Braves 8, Mets 7 (12 innings)

Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets – Box Score – May 13, 2009 – ESPN

A win’s a win, I guess. This one probably should have counted for two.

First off, Jo-Jo Reyes by all rights should have pitched himself off the major league roster. Given a 2-0 lead after the top of the first, he immediately gave up a double and a triple and walk, followed by a GIDP (one of four the Braves turned today) to tie it. In the third, the Braves gave him a 4-2 lead, which he managed to hold all the way to the bottom of the fourth before loading the bases on a walk and two singles. Bobby came in with Carlyle, which was a mistake, and Buddy immediately gave up a grand slam to make it 6-4 Mets.

The Braves cut it to 6-5 in the fifth with a sac fly from Chipper, and tied it in the seventh with another sac fly, this one from ACHE. In the eighth, they got the lead, with KJ hitting a pinch-hit double to score Prado. Bobby then let Moylan hit for himself, with McCann on the bench, even though he was going to pull Moylan anyway. So much for getting another run. And Soriano, of all people, the team’s most reliable reliever, gave up a homer to Gary Sheffield, of all people, the Mets’ corpse of a once-great player. 7-7.

Escobar doubled to lead off the ninth, but after the inevitable walk to Chipper got himself thrown out at third trying to advance on a flyout. He takes way too many chances out there. Klinger gave up a leadoff single in the ninth, but got out of it. The Braves got a runner in the tenth, but couldn’t do anything; Bennett got out of a jam in the bottom of the inning with a double play. Nothing much in the eleventh. Then, with one out in the twelfth, Martin Prado hit a homer to make it 8-7. It obviously couldn’t be that easy. With everyone else used up, Gonzalez pitched the bottom of the inning, and not quite immediately (it was a long at-bat) gave up a double to Reyes. Castillo bunted him over, but then Gonzalez struck out Beltran and Sheffield to end it.

Escobar had two hits and three walks; Chipper two and two, and two RBI. ACHE had three hits and drove in three, and KJ was 2-3 off the bench. The Braves had thirteen hits and six walks; the Mets twelve and five. The Braves struck out eleven times, the Mets ten. Pretty much everybody on each side played, except starting pitchers, and even Kawakami got into the game as a pinch-hitter (he struck out). Francoeur sucks.

260 thoughts on “Braves 8, Mets 7 (12 innings)”

  1. I walk into the deli up the street run by the Braves fan. We lock eyes, let out a big yes in unison & start laughing. It’s a beautiful day…

    BTW, 8 XBHs today for ATL.

  2. I haven’t closed the Gameday window yet because I so enjoy seeing Gary Sheffield’s smiling Met face next to the record of his game-ending K.

  3. Four promising signs:

    Garrett seems to be rounding into form, after all he is a .296 career hitter.

    McCann is back.

    Jurrens is spectacular

    And Lowe showed he can go toe to toe with the other team’s ace.

  4. we say it should’ve been a sweep, but I never look at a Reyes start as a win. We were lucky to get this one and Im happy to take 2 of 3 here. This field is huge, I’d hate to see what the scores would’ve been in ATL. There were a lot of deep fly balls in this series

  5. did Gonzo start clapping and laughing with his head down when Reyes was left stranded at third?? two huge K’s on Beltran and Sheff to end it

  6. It’s the most this year, but not a record. The Debacle in Houston was 726 comments — though that went 18 innings. I think I’ve had some go over 800.

  7. Other long threads include the game in San Diego in which Joey Devine gave up a grand slam to Xavier Nady in extras and the game against Houston, also an extra-inning affair, in which Renteria got hurt and Chief Nocahoma, back in his more lovable days, missed it because he was having relations.

  8. Good game, most everyone showed some heart out there on a day you wouldn’t necessarily expect it. Now let’s win some at home.

  9. Ugly, ugly game. Oof. And TONS of bad calls. I hope we send reyes down immediately.

  10. Tough to win a game when your starter only goes three and a reliever gives up a grand salami.

  11. “If Jeff puts up numbers even close to as bad as last season’s I’ll be the first to say he needs to move on… but we haven’t seen enough, in my opinion, to decide whether or not ‘08 was an anomaly and Jeff’s ‘05-’07 progression will continue.”

    Id say 134AB’s this year is enough to see if he’s made improvements. All I see is a .261/.277/.388 line from a player who doesnt walk and has no power. Thats enough for me to say he’s not improving.

    This is also coming from the guy who thinks OBP isnt important because he doesnt see that stat from home plate

  12. I know a lot of people keep talking about Barbaro Canizares and what are his chances and what he has to do to get on the team.

    The general word is that his defense is basically so bad at every position that he can’t play the field. We already have one of those on the team in Greg Norton.

    The question is, would Barbaro out hit Norton? No offense to Norton cause he seems like a nice enough guy but he’s hitting .143 with one extra base hits and producing the best by drawing 6 walks (for a .333 OB and .524 OPS).

    Would this seem like a good spot for Barbaro considering he’s 29 years old its not like he needs a lot more time developing nor is he going to learn to play the position at this point.

    His stats, in Gwinett thus far, .315 average; .504 slugging; .379 OB and .833 OPS.

  13. @7: I stupidly had agreed to go to a play, a travelling performance of The Lion King, on the day of said debacle… I got to watch most of the start and listened to the radio on the way, by the time we got to the theater we had just added an insurance run in the top of the 8th, and I was pretty confident we had it wrapped up.

    After the play we got back into my car, and turned it on just in time to hear that Joey Devine was getting ready for his second inning… we didn’t make it to the bar in time to see the live feed, but I saw that damn homer on replay a dozen times… and I still don’t think it was actually a homer (a case of denial, most likely.)

  14. @16: So 134 ABs is enough? Through 96 PAs his OPS was .774, those next 47 really made the difference?

    If anything I’m cautiously optimistic so far from Jeff’s numbers this year, because he’s getting closer to being right back to his run production numbers of ’05-’07… he’s still above average when it comes to driving in runners… which is what this team lacks.

    I’m sure there’ll be more to respond to later, but I actually do have to leave now… good game, great road trip, see y’all later.

  15. Gonzo looked to be on fumes and adrenaline today. He needs some rest–he’s been worked a lot lately.

  16. If anything I’m cautiously optimistic so far from Jeff’s numbers this year, because he’s getting closer to being right back to his run production numbers of ‘05-’07… he’s still above average when it comes to driving in runners… which is what this team lacks.

    That’s the ol’ Gadfly – no mealy mouthing “maybe we just see it differently” required!

  17. and once again, the thread has been hijacked…

    evaluating this team:
    bench: good
    starting pitching: 3/5 good, 1/5 average, 1/5 piss poor
    bullpen: good
    1b: ok 2b:ok ss:ok 3b:ok c:ok
    lf: improving cf: give time to improve
    rf: has never improved even though there has been many reports saying he’s more patient and he’s driving the ball to the gaps.

    by midseason, if the braves cant see the real problem and get rid of francoeur, there will be no playoff race. both morton and reyes are very expendable. one of the 2 plus another prospect could probably land a decent right field rental.
    considering hanson, medlen, or glavine will probably pitch soon in the 5th spot, kelly gets benched when he’s streaky, why is jeff the only player that can suck day in and day out and get a free “suck” pass. it’s f’n unbelievable!

  18. Norton isn’t a bad first baseman and isn’t a disaster in left, but the Braves have lots of guys who can play those positions. He’s been better lately.

  19. @Gadfly, get it through your head – Frenchy SUCKS! He has NEVER been good, only mediocre. Just b/c he drives in 90 runs doens’t make him good (he saw more opportunities that almost everyone in the majors those years). The guy lacks power and any real knowledge of the art of hitting. He will never be good. And yes, 134 AB is plenty enough to tell that.

  20. The “go get a bat” comments are a waste of electronic blips, guys.

    The main reason is that what might be available is “rental players” and the reason is because the team moving them is moving salary. This team can’t bring in salary unless it moves salary and a salary dump team isn’t going to take on a contract.

    A fair trade that might help would be like Morton for a good AAA outfielder with lots of time to free agency. But, the other team won’t want to deal.

    What MIGHT make a good and useful trade more likely is to broaden it. That way each team has 2 chances to hit good. One for one is a real crap shoot unless both teams are trading out of surplus.

    Clearly, the Braves have surplus pitching at AAA and in lower minors. Who has the surplus outfielders? Cardinals? Anybody else with ambition to win and a need for pitching?

  21. One thing that is encouraging is that we are starting to see some power out of Chipper. Since the thumb injury, he’d mostly been a singles hitter.

  22. #31, it’s not a stretch to add a rental near the deadline. Someone like Dye or Holliday would be adding somewhere in the region of $4 million.

    We need to let Schafer sit for a few days. He could clear his head and at the very least see if his wrist is the problem. I’m sure Infante could come in at leadoff and let Kelly bat where he should and the world wouldn’t collapse.

  23. Hell yeah…suck it Mets!

    Like the first series in Philly, we should’ve swept ’em. Then again, as earlier stated…we can’t count on JoJo for much of anything these days.

