414 thoughts on “Early Game Thread: August 20, Padres at Braves”

  1. 20 hits by the 8th inning last night….and that was just me in the basement with my bong. As for the Braves, my prognostication is as follows: Andruw will hit 2 homers today, Braves lose 4-3.

  2. This is my delusion. Please be careful if you try to break it!
    1)The Braves have 6 or 7 effective pitchers that can keep us competitive in Sept. as they drive for the playoffs.

    2) Bobby Cox knows who those pitchers are.

    3)He continues to send piles of crap like Kolb and Brower and HoRam out there to protect those pitchers.

    It may be a delusion, but it helps me sleep.

  3. Devine has been called up (see the forum), and the speculation is that it’s Brower or Kolb going out. My first thought was Brower, but then I had a thought. The Red Sox DFAed Belhorn (I’m not sure if there was a corresponding move), and they suppsedly want Kolb. This could be a waiver wire deal here for Adam Stern.

  4. Whew. And if the Sox really want Kolb, more power to them. I am especially looking forward to reading what Bill Simmons would write after a few Kolbian adventures.

  5. Do you think they’d actually use Stern over Jordan? He’d be a perfect 5th OF going into the playoffs, but I just expect that to be Jordan by default. And the Red Sox have jumped through a lot of hoops to keep him, presumably for the same purpose.

  6. I’m guessing Brower gets the DFA if there isn’t a deal somewhere. Kolb may still be tradeable, as crazy as that sounds, but Brower isn’t worth holding onto for any reason.

  7. It’s a start. McBride is a good enough replacement for Kolb if there isn’t another one when the time comes. There really was a time there when I thought maybe he’d come around, but that bubble has burst (and the belief was never all that warranted anyway). Now if Farnsworth can just close or Reitsma can get it back in a hurry, we might be ok. You don’t think we’ll have a rookie closer, do you? Sure could be fun, but also more than a little scary.

  8. Y’all hear that Andruw’s not starting today? Maybe he needs a day off, maybe he’s dinged up after hitting the wall last night…but we need all the offense we can get with Horacio in there. Does Andruw have bad career stats against Astacio? I can’t imagine that any major leaguer has bad career stats against Astacio, but still.

  9. Andruw can use some rest. We need him in September and October.

    Imagine the postseason bullpen of Farnsworth, Reitsma, Sosa, Boyer, Devine, Foster, and McBride. Remember we were saying we don’t have any strikeout pitchers in the bullpen earlier this season? Now, we have four.

    I would still say Bobby did a much better job last year than this year, but this year has been full of drama.

  10. Listening to the Bobby Cox Show:

    1. Bobby used the C-word (not that one!) in reference to Devine.

    2. Bobby calls Reitsma “Reets”.

    3. He calls Kolb “Kolbey”, pronounced “Kobe”.

    4. “I was talking with Eddie Perez, who caught Kolbey in Milwaukee, and he says that he had a great slider then. For some reason, he isn’t using it.”

    5. Kolb is a moron, but we knew that.

  11. No, not that far, James. He just said that they drafted Devine as a closer, and that he’s gotten work as a closer. I’m sure that he won’t be closing right now, but Bobby’s thinking along those lines.

  12. Bobby’s been talking about a “comittee” in the closer spot again, so Devine will probably get a few shots in the mix. Unless Farnsworth grabs the job, that is. I’d think he’ll get the first shot, just like Bernero and then Reitsma got the shots when Kolb lost the job.

  13. So is there definite confirmation that Brower was DFAed? I’m at the mercy of the Fox goobers, and they didn’t bother to mention it… my guess is that they don’t even know.

  14. I’m pretty sure I butchered the spelling on committee there. Mac, you need to add spellcheck!

  15. yeah, the official site said they hope he accepts the assignment to richmond so they can bring him back up sept 1st.

  16. The Faux guys are too busy dropping stupid movie references to tell us anything useful.

  17. Oops. The above is wrong. Try this.

    <a href=”http://text.of.link/goes/here”>text to click goes here</a>

  18. The announcers finally mention Devine, but don’t bother to mention what other moves are made. What ever happened to good announcers?

  19. No Mac, it is Roger Clemens pitching for the Padres today…

    If the Braves continue to play like this, I will start destroying my home very soon…

  20. pete on radio : “I can’t every remember Astacio pitching this well against the Braves”.

  21. I was thinking that same thing, Mac.

    Werewolves of London is the perfect choice to celebrate a foul out by Ramirez with two men on.

    ?

  22. creynolds, that sequence in “The Larry Sanders Show” is hilarious. The pained expression on Zevon’s face as he’s singing the song is classic.

  23. I miss that show… can’t find it anywhere on any of the 45 HBO feeds I get. Time to hit Amazon.

  24. They should definately institute instant replay in Major League Baseball.

    But only when it helps the Braves. The rest of the time, it just gets in the way.

    How big will that Washington game be in the final standings… HOW BIG?

  25. If LaRoche comes to the plate with under two outs, you’re glad that he’s up with first base OPEN.

  26. I’m a little late here, but God! I read the thread before checking the score and I thought the Padres were up like 15-2! Then I checked the score and it’s 1-1? Everybody calm down!

  27. Thank you, Frenchy, for picking up LaRoche’s dragging butt. Not that I’m annoyed or anything…

  28. Marcus is such a good baserunner. If he hadn’t taken that tight turn at third, that play would have been really close.

  29. Yea LaRoche. You need to go 3-for-4 everyday. NO BAD OUTINGS ALLOWED.

    *applauds Jeffs continued success*
    gotta love him

  30. You might as well scrap your “trade LaRoche” comments. To quote braves scout Bill Shanks from yesterday:

    “But let me assure you that the Braves love LaRoche. They believe he’s going to be a consistent .280-.300 hitter with the ability to hit 20-25 home runs and drive in 75-100 runs per season – along with playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base. The Braves value LaRoche more than many may realize.”

  31. Yes, that’s right. LaRoche is the next Mark Grace. Thank God he’s here to save us.

    Look, the guy is fine. He’s having a fairly bad year, but no disaster. He’s very much expendable… or at least he should be. I guess we won’t know for sure until next year. He ain’t Rico Brogna, but he ain’t Mark Grace either. He’s barely Sid Bream, who was just fine for a bit in a very similar fashion.

  32. Shanks was the one who predicted the Braves would trade for Sammy Sosa. So, the guy does know a lot about the Braves.

  33. Don’t get down on Horacio. At least not for today’s performance. Olivo hit a pretty darn good pitch, low and inside.

  34. I don’t trust Horacio. Low strikeout totals (46) coupled with 50 walks and 24 homers given up isn’t a recipe for success.

  35. That is my point. It seems like Adam is out of options in our lineup, but like I’ve said since I’ve listened to everyone badmouth Adam on here, theres a good chance he stays bc they do love him. According to bravesjournal, hes already gone. He is a very good intangible player and thats what the braves love. For the hundreth time, I’m certain he remains in Atlanta in ’06.

  36. Speaking of slow runners, ESPN pronounced Johnny Estrada third slowest player in baseball, behind Jason Philips and Bengie Molina,

  37. Interesting note I just saw: the Baltimore Sun had an article about the very steroid rumor I saw on the Red Sox message board and it’s going to be investigated. I hope that guy’s friend didn’t actually work for MLB because he’s going to be canned if he does. Interesting.

    Uh-oh, it’s Brian Giles. I’m going to go hide.

  38. I disagree, Mike. First, LaRoche has significant trade value. Second, Marte is probably already better than LaRoche. Third, Chipper is in Atlanta for the rest of his career.

    So, you have three guys for two spots. Only two are tradeable. And it’s an easy decision whether to trade the best prospect in the organization, or a guy whose upside is Mark Grace.

  39. Eh. The braves organization is one of the tops in scouting. Any braves fan should know this. They like him and I still feel they will work him in next year. Thats the impression i get. We certainly will see.

  40. What makes you say Marte is better than LaRoche, J Leeds?

    I mean, I’ll come out and say Franco’s better than LaRoche. There’s performance I’ve seen and numbers they’ve produced that support that. I haven’t seen enough of Marte to judge based on that, and I don’t think his AAA numbers project to even a LaRoche line at this point.

    Maybe next year.

