The continuing irrelevance

The Official Site of The Atlanta Braves: News: Hudson strong in Braves’ win

I don’t know that I’d call three hits and two walks in four innings “strong”. Adequate, I’d guess. Acceptable. Decent. Middling good. He was charged with two first-inning runs, but both were “unearned”.

Matt Diaz was 3-3, therefore making it more clear than ever that he needs to be platooned. Josh Anderson had two hits and three RBI, and I find myself actually rooting for him to make the team, because at least he isn’t Borchard, who has proven that he can’t hit major league pitching. Thorman had a three-run homer but is still hitting only .158 this spring. Trade rumors fly, but I find it difficult to believe that a guy who is out of options, hitting .158 in spring, and hit .216/.258/.394 last year has much value. DOB wants to know who will back up Teixeira and play first if he gets hurt. I have a feeling that just about anybody can match .216/.258/.394.

Note from the Mets chapter of the Bill James Gold Mine… Tom Glavine was basically a two-pitch pitcher last year, throwing 50 percent fastballs and 44 percent changeups. His bounceback in 2004 was, as I recall, credited to him getting good results from his curveball, but he threw only four percent breaking pitches (curveballs or sliders — I doubt there’s much difference at this stage) last year.

81 thoughts on “The continuing irrelevance”

  1. I was looking at ticket prices for this year, and the seats around home plate are now ‘Henry Aaron Seats’ and cost about 25 dollars more than they did last year. Is there anything different with the seats, or are they just getting away with upping the price by calling them Henry Aaron Seats?

  2. the only way henry will get a cut is if he can play centerfield. but i guess they cant really use his name like that for free. or can they?

  3. Um, DOB, you could always shift Diaz to first and let Anderson or whoever’s the 4th outfielder play left if Teixiera has the day off…

  4. His question is, “What happens if Teixeira is out for an extended period?” To which the obvious answer is, “Then it doesn’t matter, because we’re screwed anyway.”

  5. Nasa, I always found that an odd article, because the changeup is the pitch I’ve most associated with Glavine.

    I checked the Bill James Online database. Glavine threw ten percent breaking pitches (6 percent called sliders, 4 percent curveballs — that’s really a judgment call) in 2006, and threw in an occasional cutter. In 2005, it was 7 percent, and in 2004 11 percent. But going back to 2002, he threw all but one percent either fastballs or changeups. That was his last great season, and his last year with the Braves.

    I don’t know if this means anything or not. I have to think that you need at least three pitches to succeed as a starter. Chuck James, I know, seems to disagree.

  6. Mac, you said that Glavine in 2002 had a great season throwing only two pitches. Since then, the third pitch has also been a token pitch for Glavine. Then you said that “you need at least three pitches to succeed as a starter”.

    How do you propose to resolve the contradiction implied in your statements above?
    Glavine has been a successful starter as a two pitch pitcher. Do you mean “unless you’re Tom Glavine you need three pitches to be a successful starter”? Perhaps instead of focusing on his third pitch, Chuck James should focus on pitching more like Tom Glavine.

  7. I think that the “breaking pitch” group was a bit more than a token pitch in 2003-06 — 8-12 percent is about normal for most pitchers’ third pitch — but for some reason he abandoned it last year. I wonder if maybe he threw it at a normal rate early on but lost the feel later in the year.

    Obviously he did succeed throwing just two pitches in 2002, so my statement is (obviously) untrue. However, he threw his slider a lot more in the nineties (by my recollection, I don’t have data) and did well throwing breaking pitches in 2003-06. There aren’t many pitchers who succeed as starters throwing just two pitches, not unless one of them is of historic quality.

    A lot of guys have been told to try to pitch like Tom Glavine. None have succeeded.

  8. Well, I think Glavine’s changeup IS probably of “historic quality.” He, probably more than Maddux, is responsible for the interest in the circle change over the past 15 years.

    I know that was always the rap on Jack McDowell, only two pitches. Both of them were pretty good.

    Heck, Niekro had one……

  9. His changeup was of historic quality. Now he’s two weeks away from being 42 years old and is pitching off of a fastball in the low eighties.

  10. BTW… Chuck James: 63 percent fastballs, 28 percent changeups, 3 percent sliders, 6 percent “not charted”. So I’d say that he was trying to pitch like Tom Glavine, and not succeeding.