    Does anyone else think Frank Wren is holding off on Tommy Hansen so that the Braves won’t have to pay him the MLB minimum?

    Or do they think Tommy G is gonna take that 5th spot with any sort of reliability?

    Man, I don’t know how this team did it…but they just took the last three series on the road vs the top teams in the NL East. And I’m not sure if we’re even clicking on all cylinders yet. Frenchy ain’t clicking on any cylinders, that’s for sure. He’s devolved at the plate.

  24. If teams are looking for salary dumps i believe the Braves would be in on it. We dont know the real numbers of the payroll and if we hang around the division lead it could be a small investment for half a season and probably not give up anyone of significance.

  25. #35, I think we may have to wait a while longer for Hanson as, in an ideal world, the Braves want to limit his innings this year so we may be looking at July or August for a call to the big leagues.

    The hope is surely that Glavine will be good enough to keep us in games until then.

  26. @35- You certainly don’t want Tommy Hansen being on the Braves, Tommy Hanson would be better.

  27. Where’s Hudson going to fit into all this after August?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t see Hanson at all this year.

    After August

    1) Lowe
    2) Jair
    3) Javier
    4) Kenshin
    5) Hudson

    The the big push for Hanson will be if Kenshin just bombs out.
    But after Sunday, I’m not ready to say that’s happening yet.

  28. DOB

    I asked Bobby about Reyes in the rotation, if he’d be replaced or make his next start. He said he didn’t know, he had to talk to Reyes and to Roger McDowell.

    Not a vote of confidence from the skipper. With Morton pitching so well, I think it will be hard not to bring him up to replace Jo Jo.

  29. Bobby came in with Carlyle, which was a mistake,

    Really? What would you suggest? It’s the fourth inning, he’s suppose to trot Moylan or Soriano out there? Maybe Bennett so he could walk some more runs in?

    Just because the result was bad doesn’t mean the decision was.

  30. #33 – defense comes to mind. With better gloves and better athletes a batted ball is more out-likely these days.

    If they outlawed gloves tomorrow, just putting the ball in play would be a pretty good bet for a high batting average.

  31. Have been on the road most of the last 7 days on business and haven’t been able to watch any games but got to my hotel in time to watch the last inning on mlb.tv and then watched the highlights. Great win! Loved Schaefers recovery on that catch in deep right center. Am hoping we pick up another hitter with some of our expendable starting pitching at some point to make this offense more potent! Like our bench at this point!

  32. …and the fact that Bobby should NEVER bring in Carlyle with runners on base. Another example of Bobby not knowing his pitchers. The mistake is not on bringing in a reliever, but his pick of using Carlyle in that situation.

    Stephen, I hope you have seen enough of JoJo to just forget about the kid. I say send him down to Gwinnett, let him put up decent numbers there and trade him away for something.

  33. Carlyle entered the game with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.800 WHIP. The ERA is far worse than either; Bennett has a worse WHIP. I would have used Moylan.

  34. Had to leave the game thread to attend a lacrosse match. I figured us for a loss. Martin Prado is the man. And Mike Gonzales did his job. Nice win against a talented team. The best sign is a team that is showing some fight.

    Just for kicks every now and then someone mention that Jeff Francouer sucks. That way we can get some more twisted analysis from Gadfly. The guy is a Braves fan that’s for sure. Whats totally inexplicable is the huge man crush he has on Stenchy. Its right up there with Jeff K’s love of Rocco Baldelli a couple of seasons back.

    Its too bad about Reyes. Another disappointing home grown lefty? James, Chen, HoRam. Is there something about the IL that inflates Lefties like the PCL inflates batting stats? I dunno. I think that the team has to try Morton again or really promote Hanson. We are contenders. We should be playing the best 25 in the organization.

  35. Carlyle > Bennet, Parr.

    You’re reaching.

    No kidding. Nobody is going to use a primary setup man in the fourth inning. The blame should go – as nearly always – to the GM who has stocked the bullpen with multiple useless pitchers.

  36. I think Bobby would have used Moylan if he hadn’t totally flaked in Philadelphia. My first thought was that we should have used Moylan, but then I remembered how ineffective he had been that game. You might say he’s a different pitcher today than he was April 10th, and that’s true. But he did look terribly pathetic last night. He’s still a crap shoot.

    I think the logic behind using Carlyle was that he would give up a sac fly to the first batter and then Bobby would take his chances after that. Not too many fly balls had been leaving the ballpark.

  37. Mac, but we all know Bobby uses his relievers depending on what inning the game is at. Bobby would never use Moylan before the seventh inning. I have said this before, but we have too many long relievers. We need to add some short relievers.

  38. I agree with the general consensus. Too many long guys.

    What I would do with JoJo is what the Royals did with Greinke a few years ago. That is to put him in the bullpen and tell him to just go after it. Just let loose and not pace himself at all.

    I’d drop Carlyle for this move. Probably bring up Acosta as well and send down whoever is the lesser of Bennett and Parr.

    The reason I believe that they’re sticking with Reyes though, is that they’re still waiting for Glavine. They don’t want to bring up Morton/Hanson for 1 or 2 starts and them send him back down if/when Glavine deems himself ready to go.

    BTW, this is stupid as Glavine is either A: going to get hurt immediately, or B: completely washed up and will get abused.

  39. @41: There’s no guarantee that Hudson is ready for any real workload at any point this season. I’ve heard that he’s itching to get back, and would be happy pitching out of the bullpen… we could really use him there.

    On Carlyle: With the bullpen as worked as it has been over the last few weeks it is hard to put together an ironclad plan to get through 6 innings. I tend to agree with Mac that ideally you go to Moylan to get out of the jam and then start the next inning with Carlyle, but I don’t know if Moylan is really any more dependable in that situation.

  40. Weldon, I don’t think you completely understand what I meant. Bobby is not stupid enough not to use Gonzo in the eighth, but he is not smart enough to bring in Moylan earlier if the situation calls for it. It’s not completely black and white you know.

  41. Gadfly, I honestly don’t expect anything from Huddy this year. Any contribution from him is extra bonus.

  42. LOL… SportSouth is showing the replay of today’s game. I was just watching the bottom of the 9th when K-Rod struck out Frenchy to end the inning. K-Rod put on his routine over-the-top histrionics and the clip before the commercial break showed Frenchy pretty clearly sending a string of F-bombs his way.

  43. per DOB

    Gonzalezz pitched in eight of Braves’ 12 games in May before Wednesday, but wanted the ball again.

    “Once [Reyes] got to second base, I said, ‘There’s no way he scores,” he said. “Our guys just worked too hard for me to let it happen again.”

    When I told Chipper of Gonzalez’s remarks, he said, “I like to hear that out of my closer. He’s out there watching us battle and battle and battle. If they get that tying run in against him, we’re in dire straits.

    “He manned up.”

  44. Carlyle is actually pretty good when you bring him in to start an inning (unless he’s facing the RedSox). Bringing him in with multiple runners on base is asking someone to hit his inevitable first-pitch fastball a long way.

    Bobby misses Leo seriously in this regard. No telling how many times Leo saved Bobby from himself after witnessing the “Liebrandt in to face Kirby Puckett” catastrophe.

  45. Are we sure Leo played a part in how Bobby used his relievers? Bobby has always been terrible in that regard. I haven’t seen much difference between the Leo days and the Roger days.

  46. I know he can be erratic, but Gonzalez is the first real closer we’ve had around here since Smoltzy played the part.

  47. KC–Point taken–as it came to me rather forcefully in the early innings. As Mac suggests maybe he has a future as a reliever….

    JC–Thanks for the info and making me grateful that I can’t see Sports South….

  48. Stephen, considering JoJo’s control, I don’t want to see him as a reliever either…some of us thought HoRo can be a decent reliever as well, but he is proving that he is not…

  49. I don’t know what the problem is with Jo Jo: he does have good stuff and he has shown the ability to pitch decent games. However, with young pitchers it is very easy–almost probable–that they will struggle and some will eventually become solid hurlers. Kyle Davies( Tommie Greene would be another) is a case in point: it now appears that he is beginning to realize some of his potential.

    I don’t know what the exact problem is with Jo Jo, but he will probably do well to go to another organization.

  50. Stephen, I have been keeping an eye on Kyle, but seems like he has reverted back to his own self recently. I hate giving up on kids, but we gave over 200 inning to Kyle to prove himself. JoJo has 190 innings to his credit now. How many more innings should we give him?

    The most frustrating part is the lack of improvement. I have seen no improvement from JoJo…similar can be applied to Frenchy.

    Ok, I have just checked. The Braves gave Greene a grand total of 38.2 innings before he was traded to the Phillies.

  51. Frenchy is different–most obviously he is not a pitcher.

    The thing about Jo Jo is that it seems clear that not only Bobby, but last year Smoltz and Glavine believed that he had significant potential. Somewhere, his development got twisted and if he starts again he has a chance to be the first Brave since Pat Jarvis (who was not a bad pitcher) to lose 10 straight…

    I agree that the Braves gave more than enough time for Davies and now Jo Jo. My point is that both have good enough stuff to pitch at the major league level, but somehow both struggled profoundly–even as they evinced solid potential. The Braves probaby should try to get some other club to take a chance on Jo Jo. I doubt that he can be successful with this organization….