  41. Hey, since when does Brian Giles play center field? Did I just not notice? How long has he been there?

  42. Marcus “Superboy” Giles hits doubles like I change razor blades. Getyousome, Adam. No DP, good AB here.

  43. I do NOT want to see Devine in the ninth unless the Braves score 5 runs here.

    Reitsma, Farnsworth, Boyer, Foster, and Sosa are all better options than a guy who’s never faced a major league batter.

  44. Marte can play third base. He can run. He’s got more power than LaRoche. If he’s not better, it’s close. And since he’s younger, he’s got more upside as well.

  45. I can’t believe that.

    WE ALL KNEW IT WAS COMING.

    Franco needs to play as much as his body will allow.

  46. I don’t think you realize Adam’s potential. He is young. He needs some time to develop just like every other player does (except Jeff, of course. hah)

  47. It seems to me that the comments about having three players for two positions are on target. Now two of those players (Marte and LaRoche) are not yet premium players, with one being a prospect and thus an unknown quantity and the other being a player of so far more potential than product. But the thing to consider is that the position of third base is a more difficult position to find true stars (just look at the hall of fame). It seems to me then that the best way of proceeding is to move one of the third basemen over to first and hedge bets. By this I mean that if Marte turns out to be a bust, we still have a possible HOF’er, and if Chipper gets hurt we still have Marte. If we were to decide to keep Chipper and LaRoche, however and Chipper got hurt where would we turn? (I’m presuming that Betemit will be occupied at short and no that’s not because I hate Furcal…it’s a money/dui issue) Similarly, where would we be if they traded Chipper and Marte turned out to be one of many can’t miss prospects who do miss? Again, seems a safer bet to keep Chipper and Marte. If we need a first baseman later, they’re not quite as difficult to find as premium third basemen.

  48. BECAUSE ANDRUW JONES TOOK THE DAY OFF. And I was joking about Devine, JoeyT. You are absolutely wrong about Foster being a better option, though.

  49. Mike, he has shown no improvement from last year. If he doesn’t learn to hit to opposite field, he is not going to get better.

  50. Adam had maxed out his potential getting to the majors. I’m becoming more convinced of that as the season goes on.

  51. Yea well its okay when he goes 3-for-4 tho i guess, right? or when he saves a run with a good scoop at first. I recall Andruw leading the majors in GIDPs a year ago. Look at him now. You treat LaRoche like hes an 6 year vet. HE IS 25 and in his second year.

  52. I know he took the day off. But why stick “LaDouche” into his spot? WHY? Why not Chipper or Francoeur or anyone else? Not the Double-Play King! You don’t want that in the cleanup spot! Well, I guess he is “cleaning up” by eliminating runners from the bases.

  53. Everybody’s fine when they go 3-4. Dewayne Wise was great when he went 3-4 with a triple and a double. I don’t want him back.

    And before you say that’s an unfair comparison, it’s no less fair than Andruw… jsut in a direction that doesn’t help your point.

  54. Actually, no, it’s a much less fair comparison. DeWayne Wise is like 30 years old. It’s safe to assume that he has reached his offensive peak. Unless he’s juicing and/or Luis Gonzalez.

  55. LaRoche is a decent 25 year old player. But he’s probably never going to be any better than he is now. He doesn’t suck.

    And I have no idea why Bobby wanted him hitting cleanup. McCann would have been a better choice.

  56. Yeah, Mac, I thought the same thing. Although Cox maintained in the pre-game interview that he wanted to give Reitsma a couple more chances in that role. I guess maybe not exclusive chances, though.

  57. Ugh. It really ticks me off how much everyone hates LaRoche. Seriously, LaDouche? WTF. Its not like hes a show off or a prick. He goes out there and does his job. Sure hes not having a great year, but IT HAPPENS. I jsut hope this is a sophomore slump and he completely kicks ass next year for another team, just to spite eveyone. Unbelievable. Can i get some fan support here.

  58. Looks to me like, when Farnsworth has the breaking ball going, he’s incredibly tough. Maybe his homer-prone stuff is when he has to come w/ the fastball & the hitter’s expecting it? Either way, he has really looked pretty good overall (& outstanding today…)
    And I gotta say, I’m starting to doubt Laroche too. There have been games when he has really stepped up (I was at the July 4 game where the Braves beat the Cubs 4-0 behind 2 HR, 3 RBI by Laroche), but his numbers for a 1b who normally plays w/ a platoon advantage need to improve. I’m not saying “he sucks, the Braves MUST get rid of him now, or as soon as the season ends”, but I really hope he shows some improvement, or I think he’s gone.
    & Francoeur just struck out on 3 swings, didn’t even make contact on 1. Yikes, take a pitch, man!

  59. and who here is a pro scout and knows LaRoches potential?? Please, I’d love to know why you are convinced of this.

  60. I don’t hate him. I just get extremely angry when he kills rallies by GIDPing for what seems like the 50th time in a week, especially when our offense isn’t doing much.

  61. I’m totally with you, Mike. He’s disappointed some this year, but he doesn’t deserve the treatment he gets here.

  62. I would put Andruw up here. Langerhans is a fine man, a good American, but he doesn’t lead the majors in homeruns.

  63. I don’t see why they’d take Farnsworth out. He’s pitching well, and there is zero margin for error.

  64. Caml down guys; we’ll be saying the same thing about Francoeur when he’s in a Kelly Johnson like 0 for 25 slump with 15 K’s.

  65. The problem with PH Andruw there would have been if you had the same outcome as Langerhans. Then Andruw has to play CF, and the way these two teams are hitting today, who knows how long that could go.

    There goes your “day off”. I would expect that of we make it to the 11th inning, Pena will replace McCann.

  66. 1) There is a difference between being a scout and working for scout.com.

    2) Using Adam LaRoche and Gold Glove in the same sentence is an insult to anyone who has ever won the award. Adam has a lot of good qualities and if it were not for the logjam in the Braves system I would be happy to have him at first. But, he’s not a very good defender. He’s not awful, just acceptable. David Pinto’s objective PMR system rates Julio better than Adam. And I don’t even need that. I can tell from watching the games. I think his nickname “3 second delay” may actually describe his first step.

  67. Mike and Stu (and others):
    This is a fan site… We want the Braves to win, not once in a while but every stinkin’ night. And we want all of our pitchers to pitch like they are going to win the Cy Young award. And we want all of our hitters to hit like Hank Aaron. It’s not personal in that I don’t physically hate Adam LaRoche (or Dan Kolb, Rafael Furcal, etc.). But I want them to kick ass every single day/night on the field. And when they don’t, I am likely to say they suck and want a replacement. Is it fair? Fairness is beside the point. If I want fair, I’ll go to my little girl’s soccer game where they don’t keep statistics and everybody’s a winner (not that there’s anything wrong with that)!

  68. Couple of yoy guys mentioned yesterday about the leg kick of Reitsma. Great observation, now I see it too.

  69. Then stop poking at “LaDouche” for every little thing and stop flipflopping on a daily basis. Drives me insane. I mean, come on, I know you are intelligent and know more than many on the Braves, but you change your mind every day.

  70. O i have to pick on someone? All I do is defend the players. And when do I pick on Alex? I think I’m missing something here.

  71. Now, if this game doesn’t end here, who do you take out? Do you keep resting Andruw, or do you keep him in the game and take out KJ?

  72. Jenny, you’re the one that called for Dan Kolb to close after four or five good outings, and after his bad outing last night, we haven’t heard a word. Same goes for Kelly Johnson, Ryan Langerhans, Rafael Furcal, Chris Reitsma, Jim Browser, etc.

    Alex R.’s the same way. Jenny just sounds like she knows what she’s talking about

  73. This is frustrating. Horacio gave us innings and we’re still going to have to use the entire bullpen.

  74. I think everyone knows what they are talking about on here, the regulars at least. I just don’t enjoy people basing the rest of the season on single games and the next decade on one season. People Slump. Sometimes for a whole season. IT is the nature of baseball. Most mentally gruesome game I’ve been introduced too.

