Takashi Saito

Takashi Saito Statistics and History – Baseball-Reference.com.

Is old. Saito has pitched well since he came to America in 2006, but he was 36 then and will be 40 this year, which is probably why the Red Sox let him go despite a 2.43 ERA, and why the Dodgers before them let him go after three years with 81 combined saves and a 1.95 ERA. Saito hurt his arm late in 2008, which didn’t encourage the Dodgers much either. He also had some problems with his hamstrings in 2007, though he made the All-Star team that year.

Anyway, Saito avoided Tommy John surgery with an experimental, and somewhat mysterious, procedure involving blood injections in his elbow. The Red Sox picked him up and he did well. There was some decay in his rate stats, as last year he had fewer strikeouts than innings for the first time, and his walks were up as well.

Saito was mostly a starter in his Japanese career (which dated back to 1992) but pitched best in a two-year stint as a closer. I really can’t judge Japanese statistics, because I don’t know anything about Japanese baseball. His record was 87-80, which I think is actually pretty good considering his ballclub (Yokohama) is traditionally a poor team… Born in Miyagi Prefecture.

105 thoughts on “Takashi Saito”

  1. it will be interesting to see how the pen will be worked this year. 80 appearances for the closer and setup guy is probably not going to happen. it’d be nice to see the whole pen hover around the 60 inning mark instead of 3 spiking their “games pitched”.

  2. Saito ought to to be ok for the year, but I think that some noticeable statistical decline will continue…..

  3. JC’ed again.

    I don’t care about Hinske’s tattoo one way or the other – I’ve got a few, but am pretty neutral about them now. I was very surprised by the negativity in the comments section. A lot of Braves have them, and I don’t recall anyone making a big deal out of it before. Andruw had a spiderweb on his elbow (used to mean you had been in prison) for goodness sakes, and I never heard that ever discussed.

  4. Ethan (from the last thread), I was pretty dang worried, too. Just sort of sat in my seat, staring out in disbelief for much of the game. For whatever reason, that team is a bad, bad match-up for us. Just happy to get the win and move on.

    Trace (from the last thread), y’all are a good team. If Thompkins stays next year, I think you’ll be *really* good (NCAA-Tournament good), because Gerald Robinson (transfer PG) is going to eat this conference up immediately. If he’d been anything other than a sophomore, he’d likely be a Commodore.

    Do you UGA peeps have any idea whether Thompkins is going pro or not?

  5. Why is that? Are they offended by non-japanese getting irezumi, or is it because of the criminal connotation?

  6. Spike,

    There are lots of places (waterparks, public pools, hot springs/public baths) that prohibit any tattoos. That’s mostly due to the yakuza connection, but there isn’t any distinction made as to who has the tattoo and what type of tattoo it is. I remember John Hopkins (an American who was racing Grand Prix motorcycles at the time) being asked to leave a hotel’s hot tub because he had a tattoo. It’s not universal, though. I go to an onsen (hot spring) with my extended family every year and I have a large Japanese tattoo on my back. I’ve never had a problem there, but I’m always a little self-conscious about it. Well, that, and being the only foreigner around.

  7. Well I guess that’s why I was curious. I have worked in Japan several times and never experienced any issues regarding my tattoos, either in the onsen (I was in Yamaguchi for that) or if I happened to be wearing short sleeves in Tokyo/Yokohama. Interesting.

  8. Yeah, there are still places that won’t give you any problems, but plenty of places will. It’s kind of cool to see younger Japanese getting into Western tattoos, but they have a fantastic heritage that has been corrupted by a bunch of thugs. That’s too bad.

  9. Not really sure right now. My inclination is no, he’ll stay for another year. Apparently he’s projected as a lottery pick in 2011 along with Leslie, so hopefully that’s enough to make him stay. But yeah there is a lot to be excited about in the future with this team. Good luck the rest of the way. (I seriously considered going to Vandy btw so they’re kind of my second SEC team)

  10. Thompkins is mulling a move to the NBA, but he’s really not ready. He has a great touch, but he really doesn’t like contact. A post-up guy who doesn’t like fighting too hard for position is not going to be much of a factor at the next level.