  52. One more point: the Braves actually gave Greene two plus seaons at Richmond, but eventually they lost patience with him….

  53. I think giving 200 innings to a young pitcher to prove himself is about right…of course, JJ needs none of that :P

  54. I remember Greene saying that Leo didn’t allow him to use his slider and the Phillies let him throwing it. Of course, Greene had a short career…maybe Leo was right afterall…

  55. Put Jo-JO in the pen and dump Carlyle or Bennett, Richmond if possible, i do not know about their options, maybe trade them for some hot dogs.

  56. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen for people on some teams.

    I liked Davies, but I saw him in person in Florida right before he got shipped out. He just looked off out there. He had/has significant potential but for whatever reason it just was not going to work in Atlanta.

    I have not seen JoJo in person, but plenty on TV. He just looks off out there as well. He has big time potential, but sometimes when you fail so much in one spot you need a change.

    Something is wrong with Frenchy too. I don’t think he is this bad, I don’t. You don’t forget how to hit a baseball this completely, and he plays a better RF than we give him credit for. He is snake bit in Atlanta. An old baseball adage is that if you are struggling the ball WILL FIND you, much like the last two games.

    Thurs: 0-5 with 7 LOB (terrible), but the more telling play was the one off the wall, Frenchy made the right play, one inch more to the right and it kicks off toward CF, but it kicked straight.

    Yesterday, he was just supposed to play a couple innings in RF for D and not bat, but what happens, he gets two big ABs and stunk it up on what was supposed to be an off day.

    These players are not bad players, in fact they are quite talented, but for whatever reason it just isn’t going to (or didn’t) work for them in Atlanta. Sometimes for the good of the organization AND the player changes need to be made.

  57. It’s not a good sign for the organization when top pitching prospects have to go somewhere else to be successful. Davies and Reyes were both highly touted (probably not as much as Hanson but up there)but, whether it’s McDowell or something else, the Braves seem unable to develop pitchers. This makes me worry about the latest wunderkind, Hanson. Maybe it’s just coincidence or bad luck given the uncertainty of young pitchers, but something is not right when everyone concedes that JO Jo has the stuff to be a good pitcher but just isn’t.

    As for Frenchy, I just can’t see how anyone can expect much out of him at this point. At best, he would be a league average outfielder, but even that seems unlikely. The fact that he is still essentially in a learning mode coming up on his fourth season in the big leagues is pretty telling. Claudell Washington was more productuve than Frenchy.

  58. Reyes was never really that hot of a prospect. I think the highest Sickels, for example, ever rated him was C+. Guys like Jo-Jo frequently just don’t work out; not sure he’s any evidence of an organizational trend.

  59. didnt the many here consider him and Matt Harrison the same pitcher in the minors but Jo Jo having better stuff? I remember some talk on that when the Tex deal was made

  60. @82 – What ever gave you the idea that Frenchy could ever hit? I won’t argue with his fielding because he is fine out there, but the hitting… When has he ever shown that he could hit at a high level? The minors? Nope. The majors? Just one year (his first half year), and that was only because pitchers like to throw fastballs down the middle to rookies to see if they can hit it. Once they starting throwing to him, he never stood a chance. Again, the guy was never any good with the bat (just too slow).

  61. @86,

    Stu,

    I didn’t realize that. I assumed he was a hot prospect. That makes me feel better in a perverse way.

  62. I kind of agree with Joshua. Francoeur came up and roped a bunch of fastballs, which were basically his entire diet. Since then, he’s been lost.

  63. startup,
    I was at the Tuesday night game with an excellent view of the Frenchy play you describe—along the 3rd base line.

    You’re giving him credit he doesn’t deserve because Frenchy misplayed it completely. He broke slowly and to the wrong direction, as if he didn’t see the ball come off Wright’s bat. He turned a double into a triple. (Diaz had a similar result yesterday.)

    It was a near-disaster, but Schaefer bailed him out with a great throw to nail Wright at the plate later in the inning.

  64. 88

    You know how I have the idea that Frenchy CAN hit. I have watched it. I watched him in the minors. I saw him bounce two off the wall in Chattanooga on a line. I saw him in Florida in 2007 hit a ball so hard it hissed past as it went over the teal monster.

    The guy has some talent, he is NOT a McCann type hitter (never was, not may are). My point is I don’t think it is a talent thing with Franceour. I think it is mental. Whether it is the approach, personal, confusion, I have no idea.

    Being Talented is having the ABILITY to hit, Frenchy has that. Being Productive is actually doing it…….not sure if that is going to happen in Atlanta.

  65. Alan Schwartz, August 14, 2005

    Whenever a player starts out this well, the question is always how long he can keep it up. Francoeur has long been known as a top prospect and is expected to have a fine career – far more Fred Lynn than Shane Spencer. Then again, the last time a young Braves outfielder caught everyone’s eye like this, it didn’t last long at all.

    In July 1957, during a five-team pennant race, the Braves, then in Milwaukee, needed an extra outfielder and called up Bob Hazle, a 26-year-old journeyman. Hazle cracked the starting lineup a week later and never stopped hitting – he finished his cameo with a .403 average and 7 home runs in 41 games to help power Milwaukee to the National League pennant. (He did not qualify for either of the above lists because he had played briefly for the Cincinnati Reds in 1955.) His spectacular performance earned him the lasting nickname Hurricane Hazle.

    But his storm blew over quickly. After batting .179 in 1958, Hazle was sold to Detroit, which later farmed him to the minor leagues. The Hurricane hung ’em up soon thereafter and remains baseball’s patron saint of ephemeral phenoms.

    One can usually learn something about a rookie’s staying power by looking at his rate of drawing walks; hitters with good eyes are less susceptible to the vagaries of luck, and tend to have fewer exploitable holes in their swings. This is the only demerit for Francoeur this season.

    In his first 91 plate appearances, he did not draw even one walk. (Among hitters with the top 40 starts to their careers, this is a first.) And Francoeur was so impatient that he reached a three-ball count only six times.

    Then again, when Francoeur ended those at-bats with swings, he got four hits, including two home runs. Perhaps this hurricane will last after all.

  66. The world is littered with people who at one time or another could crush a ball so hard it hissed at it flew past.

    Francoeur is no small man and and he certainly has the size and strength to crush a ball. The problem is that he doesn’t have the skill to consistently square up the ball, or to consistently repeat the proper mechanics of a swing that enables players to hit that hard.

    Lately, even when Francoeur appears to have put a good swing on the ball and makes solid contact, the ball comes of the bat like it would if I was hitting in a batting cage with a wooden bat.

    He may have talent but the kid has no skill. In my opinion, when talented players don’t develop skills, it means they either aren’t willing/able to work or learn, or that they’re poorly coached. In this case, I think Francoeur’s problem is a mixture of both.

  67. well, Frenchy had two Ab’s yesterday on a day off to sit a watch for a little while and he saw a total of 2 pitches on those Ab’s. He doesnt learn and doesnt pay attention to the game or the pitchers he’s facing. He has no game plan other than swing at the 1st pitch and hope its a fastball. Pitchers are too smart to throw him anything good to hit

  68. Just off the top of my head,I have to say this is one of, if not the best road trip we have had in three years.

  69. Matt Harrison doing well in Texas has confused me to no end. He was pitching in Pearl at the same time as JoJo was. JoJo looked like such a better and more dominate pitcher to this admittedly untrained and unqualified eye. Harrison looked like another soft tossing lefty that wasn’t overly impressive.

    JoJo went 8-1 with a 3.16 ERA.
    Harrison went 5-7 with a 3.39 ERA.

    I’m about to decided if you do good in Pearl its a sign that you aren’t meant to be a good major league player.

    For example Escobar batted .264 with 2 HRs and a .361 OBP.
    Prado batted .278 with 1 HR and a .330 OBP.
    Both have looked much better as Major leaguers.
    Schafer struggled bad at first and turned it on at the end to finish with a .269 average with 10 HRs and .378 OBP. (So maybe there’s hope for a late season turnaround here)
    Medlen had an 11.59 ERA his first year and a losing record his second. Charlie Morton also had a losing record in Pearl with a 4.29 ERA. None of them necessarily looked bad, but none dominated to the point you thought you were watching the next great Atlanta Brave.

    While the guys who have looked good in Pearl, (JoJo, Chuck James, Matt Esquivel, Brandon Jones,Dan Smith, Anthony Lerew, etc.) have mostly flamed out if they even made the Majors or triple A.

    Makes me nervous for Tommy Hanson, Diory Hernandez, and Todd Redmond whom the verdict is still out on because they all looked great. Gorky’s is looking pretty good there now.

  70. I’m not sure that Harrison has definitely arrived yet, but I got the impression that the Braves hyped Reyes more. I remember the because I thought Harrison was the better of the two, and I couldn’t understand why. Their peripherals were similar at Mississippi (I’d say Matt’s were slightly better) and Matt is nearly a full year younger than Jo-Jo. Still, I won’t be surprised if Reyes becomes the better pitcher. They had similar minor-league careers, so who knows?