  75. Why are we wanting to ship our first baseman to Siberia, shift our HOF third baseman across the diamond with no assurance he can even hack it over there, and build our team around a guy who has had ZERO major league success. I don’t care if he’s 22 or 42, there’s no sense is this much accomodation for a guy who put up .159 BA in his time up here. I know it was a small sample size, but it’s not like he pulled Francouer’s numbers in his first 44 ABs.

  76. Let’s not criticize Jenny. Her harsh words often inspire players (see Furcal and Giles). As defenders of players, I’d hope you’d respect that…

  77. I did some looking (hadn’t really seen much hard data), Laroche is tied for 50th in the bigs w/ 9 GIDP. I know that a lot of that is a function of opportunity, but Kelly Johnson has also hit into 9 GIDP w/ only about 3/4 or the PAs that LaRoche has had. Yes, he’s slow, but I think we can file this away into the anecdotal “he drives me crazy file” rather than the actual “he does this every time” file. Just my 2 cents worth…

  78. Well, maybe she inspires them or maybe they just were in slumps…you know…like everyone has been at some point.

  79. OK. I’ve decided. You’re a jerk, Mike Clay. Not because you’re defending LaRoche… and not just because you’ve taken it upon yourself to make it personal, but also because you refuse to let it die.

    There, I said it. I feel better. I’m sure many others would or will say the same about me.

  80. kc, glad you noticed the leg kick with Reitsma. It looked pretty different last night, but I was out walking the dogs and missed him today. Did it look like it was working for him? I always thought it was more for show than technique.

  81. J Leeds, how is one moment LaRoche incredibly expendable, but the next moment he has “significant trade value”? If this guy shouldn’t be starting over a 47 year old, what team is going want him if he’s that terrible?

    Gosh, we’re blowing through our bullpen right now. We need a run…

  82. I won’t let it die, creynolds. Am I a jerk because I don’t like people attacking a good player?

  83. I was just about to ask if it seemed like we were running through pitchers kind of quickly. Rob beat me to it.

  84. Simmer down everyone! We are all obviously fans, and all have differing opinions on the future of the team.

  85. Ah. creynolds. I’m not a jerk at all. I’m a really nice guy if you knew me. I definately don’t mean to call people out and I shouldn’t. I apologize if I’ve offended anyone, but it just drives me crazy when people badmouth a good sport like Adam.

    Also, it is not me who isnt letting it die. I just step in and defend him when someone badmouths him. I’m also not the only one defending him. I know some people agree with me.

    Again, not trying to be a jerk, but I suppose that impression might be given on an messageboard.

  86. How is he the one expandable, Mac? Moving Marte to LF and keeping Chipper at third and LaRoche at first is better than what everyone is thinking up here. Why isn’t Kelly Johnson expendable? Oh wait, his .240 BA and almost twice as many K’s as walks isn’t expendable at all.

  87. Mac already answered for me. And I’ve never said Franco should be starting over LaRoche. In fact, I’ve stated before (at Primer if not here) that I think Julio’s being used appropriately this year.

  88. If Laroche had homered there, I think we could have had at least a momentary consensus about him :-)
    Oh well, wasn’t to be. And Mac said it well about Laroche…

  89. Thank you for the support Rob. Also, I think you are right Jay. We are fighting for a team we love. Happens I guess. I suppose it is the Philly mentality in me to support my players to death.

  90. Yeah, that was me. I think Franco should start over LaRoche more often.

    As often as is safe and healthy.

  91. I used to live in Philly. The “Philly mentality” is to boo their team whenever they have a slump or a losing streak.

  92. Third basemen don’t age well. Chipper is showing every indication that he’s breaking down, likely due in part to playing as much as he has over the years. If you keep Chipper at third, what we’ve seen the past year is likely to continue.

    In an ideal world, Chipper would be the one to trade. But he’s a 10 and 5 man, so he’s not going anywhere.

  93. But a man-crush about a AAA player with no major league success is ok? Honestly, why not put Marte in LF? How is Johnson better than LaRoche? LaRoche is all-around better.

  94. Eh, Jay. I never really was huge on Adam, but this site has allowed me to root for him to succeed more and more. I suppose I feel bad for him. Who knows.

    Or maybe I think hes sexy. Whatever you say Jay ;)

  95. Rob,
    You assume that the transition to LF (by Marte) can be made painlessly. And, maybe it can. But there have been reports this year that, when they tried Marte in LF, that he was not at all comfortable.
    Again, maybe it is the best option. But that’s by no means self-evident…

  96. All right, I apologize for being overly harsh on LaRoche. I’m kind of impetuous, as I’m sure you’ve realized. I’ll try to watch myself in the future.

    But I still feel ganged up on.

  97. Yes they do boo. They boo a struggling team. The real Eagles fans don’t call Donovan McNabb a douche when hes struggling. They boo him when he is struggling. It is very different.

  98. How is Chipper the one to trade? He’s the second best hitter on our team, and the most popular Brave to anyone in the southeast United States. Why isn’t Johnson getting fire? He’s got a .240 BA!

  99. Mac, you are right, Randa does look a lot like Blauser. It’s quite funny now that you mention it.

    urlhix, I think the new leg kick simplifies the delivery a little bit. His control certainly looks better today and yesterday.

  100. Rob, you can’t trust Marte because he has minimal major league experience? That’s flowed login, don’t you think? His numbers suggest he’ll be a stud. Only way to find out is to play him!

  101. How is Marte’s transition from 3B to LF any more difficult than Chipper’s transition from 3B to 1B? I think the one thing Chipper deserves at this point in his career is to stay at his natural position. SS to LF to 3B to LF to 3B to 1B would really make me mad, I dunno about you.

  102. Ah, it is nothing personal Jenny. I may have called you out, but it was just a show of frustration in defending a player.

    I think I speak for everyone when i say I just want a damn ring.

  103. Johnson’s a fourth outfielder. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he gets traded. But, if I had my druthers, I’d trade Chipper in a heartbeat. Let someone else pay for him to be on the DL. He’s the second best hitter on the team when he’s healthy, but that’s less often all the time.

    He’s being paid to be an elite third baseman, but he’s not able to stay healthy. His body is breaking down, period. And he’s under contract practiacally forever, with an escalating salary.

  104. It’s weird seeing David Boreanaz in daylight scenes.

    Entering today:

    Johnson: .241 .332 .408
    LaRoche: .266 .317 .465
    Langerhans: .249 .327 .414

    None of them is playing well, but Johnson is a couple years younger and should improve. LaRoche and Langerhans are about as good as they’ll ever be.

  105. Okay, Mike :-)

    I’m so mad that this game isn’t on TV! I want to see Devine! They don’t even have his picture on GameDay.

  106. and I was at the Irvin game, david15. Before the game he was flipping off the crowd and being..well..being Michael Irvin. Thus, the fans had no problem booing him as he left injured.

  107. I agree totally w/ Mike about the ring – I’d love to be able to ‘argue’ this stuff (it would be 100 orders of significance lower) if it was on the heels of a WS win.
    Devine looks good – I didn’t know he threw sidearm…

  108. KJ: OBP.332 SLG.408

    AL: OBP.317 SLG.465

    Basically Kelly has been better at getting on base while LaRoche has more power.

    The difference is Kelly has been facing righties and lefties, while LaRoche has only really faced righties this year.

    Maybe they are comparable, but I have to think that Kelly has more up-side as he’s younger and at the same level as Adam.

    And Marte is hella-better than both of ’em.

  109. LaRoche is only in his second year. I don’t know that he has reached his roof. That’s all I’m trying to say. I agree that KJ will improve and Ryan I don’t like as much, but is still very young as well. I try to keep in mind he is hitting very well against lefties and hit 30 homers for Richmond last year.

  110. Wasn’t Klesko a wee bit bigger when he was with Atlanta? I don’t remember; I was like 10.

  111. Another good option for a closer? Is it too early to jump on the Devine bandwagon (is there a bandwagon yet)?
    Not to get too excited about one outing, but he was lights out in the minors too…
    Sign me up!

  112. I don’t think either Langerhans or Johnson is an everyday outfielder. I expect the Braves to try to keep Langerhans, since he can play all three outfield spots. I also expect them to trade for a new LF in the offseason, to help offset the loss of Furcal.

