Jose Constanza, Tyler Pastornicky, Christian Bethancourt, Joey Terdoslavich, Jonny Venters (by JonathanF)

So last year I got assigned Jose Constanza, Tyler Pastornicky and J.C. Boscan. My editor, AAR, was so pleased with my ability to wrench some manner of amusement out of barely serviceable parts that this year I have been allocated Constanza, Pastornicky, Joey Terdoslavich, Jonny Venters, and Christian Bethancourt. (I think I may have been allocated Pena as well… communication with editors is not my strong suit… but let’s just assume somebody else has him.)

Let’s start with Koko. Just about everybody predicted him as the 25th man on the team last year. Then we got Jupton… that made him the 26th man. Those of you new to this sport may not know that 25 is pretty much the limit. So he got 31 AB in 21 games from which you can learn exactly nothing. I would note, however, that he has a career postseason OPS of 3.000. That doesn’t mean anything either, but when you’re asked what Brave has the highest career postseason OPS in at least 2 plate appearances (and, by the way, in AT MOST two plate appearances) it is none other than Jose. Somewhat more worrisome is the fact that he is now 30, and he managed an OPS of 646, his lowest of his minor career. He is no longer, in my opinion, the Braves 25th player, but he’s definitely in the top 30. That said, when the Braves make the playoffs and are out of players to actually play the game, he’ll probably be pinch hitting in a crucial spot – he’s got Experience.

Now to the Rev. I was considerably higher on the Rev than most of you, but that was before I saw, all too briefly, Ramiro Pena. If Pena is healthy, then I think Pastornicky might be the 26th player. Pastornicky had 30 meaningless at bats in the regular season, and was on the same playoff team as Dan Uggla. He’s still only 23, and put up a respectable 747 OPS in Gwinnett.

Bethancourt ain’t gonna play this year with two OK catchers and another bad catcher on the regular roster. He did hit a bit in Mississippi this year, and he’s still only 22. That makes him about the 27th player, and your starting catcher in Gwinnett. Let’s see if he can hit International League pitching. (Who pitches in the IL? I have no idea.)

Joey. OK… Joey actually turned into the 25th guy last year. His 926 OPS in Gwinnett shows he can hit whoever it is that pitches there, but his 581 OPS in the show marks him as either unlucky, nervous, or a AAAA player. 92 plate appearances is not exactly a large sample, but it isn’t future Playoff Hall of Fame in Two At-Bats Constanza either. He hit 18 homers in 321 at bats at Gwinnett. 0 for 92 in the majors is, mathematically, a lot worse.

Jonny V. I’m not sure why AAR wanted me to write about Venters. Unlike the four guys above who don’t seem too good at MLB (to be fair, some of them very young) Venters is a really good relief pitcher. He also has one of the youngest ulnar ligaments in the business – only last year it was in his thigh or on some cadaver or something. Even competent medical authorities and baseball people have no idea how people will come back, particularly not those who relied on the sort of three-foot-breaking how-the-hell- did-he-do-that stuff of Venters. Since I am neither, I won’t guess. If we get the old Jonny V, then we can move everybody but Kimbrel back a slot as far as I’m concerned, and actually hold Walden under 375 innings. If we get, say, Kameron Loe, then we won’t have him for long. Useful fact: Venters’ real name is Jonathan, but he goes by Jonny so people won’t think he’s as much of a douche as Papelbon – or me.

36 thoughts on “Jose Constanza, Tyler Pastornicky, Christian Bethancourt, Joey Terdoslavich, Jonny Venters (by JonathanF)”

  1. Does Terdo fit as a potential bench guy out of ST?

    Schafer, Doumit, Laird, and Pena are secure I think. Last spot down to Gamel or Terdo?

  2. Great writeups – funny and concise. I think Gamel is slated to be the 25th man, but he may be slated for some time in the minors to refine his defense at 3rd – he didn’t play last year and played only 1 game in the majors and 20 games in the minors at 3rd in 2012. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pastornicky on the opening day roster. I think the Braves have decided that Joey T needs some more time in the minors.

  3. The other thing about having Pastornicky on the roster is that I’m not sure the Braves will want to play Pena immediately at short after his injury. As long as Pastornicky doesn’t have to move to his right or left, his defense at short isn’t too bad. (-;

  4. Now that’s a post, Jonathan. Thank you.

    Pastornicky does usually handle routine grounders hit right at him. Let’s pray for Andrelton to stay healthy all year.

