Game Thread: August 4, Braves at Reds

Atlanta Braves Positional Chart – Baseball-Reference.com

Something to think about while we wait… In the comments to yesterday’s recap, we’ve been talking about where Marcus Giles and Rafael Furcal stand in Braves’ history. The team’s middle infield history isn’t particularly glorious. For whatever reason, the franchise’s best players (going back to the Boston days) have tended to be pitchers, third basemen, and center fielders. After Hank Aaron, of course.

107 thoughts on “Game Thread: August 4, Braves at Reds”

  1. What do you make of Hubbard’s defense when comparing him with Giles? Michael Humphreys’ DRA stat ranked his 1985 as the greatest defensive performance by a second baseman in history. BPro has him at around 50 WARP3 compared with just over 25 for Giles.

    Here is Hubbard’s DT card. Wish I was older than 4 in 1985 – I would have liked to see him play defense.

  2. Furcal’s range factor(assists + put outs) per 9 innings is 4.79 compared to 4.09 for Blauser. Much better defensively than Blauser

  3. BPro likes Blauser by a hair, 40 WARP3 to 33 for Furcal. Although some of Blauser’s total is not from his time with the Braves.

  4. Furcal
    Johnson
    Giles
    Jones
    LaRoche
    Francouer
    McCann
    Betemit
    Davies

    why is Johnson back at 2nd…here’s an idea lets move Giles back to the 3rd whole because he’s getting on base to much..or we can say Francouer didnt do his job last night just 3 for 4…this is frustrating..Johnson better go 5 for 5

  5. Hubbard’s defense was outstanding. How outstanding largely depends upon how much weight you give to the double plays he turned. James, while granting that he was an excellent pivot man, thinks that a lot of it was opportunity. Hubbard was one of the best defensive second basemen ever, but I don’t think that it can overcome ordinary offense.

  6. A complete homegrown line-up with 5 rookies and 1 sophmore. The oldest player is, I don’t know maybe 27?

  7. When Giles came up hardly anyone thought he would make it. His defensive turn around has been credited to Glen Hubbard.

  8. Hubbard was great to watch play defense. He made more leaping catches of line drives than anyone I can remember. Of course, he was short, so he did a lot of leaping.

    About his 1985 season, which Total Baseball ranked as the best single season defensive performance regardless of position. The Braves pitching staff that season nearly managed the rare Triple Crown of Those Things Which Result In A Great Many Double Play Opportunities. They finished last in the league in hits allowed and strikeouts, and 11th in walks allowed. It’s been suggested that this has skewed Hubbard’s stats somewhat. Still, he was a fine defender.

  9. I must’ve seen Hubbard play 500 games and he’s the best 2B I ever saw at turning two. Unbelievable release, deceptively strong arm & totally fearless. I recall Dave Parker just undressing him a few times. He’d end up in left field, but he stuck his nose in there like a pro & completed the play. Helluva defensive 2B.

    Fairly ordinary offensive player, though I do recall some big hits in ’82-’83. He hit 2nd in the order sometimes & 7th other times. Torre juggled the lineup a lot (and did a lot of weird stuff, like overplay guys like Alex Trevino–but that’s another story).

    The 2B I wish I’d seen every day was Mazeroski…

  10. Hubbard was a very good player. He was one of those guys who you just expected to make every play . I don’t think he ever won a gold glove however, someone correct me if i’m wrong.

  11. Why is KJ back batting second?

    Bobby must REALLY want Furcal to get back stealing bases.

  12. Giles has the most opposite field hits in the NL. In this age of scouting and shifting, that’s a really important skill.

  13. I’m new here. Thought I’d start off by asking if anyone else is tired of watching LaRoche beat the ball into the ground every at-bat.

  14. He’s hitting second because there’s a righthander pitching and Bobby didn’t want to push Chipper into the lineup, which moves Marcus to third. Someone has to hit there. Who would you prefer, Estrada?

  15. Actually, I’d prefer we try to pick up a Rondell White-ish player from waivers. I don’t trust an outfield that’s 2/3 rookies to carry us very far in the postseason.

