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17 Mar

Justin Upton (by ububba)

On January 24, 2013, the Braves acquired LF Justin Upton and 3B Chris Johnson from the Arizona Diamondbacks for infielder Martin Prado, pitcher Randall Delgado, and three minor leaguers. For the very short term—as in, a single season, let’s say—it could be considered one of the better trades in franchise history.

While CJ defied prevailing notions of statistical regression with a .321/.358/.457 season line (plus, he hit a cool .438 in the NLDS), JUpton opened the season with a Ruthian rampage that powered the Braves to a 12-1 start. Not only did he go .298/.402/.734 with 12 HR and 19 RBI in April, but many of the homers he hit (like this one and this one) were titanic. We’re talking ICBMs in the league with Kong, Hondo and The Mick. In fact, it was determined that JUpton’s homers were, on average, the longest in all of the National League, besting even The Marlin Masher, Giancarlo Stanton.

When the 17-9 month was over, the Braves had sprinted out to an early NL East division lead, one that they would never relinquish—and Justin Upton was a huge part of that. But when you look at JUpton’s entire season, it’s hard not to recall the precipitous plunges that followed his sharp spikes.

(Inconsistent? If Justin Upton were a film actor, he might be Mark Wahlberg — sublime efforts like “Boogie Nights,” followed by laughable shite like “The Happening” or “Max Payne,” followed by solid work in “The Departed” and “The Fighter.”)

For example, after the scorching April, he cooled off big-time in May (.211/.327/.326 with 2 HRs). In June, he remained Ice Station Zebra (.226/.336/.280 with 1 HR). July was respectable (.292/.330/.427), although again he poked only one round-tripper. By July, Braves fans began wondering if he and slumping sibling BJ would ever return to form.

Luckily, August saw baby brother Justin blaze again with eight taters and a .298/.357/.476 line to fuel a hot month that saw the club go 20-7. Upton was decent in September (.260/.336/.406 with 3 HRs), but the month was tough for everyone as the injuries added up and the Braves limped to a 13-14 finish. (Of course, they still took the NL East flag.) In the 4-game NLDS, Upton went 2 for 14 with 4 BB and no HRs in 18 PA (.143/.333/.214).

A Look at the Entire Year: For 2013, he went .263/.354/.464, a 122 OPS+ in a 2.6 WAR campaign. Though playing in a less HR-happy park than Chase Field (or whatever jolly bank it’s named for this season), Upton put up power numbers (27 HRs) in The Ted that bested his previous season in the desert (17). He also set a career mark in both Ks (161) and BBs (75). He had 70 RBI and he went 8 for 9 in SBs. Given his outrageous start, you’d have to call the rest of the season a bit of a disappointment.

His 2013 Splits: Against RHP, he went .262/.328/.434 with 17 HR in 479 PA; against LHP, .268/.427/.567 with 10 HR in 164 PA. At The Ted, he went .264/.334/.440 with 13 HR in 311 PA; on the road, he went .263/.372/.488 with 14 HR in 332 PA. One area where he remains consistent: He still murders lefties. (Career: .282/.395/.520 in 974 PA.)

A Look at the D: BTW, the dWAR numbers tell us say that he’s a bad overall defender (-2.9 career), and especially bad in 2013 (-1.5). Of course, all these nega-numbers diminish his overall value (if that kind of thing gets you uptight). The eye test seems to confirm some of this—he certainly has the occasional adventure out there, especially with liners in front of him; but he also runs down some balls that other LFs don’t get.

This report details some of his defensive strengths and weaknesses. The verdict: Terrific (among the best) on “out-of-zone” plays (aka, turning batted balls into outs), but not so great on everything else. That includes “Deterring Baserunners” (among the worst) and “Good Play/Misplays & Errors” (the worst). It’s an interesting read, even if those kinds of things don’t always keep you up nights.