  11. Oh, and looking at some other pitchers, they apparently weren’t differentiating between fastballs at the time (they still don’t between four-seam and two-seam) so Glavine may have been throwing cut fastballs in 2002.

  12. How does simply throwing your fastball 2-1 over your changeup mean you’re trying to pitch like Tom Glavine? Lots of pitchers throw their changeup about 1/4 to 1/3 of the time. That doesn’t mean they’re trying to pitch like Tom Glavine; it means they locate their fastball well, and they only have one other pitch they can throw effectively, and it’s a changeup.

  13. It just seems like you’re trying to draw the conclusion that if a lefty throws those percentages with his pitches, he’s trying to pitch like Tom Glavine. I would argue that that is not true. I think you’re forgetting Glavine’s command and ability to set up hitters.

  14. Rob, every young lefty who doesn’t throw hard gets compared to Glavine and is told to pitch like Glavine. And the fact is that none of them are Glavine, and that they have to find their own road. James throws the same two pitches that Glavine mostly throws, but is a completely different type of pitcher anyway, a guy who works up in the zone and when he’s on gets lots of popups and a fair number of strikeouts. Telling him to pitch like Glavine won’t work.

  15. I heard an interview on Talking Chop last year with James where he said that he was most similar to Santana in pitching style.

  16. Of course, I don’t mean to imply that he had Santana results…but I’m not sure that he’s completely trying to emulate Glavine.

  17. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! Though in style that’s probably accurate (Santana does work up in the zone) Santana throws harder, and throws his slider a fair amount (11 percent), especially to lefties (25 percent).

  18. I’d trade Thorman for a plate of Dreamland barbecue, and I hate Alabama and Tuscaloosa.

  19. That’s the problem with saying “this pitcher pitches like this pitcher.” If he throws his changeup on the outside corner a lot, he’s like Tom Glavine. If he throws his slider a lot, if he’s from the right side he’s Pedro Martinez, and if he’s from the left side he’s Johan Santana. As Mac said, every soft-tossing lefty gets compared to Tom Glavine, regardless of whether or not he pitches on the outside corner, what secondary pitches he throws, if he’s got good command, etc. It seems like you try to over-simplify a great pitchers’ pitching style, and you lump too many different types of pitching prospects into inaccurate categories.

  20. Regarding the non-recap, Hudson did have a strong outing. Most of the balls hit were on the ground. More Ks would always be nice, but he did fine. Also, the unearned runs came from a booted grounder and a horrible throw from Escobar after… a grounder. Hudson’s start was pretty much what we should be looking for from a #2 at this stage of spring training, so I have no problem characterizing it as “strong”.

  21. I always think someone like Thorman should stay on the team and hopefully turn it around. I guess I’m partial to the guys who will go all out on every play. Heck, I even enjoyed watching Pete Orr and Langerhans play because they played the way all of us say we would.

  22. Well, James throws harder than Glavine (at least nowadays), and like Santana there is more of a speed difference between fastball and offspeed. Usually about 90/75. And he works up in the zone.

    How many pitches did Sid Fernandez throw?

  23. As with any other trade proposal, you don’t dump Scott Thorman just to say you dumped Scott Thorman. You dump him if doing so makes you better overall. If you can get a better all around team by trading him, you do it. You don’t have to do that by replacing him with another 1B. If you get back a guy that can carry LF for the theoretical Tex-on-the-DL time then that allows Diaz to play 1B during that stretch. If you’re doing that, you’re hurting regardless, as Mac says. You’re not going to get anyone back, for Scott Thorman, who can replace Tex for any time.

    If all you’re getting back is another version of Scott Thorman then I don’t see much reason not to drag along the version you already have. You certainly don’t want Omar Infante or Mark Kotsay playing 1B any more than you wanted Chris Woodward there last year.

  24. Spring training on TV alert for the week… Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the Braves irrelevant Spring training games will be broadcast.

  25. My barber thiks we are going to move Thorman for a first aid kit we can devote souly to Mike Hampton.

  26. If Thorman netted us a “magic cure all” box for Hampton, then that would be a great trade.

  27. I can’t find what we got for Langerhans except “cash or a player to be named later”.

    I also came across what I’d forgotten, or never realized, that Willie Harris has a WS ring, and Andruw Jones doesn’t (ok I KNEW that one, it’s the combination that struck me)… there’s something wrong about that. Not that there aren’t a ton of other guys who you could say the same thing about, just an observation.

