Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

Scarred, but smarter.

30 Mar

Brandon Hicks

Disturbing. Hicks probably won’t cost the Braves anything, as the offensive difference between Diory Hernandez‘s zero and his less-than-zero should be pretty minor as long as AAG stays healthy. It’s rather what Hicks represents — that the current incarnation of the Braves brain trust, or Fredi Gonzalez alone, likes punchless gloves rather that guys who can actually help win ballgames.

Hicks, who played — well, mostly sat and occasionally ran — briefly in the majors last year, simply can’t hit. In the low minors, he looked like he might, taking walks and hitting for power, but since hitting AA he’s been hopeless. In about a season’s worth of play in AA he’s hit .237/.321/.375, and in AAA he hit .211/.280/.333 in 287 PA. He was 0-5 with a walk in his limited major league exposure. When he did go to bat, he looked completely overmatched, like a pitcher, and not a good-hitting pitcher. He was used as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement for the most part, and is actually well-suited for this role. However, the Braves’ current roster construction works against this. They have only five bench players, so everyone needs to be able to pinch-hit, and a glove-first shortstop. When you had seven bench players you could afford to keep players like Hicks; when you have a shortstop who is only nominally a shortstop, he needs a caddy.

Brandon Hicks Statistics

73 Responses to “Brandon Hicks”

  1. 1
    Marc Schneider Says:

    I commented on the KC paper about the Francouer move and got some rather amusing responses.

    MWSchneider wrote:

    You guys are dreaming. As a Braves fan, I can say for certain that Francouer sucks. He is what he is. You can say he’s “only” 27 but he has been in the big leagues for 6 years and has continued to get worse. I’m sorry to rain on your parade but this is not a good player.

    BigRoy wrote, in response to MWSchneider:

    Well that does it then. You should just make a list of all the guys that you think are done and they can just wash them all out of the league because I am absolutely certain that a guy with your known credentials will never, ever be wrong about anyone in this league. You never know what a guy is going to do and since we don’t have anyone better right now it doesn’t hurt anything to find out. I know it is hard to believe that you might every be wrong about a guy, but we all are from time to time.

    Link to comment:

    Fitz wrote, in response to MWSchneider:

    Never hear of a player regaining past form ? It happens sir.

    I guess five and half years isn’t long enough to really get a take on a player.

  2. 2
    Hap Says:

    Observations from attending last night’s game:
    My wife says the team is the most attractive it has been in a while. Not many ugly guys and she says “even Uggla is not bad even though his name is Uggla”. The field is in great shape; Ed and crew have done their usual good job getting things ready. The green parking lot has been cut in half so if you normally park there it might be tough this year (does not affect me because I have the secret to easy parking and fast in/out from the game). The new carpet in club level is going to make some people vomit after they have a few beers. Club level now has crepes on the menu just like they have at Philips Arena. Even though it was the next-to-last Spring training game it was good to see almost everyone hustling. Chipper looked good running to first. Alex Gonzalez and Freddy Freeman hooked up on a spectacular play from deep short to stretched first. And a walk off homer is a nice way to start the season at the Ted I suppose.

  3. 3
    Stu Says:

    You should just make a list of all the guys that you think are done and they can just wash them all out of the league

    Well, that’s what Dayton Moore does, only he gives them a few million dollars and a year or two’s worth of playing time, first.

  4. 4
    Marc Schneider Says:

    Arguing over whether Francouer sucks is a debate that ranks up there with, “is the world flat or round?”

    And just what “form” is Frenchy supposed to regain?

    I saw the last part of the game last night. It was sort of odd that they announced that the game would be over after the 10th no matter what happened. I don’t think Chuck James exactly helped his cause–I hope he hasn’t quit his job at Home Depot.

  5. 5
    Bethany Says:

    Guys, Chuck James is not good, let it go.

  6. 6
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Only regulars starting in tonight’s exhibition are Prado, McLouth, and Freeman. Mather is in the lineup so is still in the organization.

  7. 7
    sansho1 Says:

    Most consecutive seasons of 180+ IP, expansion era (1961-2010):

    1) Maddux, 21
    2) Carlton, 18
    3) Gaylord, 17
    4) Sutton*, Jenkins, 15
    5) Knucksie**, 14
    6) Glavine***, Seaver, Lolich, ????, 13

    *Would have had 22 if not for 1981 strike
    **Would have had 20 (of 200+IP) (1981)
    ***Would have had 20 (1994)
    ****Nolan Ryan would have had 14 (1981)

    Trivia question: Who is the missing player?

