Braves 3, Astros 2

BJ Upton batted leadoff and hit a homerun. (*) The Braves won the game. BJ Upton will continue to bat leadoff.

That is all.

(*)wherein “homerun” means a warning track fly out in any park that doesn’t have the “Crawford boxes” where the LF usually plays.

37 thoughts on “Braves 3, Astros 2”

  1. Fredi did say he’s running out of options and BJ will stay in the leadoff spot for a few more games.

  2. Astros still have a ways to go obviously, but they are vastly improved from recent years. They appear to be headed in the right direction and could be a force in a few years.

  3. Is “running out of options” synonymous with “giving the most at bats to the worst hitter”?

    Maybe he’s just doing this with BJ in order to force Wren’s hand into an acquisition of some sort…

  4. In Fredi’s limited defense:

    1. This team has no good options for leadoff. It has less-bad options than others. That being said, the worst OBP on the team is the most worst option we have.

    2. There’s no scenario where this team competes for championships in the next three years without something useful from BJ Upton. So while you’re likely punting optimal game performance, you absolutely have to try and salvage something from the guy going forward. Otherwise you’re rebuilding for 2017.

  5. @7,

    I think that’s right. He has to try to get something productive out of BJ. He’s stuck with him unless Wren is willing to eat the contract. Optimally, they would send him to the minors to work on his swing, but that opens up a huge can of worms and just isn’t going to happen. Batting him 8th, which makes sense, also creates problems because it’s pretty clear BJ isn’t the type that would take kindly to being dropped in the order. Wren has to take the blame for this one.

  6. @8

    I really don’t think you can blame wren for BJ’s career dropping off a cliff. I mean he was what, 27-28?, when we signed him, so it’s not like anyone expected him to turn into Dan Uggla overnight.

    Yeah, it appears so far that the Braves got burned, but I don’t think that the signing was indefensible at the time.

  7. @8 I’ll defend Wren. There is NO way that he or anyone else could have predicted such a huge drop off in performance. Its not like Beej is 32. He is in what is usually defined as the prime years age wise. At the time of the acquisition Beej filled two important roles for the team. Right handed hitter with power and a decent enough center fielder.

    What truly sucks about this situation is that the more he plays the lower his value goes. He has as much value as a radioactive turd now.

  8. I thought Upton was a really good signing at the time. I think we went 1 year longer than I’d have liked, but I was very supportive of the move. I was even optimistic about a bounce-back this year from him.


  9. I think the front office probably did expect some drop-off from BJ, but felt like it was worth it because he’d play decent CF and then you get the whole Upton-brothers marketing angle.

  10. Yeah, but he also hit 28 homers that season and the .298 OBP looked like an outlier. I believe his career OBP at his signing was above .330.

  11. I always thought he was a tool from his days in TB, but I thought it was a good signing for all of the reasons mentioned. No one could have predicted this. I still think he may do better in the AL, but that’s the only thing I think could fix him.

  12. It bothers me that so many people seem to worry about upsetting the psyche of BJ. Sure, if he were some kind of super star but had a fragile ego then I could see tip-toeing. But right now he has not earned any tip-toeing. If he needs to bat 8th then too bad for him and his ego. Don’t like batting 8th? Then stop sucking. Likewise if he needs to be sent to the minors. Once you prove you deserve to have your ego stroked then we can talk about treating you with kid gloves. Until you stop sucking you will do what the coaching staff tells you whether you like it or not. His apparent prima donna attitude is very irritating when paired with his ineptitude.

  13. @7 – Heyward is a fine leadoff hitter. He’s got OBP and speed. Heyward, JUpton, Freeman, Gattis, then the dregs.

  14. If CJ can get his batting average back up to .330 then we won’t have to worry about BJ! :)

  15. I was excited when Upton was signed, and thought it was money well spent. Then I spoke with a diehard Rays fan who walked me through reasons I would come to dislike him – 1. His broken mechanics; 2. lackadaisical effort; 3. arguing balls and strikes, etc.
    Looking further back, I thought the Derek Lowe, Uggla and BJ Upton signings were all good. I am terrible evaluator of free agent talent.

  16. I think the litany here was ‘He can’t possibly be as bad as he was last year.’ He isn’t as bad as he was last year but he ain’t good either. Man what a disappointment.