  28. How does one devote something souly to Mike Hampton? Does it involve James Brown records?

    Also, if these games are so utterly irrelevant why is Mac having a conniption over Joe Borchard? Perhaps they’re not as irrelevant as Mac might like them to be.

  29. The results are irrelevant. And the rest isn’t as irrelevant as I’d like them to be. 30 PA in spring are more important that 1000 PA of real baseball.

  30. Let Hampton back up first. He can hit and field. Thorman is useless. He can’t field well, can’t hit. There is no diffrence between him and one of those long bomber softball players.

  31. Yeah Mac. I know what you mean. I’m just hacking your shins.

    Smitty, that’s just silly. Scott Thorman would annihilate even the best softball teams.

  32. 38 — would the kit contain soul glo? i wonder if pedro’s personal medical kit does.

  33. STU TAKE WARNING: Vandy lost to Alabama on Saturday. The last time Alabama beat a ranked team it was last January versus LSU, then #13. Since then, the LSU program has collapsed and John Brady was fired. Also, Alabama’s basketball team sucks.

  34. Mac, I’m well aware. I bet you weren’t aware of this: Vanderbilt is 0-9 in the last game of the regular season under Kevin Stallings. A truly bizarre (and frustrating) statistic. You’re hardly the worst team we’ve lost to during that stretch, although this probably is the most talented Vanderbilt team during that stretch.

    The Vanderbilt program will not collapse, although next year could require a bit of rebuilding. Stallings will clearly not be fired; I just hope he doesn’t jump to Indiana. We should be very, very, very good in 2009-10.

  35. UAB could be very good in the next few years. Mike Davis is a very good coach, but I dont know how long UAB will be able to keep his services. You would think he’s on a lot of AD’s short lists right now

  36. Stallings sucks. My brother is a big Vandy fan and curses his name. This Vandy team should be in the top ten, maybe top 5!

  37. Smitty, you (and your brother) clearly have no idea what you are talking about. Stallings is outstanding. Compare the program with the one he inherited.

    FWIW, I believe we’ll show that we’re among the Top 8 (as we were last year) come Tourney time.

  38. Gottfried won’t be fired. The thing that most people don’t realize is that Gottfried’s offenses rely much too heavily on a great point guard. If they have a great PG/ floor leader, they have a chance to be pretty good, but if not, they stink. Mo Williams, Antoine Pettway, and Ronald Steele have all been excellent point guards, and Bama’s teams have done pretty well when those guys have been healthy. Steele’s injury last year (and Gottfried’s awful handling of it) have cost the team a lot. This is not an excuse for Gottfried ( IMO, this kind of reliance on a PG is inexcusable), but it’s a fact. If Steele is healthy next year, Bama will be okay, but they will repeat the same pattern when he gets hurt or graduates.

    Why do I think this is the case? I don’t think Gottfried’s plays are that organized and he doesn’t seem to teach the players passing skills very well. Defensively, they are only as good as their defensive coach. Defense hasn’t been too good this year, but it’s been better than last year. (not saying much).

    If/when Gottfried is fired, look for T.R. Dunn as Head Coach. I think he’ll be an awesome choice and I just don’t see Davis leaving UAB for Bama – too much bad blood between the schools, even though they share trustees.

  39. Stu,

    Vandy is a really talented team, they should be better thatn what they are. I have heard a lot of Vandy fans say this.

  40. We all know Florida is the best team in the SEC. HA!

    Vandy and Tennessee are both really solid teams. Settle it in the tourney, fellas.

  41. I think we should vote. Should we

    a) settle it in the tourney?
    b) settle it by making fun of teams we don’t like, particularly those located in the Volunteer State?

  42. Vandy is a really talented team, they should be better thatn what they are. I have heard a lot of Vandy fans say this.

    We have 2 great players, a solid but completely unspectacular PG, 2 adequate senior role players, several talented but incredibly inconsistent freshmen, and Alan Metcalfe.

    The Vandy “fans” you’ve talked to have incredibly unrealistic expectations if they believe there’s another coach in the country who could have taken this team at the start of the year and finished with better than a 25-6 record headed into the SEC Tournament.