  8. 8
    ryan c Says:

    DOB reported that Mather passed through waivers and was reassigned to AAA. Mather was given instruction on what he needs to do to get back to the bigs and he seemed a bit bitter at the advice. Here’s the quote:
    “They want me to shorten my swing a little bit, which is always kind of what people say, It all comes down to numbers. There are guys who have good numbers with long swings, and guys have bad numbers with short swings. So put up numbers, you’ll be back.”

  9. 9
    justhank Says:

    I dunno Marc, he was pretty damn good at Parkview.

  10. 10
    DJ Says:

    Livan Hernandez

  11. 11
    sansho1 Says:

    That is correct!

    Here’s something I found rather amazing:

    Most career sacrifice hits by a pitcher (any era):

    1) Glavine, 216
    2) Maddux, 180
    3) Joe Niekro, 147
    4) Smoltz, 136
    5) Sutton, 136
    6) R. Reuschel, 135
    7) Phil Niekro, 129

    And sacrifice hits stats go a long way back.

  12. 12
    justhank Says:

    Chuck James was / is so frustrating – one of those “if he’d just fix _____ , he’d be valuable”. But I’m afraid Bethany’s right.

  13. 13
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I’m a big fan of what Stu said at #3.

    Our relationship with the Royals is sort of like the Yankees’ relationship with the KC Athletics, but worse. Back in the ’50s, the A’s gave the Yankees all their good players, like Roger Maris, while the Yankees traded them their washouts. Nowadays, the Royals take our washouts off our hands, yet they refuse to trade us any of the Roger Marises they have in their system.

  14. 14
    Taylor Newhart Says:

    Melky is fat.

  15. 15
    Marc Schneider Says:


    Here are Lolich’s IPs for 1969-74:


    The first four years were before the DH. In 1975, the slacker only pitched 240. And Lolich was not a knuckleball pitcher.

    This is literally almost two pitchers today.

  16. 16
    csg Says:

    With the way the weather has been in Birmingham the last 12 hours or so, I’d be very surprised if the Braves are playing today.

  17. 17
    sansho1 Says:

    Lolich’s 45 starts and 376 IP in ’71 are the most of any non-knuckleballer in the live ball era. I had his 1973 card as a kid and I remember staring at that.

  18. 18
    joelk Says:

    Conrad with another error today. That’s 6 in spring training, yikes!

  19. 19
    John Gaines Says:

    Does anyone else use their Playstation 3 to stream MLB.TV?

    They just upgraded the app for the new season, and they added an option to play the radio feed while watching the television broadcast. As far as I can tell, everything syncs up perfectly.

    It’s a beautiful, Chip-less experience.

    Oh, there’s also an option to select park audio too. I’m guessing it’s just the microphones on the field, but even the sounds from Turner Field are better than the sounds coming out of the Sports South booth.

  20. 20
    Bethany Says:

    Oooo, John, that’s so tempting….

  21. 21
    Marc Schneider Says:

    Well, the weather up here (DC) for Opening Day is not supposed to be good. They might have to open on Friday. Saturday and Sunday are supposed to be good although cool.

    I think it’s a great idea opening the baseball season in March.

  22. 22
    John Gaines Says:


    One more thing.. They also added a game stats option that lets you pull up a virtual box score and player cards complete with your run of the mil type career statistics. Very cool.

  23. 23
    ryan c Says:

    man, i’m pretty pumped about beachy. he looks really good.

  24. 24
    ububba Says:

    MLB.TV is the bomb, and so is the iPhone At Bat app.

  25. 25
    Johnny Says:

    #3 Dayton Moore is an evil genius though. Best minor league system in baseball right now.

    Dead Horse Department
    #8 – Mather is wrong. Apparently, all you have to do is look good while putting up bad numbers. See Francouer, Jeff.

  26. 26
    Cary Says:

    I believe Dayton Moore has been intentionally putting a poor, but mildly defensible*, product on the field that will ensure two things: 1) he won’t have to pay them all that much collectively, and 2) they will lose enough to give him higher draft position.

    Take the money saved and invest it into the higher draft picks and international market signings. Bake a few years. Reap killer farm system and build young, cheap, good major league club. After that, mix in a few key free agents and boom, contender. Warning: must ultimately make good player evaluations. Side effects: eat salary for bad players, mild to moderate fan irritation, potential owner discomfort (may be fatal)

    I do not believe Moore is a fool, but I do believe he will do “foolish” things to play at making an honest effort. Just my take on the Royals.

    If he continues to sign the Yuniesky Betancourts, Jose Guillens and former Braves after the Royals rookies are established, then I may re-evaluate. Until then, he’s crazy like a fox in my book.

    *Mildly defensible because he can claim to be buying low on guys he has inside knowledge about, claiming a hope of getting value–when really he knows they suck and will suit his purposes. In the event that one does surprise, he will be traded for something useful before pumpkining on his new team. Count it.

  27. 27
    csg Says:

    DOB tweeted that Wagner should be off the 40 man today. He has retired.

