Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

I don’t want them forget Ruth; I just want them to remember me. -Hank Aaron

19 Feb

Other outfield possibilities

I’m working on the assumption that the Braves plan to have only one reserve outfielder on the roster to start the season. Mark DeRosa and Matt Franco can play the outfield corners, as can Robert Fick (or Chipper Jones, if he’s at first), so the Braves probably feel they need only one reserve, but that reserve has to be able to play center.

Anyone who wants to make the roster has to play lights out, then, or hope someone gets hurt. There are two outfielders with minimal major league experience on the 40-man roster, Cory Aldridge and Ryan Langerhans.

Aldridge had a big spring training in 2001, I recall, and was considered a possibility to make the team. Wiser heads prevailed, and he was sent to AA. He didn’t really play well there, but did get an end-of-season callup to Atlanta, where he was hitless in five at-bats. Last year he was injured and played only briefly, that in rookie ball.

Langerhans hit only .251 in Greenville last year, but had a little power and a good number of walks, so it wasn’t a complete loss. He’s probably the closest thing to an outfield prospect the Braves have in the upper levels. He had a single at-bat in a late-season callup to Atlanta. Comparisons to Paul O’Neill are far overblown.

There’s some major league outfield experience on the Richmond roster, but nobody with nearly as much as Bragg… Bo Porter played for three major league teams in 1999-2001, but spent last year in Richmond, where he was solid, hitting .296/.374/.434; he was probably the team’s best player, him or Mike Hessman, and really deserved a callup. With his speed and on-base ability, he’d be a good fit for the Braves’ roster. (Honestly, the Braves would be better off with him in left field, Chipper at third, and Vinny on a slow boat to China, but that’s not going to happen.)

I should probably take my obligatory slam at Travis Wilson, who has found his way onto the Richmond roster as an outfielder even though he’s still no more a professional baseball player than he is King of Norway. He swings at everything — balls, strikes, peanuts thrown by vendors, beach balls that fall onto the field, the moon, everything. He struck out 105 times last year in 494 at bats and posted a robust .287 on-base percentage. He’s a good athlete, but that and $2.95 will get him a small cup of coffee. Merv Rettenmund thought he was the best hitter in the organization other than Wilson Betemit, one of many reasons that Merv should have been fired with extreme prejudice.

Damon Hollins, a long-ago Braves prospect, has mostly bounced around AAA the last few years; his entire major league experience is 15 ABs for the Braves and Dodgers in 1998, but I’m not convinced that he’s any worse of a ballplayer than Darren Bragg. Still, when you’ve played for the R-Braves in five different seasons, you don’t expect many breaks.

BravesBeat.com–Atlanta Roster

11 Responses to “Other outfield possibilities”

  1. 1
    John Says:

    Why cant the Braves not have a CF on their roster then call up one if something would happen to Andruw Jones? And not to be assine but honestly dude don’t jinx us like that! Gosh! Its bad enough Javy Lopez is gonna get hurt, we dont need no more. Also Matt Franco at LF or RF we might as well hand them the game. Franco would play 1B and either Chipper (who i cant even imagine at 1B) or Fick would play OF before that happened. And to think anything past that would require Sheffield to get hurt and either Andruw or another guy. (ie Chipper or Fick)

  2. 2
    Bo Jackson Says:

    Who the hell is Bo Porter? And if hes so great how come he isnt still in Texas and where ever the hell else we played?

  3. 3
    John Says:

    Also I had to comment on Wilson. I mean that article is totally opinionated, it says that Wes Helms is a pretty good third baseman, see below 4

    “As for why Wilson rather than Marcus Giles, I can only guess it’s because Wilson can play third base, but then the Braves already have Wes Helms — a pretty good third baseman ”

    Also Merv said he was the best positional prospect, didnt say nothing about his hitting except that he hasnt been hitting in spring training. Maybe Merv was hoping for the next Darren Bragg, who knows he was a dumbass anyway. I mean but was Merv any better or worse then our other hitting coaches? I mean honestly the Braves offense looks good on paper but honestly they fucking suck on the field. I mean I find it hard to believe that a team with talent like Rafeal Furcal, Chipper, Andruw, Shef, Javy Lopez, Marcus Giles could be that much of a disappointment.

    “Travis may be the best positional prospect we have. He hasn’t just been hitting spring training fastballs or 3-1 pitches. He’s had great at-bats, hit good pitches. He’s the real deal. He’s got a chance to be some hitter.”