  113. Re: Roberts back to 1st/Mccann
    Mccann threw down to 2nd, and Olivo came across the plate as he swung & Mccann turned to the ump to argue interference. The ump agreed, so back to 1st went Roberts…

  114. Farnsworth successfully closed for a major league team this year. Reitsma had a stretch where he was near perfect. Boyer has a lot of innings of good work in the majors.

    All three are better options than Devine this year. All three would have to collapse for Devine to close.

  115. kc, yeah, I think it could be a really good thing that he has decided to try and simplify his delivery a bit. And the fact that he is carrying his momentum to the plate should definitly help his control.

    And Devine looks pretty sweet. Love that sidearm. Now let’s beat up on Seanez.

  116. That LaRoche is in his second year in the majors is less important that he’s in his sixth year in pro baseball. If a guy is a suboptimal player at 25 he is very unlikely to become a good player for more than a couple of years unless he starts buying vitamins from Rafael Palmeiro.

    And minor league statistics are meaningful. I thought everyone knew that. Marte’s minor league statistics are a a good deal better than LaRoche’s, plus he was younger at every stop.

  117. How can you prove that it’s harder to move from third to left than it is to move from third to first? Don’t bother with the defensive spectrum argument; that has nothing to do with this discussion. What I’m saying is Chipper moving from 1B at this point in his career is no easier than Marte moving to LF. Anyone that has played LF and 1B no that they aren’t the simple positions people make them out to be.

  118. JoeyT,
    You’re probably right – it just feels so good to see pitchers getting guys out, after some of the ‘pen meltdowns that have been suffered this year…

  119. He could get a shot at the role. I do like Farnsworth right now, but I haven’t seen Joey yet.

  120. “Re: Roberts back to 1st/Mccann
    Mccann threw down to 2nd, and Olivo came across the plate as he swung & Mccann turned to the ump to argue interference. The ump agreed, so back to 1st went Roberts…”
    was this on a third strike? was olivo called out? what was the result?

    and, marte is 22. he’s good at third. it’d be pointless to put him in left. defense at first isn’t as important than at third. at worst chipper goes to first and stinks as bad as he did in left. or are you arguing he’ll be more likely to get hurt at first?

  121. Rob,
    My point from earlier about Marte struggling in left is that each situation is going to be different – and requires the type of decision making that Braves brass is notoriously good at. Not perfect, but they have a solid record (I mean, in particular, compare them to KC, Tampa, and other teams that have to make decisions about young players & moving positions).
    And too bad Furcal made contact there – Orr had that base stolen by a mile…

  122. That was some questionable managing by Cox, though. I’m just glad Devine struck out. If he’d gotten it down, it probably would have been right at someone, Orr would have been forced out, and we’d have a pitcher (or Brayan Pena) running the bases.

  123. “was this on a third strike? was olivo called out? what was the result?”

    I think it was the 3rd strike – I lost track of the count, but he went to the dugout after the swing, so I’m assuming it was strike 3.

    And that play really hurt! Geez, and we took Mccann out for that bit of baserunning buffoonery…

  124. They tried Marte in left during Spring Training and it didn’t work out at all. And there didn’t seem to be even a hint that he might adapt to the position. If I remember right they pulled him from out there pretty darn quick. Way quicker than anyone expected.

    LaRoche seems like a good guy all right. A good guy to trade in the offseason. I look at him and I see that vulture from the WB cartoons.

  125. I guess if this game goes long enough there’s a real shot at a new record for comments. What’s the current record Mac?

  126. if it was a third strike the runner should have been out too, not sent back to first. that doesn’t make any sense.

  127. Is Devine really all that “fresh” of an arm? I mean, he pitched a full college season and then in the minors and now up here. Seems like that arm’s logged a lot of innings already.

  128. Can you imagine being drafted, then being in the big leagues by the end of the season? Before the September callups, even.

    Crazy. That’s a crazy “fast track”.

  129. Day games in August (in GA!) are pretty draining too. Extra weak Sunday lineup tomorrow?

  130. Posted this yesterday, but Rob wasn’t around – league avg. OPS for ALL 1B’s, not just starters, is 117. Adam was 109 last year and isat 102 this year, 13% below average despite getting a platoon advantage. He seems like a decent guy, and he has contributed from time to time, but he isa liability right now.

  131. “if it was a third strike the runner should have been out too, not sent back to first. that doesn’t make any sense.”
    Beats me – it was over too quick & they didn’t really dwell on it (they tried to make a point that Mccann did a big acting job & stuff, but Olivo clearly came into the path of his arm as he threw)
    $#!@$ I hate it when they pitch out & don’t get the runner!

  132. Tomorrow’s game is on ESPN, so at least we’ll have extra time to rest.

    Pena can’t even throw out a 40 year old on a pitchout.

  133. Jonathon, so if Chipper was an excellent defensive SS, was then moved to 3B where he became a slightly above average defensive 3B, then became a below-average defensive LF, why would we want him at 1B? I see a trend and I don’t like it.

    You proved the point I’m trying to make. We don’t know what Chipper or Marte will do with their hypothetical switches. So, why are we assuming Chipper will move to 1B but Marte not to LF?

  134. the umps probably just got it wrong. they fuck it up every time something like that happens.

  135. I dont think he is a liability. There is more to baseball than OPS, as well as stats in general. Intangibles are underrated in this sport.

  136. There were only two strikes when the interference happened. Batter ruled out, runner back to first. Watch the language, david15.

  137. Pena needs some more time in Richmond. He can’t hit yet, and, if that throw is any indication, he doesn’t have a very good arm.

  138. “Jonathon, so if Chipper was an excellent defensive SS, was then moved to 3B where he became a slightly above average defensive 3B, then became a below-average defensive LF, why would we want him at 1B? I see a trend and I don’t like it.”

    you don’t want him at first. you want him in the three hole.

  139. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ve never seen intangibles win a ballgame.

    I’ve seen stats win ballgames all the time though.

    Again I’m probably just looking in the wrong places.

  140. This is the game that will not end. Yes it goes on and on my friends…

    Little Lamb Chops parody comin’ at ya people…

  141. I wouldn’t being worried about Devine. He looks really good, grand slam or no grand slam…

  142. KC is absolutely right. A very poorly managed game. This one is going to be tough to swallow.

  143. I feel for the kid. Half of those pitches to Randa were strikes, then he gets to two stirkes on Nady and….bam. That hurts, bad.

  144. The IBB to Giles, considering that he was swinging at everything, was a big mistake. Yeah, he’s a great player, but it’s just putting too much pressure on the kid. Who looked really good before that. Heck, that wasn’t that bad of a pitch.

  145. What particular “intangible” does LaRoche posess – seriously? How is he helping to win ballgames with this trait? Can you tell me to what degree he has this compared to someone else? What is Marte’asintangible rating? Really, I’d like to know – please explain what you see to me.

  146. Yeah, they should have sent Kolb out there.

    I think they said last night that tomorrows game is at 8. Isn’t that when the Sunday night ESPN game usually starts?

  147. Yea, not good for the young man. Hopefully he bounces back nicely.

    Furthermore, if you played baseball in your life, I think you would understand the importance of intangibles.

  148. Well, Mac, that’s a hindsight judgement. There are pros and cons walking Giles, but I don’t think Devine should have been asked to, first, bunt and, second, pitch the second inning.

  149. Is it ok to break the language rule now? ;-) jk
    I hate stuff like that – feels like you wasted the whole afternoon, should have saved the pitching staff (ie, just lose in 9 innings), blah blah blah
    Man, I’m bummed…
    I’m sure it’s been mentioned before, but I didn’t realize until a few minutes ago – but (assuming this score holds up) we will be 0-5 for the year against the Pads after today. How?

  150. Furthermore, if you played baseball in your life, I think you would understand the importance of intangibles

    Well let’s say for the sake of argument, I am a geek who can’t get his head out of a book to watch a ball game, I ask you again, please explain it to me.

  151. Not gonna second-guess this one. Personally, I was glad to see Devine return & pitch in the 13th. Tough luck. I’d rather have a guy who’s never pitched than chance it with Kolb. Plus, Devine’s obviously got some stuff. Welcome to the big leagues, kid.

    BTW, is it just me or does Joey Devine sound like the name of a husky-voiced, cigarette-smoking drag queen?

  152. Intangibles = reasons that analysts come up with for why a given team wins in any given year when the team they picked to win ahead of time didn’t win.

