71 thoughts on “Cardinals 5, Braves Doooooooomed”

  1. Interesting note:

    4 players have struck out at least 50 times in 2014. Three of them (Trout, Jupton, Jose Abreu) have an OPS right around .900. The other, of course, is BJ Upton. .617 heading into play today.

  2. Second interesting note:

    Both Fangraphs and Baseball Reference WAR measure Jason Heyward as the team’s most valuable player to date.

    God if he can just get his mojo back at the plate he can carry us.

  3. Third interesting note:

    Julio Teheran listed as the Braves’ seventh most valuable pitcher reminds me that Fangraphs is sometimes insane.

  4. @4, I would argue that Heyward’s wRC+ of 80 is one of the biggest reasons why our offense has been horrible. No way has he been the most valuable player on the team. The MVPs of the team are the entire pitching staff, followed by Freeman and Upton. Heyward is near the bottom.

  5. Yeah, there seem to be some issues with how much the systems weigh the defense and baserunning.

    Still, remember when folks said Andrelton was last year’s MVP because of his defense (he put up a 91 wrc+)? Heyward’s having that kind of a defensive season so far.

    I don’t buy Heyward as the team’s MVP so far this year. But “near the bottom” is way off.

  6. RF defense is probably the least important on the field. In some of the defensive measures Heyward gets a huge boost because it’s relative rather than absolute – he’s way better than most of the other RFs (the ones out there for their bats).

    He needs to be playing CF. And BJ needs to be playing in Japan.

  7. Well, there is no unimportant defensive position. Being able to convert batted balls into outs is valuable everywhere because outs are the currency of run prevention. Besides, the cumulative value stats already make adjustments for the relative defensive importance of position. (Which doesn’t mean the adjustment is right, but they haven’t neglected it.)

    Amen to putting Heyward in center, though.

  8. Well, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t assault the Joe Simpson-types for not worshiping at the altar of the sabermetric gods, and then concede that Fangraphs and B-Refs are not even in the same universe on player value. The saber crowd loves to bash the neanderthals that don’t believe in their ideology, and yet assert that a guy hitting .208/.308/.315 is the MVP of the club and a guy with a 2.02 ERA averaging almost 7 innings a start with 6.8 K/9 is the 7th most valuable pitcher on the team. That’s just… not intelligent.

  9. I have no issue with how baserunning is measured or weighted — but outfield defense is given too much weight as a component of overall WAR, in my opinion. I don’t believe that corner outfielders in particular get enough of the type of plays that separate the men from the boys for the metrics to stabilize within a season (and certainly not within a quarter of a season). To me, a good rule of thumb is to cut defensive WAR in half for corner outfielders, whether positive or negative.

  10. @9, I’m not saying that defense is irrelevant, but I don’t agree that WAR should use a 50/50 split between offense and defense. Heyward, for example, has had 172 plate appearances, and 81 putouts in RF. He makes roughly 2 plays a game in RF that result in outs. He bats 4 times a game. I’d rather weight WAR using that ratio.

  11. I will say that I fully buy into the metric treatment of Andrelton’s 2013 value. Shortstop defense I buy the full importance of.

  12. Right. The other way to split the difference is to acknowledge that WAR is like any other stat. It doesn’t mean all that much in a relatively small sample.

  13. @11

    Yeah, if I had to pick based on just watching, I’d say that Teheran was the most valuable player on the team so far, just edging out Freddie Freeloader. Bill James would call the blind devotion to WAR “asshole logic” and contrast it against a logic which will use or dismiss a piece of information depending on a judgment of its quality.

    @12

    I wonder how much of that is his 4 assists so far this year? Or, more generally, I wonder how much of it has just been opportunity. Heyward’s clearly excellent out there, but I bet not every right fielder has had a similar spread of balls hit out that way. By the same token, there seem to have been fewer balls hit to funny places in the short-stop region so far this year.

    @13

    I think that’s on the right track.

  14. Yeah, Heyward’s number almost surely benefits from an unusually large number of high-variance and high-leverage defensive opportunities so far this year. Which is why I don’t think it’s right to say “Heyward is a 6-win player at this level of performance”. It’s more “Heyward is a 6-win player as long as you guarantee a bunch of balls are going to be hit to him with the game on the line”.

  15. If we don’t score it really won’t matter if we play hall of fame defense or not.

  16. @19

    We do score, though. And since we’re not scoring much, playing hall of fame defense matters more for us than it does for other teams. Players making plays in the field is one reason we’re still in first place.

    But I think your sentiment is right. The kindest thing to say about Heyward’s performance at the plate this season is “disappointing,” but his line over the last 4 weeks is .259/.340/.365. Power’s still eluding him, but that’s a step in the right direction. I hope it’s progress and not anomaly.

  17. It’s wrong for me to lay it all on Heyward, but I think he’s underperforming the most, relative to what I *think* is his true ability. Some of the other guys in the lineup just flat out suck and that’s not something that’s likely to fix itself. Heyward can be fixed.