  5. Does anyone have any knowledge on how Pastornicky’s defense was at 2nd in Gwinnett? Couldn’t possibly be worse than it was at SS. Wonder if a Pastornicky/La Stella platoon is out of the question.

  6. If the Braves do not trade Uggla, don’t they pretty much have to start him at second base, at least at the beginning of the season?

  7. Ok, after looking at their Minor League numbers, there’s no doubt in my mind that Joey Terdoslavich is Ryan Doumit’s long-lost twin and Mrs. Doumit holds the Guinness Book of World Records for longest birthing labor of 7 years.

    Physical similarities- both right around 6’0-6’1 200-220 lbs, RH, look identical (squinty devil eyes).

    Statistical similarities- Switch hitters, play the same positions (Joey was actually drafted as a catcher, but was moved due to poor defense and we all know the reputation of Doumit’s catching defense), both have an .815 career OPS in the Minors, both had their breakout years in AAA at age 24.

    Tell me I’m wrong!

    http://tinyurl.com/px859cp

  8. Yeah I think Uggla will get the start at 2b, but the leash will be much shorter than before. If he sucks after about 75-100 AB’s he’ll get benched.

    Ryan, I think Terdo can hit even though he struggled last season. If Gamel is healthy and has a good Spring then Terdo will be traded or back in AAA.

  9. Shows how highly regarded Simmons/Heyward are in the industry. We aren’t getting much help from C, LF, 3B, and 2B defensively.

  10. According to +/-, the Braves defense saved 46 runs last year with Simmons and Heyward saving 56 combined and Uggla, Jupton, Gattis, and CJ costing us 43. Many players were positive defenders last year, but there’s no denying the impact of Simmons and Heyward. Also, our pitchers! Holy smokes, +15 DRS!

  11. People who argue that Curt Schilling was better than Tom Glavine deserve to have their children taken away from them, to be forcefully sterilized, and then probably have their kids sterilized too just in case. Then they should be shot in the gut and allowed to bleed out slowly while I watch.

    Idiots.

  12. 15: Strikeouts! Bloody sock! Glavine was a nibbler!

    The fact that Tom got away with throwing it 87 in the same place every time makes him even better in my book. The guy won 300 games with one pitch. If Schilling had his head on right for his first 6 seasons then yeah, he may have been better, but you’re right, those people are idiots.

  13. 19: I think its more of a who starts game 7 argument. Do you want Ryan or Maddux? I love Greg but for one game I’d probably take Ryan.

    For a career, to me its a no brainer, give me Maddux. Nobody wants Glavine over Schiiling for game 7, but you would be a fool to take Schilling over Glavine for a career. I know the war is close, but if I had a vote give me longevity over short dominace (Koufax excluded b/c Koufax.)

  14. I guess my point being that Schilling gets a lot of the Jack Morris “he was a gamer so he should be in the hall” argument that I really hate. Schilling should be in the Hall of Very Good with Jim Rice, Dale Murphy (this kills me) and Jack Morris.

  15. Peter Gammons, an opinion I respect, has Mussina over Glavine on his HOF ballot. Mussina’s WAR is 20 over Glavine’s, of which I don’t really understand, but Glavine has him beat in all of the major counting stats for a pitcher:

    Cy Young Awards: 2 over 0
    All- Star Appearances: 10 over 6
    Wins: 305 over 270
    ERA: 3.54 under 3.68
    In overall numbers, Glavine even outpitched him in postseason play.

    Here’s where I have a bit of an issue with WAR. Mussina’s advanced metrics rate him as a much better pitcher (FIP, xFIP) than Glavine, causing many to overlook Glavine’s superior numbers over the course of a 22-year career. So Glavine outpitched his own talent for the majority of 2 decades but Mussina should have been better? They pithed in the same era, and granted, different leagues, but Glavine’s numbers were better.

    There’s a time for advanced metrics and a time to just look at the numbers presented. When it’s dealing with 20 years of work, it seems foolish to look at anything else but the numbers comparative to numbers from others in the same era.

    What do others think?

  16. Mussina pitched his entire career in the league with the DH, and most of Glavine’s Braves teams were better than most of Mussina’s Orioles teams, which helps account for why Tom had more wins than Moose.

    FIP is misleading for Glavine, who outpitched his FIP by a lot for his whole career. But look at their rWAR, or RA9-war, and Moose was still a bit better at preventing runs.

    Sam, could you stay away from that kind of imagery? I’d prefer to have this discussion without it.

  17. Part of what the “numbers presented” are saying is that Glavine benefited from better defense and better teams overall. Which is fair.