    But for now, a 6-11 guy who can shoot will put up terrific numbers in D1.

    Leslie has the most raw talent on the team, but he’s more Eric Marbury than Dominique.

  11. Keep in mind that nbadraft.net, at one time, projected Ogilvy as a lottery pick after his freshman year. I think a 2011 mock draft is making a lot of assumptions about growth — still a long way to go for Leslie, IMO.

  12. 14 per athlete? And they are running out? As a guy who is married with kids, I am very, very jealous.

  13. I dunno about being too envious – for every ladies figure skater, there’s a bunch of bobsledders and a couple of Johnny Weirs. NTTAWTT

  14. poop

    @ajcbraves: Jair Jurrjens (shoulder) told not to do any throwing for 2nd straight day; Cox said good sign he “begged” to be permitted to. Day-to-day.

  15. Obviously, you’re not married with young kids. Action is action.

    EDIT: Except of course in the case of the Weirs. That’s not my kind of action. To quote Larry Fine, “Lady, you’re just my type. A woman!”

  16. Dude, I am 48 with a 4 year old, but even I have a line I won’t cross.

  17. Anyone remember D.A. Layne? That’s the most puzzling early entry I’ve ever encountered. Who the hell was advising that guy?

  18. Saito has been absurdly good since coming over to the States. In my view, he’s the second-best Japanese player in MLB ever, behind only Ichiro. And the Dodgers got him for a minor league contract and paid him three pre-arbitration contracts for a total of about $4 million, making him one the best free agent signings ever.

    I don’t think he’ll be THAT good for us, but I think he’ll be plenty good as long as he’s healthy. Dude’s one bad mother.

  19. The sheer number of attractive female athletes at this games is impressive. The figure skaters aren’t really a surprise, but they’re hardly alone.

    Just picked up the Willie Mays bio. Will report.

  20. Very curious about that Willie bio.

    I heard the author do a lengthy bit on WFAN the other day and it made me realize how little I knew about Mays’ life story.

    How rare: No work today due to another crazy winter storm (they’re calling it “The Snowicane”) and there’s actually something to watch on TV, USA hockey.

  21. Saito’s peripherals took a turn for the worse last year, but he was still very good. It’s a good bet he’ll be worth more than what we’re paying him.

  22. Do ya’ll think the back of the bullpen is better or worse than last year?

    Yeah, lots of nice looking women athletes at the Olympics. The Australian snow boarder who won the gold in the half pipe is fine.

  23. ububba,

    I thought the snow was bad a few weeks ago, but this has been crazy. I’ll have to live in NY a few more years before I get used to it (that and the humidity in the summer).

    desert (last thread),

    Haven’t played MW2 yet, though I hear nothing but great things. MLB 2K9 wasn’t that great, but it was the only baseball game for the XBox and I enjoyed playing it with my roommate. Didn’t go through a season or anything. I hear 2K10 is supposed to be a huge improvement.

  24. Between the Canada/Russia hockey game the other night & the USA/Finland tilt today, you may never see two worse goalie meltdowns. Both Nabokov & Kiprusoff were brutal early & it just took the life out of those squads.

  25. I think the back end has potential to be as good or better than last year. I think the middle of the bullpen is stronger and hopefully Derek Lowe and Huddy can go deep into games.

  26. Bobby was a cause to their inconsistency. Pitching with 5 and 6 runs leads can sometimes cause problems for closers, esp their 3rd and 4th straight outings.

    Im still a little concerned with JJ’s shoulder

  27. I talk about this in a scheduled post in a few days, but Bobby used relievers on back-to-back days more than any other manager last year, and piled those appearances, almost exclusively, on his top four of Soriano, Gonzalez, Moylan, and O’Flaherty. At times, the Braves essentially had a four-man bullpen — a good one, but not sustainable under modern conditions.

  28. Yep Mac, the game appearances as follows for Moylan(87), Gonzalez(80), O’Flaherty(78) and Soriano(77) were all ranked in the top ten for relief appearances.