  17. I thought it was a good signing. It also predicated the trade to get his brother. Which was predicated on not only filling needs on the field, but building a huge marketing campaign in having two brothers in the outfield leading the Braves to victory. No doubt that dollars going into those two guys was seen as balancing out on other parts of the ledger.

    Outside of pre-2013 advertising campaigns, the Braves have hardly been able to capitalize on that. And now that BJ has settled into his new normal of aggravating sub-mediocrity, it seems impossible without a total reversal. Nobody loves BJ and thus the whole buzz around “Upton” is pretty muted, even though Justin has produced (long bouts of slumping notwithstanding).

    I think the marketing guys were also salivating over the possibility of our all-young and all-black outfield as well, and Jason’s inconsistency has tamped that, too. In an era where the disappearance of the black baseball player is not only real but also fretted over in the sports media, we have quite an exceptional outfield. Imagine if they were producing at expected levels, how much residual buzz that would gain the Braves. But instead of fighting for All-Star berths, they’re in a constant struggle to keep the boos at bay. It sucks but that’s the reality the Braves are facing.

    I’m not gonna Monday morning quarterback Wren on the BJ signing. It looked good at the time and I gotta stand by that. Uggla’s a different story.

  18. BJ in Tampa .255/.336/.422
    BJ in ATL .192/.270/.309

    No one could’ve seen that, surely there is some latent ability in there somewhere right?


  19. I loved the Uggla trade but disliked the Uggla extension. So I was right about that. I really liked the Lowe signing and I liked the B.J. Upton signing even though it felt a little on the high side — it still felt reasonable.

  20. Here is my post from the day they signed BJ:

    “I think I’m as not excited about BJ Upton as they come. Fine player for a team that can afford him as their 7th or 8th place hitter. The Braves don’t have the cash to overcome another bad long contract and he’d be asked to be the 4th or 5th best hitter in this lineup. That ain’t good.”

    Even I didn’t think he’d be this bad, but I will take credit for being one of the first to hate on Bossman. I dissed him before it was cool!

  21. I would like to go back to a simpler time when I just hated players on opposing teams. Bryce Harper needs to get back into the lineup soon. That should help.

  22. I’m not really down on Wren for the signing but just making the point-and,hopefully, I’m not being an apologist here-that it (and the Uggla signing) put Fredi in a difficult position. He’s got two highly-paid players on the roster, who are two of the worst players in baseball. He is, in effect, playing with 23 players. I guess I agree with Hap that the Braves should say, “the hell with you, BJ, you are hitting 8th” but that means you are having a signficant portion of the payroll in a non-productive position. Personally, I think he should go to the minors because he clearly can’t fix his problems in the majors. But that’s not going to happen. I think the amazing thing is the Braves won 96 games last year with, again, two of the worst players in baseball starting most of the year. I know it’s verboten in some quarters to say anything good about Fredi but doesn’t he perhaps deserve SOME credit for that?

  23. Now’s the time to call up the Blue Jays and discuss an Uggla deal. Find out what they’ll pay, get a low-end prospect, and TAKE IT!

  24. @31

    I think BJ’s biggest issue is pitch recognition. I have no clue how that could be fixed.

  25. @32 – With whom do you sweeten a deal with for the Jays to take any fraction of Uggla’s contract? Not being a Debbie downer, just asking.

    I agree, he is having problems recognizing what is coming. Where I disagree, is that I think his biggest problem is that when he does guess correctly, he simply can’t make contact (or effective contact). All anecdotal, but I’ve never seen a guy swing and miss at so many pitches above the knees and on the plate as BJ.

  26. Absolutely they should bat him eighth and/or take some playing time away from him if he keeps going like this, but nobody with a decade as a starting position player in the majors gets sent to the minors midseason. They get benched, traded, or let go.

  27. This may be the last nice thing I say about Fredi, but I gotta agree with Marc – it is not nothing that he led such a deeply-flawed team to 96 wins. NINETY-SIX! Think about that.

    If we win 90 this year, he should win Manager of the Year.

    If Fredi was surrounded by a bunch of high-energy happy warriors, his stoicism would look more like wisdom and less like stupefaction.

    Btw, what’s the objection to a BJ / Schafer platoon (I mean, other than the fact that neither is hitting their weight)? Put both at leadoff and wish it so.

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