Contract Status, Etc.: JUpton has two fat years left on the five-year/$60-M deal he signed (with Arizona) before the 2010 season—the Braves owe him $14.25 M this year and $14.5 M next. He will turn 27 on August 25 (Hey! My birthday, too, along with Elvis Costello, Gene Simmons and Leonard Bernstein.) So, despite a lousy spring training that hasn’t seen him go deep yet, it’s plenty reasonable to feel like we’ll get some prime-year power out of the big guy in the short term, even if we have to put up with a few kicked balls in the outfield.

Wish I felt the same about his older brother

136 Responses to “Justin Upton (by ububba)”

  1. 1
    ryan c Says:

    From last thread…
    @Mike
    We were a keeper league this year and I kept Puig and C. Gomez and gave up Cano. Therefore, I forfeited my first 2 rounds.

  2. 2
    mavery Says:

    Great stuff cropping up over here at Braves Journal lately! I haven’t been able to stop by as much as I’d like, but I’ve really enjoyed the posts.

    I like the Santana deal. It’s something to get excited about going forward. I can’t imagine they’ll retain him after a single season, but he could be the difference between making the playoffs and sitting on our hands in October.

    That said, my optimism for the season is pretty tempered. I see this team as having a very high variance in outcomes. That is, I wouldn’t be surprised if they won the division, but I could also see them having a disaster season where most of the pitching regresses from last year, BJ and Uggla replicate 2013 (without LaStella getting sufficient PT/making enough of a difference), Freddie and Regression regressing, and Heyward/JUpton continuing to not turn into top-10-in-the-game superstars like you’d need if all the rest of that stuff happens.

    But it could all go the other way, and you’ve got yourself a 95+ win ball club. I know you can say that about most clubs, but this team feels higher variance than others in the past where you’d have a steadying influence of Chipper or Hudson or whatever. I feel like this year, the only thing I can count on is Andrelton’s glove, which luckily is enough for me to want to watch every game.

    But I just jinxed it and now he’s going to pull a groin or something.

    Fuck.

  3. 3
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    You FOOL!

  4. 4
    braves14 Says:

    Medlen will have TJS tomorrow and Beachy is flying to LA for another opinion.

  5. 5
    Edward Says:

    So here’s how megalomaniacal Ryan is about his Relief Horde.

    He’s got one of the worst fantasy rotations I’ve ever seen. He has lots of closers and at least three very good outfielders. I’m a little light on power and very light on relief pitching. But I’m sitting on a front four of Wainwright, King Felix, and the two best triple-syllable white guys: Verlander and Bumgarner. Four top-10 fantasy starting pitchers.

    So I offer him his choice of Bumgarner or King Felix alongside Daniel Murphy (or really any other adequate position player of mine) for Heyward and one of his more reliable closers. Goofball not only says no, but also implies that he’s way too rich for me and anyway he wouldn’t dare complete a trade before the season starts.

    The man has eighty closers. What kind of man has eighty closers???!!!???

  6. 6
    W.C.G. Says:

    Great writeup. Justin’s defensive deficiencies aren’t as obvious to the eye test as, say, Gattis in left. I’m going to try to watch for that this season. I kind of figured every team was hiding someone in left, so I’m surprised the negative WAR is that pronounced. Maybe some of that is from playing right for an extended part of last season after BJ stopped being an everyday player?

  7. 7
    ryan c Says:

    @Edward
    You do have a stud SP staff….and 4 offensive bench players. What are they for? Decoration? I’ll keep my eighty closers that I can actually put into active slots each and every night. You go on and keep Uggla, La Stella, Alcides Escobar, Biff Picorba, and Peter Bourjous.

  8. 8
    roadrunner Says:

    It’s Pocoroba. Jesus H.

  9. 9
    Edward Says:

    Hey, his name is Peter Gorgeous!

  10. 10
    ryan c Says:

    Peter Gorgeous, Dan Uggly, Tommy La Stellar. Is this a baseball team or a porn lineup?