    Don’t get me wrong, the bullpen had a good year in 2009 and the rotation was arguably the best in the N.L. But the Braves ranked 13th in saves which just doesn’t add up. The pitching was playoff caliber all season long, but the lack of run support early on combined with poor defense put the team in a hole they couldn’t climb out of.

    Cox failed to make the necessary adjustments to his line up which forced Frank Wren to overhaul the roster in mid season. Too little to late was the cause in effect and 2010 will be the litmus test for Cox. If this roster stays healthy, there is no excuse for our Braves to not make a run at the wild card.

  29. Bad bench play (NORTON!) was a main culprit, but I don’t think that was Bobby’s fault. The offense did fail to get that one needed run across, a lot. Anyway, the entry on Bobby’s 2009 stats will be up in a few days.

  30. Cox failed to make the necessary adjustments to his line up which forced Frank Wren to overhaul the roster in mid season.

    Actually, Frank Wren failed to put any major league outfielders on the opening day roster which caused him to have to pick some up as the season went along.

    At times, the Braves essentially had a four-man bullpen — a good one, but not sustainable under modern conditions.

    The Braves finished sixth in baseball in bullpen ERA, I’m going to call that a success. Gonzo and Soriano were worked hard like the rent-a-mules that they were.

    I would be interested to see how Bobby would handle a young bullpen arm worth protecting (like Neftali Feliz). But since the farm system hasn’t really presented one to the major league team since Mark Wohlers, I guess I’ll never find out.

  31. robert,

    ummmmm….medlen? and there are plenty of guys coming up. have ya looked at our minor league system?

  32. ummmmm….medlen? and there are plenty of guys coming up. have ya looked at our minor league system?

    Medlen is more of a starter hanging out in the pen until somebody gets hurt. But yeah, it’s nice a that a few arms have made it just recently. But we have obviously been playing rent-a-closer for years (Gonzo, Sori, Reitsma, Kolb) because we haven’t been able to fill that role from within.

  33. @42, Joey Devine? We saw how that worked out.

    Good one. I guess I had blocked that out. Yeah, that didn’t work out too well.

  34. I have zero confidence Takashi Saito will stay healthy or pitch as well as the Braves expect their set-up men to. Oh well. If he does, that’s pretty much gravy, because the rest of the bullpen should be very good.

    By the way, if Joe Thurston makes the active roster, he’s the most logical candidate for Braves Journal whipping boy. That guy is bad at baseball.

  35. @45
    agreed on the “rent-a-closer” point. i’m still not sure the braves have starter plans for kris medlen. i mean, if everything stays as it is now, hudson, jurrjens, hanson, lowe, and kawakami will be together for this year and next so the earliest vacancy will be 2012. by that time, kris might have established himself as the future closer, although i’d rather see medlen pitching every 5th day.

    on joe thurston…yeah, i dont get it. when i found out the guy can’t play ss, i didnt understand the signing. i mean, what can he do even remotely well?

  36. Given that “closers” can be found fairly easily and inexpensively comparative to other spots, rent-a-closer ain’t a bad way to go.

    italics in advance before someone tells me 7M ain’t cheap.

  37. @47, Joe Thurston could be twice as bad as Norton was, and Chip Caray will still be the Braves Journal whipping boy of 2010.

  38. That’s because there is no way Thurston will be as bad at his job as Caray is at his. I bet Chip gets paid better too.

  39. Actually, Frank Wren failed to put any major league outfielders on the opening day roster which caused him to have to pick some up as the season went along. – Robert

    actually Frank Wren took over a team that needed a full turnover from the pitching rotation, to the offense, to the minor leagues. Some of you are forgetting how bad it was when he first took over. There were no impact minor league guys close to being ready. The rotation from day 1 for him was JJ, Morton, Reyes, Carlyle, and Campillo. Did you really expect him to be able to get this team ready to compete that fast? He kept the farm in tact and didnt make any desperate moves.

