104 thoughts on “Another irrelevant victory”

  1. The reasons no team wants to sign Bonds should be obvious. A .450 OBP doesn’t do much good if you’re in court or in jail.

  2. I know Earl Webb is hoping the Borchard doesn’t make this team. Or he would be if he hadn’t died some forty years ago.

  3. I just got one of these keyboards that is split in the middle and is funny shaped, sorry if the typing gets sloppy

  4. here you go…its beginning

    Camp surprise: Joe Borchard, who has played in 301 career big league games, has made a good early impression, recording five doubles in his first 11 Grapefruit League games. In reference to Borchard’s RBI double in Thursday’s five-run fifth inning, Cox smiled and said, “That’s the softest one he hit.”

    Borchard’s chances of making the club as a fourth outfielder might seem slim. But he’s at least become a candidate and that couldn’t be said with confidence before games began last week.

  5. i hope he makes it…….baseball need more guys named Joe. i cant think of a braves player named Joe since Adcock. i know, i know…….i’m probably missing 30 of them. isnt that what spring training is for?

  6. I had no idea Reyes’ first name was actually Joseph. There’s a point in a man’s life when he really just has to decide he can’t have people calling him JoJo anymore. That time should be around the age of 12.

  7. Damian Moss got the save today……can anyone say comeback? That’s almost as bad as Borchard making the team, except that Moss would be at the end of the pen, while I get the feeling Borchard would be the first guy off the bench. Messed up….

  8. not too bad so far……..reyes(jo jo) and devine (joey) dont count. and sansho1, tell them to send it. i have a system for dealing with junk mail.

  9. From 17:

    Smoltz said his 2-11 start in 1991 was a result of his not handling the renewal well. He got his head together at midseason and went 12-2 after the all-star break.

    Never heard that before. And I’d sort of forgotton about the 2-11 as well.

  10. Unlike most of you, I’m pulling for Borchard to have a great spring. If he does, he can either be released and go to the Mets or we can get someone useful for him in a 3 team deal – and he can go to the Mets. Either way, it’s a huge win for the Braves. The Mets need outfielders, and hey, Borchard, uh well, he plays outfield – so to speak. Go Borchard!

  11. Instead of ending up on the Mets, Borchard will probably make the team and get platooned with Diaz, causing a fair number of sound-minded people’s heads to explode. Some of them, mind you, post here on occasion. I fear Joe Borchard. I mean, I’ve been so caught up in Kotsay being the CF that this whole Borchard thing came out of nowhere, taking me completely by surprise. The idea of both of them being in the same outfield… I just… can’t… even… say it.

  12. Here’s why I think we’re looking good in the NL East (response taken from a Baseball Prospectus chat–get a subscription!).

    First up, the Mets..

    Nick Stone (East Village, New York City): Hey Jay, How much do the Mets’s mounting injuries effect their status as NL east favorites? Who to blame for the spate of injuries? Luck? The front office of not making better contingency plans considering their fragile line up? Or the medical staff?

    Jay Jaffe: Hey Nick!

    Between the news about Delgado’s hip, Beltran’s knees, and Alou’s hernia, I’d say that Mets fans should be very worried right now. New York doesn’t have a ton of depth at the positions in question — particularly at 1B — they don’t have prospects to deal anymore, and the NL East is looking to be a very competitive division, with the Phillies and Braves both capable of working their way past the Mets.

    Ruh-roh, bye-bye Mets offense.

  13. Next up, the defending NL East champion Phillies..

    mikedee (Philly): What do you think of the closer situation in Philly. Are we doomed with Lidge’s knee injury?

    Jay Jaffe: Lidge’s knee injury is only part of the problem. Tom Gordon is the rest of it. He’s an excellent relief pitcher when he’s healthy, but he’s as likely to break down as a $3 Rolex. Piling up more innings on him early on isn’t a great recipe for keeping him healthy, and I don’t like how thin the rests of that bullpen is.

    No Phillies bullpen = Braves 2006. What a freakin’ nightmare!

    Not that we’re a perfect team, but I like how the plan is coming together.

  14. When I was watching part of the Boston-LA Dodgers game this afternoon, Peter Gammons had a lot of good stuff to say ’bout the Braves and how we were his favorites out of the NL East…

  15. But Borchard posted a 1.162 OPS for my Albuquerque Isotopes last year! 22 games you say ? It doesn’t matter he hit .355! Platoon with Diaz, hell platoon him with Frenchy.

