This Week in Southern Baseball (by AtlCrackers Fan), July 1 Open Thread

The disastrous fruits of the South Atlantic (Sally) League’s expansion from 6 to 8 teams explode with the sale of the Macon Peaches to new owners and the transfer of the Charleston Sea Dogs to Knoxville.

After the Starr brothers, owners of the Macon franchise, announce the team is insolvent and in need of $1,800 by July 1 to meet expenses (including $ 1,300 for player salaries) local businessman meet, forming a new ownership group. Before explicitly announcing their financial troubles, the Macon owners had publicly toyed with the notion of moving the team to Knoxville.

Charleston’s problems had been evident since late May when team president and manager Wilson Mathews and secretary-treasurer C.W. Eisenfielder parted ways, with Eisenfielder returning to his home in Galveston Texas. One month later, Mathews announces the team needs $500 immediately if baseball is to continue in Charleston. On June 22, Chattanooga owner O.B. Andrews travels to Charleston, taking over the team on behalf of the league. (Walter Morris is named manager as Mathews departs.)

At a meeting of league directors held on July 1, a decision is reached to move the Charleston team to Knoxville, and split the season with the first half ending two days later, on July 3 and the second season starting on July 5. (July 4 fell on Sunday, and no Sally teams played on Sunday.) Fan apathy was spreading in other cities as well, thanks to Chattanooga’s 46-14 record and to Chattanooga and Columbus being the only two teams playing above .500 ball.

Knoxville’s debut in the Sally was inauspicious. The Smokies lost their first game 1-0, as Columbia’s Dutch Wagner threw a no-hitter.

306 thoughts on “This Week in Southern Baseball (by AtlCrackers Fan), July 1 Open Thread”

  1. From last thread:

    Walks are less valuable than singles in OPS, too. Singles contribute to OBA and to SLG (unless you slug over 1.000) while walks contribute only to OBA. I guess there is the small anomaly that for someone slugging over 1.000, walks are actually more valuable than singles, but if you’re slugging over 1.000, who cares?

    The problem here is that you’re comparing apples to oranges. Yes, a hit is better than a walk. Nobody goes first to third on a walk. Nobody scores from second on a walk. But that’s a false comparison. The true comparison is between a walk and a potential swing. Just because you swing doesn’t mean you get a hit. Sometimes, you roll weakly out to 2B and take the lead runner with you, and in addition to being better than an out, a walk is WAY better than a GIDP.

  2. By the way, as frustrating as Andrelton Simmons is, it’s worth comparing him to Elvis Andrus, who is 13 months older.

    Andrus (age 24): .243/.300/.287
    Andrelton (age 23): .240/.278/.331

    Andrus is universally considered one of the best shortstops in baseball, and when the Rangers were getting ready to bring up Jurickson Profar, a shortstop who happens to be the best prospect in baseball, they signed Andrus to a $120 million deal.

    Andrelton Simmons’s defensive stats are the best in baseball, and he’s hitting about the same as Andrus, who has been the Rangers’ regular number two hitter.

  3. @3

    Is it me, or does it seem like there are a lot of really good defensive short stops at the MLB level right now?

  4. A lead off walk, a walk with a runner on first and a walk with El Oso Blanco on deck are more valuable than a typical walk.
    @5 I think 3 other good SS played with AS on the Netherlands team and AS started.

  5. I think JJ was called up just before he was DFA. He pitched fairly well, but was doomed by the numbers game.

  6. Greater valuation of defense has been going on for some time now in the selection process. I don’t know if it’s directly correlated to moneyball philosophy or not, but when buying offense got expensive, teams pretty cleared figured out there was some margin available in defense and started drafting/signing for it.