  11. 11
    kc Says:

    Edward, everyone has different approach in building a roster. Maybe it is better to keep the fantasy league stuff away from this blog. Remember we are all supposed to have fun playing the league!

  12. 12
    kc Says:

    Ok, just read the last thread and I guess people don’t mind reading about the league.

    Yes Edward, Ryan likes closers and Heyward a lot so get used to it.

  13. 13
    ryan c Says:

    Yes I do and yes I do.

  14. 14
    kc Says:

    Great writeup ububba! I am looking for a big year from Justin, which is proved by the fact that I drafted Justin right after Ryan drafted Jason…and I had Justin last year too.

  15. 15
    ububba Says:

    #6
    Down the Defensive Rabbit Hole: For the Braves, Justin played half as many innings in RF than he did LF, but the d-numbers actually liked him better in RF.

    For example, “defensive runs saved above average” in RF was 6, while in LF it was -10. He had only 2 assists in RF, but he had zero in LF.

    Of course, last year’s defensive numbers may not be all so surprising—and I probably should’ve mentioned it above—because during his 6 years in Arizona he only played RF. He was certainly never confused with Roberto Clemente out there, but he’d never played LF at all in the big leagues until he came to Atlanta.

  16. 16
    Timo Says:

    Thank you for the analysis, ububba. Justin better have a good season, we will need it.

    Personal question for you: What would be a good place in NYC for a small wedding dinner (10 people)? I am looking for something “special” Thank you!

  17. 17
    Dusty Says:

    Timo, Highly recommend The Stanton Social.

  18. 18
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    It’s been a rough two weeks of pretend baseball in Florida. Braves fans can be forgiven for being a little depressed of late. In an effort to cheer up people of quality and conscience, here’s some Phillies punching to cheer you up.”

  19. 19
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    In his piece about the Cubs under Theo Epstein, Rany Jazayerli recently wrote:

    “With literally every team in baseball employing at least one front-office person devoted to analytics, the only way for a team to get fruit now is to plant its own damn forest. There are no longer above-average hitters available for pocket change in free agency. The suckers have been squeezed out of the game.6

    6 Well, we still have Ruben. For now.”

    RAJ is the gift that keeps on giving.

  20. 20
    Edward Says:

    kc-

    Want to get in on the smack explosion? I bet Ryan and I can find room for you. Getting used to other managers’ fantasy baseball styles is the quickest ticket to not enjoying the game once the draft is over.

  21. 21
    ububba Says:

    #15
    The Waverly Inn on Bank Street in the West Village is good, if somewhat exclusive/pricey. But you can’t beat the vibe.

    I guess I eat a lot of Italian, so here goes:

    Bottego del Vino on E. 59th St. (btw 5th & Madison, near the Apple Store). Great Northern Italian food & if you like wine (or grappa), this is the joint. They have everything. Nice atmosphere, sometimes has a jazz combo.

    Da Silvano on 6th Ave (near Bleecker) is terrific Italian & a nice vibe. Kinda trendy, but worth it. (I prefer Bar Pitti next door, but it doesn’t take credit cards & it’s not really for big groups.)

    If you’re looking for a little less pricey/less trendy, but really good food. There’s a nice place on E. 9th St. (near University) called Arté. Italian, nice décor, fireside, lotsa personal attention, not too big, but can handle a group of 10.

  22. 22
    ryan c Says:

    Both Pirates and Astros looking for first base help and Joey T will never be more than a sub. The Braves sound like Tyler Greene is the favorite for the final bench spot which leaves Joey out to dry. With Gearrin or Varvaro likely headed to waivers and Joey going back to AAA, the Braves should try to restock some of the farm by making a package deal.

  23. 23
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I think it would absolutely be worth flipping Terdoslavich for another grade C prospect or a middle reliever in Triple-A. Wren’s generally been pretty good at those incremental improvement trades.

  24. 24
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    By the way, Mike Minor wants a long-term deal with the Braves.