  71. @50 —

    Wow, now hold on there, cowboy. Them’s fightin’ words. I certainly was a strong fan of the Braves trying to get Baldelli, back before he was diagnosed with the mitochondrial disorder (or whatever it turned out to be). After all, we needed OFers, he was 24 and had about three very productive years under his belt. But it in no way is comparable to Gadfly’s man crush (if, in fact, “he” is a man) on Frenchy — not even the same ball park. Geez, folks, isn’t it clear that Gadfly is Frenchy’s agent or relative or something like that?

  72. #97-98, thanks for answering my question. I was confused and remember talk about Harrison just being that soft tossing lefty. I watched his game on ESPN and he was hitting 90-91 on pretty much every fastball, Jo Jo sits around 88-89. I remember a lot of people being happy about us keeping Reyes over him, but some werent as pleased.

    Whatever happened to the 1B that we had in ST a couple of years ago. Looked like a pretty good hitter, a real strong guy. He played awesome in that ST and then got sent down. I believe he got hurt at some point, but I cant remember his name and cant find him in our system. I was thinking we kept Thorman over him to start the season

  73. csg,
    James Jurries. Seemed to have been a PED phenomenon; he never hit much after getting busted, as I recall.

  74. When JoJo was in Pearl he was hitting 92 on the majority of his fastballs. I have to listen to the games on the radio so I can’t say what he’s doing now but if he’s only hitting 88 that’s puzzling.

    You can say Harrison had better peripherals at Pearl but it sure didn’t look like it sitting in the stands. Didn’t the Rangers say something was wrong with his arm at the time which is why we had to throw in Beau Jones to the deal? He had no velocity at that time and his off speed stuff was very discernible to even me the yokel just sitting in the stands drinking dollar beer.

    The other thing you have to add is that JoJo did so well in Pearl that his numbers were in 13 games before he got called up to Richmond. At Richmond that same season he went 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in 6 games with a 1.03 WHIP. And 39 strikeouts in 36 innings and only allowing 25 hits.

    I guess the biggest difference is JoJo had 71 strikeouts in 73.1 innings pitched in Pearl while Harrison had 78 in 116.2 innings pitched in Pearl that year. But then I know a lot would say Strikeout numbers are overrated to an extent and I would agree with that to an extent.
    JoJo also gave up less than a hit per inning only surrendering 63 hits in 73.1 innings compared to Harrison who gave up 118 hits in 116.2 innings.

  75. Hold on. My hat is off to Matt Harrison shutting out the White Sox earlier in the week, but he is a 24 year old with a 5.28 career ERA in MLB, who had a 7.89 ERA after his 1st 4 starts of this season. He may have turned it around, but I am not ready to annoint him as a successful MLB pitcher yet. Jo-Jo may indeed be better.

  76. #101 – thanks Stu. it was pissing me off that I couldnt remember his name. I thought he got busted, Im guessing we released him.

    also, didnt know till yesterday that we had signed Tony Armas Jr. Not that its a big deal

  77. Been gone almost 24 hours, but I want to disagree with the comment that the only way we add a bat is in a salary dump.

    That all depends on the talent going the other way. The Tigers are paying Ordonez (or the ChiSox Dye) no matter what. If they just want to dump the salary, the talent return would be terrible. If we offered them Tommy Hanson, Jason Heyward and Cole Rohrburg, they’d certainly pay the entire salary. If we send them something of reasonable value, they’ll pay a portion of the salary. They save SOME money and get a piece for their future.

    Remember Renteria for Marte? The Sox didn’t come looking for Marte, they came looking to move Renteria. But when we gave up a prospect they valued, they compromised and paid a large portion of the salary.

  78. Let’s face it, a lot of it is luck. You make an evaluation of a player and hope it turns out right but, especially with pitchers, you never know. That’s why, for years the Braves were able to trade away pitching prospects and not really get hurt because none of them turned out to be anything. That changed with Wainwright to a degree but there is no sure thing, including Hanson.

    I do wonder if the Braves have been retarding their pitchers’ progress by rushing them to the majors. Some, such as Rob Neyer, have suggested that young pitchers should start off in long relief as used to be the case. But the Braves have been so desperate for starters in recent years that they have not had the luxury of a longer development period. That’s why I’m in no rush to see Hanson, although I understand he is considered a much better prospect than some of the others that have come through.

  79. @92 – Because he can hit the ball a long ways once in every 50 PA does not mean the guy can hit. Sure he can hit the ball a ton, but he just doesn’t square up on pitches enough to do it with ANY consistency. And as I have said here before, he may have talent, but he has a LONG swing. And at this level, he will never be able to catch up to pitches unless it is a predetermined swing. In short, he can’t wait as long as other hitters to see what the pitch is. He needs a short, compact swing if he is going to realize any of his potential. Has anyone seen any evidence that he has tried to correct that? No.

  80. @99
    Jeff relax. I was needling. I just remember we did some internet arguing about the merits of Baldelli and you went and cited your PHD in Statistics wife’s analysis that projected Rocco to reach stardom. I’m laughing, I hope you are too.

    Talk about the best trades are the ones you don’t make. If I recall, we had Escobar and Salty on the table for ole Rocco. We balked when they wanted Chuck James too.

    The Braves are usually right about when it is time to give up on pitching prospects. Again I am disappointed that Reyes seems to fall into the throw away category. I was hoping that he would succeed to eventually join Jurrjens and MAYBE Hanson and Morton as the home grown core of an at least very good core of starters.

  81. For God’s sake, Bobby, PLEASE start platooning Francoeur against right-handers. He is simply, not an every-day big league outfielder. What are the Braves waiting on? Francoeur is what he is. I’d say the verdict is in.

  82. Generally if I put the word “fightin'” in a post, I’m laughing too. Sure I’m happy NOW that we didn’t trade for Baldelli, obviously no one anticipates making a trade if there’s reason to believe the player will fall ill, be hit by a bus, etc., etc. I certainly feel sorry for his situation, although I understand he’s found a doctor who prescribed treatment that at least has managed the issue well enough that he isn’t forced to retire yet.

    And, no, my wife didn’t produce a statistical analysis projecting stardom, just comparing his past performance to other players who have reached it. Statistics afterall is just a tool for understanding and comparing disparate quantifiable events — events that happened in the past. Project into the future only at your own risk.

  83. @92: At least some people around here understand that there are gray areas.

    @88: See 2007, entire season. If that season doesn’t convince you that Jeff is capable of hitting at a Major League level then you’ve set your expectations are way too high. Note that Jeff was 23 at the time, and started every game of the season. (He played every inning in every game except for 5, the last 3 where he played 6, 7, and 4 respectively. One that he played 11 innings before leaving, and one that he played in 6.)

    @94 Dix says: “[Jeff] may have talent but the kid has no skill. In my opinion, when talented players don’t develop skills, it means they either aren’t willing/able to work or learn, or that they’re poorly coached. In this case, I think Francoeur’s problem is a mixture of both.”

    So… we’re in agreement then? I didn’t think Dix would be one of the first to actually understand what I’ve been saying here, but it sure looks like it. As stupup74 said, and I’ve said before, Jeff’s problems aren’t primarily physical, they’re mental… if he CAN overcome these he could play an important role on this team, albeit most likely not a starring role, and perhaps not even an enduring role.

  84. @109: Putting aside the argument that Jeff has produced average or better in about half of his games this year.

    If you decide to platoon him, the problem is, who do you platoon him with? I showed a few days ago why Brandon Jones isn’t a very promising option. You could platoon him with Garret, but that requires making Matt Diaz an everyday player, and I just don’t think he can maintain his production, or possibly even his health, when forced to play on an everyday basis. Maybe Omar Infante, but I think his arm is going to cost you close to, if not more than, any difference in offensive production.

    I think if Jeff continues as he has the past couple weeks, as opposed to the first couple, we’ll see more days off like we did yesterday… but I just don’t think we have enough viable outfielders to shelve him every time a right-hander takes the mound.

  85. When Frenchy wasn’t striking out (ie, April), I thought it would be okay if he didn’t walk much provided he started hitting for power. But instead of walking or hitting more doubles/HRs, he started striking out again. This basically turns him into a completely worthless player. Given the strain on the bullpen in recent days, this might not be an ideal time, but I’d like to see the team call up another OF. Blanco would be nice, because he could spell Schafer, who is also struggling mightily, but Brandon Jones is more the type of bat we need.

  86. I do wonder if the Braves have been retarding their pitchers’ progress by rushing them to the majors.

    It aint just the pitchers.

    Talk about the best trades are the ones you don’t make. If I recall, we had Escobar and Salty on the table for ole Rocco. We balked when they wanted Chuck James too.

    I advocated Yunel+Davies for Baldelli, much like I later advocated Yunel+Jo-Joe for Bronson F. Arroyo. My opinion of Escobar was not very high. (Right, Robert? ;))

  87. Gadfly @111 says: “Jeff’s problems aren’t primarily physical, they’re mental…”

    Translated: “If you whispered in Jeffy’s ear, you’d hear an echo.” There’s no one home. He’s like a very well preserved, young-looking zombie.