  7. @2: It’s not me that’s comparing apples and oranges, it’s OPS. Comparing apples and oranges (and bananas) is what OPS does. It’s utility comes from the fact that it blends apples, oranges and bananas into a nutritious medley. My statement that OPS values singles over walks is a statement about OPS. If OPS consistently valued walks over hits, then OPS probably wouldn’t have ever been used. I’m not sure what you’re getting at with “a walk versus a potential swing.” OPS measures results after all the swings and takes have happened. It averages over the singles, counting the ones that occur with 2 outs in the top of the third in a 12-3 blowout the same as a single with two outs in the botton of the ninth with men on second and third. It counts a two out walk with a weak hitter behind you the same as a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth of a tied game. If we wanted a context-dependent measure of offensive prowess, we’d use something like WPA, pitch-by-pitch.

    And going back to the last thread, first-base-on-an-error is in fact almost surely more valuable than a walk, and probably more valuable than a single. But, for better or worse, it is simply not deemed an offensive skill. Are some players consistently better at generating errors by the defense? Is that skill correlated (positively or negatively) with he offensive skills we’re already measuring? I have no idea, though I’m sure someone has researched this me point.

    Edit: OPS values a GIDP, a K, and screaming line drive that breaks Harper’s knee exactly the same. That’s a limitation of OPS, since those are events in clearly increasing order of value. that doesn’t invalidate OPS — it just limits its utility.

  8. ATLCrackersfan (and others):

    There is a new book out call “Southern Legaue” It is about the Birmingham Barrons durring the Civil Rights Movement.

    I think it is a must read baseball book.

  9. It’s important to remember why we use OPS in the first place – it correlates to runs. And actually it undervalues walks. Hits get captured in both slg and obp. Using 1.4obp + slg yields a much closer correlation to rs.

  10. I like the idea of measures that include contextual components. Homers are the same in any context – and maybe you can generalize that to any XBH. Singles come in a wide variety of flavors. Walks also often have a contextual component than can make them less valuable – e.g. down by one late with first and third one-out and Paul Janish is on deck and we’re out of pinch hitters.

    ROE is an interesting discussion. You didn’t make an out and there’s a good chance it can advance a runner more than one base. But you *should’ve* been out assuming competent defense. But the 100% fielding-percentage assumption marginally devalues the ‘put-the-ball-in-play’ skill set. In a way you can say that a strikeout is just another out mostly because modern defenses are so damn good.

  11. Re: the Uggla discussion, you also need to look at his swinging strike rate. This year it has fallen alarmingly, as he isn’t just swinging and missing pitches out of the strike zone. Now, what has kept his value up – despite the low batting avg and regressed defensive metrics – is that his power returned this year. And that’s great. We’re getting a league avg second baseman in 2013 when there were very real concerns that he’d be replacement level this year, and frankly, for the past month, he has been playing at a much higher level than average.

    Hopefully the power remains in 2014-15, but right now I’ll just hope for him to keep hitting at this level for 2013. Hoping for anything more is just greedy.

  12. @8

    Greater valuation of defense has been going on for some time now in the selection process. I don’t know if it’s directly correlated to moneyball philosophy or not, but when buying offense got expensive, teams pretty cleared figured out there was some margin available in defense and started drafting/signing for it.

    That directly correlates with the “moneyball” philosophy insofar as it is identical, 1:1, to the “moneyball” philosophy. Moneyball is not “go get guys that get on base.” Moneyball is “find a skill set that the market currently undervalues and accrue that cheaply while other teams pay mark-up for universally valued skills.”

    In the mid- to late-90s, on-base skills were undervalued, so teams with limited payrolls (Oakland) were smart to horde that skill set because it was cheaply acquired. Once the book came out and the rest of the league cottoned on to the OBP game, OBP was no longer an undervalued asset, which meant “moneyball” teams had to find a new market inefficiency. The first “new market inefficiency” was, ironically enough, defense, a skill that was drastically overvalued (or incorrectly measured) in the 80s and 90s, which is why OBP was so cheap in the first place.

  13. @ 15

    Just noticed that the year never made it. We’re talking about 1909. The Sally League maintained the same 6 teams through ’08 (Macon, Augusta, Columbia, Charleston, Savannah & Jacksonville).
    At the end of ’09 Chattanooga bought the Little Rock franchise and became a fixture in the Southern League and Knoxville reverted back to Charleston.
    in 1911, the Sally tried 8 teams again, adding Columbus and Albany, with equally disastrous results — a story for another day.