  40. per mlbtr

    The Braves signed 21-year-old Nicaraguan shortstop Ivan Marin to a minor league contract on February 10, reports Oscar Gonzalez at La Prensa.

    keep em comin Frank

  41. 50,
    Ah, good point. For some reason, I thought we were still on Snitker.

    Anyway, as far as player whipping boy goes, Thurston is probably our man if he makes the active roster. Thurston has loads of potential…..to make us greatly miss Diory Hernandez. That’s sad.

  42. Infante, Hinske, Ross, 5 SP, 6 RP, 8 regulars.

    That leaves 3 spots. Assuming Cox goes with that 7th RP, that leaves two bench spots – Conrad and Thurston? That’s the best we can do?

    Jim Edmonds, Felipe Lopez (just signed w/St Louis), Hank Blalock, Rocco Baldelli are all much better players, and are cheap.

  43. Robert at 42,

    Do you have evidence that Wren ever told Bobby Cox to play Francoeur over Diaz against righhanded pitchers (170 point or so ops difference)or to play Garret Andreson (who probably was signed because Cox wanted him) over Diaz in left field against lefthanders (250 point ops difference AND Diaz is a better fielder).

    In the first 60 games or so (before the McLouth pick up and the Francoeur for Churhc deal) that would have probably generated 2 to 3 wins.

    The outfield “miss” for last year based on apparently available payroll, who we had around, and whatever was that Edmonds should have been the target. He had still done exceptionally well against right handers and could field much better than Anderson (could even have been a non disastrous center field replacemnt / back up. He had done fair late in 2008 against righthanders (but should have been platooned with Diaz in Atlanta’s situation).

    I guess we don’t know if he would have taken a contract around 2.5.

  44. Okay, even if Heyward stays, the point still stands – why have a guy like like Thurston or Conrad as your last bench spot, when you could get somebody who is at least kinda good? And if you have to waste a spot on a Conrad/Thurston, carrying a 7th reliever who never gets used as opposed to at least a potential PH threat is even more nonsensical.

  45. 41,

    I’ve been out of school about a year and a half now. Can’t say I miss it. I still have nightmares about exams.

    I’m piggy backing on a friend’s Gamefly account so I’ll try to get MW2 soon.

  46. If Saito and/or Wagner go down, who gets called up? (Assuming Moylan is bumped to the set-up man or closer if need be.)

    52, I almost forgot how bad we looked when Wren took over. He may not be the next JS, but his work over the past two years is nothing to sneeze at, for sure.

  47. It might depend upon how Craig Kimbrel is doing. I’m really procrastinating on figuring out the back of the bullpen. Has Manny Acosta’s lobotomy been scheduled yet?

  48. I think Blalock should be a target, why not have as much Chipper/Glaus insurance as possible. However, he may want an everyday job. You can always bring up guys like Conrad and Thurston if needed

  49. I eagerly await any sort of base stealing. People may overvalue stolen bases (there was an interesting debate on here a few months back), but it’s always fun to watch.

  50. Blalock only played one game at third last year while putting up an OBP of .277. Not saying he wouldn’t be worth a minor league contract (he can still slug a little bit) but he looks to be done.

    Escobar could improve his value by just not running into outs so damn much. He’s exciting to watch run for all the wrong reasons. I still wouldn’t mind him leading off, though, if only to negate all those double plays he likes to hit.

  51. 64, since Furcal stole 46 bases in 2005 nobody has topped 17 on an individual basis since. In fact, the Braves have stolen a whopping 232 bases during the last four seasons.

    Anybody want to take a wild guess where this ranks them among all thirty teams since 2006???????

  52. Blalock may be done, but its highly unlikely. He’s only 29 and did post an OPS of .901 and .846 in 2007 and 2008 in limited time. He’s worth taking a small gamble on, compared to having to choose between Conrad and Thurston.

  53. coach, it wouldve been easier for you to just tell us where they ranked instead of asking us to go do research on something that doesnt matter at this point

  54. I’ll give ya’ll a clue, it’s the direct opposite of first and now you know what I know.

    That’s right ladies and germs, DEAD FRIGGING LAST. Our Braves are the kings of turtle ball or as Bobby Cox loves to call it…the three run bomb.