    And for a new guy, I’m talking an awful lot, eh?

  16. Stu, Mac’s right about wanting a lefty there. It’s just that there are two lefties batting around .300 in the lineup already.

  17. I’m confused why does Marcus have to move back to the 3 hole when Chipper is out of the lineup! Why couldnt we leave Francouer in the 3 hole or put Johnson in the 3 hole. What advantage do we have by putting Johnson ahead of Giles?

  18. Hampton pitching for Richmond tonight, James for Mississippi. I’ll take Francoeur in 3rd.

  19. He doesn’t want to mess with Andruw hitting cleanup. With all due respect to how Francoeur has started off, Marcus is the team’s second-best hitter with Chipper out. So you have your two best hitters hitting back-to-back. It’s not ideal but it’s preferable to sticking someone else between them.

  20. A lefty in the box with Furcal on base makes it a tougher throw for the catcher. I still think it’s worth the extra split second, though, to leave Giles batting second. The problem with McCann is he’s too slow to bat 2nd. The problem with Betemit is he doesn’t make enough consistent contact to be a reliable no. 2 guy.

  21. I would say that anyone makes more contact than Johnson right now, but Bobby will stick w/ him. Well see how this works out

  22. Re: Rondell White. Perhaps my feelings are colored by the one year I saw him stink it up in LF at Yankee Stadium (I’m a Brave fan in NYC, but an NYY ticketholder cuz most of my friends root for the Evil Emprire.) But I’d rather take my chances with the rooks. It’s not like White has a lot of post-season experience either. No arm in left, to boot.

    From all reports, however, White is one of those “much-loved clubhouse guys.”

    Hell with it. Roll with the rooks.

  23. Haha it’s what I do. Welcome to the fold, so to speak.

    ;)

    As for me, I’m fine with the line-up.

    I’d have McCann ahead of Francoeur, but that’s me.

    Re: Rondell White, I have no problem with the outfield as it is, as long as Brian Jordan’s not on the post-season roster, we’ll be fine.

  24. I couldn’t disagree more. This will make for our weakest lineup–by far–over the past several years. If we have any hope of beating the Cardinals, we need another bat. Or for the St. Louis players to continue dropping like flies. I’d prefer to be proactive and get somebody.

    Also, make fun of BJ if you like, but he’s every bit the player Johnson/Langerhans are right now. And once Francouer makes it through the league a turn, he’ll slow down as the scouting reports circulate. The lack of any plate discipline with him is also disturbing. He’ll be a fine player for many years, but I don’t like relying on rookies at both corner outfield spots.

  25. Hmmm…like i said the other day, he will heat up likely towards the end of this week. He’ll go on a nice little run now. Crazy, Streaky Andruw.

  26. Mac: Maybe we should have whoever throws BP hit Andruw when he’s in there to hit?

    Haha

  27. You did call that, Mac.

    If there is a correlation between HBP and a hot streak, I wonder if it’s causal or if there’s some common cause.

    Causal:

    The “Andruw … gets … SO … ANGRY” theory. Hardly plausable.

    The “Andruw has to locate pitches better to not be plugged” theory. HBP force him to pay attention.

    The “Andruw needs his space” theory. HBP forces him to back up, which helps his swing.

    Common cause:

    He’s being aggressive, which leads to crowding the plate and HBP as well as more offense.

    He’s “in the zone”, which means he’s locked into the pitch, and not paying attention to, say, his own safety.

    I’ve never used retrosheet before, but it would be neat to see if there’s some demonstrable connection and, if so, what the nature of the connection is. The fact you called it is creepy.

  28. Responding to Mac from the other thread re: Giles/Hubbard. Mac, I think you are giving Giles to much credit for his potential. If you throw out his first two years, that leaves one full season of MVP-level play, and 2004 which I’ll grant is near all-star level for a 2B, but it was only 379 at-bats. That leaves alot of playing time for Mark DeRosa (OPS+ 59) and Nick Green (OPS+ 80). Sure, he’s on track for a full season at the same level now, but knowing him, he could crash into LaRoche tonight while chasing a pop-up and miss the rest of the season (knock-in-wood), so I’m not willing to give him credit yet. And I just don’t think you can name him the Braves best 2B ever based on a single season.

