Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

Scarred, but smarter.

28 Dec

Our new 2018 infield…and a big thank you to The Boss

Seems a good time to set up what might be the final thread of the year. Or not, depending on Your reaction. Let’s do it.

For the first time I am of the opinion that our starting line up for the new season seems settled, pitching excluded of course. With Adonis’ departure we can now settle on a four man infield that should be played and left alone for three months hopefully.

Here’s what needs doing –

Package/Sell/Trade Dansby.. He is not going to be the cornerstone we first hoped for. I will not bother to argue his offense which could,conceivably turn around I suppose, with little confidence. SS is a defensive position and we have seen enough of his defense to be sure now he is not going to match an average ML short stop. Weak arm, lack of general athleticism required for the position, hard hands, applies the tag in slow motion. Freddie Galvis, yes Sam…we don’t have to buy him, he’s gone anyway, just watch him play the position once in a while and check out the above categories. And umpteen others.

Moving on..do not get tempted , other than on an ad hoc basis, to move Ozzie across to SS. I am a huge fan but he does not have a strong arm either. Remember from last Fall – whenever he had to make a long throw, say from deep in the shift it was invariably unconvincing. Softish and up the line, as were throws to the plate under pressure.

Camargo will start at short every day for 3 months to show what he can do. And that is going to include hitting right handers better. It’s a huge opportunity for him, one he could hardly have dreamt of till now. I am bullish, very.

Third remains a problem but we’ll give Ruiz the same chance to show his improvement on an everyday basis to hit . There is no obvious platoon with Adonis gone. Riley is obviously hovering somewhere, we’ll have to see how that goes.

 

So there’s my infield, what’s yours?

 

And please, let’s say a big thank you to our Owner and Mentor, Alex, for another fine year at the reins, keeping impeccable order over our unruly bunch, answering stupid questions and most of the time still able to include here his own impeccable work. Has to be hard on him now though with Jeff Bezos at the controls. For all we know Alex is walking 15 miles a day up and down on those hard, vast concrete floors, filling orders! Alex, again, I for one thank you for another fine year.

75 Responses to “Our new 2018 infield…and a big thank you to The Boss”

  1. 1
    td Says:

    From the last thread, the 1000 AB minimum will make it hard to choose anyone over Andres Thomas as the worst Brave. Paul Casanova recently passed away but was a catcher for us in the 70s. He had just under 500 PAs over 3 years and put up an OPS around .500 over 3 years. His final year as a Brave was pretty amazing. .202 /.232 /.202 – OPs of .434 over 100 PAs. Corky Miller was incredibly bad for us, but only batted 87 times over 2 years. As I said, I’m hard pressed to find anyone worse than Thomas over 1000 ABs.

  2. 2
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    There are some that are worse that were Boston or Milwaukee Braves but I was only referring to Atlantans. Agree that my choice of Thomas will be hard to top. This weekend I’ll check on worst pitcher as an Atlanta Brave… Stay tuned. :)

  3. 3
    spike Says:

    Its amazing that Keith Lockhart’s numbers are every bit as bad as I remembered, and he’s not even close.

  4. 4
    Rob Cope Says:

    Thomas seems like he would have to be the worst. How does a career 61 OPS+ get over 2,100 PAs? But it’s kind of like my confusion with people trashing Adonis on his way out. Hey, listen, he is who he is. A bad ballplayer who played on a bad team.

    But Lockhart?! How did that guy always have a spot on some of the greatest Braves teams? 73 OPS+ in 1,593 Atlanta PAs and played in the postseason 6 straight years including in a World Series. Gotta wonder if his absence from any of these teams would have helped them reach the Holy Grail once more. Didn’t even play good defense!

  5. 5
    Rob Cope Says:

    If you’re looking strictly at offense, obviously Belliard is up there. Career 46 OPS+ in 2,524 PAs.

  6. 6
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    I considered him but he was much better on D than Thomas so despite my disdain for defense, gave the nod to Andres…

  7. 7
    John R. Says:

    Been watching the Braves since 1982 and don’t think there’s a player with any significant playing time worse than Andres Thomas. Brad Komminsk might have given him a run for his money.

  8. 8
    Adam R Says:

    Mark Bowman of MLB.com opens his Braves inbox, writing that “there is reason to believe Atlanta will use an abundance of funds to acquire another proven top-of-the-rotation starter via trade or free agency before the start of the 2019 season.” Looking at which starting pitchers will be available in free agency outside of possibly Clayton Kershaw, I agree with Bowman that a trade is the more likely route.

