Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

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

12 Mar

Spring Training Stats are Meaningless… but Let Me Give You A Bunch of Them

There isn’t much to be decided right now other than the 4th and 5th starter spots, who plays left field for a few weeks, some bench spots, and ultimately, how shortstop plays out in the mid- to long-term. So of the players that don’t have a solidified spot either on the roster or potentially on the diamond, how are they doing?

Dansby Swanson hasn’t quite yet Silenced His Critics(TM) this spring. He’s getting a lot of playing time, 6th on the team in PAs, but he’s got 5-27 with a .185 BA. But, two of those five hits were home runs, so his short sample OPS is actually higher than last year (faint praise, I know) at .698. He might be working on elevating the baseball to add some power to his game, so we’ll see how it plays out against more advanced competition.

Johan Camargo and Rio Ruiz, so far, have not yet made a strong claim to the third base position. Ruiz is hitting .184/.205/.316 while getting the most ABs of anyone, which tells me they are giving him a legitimate shot at either a third base share or a bench spot. Camargo is a little better at .240/.286/.440 with the eighth-most ABs on the team. These two guys need to be pounding the inferior competition, and they’re just not doing that yet.

Left field is going to be open for a few weeks before Ronald Acuna Jr. is ready to take over. At the beginning of the spring, it would have seemed that Lane Adams and Preston Tucker would be battling for bench spots at the very least, and claim to at least a portion of a platoon during that period. Lane had 118 strong ABs last year for the Braves, but being a 27-year old journeyman, there was reason to wonder if he was a beneficiary of some small sample size luck. He has the 4th most ABs this spring, but he’s produced a .167/.167/.233 line that could at some point put his status in jeopardy. Tucker has gotten his share of ABs, and he’s hit .308/.400/.423 so far. So if things continue on the way they are, Tucker could have an upper hand.

Another candidate for left field is prospect Dustin Peterson. Peterson had a forgettable 2017 as he never quite got the power back from a broken hamate bone. Remember that Freddie Freeman suffered a broken hamate bone last year, and when he returned, he said it was like “swinging a wet newspaper” in terms of what it did to his power. In what is an extreme small sample size alert, Peterson has run into a couple pitches for home runs, encouraging some fans think that his power is back. As a result, his .316/.350/.684 line in 19 ABs is, at the very least, interesting. He was our Minor League Hitter of the Year after holding his own as a 21-year old at AA, and then he had a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League that year. With a justifiable reason for his struggles last year, and the corresponding evidence that maybe he’s fully healed, it’s possible he gets a longer look this spring. His approach looks much better too. He’s got lower hands, a shorter swing, and he’s got less movement and a more fluid swing than in the past. I think it’s unwise to over-inflate two spring home runs, but if he keeps doing it, you’d have to notice.

69 Responses to “Spring Training Stats are Meaningless… but Let Me Give You A Bunch of Them”

  1. 1
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    tfloyd was JC’ed from last thread:

    @112, 114, 116, 120, and 124 are clearly onto something, but I’m afraid you’ve only scratched the surface of this deep and enduring conspiracy. It goes back at least to the franchise–which was the league’s best in the late 1890’s–letting go of Hall of Famers Hugh Duffy, Tommy McCarthy, and Slidin Billy Hamilton.

  2. 2
    Sean Q. Says:

    Peterson hit an absolute bomb yesterday. I’d be happy to have him and Lane in left while we wait for Acuna.

  3. 3
    tfloyd Says:

    @1. Thanks, Rob, for the rescue of the JC’ed comment. I assumed that when a new thread went up just as I posted, that was just one more manifestation of the conspiracy. Glad to know you’re not a co-conspirator.

  4. 4
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    Spring Training Stats Are Meaningless (hereto abbreviated as STSAM; feel free to think of it as “Sit Sam!”, which is what people ought to be saying to Sam when he’s out of line), but Preston Tucker is performing better this spring, and he has much more big league experience and has a higher pedigree as a “prospect”. If you went nuts and said that Dustin Peterson, a righty, is playing himself onto the roster, you’d have to think that Tucker, a lefty, would be the better fit as a platoon partner. And Tucker is a Florida Gator from Tampa Bay, so you know he’s good.

  5. 5
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Hector Olivera should have never hung that slider to Jim Leyritz.

  6. 6
    Braves14 Says:

    And Hector Olivera should never have been faked out by Knoblauch.

  7. 7
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    Olivera’s folklore really took a hit when he made 3 crucial errors in the 2010 playoffs.

  8. 8
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Try as you might, you’ll never, ever get past the fact that you just created an anagram that reads as St. Sam. I am beloved. And canonized, apparently. Seems legit.

  9. 9
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    I’ve created a monster.

  10. 10
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    I’ll take Tucker over Peterson.

  11. 11
    coop Says:

    I’ll take Saint Sam over Olivera. Close call though.

  12. 12
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    St. Sam never pushed Ron Gant off of first.

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

    I’ll take Frank Thomas over Tyler Houston.

  14. 14
    sigmundc Says:

    Newcomb today vs. Phillies: 4.2 ip, 6k, 0bb, no hits

  15. 15
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    I’m really hoping that Newcomb has one of the starter slots sewed up.