    Don’t get me wrong, the long ball and extra base hits are much preferable and easier to manage, but the running game is undervalued in Atlanta and Cox has his head up his ass.

    Don’t believe me? Go check the team stolen base totals back in the nineteen nineties and ask yourself what happened to THAT manager. Where did he go.

  55. Not to belabor the point or argue but the numbers tell the story much better than I can.

    From 1991 to 2005 our Braves averaged 106 stolen bases per season (1481 totaled excluding the lost season of 1994). During the last four (2006-2009) they have averaged 58 bags swiped.

  56. 73 – Otis Nixon, Marquis Grissom, Andruw and Fookie are all gone? Who is Bobby holding back, exactly?

  57. what does the last 4 years have to do with this season??? Let me tell you, absolutely nothing. Now you know what I know

  58. anyone expecting big stolen base numbers from Chipper, McCann, Glaus, Prado, Diaz, Yunel? nope, Mac is right. Why should Bobby send slow runners?

  59. Mac, you’re wrong and you know it. Cox is the manager and it’s his responsibility to put a competitive team on the field. I mean, would you walk out on the golf course and spot the opposition ten strokes? Because that’s exactly what the entire Braves organization has done over the previous four years.

    Cox had had a handicapped baseball team since Furcal left and he knows it. There is no excuse for allowing it to continue on for four straight years.

    And csg, if finishing dead last in stolen bases doesn’t matter to you I would suggest taking up table tennis as your sport of choice :P

    75, the answer is Yunel Escobar.

  60. That’s absurd. What is Bobby supposed to do? Play Gregor Blanco every day so he can supposedly steal bases if he’s ever actually on base? Give a job to Brian Barton? Bobby did everything he could to get the running game going, including leading the league in pinch-runners. The basic fact is that the Braves who got on base are mostly slow guys, and his one real stolen base threat, McLouth, had injuries that took that part of his game away. I expect, by the way, that the Braves will get 70-80 SBs from the outfield this year if everyone’s healthy. It won’t matter a whole lot.

  61. Buster Olney’s blog this morning was very Braves-centric http://bit.ly/aDJv2X

    Braves openly singing Heyward’s praises

    Ivan Rodriguez was asked about Stephen Strasburg the other day in Nationals camp, and reportedly he offered a word of praise and then retreated from the topic. Rodriguez wasn’t being disrespectful of Strasburg; rather, he was trying to join the effort to tamp down expectations of the kid, to shield him from the enormous pressure that comes with being a superstar prospect with no actual track record in the major leagues.

    This kind of thing is standard operating procedure in camps throughout baseball. Managers and coaches and veterans typically throw verbal cold water over the early excitement of Double-A and Triple-A, and repeat strategic (and sometimes fully appropriate) mantras. He’s never done it at the big league level. … He looks good but has a long way to go. … He has a lot of work to do before he gets here. … Who knows when he’ll be called up — maybe sometime this summer.

    This is why the Braves’ treatment of Jason Heyward this spring has been so striking. Ask anybody about him, and he or she will tell you flat out: He’s a unique talent. The sound of his bat hitting a baseball reminds you of Mickey Mantle or Hank Aaron. He is capable of putting on a show. He could be a once-in-a-generation talent.

    “He’s a special young player,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said, standing in front of the home dugout Friday morning.

    To review, Heyward is 6-foot-6 and some 250 pounds, only recently turned 20 years old, and is coming off a minor league season in which he reached Triple-A and accumulated a combination of numbers that is staggering for someone who is projected to be an impact power hitter: 46 extra-base hits, 51 walks and just 51 strikeouts. A 1-1 walk-strikeout ratio in 422 plate appearances. The other players in Heyward’s hitting group have argued good naturedly, David O’Brien wrote the other day, about who must follow him in batting practice; nobody wants to be the guy who looks powerless just after Heyward hits another rocket over the right-center field wall. The other players are taking delight in Heyward’s potential and fully acknowledging it, rather than trying to ignore it.