    I’m quoting from MLBTR rather than the source because I love the fact that they felt compelled to quote Peanut. Anyone who’s a fan of Peanut’s writing style, I’m a fan of theirs.

  9. 9
    snowshine Says:

    Infield is easy:
    Freddie
    Albies
    Swanson
    Ruiz/Camargo. Ruiz gets non-extreme groundball righties, Camargo the rest (so, Rio starts VS Strasburg, Camargo Vs Scherzer). This complex platoon arrangement has the added benefit of keeping Johan comfortable hitting left handed.

  10. 10
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I can’t tell if he’s still arguing that we should go get Freddy Galvis. No one should ever make an effort to acquire Freddy Galvis.

  11. 11
    blazon Says:

    words, Sam, words…’we don’t have to buy him..just look at the way he plays the position’. Good party?

  12. 12
    blazon Says:

    In view of this weather, i suggest – with some temerity – a favorite UK drink which handles the cold like a G and T does the summer.

    It’s called a Horses Neck, the color of the finished product. Brandy and Schweppes ginger ale in a ratio that meets your comfort level and wallet. It can be mixed as a long drink if that’s what you feel like.

    NO ICE, ginger ale must be at room temperature. The whole point of this drink being to warm you up, which it does, beautifully. Try.

  13. 13
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Why would I watch Freddy Galvis play baseball?

  14. 14
    blazon Says:

    Because you might learn something – specifically how he plays the position of short stop, his arm, his athleticism. As opposed to you know who. Must be a good party, Sam.

  15. 15
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    Braves are still sniffing around Yelich, apparently. Get it done, Thoppy…

  16. 16
    coop Says:

    Blazon, just because Galvis plays better defense and hits better than you know who should not color your opinion. The hair, man: value the locks!

    Yes, Chief. Yelich would improve my jet-lagged attitude immensely.

  17. 17
    blazon Says:

    I always did, coop, from day one. Alas, it proved my undoing.

    Yelich is likely untouchable but Dietrich, from the same address, may not be. He left his mark on us last season.

  18. 18
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Freddy Galvis may be better than the current version of Dansby Swanson. That doesn’t make him a player teams who want to compete go out and acquire.

  19. 19
    braves14 Says:

    @ the OP

    Dansby is a league average shortstop defensively. Obviously, this will be a big year for him to see if last season was an aberration or if he can hit. If he sucks again with the bat, there is little doubt that the Braves will look elsewhere for a long term answer at short.

  20. 20
    braves14 Says:

    @ Rob Cope from the last thread

    I think Frazier would be a good signing also. He would be a good stopgap for a couple of seasons and if Riley proves he is ready Frazier could be traded in the second season of the deal.

  21. 21
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    Believe it or not, it looks like the worst Atlanta Brave pitcher with more than 200 IP is the one and only Kyle Davies! 239 IP of 6.15 ERA.

  22. 22
    spike Says:

    Fun fact: Lockhart was the DH in at least one WS game I remember.

  23. 23
    td Says:

    With all the horrible pitchers in the 70s, it is hard to believe that the worst is Kyle Davies. The amazing thing is that he lasted 8 years in the major leagues and has a 5.57 career ERA over 770 innings. Wikipedia says he is now a free agent after pitching 2.1 innings for the Yankees in 2015 and being DFA’d the next day. If he tries to make another comeback, let’s hope it’s not for the Braves.

  24. 24
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    Jamie Easterly was close but no cigar…

  25. 25
    Game, Blauser Says:

    Blazon, thanks for writing a post on here I guess but holy moly I sure am glad you don’t have any say in what the Braves do. So far as I can tell, you’d have scouts making personnel decisions based upon the aesthetic qualities of players’ throws and the sound of the bat off the ball. And you’d be doing dumb things, like selling Dansby for scrap and installing Johan Camargo as the starting SS.

    Off the top of my head, here are a few reasons why that is a Very Stupid Plan:
    (1) Ruiz, who bats lefty, would benefit from a platoon partner at 3B;
    (2) Camargo hits lefties very well but struggles against right-handed hurlers (so he is a natural platoon partner for Ruiz);
    (3) There is a decent chance that Dansby just had a terrible season last year and will develop into a solid regular – selling him now is almost certainly selling low.
    (4) If you dump The Good Hair and turn over SS to Camargo, what happens if/when Camargo flops as a starter?