  14. @19: Darn! I was ready to pony up $500 just to keep the Charleston team solvent myself! Guess it’s too late now.

  15. Yeah, $1,300 for a minor-league team’s salaries? That’s so-o-o 1909…

    It’s about what Miguel Carbera makes every 2 minutes on the ballfield these days.

  16. @17: I think it was Bethany who said it before the start of the season, that she thought that no one would ever throw Uggla a ball again. I disagreed. (And if it wasn’t you, Bethany, I apologize.) There are no secrets in baseball. If, as Adam M points out Uggla is swinging and missing more strikes, doesn’t that just reinforce Bethany’s point? No. And the reason is the second half — his power is back. This is all the same thing people — if you throw Uggla strikes, he’ll hit with enough power to hurt you, even though he’ll miss a bunch of the strikes as well. If you nibble, he’ll walk at an above-average rate. He’s an above average player because he has no weaknesses, on average. His main weakness, an inability to hit the ball when he swings at it, happens to be sufficiently compensated for by the damage he does when he hits it; enough so that teams prefer not to throw him strikes. All of you who still dislike what Uggla does — how would you pitch him? If the answer is blow fastballs by him, prepare to meet the 35 home run Uggla again.

  17. @22 It was indeed me who was convinced pitchers would just throw Uggla strikes, and to be honest I’m not sure why they don’t still do that. Most of the balls Uggla crushes are hangers.

  18. @22, part of it is that, well, pitching is hard. That’s why they call those pitches mistakes. You can make a living as a mistake hitter — that’s basically the bread and butter of every three true outcomes hitter. But guys like that tend to crash and burn hard.

    As long as Uggla has just enough bat speed to run into a hanger every week or so (6-month season times 4 weeks = 24 homers), and still draws 90 walks a year, he has value. But once his bat falls below slider-speed, he’s absolutely done as a major leaguer, and that day is likely coming at some point in the next thousand days.

  19. I would pitch Uggla the way most people do – nibble off the plate outside and lots of breaking balls. Any fastball middle-in is a mistake.

    If you can get your breaking ball over then Uggla is probably going to strike out. A lot of pitchers can’t do that without throwing a hanger in there half the time. Uggla is really good at laying off breaking balls down and away. I think for the most part Dan just eliminates the breaking ball entirely. He’s missing fastballs this year, but he’s definitely connected with enough to make the other team scared to challenge.

  20. Here’s some Atlanta Moneyball stuff. In the NL, Braves batters have seen the third most number of pitches in total. The Braves pitchers have thrown the 2nd fewest in the league.
    Braves pitchers have issued the third fewest walks, while Braves batters have taken the most walks.

    The Braves do strike out and have mediocre batting averages, but still have the third highest OPS in the league, thanks to walks and homers, while Braves pitchers’ OPS allowed is third lowest in the league, thanks to a low number of walks and homers allowed.

    My conclusion – I like what the players and batting/pitching coaches are doing, and suspect the hitters could even improve a bit if they could reduce their biggest weakness slightly without damaging their less than 2 strike output.

    If this is how the team is going to perform, what’s the optimal managerial strategy for them? I think it’s to play for the big inning, and keep on tiring out the opponent pitchers, leading to more hangers.

    On moneyball and defense: The value of defense varies by position. Value is much more significant at SS and CF than most positions, meaning you cannot become a moneyball team by buying undervalued defense at all 8 positions. It looks like at least the advanced moneyball teams have an estimate of how many runs a bad/mediocre fielder is going to cost them, to see if his offense can offset weak defense. So far I haven’t seen a team try to play a first baseman at SS or Center, probably because they know that 1) it will cost them net runs and 2) the player will freak out and probably stop hitting due to nervous breakdown. In any case, advanced moneyball managers will recognize that the problem is multifactored, and it includes defense.