  16. 16
    snowshine Says:

    I need to drop out of the fantasy league due to family illness (I look after my disabled brother, who is having a hard time of it at present.) I don’t believe I can devote the effort required to compete. So, who wants the Luis Gomez Allstars?

  17. 17
    Td Says:

    In other news, Ryan Schimpf continues his stellar spring with a pinch hit strike out. He is now 0 for 22 with 16 strike outs. Whatever he did in the off season, we need to find out, so no Braves player ever does it.

  18. 18
    Td Says:

    I know spring training stats are meaningless, but I don’t think he should make the team.

  19. 19
    beege Says:

    Hector Olivera never should’ve stopped for that sandwich in Sarajevo in 1914.

  20. 20
    Braves14 Says:

    Hector Olivera believes it’s over just because the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.

  21. 21
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I think the key lesson to draw from Ryan Schimpf, a man who will turn 30 in a month, who has had a grand total of 527 major league plate appearances in which he has struck out one-third of the time and as a result has hit below the Mendoza line, is that when it comes to players like him, the back of his baseball card will tell you everything you need to know.

  22. 22
    coop Says:

    God bless, snowshine.

  23. 23
    blazon Says:

    Greater love hath no man.

  24. 24
    Smitty Says:

    I spit coffee! HA HA HA!

  25. 25
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    snowshine, I currently have the league locked. I’ll unlock it in a few hours, you can delete your team and very quickly, I’ll need to get a replacement. Is anyone interested in playing that didn’t get a slot. If so, let me know and I’ll get the URL to the league to you.

    Also, Schimpf delenda est.

  26. 26
    blazon Says:

    Newcombe’s post game interview yesterday was particularly reassuring with regard to locating his fastball. He said he could spot it where he wanted to.

    OK, but. Can we please eliminate any thought that one of these spots is 12 inches beyond the reach of any right hand hitter and that ten times a game he finds it necessary to go there presumably just to see if he still can. There can be no other reason.

    Good one, Newk. Looking forward to the first sighting of that lovely, sweeping, lollipop curve.

  27. 27
    Donny Says:

    @25 Have you guys drafted yet?

  28. 28
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    No, the draft is Saturday night. Are you interested @27?

  29. 29
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    Nope. C’mon in, if you dare.

  30. 30
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    The Mets are apparently pitching inside more this year.”

    “I am not saying we are going to throw at people’s heads because we’re not. We are not going to throw behind them. We’re going to go in and when we go in, if we miss, we are going to miss in off the plate and we are going to hit some guys.

    “That’s the way it goes.”

  31. 31
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    Just stay off of Freddie’s hamate bones, por favor.

  32. 32
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I don’t want players who don’t play for Washington to get hurt any more than the next guy, but everything the coach says in that article is pretty much true. Hitters have no fear inside. They dive across the plate and drive very good pitches for power to the opposite field. The primary defense a pitcher has against this is to pitch inside.

  33. 33
    blazon Says:

    @ 30/31/32

    Mickey Callaway
    is giving every indication he will go all the way
    hard, inside and tight, whoohee!
    the really funny thing, many are saying, ‘Who he?’

  34. 34
    krussell Says:

    So the Mets are pretty much saying they want to lead the league in bench clearing brawls. Sign me up.

  35. 35
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    Acuna homers, Kazmir continues to show his Colon-like doneness.

  36. 36
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    The 5th spot doesn’t look great right now with Kazmir and Wisler seemingly the legitimate options, and neither of which are blowing the doors off. But Newcomb definitely looks solid. 4 1/3 perfect innings yesterday, and that makes 12 strike outs against two walks in 10.2 IP this spring. It Was Only Spring Training (or IWOST, if you’d like to avoid giving Sam sainthood), but he looks good.

  37. 37
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    There are no take-backsies for canonization.

  38. 38
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Braves added Ezequiel Carrera today. 30 year old journeyman outfielder. Can play all three positions on the grass. Career .262/.324/.365 hitter, but had a better than average year in a platoon role last year. He’s a lefty, so basically Preston Tucker insurance. Another name thrown into the “waiting for Acuna” mix.

  39. 39
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    He OBP’d .356 last year in ~300 ABs and OPS+ 100. Markakis OPS+ last year was 96.

  40. 40
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    I’d probably rather have Carrera than Preston Tucker.

  41. 41
    Acuna for HOF Says:

    The sixth most similar player to Ezequiel Carrera through age 30 is Tom Paciorek. I liked Paciorek back in the day and I like the Carrera signing. I would think there are a lot of potentially useful outfielders available–hopefully we find one. Though I also liked Schimpf’s career WAR, and that isn’t working out too well so far. Maybe St. Sam can perform a miracle and make Schimpf make contact.

  42. 42
    Td Says:

    Schimpf had by far his best game as a Brave. Obviously he didn’t get a hit, but he batted 3 times with a walk and 0 strike outs. The guy is on fire!

  43. 43
    coop Says:

    @ 37: But then Mr.Christopher got demoted.