    As far as the 2018 Braves infield goes, we are set at 1B with Freddie and I expect will get a good year from Albies. Beyond that, we’ll be lucky if SS or 3B are league average overall. I’d be happy if we came out of 2018 with a clear path forward to filling either (or both) with a starter-quality player.

  26. 26
    td Says:

    I thought about Jamie Easterly too, but I didn’t think he would be near the innings threshold. I’m surprised to see that he pitched 4 full years for Atlanta and parts of 2 others and around 230 innings. I remember the announcers talking about him having great stuff, but his strikeout numbers were never particularly impressive. After he left Atlanta he put together 5 fairly decent years.

  27. 27
    blazon Says:

    Blauser…

    a soft throw that’s up the line has nothing to do with aesthetics, everything with a poor result. The sound of the ball off the bat was how Chipper first picked out Camargo two spring trainings ago, you could look it up. Hyperbole does not advance an argument, ‘selling Dansby for scrap’.

    Very Stupid plan.

    1)and 2) So what? Do we make the all important SS decision in any real way based on these peripherals?

    3) Selling him now could equally be seen to be advantageous were he to have to be moved after a second indifferent season. A very big difference potentially.

    4)if someone may flop as a starter that is no reason to not even try him. He has earned it.

  28. 28
    Adam R Says:

    I don’t think there’s a small-sample fluke player that blazon hasn’t totally fallen for. Matt Adams and Adonis in 2017 alone.

    That doesn’t mean he’s not right about Dansby/Camargo. But the great news is…right now, they’re both starters! Even if we acquire a 3B, there is a whole season in which we won’t be contending to sort this out. Dansby will be given every opportunity to succeed as a starter, which makes sense given his track record and pedigree. And if he fails, maybe Camargo is an answer, or maybe we have to make a trade. There is no rush, and right now, there is also no need for competition.

  29. 29
    allstarmatches Says:

    Did Craig McMurtry just not have enough IP to qualify? Because I remember that guy being a Human Garbage Fire every time he took the mound….

  30. 30
    Adam R Says:

    Arguably Hector Olivera was bad for this team in a way that transcends statistics.

  31. 31
    Game, Blauser Says:

    @27 Turns out it’s impossible to have a substantive baseball discussion with someone who doesn’t understand the substance of baseball. I’m sorry I tried to engage you on a topic aside from poetry or history.

    @28 Correct on all points. There will be enough ABs to go around in 2018 for Ruiz, Swanson and Camargo to have a full-time (or near-full-time) role if they show themselves worthy of it.

  32. 32
    snowshine Says:

    Mcmurtry finished 2nd in the rookie of the year voting (Strawberry was unanimous 1st if I recall) and then was horrible going forward. Being a scab in 95 doesn’t burnish his memory any.

  33. 33
    Smitty Says:

    A few things:

    1) No way you trade Dansby at this point. Maybe the prior front office put too many eggs in that basket, but he’s still young

    2) I actually thing swapping Dansby and Albie is worth a try. Albies has better range and Dansby is a below average shortstop. Below average shortstops are called second basemen.

  34. 34
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    McMurtry’s ATL ERA was only 4.08. Of course that era’s ERAs were generally lower but still, hard to argue with Davies’ 250 IP of 6.15 ERA!

  35. 35
    Rob Cope Says:

    I think the Albies/Swanson swap talk is probably a calculated move to encourage Albies and make sure Swanson is making the adjustments he needs to make. Swanson isn’t going to be Carlos Correa, and he’s not even going to be Derek Jeter, Proven Winner and Captan (TM), but he’s still going to be a really good baseball player, and he’s going to be on the next World Series winning team, so I think the brakes need to be pumped a little bit.

    Who will be the first player to produce a 4 fWAR season: Albies, Swanson, Inciarte, or Acuna?

  36. 36
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    Albies or Inciarte. Swanson never will. Hard to do that batting .240 with average defense. Acuna maybe in 2019.

  37. 37
    Rob Cope Says:

    It should be noted that it’s a complete pile of BS that the greatest defensive center fielder in history is on 6% of ballots. It’s like all the writers are actually Nocahoma.

    This is my first time getting worked up over the Hall of Fame, and hopefully my last. The whole process is a farce and a joke.

  38. 38
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    He is a career .254 hitter and didn’t hit 500 HR in an era when everyone hit HRs. Nope. Not surprised and he doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame. He wouldn’t be first ballot in the Hall of Very Good, IMO. He was also a lazy turd for much of his career that lived in a strip club.

    Eventually some of you will figure out that no one cares about defense and it’s not really that important.