    Anyway, I wish I could actually watch a Braves game some time this month . . .

  29. As for the Jordan v. the Rooks:

    KJ:.230/.320/.385 7HR in 200AB
    RL:.244/.325/.398 6HR in 221AB
    BJ:.244/.292/.335 3HR in 209AB

    Granted, none of those is setting the world on fire, but KJ has a nice walk rate, and Langerhans hits lefties well(.316/.395/.500 to Jordan’s .250/.328/.433), so if you want a lefty Masher, Langerhans is a better option. (And slightly better than Rondell White’s .307/.333/.453 against lefties, though admittedly, White has more PA’s against them)

    Again, I’ll grant that these aren’t JD Drew or Sheffield numbers, but in the past it has seemed like it didn’t matter who we had in the playoffs they all forgot to hit. So who really knows?

  30. Small anecdotal sample: In the space of 3 games I attended in Philly last month, I saw KJ break a game open with a 3-run HR off a hard thrower, Langerhans win a game with a 3B off the fence off Billy Wags & BJ looked hopeless against anyone who threw a heater up. Against Wagner, BJ’s AB was like watching a public execution.

    I’m willing to admit that this team may not be that good, but Ted Turner doesn’t own the team anymore & help is not on the way. This team is what it is. The rooks make it fun.

    I’ve been following this team since 1970 & this team is one of my faves. They’re a blast. I can’t bitch about it. You should hear the Yankee & Met fans around here–they totally take the joy out of baseball. Most of them only expect to buy players off the rack like ties. The idea of developing talent doesn’t much cross their minds. From my perspective, this team is the ultimate face-wash to these people. I tell ’em: “Grow your own.”

    End of sermon.

  31. I’m all for developing talent. I’m also having a blast watching the kids play. I love these guys. I’m just saying, we aren’t advancing to the World Series with 2 rookies in the outfield. Which is a little frustrating, since we seem to have the rotation (assuming at least thomson gets healthy) and bullpen to make a run this year.

  32. And my point with BJ was not that he’s a good player anymore. Just that you shouldn’t praise the rookies and make fun of him, when their production levels are so similar.

  33. Mike Hampton just reached his pitch count of 60ish and left the Richmond game. His line: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 Ks. “An impressive outing” says commentator.

  34. Random Thought: Mac, How comes your partners at FutureBraves do not update anymore??

  35. Mike: There are no more future Braves. There’re all here already.

    (joke answer, in case that didn’t come off as hilarious here as it was in my head. Ok it wasn’t really that funny in my head, but still)

  36. Hey . . . the Braves are on TBS. I just assume they aren’t lately. SO I’m off to watch the game.

  37. Ironically, Latnam, I was thinking the EXACT same thing when i pressed “Post.” Haha.

  38. I just spilled salsa ALL OVER the living room floor on my way to watch the game.

    Thanks, Braves.

  39. Stu: I hear you, but I don’t think BJ can play anymore. My gut & my eyes tell me he’s done. He ain’t getting any better, And believe me, I’ve appreciated everything he’s done for ATL. The homers off Franco & Benitez put him ahead of a lot of Braves in my book. His first half in 1999 was amazing.

    But I’m willing to watch these rooks actually play a season at this level before I think I know what they’re going to do for the rest of their careers. (Even if they just become tasty trade bait for someone in the offseason…)

  40. Well, there are all here except for Marte.

    Best prospect in Baseball can’t crack our line-up, while numbers 27(Francoeur), 44(McCann), & 47(Davies) are playing tonight.

    (All numbers courtesy(sp?) of Baseball Prospectus, all names are courtesy of the player’s parents)

  41. JD: I used to do the free trials on Whatif. I never could make myself pay for a season. Though I was intrigued by their Hockey sims.