  153. That is the point. An intangible isnt a rating. Its more of a personal thing. How you react to getting slammed for a grand slam in your braves debut for example. Your presence in the locker room. Your impact on the other players. Your ability to make the players around you better. These are all things I think the Braves like about Mr. LaRoche and is why I think they find a way to keep him around. He is not bad player either, and I think will be better as he goes on.

  154. Spike, that’s the point of intangibles. There is no rating. It’s things you can’t measure. Why is Derek Jeter so popular? Jason Varitek? Yeah, they’re good players, but it’s their intangibles. The leadership they possess, the respect they have from their teammates, etc.

    This game is getting out of hand…

  155. Well, Mike, I have played baseball in my life, but I personally don’t even know what “intangibles” are.

    Like spike, I’d love to hear an explination if you have one.

    Who has the best intangibles in MLB today?

    What do intangibles do to help win games?

    I understand how OBP and SLG and OPS and ERA, etc help basebally teams win, but I just don’t get the intanglible stuff. Please enlighten me. If it helps, pretend I don’t know anything at all against any stat. Tell me why intangibles are better than OPS+ in evaluating a player.

  156. “Spike, that’s the point of intangibles. There is no rating. It’s things you can’t measure. Why is Derek Jeter so popular? Jason Varitek? Yeah, they’re good players, but it’s their intangibles. The leadership they possess, the respect they have from their teammates, etc.”

    at the very least, you can express their intangibles in “captaincy,” or world series rings. what has laroche accomplished as a leader that marte hasn’t?

  157. David,
    I wouldn’t presume to speak for Mac. I don’t think there is a “hard” language rule though. For me, it’s a matter of personal courtesy (I try to avoid swearing…)

  158. david15,

    I think the answer is that this site is visited by people of all ages and the language should reflect that. Besides, if you can’t belittle someone’s opinion without cussing you got nothin’. *grin*

  159. BTW, is it just me or does Joey Devine sound like the name of a husky-voiced, cigarette-smoking drag queen?

    Joey Devine or Joey ” rel=”nofollow”>Divine

  160. Of course, all the LOB from earlier in the game really loom large as a prime culprit today too

  161. Re: LaRoche “intangibles”

    When a ball is thrown in the dirt by Furcal, Chipper or anyone else, LaRoche is dramatically better than Julio at digging it out. Last time I checked, there’s no stat for firstbasemen digging balls out of the dirt. But that helps you win games.

  162. An intangible isnt a rating. Its more of a personal thing. How you react to getting slammed for a grand slam in your braves debut for example. Your presence in the locker room. Your impact on the other players. Your ability to make the players around you better. These are all things I think the Braves like about Mr. LaRoche and is why I think they find a way to keep him around

    There is no rating. It’s things you can’t measure

    See, this happens every time I ask – someone tells me it’s non-determinable, but then immediately claims that they can in fact see it’s relative measure between two players. You can’t have it both ways – either it truly is intangible and nobody knows how much a guy has, or it is quantifiable and measurable enough to tell if soemone has more than someone else. Which is it?

  163. Latnam, I will be very, very surprised if you were at all success in playing baseball if you have no idea what intangibles are in baseball. I also know where you’re going with this argument. You’re asking people to measure something you yourself know is unmeasurable. Nice one…

    But I’ll bite.

    Intangibles is the psychological intricacies that make one player with similar physical tools better than another. It’s what makes Chipper Jones such a great leader even when he’s injured or hitting .248 like he was last year. It’s what gets Jason Varitek a big “C” across his chest as the captain of the Red Sox. You can use stats to an extent, but you tell Bobby Cox what LaRoche’s OPS is or tell Leo Mazzone Horacio Ramirez’s K/9 and see if they give a crap.

  164. “david15,

    I think the answer is that this site is visited by people of all ages and the language should reflect that. Besides, if you can’t belittle someone’s opinion without cussing you got nothin’. *grin*”

    well, not to argue with a language rule, because it’s not my site and i’d understand that. but, for one, i wasn’t arguing with anyone, i was saying the umps mess things up in a little more colorful language. so, for a site where i read people wishing all kinds of horrible things on others every day, picking that out seemed a little strange to me.

  165. I wouldn’t say they’re better, latnam (and I don’t think anyone did say that), and they’re largely subjective and hard to explain, but why don’t we take the Giles/Furcal example. Now this is my personal judgment, but I would say Marcus Giles brings more to the team in terms of intangibles than Rafael Furcal, because he has a lot of energy, plays with a lot of emotion, clowns around to loosen up tension, and, well, doesn’t get arrested. I think intangibles make up for a small difference in OPS between players, but not much.

  166. Yeah, Spike. It sounds like people’s definition of obscenity, “I know it when I see it”. I, personally would like to trade LaRoche in the offseason for something tangibile, like someone else.

  167. Last time I checked, there’s no stat for firstbasemen digging balls out of the dirt.

    Sure ther is – errors. How many errors have there been at first when LaRoche is playing/chances compared to Franco. GO to Retrosheet and you could easily figure it out.

  168. Great point by ububba. It’s exactly things like that. It’s Jeter having the smarts to be the “third relay man” against Oakland in 2001 even when there’s no such thing as a third relay man on a ball in the corner with a play at the plate. It’s knowing, as a first baseman, when to let a throw to the plate through, or cutting the ball and getting the out on the runner trying to advance to second. That stuff wins ballgames.

  169. I don’t see how “good intangibles” translates to winning games Mike.

    Your presence in the locker room. Your impact on the other players. Your ability to make the players around you better.

    So being in the locker room is good? And making other players better? Like Jose Canseco made Palmerior better?

    Can you give an example of how.. lets say Jeter, someone I’m assuming you think makes other players better, has made any other Yankee better?

    Who has LaRoche improved?

    What about last year? The Marlins got all of Lo Duca’s “intangibles” from the Dodgers, but look who went to the play-offs last year?

    I just don’t buy intanglibles, and I just wonder if somone who does believe in them could give me any proof whatsoever that they exisit.

    I mean I understand there being jerks and nice guys, but personally I’d rather have a jerk with an OPS+ of Bonds than a nice guy with “intangibles” with an OPS+ of LaRoche. and I promise my team would win. Every time.

  170. Okay. You are right. Let me clarify spike. It isnt an official stat as in, LaRoche has a rating of 1.473 in the INT department, but its kind of like if you were out playing for fun and you were the captian. YOu might see Joe who was a stud hitter, but you hate his guts because he likes the Dodgers. Then you might have Nick over there and he might be less of a hitter, but plays well with the team and is a nice guy. Now, Im not saying they have LaRoche because he is a good sweettalker, but that is an example of an intangible. Intangibles have ALOT to do with determining Team Chemistry. Something else that is very important.
    TO understand that, see the TO situation in Philly.

  171. Spike,

    C’mon. An error can be a ball booted, dropped or thrown into the stands–none of which have anything to do with what I described.

  172. “Great point by ububba. It’s exactly things like that. It’s Jeter having the smarts to be the “third relay man” against Oakland in 2001 even when there’s no such thing as a third relay man on a ball in the corner with a play at the plate. It’s knowing, as a first baseman, when to let a throw to the plate through, or cutting the ball and getting the out on the runner trying to advance to second. That stuff wins ballgames.”

    again, ok, but what has adam laroche done?

  173. Spike, are you kidding me? You’re gonna measure LaRoche’s ability to dig balls out of the dirt as compared to Franco’s by seeing how many errors they have? What about a booted ground ball, a bad throw, and dropped fly ball in foul territory? Are you gonna go through game logs and see what those errors are? How about use your eyes and see that LaRoche has a better picking ability than Franco. That’s an intangible…

  174. It’s knowing, as a first baseman, when to let a throw to the plate through, or cutting the ball and getting the out on the runner trying to advance to second. That stuff wins ballgames.

    Nobody is questioning that – but I defy you show you can tell who posseses those qualities before the fact. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy. If Jeter was able to lead the Yanks over Oak, how come he couldn’t do it against Boston lst year? He had a pile of chances to win the series. How come the lost to AZ? Why wasn’t he in shallow OF to catch the ball that lost the series?