  21. Just to correct something I wrote earlier: I meant his swing and miss rate has *risen* at an alarming rate. That is definitely the sign of declining bat speed. But yeah, so long as the ISO hovers around .200 and the BB% stays above 13%, he’s fine. I have zero problems with Uggla’s offense, as it is now. My concern is simply that the next thing to go will be the power. But until that happens… bombs away.

  22. Ever notice you never see Rich Waltz and Howdy Doody in the same place at the same time?

  23. Stupid question: can the winner of the play in face a team from its own division in the first round?

  24. Wow. Beat a team over the course of an unbalanced schedule and they can potentially get you in a short series.

  25. Going to my first Pirates game next week. Can’t wait to see PNC Park.
    ————-

    Unless Schafer plays, Uggla really is the logical choice for leadoff.
    ————-

    Fascinating stuff over on PackPride (NC State’s fanboy website).

  26. I’m really having Oso Blanco withdrawal. Heard today that it’s after the All-Star Game.

    Maybe.

    Sigh.

  27. @43 El Oso swings hard and should not come back too quickly. Catching is hard work and perhaps he should PH and DH for a while before catching.

  28. @50

    Not such a huge fan of that, but given the source is MLB Trade Rumors by way of the New York Post, I’m not especially worried about it happening.

  29. I have a chance to buy two artemide tazio table lamps from an estate. Is that a good idea. My brother is chair of civil engineering at MIZZOU.

  30. Apparently the Yankees now start something in LF called Zoilo Almonte. Don’t know what that is but I’m sure when they play the Blue Jays Melky will eat it.

  31. Joba has been getting lit up lately.

    But if Wren were to acquire him, he’d be going for a lightning-in-a-bottle set-up man (i.e. – someone pitching for his next contract), then sayonara. I tend to doubt he’d have to give up much at all.

    He’s a FA after this season & there’s little chance the Yanks are going to re-sign him.

    #53
    He’s actually been pretty good so far. BTW, he’s only the 2nd big leaguer named Zoilo. The other one was an AL MVP (and, briefly, a Brave).

  32. The last time we traded for a chubby Yankees ex-stud prospect, it worked out so well…

  33. alex…

    what a fascinating insight into grass roots southern baseball…well, surely time for us to make a move, the numbers seem to be on our side – $500, $1800 so much more realistic…if we’d done this earlier maybe we could have got Fat Juan on a free to start us off…the mind boggles, what fun!

  34. Just a few days ago we were talking about how well the Braves scouts seemed to work in concert with Roger McDowell at finding arms that can be fixed/improved and then fixing/improving them.

    If they like Joba, I’m on board. At this point, he’d be knocking Gearrin back to Gwinnett.

    When one of Lisp or Ayala returns they can take Carpenter’s spot, at least until we see if they represent an improvement.

  35. What about the bullpen needs improvement? I guess we could use another lefty, but other than that it’s been the strength of the team.

  36. I’d take one more experienced guy down there to push Avilan and Varvaro back to situational-only roles. They’ve been good, but if possible, I’d prefer them not be coming into the seventh inning of a must-win game with a one-run lead.

    And also, it’s not like there are any other glaring areas of need, with the possible exception of a left-handed power bench bat. Not to start this whole thing over again, but I’m not buying the need to replace Chris Johnson with somebody who’s playing worse than he is.

  37. Re Chris Johnson:

    I don’t think to state “we still need third base help,” has to equate “replace Chris Johnson.”

    We traded Francisco due to the offensive emergence (not to mention defensive flexibility) of Ramiro Pena.

    Now Pena is out for the year, and Paul Janish is our backup shortstop and 3rd baseman, and Pastornicky is our backup 2nd baseman and backup-backup shortstop.

    At this point, if the very guy we traded away could be acquired, so we could move forward with Pastornicky as our sole middle-infielder and we could jettison Paul Janish, I think we should do it.

    And that’s just the roster-crunch/flexibility side of it.

    Now when you incorporate the fact that A.) Johnson, like anyone, could get hurt. B.) It’s not like he’s got Chipper Jones’s track record (He could turn in to a pumpkin.) I don’t see any reason whatsoever we shouldn’t be looking at 3Bs.