    This should tell you how sure they are that he is going to be great, a belief that is reinforced by Heyward’s demeanor. He is regarded by staff members who know him as extremely intelligent, has a great awareness of his place in the clubhouse, and has gone to spring training and been quiet and gone about the business of baseball without any look-at-me stuff. The Braves’ youngest players are expected to be in the clubhouse by 7:30 a.m. or so, and for most of the next 150 minutes, they sit in uniform and wait for practice to begin. Heyward was sprawled on the floor in front of his locker Friday morning, a pair of headphones on, minding his own business.

    We’ll soon be hearing from him.

    There is a clear expectation in the Braves’ clubhouse that unless Heyward completely falls on his face in spring training, he will open the 2010 season in the big leagues. A year ago, Tommy Hanson impressed the Braves in camp and was regarded by the other players as one of the five best starting pitchers. But Hanson opened the season in the minor leagues, missing about nine starts, and then was called up (like a lot of top young prospects, after enough time had passed to ensure that he wouldn’t be eligible for arbitration until after his fourth season).

    Well, in the end, that decision might have been costly. Jo-Jo Reyes made five starts, and in those, he posted a 6.58 ERA and went 2-3. Kris Medlen was called up to make starts, rather than Hanson, and in his first three starts, the Braves went 1-2 and he had a 6.28 ERA.

    As the last week of the season began, the Braves were four games out in the National League East race and two games behind the Rockies in the wild-card race, and naturally, some of them wondered how different the season might have been if Hanson had opened the year with the team.

    Now the Braves are preparing for the 2010 season, which Cox already has announced will be his last as manager. They should have a good pitching staff, with Billy Wagner leading some power arms in the bullpen. “Deep,” Chipper Jones said. They can win, seemingly, if they generate enough runs.

    And they have a 20-year-old who is prompting memories of Aaron, Mantle and Willie Mays.

    Why are the Braves promoting his potential so publicly, embracing it, taking pleasure in it?

    “When he came here, we wanted to make sure he knew he had a chance to make the team,” Cox said. “We didn’t want him thinking that no matter what he did that he was going back to the minors.”

    That doesn’t seem likely to happen, if he does what everybody in the Braves’ camp says he can do. Right now.

    Here are some pictures of the damage Heyward has done, courtesy of Jeff Schultz. Heyward is not carrying himself like he’s a big deal, Schultz writes.

    Chipper Jones on NL East, other Braves notes

    Chipper Jones chatted about some of the teams in the NL East and about some of the moves they made. He said he believes the Phillies’ signing of Placido Polanco was a great acquisition.

    “He’s the perfect player, for what they need. An extremely underrated player. He is like a pesty gnat at the plate, can put the ball in play and manufacture a run, can hit good pitchers, can hit in situational situations. He’ll be great at third base,” Jones said.

    • Mike Minor, the Braves’ top pick from 2009, will be working on his breaking pitches this spring. Minor is a strike-throwing machine and has excellent command of his fastball and changeup, but he said sometimes his command of his slider and curve eludes him. However, he expects to find that as spring training progresses. After pitching in the Arizona Fall League in 2009, Minor could start 2010 in High-A ball or Triple-A.

    • Two guys I’ve seen this spring who have the most fun participating in the most mundane drills: Brian McCann and Joba Chamberlain. McCann and David Ross worked on their throwing to second base early Friday morning, and for a lot of the time, McCann chattily joked about how he really was better suited for middle infield and how his true talents were being wasted. “This is easy,” he said after picking up a short hop with his catcher’s mitt at second base. He just has fun; Chamberlain is the same way.

  62. Yunel Escobar SB/CS for the last three years:

    2007 5/3
    2008 2/5
    2009 5/4

    Minors:

    2006 (AA) 7/9
    2007 (AAA) 7/3

    So… yeah. Let’s send him more.

  63. Coach – last time I checked the GM gets the players, the manager manages those players. Also, why would anyone care where the Braves finished the last four years in the SB catagory? Those seasons are in the past and mean nothing while getting ready for this season.