  175. even if laroche has a better picking ability, franco has a better everything else ability. unless you’re saying laroche makes everyone else feel better about themselves by lowering their error numbers. he’s like a shrink with a glove.

  176. Another Philly example would be the Phillies. How do you measure a manager’s impact on a game with statistics? Are you gonna say that Larry Bowa’s negative intangibles didn’t have an impact on their won-loss records? That’s intangibles.

    LaRoche is a good defensive first baseman. As much as people want to value defensive prowess with statistics, you basically can’t do it. It’s an intangible thing.

  177. I will bought my house, my car, and david15 and spike’s lives that they are terrible at baseball and they would never last on even a high school baseball team with their attitudes. They just don’t get it…

    I’m sorry if that was a personal attack, but dang…

  178. I kinda don’t understand this “intangibles” conversation, but I’m pretty sure that Jeter didn’t catch Gonzo’s WS-winning blooper because the entire infield was in and it was, y’know, kinda impossible. In that situation, Mr. Fantastic, Dr. Octopus or Plasticman would’ve had the necessary intangibles.

  179. Ok, I meant “bet” instead of “bought”. Tough losses screw up my writing ability.

  180. I didn’t say by errors AL or Julio committed, but just look at the game data (yes they do record it) and see if there are more throwing errors per chance between the two – if AL is so superior, it should bear out. It’s imperfect but better than just making a blanket statement and offering “because that’s how I see it” as proof of it’s veracity.

  181. And no one is perfect spike. Just because you have intangibles, doesnt mean you are going to win every year.

  182. “I will bought my house, my car, and david15 and spike’s lives that they are terrible at baseball and they would never last on even a high school baseball team with their attitudes. They just don’t get it…

    I’m sorry if that was a personal attack, but dang…”

    i’ll take that bet.

  183. Honestly, it’s something that you would have to witness first-hand with a successful baseball team. It’s not something you can look at from a distant.

    You think Gary Sheffield doesn’t have a negative impact on the Yankees playing ability when he’s running his mouth to the media about how he knows who the leader is? You can’t measure that statistically, but you know it’s there.

  184. “Ability to catch a baseball is not an intangible, ububba. haha.”

    that’s funny, because rob cope just said the exact opposite by declaring defensive ability to be intangible.

  185. FYI, Rob, I lettered in rugby for three years in college, and lettered in baeball and football for two years, with a state championship to go with it.

    Tell me where to pick up the car. I’ll bring my letter jacket.

  186. Seems like intangibles are a type of selective observation. When you see something you like you remember it, forgetting all of the other times it wasn’t there.

  187. I’m pretty sure that Jeter didn’t catch Gonzo’s WS-winning blooper because the entire infield was in and it was, y’know, kinda impossible

    But if his being out of position against OAK but being in the right place to make the play proof of his intangibles, how come the reverse isn’t proof of his unintangibleness (made up word I think)?

  188. No, thats the opposite of what I am saying urlhix. This is the things you DONT see that are important. You generally do not see intangibles. It is the little things, they are what matter most.

  189. i just don’t get it in this instance. laroche doesn’t seem particularly ebullient to me. he’s not a veteran. there’s nothing about him that screams “born leader” to me. so i’m just wondering why anyone here thinkg adam f. laroche is mr. intangibles.

    so, why laroche?

  190. David15, I don’t know you personally, but I do know how to have a good impact on a baseball team. I’ve played baseball my whole life and I’m now playing baseball in college. Players don’t care about stats. You could ask Francouer what his OPS is and I bet you he wouldn’t know. You could ask Hampton what his WHIP is and I betcha he couldn’t tell you. It’s because stats don’t win games. If you could, then it would be possible to decide what stats win games. I don’t see Voros McCracken and Bill James coming up with that. Except for maybe win shares, but even that has flaws.

  191. Spike,

    Sorry, don’t buy that at all. It’s like saying that an exit poll in a given county is always correct (although it often is) in determining who wins a state-wide political race. It’s a sample that doesn’t take into account a case-by-case basis. I think that’s the only way you can evaluate it, and that’s completely imperfect.

    And yes, I’m trusting my eyes and my memory (which is certainly not always the best way to evaluate), but I’d much rather have Adam in the field than Julio. (I honestly can’t remember a time when Julio has ever picked one out of the dirt, kinda like I can’t think of a time that Bernie Williams EVER threw out a baserunner.)

    But I AM NOT SAYING that Adam is necessarily better than Julio or necessarily a winning player overall.

    As an old firstbaseman, nobody can tell me that Adam doesn’t pick it at first. He’s got good hands out there. OPS is another conversation.

  192. So, his locker room demeanor is something that is not observable by the manager and staff? Or his reaction after giving up a grand slam? Or his ability to dig the ball? Sorry man, doesn’t jive with me.

  193. Just because you have intangibles, doesnt mean you are going to win every year.

    So if they are no guarantor of victory, how much weight should you give them?

  194. Spike, I lettered in baseball and football in HS. That doesn’t mean much. There are tons of terrible players that letter in those two sports. But then you’re getting into the size of the schools and the quality of their programs, but we definitely don’t need to get into that…

    As for rugby, who cares? I’m talking about baseball. Apples to oranges, man.

  195. Rob: I can tell you right here a stat that wins games: Runs.

    You wanna know what basic stat correlates with runs the best? OPS

    I don’t care if the players know their stats or not. As long as the GM knows the stats and gets the best players possible.

  196. Intangibles are always easy to see after the fact.
    And, actually, I would say that “picking ability” would not be an intangible. That is, it could be quantified & measured. Fact is, no one keeps that type of detailed data right now. But it could certainly be measured if teams (or individuals w/ the time & resources available) really wanted to.
    Intangibles are always referred to as “playing hard, playing the right way, leadership, etc”.
    IMHO, intangibles are pretty much the portion accounted for by human nature (& what people want to see out of other people). People who are big into intangibles want to see, not common results (ie, HRs hit, OPS, walks drawn, etc), but common behaviour. And that is the human side, not the performance side. I’ve not really thought this through entirely (as is undoubtedly obvious – plus I am not a good writer, either, & I know that hinders my quest to get my brilliant observations across ;-), but I think it is a legitimate point…more later

  197. As for why LaRoche is as such, I couldnt tell you for sure how he is in the clubhouse and how well he is liked, etc. I get the impression that he is quiet, a nice guy, etc. I think that is one reason the braves scouts like him. You know them, right? The scouts who found Francoeur, Chipper, Andruw, Giles, Smoltz, Furcal, McCann, KJ, Langerhans, Devine. Also the ones who brough in the players to win 13 consecutive NL East titles.

  198. Much more weight than you give tangibles. People forever have been trying to find statistics that will parlay into games won. You can’t do it…

  199. Players don’t care about stats.

    Nor should they – it’s GM’s and managers who get paid to track performance. The fact that a player doesn’t know them doesn’t devalue their meaning. The difference between .250 and .300 is one hit a week – between 25 and 31 hr is one a month. DO you really think you’d be able to internally just know that without looking at stats? Shouild coaches not look at ERA whe ndeciding who to pitch?

  200. rob, a few points:

    1. baseball players very often aren’t smart people.
    2. what they do on the field helps win games.
    3. games are decided by who scores more runs and nothing else
    4. some things help run scoring and run preventing more than others.
    5. those things that help run scoring and prevention are often found in statistics.
    6. players make their money by putting up numbers.
    7. i don’t care whether you play baseball. i know plenty of people who have or are currently playing in professional baseball, so if i want a player’s perspective i could ask them. for all you know i already have. maybe that’s why i know your statement “Players don’t care about stats” is absolute rubbish.

  201. Latnam, how is OPS the end-all for the ability to generate runs? I guess you could say if you had a lineup of .5000 OPS guys who hit home runs everytime up, that you would have a shot. But what about runs prevented? Unless you can score an infinite amount of runs, which I would just LOVE to see, you’re gonna have to stop them too. What about a stat for runs prevented?

  202. That doesn’t mean much. There are tons of terrible players that letter in those two sports. But then you’re getting into the size of the schools and the quality of their programs, but we definitely don’t need to get into that…

    omg – You said I will bought my house, my car, and david15 and spike’s lives that they are terrible at baseball and they would never last on even a high school baseball team with their attitudes. They just don’t get it…

    I offered my athlectic record just to refute it. Don’t be intellectually dishonest.