    AND if there is a 3B available that is better than Chris Johnson, meaning Johnson can strengthen our pinch-hitting corp and be available as a backup 1B, then I don’t see how you could define that as anything other than a “Best-Case-Scenario,” excepting for the feelings of those who like to root for underdog players like Chris Johnson.

  38. There isn’t a 3B available who’s better than Chris Johnson right now, but you’re right about the rest.

  39. It helps to have to have our name listed beside all RP out there. It shows that we are in on a lot of guys and may help to keep the price from being driven up on us some.

  40. Well I don’t actually know who is available. Frank Wren doesn’t even know who might become available in the next 30 days.

    I THINK Aramis Ramirez is available, and I think we should be in on him, unless and until the price for him precludes it.

  41. Aramis Ramirez missed a month with an early-season knee injury & has seen quite a power drop since his return.

    Not to say that he couldn’t rebound in the 2nd half, but he’s 35 & he’s also due $12M next year.

  42. Chris Johnson has the third best OPS on the team. He really hasn’t been that much of a problem.

  43. The infielder of choice needs to be shortstop-capable to displace Janish. Otherwise Andrelton would never get a day off.

  44. @ 59 I thought we traded FatJuan because he was bad and not getting better. Despite a slight improvement in Milwaukee, I don’t see enough in his performance since that should cause us to reconsider.

  45. Ryan Flaherty would of course make me die of happiness, but I don’t know that the O’s would deal him.

  46. I wouldn’t expect old Boner-Face to be dealt until right at the deadline, if at all. I think Blue Jays feel like they might be back in it after that winning streak and getting Reyes back.

  47. I’d personally rather get a 3B/power LH bat off the bench – like Chase Utley – and punt Pastornicky. I can live with defense only Janish as the SS backup and PR.

  48. Alexi Amarista might be available when SD gets some guys back off the DL. He hits better than Janish; I don’t know if he’s a better SS than Pastornicky. If he was, he probably wouldn’t play so much OF.

  49. I’d give Utley a shot there, but I don’t think he has the arm strength. He throws like Uggla.

  50. Good luck finding someone for the bench who can play a credible third base and provide left-handed power to a better degree than Juan did.

  51. Apparently the Philies think quite highly of Utley’s value. I’d bet he’s not traded.

  52. Power means nothing if you aren’t makin contact. Not sure why anyone could miss Juan Fransisco. He was terrible before, during, and after being an Atlanta brave.

  53. Yeah, we kinda already had the left handed power bench bat that sounds so appealing right now, but we gave up on him and sent him packing.

  54. 83—I dunno about “missing” Francisco — although I did lament his loss at the time — but it’s hard not to think about him when someone suggests what the Braves really need is left-handed pop from third base, don’t you think?

    Juan was, IMO, one of the most undervalued Braves of the past several years. Lots of focus on his weaknesses without much acknowledgment of his strengths.

  55. Why do we need power? Chris Johnson is destroying lefties (.962 OPS), but drops down to a .769 OPS against RHP. His defensive flaws can be tolerated when a LHP is on the mound, but the one and only obvious fix for this team is a guy that can take Ramiro Pena’s place, play quality defense against RHP, and hit fairly close to Johnson’s current production against righties.

    Luis Valbuena, although not very sexy, could be a legit option to do just that. He is a switch hitter that plays above average defense at 2b and 3b, and although he hasn’t played SS since ’11, he could fake it like Prado if Simmons needs a day off. He is under team control for 3 more years so he’d be more expensive than a rental. It just so happens that the Cubs have more than one player that we could use. How ’bout this trade?

    Joey Terdoslavich, Tyler Pastornicky, Cory Gearrin, and the Lisp
    for
    Luis Valbuena and James Russell

    Bench and bullpen solid 1-12 with…
    Kimbrel, Avilan, Walden, Wood, Russell, Varvaro, Carpenter

    Gattis, Laird, Valbuena, Schafer, R. Johnson

  56. Rumors of Simmons’ exit from the leadoff spot continue to be greatly exaggerated. Unfortunately.

  57. I don’t get where all this FatJuan nostalgia is coming from. He was absolutely terrible as a Brave this year. He had a 37% K rate, w/ a .685 OPS despite a generous .350 BABIP and not having to face many lefties. In a word: atrocious.