    BTW, Nate McLouth ran more after getting traded to the Braves last season. He averaged 1 SB attempt every 6.4 games with the Pirates, compared to every 4.6 games with the Braves.

    Here is something to consider, you dont know what the hell youre talking about. Thats pretty much standard though

  64. I think the Braves will carry four starters and eight relievers to start the season, if only for a week or so. I normally hate that, but if Jurrjens isn’t ready to go, I can’t say I blame them.

  65. desert,
    bobby was holding escobar back in the minors as well. didn’t you know that?

    coach, when EVERYONE disagrees with you, it might be time to think differently, or atleast accept the fact that your opinion is out there. i’ve never seen someone approach an argument as poorly as you.

  66. Csg,

    To be fair, he is right that stolen bases are a component of team performance, and that their utilization can make a team much more effective at scoring runs (which this incarnation of the Braves has a problem with). I, and others, think that he is wrong on the opinion that stolen bases can make or break a team like components such as starting pitching. This is wrong because 0 stolen bases don’t hurt your team as much as a 6.00 ERA (or whatever) from starting pitchers will hurt a team (obvious, in retrospect).

    I mean, he’s right that a few faster players on this team would help. If we have men stealing second, then all of a sudden those doubles (3rd in the league last year with 300) would score the faster players, as opposed to having to wait for two hits with a man on first.

    Anyway, I wonder if there is a study on the effectiveness of stolen bases, and what they are worth (compared to an ordinary double, or the man staying on first with just a single, etc.). It sounds like something that P.W. would do (hint, hint).

    Ryan,

    Of course! How could I forget that one season where Bobby managed AA!

    H.T.W.

    Thanks for the post, it was a good read.

  67. @79 – The Unsubstantiated Assertion Express is leaving the station yet again. I guess the the Master of the Obvious Conventional Wisdom Special you were on earlier in the week doesn’t run on the weekends.

  68. desert + others – I also think that stolen bases can be an asset to a team. I just dont understand what the last 4 seasons have to do with anything regarding the 2010 Braves. I also dont think its fair to blame the manager when his team is old and slow.

    And you’re right, faster players will help, but JS and Wren didnt/havent made that a priority. Thats not right to put that blame on the manager. If Bobby had Carl Crawford we would have more SB’s, its simple

  69. Csg,

    Yup, I agree. The base argument is sound, the insinuation that this is somehow Bobby’s fault isn’t. Regarding the last four seasons, these are the position players that will be on the 2009 roster that were on the 2006 roster:

    Chipper, McCann, Diaz, Prado

    Since 2007:

    All of the above and Escobar.

    Since 2008:

    All of the above and Blance, Infante.

    Since 2009

    All of the above and Schafer, McLouth, Ross, and Hernandez.

    With the exception of McLouth and Schafer, I don’t think that anyone on that list has 20-SB potential. The point is that if the core of players that you retain from the older teams are not fast and can’t steal bases, you won’t have a good SB team in 2010, or the year that all of these players will be one the same roster. Which is, as I understand it, actually a semi-plausible point. Although I definitely could be wrong.

  70. 87,
    I mean, a single/walk/HBP/ROE plus stolen base is never more valuable than a double but a double is often more valuable than a single/walk/ROE plus stolen base.

    Using Palmer’s linear weights, a single is worth about 0.47 runs, a stolen base is worth about 0.30 runs, a walk/HBP/ROE is worth 0.33 runs and a CS is worth -0.52 runs. A double is worth 0.78 runs.

    So there’s really no scenario in which a single base plus stolen base is more valuable than a two base hit.

    Another argument is the threat of a stolen base gets a batter more fastballs to hit. I’ve never seen a scientific study that confirms or debunks this, but my overall thought is, like Maddux says, “the best pitch in baseball is a well located fastball”, so I don’t see why getting more of them is an advantage (except maybe from a game theory standpoint).