    I really did see him quite a few times for my Isotopes last year, but seriously people, the only way he is making the Braves is if they decide to fold the team and start a flag football team, which in that case Borchard might, and I stress might, be able to play some quarterback.

  16. Let’s not get cocky about other teams’ injuries what with our rotation of 2 40+ year olds and Mike Hampton.

  17. Thoughts on the old pitchers.

    Basically, I see us as playoff competitive (assuming no other major disasters) if at least 3 of the 4 of Smoltz, Hudson, Glavine, and Hampton, when put together, constitute at least a #2 , a #2b, and a #3b. Because if that is so, then we know James can be a #3b or 4 if he isn’t hurt, and, out of JJj, JJR, and Bennett, at least one should be able to be a #4 .

    The 3 out of 4 above is highly probable. My mid range projection puts Smoltz and Hudson as 1 or 1b, Glavine as 3b, Hampton as 3 (with significant risk of misssed time, but not nearly so skeptical as Mac and the gang).

    Barring stupid roster and lineup moves (Great to see Bobby staying with KJ, then Esco at the top. The potential disaster of Kotsay at a .330 or lower OBP at the top is so far not seeming likely)and unusual injury problems, we should score 850 to 880 (we scored 810 last year with 60 games of Tex and 100 games of Wilson, Thorman, Salty, and Julio, and also with 100 games from Willie Harris and 30 or so from Langerhans. The only drop off offensively should be from Renteria’s near career year to a pretty good year from Esco.)

    Barring the same unusual injury problems, we should improve by taking 30 or so off last year’s runs allowed to about 700.

  18. I think the Mets, Braves, and Phillies are pretty much the same team despite Rob Neyer’s foaming at the mouth about the Mets. Santana is a big upgrade but I don’t see where the Mets have the great lineup that people seem to think. It’s going to depend on injuries and variability of performance. I do think the Braves have more potential variability (both upside and downside) because of the combination of youth and old age in the rotation. Let everyone pick the Mets and watch the Mets’ fans collective heads explode if they get off to a 6-11 start.

  19. Your Atlanta Braves Opening Day Lineup!

    CF Kotsay
    SS Escobar
    3b Jones
    1b Teixiera
    RF Francoeur
    C McCann
    2b Johnson
    LF Borchard
    P Smoltz

    (C’mon reverse mojo!)

  20. It could be awfully cold here in DC on March 30, so maybe better hold Chipper out and play Infante at 3B. :)

  21. @36

    I just threw up a little bit in my mouth. If we’re gonna insist on Kotsay being the CF – and evidently, for the requisite two to three months, we are – let’s at least bury him at 8th.

    And now, despite it being March, I will now walk into the 9-degree Wisconsin morning. March is always the month during which I miss the South the most…

  22. hampton starts today, ae we going to get a 3 inning outing from him with no injuries?

  23. is b-mac’s ankle still hurting him, or is he working on a new (golf) swing? perhaps andruw has been working with him.

  24. 42 Adam M, seriously… someone was talking about how great it was that spring is here, the grass is green, birds chirping, etc and that baseball was coming. Yet we’re still in the single digits and below (with the wind) here in Wisconsin and I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw the grass in front of my apartment (or the street, for that matter). ugh. Baseball is still coming…. there’s hope.

  25. Will/can that track previous months, or is it just a from-this-point-forward tracker?

    I love it.

    And now I’m ahead of you, Marc.

  26. Worst-case (plausible) scenario lineup:

    Kotsay
    Escobar
    Frenchy
    Tex
    Lopez
    Prado
    Borchard
    Uribe

    Chipper is hurt, Borchard and Prado are platooning with Diaz and Johnson. This could definitely happen on a semi-regular basis.

    But to be honest, I really don’t think KJ will be platooning and I really doubt Borchard will make the team. And if he does, it’ll be at the expense of Thorman, and the ABs he’ll take away in LF will come from Anderson, not Diaz. Sso not exactly a huge drop-off.

  27. I’m sure it’s not of major interest, but it looks like I need to boost my post rate. So, here’s a pic of little c with a braves cap that’s still way too big, but makes him look older. he’s a few months older than jake r. I bet jake r. might have more braves gear too… but we’ve got more coming that he’ll fit into this summer.