  39. 39
    krussell Says:

    @35, I agree with you that Swanson won’t be as good as Correa or Jeter. He also won’t be as good as Cal Ripken, and probably not as good as a young ARod. He does have a decent shot to be better than Andres Thomas though.

    So when I was a kid I was very excited when Andres Thomas hit the scene. He was toolsy and showed flashes of brilliance. He just needed time. Ugh. Mix in a Brad Komminsk and I was jaded forever about prospects.

  40. 40
    Adam R Says:

    He is a career .254 hitter and didn’t hit 500 HR in an era when everyone hit HRs. Nope. Not surprised and he doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame. He wouldn’t be first ballot in the Hall of Very Good, IMO. He was also a lazy turd for much of his career that lived in a strip club.

    Eventually some of you will figure out that no one cares about defense and it’s not really that important.

    Tempting as it is just to let this stand as a sort of monument to profoundly backwards thinking that will die out alongside the aging boomers still clinging to it…

    It’s maybe worth pointing out: if the character clause should have any meaning at all, then maybe Andruw shouldn’t be a HOFer. And not because of strip clubs.

  41. 41
    Rob Cope Says:

    The Hall of Fame is just simply a joke. There’s this inconsistent metric of statistics, then you have the guessing game of PEDs, then you have the “morality clause”, and then there’s the good ole fashion “we don’t like the man’s politics.” At some point, being out of the Hall of Fame won’t matter, and thus, being in the Hall of Fame won’t matter.

    But alas…

    He is a career .254 hitter and didn’t hit 500 HR in an era when everyone hit HRs.

    Alright, so we’ve got two stats here, and this is the only thing on-field he’s cited that keeps Andruw out.

    1) Do you have to hit 500 HRs to get in?
    2) Is there a batting average that gets you in?

    If the answer to both of those is “no”, which I’m sure they are, then you would… take more into consideration, no? What about his 10 Gold Gloves? There are 8 players with more Gold Gloves. 7 are in the Hall of Fame. The only one who isn’t? Keith Hernandez, who played the least important defensive position. The only 2 outfielders who have more are Clemente and Mays, both Hall of Famers, and Clemente played right field. Ozzie Smith won 13 Gold Gloves and is in the Hall of Fame. He was also a .262 career hitter and hit 28 (!!) career home runs. How is Ozzie Smith a Hall of Famer and Andruw Jones isn’t?

    At the end of the day, he was the best defensive center fielder of all time, hit over 400 HRs, and is about to be off the ballot in the first year. That is one of the most ridiculous things in this game. If you win 10 straight Gold Gloves, you’re a Hall of Famer. I don’t care if you hit like Juan Pierre. The fact that he was one of the best offensive center fielders in baseball for a decade should seal it.

    Baseball players can cheat on their taxes and their wives, scuff the baseball, cork their bats, treat reporters and fans terribly, and otherwise be complete jerks, and it shouldn’t matter for the Hall of Fame. The “morality clause” only comes in play when you want to keep a guy out that you don’t like.

  42. 42
    Rob Cope Says:

    Fun fact: while a really small difference (67.1 vs. 66.9), Andruw Jones has a higher career fWAR than Tom Glavine. bWAR, though, has Glavine commanding an incredible lead: 81.5 to 62.8.

  43. 43
    coop Says:

    Andruw Jones is in my HOF, says this aging pre-boomer.

  44. 44
    braves14 Says:

    35 — Albies.

  45. 45
    krussell Says:

    Does 1977 Jerry Royster get an honorable mention for worst season by a position player?

  46. 46
    Rusty S. Says:

    Can we all agree that Andruw was better than Omar Vizquel?

  47. 47
    Td Says:

    Royster’s 1981 and 1984 seasons were even worse. His cameo appearance for the Braves in 1988 with a .428 ops in over 100 PAs was the stuff of legend. I would definitely give him honorable mention.

  48. 48
    blazon Says:

    From: The History and Poetry Department

    To: Whom it may concern.

    Subject: Honors Granted and Withheld.

    Sir Ringo Starr
    Yes indeed, We were pleased to be reminded exactly who you are
    Mister Andruw Jones
    a lack of lobbyists, the predisposed and all their priggish clones.

  49. 49
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Andruw Jones is top 3 Atlanta Braves position players (only behind Hank and Chipper.) if anyone cares about defense at all he is clearly a HOF caliber player. He’s far better than Jim Rice or Tony Pena.

  50. 50
    snowshine Says:

    Sam, what is a barves top 3 without Keith Lockhart? If we ignore defense then we are left with his batti… I mean his baserunn… I mean just look at those pictures!