  25. 25
    Seat Painter Says:

    From your mouth to Frank Wren’s ears Alex.

  26. 26
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Considering the deals that Abbott worked out for Chipper Jones and Brian McCann, if you want him as your agent, that means you want a deal like that.

  27. 27
    Rob Cope Says:

    I hope Jason Heyward switches to BB Abbott. Along with Chris Johnson, Tommy La Stella, and Tyler Pastornicky.

  28. 28
    Timo Says:

    @16, 20 Dusty and ubbuba, Thank you guys. Waverly Inn is pre-reserved, love that place. Stanton Social I know as well but might not work as well for a wedding dinner. Will check out the Italian places. Appreciate the help! Greetings from Austria.

  29. 29
    Smitty Says:

    Auburn just got better at basketball. Tennessee remains in mediocrity

  30. 30
    Tanto Says:

    With the injuries to A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker, the A’s are using Jesse Chavez… as a starter.

    Perspective is a wonderful thing sometimes.

  31. 31
    ububba Says:

    #28
    Why doesn’t that hiring surprise me?

  32. 32
    Smitty Says:

    @30

    They have an AD who gets it.

  33. 33
    W.C.G. Says:

    @28, Bama’s AD just released a big long statement in support of a basketball coach who gets worse every season, demands a style of ball that’s unwatchable in its best form, can’t recruit, and has never developed a player significantly beyond what he came in as.

    Basically we’re not in the mood to pay a basketball coach to go away when the football team is the only thing driving donations and is doing so spectacularly. So we’re going to suck at basketball because we’re in our modern golden age of football. This is kind of a first world problem the more I think about it. Oh well.

  34. 34
    Stu Says:

    Grant actually recruits pretty well. And I like him a lot, so I want him to succeed, but . . . yeah.

  35. 35
    Nick Says:

    @28, 30

    You do know there’s an actual, real-life NCAA Tournament game that we’re actually playing in tomorrow night, right? (And yes, I’m aware it’s in the First Four and blah blah blah…it still counts).

    I have to be honest, the Tennessee fanbase’s reaction to this has really pissed me off today. If these people love Bruce Pearl so much, maybe they should go cheer for Auburn or something and leave the rest of us who actually care about Tennessee basketball alone. Meanwhile, we’re actually in the NCAA Tournament and nobody who supposedly roots for Tennessee seems to care even remotely. Regardless of what you think of Cuonzo, Bruce Pearl 1)was never coming back and 2)is not the only coach on the face of the planet capable of running a winning basketball program at Tennessee. These people are acting like a bunch of high-school girls and need to get a freaking grip.

  36. 36
    Mikemc Says:

    Justin’s 70 rbi haven’t received much attention, but it is an extremely meager output for a no. 3 hitte r with 27 homers.

  37. 37
    iceberg584 Says:

    He was the king of solo home runs last year, especially in April. He finished the month at something like 12 HRs with only 18 RBIs. When Upton played his best ball, he had a struggling Simmons and Heyward hitting in front of him.

  38. 38
    krussell Says:

    @35, one could argue that the two guys that hit in front of JUpton for 2/3 of the year didn’t get on base much.

  39. 39
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    His low RBI totals are on both him and his teammates. The Braves only ever had a decent leafoff hitter once or twice last year; the brief burst of WTF Success?! and the stretch before Jon Neise killed Jason Heyward’s face. So he didn’t have a lot of opportunity. But doing the mad swings between Barry Bonds and Barely Better Than Brother BJ doesn’t help in a metric that requires steady production year round.

    In other news, Mike Minor apparently threw and didn’t hurt afterwards. He and Santana are apparently on track for mid-April.

  40. 40
    Smitty Says:

    @34

    We have two NBA players and are in a play in game. I didn’t think Pearl would come back, but Cuonzo is about to get an extension. You think today was bad? If we lose tomorrow and then Cuonzo gets a new deal, Knoxville may burn.