  28. Mac, I am not trying to get flamed, just have a “food for thought” sort of question. You said on another thread, “My theory is that spring training performance is almost completely irrelevant, because the pitchers are just trying to get in shape for the most part and throw mostly fastballs (which are easier on the arm). Any professional baseball player can get hits if all you throw is fastballs.” That argument can be used for why Borchard’s batting average is inflated during spring training, and I would tend to agree with you. However, what is the explanation for superstars who are slumping? If the pitching is supposed to be so much easier to hit in the spring, should we get worried that someone like McCann is batting .091? I have a hard time with the dichotomy of Borchard’s good results being the result of spring training pitching while the superstars not being able to hit any of this stuff is the result of “just a normal slump.” I know we can go off of what we’ve seen them do in actual games, but what will Borchard have to do to be taken seriously? It just seems that if he continues to succeed the argument will be that the pitching sucks, and if he had started the spring 0 for 12 the argument would have been that he sucks so it was to be expected.

  29. Guys who have jobs tend to try to work on things rather than work for results. McCann is (he’s stated) working on his defense. He hit poorly in spring last year and the year before.

    Another thing to note is that walk totals in spring training are low. (Fastballs are easier to control, plus everyone just wants to get the games over with.)

  30. McCann is (he’s stated) working on his defense.

    Is that right? That’s awesome. I’m glad someone (associated with the team) was aware that he left a little to be desired in that area.

  31. Stu, I think these are the rankings for the year so far:

    # Stu (361)
    # Another Alex R. (346)
    # Alex R. (337)
    # ububba (325)
    # Dix (284)
    # csg (276)
    # Sam (233)
    # Marc Schneider (199)
    # sansho1 (164)
    # Smitty (150)

  32. All-time:

    * CSG (6685)
    * Smitty (5231)
    * Stu (4840)
    * Alex R. (4805)
    * Ububba (4802)
    * Dan (4450)
    * KC (4149)
    * Sam (4057)
    * Jay10 (3740)
    * Another Alex R. (2841)

  33. And the race is on! I added another widget to the sidebar listing the top ten most frequent commentors. (It’s over the last month.)

    Fired up IE to see this (because Firefox gives me an older look that doesn’t have it). Can’t believe I didn’t make the cut. I must have been actually working to much in the last month. Time for a raise.

  34. I guess I also want to blame Andruw (you know, that does kind of feel good. Maybe I should have tried it earlier). With him gone I don’t get baited into as many crazy arguments.

  35. If walks are supposed to be low in ST then it seems Noah Lowry and the Giants are in for a long one this year. (we now know he was having wrist trouble)

    But, of course, he’d never get to walk that many people in a real game. It’s practice… so you can let him do that until he gets it right (or until his wrist hurts too bad).

  36. Speaking of walks:
    Mr. Francouer says this wil be something he concentrates on this season. Talk is cheap.

    Our favorite Baseball Economist has a contest on his site seeking guesses on how many walks Frenchy will have, first by Father’s Day, and then for 2008.

    The prizes are autogrpahed copies of JC’s book. I’ve got mine and I treasure it. Look for JC Bradbury’s site or The Baseball Economist.

    (I don’t do linking well, sorry)

  37. I’m not overly worried about Bouchard making the team. He can’t play CF, can he? That makes him a longshot for 4th outfielder.

    If Lillibridge gets a utility infielder position, then he can be the backup CF. But even then, he’d probably only be on the team until Infante came off the DL.

    There just aren’t many choices to be made for the bench, thanks to the number of players who are both out of options and just good enough to not make it through waivers.

  38. We’re No. 1!

    I’ve been accused of “diarrhea of the mouth,” but never of the fingers.

    Re: McCann
    A Little Blind Faith Here:

    Okay, you asked for it — MT

    I think he’ll improve in both departments this year. And it’s encouraging as hell that he’s taking seriously his defensive shortcomings.

    I don’t think he was the same at the plate last year after the hand injuries. He’s a good hitter. You could tell as soon as he came up. I’m not worried there.

    But I’m not willing to go so far as to say that any nagging injuries definitely contributed to his defensive weaknesses last year, because he was underwhelming in that regard in ’06, too.

    On another note: Y’know, our lineup could totally kick ass this year.

  39. LOL

    Hampton just left the game for “unknown reasons…we’ll try to fidn something out for you” .

    It begins..

  40. He can’t be hurt, he just can’t, its like the worst joke ever told. Poor Bastard.

  41. You know, I think the rest of the Braves need to work on their defense. So far today, Chipper’s booted a ball, Yunel threw the ball away, and Ordonez just chopped a ball over Chipper’s glove.

    I think Hampton just strained a muscle hoping the guys would catch the ball.