    We got rid of him for a reason. He’s had one half-decent week in Milwaukee, but for the most part has been just as bad since.

  58. Fat juan has one tool, power “potential”. However, he doesn’t make enough contact for it to be considered a strength.

  59. I think FatJuan has a higher OPS than BJ or Heyward, and we didn’t give up on them…

    I’m not saying the guy is the greatest, but he isn’t terrible. We’ve seen plenty of equally terrible stretches from a lot of people. FatJuan was expendable though, and the other guys aren’t.

    I personally thought the 3B strict platoon was a good idea, and I think it would have outperformed a Chris-Johnson-only situation. We gave up on it after 2 months. That’s kinda crazy imo. There’s probably some other reasons FatJuan was sent packing. Maybe he just didn’t fit in.

  60. I think at one point shortly before being DFAd he struck out nine times in a row. I was sad to see him go, especially in such unceremonious fashion, but it’s hard to defend his actual production.

  61. In about 500 career MLB plate appearances versus righties, Francisco has a .798 OPS (.342 wOBA, 114 wRC+). Considering that he can play ok defense at 3B, he’s useful. He certainly fits the profile of left-handed power bat off the bench who can play 3B.

  62. I’m sure had there been some inkling that Pena was going to get hurt and miss the rest of the season Francisco would have been given a bit longer leash.

  63. Well, you’re only going to be able to keep a lineup this good in check for so long. I mean, Rob Brantly that guy is, you know… technically a Major League hitter, I suppose.

  64. And there’s one of them productive outs. Joe must be ecstatic.

    Edit: At least we actually got the run across. An improvement on most of our small ball.

    2nd Edit: BJ’s consistent, give him that.

  65. Wait, what happened to BJ? I just went to start the dishwasher and apparently missed something.

  66. I don’t think Simmons was anywhere near the second base bag there. That was really stretching the “in the vicinity” thing.

  67. Well, that’s a run, somehow.

    Edit: Morrison landed on/rolled off Medlen more than it was a collision so I don’t think Kris got hit that hard. Morrison just landed hard afterwards.

  68. Morrison is not having the best of luck with the combination of first base and Kris Medlen tonight.

  69. It’s plenty to just give them a force out if you want to get Medlen back in the dugout to rest, Andrelton. You don’t have to make it two outs.

  70. Lost in all of that mess at first was the beautiful bunt Medlen laid down. He couldn’t have placed that any better.

  71. The Andrelton Simmons Appreciation Society acknowledges that Andrelton has room to improve his hitting.

  72. I know we got one guy in from third, but I’d like to get the second one in, too, especially considering he was over there with no outs…

  73. I was supremely confident Johnson wasn’t going to pull that one off cleanly. Maybe less dizzy bat race before the throw next time.

  74. @151

    I’m honestly not sure what in the hell this guy is doing, but one thing I know for a fact he’s not doing is playing good center field.

  75. It really is too bad that Simmons hits after the pitcher. It would be nice to take advantage of Medlen’s slugging ability!

  76. I really hate Greg Dobbs. Rarely has such an insignificant player been such a complete pain in the ass. I still have nightmares from what he did to us when he was with the Phillies.

  77. Apropros of nothing whatsoever, back when I was a Dodgers fan in the early ’50s, I hated the Giants’ Sal Maglie. When he was traded to Brooklyn, he became my favorite pitcher.

    Maybe we should get Dobbs as that left-handed bat off the bench.

  78. Man this strike zone is all over the place. Good job by Justin going the other way. I thought he should’ve been way ahead in the count though.

  79. The Marlins apparently watched tape of the D-Backs series and somehow decided they had the right idea defensively…

  80. With Pierre’s arm, I’m surprised Justin didn’t score.

    Bring them in, Uggla and the Johnson boys.