  41. 41
    kc Says:

    @35 Actually he spent 50 games batted second. We have to consider that.

    @19 Edward, if it is just good nature trash talk, I am all for it!

  42. 42
    kc Says:

    http://www.ajc.com/news/sports/baseball/wren-braves-will-continue-to-evaluate-tommy-john-p/nfGGT/

    I am glad at least they consider looking into this.

  43. 43
    Smitty Says:

    There needs to be something. Beachy should sue someone

  44. 44
    csg Says:

    I’ll join in the basketball discussion. Grant is a great guy, but he’s far from a great coach. He can recruit but players regress under his watch. He doesn’t market his program and the best recruit he’s ever brought in decided to leave and sit out a year. His style of basketball will not breed success and he’s now on a one year deal.

    Bill Battle showed he’s weak and not ready to make a tough decision. He’s put Bama basketball and Anthony Grant in a lose-lose situation. If he doesn’t win immediately they will lose the fan base again. Pearl to AU was Battles worst nightmare.

    5 years – $10 mil invested, no title, and 1 NCAA appearance. Zero NCAA tournament wins. Unacceptable

  45. 45
    td Says:

    If someone would have told me 5 years ago that Lane Kiffin would be Bama’s offensive coordinator and Bruce Pearl would be Auburn’s head basketball coach I would have wondered what they were smoking.

    As far as Grant goes, I had very high hopes but it’s not looking good. He can’t seem to teach his players how to shoot. He recruits guys that should be good, but they seem to lose their confidence offensively.

    I don’t see how you can say Battle is weak because he didn’t fire Grant. He weighed his options and apparently saw something (that I frankly don’t see) that gave him a glimmer of hope for the future. I hope he’s right!

  46. 46
    csg Says:

    Weak might not be a fair choice of words. Green, might be better. I think he’s in over his head.

  47. 47
    td Says:

    I totally disagree on Battle being in over his head and green is not a word I would ever use to describe him. I think he’s a very shrewd businessman and he knows what he’s doing. That being said, I can buy that he is trying not to make waves and is being cautious with his decisions since he may not be AD for a lot longer considering his age. As I said, I think he weighed his options and felt like giving Grant another year was a low risk (and possibly low reward) proposition.

  48. 48
    Nick Says:

    @39

    Like I said. We’re in the NCAA Tournament and all anyone can think about is cutting themselves because Bruce Pearl went somewhere else and what happens when (in these people’s minds) we lose tomorrow. The attitude could not possibly suck more, and it pisses me off.

    If we lose and Cuonzo gets an extension anyway, it’s not gonna keep us from firing him next year if he has a crappy year. Those extensions don’t mean crap. I’d have thought that would be obvious by now. Though I’m sure people in Knoxville will collectively lose their shit, I couldn’t possibly care less. It’s one of the many reasons I’m glad I live in Atlanta and not Knoxville.

    However, the chance of this team going on a run to the Sweet 16 is way better than you think, and if that happens, you’re gonna feel pretty damn stupid on Sunday night that you didn’t watch any of it because you spent the whole weekend looking longingly at a goddam picture of Bruce Pearl.

    And by the way, at some point it might be nice if somebody would remember whose freaking fault it is that Cuonzo Martin is currently our head coach instead of Bruce Pearl to begin with. (Hint: His initials are BP and I hear he just got a new job in Alabama somewhere.)

  49. 49
    Adam R Says:

    It wasn’t too long ago that the Braves were being patient with Minor as he struggled to learn how to pitch to MLB hitters. Whether you ponder that or just where we drafted him and the flak we took in the media for it, it’s really nice to see Minor position himself to repay the gesture and stick with the Braves like the Braves have stuck with him.

  50. 50
    Timo Says:

    @41. I’ll say it again. I like how Wren is going about things.