    All three of Glavine, Schilling, and Mussina deserve to get in. We should just admit we have our panties in a bunch because we want Cox, Maddux, and Glavine to go in at the same time.

  18. @25

    I agree. I don’t think all of Mussina, Schilling and Glavine get in at the same time.

    It’s probably Glavine and Schilling.

  19. Thanks for the discussion. I love the advanced metrics and have been studying up on them for half a decade now. I just have a hard time believing, over their careers, Mussina was a better pitcher than Glavine, especially 20 WAR better.

  20. @28, that’s fair, but you should just keep your mind open to the possibility that if you’d watched Mussina for 20 years and hadn’t seen much of Tom Glavine, that you’d be just as dumbfounded that anyone thought Glavine was better.

    Mussina was stuck in Baltimore for a long time, where he had a few good teams and a lot of mediocre ones, and he did a lot of thankless but brilliant work. Because he was in the AL his whole career and on a low-profile team that rarely made the playoffs for the ’90s, most of us NL fans really missed his best work. He was really, really, really good.

  21. I don’t have an issue with someone arguing Mussina was a shade better than Glavine. I think they both should (and eventually will) get in the Hall.

  22. Anyone who uses FIP and xFIP when deciding who to give Hall of Fame votes to should probably be shot. It is impossible to “be lucky” over a 20-year career. For the love of God, find some rate stat that measures what actually happened, not what “should have.” How a pitcher got outs is completely irrelevant when looking back on their careers.

  23. I agree that FIP is not a particularly compelling stat when it comes to Hall of Fame candidacy — certainly no more than home runs, walks, and strikeouts individually.

    But that’s not what we’re talking about here. By rWAR, Mussina is worth 82.7 WAR while Glavine’s worth 74 WAR. (In point of fact, he’s worth 74 pitching WAR and an additional 7.5 hitting WAR, so they’re basically identical by that measure.)

    Meanwhile, by Fangraphs’s RA9-WAR, Glavine’s worth 88 WAR, while Mussina’s worth 82.8 WAR.

    One reason to look at components is as a proxy for “dominance”; that’s why voters loved Nolan Ryan despite the fact that his 83.8 rWAR are basically equal to Glavine and Mussina’s totals. Another reason is a celebration of the pitcher’s artistry. After all, Greg Maddux was beloved precisely because no one could ever hit the ball hard off him despite the fact that all he threw was strikes. So components aren’t irrelevant.

    But they aren’t more important than runs. At the end of the day, I don’t think that Mussina was much more valuable than Glavine, if at all. But I don’t think Glavine was much more valuable than Mussina, either. Schilling falls into the same boat, although his playoff record blows both Glavine and Mussina’s out of the water.

  24. I think Mussina was a great pitcher and should be voted in to the HOF first ballot.
    That being said, I don’t buy the argument he played on bad teams in obscurity. He played almost half of his career with the Yankees on some very good teams (two went to the Series.) His teams went to the playoff nine of the eighteen years he was in the league. Even the some of the Oriole teams he was on were pretty good.

  25. off topic…

    http://nymag.com/news/sports/alex-rodriguez-emails-2014-1/

    apparently this is no spoof, these emails are real, well done somebody…they show the alarming infantalism of not just A-Rod but his esteemed president Randy Levine of the billion dollar Yankees…

    amazing stuff…great holiday read/guffaw.

    narcissistic, sycophantic
    hardly could be termed romantic
    how r u today
    ur the only way
    lead us with ur own semantic.

  26. Tom Glavine was the best pitcher in baseball a couple of times. Curt Schilling never was. The only argument for Schilling (or Moose really) over Glavine is aesthetics. Glavine pitched 1200 more innings than Schilling, and 900 more than Mussina. Toeing the rubber that much more often counts. A lot. If Schilling wasn’t so injury prone in his early days he may have made up some of the ground. He was, so he didn’t.

    (Also, anyone wants to harp on Barry Bonds’ “odd aging curve” really needs to take a deep look at Curt Schilling’s performance curve over time. Dude got a lot better in his 30s than he was in his 20s…)

    This is the proper ranking of pitchers from the 1990s:

    1. Greg Maddux
    2. Roger Clemens
    3. Randy Johnson
    4. Pedro Martinez
    5. Tom Glavine
    ——————

    Other pitchers who are large Hall worthy but not small Hall worthy: Mussina, Smoltz, Schilling, Kevin Brown

    NOTE: the ranking of RJ ahead of Petey is because a of Petey’s brilliance came in the early 2000s.

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