  81. Chip…wow, just wow.

    “Pierre dives!” Doesn’t dive.

    “Uptown around third! Stops late…” Barely makes it past third.

    I mean, really…is he even watching the game?

  82. His name is Dan Uggla. Fly ball please, Reed.

    Where is the strike zone, ump?

    Thank you, Chris Johnson; thank you, Marlins.

  83. Can’t believe we wasted bases loaded, 0 out. Still have CJ, but not hard to see where this is going.

  84. What’s with this taking two strikes nonsense?

    Chris! Don’t give it back in the field, please.

  85. Chris Johnson has stolen all of the BABIP luck for the entire team and will not tell anyone where it is.

  86. LOL MARLINS! This is absolutely hilarious. Also, Success is limping. He’s going on the DL for sure.

  87. And yes, Chris Johnson has actually somehow turned it up since people were starting to write his obituary while he was hitting .320.

    EDIT: LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!! This is a truly abominable defensive display by the Marlins. Like, they should be ashamed of themselves on every possible level. I’ve seen 5-year-old tee ball teams play better defense.

  88. Umm, Schafer didn’t look real comfortable the last few feet, why not let a pitcher run for him.

  89. 212- Only if having the Marlins on our schedule counts as luck. I could get used to 15 more games of this.

  90. We now know what fans of the San Francisco Giants feel like. I don’t feel nearly as guilty about it as I’ve thought they should, I have to say.

  91. Their centerfielder does a good job of waiting for the ball to stop rolling so he can pick it up.

  92. Oh good, Whiff Francisco is up for the Brew Crew.

    EDIT: And he hits a two-run double! Why’d we get rid of that guy????

  93. Juan also drew not one but TWO walks tonight. It is going to be interesting to see what he does with regular playing time.

  94. LOL. Harper is terrified of walls now.

    Edit: his wretched play was funny, not that he’s scared of the wall.

  95. Strasburg pitched an absolute gem, but league rules require him to be taken out after 7.

  96. You can tell the Nats are at home given that Harper didn’t get an error on that butchery play.

  97. I look forward to seeing this Harper play on highlight shows tonight.

    EDIT: This is a freaking conga line BTW.

  98. @260

    LOL…yeah, I don’t have the first clue how that’s a hit.

    EDIT: According to the TV, we’ve now had 22 ABs with RISP. Eight hits.

  99. Good start to the series. I have to say I was a bit nervous before the game, this felt like it could easily have been one of those frustratingly stupid series.

  100. What Fredi described BJ’s injury as happened to me a couple months back while playing at a very hot gig – two fingers just locking down against the palm. It went away after an hour or so , but a pretty odd and scary feeling.

  101. @271 – Happens to me pretty regularly, actually, playing bass. Sometimes with forearm pain, sometimes without.

    And it’s happened in each of my hands.

    Anecdotal: I started taking B12 and it seems to have stopped.

  102. @280

    I think that speaks to the strength of the organization: those four can be unavailable and we’re still an elite team.

  103. Yes, but until our 3rd-baseman came through with a clutch hit (unlike our more high-priced heroes), it was looking grim.

    And then that same 3rd-baseman makes a great play on a slow chopper to potentially save a run.

    What’s his name again?
    ———————

    Let’s give Pastornicky a day at 2B, shall we?

  104. I guess it’s nice to know that our starter can lay an egg against the Marlins because the offense can battle back? Sorry. It’s hard to get that excited about these games, though I recognize how fortunate it is for us to be playing in them.

    @280, I’m assuming Beachy’s availability would’ve bumped Teheran from the rotation at the start of the season. Teheran has been worth 1.4 WAR. Beachy, before going down last year, was worth…1.4 WAR. Teheran has roughly 10 more innings than Beachy did.

    Then, it’s down to how much value a couple relievers have over another couple relievers. Or how much value a bench player — which, for now, is what Gattis is — has over the course of a season. In other words, not all that much.

    So, yeah, essentially what @281 said. Ramiro Pena et al are fun to root for, but good to keep a little perspective.