  44. 44
    Roger Says:

    Pick up Jake Cave damnit…..

  45. 45
    Braves14 Says:

    Ezequiel Carrera? Now, here’s a guy that…well, he’s a guy.

  46. 46
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Sometimes there’s a man…

    Sometimes there’s a man.

  47. 47
    Donny Says:

    @28 I’m mulling it over. I know it doesn’t take a ton of effort, but I tend to stay spread thin (or else I’d be volunteering to write here, etc, etc, etc).

  48. 48
    blazon Says:

    Remember to look up at the Stars. We do. His were everywhere.

    Johan Camargo
    likes to read while he is subject to a day-to-day embargo
    remembrance of things past
    he may soon recall how to hit from the left side at last.

  49. 49
    blazon Says:

    Ezekiel Carrera
    does nothing well but everything’s now fairer
    got a 1.9 million contract before he was cut
    said Melky, this is absurd, not like me, that damn scuttle but.

  50. 50
    blazon Says:

    Fun Challenge

    There’s a new movie out where a central character is a ‘poltroon’. Had no idea, had to look it up, it means an abject coward, from the old German.

    So, can you write a clerihew(see 48/49 above) very much(but loosely!) Braves based about such a guy. Because we don’t know his name, first line would simply be, A/The poltroon. Have fun, closes Saturday noon say. Now if you like!

    To help. Forced rhymes are fine if they’re funny. Lines can be of any length.

  51. 51
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    If you had to choose between writing here and playing fantasy baseball, choose fantasy baseball!

    If anybody thought they could see Schimpf being this bad, then they’re kidding themselves. Now, the Rays lost Longoria and Morrison from last year’s team, and they currently boast an outfield of Span, Mallex, Kiermaier, and Carlos Gomez, so you’d think they’d be hard up for power. They brought in a ton of dudes, and Schimpf clearly looked like the worst of the bench. If they thought he even had a .750 OPS in him, they’d probably not have cut bait.

    I think the Carrera move has me a bit more intrigued, but I, like most in the fanbase, are in a “call me when you get a real player” mode at this point. Unless one of these guys turns into Charles Thomas or Matt Diaz or someone that has an unexpectedly productive year, then it’s just a “wait and see”. But Carrera has more than one use compared to Schimpf’s sole tool being power. He might be a better 4th OF than Adams, he has a longer track record of at least mediocrity, and he’s coming off his best offensive season. Either way, between Lane, Tucker, and Carrera, as long as it keeps Santana off the roster, I’m happy. I hope we have a 4th and 5th OF there somewhere.

    I still remain hopeful there’s an end of Spring Training move where we send a blocked pitcher to get a real middle infielder bench player. We’ve made some good additions to the roster, that’s undebatable, and I want to see some legitimate Dansby and Camargo insurance, and not Charlie Culberson.

  52. 52
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    SNOWSHINE, can you please delete your team, ASAP. I need to clear a spot for a replacement team. I cannot find the commissioner’s tool to outright delete a team. If you could do this pretty quickly, I’d appreciate it.


  53. 53
    snowshine Says:

    How do I delete it?

  54. 54
    snowshine Says:

    Sorry, between being at work or the hospital I have very little time to look at Braves Journal at the moment

  55. 55
    snowshine Says:

    I’m more than willing to share log-in info and give the team to somebody else. Yahoo is telling me only the commissioner can delete the entry

  56. 56
    Td Says:

    Tucker is 2 for 2 today with a double, a homerun and 3 rbis. The Carrera signing may have lit a fire under him, at least for the next few weeks of spring.

  57. 57
    Braves14 Says:

    Preston Tucker may be a better option than Markakis.

  58. 58
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    Markakis could conceivably be the 6th best OF in the org.

  59. 59
    Braves14 Says:

    Don’t know if it means much but the starting pitching has been pretty good this spring.

  60. 60
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    I have room for ONE team now that I finally figured out how to take care of snowshine’s team.

    Please only enter if you plan to be active. Remember its a marathon, not a sprint. 162 games.

  61. 61
    Stu Says:

    FYI, I’m planning to be fairly active, but I’m also not going to be able to make it to the draft. If my auto-drafted team beats you suckers…

  62. 62
    Chief Nocahoma Says:

    @61 It won’t. But OK. :)

  63. 63
    Askia Says:

    30 in 30 is on the Braves right now on MLB Network. John Smoltz says the team is two years away FWIW.

  64. 64
    Dirt Napper Says:

    Donny, let me know if you don’t plan to take the team. I’ll take it otherwise.

  65. 65
    Donny Says:

    Take it, Dirt Napper!

    Besides, I’ll be fishing my first tournament on Guntersville on Saturday. Just a little too busy right now.

  66. 66
    snowshine Says:

    Thanks Chief for dealing with that. Sorry I won’t have the time for awhile.

  67. 67
    Edward Says:

    @61, You won’t even be able to be my auto-draft team

  68. 68
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    I’m thinking of going auto-draft too, but it will be so well-planned, my team will blow your mind. Two words: Danny. Santana.

  69. 69
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    New thread.

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