  18. Slow day at the library today (if y’all couldn’t tell), so I did a project–GIDP percentages for the team. These are (# of GIDPs)/(plate appearances with a man on first and less than 2 outs). Let me know if I’ve done these wrong.

    MLB: 10.3%
    Braves: 10.4%
    Heyward: 0% (0/13)
    Justin: 9.5% (2/21)
    Freeman: 16.7% (7/42)
    Gattis: 4.3% (1/23)
    Johnson: 18.5% (5/27)
    Bossman: 11.1% (3/27)
    Simmons: 19% (4/21)
    Blind Owl: 7.7% (2/26)
    Pena/Doumit/Schafer/Laird/Rev: 4.2% (1/24)

  19. Japanese would never put up with all the strikeouts, pouting and wretched defense.

  20. Love the MLB Gameday “scout”:

    “Aaron Harang is trying to tie up Matt Adams with fastballs inside; Adams is hitting .304 on pitches in that location compared to .304 overall.”

  21. If they would just stop playing baseball for a minute the numbers would be stable!!!

  22. 30- When did they start playing baseball?!?

    (Edward, you can’t give us straight lines like that!)

  23. It was really in shallow right field and Pastornicky should have let Heyward take it because Heyward’s momentum was carrying him towards the plate.

  24. Heyward should have taken that ball and Pendleton let him know about it between innings. Probably won’t affect his defensive WAR though ;-)

  25. This team is nowhere near good enough to keep failing so spectacularly at the little things.

  26. ‘Epic fail’ doesn’t even do that one justice. I’m going to look on the bright side – at least Fredi is gone.

  27. Why bother with instant replay at all if it can’t be used to review that?

  28. @40: You hit the nail on the head. That was one of the worst calls I’ve seen since the infield fly rule.

  29. I bet even if they reviewed it they’d have let the call stand because there’s no replay angle from right above home plate.

    The real question is…wtf was Simmons doing?

  30. MLB could really just save money and not send umpires to games involving the Cardinals by just letting Yadier Molina umpire the game. That seems to be what they’re effectively doing anyway.

  31. Pretty crummy call.

    I wonder why Harang wasn’t just showing bunt from the beginning, though.

    Edit: Speaking of Big Handsome, man’s got 7k’s and 0bb’s in 5 innings so far. I’m having trouble remembering to be surprised when he pitches well.

  32. I hope our pitchers are taking notes on the Cardinals’ bunting.

  33. This is unwatchable. Can’t hate the Cardinals or the Giants in recent weeks. This is all on our team.

  34. At this point, all I can hope for is that a Cardinals player gets horribly injured. The Braves clearly aren’t going to win, but it would be nice to see Molina leave an arm on the field or something.

  35. Evan Gattis is one of the best examples one could use when lobbying for DH in the National League. I just don’t think there’s a position he can play well.

  36. 52: No, he’s a decent catcher, easily the best defender on the roster (which is saying almost nothing, when your competition is Laird and Doumit). One bad throw does not a bad catcher make.

  37. I have no faith in us scoring 3 runs in a game, let alone the last 3 innings.

  38. Oh, the road trip is almost over, but we have to play the Brewers next. Hopefully we can keep treading water by June, then.

  39. Mets score three in the first in DC. At least no other contenders are doing anything right either… or should I say Doing. Anything. Right.

  40. Despite Justin’s 2-strikeout performance, BJ has actually extended his lead: 55 to 52. Talk about sibling rivalry.

  41. Isn’t it just possible that Heyward just isn’t as good as people think he is? He isn’t a .200 hitter but neither is he more than a slightly above average player. Like others, I just don’t believe his defense at a corner outfield position can come close to outweighing his lousy offense. And, while this is obviously a slump, his problem seems to be more than that. His swing is problematic and there really aren’t a lot of pitches that the drives consistently. Obviously, he has had periods where he had been a good hitter but generally, I don’t think he is the player everyone wants to believe he is.

  42. I think he’s not quite as good as I thought he was but slightly better than I believed he was after I stopped thinking he was as good as I thought he was.

    More comprehensibly, he may not have a place on this team after 2015.

  43. How bad was that .. gonna be bad to have 30 mil sitting on bench .. wow what we could do with 30 mil …. stil ldont know what Wren saw in BJ to grant such a contract … but we are handcuffed for another 2 – 3 years .. Uggla and BJ 2 of the worst hitters I have seen in a long time .. watching St Louis batters just serve the ball into the outfield .. just make contact … I believe Im done till I see at least 5 runs on the board .. I think the stat quoteed was 19 games out of 41 Braves have scored 2 or less runs … whew .. wonder how long Braves go with Walker .. earier to get rid of him that the free swinging bats we have ….

  44. Great work Edward. Keep it up.

    I think dp’s aren’t considered nearly enough. Today’s game was awful.

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