    Ps, when do I get the car?

  203. Well I am a sports editor and I believe in intangibles, Jon. I think each and every player in the braves locker room is affected by everyone else. The callup of Devine for example could light a fire under Kolbs ass for all we know. Another example of an intangible might be the youth movement of this years team. Maybe the energy of these young guys has helped the other vets to pick it up. Or how about Andruw. They stick him in a leadership role and he hauls ass. Thats all mental right there. Very important.

  204. How is it rubbish? Do I need to go take a poll of past and present professional baseball players to see whether they have an extensive knowledges of their own statistics? That fact that you think my statement is rubbish because you’ve asked a couple of your buddies that played in the Cape Cod League what it takes to hack it in the major leagues is even more rubbish. Tell me, David15, who have you asked? Can you prove it, stat boy?

  205. “Ps, when do I get the car?”

    right after i, a 2000 graduate of broken arrow high school in oklahoma, and letter winner in baseball at said school, receive the keys to my new house.

  206. I’m a freshman at Clearwater Christian College. I don’t have any stats to speak of because we haven’t started our season yet. Anymore questions?

  207. Also, you say its up to the scouts to decide who is good and who is not. Well, then why is Adam on this team. Do you not agree that we possess the top scouts in baseball? If so, you support my claim that LaRoche is valuable to us.

  208. Spike, how are you going to prove that you weren’t terrible? I said I would bet you were terrible. You find a way to prove that you weren’t terrible and you have my old, gold Nissan Maxima, scratched passenger door and all.

    “right after i, a 2000 graduate of broken arrow high school in oklahoma, and letter winner in baseball at said school, receive the keys to my new house.”

    Who cares if you’re a letter winner. I didn’t ask that. Letter winning doesn’t mean anything to me. Earn my house!

  209. No more questions – I am adding their website to my favorites so I can track your progress. Go Cougars!

  210. haha. Wait, what does his stats at his college have to do with intangibles or with Adam LaRoche…or well, with anything…

  211. I can’t get up with all of this, but I will say the “you don’t know how to play the game” argument is a total load of crap.

    There’s a bucket 10 feet away, first one to piss in it wins!

  212. Spike,

    Re: Jeter. Two completely different kinds of plays. One was over in two seconds, the other had to do with an OF overthrowing a cut-off man and him anticipating that. As they relate to this conversation, they are, um, unrelated.

    I’m bored with discussing LaRoche, but as a…(cue the science-fiction-theremin music)…Yankee season ticket holder/lifelong Braves fan living in NYC, I have watched Jeter play hundreds of games. I’ve always said that, defensively, he’s actually not that good. Not great range, decent arm, but great at snagging pop flies.

    But, I’ve seen it over and over again, he makes the plays to win the big games. Is it a function of the other talent out there? Is it a function of his team being in big situations a lot? Does that color his reputation in a positive way?

    Maybe. All I know is that he’s the guy who always seems to be in the middle of the big plays that win the big games for them (damn it). And love or hate the Yankees, if you don’t respect Derek Jeter or view him as a winner, you’re not paying attention. If that’s intangibles, then I guess I believe in ’em to a degree.

    I’ve heard Moneyball people prove up and down how overrated Jeter is (statistically). I’m not Yankee fan, believe me, but those same people only need to count to 4 to understand how valuable he is.

  213. That’s right dude, go Cougars! Best non-scholarship athletic program in the state of Florida! YEAH!

  214. By the way spike, would you like some autographed game action shots of myself? I make great poses…

  215. “That fact that you think my statement is rubbish because you’ve asked a couple of your buddies that played in the Cape Cod League what it takes to hack it in the major leagues is even more rubbish. Tell me, David15, who have you asked? Can you prove it, stat boy?”

    actually, i do know guys who have played in the cape cod league, but anyway. sure, any time a player comments in an interview “i just have to keep plugging away, keep putting up numbers,” shows they care. if you’ve never heard a player speak of these things you haven’t listened to many interviews.

    as for who i’ve talked to, i don’t particularly feel like name dropping. i regret even bringing it up. i’m not one who likes to personalize things by accusing others of sucking at something, and thus knowing nothing about it.

  216. Big strawman alert on Rob – “It’s because stats don’t win games. If you could, then it would be possible to decide what stats win games. I don’t see Voros McCracken and Bill James coming up with that. Except for maybe win shares, but even that has flaws.”
    Nobody says “stats win games”. Every stathead out there realizes that that is why they play the games (& why the prognosticators are so often wrong). And, often, the reason why they are wrong (both the statheads & Joe Morgans of the world) is more often the big things (3-run homers) than the little things (SBs, “productive outs”). In any given game, predicting specific events is generally folly. Even in short series, experts of all stripes are wrong all the time.
    Quick aside (or maybe not so quick) – in 2003, I wrote down all of the picks that everybody who made predictions on ESPN.com made for the playoffs. These were guys from Rob Neyer to Peter Gammons to Tim Kurkjian to (IIRC – I don’t have the sheet anymore) Joe Morgan. And there was a surprising (or maybe not so surprising – after all, the best teams are generally recognized as the best teams, whether by statheads or whoever) consensus – out of 16 analysts, most chose, Red Sox, Yankees, or Cubs to win it all. They did picks for each round of the playoffs. One analyst (I forget who) picked the Marlins to be the Giants. He did not pick them to advance any further. Obviously, the Marlins won it all that year. EVERY ONE of them got it wrong. So what’s the point? Point is that no one attributed the “intangible” advantage to the Marlins until after they had won the championship. And then it became gospel revealed from above for some of these fakers, that the Marlins just had a chemistry that refused to let them lose. Well, no, you could say that actually, someone had to win (that’s how elimination tournaments work) and that year it was them. Crudely deterministic, I know, but it is as reasonable (to me, anyway :-) as people who didn’t choose them ahead of time, but then try to explain to you why their version of why they (Marlins) won is correct.

  217. Creynolds, I’m not saying anyone knows the “right way to play the game”, but I do know that over-valuing statistics the way spike does is one way NOT to play the game.

  218. Jonathon:

    “I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ve never seen intangibles win a ballgame.

    I’ve seen stats win ballgames all the time though.

    Again I’m probably just looking in the wrong places.

    Posted by: latnam at August 20, 2005 03:50 PM”

    There’s one!

  219. If I have a team of guys with 1.000 OBP I will score an infinite amount of runs. The End. I win. I don’t care how crappy my pitchers are, I’m gonna win.

    A stat for runs prevented? RA works pretty well. In effect that’s exactly what it is, runs allowed and all. DIPS works well for predicting performance, but as we were talking about LaRoche I wasn’t going to bring pitchers into this.

    You claim Andruw’s leadership role has helped him this year? Its certainly not because he’s only 28 and that’s one of the ages when most players peak? And its also not his finally listening to Willy May’s advice this spring?

    Look, I’ve given up trying to convince you of your wrongness. I almost made a political comment here, but I stopped myself.

    Believe in intangibles all you like, you’re not hurting anyone. Have fun.

  220. “I will bought my house, my car, and david15 and spike’s lives that they are terrible at baseball and they would never last on even a high school baseball team with their attitudes.”

    “Who cares if you’re a letter winner. I didn’t ask that. Letter winning doesn’t mean anything to me. Earn my house!”

    right, you said i couldn’t have lasted on a high school baseball team with my attitude. I did. I didn’t on my basketball team, however, because i quit. but i lasted plenty on my baseball team. you said and, not or, now i want my house.

  221. I appreciate your support, spike. It’s always nice to know people are rooting for me.

    Basically our whole starting OF from last season either graduated or shifted to different positions, and a couple other OFs transferred, so I guess that’s good for me. But ya know, I’m just gonna keep plugging, doing my best to help the team win. The only stat that matters is W’s.

  222. Haha. I was just going to say we will have to agree to disagree, but you beat me to it latman.

    One thing tho, You said: “You claim Andruw’s leadership role has helped him this year? Its certainly not because he’s only 28 and that’s one of the ages when most players peak?”

