53 thoughts on “Say what you will, but I never made Hampton look this ridiculous”

  1. I’m truly sorry that I haven’t been able to see these videos.
    Is it true, Mac, that you’ve changed your jersey number to “8&1/2?”

  2. Love all of the guarantees and other trash talk being thrown around by the Mets and Phils. Don’t they know that Rollins’ guarantee that came to fruition is an anomaly?

    I’m sure they’ll enjoy duking it out for the Wild Card.

  3. To sort of echo Smitty’s point in the last thread: while I wouldn’t just give away our high draft picks (and I don’t think we did by signing Glavine), I wouldn’t get too worked up over a Major League baseball draft pick. It’s such a hit-or-miss thing with high draft picks that losing one for the sake of shoring up your rotation a much needed part (a perhaps above average pitcher who will give us a lot of innings) is worth the next Scott Thorman (former first round pick). The pick is no more likely to be a good player than a Richard Lewis, Aaron Herr, Troy Cameron, A.J. Zapp, Chad Hutchinson or all the other players who have done nothing at the big league level. And in my estimation, from 1990 to 2003, the Braves have produced 6 major league quality players out of 19 first round picks. Some players I didn’t include could still pan out to be decent players (Dan Meyer, Macay McBride), but I think it’s pretty fair of an assessment.

  4. On the mound Sunday, he rubbed down the ball, stared toward home plate and delivered a pitch that swept across the outside corner. Teammate Mark Kotsay never got the bat off his shoulder.

    Insert Kotsay joke.

  5. Well, Andruw soes get the bat off his shoulders, just grounding to 2B for a double-play.

    No way. It’s always to the left side of the infield.

  6. I guarantee that if Andruw hit into a 4-6-3 double play, Joe Simpson would say that it’s a positive sign because he was hitting to the opposite field.

  7. That’s what it’s all about, Mac. Singles to the opposite field. That’s what makes a ballplayer. Like Joe.

  8. Well, okay, maybe Joe focuses on opposite-field hitting a wee bit too much. But Andruw spent half the season last year swinging and falling down onto one knee because his balance was so screwed up. I imagine if he had found a stance that didn’t make him fall down in his follow-through, he might have been able to take an outside pitch the other way instead of weakly rolling his writes or waving at it.

  9. Andruw’s best offensive season was 2005 when 134 of his 154 hits and 47 of his 51 homeruns were hit somewhere to the left of dead centerfield. Pulling the ball too much was never the problem no matter what Joe would tell you. Count me among those that thought much of his breakthrough could be attributed to finally decided to stop screwing around with taking balls the other way and just letting it rip.

  10. Sure, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Andruw pulling the ball when he can keep his swing under control and repeat it. But his swing mechanics were so out of whack last year that he didn’t have any success to any field. He’s always been a guy who tinkered with his stance, and last year I think he just didn’t know how to get back to the success that he’d always had — nothing he tried was working. It’s ultimately not about pulling the ball versus hitting to all fields, it’s about being able to stay balanced and repeat your motion no matter what it is.

  11. That takes alot of the strikezone out of play Robert. Just throw him balls on the outside black every time and he’d have never gotten a hit. You can’t possibly believe that.

  12. Even better according to Tom Glavine is if you can throw outside fastballs off the black every time and get them called for strikes.

  13. Didn’t Jim Bouton have a bit about that in Ball Four? His manager would call him in from the bullpen and instruct him to put the first pitch on the black, and Bouton would be like “gee whiz, you mean that’s all there is to it”?

  14. That takes alot of the strikezone out of play Robert. Just throw him balls on the outside black every time and he’d have never gotten a hit. You can’t possibly believe that.

    Go for it. If you can do it every time you will probably get him. Andruw takes his walks though so if you miss away he’ll take it, and if you miss in….

  15. He’ll fall down while swinging wildly at it.

    Hey, I was talking about 2005!

    I didn’t matter how you pitched him last year.

  16. Yeah, that was really just a joke. I fully expect him to rebound and be a very good investment for the Dodgers over the next couple of seasons.

  17. Just so you all know, BP has come out with its 2008 team projections, at http://baseballprospectus.com/fantasy/dc/.

    The Braves are projected to win 85 games, placing them 2nd in the NL East, 11 games behind the Mets. Not impossible, but that seemes awfully pessimistic to me.

    Of course, anyone who actually thinks the Mets will win 96 games this year is on crack.

  18. The Braves are projected to win 85 games, placing them 2nd in the NL East, 11 games behind the Mets. Not impossible, but that seemes awfully pessimistic to me.

    What do folks here think is a reasonable projection for the number of Braves wins?

    I’m no doubt less hopeful for most. I have them for 82 wins.

    I heard that 50% of AJC readers think we are a lock for at least 150 wins this year.

  19. Hmm. With a better closer, better starting pitching, and better offense (losing Andruw is more than made up for by a full year of Tex), I don’t see how the Braves can be predicted to do roughly the same as last year.