  88. @111 – What part of having a long, slow swing is mental? It seems to me that it would classify as a mechanical issue. Also, 2007 was not a good year for a right fielder. It was right at average for a right fielder (which does not equate to good). You can’t take out of context the position he plays.

  89. i just now figured out that Jeffy’s 4 million dollar salary is based on a one cent per word (about him)
    royalty from Braves Journal.

  90. that requires making Matt Diaz an everyday player, and I just don’t think he can maintain his production, or possibly even his health, when forced to play on an everyday basis.

    Concern troll is concerned. Don’t play the guy who is hitting better because he might get hurt or only outperform the current guy instead of way outperform him. Makes sense to me. Why worry about whether Frenchy can maintain his “production”, when forced to play everyday.

  91. All what what #117 says is correct.

    what worries me most about Jeffie is what someone wrote a couple of years ago, when he started to struggle. To generate his excellent bat speed, giving him his power, he had to load early. Loading early made him very vulnerable to bad pitches that looked good when he started his swing too early (he starts too early). His new stance and approach allows him to wait longer on a pitch, but the trade-off is bat speed. He is not no longer a 29 HR a year guy because he has gotten weaker as he approaches his prime; he is no longer a 29 HR a year guy because he has traded bat speed for contact. Whether it is the 2006 Jeffrey (power, but few walks and lots of strike-outs) or the 2009 Jeffrey (little power but less strike-outs, so eventually a higher average), it is a comfortably below average (as a hitter) RF.

  92. Francoeur sucks. (At this point, I’m just jacking up the salary the Royals will have to pay him. Maybe they’ll be overbudget and need to dump Greinke’s salary.)

  93. Average RF 2009
    BA OBP SLG OPS
    .263 .346 .444 .791

    Pretty low bar to achieve for averageness. The closest to this production is Diaz. Play him in right until he shows he can’t do the job. ACHE looked good last night. Play him and hope that this is a new trend toward being productive. Bobby should be putting his best nine out there. If that means platooning KJ then so be it. Don’t start with Frenchy’s defense being superior to Diaz’s. It probably is but it certainly doesn’t offset Jeff’s black hole offensive skills. Schafer?, at least he plays a premium defensive position and gets on base. There that should be a couple of bucks worth of words.

  94. I think Francoeur has reached his limit. Just like I can’t understand quantum physics, no matter how hard I try. Francoeur can’t understand hitting, no matter how hard he may try. And even if he does learn to make adjustments to reduce bad outcomes (which are frequent), it comes at the cost of also reducing his good outcomes (which are already too infrequent).

    I feel bad for him, but he’s reached his limit and failed to reach his potential. This is not something that I wanted to happen, but I’ll be surprised (pleasantly) if he even stems the regression, let alone progresses any.

    He just didn’t have the whole package in order to reach the talent based potential he had.

    Also, this is not unusual, it just doesn’t happen at the MLB level too often. In the NBA this happens 20 times a year.

  95. Infante’s ARM would offset any gains offensively versus Frenchy? His ARM?

    BTW Infante wouldn’t be platooned with Francine as they are both RH. But still. Infante’s OPS is .798 and our venerable rightfielder’s is .655 (.653 last year, there’s your major improvement, btw.)

    Tell me you don’t think Infante can keep that up. But don’t tell me Francoeur’s arm is worth 143 points of OPS.

  96. I don’t care if Francoeur’s problems are mental, physical, spiritual or drug-induced—he’s sliding toward the ’08 abyss.

    There was a time when a Frenchy conversation could have 2 perspectives. Not anymore.

    He needed to improve from where he was. Instead, he regressed dramatically.

  97. I thought we were a tight division with 4 teams within 1.5 games, but the Central has three teams tied for 1st and one more team a half game behind… sheesh.

  98. In lighter news, McCann hasn’t taken long to re-establish himself near the top of the league in hitting.

    I hadn’t really checked before, but Martin and Soto especially have been poor. No doubt they’ll somehow oust Brian from an All Star start again though.

  99. Frenchy’s toast (pardon the pun). He was never that good to begin with, was rushed to the majors, and then was forced to try to learn how to hit at the major league level. We all know this. This has been rehashed here a gazillion times.

    It’s really too bad. Given more time in the minors, Jeff probably could have learned enough to be a league average OF. But at this point I think he’s done. I mean we’re over 1000 straight plate appearances of being among the very worst hitters in the game, regardless of position. It’s time to move on.

  100. The first game Frenchy played in he looked over matched. Remember how he couldn’t catch up to a fastball? Then he hit that homer and started hitting. Then the league figured him out.

  101. “I hadn’t really checked before, but Martin and Soto especially have been poor. No doubt they’ll somehow oust Brian from an All Star start again though.”

    True that. I saw the other day where Gary Carter said if he had to pick 1 player in MLB to build a team around, it would be Russell Martin. Huh? Brian Mccann career OPS+ of 122; Martin career OPS+ of 106, and Mccann is a year younger. Mccann is without a doubt the best catcher in the NL and the second best in MLB (because Joe Mauer is pretty darn good).

  102. Gary Carter: Proof that you don’t have to have a deep understanding of baseball to have a Hall of Fame playing career.

  103. I think Frenchie needing more time in the minors, unless there had been some active intervention on the organization’s part, was a myth. His walk rate in the minors was terrible, and not progressing. And how about that 2004 limited appearance in AA Greenville:76 plate appearances without a walk? The warning signs were there with him; the prganization either chose to ignore them or hoped he could be that very rare player who could succeed without getting pitches for strikes. But I guess there aren’t very many Vlad Guerreros around.

  104. I’m not going to get over it, am I?

    Not signing Dunn is like putting a bandaid on the scratched forehead of a throat-slashing victim.

    It CAN’T be this hard to find a productive outfielder.

    Oh, and why would you not play Diaz until he proves that he’s not the very good (and often clutch) player you’ve seen all year?

    OT: Kentucky is a half game behind Vandy for the last invite to the SEC Tournament with 3 games to go. Smitty, I don’t often do this, but:

    GO BIG ORANGE!

  105. Carter is right. Since 2006, Russell Martin has been the better player.

    Russell Martin 491 Runs Produced
    Brian McCann 474 Runs Produced

    And neither has been as good as this guy:

    Jeff Francoeur 552 Runs Produced

  106. runs produced without context (as in outs taken to produce those runs) is really silly. What is runs produced anyway? RBI + run, less HR? Do we have to go over this again?

  107. Bobby’s far reaching player loyal be damned…is there any chance we see Infante get some action in the OF? All that guy does is get on base. It seems we have 3 players (Infante, Prado and KJ) who can all hit and provide some offensive punch, but all three primarily play the same position. Infante’s versatility may be needed later in the season, but it seems we are wasting his offense playing him in a platoon at 2B, which also keeps KJ and his potential expolosiveness out of the lineup.

  108. 139 — he’s kidding, bfan. Check out JC’s site, it’ll be clear that he’s kidding.

  109. I’m hearing that Mets’ setup man JJ Putz is now hurt. His velocity was down & he was getting Cortizone shots. Says it may be a bone spur.

    So Putz & Delgado are out for the near future. Not breaking my heart, of course…

  110. Forget about runs created. Martin and Francouer just “look” like players more than McCann does, so they must be better, right?

  111. Good day so far. We’re flying up the NL East standings.

    And about Martin, he’s a catcher and he steals bases. He must be good, right?

  112. @138

    The important question is who has sold the most t-shirts?

    Side question: How many t-shirts would Frenchy have to sell to compensate for his 2008 on field performance?

  113. I was just thinking if there was some other place on the team for Stenchy. What if he moved to the booth and called games with Chip? That could be unbelievably entertaining…

  114. “The important question is who has sold the most t-shirts?

    Side question: How many t-shirts would Frenchy have to sell to compensate for his 2008 on field performance?”

    True story-got a request late last season from an out-of-town child to buy a braves shirt, because they were seeing a Braves game in their town. I ran to my local sports authority and guess the only shirt they had (and in abundant quantities)? You got it; Frenchie’s big ole #7 (not a kind number for this City, you know). I am hoping it was because all the others had been sold out, but I worry that that wasn’t the reason.

  115. exhibit #1 for why you don’t pay relievers not named Mariano Rivera big bucks on long-term deals: Brad Lidge. Last year-phenominal…this year, 8.59 ERA, and not because of 1 bad outing. To equal last year’s results he has to give up 1 earned run in his next 55 innings.

  116. @117: Hitting right at average for a player’s position in the Major League’s at the age of 23 sounds pretty good to me, but that’s why I don’t like nebulous terms like “good.” Of course I didn’t say it was good, I said it proved he “is capable of hitting at a Major League level”… when he was 23.

    Also, mechanical problems are usually part, if not primarily, mental.

    @122: Matt Diaz has never recorded 400 PA in a Major League season. He hasn’t recorded more than 417 PA at any level since ’04. He’s played 34 2/3rds innings in RF since he was acquired by Atlanta in 2006. I’d say there is cause for concern there… though it is certainly worth a look if Francoeur is unable to rebound.