  51. 51
    ryan c Says:

    Santana will pitch tomorrow! From the looks of the schedule, the Braves will not need a 5th starter until April 12th. If he needs 5 starts and they keep him on schedule:
    1st start- 3/20 2nd start-3/25 3rd start-3/30 4th start- 4/4 5th start-4/9

    Without setbacks, he should be ready to go 4/14 against Philly.

  52. 52
    ryan c Says:

    Correction: Looks like the Braves won’t need a 5th starter until the 14th so it works out pretty well!

  53. 53
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Well, technically the Braves will need a “5th starter” every time Freddie Garcia pitches. The fact that he will be pitching in the third slot of the rotation doesn’t make him something other than a “5th starter.”

  54. 54
    cliff Says:

    Smitty at 42,

    I am also perplexed about Beachy. He just had a scope to remove crap last October. If there wasn’t a fairly solid looking ligament, how does a fine orthopedic surgeon not see that? Did they not LOOK? I realize mri’s don’t show everything, but when you are in there with a scope, either the repaired ligament ought to look good or not. I wonder if it looked bad and they told Beachy and he said “let’s wait.” This situation doesn’t make sense. There is something somebody knows that isn’t fitting in.

  55. 55
    sdp Says:

    Beachy is seeing this guy.

  56. 56
    csg Says:

    So Medlen had his TJ surgery yesterday. Insurance doesn’t cover anything for one year contracts, so do the braves nontender him this offseason? He probably won’t be able to pitch until May-June of 2015.

  57. 57
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    After the recent deaths of Frank Jobe and Lewis Yocum, Neal ElAttrache is perhaps the best-regarded Tommy John surgeon in America with the exception of James Andrews himself.

    Beachy’s in good hands.

  58. 58
    Smitty Says:

    Nick,

    I agree about getting behind the team and that they could make a run. I do understand the fans that are going off the deep end. They just want the program back to where it was.

    Dave Hart has to ask himself is Cuonzo is the guy that can get us there. I am pretty sure he isn’t. If he had a decent recruiting class lined up or if the team made huge strides this year, I would say extend him. Why invest a lot in a guy that you will probably can in the next few years anyways?
    I think they will lowball him with an short extension and he will walk on his own.

    RE Beachy:

    I think MLB needs to look into how pitchers are handled and why there are so many TJ surgeries. There has to be something done to cut this down.

  59. 59
    sdp Says:

    If Jonny Venters got a contract, Medlen will too. I don’t think they will non-tender him.

  60. 60
    csg Says:

    Medlen makes more $$ than Venters though. What’s his 2014 salary? $3mil?

  61. 61
    cliff Says:

    csg at 56,

    I don’t know if the arbitrators take into account (a) non performance for this year, and / or (b) surgery likely to cause loss of ability and / or (c) health likely to make player miss half a year. If they DO take those into account, then you tender.

    Even if they don’t take those into account, you might want to tender to protect your ability to get one of those $33 million picks Szymborski wrote about. So, it costs you 8 next year and 14 the next, but then you get 33.

  62. 62
    jjschiller Says:

    As far as I can tell, the 12th IS the day we’ll need a 5th starter.

    This probably won’t display correctly, but, I hope it’s at least legible. I’ve taken the first 15 calendar days of the season, and parsed them out in groups of 5, to represent the rest days for the pitchers. Call them cycles, or think of them as “weeks,” in base-five instead of base-seven, and instead of handy names like Mon, Tues, etc, each day only gets a number.

    This rotation order is based on the order currently in Spring Training, so it’s accurate as far as I can tell.

    So what I’ve also done is, after each pitcher’s name, I’ve denoted which day he pitched on in the previous week. That number can’t be BIGGER than the number for the current week, or he’s moved up a day, and is on short rest (He’d go from day 4 to day 3.) If last week’s number is smaller than the current week, (he went from day 3 to day 4) he got an EXTRA day of rest.