  20. I would say 90 is a good target number for this team. If we lose any starters or Chipper then more like 82-85

  21. Robert,
    You’re beat up.

    I don’t know. We got 600 great PAs from Chipper and 200 solid IP for Smoltz and still only won 84. Repeating those will be somewhat long odds, plus the big step down at SS, the void in CF…

    I view 82 as reasonable although I understand most would disagree.

  22. I’m not a huge fan of win projections, because they don’t do a good job of predicting the yearly outliers — the teams that win or lose 10 more games than they were supposed to, who throw everyone else off by giving other teams wins or losses they weren’t supposed to have.

    In my experience, projections tend to put nearly everyone between 75-85 wins except for the couple best teams in baseball, which simply isn’t how these things turn out at the end of the year. As far as projecting the Braves, without doing any actual analysis, I think 85-89 wins is a pretty good 25-75 projection, with a 25% chance of 90 wins or more.

  23. Just like it is ridiculous the way certain journalists and commentators dismiss modern metrics, it is likewise infuriating the reverence that ‘stat-heads’ hold for statistics.

    Andruw in 2005 getting 134 of 154 of his hits to the left-side of centerfield, does not mean that Andruw in 2007 needed to continue to try to pull everything thrown at him.

    If you are getting hits, and HARD hits to your pull-side, you are ‘staying on the ball.’ If you are grounding out to shortstop, you are ‘pulling off the ball.’

    You can stay on the ball and hit it to your pull-side. You just make contact out in front of the plate.

    Looking for hits in rightfield is not what Andruw needed to do in 2007. But a few hits to rightfield would have been side-effects of an improved approach, and would have served as evidence that he was staying on the ball.

    Before anyone attacks Joe’s “exact words” (as if anyone can remember his exact words)

    I think that Joe saying that Andruw needed to go to the opposite field was basically one of those anecdotal “this is how you snap out of it,” ideas. Obviously, ‘Try to take one to right’ means ‘force yourself to wait on the ball by specifically trying to go to right field, that way you can’t pull off the ball. This will help you to break your bad habit, and you can go back to pulling the ball with authority.’

    The actual hit to rightfield isn’t important, its just a trick to force the change in approach.

    SQUARE ROOY OF 162 (0.5) (0.5)
    Using 50 per cent chance of winning or losing
    SQUARE ROOT OF 40.5 = 6.5
    So we expect 1 or 2 teams to win 13 games more than expected and the same to lose 13 games more.
    Is real life that bad

  26. Andruw in 2005 getting 134 of 154 of his hits to the left-side of centerfield, does not mean that Andruw in 2007 needed to continue to try to pull everything thrown at him.

    And he didn’t, 98 of his 127 hits in ’07 were to the left side a lower percentage than in his good years. These extra hits to right field were not “evidence that he was staying on the ball” or “a trick to force the change in approach” they were more a sign that he was late a lot more often last year as he had more outs to the right side as well.

    The cause of this shift in distribution is, of course, up for grabs. It could be 1)the bad elbow screwing up his timing, 2)age/wear and tear slowing his bat down, 3)the drag of his slump causing him to be tentative, or worst of all 4)the presence of some Joe Simpson like voice in his life telling him to try to go to right field and everything will magically fix itself.

    Wow, someone called me a stathead. Don’t get that much.

  27. back to the hitting thing………the surest way to hit a weak grounder to the opposite side is to try and pull an outside pitch………………McGriff did it at the end, Murphy did it at the end and Javy was the worst offender i’ve seen. and so goes Andruw. these guys cant seem to help themselves.

  28. Mark me down for 89 Braves wins. I think our lineup will rake & I’m not ready to declare that our SS will be better or worse. (I’ll take the same.)

    I’m not breaking any news here when I say the season could well depend on our 4-5 starters and our bullpen. I’ll remain hopeful until something on the field tells me not to be.

    Andruw can’t possibly have as awful a year as he had last year, but at this point, I kinda don’t care anymore. He’s Torre’s problem now. I just hope he doesn’t kill us too often. I’m doomed to root for Mark Kotsay, but root I will.

    Had a weekend with the Atlanta Thrashers. Saw 2 of their games in the area with an old friend (including one at the Devils’ spiffy new building in Newark) & got a kick out their fans’ chants. For instance, whenever Marian Hossa did anything good or bad, it was always: “Jesus, Marian Hossa!”

  29. Put me down for 88-92 wins barring unforeseen injuries (doesn’t include Hampton which is a foreseen injury).

  30. @40 Robert –

    You make concessions for people leaving and the possibility for injuries, but what you forget is to leave room for improved performance from our youngsters. Johnson, Frenchy, and McCann could all improve on their numbers from last year. In fact, at their age, they are almost expected to. McCann and Johnson both look great up there with the bat and have almost impeccable approaches. Frenchy I think is the greatest unknown, but probably has the best chance to show marked improvement.

  31. Robert, call me an AJC reader if you want, but I’m calling the Braves for 97 wins and a division title this year.

    Look for Chipper and Hampton to put up career numbers, and Glavine to be a major bust.

    Also, Bobby Cox will become the oldest player/manager in history and bat cleanup and hit .323 for the season.

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