    @126: Obviously I’m more optimistic than you, but what do you make of Jeff’s hot start this season? More and more I wonder if Rudy Jaramillo was able to tap into something that Braves coaches aren’t able to find. I love TP, but this may be a case where Jeff needs more/better attention than Terry has to offer.

  117. 151 — Wonder when they’ll put Lidge on the DL. Didn’t he have a problem a couple of weeks ago? Pitchers get hurt and relievers just don’t throw enough innings to pay them a ton…

  118. if Francoeur is unable to rebound.

    “If” heh.

    Matt Diaz has never recorded 400 PA in a Major League season. He hasn’t recorded more than 417 PA at any level since ‘04.

    Logical fallacy alert – Denying the antecedent.

  119. @128: First off Infante’s got 86 PA, Jeff’s got 143 PA, it is way too early in the season to put as much stake in OPS as you are. If you take away Omar’s 1 HR and 2 doubles his OPS shrinks to .651… by altering 3 PAs! You don’t think Jeff’s arm might save enough extra bases to make up for that over a 20 games period? (If Jeff had 8 more hits so far his OBP would be .330, if only one of those was a HR his OPS would be .791)

  120. If you take away Omar’s 1 HR and 2 doubles his OPS shrinks to .651… by altering 3 PAs! You don’t think Jeff’s arm might save enough extra bases to make up for that over a 20 games period? (If Jeff had 8 more hits so far his OBP would be .330, if only one of those was a HR his OPS would be .791)

    Well, QED then.

  121. @152 – Jeff’s hot start this season? You put way too much into 1 home run on opening day and an empty BA early on. The guy has hit for NO power this year. His empty BA (when he had one) came from soft hit squiblers through the infield in most cases. He is no better than he was last year.

  122. “If Jeff had 8 more hits so far his OBP would be .330, if only one of those was a HR his OPS would be .791)”

    And if you convert 1 of Jeff’s triples into an out because, say, it was a lazy pop that got lost in the sun, then…

  123. @155 – So what you are saying is that if Jeff was better, he might be close to average?

  124. @134: While I’d take McCann over Russell Martin, it isn’t as black and white as you make it sound. Martin has tools that don’t show up in OPS+, which help to close the gap. First off, McCann’s eyes might make me think twice.

    Martin has a better arm (30% CS to 22% for McCann,) he’s better at blocking pitches in the dirt (16 PB to McCann’s 25,) and he makes fewer errors in the field (31 to Brian’s 36.) He can also run the bases MUCH faster (52 SB to 9, which also accounts for his higher number of RS, and thus Runs Produced,) and he’s capable of holding his own at 3B in a pinch.

    I haven’t watched Russell call enough games to make a judgment one way or the other, but I’ve never been overly impressed with McCann’s game calling, so it is possible that plays a large part of Gary Carter’s equation (McCann’s good, but there is room for improvement.) Also, Russell Martin does speak French, so when the next great French pitcher comes over… umm… okay, maybe I’m stretching now, but perhaps he’d score some points with the ladies at the after party.

  125. Well, here’s a story from the SI Vault about Pascual Perez from 1983. He was making commercials for Krystal in the wake of his famous I-285 incident.

    http://tinyurl.com/qwxawc

    It’s a story worth knowing, and a hell of a lot more entertaining than another day in Frenchy conversation hell.

  126. Martin has tools that don’t show up in OPS+

    Well you’d have to have no imagination to rely solely on OPS to determine a player’s ability.

  127. okay, maybe I’m stretching now,

    Dude, that’s what’s going on your tombstone.

  128. @154: You would have found a logical fallacy if I said: Diaz hasn’t recorded over 417 PA at any level since ’04, therefore he can’t. I noted that it had been a long time since he put his now 31 year-old body through a full season of work, so there is reason to be concerned that he might not be able to do it.

    @156: Wow, you guys really like showing off your Latin… Omar’s excess OPS production equates to less than 2 doubles and a home run over a 20 game, 86 PA period. I think Jeff’s arm is good enough to make up this difference over an 180 inning stretch, even at his current level of offensive production (which is unacceptable.)

    @160: You’re jumping in mid-conversation here. I’m saying that Omar’s .798 OPS is based off too small of a sample, and illustrating that by showing how little excess production Omar has created relative to Jeff.

  129. I say we keep Frenchy and hire Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Barry Bonds as his weightlifting consultants.

  130. @154: You would have found a logical fallacy if I said: Diaz hasn’t recorded over 417 PA at any level since ‘04, therefore he can’t. I noted that it had been a long time since he put his now 31 year-old body through a full season of work, so there is reason to be concerned that he might not be able to do it.

    It is a logical fallacy because I can argue the converse just as easily – because he hasn’t been overused over the last two seasons he is LESS likely to be impacted by an increased workload as their isn’t as much wear on his body. See how easy? And you’ll have a hard time arguing that a 31 year old can’t put in a full major league season – it’s done pretty frequently.

    I think Jeff’s arm is good enough to make up this difference over an 180 inning stretch,

    What is the basis for this opinion – can you quantify this at all, or is it a “if you don’t see the game this way then you’re just wrong” argument? I’d love to hear how you value Jeff’s arm – as I recall you don’t trust defensive metrics.

  131. …or not, hasn’t that been Frenchy’s excuse all along. The steroids made him suck? (I’m paraphrasing)

  132. @170: Again, I’m not saying Diaz hasn’t so he can’t… I’m saying he hasn’t before for various reasons, which makes me wonder if it would be possible. You might be right, he might be well-rested and ready for a full season, or you might be wrong. I wasn’t claiming to know the future, I was simply making the point that there is reason to be concerned… a point that is easily made with a guy who missed 4 full calendar months of last season.

    As for Jeff’s arm, you’re right, I don’t put much stock in defensive metrics… I should probably take a longer look at newer ones, but even those get routinely criticized by people I respect. Defense in baseball is too nuanced to be easily reduced to a single +/- that takes every aspect into consideration. They’re worth looking at, and certainly worth trying to perfect, but I’m not as convinced by them as I am with what we’ve been able to do with offensive statistics (as imperfect as they are.)

    I do feel pretty confident judging Jeff, who I’ve watched play probably 300 games over the last 4 years, though I’ll admit I saw more of Jeff in the TBS days, and haven’t been as impressed with his arm in the games I got to see last year and this (that said, most of the effect of an arm is in its reputation, and that appears to be intact.) My comment was simply my opinion, however, and anyone is free to disagree with it.

  133. I know there was some mention of KLaw’s chat earlier this week, but this is pure gravy:

    YJ (Atlanta): Please call Bobby Cox and beg him to bench Francoeur. He will neither selective nor patient in batter’s box. I give up.

    Keith Law: Hey, it’s only been 800 PA of a sub-.290 OBP. Small sample, right?

  134. I was simply making the point that there is reason to be concerned

    But you have no logical basis for that concern, hence the fallacy. There is simply nothing that links Diaz’ prior amount of PT to his performance if given a full time job.

  135. “I do feel pretty confident judging Jeff, who I’ve watched play probably 300 games over the last 4 years,”

    Well, then. That settles it. You’ve seen him play 300 times.

    But on the other hand… You do realize that right now, Francoeur is having a WORSE season that his abominable 2008? That in 2451 career PAs he has compiled a .268/.310/.431 line? That he’s declining from those numbers?

    Whatever. He’ll be off the team by July, and we can all move on then.

  136. Good point, Dix, that was his biggest excuse for sucking in 2008 (but not my favorite, which was he sucked at the end of the year because he was pouting over sucking at the beginning of the year).

    But maybe actual steroids would help the man out. If not physically, maybe psychologically. He’s a complicated guy.

  137. He’s a complicated man, and nobody understands him but his woman…John Shaft!

  138. If Frenchy is Shaft, then his 2005 was the original, 2006 was Shaft’s Big Score, 2008 was Shaft in Africa and 2009 is the remake. Thoughts?

  139. @174: Exhibit A: last year. He was given a full-time job, and couldn’t produce for the whole season… he didn’t even produce for the part of the season in which he was healthy and playing everyday. Until someone has proven they can do something, a logical reason exists to question whether or not they can… I’m not saying he can’t, all I’m saying is that he hasn’t. You do realize you don’t have to argue with everything I say, right?

    By your conception of logic, there would be no logical reason to believe that Mariano Rivera couldn’t reproduce his regular level of productivity if moved into the starting rotation (John Smoltz came close!)… nor would there be any logical reason to question whether Derek Lowe and Jair Jurrjens could replicate their current level of productivity in a 2-man rotation (Christy Mathewson did it!)… that’s how wrong you are.

  140. @175: I wasn’t talking about Jeff’s bat at all in that comment, and I’ve said enough for a couple days about it, so I won’t go further than to correct that.