  71. P.W.,

    I understand that a double is always more important than a single/walk/HBP/ROE plus stolen base. I was thinking something more along the lines of a study that compares the win values of player A, who has slash line of .XXX/.XXX/.XXX, with player B, who has slash line of .YYY/.YYY/.YYY, but can steal 15 more bases than player A. You’re good at that stuff.

  72. 92,
    The best way to do that is to convert their wOBA’s (minus the SB-CS component) into runs.

    So, the formula would be:

    ((((0.72*UBB + 0.75*HBP + 0.90*1B + 0.92*ROE + 1.24*2B + 1.56*3B + 1.95*HR) / PA)-0.332)/1.15)*PA = BtR

    You could instead use BaseRuns or something else if you were inclined.

    Anyway, let’s try Carl Crawford and Mark Teixeira, 2009.

    Crawford hit .305/.364/.452, Teixeira hit .292/.383/.565. Ignoring the obvious park effects challenge this exercise presents, and plugging their stats into the wOBA calculator and adjusting for 600 PA’s, Crawford’s bat was worth about 16.5 runs above average and Teixeira’s was worth about 40.5. So, in order to make up for the 24 run difference, Crawford needs to steal eighty bases (assuming 0.3 runs/base) at a one hundred per cent success rate to be as valuable as Teixeira on offense.

    Hope this helps at least a little.

  73. The stolen base thing is obviously just Coach being Coach (read: dense), but it’s an artifact of the Braves fielding a slow, poor baserunning team the last few years. The fastest guy we have might be Escobar and he runs the bases like no one fully explained the rules to him. It’s probably the biggest reason we never score quite as many runs as it seems like we should considering our lineups.

  74. VU plays at USC tonight, Robert — you ever go to USC baseball games? After our implosion against UCLA last night, we need a win.


  75. VU plays at USC tonight, Robert — you ever go to USC baseball games?

    Not for years. Just no time. Unfortunately USC baseball has not survived Title IX very well. Frankly I’m not sure how Vandy hangs in. Title IX has put a pretty good squeeze on baseball at private schools. Players pretty much have to pay their own way and UCLA or Cal State Fullerton is about ten times cheaper with the subsidy from the state.

  76. Jason Heyward answering questions on Twitter right now. Anyone got any requests?

    (He’s pissed he can’t make the Jay-Z concert in the A tonight. Loves Young Jeezy. Is not sure whether he’ll get the call up on opening day or in June. Already has a song picked out for his at bats. Prefers the nickname “J. Hey.” to DOB’s suggested “McDonough Masher.” (aside: obviously.) Is a Hawks fan. And says the hardest minor league pitcher he faced in the minors was Madison Bumgarner.)

  77. File under “Reasons I Love Baseball.”

    In 1979, the Chicago Cubs had a bullpen that included:

    Donnie Moore, who would save 31 games for the Angels in 1985.

    Willie Hernandez, who would save 32 games for the Tigers in 1984, and win the A.L. Cy Young award.

    Bill Caudill, who would save 36 games for Oakland in 1984.

    And Bruce Sutter, who would save 37 games for the Cubs in 1979, win the N.L Cy Young award, and subsequently be elected to the Hall of Fame.

    On May 17, all four pitchers appeared in the same game, with the expected results: Phillies 23, Cubs 22.

    It’s on MLB network now if you hurry…

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHN/CHN197905170.shtml

  78. #83
    ‘Coach – last time I checked the GM gets the players, the manager manages those players. ‘

    csg – really man haven’t you figured out that everything that has gone wrong with Brave’s baseball in the last 4 years is Bobby Cox’s fault? Isn’t it obvious? You know the players can’t hit, the pitchers can’t pitch…. all Bobby’s fault. No running game, yup, Bobby’s fault.

    The obvious solution is right there for Bobby to see. Trade Tommy Hanson for the Panamaniac, stat.

    #81 thanks for sharing. A lot of pressure for J-Hey to succeed. I think he is up to it.

  79. I personally am down on initial nicknames just due to the contrivance factor, but whatever. Baseball names will never reach the level of The Big Hurt ever again, so I guess it’s all academic anyway.

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