    Adam is just 25 ;)

  223. Mike,
    I’m not saying intangibles don’t exist. Just that 1) some (too many) use them as a crutch to explain things and 2) people ascribe too much value to the intangibles at the expense of items that DO explain/describe much of what has happened (not to mention the predictive value they {the items being ignored} carry).

  224. I hear you latnam, I’ve erased a couple of my potential comments that might be considered political because it ain’t allowed. But I will say I would rather have my GM and manager operating in a reality based world than one based on intangibles. And, again, I would like to see LaRoche traded in the offseason and Chipper moved to first and Marte playing third.

  225. I believe in statistics very much. But an average player with the intangibles I have explained is now more valuable to a franchise. Ask anyone in a front office.

    This reminds me of a few years back when the braves cut Quilvio Veras. The consensus was that he was a negative influence on the young man stealing his playing time, Marcus Giles. Little things like that are important in baseball.
    Football, too. The Vikings traded the best wide reciever in football a few months ago. Why? Distraction. Too much of a ME ME ME player.
    Some guys are the opposite. It is important. I can promise you that.

  226. I’m sure if you went through the front office and conducted a poll on who is an a-hole and who isn’t you would get a very tangible statistic.

  227. But you don’t rate assholness, so dont be a smartass. The point is that it all adds up. Little things like that go a long way in determining who is and who will be of most value to your teams future.

  228. “Jonathon:

    “I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ve never seen intangibles win a ballgame.

    I’ve seen stats win ballgames all the time though.

    Again I’m probably just looking in the wrong places.

    Posted by: latnam at August 20, 2005 03:50 PM”

    There’s one! ”

    You can reply if you like, but I need to trundle off to my SOFTBALL game (and here you probably thought I wasn’t an ATHALEEET! HAH! ;-), so I won’t be around all night. But, I will say that I’d say that latnam’s point is defensible in the context of what those stats mean on the ballfield. If you disagree, that’s fine, I’m not going to argue (and, he did, indeed say {ok, wrote} the literal words you quoted – no denying that). I’m just saying…

  229. But they essentially did with Q. Veras by reaching a consensus on his negative influence, didn’t they. You can worship at the altar of intangibles all you want. I’ll take the well-informed, rigorously calculated and meticulously documented opinions of experts in their field over tea leaves any day.

  230. I’ve said repeatedly that you don’t see intangibles. Some of you I don’t think understand intangibles, but some of you arent listening to what I am saying. aka being shallow and then being sarcastic. I don’t appreciate that.

  231. The consensus was that he was a negative influence on the young man stealing his playing time, Marcus Giles

    And I thought it was because his OPS had dropped from 110 to 77 with 7SB’s and he couldn’t come back from the injury he suffered. Shows what I know.

  232. Mike,
    Good point about the average player w/ intangibles. I mean, you offer me two guys w/ equal abilities (ie stats) and one guy with intangibles & the other with nothing but halitosis & a bad haircut, I’ll take the guy with the intangibles.
    But (not that the choice is on the table), offer me Barry Bonds (“jerk” in the media) or David Eckstein, and I’ll take Barry. Same for Gary Sheffield vs Darin Erstad.
    Now, you talk about Scott Rolen (plays the game right, & one of the best 3rd basemen ever) vs Chipper Jones (also has good intangibles) – you’re talking a couple talented Border-Hall-of-famers-if-they-quit-now, either ones a good pick.
    And I think most people would say the same thing. Where there is a clear difference in talent, intangibles alone won’t close the gap (particularly over the long haul – again, in any given game, anything can happen – shoot, any Braves fan just has to think back to Lemke in ’91 – he wasn’t that great statistically, but was there anyone you’d rather have had hitting in that series when the game was on the line?)

  233. That it does. Reports of him having a bad influence on Marcus came from inside the organization if I am not mistaken. Not that hitting so poorly wasn’t a factor, but you catch my drift.

    Or do you? You seem pretty bitter.

  234. Bitter? Me? Not true. JUst that QUilvio sucked and Marcus was killing the ball in AAA and Atlanta seems a bit more plausible. Had the situation been reversed, I am pretty sure the Q would have hung on a bit longer.

  235. So then you do see my point. Veras was replaceable, so he was dismissed. LaRoche is replaceable as so many have decided with Franco and later Chipper. So why is he here? I think braves management knows why. And who are we to question the best? I’m glad we agree.

  236. Do you think it might make an easier story to tell to the reporters and, by extention, the readers of the paper if they talk about his negative influence rather than his sorry stats? You honestly don’t think these guys tell the truth to the press do you?

  237. Lots of people currently on the team are generally replaceable. Maybe not at the moment, but they’re replaceable… not doubt about it. A spot on a major league roster, even one that’s in the lead for it’s division, does not make someone irreplaceable. That same logic could apply to Danny Kolb… it could have applied to Jim Brower until some magical moment last evening changed it all in the blink of an eye last night. Sorry… it’s pretty weak. But I think it mostly shows that there has been way too much energy and way too many words spent up on the likes of Adam LaRoche.

  238. Haha. Well I think Bobby Cox is smart enough to play the best players he has. I would imagine that that theory makes Adam our best 1B. Veras was not our top 2B, thus he was cut. Why? Because he wasnt playing well and because he wasn’t a good influence on Marcus. Also, the braves management would NOT badmouth a player if it was not true. No matter who it was.

  239. Furthermore, within our system, who is replacable right now? Pena for Furcal? Gregor for Andruw?

  240. i just read something about not understanding intangibles. i have no idea if it was directed at me or not, but just in case, here’s clarification.

    i understand them. i understand many people find them extremely important. i don’t describe as intangible some of the things that have been described as such in this thread.

    what i don’t understand is how anyone in this thread could possibly have any idea about the intangibles of any player on the braves team. due to this, i don’t understand the utility of arguing about it. maybe in the abstract, but that’s not what this was.

  241. Latnam:

    Actually, if you want to get technical about it (and from the looks of your posts, you really, REALLY do), a team full of 1.000-OBP guys couldn’t ever win, because the first inning could never come to a close, since they would never record an out.

    That 28 is “one of the ages when most players peak” is an example of how inexact a science this is. If “peak” were a reliably quantifiable determination, there would be only a single age at which players peak.

    Also, the Say Hey Kid’s advice wasn’t doing Andruw any good when he was hitting .250 and striking out a lot before Chipper got hurt. You can’t quantify things like “shouldered the load once Chipper et al went down with injury” with your cute little stats.

    In sum: yes, stats are important and relevant and provide a great deal of help in gauging players’ success and in predicting their future performance. They aren’t everything, though, and they don’t tell the whole story. Character/leadership/moxie/whatever you want to call it does exist, and it manifests in some players and not others. It’s not quantifiable. It’s intangible. I’m okay with the argument that Adam LaRoche’s intangibles aren’t doing much for him. It’s absurd, though, to say that there’s no such thing.

  242. I also don’t agree with some claims of what an intangible is. So, just stick to reading mine if you want to know my thoughts.
    As for arguing it. The point was to point out that LaRoche is still playing everyday because of more than his numbers. People point out that Franco is a better hitter and that we have better options. I said that our scouts along with Bobby are the best in the business. Thus, there must be intangibles invloved in explaining why he continues to play. I’m sure it also has to do with the fact that he is 25 and still growing.

  243. Mike, I said I was ok with the argument–that doesn’t mean I agree with it. I can see how people don’t trust LaRoche, since he has struggled. I, personally, think he’ll be a good Major League hitter, and I think he’s valuable on this team (for many of the reasons you’ve asserted, like the fact that he’s a class-act and his teammates love him).

    Again, though, you can make the argument that he doesn’t have Andruw-like or Pete Rose-like intangibles without sounding stupid. You can’t make the argument that intangibles don’t exist because you can’t measure them without sounding stupid.

  244. I didn’t say that it wasn’t true, I just said that it makes for an easier sell to the press. Like any local beat writers are going to do stories on his OPS vs. Giles’, which is probably the real reason they let him go. That, and he was fixin’ to reach an at-bat milestone, apparently (according to some googling).

  245. He is what I consider an “everyday player.” Altough he gets lefties off, generally. I do agree he needs to improve against lefties.

  246. Hopefully he will have the chance to improve on someone elses team next year. While we improve our team by making the moves that I hope are coming in the offseason.

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