating it too. Now, it may well be that the people advocating “no ROY for Japanese players” are the same ones saying take into account Japanese league stats for HOF (so the individuals involved may be consistent).
    Net effect, though, is that they (Japanese players) end up getting an advantage at both ends of their playing careers when it comes to awards.

  63. As for Devine, he pitched the 8th in a blowout on Wednesday and allowed three runs on three hits. On the good side, he walked no one and struck out the side. That accounted for 3 of the 4 runs he has allowed in his brief career.
    The other one game a few days before when he gave up the game winning run in the 9th against Mobile.
    That is two shaky starts in a row, but his stats still look good. He has allowed four runs in 16.2 IP at Myrtle Beach and Mississippi. He has K’d 21, walked 10, allowed 10 hits and is 1-1 with 4 saves.

  64. I’m not sure I agree, Jonathan. I see your point, don’t get me wrong. But, again, I’m not so sure the negro league comparison is that far off. If older negro leaguers qualified for rookie honors AND got some credit for their pre-WOB time, then I don’t have an issue if it gives somebody a boost. I mean some additional recognition of the fact that some may have played sooner if MLB weren’t complicit in a reserve agreement that makes Japanese players unavailable into their primes. Not full credit, but a little boost if somebody’s close.

    Honestly, though, I can see how it could get out of hand at some point. I’d rather things change and let more guys come over sooner. Maybe some day.

  65. Devine gave up a three run triple. He hit one batter … it was just “one of those days”.

  66. if ichiro’s japanese stats count, shouldn’t julio’s japanese and mexican league stats count, since he was basically dicked by major league baseball for four years? if they counted he’d have over 3000 hits right now.

    as for the balk call. it’s not a balk because he doesn’t stop his motion before lifting his leg into the air. it’s just his way of coming set. he does it every time, which takes the idea of deceiving the runner out of it. it’s not specifically laid out in the rule book that you can’t lift your leg a certain height above the mound while coming set. this is the pertinent rule:

    Before assuming Set Position, the pitcher may elect to make any natural preliminary motion such as that known as “the stretch.” But if he so elects, he shall come to Set Position before delivering the ball to the batter. After assuming Set Position, any natural motion associated with his delivery of the ball to the batter commits him to the pitch without alteration or interruption. Preparatory to coming to a set position, the pitcher shall have one hand on his side; from this position he shall go to his set position as defined in Rule 8.01 (b) without interruption and in one continuous motion.

    in the last week and a half, with today and the mike stanton debacle, frank robinson has shown he has no idea what the balk rule is in the game of baseball.

  67. Really good article. Thanks, JoeyT. I’m glad it made a point to talk about Tsuyoshi Shinjo. If for no other reason than that his is the most fun name to say ever :)

  68. has anyone else noticed how quiet the braves organization has been? I mean all the rumors we seem to pick up on are coming from out of town papers or random internet folks. They seem to be staying out on the outer edges just waiting to pounce if something pops up. I get the feeling that a deal would have to blow them away for them to make any moves.

  69. I’ve got another potential comp for Francoeur: Sam Horn. Let’s hope it’s wrong.

    I know it’s already been mentioned here, but I wanted to remind everyone that Kyle and John will be covering me over at Sabernomics. Be sure to check them out.

  70. “I’ve got another potential comp for Francoeur: Sam Horn. Let’s hope it’s wrong.”

    I’d say the comp is already fundamentally flawed.

    1) Sam Horn was a DH, while Jeff Francoeur is a plus defender in the outfield (he looks like he could be at least a passable center fielder, and his arm strength is excellent). Because his glove is an asset, Francoeur will get more opportunities to prove himself (and learn on the job) than Horn did. If Horn had been a slick fielding outfielder, then he would have gotten more playing time (as long as he hit as well as he did in 1990-1991).

    2) Horn walked a lot, didn’t have good speed, and couldn’t field. Francoeur walks way too little, has excellent speed, and is a potential gold glover. Francoeur is a prototypical 5-tool athlete who hasn’t demonstrated control of the strike zone, whereas Sam Horn was his polar opposite in many important respects. I don’t think that there is much reason to expect that their career paths will necessarily be all that similar.

    3) Horn was 2 years older than Francoeur before he got his first shot at the majors.

    4) Horn was awful at age 22 (in AA and AAA), and he was pretty mediocre in AAA at ages 24 and 25. Horn tore up AAA and the majors in 1987, but there is a lot of reason to think that he just happened to have his career year at age 23. It happens sometimes, but there is no particular reason to think that Jeff is having his career year at age 21 (obviously, he’s not going to maintain a .441 batting average or a .971 slugging average – but that’s a result of small sample size, not a career year).

    If you want a “bad” comp for Jeff, I’m sure that there are plenty of low walk, toolsy washouts that are better matches than Horn.

    If you want a recent comp with a Braves connection that is probably more realistic, I’d look at Jermaine Dye (with probably more power).

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