    I’ve been playing some Baseball Mogul here recently, I hear they have an online version too, but I don’t know too much about it.

  42. Everyone at Future Braves has been really busy with their real lives and real jobs. I have no life and my career has stalled, so I’m free.

  43. Ah ic. Well thank you for your hard work, Mac. Hopefully your career gets back on track, i think? haha.

  44. Blaine was in my pre-school and kindergarten classes….I went to his 5-year old birthday party. Needless to say, he’s my favorite.

  45. Jeez. I wouldn’t believe this if I weren’t seeing it. When is this kid going to come back to earth?

    WOW.

  46. Although it’s ultimately up to the ump, generally speaking, if the wrists “break” or the bat crosses the front plane of the plate, it’s a swing.

    But, yeah, there’s no rule of which I’m aware.

  47. At least he didn’t go berserk on the umpire this time. I must say, Marcus’s temper can be a little bit scary on occasion.

  48. Hell, Kolb could’ve done that.

    There go my dreams of a Farnsworth .00 ERA in the NL this year.

  49. Come on, Rob, don’t be ridiculous. Casey’s homerun wasn’t out anywhere else in baseball, and Furcal should have ended the inning 2 batters ago. Farnsworth’s doing fine and he’s a great addition.

  50. I agree with Stu about Farnsworth. He looks fine.

    I was just thinking, with all the talk about budget in the other thread, and a comment about his contract by Skip, was Francoeur brought up over a AAA player for financial reasons?

    All these rookies, even at the minimum, start to add up to a decent amount of cash, considering the Braves are paying the people on the DL anyway. IIRC, wasn’t Francoeur’s contract something on the order of $300 G this year anyway? That’s awful close to the major league minimum.

    It seems like it would be a neat chain of events if the contract necessary to keep him from college football not only allowed him to drop to the Braves in the draft, but also caused the Braves to promote him earlier than anticipated.

  51. Come on, you armchair spazzes. You act like Bob Gibson never allowed a run. I mean, really: do you think just because you’ve read a Baseball Prospectus article or two, you’ve earned that snarky “attitude”? Do you even know what you’re talking about? Have your feet ever touched grass?

  52. Francoeur was brought up because he was kicking ass in baseballs hardest park and is one of the teams hottest prospects. Also, no AAA outfielder was quite as ready as he was, regardless of ages.

    If all else fails, I like Kerry Robinson, who is in Richmond right now. He’s no JD or Sheff, but hes not bad.

  53. Regardless of Jeffys upcoming slump (going to happen, happens to the best of em), he is going to be a GREAT major leauge hitter. He can hit balls anywhere, reminds me of Vlad at the plate.

  54. Have your feet ever touched grass?

    I usually wear spikes when I’m on the field, thanks. Or did you mean any grass? I suppose I went barefoot in the yard when I was a kid.

  55. Umm, I wasn’t really getting onto Farnsworth. I think he’s a fine addition to the bullpen. I do realize that Kolb in that situation would’ve been much worse.

    I seriously (secretely) wanted Farnsworth to not give up a run with the Braves this year. I think it would’ve been neat, for lack of a better word. I knew it was unlikely, but it was at least slightly possible, thinking of the 30-40 games he’s likely to pitch in the rest of the year. (it may not even be that many)

  56. I agree re: LaRoche. That’s what happens when you hit the ball where it’s pitched and stop trying to pull everything.

  57. That RBI hit by Francoeur looked like a ball – it be great if he took a walk now and then, but how do you tell him that when he’s hitting balls off his shoes to drive in a run?

  58. And if everyone wasnt here earlier, Hampton allowed one run and four hits in four innings (60ish pitches) in a rehab start at Richmond.

  59. Have your feet ever touched grass?

    If you’re referring to actual baseball-playing experience, I played high school baseball and I’m about to be playing college baseball. Are you surprised that you can look at baseball from an intellectual point of view and actually play it at the same time?

    As for my comment on Farnsworth, I hadn’t realized it was a cheap home run courtesy of the Great American T-Ball Field. My bad.

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