10 for 10’s: Atlanta Braves Knaves and Fools

Today’s entry focuses on players who were left out of the All-2010’s team but were memorable nonetheless, mainly because of our mockery: the Atlanta Braves Knaves and Fools.

The Beginning of the Braves Journal Whipping Boy

If memory serves me, Mac coined the term “Whipping Boy” to describe a player doing his best to bring down the efforts of the remainder of the team. According to my memory, the first time I saw Mac use the term was for outfielder Dwight Smith, probably during the 1996 season when we were still on USENET. Favorite whipping boys since then have included Keith (the pictures) Lockhart, Roberto (boom boom) Hernandez, Pete (Stinkypete) Orr, Tyler (Kali) Yates, Jeff (too many to list here) Francoeur, Mike Hampton, Derek (Llama) Lowe, BJ-call-me-Melvin Upton and Chris (Dorn) Johnson. Speaking of which, how did we not get a nickname for Hampton in the glossary?

Anyhow, these players are seared into memory not by their great exploits on the field but rather for the amount of ink and vitriol spilled on them here at Braves Journal. Enjoy!

Atlanta Braves Knaves and Fools: Twin Bills

Never has a pedestrian 89-mph fastball generated so many comments. The reason, of course, was his parent’s unfortunate choice of monniker, namely, Williams. Yes, you are correct, there appear to be two of him! Thus was Twin Bills born for Williams Perez.

Shockingly, he became a mainstay of the 2015 rotation where he was decidedly below average replacement level putting up -0.9 WAR in his 2 seasons with the team. Unaccountably the team never managed to have him start both games of a doubleheader which I suspect was reason enough to fire Fredi Gonzalez (who, along with Brian Snitker, are the only non-players to ascend to whipping boy status). By the way, I don’t see this nickname in the glossary. Like many smoke-and-mirrors guys he got off to a fast start.

Atlanta Braves Knaves and Fools: Pickles

J.J.Schiller gets the credit for this name. Gus Schlosser was a right-handed side-armer with no “stuff” whatsoever who helped undermine the team during the early going of the 2014 season. A 2011 17th round draft selection with an unorthodox delivery, he dominated the lower minors but allowed an ungodly 30% line drive rate in the show. It was a wonder he ever got a lefty out.

Still there was much rending of clothing and gnashing of teeth when he was demoted to AAA in June and we no longer could cheer him on — and cheer we did: “We called him Pickles,” was as fine an epitaph as any player has ever received on this blog. Gus was never the whipping boy because all of us could see how hard he was trying and how out of his league the club had thrown him. I still occasionally pine for our Pickles, especially when we got to the bullpen early last season and in game 1 of the playoffs…

Here he is bringing the brine…

Atlanta Braves Knaves and Fools: Aybad

The worst thing about the Andrelton Simmons trade was that the team didn’t even save money on the deal as Erick Aybar’s $8.086M contract was larger than Simmons’ was — or would ever be — on that contract! Here at the blog, we actually gave him about a week’s grace period into the season before anointing him the new whipping boy. He worked hard to live up to the title by being below replacement level at hitting, fielding, baserunning and dog petting during Bark in the Park. He was eventually traded in August so that the Hair to the Throne could take over at short (yes, Dansby Swanson). This was the best thing Aybar could possibly do to help the team. Oh, in this story he didn’t throw the chicken out either.

Atlanta Braves Knaves and Fools: Jose Constanza

There was actually a month in 2011 that this man was the starting right fielder ahead of a healthy Jason Hayward. Now, it isn’t like the Jose was useless as a player: he was an excellent defender and very fast. Unfortunately, he had a hot stretch as a fill-in in center where he got a bunch of seeing eye hits and bloop singles and Freddi Gonzalez decided he must be better than his budding star. The decision was roundly panned here on the blog although it somehow never resulted in a nickname for the glossary. I’m guessing he just wasn’t important or incompetent enough to warrent one. Constanza also made appearances during the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons accumulating a whopping 0.9 WAR for the team in the process.

Here he is demolishing the Mets. I know: IWOTM…

Atlanta Braves Knaves and Fools: Betty

The team’s top prospect early in the decade was a catcher with a golden arm (the Padres would try to convert him to pitching), a looong swing with good power, and the work ethic of a crack addled water buffalo. Christian Bethancourt was to be our savior behind the dish and was regularly rated as the best defensive prospect in all baseball. Yeah, about that…who can forget moments like this:

or perhaps this classic:

It says something when all the team’s starting pitchers request someone else to be their “personal catcher” but that is exactly what happened in June of 2015 as Betty began the process of playing his way out of the league. Rusty had as good a summary as any back in the day.

Thanks for reading about the Atlanta Braves Knaves and Fools. If you enjoyed this piece and want to get caught up on the roster, and offseason spending, check the latest payroll update here.