    1 Mar 31 – @ MIL – Teheran 1
    2 Apr 01 – @ MIL – Wood 2
    3 Apr 02 – @ MIL – Garcia 3
    4 Apr 03 ——————–
    5 Apr 04 – @ WSH – Hale 5

    1 Apr 05 – @ WSH – Teheran 1
    2 Apr 06 – @ WSH – Wood 2
    3 Apr 07 ——————–
    4 Apr 08 – v NYM – Garcia 3
    5 Apr 09 – v NYM – Hale 5

    1 Apr 10 – v NYM – Teheran 1
    2 Apr 11 – v WSH – Wood 2
    3 Apr 12 – v WSH – **** Santana **** 0
    4 Apr 13 – v WSH – Garcia 4
    5 Apr 14 – @ PHI – Hale 5

    If you DON’T plug Santana in there, Garcia will go from pitching Day 4, to pitching Day 3, and Hale will go from pitching Day 5 to pitching Day 4, which would put them both on short rest. Throw Santana in on the 12th, and Garcia and Hale can each stay on Day 4 and Day 5, respectively.

    I’ve mapped out the rotation cycles through May trying to figure out the opportune times to slot Santana, Minor and Floyd in. I’ve got Minor on April 23 or 25, on either side of an off day. Floyd is tougher to project because he’s farther out, and there happens to be a chance on Apr 28 to skip somebody. But barring setbacks, and assuming they don’t skip anybody I’ve got Floyd debuting April 30 or May 5.

  63. 63
    Stu Says:

    Medlen’s making $5.8 million this year. Considering how much longer the second TJ rehab seems to take, I’ll be pretty surprised if he’s tendered a contract. His 2015 and Venters’ 2014 situation are not apples and apples.

  64. 64
    timo Says:

    @62, Thanks JJ… Ugh, I am really not very confident in this rotation. Darn.

  65. 65
    Anon21 Says:

    62: I know it would kind of suck, but they should really start Hale or Garcia on Opening Day against Milwaukee, make sure both Teheran and Wood get turns against Washington—both times, if possible.

  66. 66
    Smitty Says:

    Alex Wood as our number two? Ugh…

  67. 67
    jjschiller Says:

    @64, if it eases your mind any, in the best case scenario, if Minor debuts on the Apr 23 and Floyd on Apr 30, we have to get through 25 games before the rotation becomes Floyd, Santana, Minor, Teheran and Wood.

    And even in those 25 games, Teheran and Wood would comibine for 12 starts, Minor and Santana for 4 more, and Hale and Garcia would combine for 9.

    We can live through that. We just have to hope for nothing worse than a guy missing a start here-or-there. Any substantial DL stays this season, we’re going to struggle with. Maybe if that happens, Hale plugs in for 5 more starts. Maybe JR Graham has his feet back under him by then. Who knows.

    But Floyd, Santana, Teheran, Minor and Wood is pretty good. That’s 4 quality major leaguers and one well thought of rookie. That’s not Carlyle, Campillo and Jo Jo Reyes.

  68. 68
    Anon21 Says:

    66: That part doesn’t bother me at all; I think he may end up being the Braves’ best starter on a per-inning basis, and not for lack of competition.

  69. 69
    Rob Cope Says:

    @66

    Wood is the #2 for a few rotation cycles. Nothing to go crazy about, especially in April, where your rotation alignment is uncertain at best. Aside from what April looks like, our rotation still looks like this:

    Teheran
    Minor
    Santana
    Wood
    Garcia

    We can win with that. A lot of games. And if Garcia struggles, David Hale is there. Is Hale struggles, there’s the waiver wire. Someone can be a Ben Sheets this year. Why not?

  70. 70
    csg Says:

    #63 – exactly. At first I thought he was making $5.3 but when I looked it up online it showed a salary of $2.8. Either way I was wrong. I doubt he’s tendered a contract since best case scenario is probably a May-June return. I don’t see any other team offering him $6 mil as a FA either.

  71. 71
    csg Says:

    What would the pitching matchups look like against Washington? We might get the backend of their rotation also.