  4. 4
    Colin Says:

    I mean I find it hard to believe that a team with talent like Rafeal Furcal, Chipper, Andruw, Shef, Javy Lopez, Marcus Giles could be that much of a disappointment

    I don’t see why. In that list you have two very good hitters out of nine spots int he lineup; one good but very streaky hitter in Andruw; a catcher who had already begun a downturn; and a second base prospect who at age 25 had a season in which he was bitched out by a teammate on the field, got injured, was left in Richmond so Keith lockhart could play instead, and also suffered the most painful tragedy a parent can suffer.

  5. 5
    Colin Says:

    Sorry, forgot to finish – on top of all that you have outs being sucked up at a hellacious rate by the aforementioned Lockhart and Vinny, which reduces the number of PA per game for everybody else. And in Furcal, we saw a continuation of a pattern that already preceded his injury.

    It sucks that none of the best case scenarios took place, but most often they don’t.

    Colin

  6. 6
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Well, first Merv R didn’t say that Wilson just wasn’t hitting — he said that Wilson wasn’t just hitting in hitter’s counts (a good thing, because he never gets in hitter’s counts) but in all situations. That he was doing this in spring training against pitchers who were mostly just getting their arms in shape — and not throwing breaking pitches — didn’t occur to him.

    Second, OF COURSE it was opinionated. That’s what I’m here for.

    I’d like someone who can play center, for one thing, so Andruw doesn’t have to play every inning like he’s done a couple of times. Eighth inning, we’re winning 11-2, why shouldn’t we get him a little extra rest? I recall at least one occasion in interleague play when he was DHing but had to enter the game on defense late.

    Bo Porter isn’t a star, but he’s a useful player who can get on base, run, and play defense. You saying that the Braves can’t use that? He’s not a star at all, but he has his uses, unlike Vinny or Lockhart.

  7. 7
    John Says:

    Wasn’t Darren Brag in the last player report the “answer to all your fielding needs” I mean face it he’ll make the team, and according to your stats on him he did play 12 games there. So honestly I have no worries there.

  8. 8
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I’m not saying get rid of Bragg. (Though if he could really play center, he was a good enough player when young that he would have been a regular.) But the Braves shouldn’t carry 12 pitchers at the expense of a fifth outfielder.

  9. 9
    bledsoe Says:

    I had the honor of seeing Travis Wilson play at Richmond a couple of times, and he has no business. Period.

    The guy needed to be sent down to Greenville to see if he could play at THAT level, even.

  10. 10
    Creg Says:

    Not to quibble Mac, but Bragg was the Red Sox’s regular center fielder for a year or so in the late-90s, before he lost his job to Darren Lewis. He then played right for a year, but lost out to Trot Nixon. I think Bragg is a useful player, and could have been a decent center fielder in Boston probably right up until they brought in Damon in 2002. But that was five years ago.

    Talent doesn’t always win out, especially when there are “proven gloves” in the running for the same position. This was when Jimy Williams was manager in Boston, a guy who played Darren Lewis and Damon Buford in the same outfield.

    I don’t think there’s a way Bragg’s not the back-up center fielder (if that makes sense). Even with only four true outfielders (that counts Chipper), the Braves still have the flexibility — in case of injury or blowout — of playing Bragg in center and Fick on one of the corners, with the Franco brothers handling first.

    In Cox’s eyes, the choice between carrying Porter and a 12th pitcher is no choice at all. Teams — especially the Braves — don’t like the thought of carrying unproven, inexperienced players on the bench, no matter their age.

  11. 11
    Matt Says:

    If this is the kind of fans the braves have backing them then they need some new ones. Every person on that team helps to get them where there going. If they win the division title, the national league championship, or even the world series it will be because everyone helped to get them there. Ya’ll need to get behind them. And personally i don’t care what you think of me but you need to be loyal to the braves the have given us a great season so far and hopefully it will stay like that. I think that some of you are forgetting what level they play at. ITS THE MAJOR LEAGUES. it aint easy. YOU got guys throwing splitfinger fastballs 91 and 92 MPH a splitfinger fastball is hard to read anyways so you can imagine. No, you probably cant imagine that or what its like seeing a 98 mph fastball or a 87 mph curveball. Its real easy to critisize people struggling while your sitting at home. But i promise you most of you couldn’t even see a 98 mph fastball. Like i said it is the MLB they accomplished something just making it that far. Most of these players struggling are 200 times better than most of ya’ll at the top of your game. So you know what get supportive or quit being a braves fan.

    matt mcgregor age 14

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