  105. Paraphrasing Jim Mora:

    What’s that? Ahhhh. Perspective? Don’t talk about — perspective? You kidding me???? Perspective? I just hope we can win another game! Another game!!!

    If I had perspective, I wouldn’t be a fan.

  106. @285 Pena (0.8), Laird(0.5) SUCCESS!(1.2) and El Oso Blanco (1.5) all have significant OWAR contributions this year. Much of the bear’s contributions were by pinch hitting. 4 OWAR in half of a season would be MVPish.

  107. @285, a switch hitting guy who can serve as your 3B caddy and defensive replacement, and backup SS/2B is a lot more than “fun to root for”

  108. Yeah Pena had been a VERY pleasant surprise. He was a little Mini-Martin out there, doing everything Martin used to do, at about 3/4 quality. That’s useful.

  109. @290- Purely speculation, but I’m wondering if it might be prescription meds. He’s had some missed time for pretty serious injuries, and he wouldn’t be the first person to go from the pharmacy to the street before he knew it.

  110. I’m one of Uggla’s biggest supporters but last night he came up with a man on 3rd four times and the other AB there was a guy on 2nd. Three of those ABs with a runner on 3rd came with less than 2 outs and he only drove in the 1 run in the 2nd and if they had been playing the infield in, chances are that run wouldn’t have scored (was a chopper to 3rd).

    Given his ability to take a walk shouldn’t he be hitting 8th? I know other have suggested leadoff and I don’t hate that idea either, but keeping him in the middle of the order is silly right?

  111. The Braves with Brian Runge behind the plate (not counting this year) are 4-5. He must’ve been on drugs which failed to enhance his performance.

  112. Yes. Leadoff is my preference, but 8th makes sense, too.

    I know he’s been better lately, but that was putrid.

  113. I saw James Russell pitch last night. Soft-tossing lefty reliever. Walked a guy and then gave up a game-losing dinger. We’ve got plenty of guys that can do that.

  114. I don’t think I’d put a guy who’s already good at working walks 8th. If its a skill he demonstrates, let him walk in front of real hitters.

    Now, Andrelton Simmons, who seems to hate walking. That’s a guy who might learn something from hitting 8th. No one is going to walk Andrelton Simmons with Heyward and Justin Upton behind him.

    But with the pitcher up behind him, you fall behind 2-0, well, maybe you won’t just groove one.

    And while I just said a walk in front of the pitcher isn’t as useful as a walk in front of a real hitter.. In Andrelton’s case, it’s not even about getting on base, it’s about making fewer outs. The guys got like .280 on base percentage. If hitting in front of the pitcher would get him up even a tick over .300, that’s more chances for the hitters in the lineup to do something.

  115. I think Fredi has two options. Flip Simmons and CJ or flip Heyward and Simmons. Right now the braves are winning and I don’t expect Fredi to change anything.

  116. @287, @288 – I don’t think we’re saying anything that different. Great to have people producing in those roles, and it’s almost certainly true that they’re better over the course of a season than their stand-ins, but only marginally so, right? They are valuable players, but not relative to their replacements to the degree that we’re going to miss the playoffs over it, or something… /jinx

  117. OK this is long and sure to be JC’d but I did some digging RISP numbers:

    Simmons 82PA, 208/241/264 18 RBI
    Freeman 80PA, 415/513/554 39 RBI
    BJUpton 78PA, 102/263/186 11 RBI
    JUpton 75PA, 218/378/309 21 RBI
    Uggla 72PA, 140/306/316 20 RBI
    Johnson 57PA, 300/368/480 21 RBI
    McCann 54PA, 238/389/333 15 RBI
    Gattis 54PA, 222/296/600 23 RBI
    Heyward 44PA, 216/341/324 9 RBI
    Schafer 34PA, 333/419/370 12 RBI
    RJohnson 23PA, 227/227/227 6 RBI
    Laird 13PA, 545/615/545 7 RBI

  118. I don’t understand why anyone ever walks Uggla.

    If you are dumb enough to throw it over the plate, he can hit it. If you don’t, he doesn’t chase every time.

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