    (And yes, that may have been an oblique — and reprehensibly bad — reference to the book “In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle.”)

  42. What’s most shocking to me is that I find myself surprised by Hampton’s injury. For all the talk, I apparently still believed he was going to stay healthy. It’s unreal.

  43. #46

    Smoltz voluntarily ceded the “#1 Starter” role to Hudson, so Huddy may indeed be our opening day starter. We’ll know there’s trouble if Smoltz starts wearing a “World’s Best Starter” T-shirt around camp a la Izzy Mendelbaum….

  44. For some reason, this was the first thing that came to mind when I read about the Mike Hampton news:

  45. From DOB’s blog:

    Just got back from clubhouse. Hampton said he thinks he’ll be able to make his next start. Said he’s just going to have to get his legs in shape, as he’s been saying all spring. But the arm felt great, and he said he has “absolutely” believes he’ll be in opening day rotation, ready to go.

    He told Cox when he came out to mound that he thought he could finish inning, but Cox said you’ve thrown enough pitches, let’s be safe.

    Hampton said he’s had plenty of groin pulls and tears (he had surgery on his left groin years ago) and knows when he’ll miss time with one. Said this one isn’t that severe, doesn’t expect to miss any time.

    Nevertheless, folks, you can see why the Braves have three or more other options this year. Why they weren’t going to make the mistake of counting on Hampton to be healthy, like last spring.

    Also in there is word that both Soriano and Moylan are out with sore elbows right now, although Soriano apparently threw on the side this morning without real discomfort.

    Fun times!

    sansho1,
    I hadn’t read that, I don’t think. Doesn’t seem like a good idea to me, but what do I know?

  46. Mike hampton latest episode gave me the idea of comparing this tease to other players with similiar attributes. Overpaid, always hurt but still has a way of dooping people to think he will come back to old self…

    1. Wood & Prior – Cubs
    2. Grant Hill – pick your team
    3. Jayson Williams – nets
    4. Mike tyson
    5. Javon walker – now raiders
    6. Ken Griff Junior
    7. D McNabb

    any other frauds come to mind? Hampton is the worse, can anybody top him?

  47. #57 – why ST stats dont matter

    Jon Scheurholz Jr 2006 ST stats –

    .304 avg 3hr 12rbi

    2006 AA

    .184 avd 2HR 25RBI .252OBP

    2006 AAA

    .172avg in 143 AB’s

    this is what a steady diet of fastballs will do to anyone

    #61- whoa, I spend too much time here

    #84 – I asked yesterday if he could get through 3IP without an injury, I guess not

  48. Robert,

    If it makes you feel better, I’m always happy to have an argument about Andruw anytime you like!

  49. @88,

    I don’t see how you can say a player is a “fraud” just because they get hurt a lot. Injuries are capricious and some players just get hurt a lot. It’s not a judgement on their character. It’s also odd that, on the one hand, people complain about players that get hurt a lot and don’t play, but they also complain about players that play through injuries and struggle (ie, Andruw Jones). Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    I saw some comments on ESPN blogs about Hampton being overpaid and the Braves getting nothing from him. But that’s not really true. He was productive the first couple of years and the Braves were paying virtually nothing (by baseball standards) for him. I don’t think the Braves have nearly as much to complain about as the Rockies and Marlins.

  50. Marc,
    I agree witchou 100 %, but I also hope everyone would agree that the Hampton thing has vaulted comic proportions. It’s off the charts now.

    I wouldn’t exactly call these folks frauds, as long as they make every reasonable effort to win when they’re healthy & to play when they are not.

    Folks like Carl Pavano…now that’s another story.

  51. And you can’t call Grant Hill a fraud either. That’s nuts. He’s been playing fantastic this year for very little money.

  52. Grant Hill could have quit a long time ago and just collect checks from Orlando. He always worked his but off to bet back on the court. He never have been on that court for very long, but he did a lot more then some to earn his salery.

  53. From a Time interview with St. Bill James:

    “For the book you developed a mathematic measure of consistency in a ballplayer. Who is the most consistent player of all-time?

    It’s not a surprise. The most consistent player of all-time is Henry Aaron. He had the same numbers every year that he had the year before. In our own generation, Albert Pujols has been as consistent as Aaron was. In fact, he’s been more consistent. But backing away from it and looking at the whole career, the number one guy would have to be Aaron.”

  54. I guess no one can think of a bigger fraud than Hampton.

    You really never know how much someone ‘works his butt off’ unless you let ESPN lull you into a jeremy schapp piece.

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