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41 thoughts on “10 for 10’s: Atlanta Braves Knaves and Fools”

  1. My comment was JC’ed on the last thread:

    For what it’s worth, Bourn and Markakis have virtually identical fWAR with the Braves despite the fact that Markakis has three times as many plate appearances. Inciarte is a reasonable choice for the all-decade team. Neck just isn’t.

  2. This is such a great post. However, you left out perhaps the greatest worst of all:

    Smelky.

  3. Also, I agree with Alex R. My choice came down between Bourn and Ender and I chose Bourn partially because of the greatness of that entire OF that year, but also that his one season was worth just slightly below 2 of Ender’s.

  4. Mac used to call him “Smelky.”

    Oh, and then there was his Hamlet parody starring Jeff Francoeur.

    HOR: Have after. To what issue will this come?

    MELKY: Something is rotten in the state of Georgia.
    Nay, I must admit, that smell ’tis I.

    SCENE V III. Another Part of the platform.

    GHOST: My hour is almost come,
    When I to sulphurous and tormenting flames
    Must render up myself.

    FRANC: Alas, poor ghost!

    GHOST: Nay, ’tis only July in Georgia.
    Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
    To what I shall unfold.

    FRANC: Speak; I am bound to hear.

    GHOST: So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.

    https://bravesjournal.us/2010/09/29/to-blog-or-not-to-blog/

  5. It came down to whether benching Hayward was more egregious than Melky’s existence, and I chose the former. Besides, we mocked Jose for more than 3 years Vs just the one for the Melkmeister.

  6. Is WAR getting Bourn’s 2012 season correct? 99 OPS+, 42 SBs against 13 CS, very good defense. 5.3 fWAR

  7. I guess Jose C didn’t get a nickname in the glossary, but I recall a few obvious Seinfeld references: T-Bone, Coco the Monkey, and my favorite, Jerk Store.

  8. I agree that benching Hayward was egregious (and stupid) but the one season of Melky was the single most infuriating performance by a Brave I remember.

  9. Alex, thanks for the reminder of Mac’s Frenchy Hamlet parody. Of all the brilliant takes on this blog over the years, I don’t think that one has ever been topped.

  10. Where are all the bullpen whipping boys? There have to be more than dozen….

    Did I miss the piece on the 10s best pitchers? Or has it not been penned yet?

  11. How refreshing to watch a fine Super B0wl without the presence of the preening Brady, pathological Belachek, odious Kraft.

  12. Got my MLB Extra Innings renewal in the mail the other day – $183. Was $120ish a short time ago but suspect they’ve stuffed in MiLB which i used to buy separately. Anyone with any input here? Hate the blackouts most of which make no sense.

  13. Something I meant to ask everybody in the piece: when did you first come to Braves Journal and who was your first whipping boy?

  14. I don’t know if Mark DeRosa actually achieved whipping boy status, but the air of disappointment around him in 2002-03 was undeniable.

  15. If you’d be interested in writing on your favorite Whipping Boy that hasn’t been mentioned, shoot me an email: cothrjr at gmail dot com.

  16. I was pretty late to the party around here—2010. So of course Smelky. But meh Louth was also a tremendous disappointment, if not quite so infuriating.

  17. @29 Gold. “I WIL MIS AL MY FREINDS IN ATATALANNA”

    Thanks for sharing that Alex. That takes me back. My family and I were going through a tough time during the Dank Lob era. Our house had burned down for the second time in 4 years, I was graduating high school, we didn’t have a place to live, everything was in chaos, but Mac definitely gave me a tremendous escape. It was just those little things like Dank Lob’s blog that was a lot of fun during that time when it was much needed.

  18. Hey fellas! Just thought I’d poke my head in and have a look around. Place looks nice and spruced up, & well done on the new podcast. Good to see some familiar names and Mac-inspired content!

  19. @Rob, @7,

    Bourne’s year in 2012 was more or less designed to be under-appreciated via OPS+. That OPS+ of 99 is basically all OBP, which is more valuable than slugging, and Bourne’s OBP is more valuable than anyone else’s because he was basically the best baserunner in baseball. On top of that, he played an important defensive position very well.

  20. Thanks Nathan.

    There is just no better whipping boy than BJ Upton. He almost single-handedly plummeted us into a rebuild. It’s not his fault that we packaged him with Kimbrel, but it certainly doesn’t help.

  21. In what should have been the prime of his career at age 25 with Atlanta, Melky Cabrera produced what was far and away the worst year of his career except for his age 23 season when he was just breaking into the league. At age 27 with the Giants he batted 346 (almost 100 points higher than with Atlanta) and his ops+ was 157.

    The big things were he was fat, lazy, and ate pine tar off bats. He really made a great a great whipping boy.

  22. Smelky had 4 home runs with Atlanta and more than quadrupled that next year in Kansas City with 18. Plus, Smelky was an awesome name for a whipping boy.

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