  51. 51
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    It is highly debatable that Andruw Jones was better than Jim Rice. Rice’s career BA is almost .300 with an OPS+ of 128.

  52. 52
    John Schmortz Says:

    @49
    I feel like we never mention Eddie Matthews around here. He racked up about 95 bWAR in his Braves career. None of that was in Atlanta, but still….

  53. 53
    blazon Says:

    morality clause
    who will cast the first stone should give us pause
    a Salem tribunal
    once distorted all facets of the communal.

  54. 54
    Game, Blauser Says:

    @51 Jim Rice was a more productive hitter than Andruw (128 wRC vs 111 wRC) due to his lower strikeout rate and superior BABIP, but Rice played LF (badly) while Andruw was one of the very best defensive CF (and OF) of all time. Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference concur that Andruw was substantially more valuable overall (15-16 WAR better), and both place Andruw in the mid-60 WAR range, which is marginal for HOF consideration. Here’s a link to Fangraphs’ list of career WAR leaders amongst outfielders – Andruw lands at #26, between Larry Walker and Carlos Beltran (above) and Robin Yount and Manny Ramirez (below).

    In my mind, the bottom line(s) are as follows:
    1) Andruw was an awesome player whose peak was HOF-worthy but whose productive years ended too early. He checks a few HOF boxes with flying colors (power and defense at a premium position) while falling well short on others (strikeouts/low average, bad ‘laziness’ rep, etc.)
    2) Jim Rice probably shouldn’t have made the HOF. (Here’s where I point out that – for better or worse – his HOF credentials are very similar to Dale Murphy’s).

  55. 55
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I explicitly limited to question to Atlanta position players. Eddie is clearly in there otherwise.

  56. 56
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Andruw Jones is Ozzie Smith in CF. Of Ozzie Smith deserves induction the so does Andruw.

  57. 57
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Larry Walker was twice the player as Jim Rice. Rice was basically Luis Gonzales.

  58. 58
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    Walker’s Black and Gray Ink are considerably lower than Rice’s. His numbers also are hyper inflated due to Coors Canaveral. Having said that, Walker’s closest comparison is Duke Snider. Rice’s is Orlando Cepeda. Both are in the HOF.

  59. 59
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    In addition to crushing the ball, Larry Walker actually played defense.

  60. 60
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    As for playing at “Coors Canaveral,” park effects didn’t begin in 1993.

    Jim Rice at Fenway: .320/.374/.546 (.920)
    Jim Rice everywhere else: .277/.330/.459 (.789)

  61. 61
    braves14 Says:

    I think Andruw will get in someday. My guess is that as defensive metrics become more well known over time his chances will get better.

    In the meantime, it is silly that his #25 isn’t hanging up on the wall with the others.

  62. 62
    blazon Says:

    A guid new year to ane an’ a’
    An’ mony may ye see,
    An’ during a’ the years to come,
    O happy may ye be.
    An’ may ye ne’er hae cause to mourn,
    To sigh or shed a tear;
    To ane an’a baith great an’ sma’
    A hearty guid New year.

  63. 63
    sigmundc Says:

    Happy New Year to you, Blazon, and thanks for all you do, through thick and thin.

  64. 64
    blazon Says:

    @63 … i thank you.I return your wishes for the New Year. And now, for the boss-

    Alex R
    invisible as you are
    we do not doubt your sage veracity
    ‘no politics’ observed, we fear your perspicacity.

  65. 65
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Happy New Year People. Unless you think Andruw isn’t a HOF’er.

  66. 66
    Mikemc Says:

    Thanks Sam, This is at least one thing we can agree on.

  67. 67
    coop Says:

    Happy new year to all y’all.

  68. 68
    Rob Cope Says:

    Happy New Year, everyone. May this be the first year since 2013 where we win more games than we lose.

  69. 69
    td Says:

    Happy New Year! May the Braves’ winning percentage in 2018 be better than the SEC bowl game win percentage.

  70. 70
    coop Says:

    Whew! What a game! I am totally exhausted.

  71. 71
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    How. Lee. Fuck.

  72. 72
    Rob Cope Says:

    These playoff semifinals have been much more exciting than the previous couple years. Good for college football, good for the Dawgs.

  73. 73
    Ethan Says:

    @69- looking like they’ll win the two that matter the most

  74. 74
    Smitty Says:

    I think not having his number retired hurts Andruw’d case some

  75. 75
    Remy Says:

    New thread.

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