    On second thought I’ve probably watched closer to 400 Braves games since Jeff was called up… not that the number matters. In the comment you quoted I clearly stated that what I was saying was solely my opinion and anyone who felt inclined to differ was free to do so… I made nothing close to a claim of “case closed.” You guys are really getting reactionary…

  141. Mariano Rivera couldn’t reproduce his regular level of productivity if moved into the starting rotation (John Smoltz came close!)…

    I am not sure what you mean by the Smoltz statement.

  142. @174: Exhibit A: last year. He was given a full-time job, and couldn’t produce for the whole season… he didn’t even produce for the part of the season in which he was healthy and playing everyday.

    Either you have missed the point or are being exceptionally obtuse. There are many arguments you could make that Diaz should not be given the job, but the one you chose was this one:

    I just don’t think he can maintain his production, or possibly even his health, when forced to play on an everyday basis….Matt Diaz has never recorded 400 PA in a Major League season. He hasn’t recorded more than 417 PA at any level since ‘04. He’s played 34 2/3rds innings in RF since he was acquired by Atlanta in 2006. I’d say there is cause for concern there…

    I say again, you cannot correlate his health to PA or lack thereof, QED a logical fallacy exists.

    And as far as arguing with everything you say, I don’t get a choice BECAUSE YOU ONLY SAY ONE THING OVER AND OVER. Repackaged perhaps, but really, you are in a rut my friend.

    And then there is this flawless example of the strawman –

    By your conception of logic, there would be no logical reason to believe that Mariano Rivera couldn’t reproduce his regular level of productivity if moved into the starting rotation (John Smoltz came close!)… nor would there be any logical reason to question whether Derek Lowe and Jair Jurrjens could replicate their current level of productivity in a 2-man rotation (Christy Mathewson did it!)… that’s how wrong you are.

    I fail to see how pointing out a flaw in your premise means I believe any of these things, and the ad hominem at the end was just gravy I suppose.

  143. heyward with another hr tonight and 3 walks. after a 2-3 week slump, he’s red hot at the beach.

  144. No need to worry about Heyward. Just looking at the BB and K rates, I have so much confidence in him even when he is in a slump. He will slot into the RF spot when Frenchy becomes a FA.

  145. Ok, Stephen…I will admit it, I was wrong about Harrison…damn…why couldn’t we keep him over Reyes?

    Amazing, I hate JS more and more after he has retired just because of this damn deal.

  146. What’s this about Putz? It’s wrong to be happy about an injury, but I take joy in the Mets’ misery.

  147. The Mets say that Putz will be out for at least 2 games with tendinitis.

    Manuel is also sitting Reyes tonight due to a “stiff right calf.” I suspect it could be a little punishment for his baserunning adventures and his recent lack of hustle.

  148. @184: “That’s how wrong you are.” isn’t an ad hominem attack… if I said “you’re always wrong” or “you’re stupid you couldn’t possibly be right” THAT would be an ad hominem attack. I’m going to give up trying to explain logic to you though, since I’m obviously not getting through.

    What do you mean I say the same thing over and over? Am I always in here talking about Matt Diaz and his ability to produce over a full season? You’re just not making any sense.

    I don’t understand at all what you mean by your comments on the first block quote. One more time, I wasn’t even making the case that Diaz shouldn’t be given a full-time job. I was only noting my concern that he might not be able to produce in such conditions… to illustrate part of the source of this concern I pointed out that he had never done what we were asking from him before.

    That takes me to your alleged “strawman” which isn’t really a strawman at all. The logic of my example isn’t superficially similar to yours, it mirrors the logic of your complaint exactly:

    Mariano Rivera has been a great closer, he might very well be able to be just as effective in a starter’s role… as I note John Smoltz came pretty damn close… but despite either’s dominant relief career there is legitimate reason to question whether or not they could handle a move into a rotation without a decrease in production.

    Matt Diaz has been a pretty productive outfielder on a part-time basis, he might be able to be just as effective on a full-time basis, but he simply hasn’t proven that he can provide the same production level in an expanded role… that doesn’t mean he isn’t capable, it only suggests that it isn’t a sure thing, so we might want to have a backup plan if he can’t hack it.

  149. I was never a Harrison guy, and even after tonight, I’m not going to rush out and pick him up in a fantasy league. He always put up decent numbers in pitcher’s parks, not striking out a crazy-high number of guys and walking a fair few. He was never young for his level, his stuff was never mind-blowing. He just never stood out really. Maybe something has changed, but I still figure he’s a back-end guy at best.

  150. mraver, we share the same opinion on Harrison, but I guess the Rangers have done a terrific job with him.

  151. KC–I don’t think any of us were right about Harrison and I am still not entirely convinced.

    In 2003 I thought he was a great draft pick and I came to believe that he would be a good starter. However, the way he pitched in 2006 and then in 2007 led me to conclude (wrongly perhaps)that he had reached a bit of a plateau and would be at best a #4 or #5 starter.

    In trading Harrison the Braves were giving up a potentially useful pitcher–but that was and is nothing to possible value that Andrus and Feliz might yet old.

    I am still not too upset about trading Harrison–but Harrison (and Beau Jones), Salty, Andrus and Feliz to rent Mahay and Tex just to have a party with Boras was profoundly stupid–particularly when you consider that the team’s weakness was the back end of the rotation….

  152. KC–Back to the point about Jo Jo and 200 innings–I think it is hard to judge partly because pitching development is affected by coaches–sometimes negatively. I think you would look at innings, but, more generally, I suspect that ogranizations give up on a pitcher when a pitching coach (or coaches) conclude “we have taught him everything we can and he has not improved so you might as well move him”. Unfortunately, this can reflect the coaches’ limitations as much as the pitcher….

  153. A relief pitcher’s inability to start is in no way relevant to a pinch hitter’s ability to start.

    Arm strength, endurance,…blah blah blah

  154. @201 quote from the same article:
    “Once you play yourself into Bobby’s lineup, you’ve got to play yourself out,” Jones said.

    Maybe Bobby is waiting for Frenchy to play his way out of the lineup.

  155. Unfortunately it seems Bobby is waiting for someone else to play themselves into the lineup.

  156. Gadfly, forgetting stats, just look at Francoeur at the plate==he looks like he has no idea what he is doing. That bothers me, in a way, more than his numbers, because numbers will improve if the skills and mechanics are there. I was watching the Mets-Braves game on Monday on SNY (and Darling, Hernandez, and Cohen are a pretty good team, certainly better than listening to Chip) and they pointed out that Frenchy had swung at a higher percentage of pitches (or first pitches)than anyone (I think) in baseball, certainly the NL. I used to criticize Andruw for bad at-bats, but Andruw was obviously much more productive than Frenchy and he had Ted Williams-like plate discipline compared to Frenchy.

    And, he is not a young player anymore. He is 25, in his fourth season, he has played probably 500 or 600 games. At some point, it’s not a small sample size.

  157. Peanut and Wren were on ATL radio this morning. Wren tap danced around the questions about JoJo making his next start, which means Charlie Morton will most likely be called up to be place holder for Hansen the next month.

    Peanut cautioned Francoeur will go through slumps (ha!) as he works on his new swing, but admitted the brass are looking for corner outfield help to provide some power. My question is how can you add that without adding payroll.

  158. The Braves have 4 of the lowest 9 players in pitches per plate appearance in the NL. What is funny is that 2 are hitting well (Chipper and Yunel); the other are KJ and Frenchie. 4 out of the lowest 9 has to be more than just random, and must represent an organizational approach, correct?

  159. You can hear the Wren interview here.

    Not one single question regarding Francoeur, unless it came after the audio cuts off. Sounded like the interview was nearing its end, though. What a cop out.

    I agree that it sounds like Jo-Jo is at the end by Wren’s answer. If you’re not even willing to lie about the possibility of being sent down, you’re toast. Maybe they’ll DL him so that he can work with McDowell.

  160. I was dissapointed they didn’t ask him about Francoeur. It’s the elephant in the corner of the room. You just can’t gloss over the fact your RF has and OBP of .273 and an OPS of .655. In fairness, they did discuss it after the interview with Wren ended and with Bowman, but they should have asked the pointed question about the lack of production in the outfield.

  161. I really hope that we see Morton; too bad we did not unload Jo Jo during the spring.

    That said, we might also see Medlen before Hanson. At least the Braves have some depth for starting pitchers. What a difference it might have made in 2007….

  162. Maybe they have agreed beforehand that there will be no question asked on Frenchy.

    I doubt that, but it is a possibility. If the Atlanta media isn’t allowed to ask about a struggling player then they might as well just turn in their credentials.

    too bad we did not unload Jo Jo during the spring.

    I’m not sure his value is different than what it was. I’d like the organization to let him have an extended stay in the minors to work on something different. I don’t care how well he performs on the field down there. Whether it’s a new pitch, approach, or role; something needs to be done.

  163. #212–You could almost imagine that it would be written into a contract by the Braves’ management….

  164. #212

    I don’t think that was the case. This particular station (790) typically runs shorter interviews, which don’t provide for very in-depth discussions. Given another minute or two, I feel certain they would have brought it up because they did touch on it right after Wren finished.

  165. “You just can’t gloss over the fact your RF has and OBP of .273 and an OPS of .655.”

    The Braves and Gadfly can.