  28. 28
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Mickey Lolich’s manager for much of that time in Detroit was Billy Martin, a man known for pushing his pitchers to the limit and frequently destroying them, as he did in Oakland. Lolich was a truly astonishing pitcher — he lost the 1971 Cy Young Award to AL MVP Vida Blue, who had a 1.82 ERA in 268 IP, more than a hundred fewer innings than Lolich — but few could take that abuse.

  29. 29
    Bethany Says:

    John, stop telling me these things, I need to be saving for my move to Baltimore!

  30. 30
    jj3bagger Says:

    19 – John, that’s pretty cool about syncing up the radio feed. Is the stream pretty smooth ? That is why I canceled MLB TV before and now just have the Directv Extra Innings.

  31. 31
    oldtimer? Says:

    What are the odds the Braves play tomorrow?
    Debating if I should be sick or not.

  32. 32
    csg Says:

    So 32 posts into the Brandon Hicks writeup and not one mention of the guy. Sorry Brandon, we just figured out just how useless you are.

  33. 33
    c. shorter Says:

    oh man… now I’m tempted to look into a PS3. again. Even though I’ve decided I won’t be subscribing to this year. That dissertation isn’t going to write itself.

  34. 34
    ububba Says:

    FWIW, it sure seems like a lotta folks are picking the Braves to be the NL Wild Card again this year.

  35. 35
    Bethany Says:

    @33 The PS3 is a wise purchase, in my opinion. But I only paid $250 for mine, so it was an easy call to make.

  36. 36
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    The Braves are my pick for the Wild Card too. Heyman thinks the Braves will win the NL East and the Rockies will be the Wild Card, for what it’s worth.

  37. 37
    sansho1 Says:

    Of ESPNs 45 baseball experts, 17 have the Braves winning the division and 19 have them as wild card.

    Yes, you read that right. ESPN is now claiming 45 baseball experts.

  38. 38
    ububba Says:

    Bravest pick I saw today: A NY Post writer picked the Orioles to win the AL WC over the Yankees.

  39. 39
    JoeyT Says:

    It’s not that brave if you have nothing riding on it, and no one takes you seriously.

  40. 40
    ububba Says:

    It’s brave when you do it in New York & people remember & ridicule you.

  41. 41
    PaulV Says:

    good article on Freeman and his mom’s
    suffereing with melonoma

    I had a mole taken off my face last fall. I was lucky and got it early, precancerous melanomo, stage 0, in situ 2.
    I will be using sunscreen & stay out of midday sun. LUN, link under name.

  42. 42
    PaulV Says:

    Yanks may have trouble unless theey pick up more pitching soon.

  43. 43
    RobBroad4th Says:

    @38, Wow! That’s saying something for NY sportswriters, who would rather accuse other teams of cheating than accept defeat.

  44. 44
    JoeyT Says:

    HBO tonight:

    6:30 The hilarious Pee Wee Herman Show on Broadway!
    8:00 The hilarious Kevin Smith buddy cop comedy Cop Out!
    10:00 The hilarious hour long hit piece on Auburn football!

    At least they’re burning it off before Opening Day.

    BOLD PREDICTION: Rain subsides for three hours. Braves get to play. Braves get to win. Count it.

    Under 24 hours left. I am getting excited.

  45. 45
    RobBroad4th Says:

    Atlanta Braves baseball in 21 hours!

  46. 46
    Adam M Says:

    38 – That sounds not only brave but stupid. Even with their overhaul, I doubt the O’s pass any of the other four teams in that division. Then again, all of the teams in that division are pretty good.

  47. 47
    Stu Says:

    So, the top 5 organizations in baseball in some order, according to FanGraphs, are the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Phillies, and Braves.

  48. 48
    oi! Says:

    When you had seven bench players you could afford to keep players like Hicks; when you have a shortstop who is only nominally a shortstop, he needs a caddy.

    Well, sure. But there’s no one in the system who fits that description. And while that’s a problem, I certainly don’t think you can put it on Fredi.

  49. 49
    Jeff K Says:

    O’s might well pass the Blue Jays.

  50. 50
    urlhix Says:

    @32 Well, personally, I’m looking forward to getting an official Hicks #23 (my “favorite” number) jersey. Better get one quick, right?

  51. 51
    Carpool Tunnel Syndrome Says:

    Hicks might surprise some people.

  52. 52
    John Gaines Says:


    Yeah, it was perfectly smooth today when I was using it. Switching the audio is practically instantaneous too, so I was able to listen to the radio feed, and then switch back to SS whenever they were doing an interview with a player.