    There is no reasonable basis for saying we “should be better than what [we] are.”

  43. BTW, Rob and AAR…settle what? Whether Stallings is a great coach? There’s no VU-UT argument here.

  44. I’m actually somewhat impressed that Vandy has done as well as they have. They’ve got talent, but the SEC schedule is no joke. They’ve had a very good year.

    As for my Gators… well, I can only take solace in the fact that NC State is even worse (I live in Raleigh now). :-D

    Anyone think UF gets into the NCAA if do anything less than win the SEC Tournament?

  45. I think you’ve got a chance if you reach the title game, mraver, because I think the committee would like an excuse to put the 2-time defending champs in the field. A lot will depend on what other bubble teams do and whether there are several upsets in mid-major conferences where the favorite has locked up a bid.

  46. Everyone knew UF would not be as good, and they lived up to those expectations. Ut beat a #1 ranked Memphis and Vandy beat a #1 ranked UT. And there are 3 very good teams in Tennessee, which is hard to believe and doesn’t count the “Lady” Vols.

  47. I hope Chucky James enjoys his season in richmond, because Jair Jurrjens is the real F’n deal. Watched him pitch today on sports south against the cards. Blanked ’em for 4 innings. He fed Pujols a big fat Jam sandwich in the first. Watching him pitch this year is going to be fun.

  48. And there are 3 very good teams in Tennessee…

    Belmont and Austin Peay have already won their respective conference tournaments (both were 1-seeds after having been the best during the regular season) and have spots in the Big Dance.

  49. #23 Noc ~ You should hold out for Archibald’s rather than the post-franchised, overrated and declining Dreamland. Dreamland is like the veteran lefty discussed in this thread: living off a hard earned, well deserved, but rapidly fading reputation. Archibalds is the Edgar Martinez of BBQ: doesn’t have the glitz or glamor of the hot pretty-boy prospects, but just keeps toiling along in the minors producing excellent results before you finally give it a chance and – viola! – you get the quiet and understated excellence of a true Hall of Fame peak.

    Glavine? I’ll cheer for him in memory of what he did for the Braves from ’87 to ’02, but in ’08, we’ll be lucky for 175 innings of 4.75 ERA.

  50. Stu,

    DId MTSU win last night? They might make it in too. ETSU is in as well. Tennessee is a basketball mecha!


    Too bad our Mocs didn’t make it

  51. ON Florida,

    I think they have to win the tournament. Is see the SEC getting

    Tennessee, Vandy, Miss St., Kentucky, and MAYBE Arkansas

    in the tournament.

  52. If you haven’t made it over to FJM today, you really should.

    Incidentally, there probably aren’t 5 Braves Journal readers who wouldn’t be better at that Cincinnati writer’s job than he is.

  53. Smitty,
    R U Serious??? I have never been so pissed as after listening to elon put us out of the SoCon tourney on saturday. There’s no excuse for that. We should be playing Davidson tonight for a spot in the dance! Oh well. At least it’s almost baseball season…

  54. if you played Davidson, you’d get your jocks handed to you. That is a GOOD team.

    gave us (UNC) our 3rd most competitive game this year (the other two being the losses).

  55. Paying for My Love, Episode 327:

    I’ve put off thinking about (not) watching the Braves on TBS until today.

    So I found out that my local cable system has MLB Extra Innings this year. If I order before April 6, the cost: $159, for up to 60 games per week.

    I guess I’m going to do it, but that’s a lotta Blue Jays-Tampa games I’m never going to watch.

  56. Good news from Peanut:

    While Anderson can play each of the three outfield positions, he’d likely only be used as a backup and not in a platoon with Diaz.


    Borchard plays the game hard and has great intelligence. But I don’t currently see any scenario where he will be on the Opening Day roster as a backup outfielder.

    It looks like Diaz will be the everyday left fielder.

  57. chris,

    More competitive than the Clemson games???

    Davidson’s a fine team, but I believe they’re overrated. They didn’t beat a single one of the quality non-conference opponents they played this year. And there isn’t much quality in their conference against whom they’ve been able to measure themselves.

    Of course, with a scorer like Curry (I know he’s not all they have, but he’s certainly the key to any postseason hopes they have), they can definitely make a little noise in the Tourney—I just don’t think they’re deserving of quite the level of “street cred” they seem to have among analysts this season.

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