  166. Marc we all know that Frenchy did okay in his first 50AB’s this season. Those 50Ab’s mean a lot more than the last 100 he’s had.

    We should also remember that Jeff had 60 good games last year and 100 bad ones. Or at least he convinced himself of that

  167. Honestly, Frenchy’s stats speak for itself and there is no need to argue over them. The difference is really 1) we support him no matter how bad he does because he is a Brave; and 2) we keep bashing him because he honestly sucks.

    I am starting to take the third approach. I really feel sorry for the kid. I really am. He may have chosen the wrong sport.

  168. Those 50 ABs evidently mean a lot more than the 800 he had before them too. Gadfly isn’t a GM for a multi-million dollar organization, so he can be forgiven. But Wren? I’m less inclined to forgive… or forget.

    EDIT: @222 I’m right there with you. Until he returns his $4 million, he deserves no sympathy.

  169. ububba, I feel sorry in a sense that he sucks at something he is supposed to be good at. That must be a horrible feeling.

    Of course, I don’t feel sorry for the kind on the money that he is making now…at the same time, he is not going to earn much more if he keeps playing like that and he will need to find something else to earn money by the time he is 30. The kid didn’t even go to university…

  170. I feel sorry for Francoeur, just like I feel sorry for A-Rod. People can make millions and still be unhappy, you know.

    Doesn’t mean I want the dude on the team I cheer for, of course.

    hank,
    We’re trying to help y’all out, but you gotta avoid crapping the bed against the Gators, man.

  171. BatCats are soooo frustrating this year. They just refuse to be either bad enough or good enough. Hmmm – sounds like another team I like.

    If Vandy takes the spot, the Dores will likely make the Big Baseball Dance no matter how they perform in the SEC Tournament. UK would have to do some damage to get there.

  172. Well, Stu, ARod will never be happy no matter what he does. I feel less sorry for ARod because he can retire right now and have a wonderful life for the rest of his life…his next life…and the life after that as well…

    Frenchy is not in that position though.

  173. They just refuse to be either bad enough or good enough. Hmmm – sounds like another team I like.

    Sounds like VU, too. Talent-wise, there’s not a more complete team in the conference. Of course, our hitters are young and our pitchers are hurt and inconsistent. Our baserunning is Yunel-like. Maddening, all of it. I had very high expectations coming into this season; we’ll see if we can’t sneak into the SEC and NCAA Tourneys and make some noise.

    kc,
    It’s just going to be a very rare situation where a guy’s salary has any bearing whatsoever on my personal feelings about him, particularly a feeling like sympathy. I worry a lot more about a guy’s mental/emotional state than his financial state.

  174. I’m pretty sure I could put $3.3 million (or whatever his arb number was) to work for me while I figure out another way to make a living…

  175. Maybe if we assume the debt on the new Citi Field, the Mets will take Francoeur off our hands. As a Met he absolutely would be earning the $800Million we’d be paying out.

  176. Let’s see, Frenchy signed for 3.4 million this year. His first 3 seasons combined he made about 1.2 million. Plus he signed with a $2.2 million bonus. That’s almost 7 million dollars total. Most likely, that’s more than I will make in my entire lifetime, and I am much better at my job than he is at his.

    So, no, I do not feel one bit sorry for the prima donna. He should still be in AA working on his swing. Not sabotaging the team when the NL East is up for grabs.

  177. I would add that Frenchy got off to a decent start in 2008 and then went into a tailspin from which he never really got out of (though some will piously hold that he did in September). 2009 holds lots of promise….

  178. I don’t hate Francouer. I am deeply confused and disturbed by the Braves handling of him. Especially when it is clear that he is not a major league caliber player. (Warning! Gadfly response alert!) To placate I’ll amend that by saying he hasn’t been MLB caliber since the beginning of 2008.
    The Braves seem to be hanging on to his star in the making 2005 first 50 games as if he has shown he can repeat that level of performance. You would think that 180 or so games worth of just terrible play would be enough. I understand that the Braves are a scouting/observation oriented organization as opposed to a statistical analysis based club but to even my untrained eye it is clear to me that Francouer at this point in his career simply cannot hit MLB pitching. And before someone starts yapping about defense the primary job of a corner outfielder is to provide pop in the lineup. As for alternatives I and others have mentioned them. Infante, Diaz, moving KJ back to left all of them are better than carrying a guy that isn’t even competent at the 4 basic offensive skills. He doesn’t get on base, hit for power, hit situationally or for that matter even make solid contact to test defenses. The athleticism is terrific but the list of great athletes that were lousy baseball players is very very long.

    @237 Yeah his batting average was up there but with no walks and virtually no power.

  179. I would like to say yes, but I actually have to work most of the time so I wouldn’t be able to catch them all.

  180. “And before someone starts yapping about defense the primary job of a corner outfielder is to provide pop in the lineup.”

    And besides, his range sucks. He is a problem: he takes wins AWAY from the team. As a Braves fan, I feel like I’m living in a twilight zone episode, as logic and reason have been suspended. If Jo-Jo is being cut loose… why isn’t the same being done to Francoeur? I wonder…

  181. @238,

    Johnny,

    Have to disagree with you a bit. Frenchy is a major-league caliber player, just not a very good one and not one that should be starting in RF.

  182. #243–Remember Bobby said something like “Jeff is like family” to us when they agonized about sending him down to Pearl last summer.

    Don’t hold your breat if you are waiting for Frenchy to get cut loose….

  183. Great Pascual Perez piece. The best part:

    After a recent victory, he was asked by reporters how many games he thought he could win this year. “[Manager] Joe Torre says I can win 15 games,” said Perez.

    “Think you can win more?” one reporter asked.

    “No, Joe Torre says I can win 15.”

  184. I emailed Nick Cellini of Sportstalk 790 the Zone about the Wren interview as documented below:

    Hanan: Maybe it was a lack of time, but I was curious as to why there was no question about Jeff Francoeur? His OBP is .273 and his OPS is .655 and he is becoming a drain on the lineup again. The last 2 weeks or so he has reverted back to swinging early in the count and looking to pull everything, just generally bad AB’s and he has a 4/26 stretch going. You all did touch on this with Bowman, but not Wren. Was there a “no Francoeur questions” agreement with Wren before he would come on?

    Cellini: no, we just blew it…sorry.

  185. I know we like to fixate on stenchy, but how would someone not ask about him when speaking to Frank Wren?

  186. Can we rename this site the Frenchy sucks site and start a Braves site somewhere else???

  187. Maybe it’s camera angles, but Jeff has certainly seemed to have closed up his stance since Opening Day. Maybe Texas will give us Beau Jones back and we can give them Francoeur so their hitting coach can turn him into a replacement level player.

  188. Can you make it once per Gadfly post?

    I’ve tried – you just can’t keep up for long. The man is a machine.

  189. Anybody ever been to Columbus, Ohio?

    I gotta go there tonight & be there through the weekend. Any charming places or things to do there? Restaurant or bar recommendations?

    I’m trying to research the place & nothing jumps out at me. The minor-league team is out of town & I got nothing.

    Dix,
    Any good OSU material?

  190. I do know that the only time Dix ever stops in Ohio on his Georgia-Michigan drives is to take the Browns to the Super Bowl.

  191. Hmm…I’m kinda keeping my head down as far as OSU is concerned. Today marks the 2,001st day since we last beat them (in football; our lead in life is insurmountable).

    However, if you want to get a true sense of what Columbus is like, rent a car, pay for the insurance they offer, and put a Univ. of Michigan bumper sticker on it. Then, since you’ll be on foot the rest of the time, walk around in Maize and Blue. I guarantee you that stuff will jump out at you.

    The only thing really worth doing there is drive in, take a dump, and drive out. If you’re really lucky, you’ll see someone get thrown from the horse outside the Wal Mart.

  192. @204: Obviously there are differences between moving a pitcher from the pen into the rotation, and moving a bench player into an everyday role. The point I was making was that the situations are logically similar, and the reason you wouldn’t count on the same level of production from a reliever converted to a starter is similar to the reason you wouldn’t expect a bench or platoon player to provide the same level of production in an everyday role (there would be additional concerns in the first situation because of the stress of pitching on an arm, but the basic reason is quite similar.)

    @222 and Francoeur’s $4 million salary (which is actually a good deal less than $4 million): This is an economics of baseball thing. I’m sure Jeff would gladly give up this salary for the ability to have been a free agent after the ’05 or ’07 seasons. The $4 million they’re paying him is a result of the collective bargaining that allowed them to pay him $427,500 in 2007.

    @235: It doesn’t matter how good you are at your job, compensation should be based on value production. Even if Jeff isn’t producing on the field, he’s still creating revenue. As for working on his swing in AA, I just think this makes no sense… he can’t work on his swing in AA, because he can use the long, slow swing that produces <80 OPSes in the Majors and he can beat the snot out of AA arms, as we saw last year. He needs coaching at the Major League level… Not to mention this again, but we really don’t have many options… I can see resting him more often, or even platooning him if you feel comfortable with Diaz in RF and playing everyday, but until we find a replacement he’s still worth keeping around.

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