    The video quality probably isn’t quite as crisp as Direct TV, but it’s very close. It’s definitely HD quality, but you can tell there’s maybe some kind of compression or something going on. It’s really a no-brainer for me, as my cable company still doesn’t offer an Extra Inning channels in HD, and they charge almost double the price of MLB.TV.

    I promise I’m not being paid by the MLB, lol. It’s just a surprisingly good product, especially if you already own a PS3, or any of the other apps that go along with it. Except for the Roku box.. I tried that piece of crap last year before they released the PS3 app, and it was a complete waste of money.

  53. 53
    jj3bagger Says:

    I don’t view Hicks being on the team as the current regime liking ‘punchless gloves,’ I simply view it is a lack of organizational SS depth at the upper levels, which we all knew existed. It came down to Hicks, Diory or Lucas for one spot, and they think at least Hicks might be able to provide a little pop with his low contact rates. If Hicks and Diory were on the roster, then I would have a problem, but you basically have to have one of them. They spent a third round pick on Hicks, so they must see something there.

  54. 54
    RobBroad4th Says:

    As some of you already know, I’m moving to Florida in May. Any tips for dealing with the humidity comfort- and cost-wise? I’m a California boy at heart, so this is a whole new world for me. Any other general tips would be greatly appreciated too. The lady and I found a condo this past weekend and everything’s finally set in stone!

  55. 55
    ububba Says:

    It’s not just the humidity, it’s the flash rainstorms. Always have an umbrella nearby.

  56. 56
    PaulV Says:

    The four best pinch hitter from last year are back-Hinski. Conrad, Ross & Hudson. Hicks can pinch run for Chipper and play 3b last inning.

  57. 57
    PaulV Says:

    Losing Melky for PH is no lost. If Chipper can play 130+ games and McLouth returns to form, offense should be much better.

  58. 58
    RobBroad4th Says:

    @55, I think rain will be welcome on some days. After growing up in CA, I still thing huge thunderstorms are cool. I’m sure that’ll change in time. :)

  59. 59
    Nick Says:

    I was once in Miami when it rained six inches in about an hour. It was, and still is, by far the craziest rainstorm I’ve ever seen, and I’ve lived in Atlanta pretty much all my life, so it’s not like I’m not used to it or anything. What was so crazy about it, though, was how nonchalant the locals were acting towards it. Within a half-hour, the streets were flooded up to the top of the curb, and yet convertibles and other low-to-the-ground cars were driving through it like it was no biggie. Also, when it was about to hit, the leading edge of the rain coming toward us looked like some sort of disaster-movie wall of water.

    Anyway, I can’t wait for tomorrow.

  60. 60
    sansho1 Says:

    With opening day tomorrow, this seems an appropriate time to issue a coda on Hawks talk for this season. Jordan Crawford scored 39 against the Heat tonight.

    Go Braves!

  61. 61
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Game thread will be up at 8 AM CT tomorrow. I do not intend to be up.

  62. 62
    Smitty Says:

    There are a lot of former Tigers on HBO saying a lot of damning things.

  63. 63
    Bethany Says:

    A lot of former Tigers who left the team on bad terms and were unremarkable players.

  64. 64
    Smitty Says:

    I agree Bethany. Plus it was cash and there is no proof. There is no way to prove any of this.

    Of course, Jim Tressel will get an award out of this.

  65. 65
    Bethany Says:

    It’s the vest, the NCAA can’t resist.

  66. 66
    Smitty Says:

    The Real Sports panel sucks. Jason Whitlock and Bill Packard are terrible.

  67. 67
    ububba Says:

    None of that Auburn stuff on the show surprises me. Neither did the stories about LSU, Michigan St., or Ohio St.—I’ve heard firsthand accounts like these before.

    But it’s quite a get for an outlet to score so many on-the-record stories that track so similarly. (BTW, back in my day, they were called “happy handshakes.”)

    Play ball!

  68. 68
    braves14 Says:

    The Phillies cut Luis Castillo. It looks like Wilson Valdez, who can’t hit, will be their second baseman until Darth Vader gets healthy.

  69. 69
    Andrew B Says:

    Opening Day Lineup – Prado 7, McLouth 8, Jones 5, McCann 2, Uggla 4, Heyward 9, Gonzalez 6, Freeman 3, Lowe 1
    Desmond 6, Werth 9, Zim 5, LaRoche 3, Morse 7, Ankiel 8, Espinosa 4, Pudge 2, Hernandez 1

  70. 70
    spike Says:

    It’s no shock obviously, but damn, that is sub-optimal.

  71. 71
    Seat Painter Says:


    Wilson Valdez, who can’t hit, at 2B for the Phils, instead of Luis Castillo, who can’t hit, at 2B for the Phils.

  72. 72
    Kevin Lee Says:

    The Season Is Here!

    Go Braves!

  73. 73
    Mac Thomason Says:


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