  72. 72
    Anon21 Says:

    71: Doesn’t really matter what end of their rotation we get; we should have our best going if it’s Strasburg or if it’s Jordan. That said, I don’t think the Nationals have given any indication either way on how they plan to set their rotation for the April series against the Braves.

  73. 73
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    The real issue is the offense, which was awfully inconsistent last year. We won 96 games because our pitching and defense were ridiculously good, and they are going to take a step backward due to both injuries and regression to the mean.

    So the question is: can the offense, which is identical to the 2013 offense minus Brian McCann, actually pick up the slack?

    There’s reason to believe that it can, since Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton may both be ready for a dead-cat bounce, and Jason Heyward and Justin Upton have room to improve, even if Andrelton Simmons and Freddie Freeman are unlikely to improve substantially over their collective 2013 performance. (If I had to guess, I’d bet that Simmons’s homers will go down while his OBP will go up, and I’d bet that Freeman’s homers will stay flat while his average declines slightly.)

    Oh, and Chris Johnson is not going to improve, even if he manages not to decline much. And even if Gattis improves over his 2013 performance, but he’s not likely to exceed the performance of the 2013 McCann/Gattis/Laird platoon.

    So how much can our offense truly improve? That’s the key question.

  74. 74
    td Says:

    I have said before that I go back and forth on Fredi as a manager and I lost some confidence in him last year based on his ability to control the team. If he gets 96 wins this year out of this team he will fully deserve manager of the year honors.

  75. 75
    krussell Says:

    @73, I’ll take the other side of the Simmons prediction. More homers and more OBP. Freeman I’m not as certain about. It’s certainly possible for him to do better, but I think I’m just hoping for something along the lines of last year.

    The offense gets better if 2B and CF aren’t the two worst players in baseball and everyone else treads water. It’s probably not asking too much to hope that Jason and JUpton have better 2014s than 2013s.

  76. 76
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Eight of his 17 homers were classified as “Just Enough” at Hit Tracker Online, and the other nine were classified as “Plenty” — none were classified as “No Doubt.” (By comparison, of Gattis’s 21 homers, eight were No Doubt, seven were Plenty, and only six were Just Enough.)

    I think Simmons is due for some regression; he got comparatively lucky on those Just Enoughs going over the fence.

    http://www.hittrackeronline.com/detail.php?id=2013_3976&type=hitter

  77. 77
    Adam R Says:

    The Tigers want Pastornicky. Bullpen arms, please.

  78. 78
    Dan Says:

    Alex Wood as our number two? Ugh…

    He won’t pitch like #2.

  79. 79
    kc Says:

    @77 We should jump at any opportunity when there is a team asking for Pastornicky…if we are this lucky.

  80. 80
    ryan c Says:

    @77
    Source?

  81. 81
    csg Says:

    Mlbtr

    After Jose Iglesias’ injury, the Tigers’ shortstop options (Danny Worth, Hernan Perez, Eugenio Suarez) do not impress scouts. The Tigers likely won’t pursue free agent Stephen Drew, and trade target Chris Owings of the Diamondbacks doesn’t look likely either. Rosenthal speculates the Tigers could look to Clint Barmes of the Pirates or Tyler Pastornicky of the Braves instead.

  82. 82
    ryan c Says:

    @82
    I read that too but that’s only speculation from Rosenthal not actual interest from the Tigers.

  83. 83
    csg Says:

    Oh I agree, I’m just assuming that’s what he was referring too.

  84. 84
    braves14 Says:

    I call this category “Crap I Read on the AJC Blog/Official Site Blog”… and today’s quote is: “Send Schafer, Pastornicky, a prospect & Mejia to the Rays for David Price”

    May I add a cat turd to that proposal to sweeten the offer?

  85. 85
    Dan Says:

    Get it done, Wren!

  86. 86
    ububba Says:

    Aroldis Chapman hit in the face with a liner–yikes.

    http://tinyurl.com/p3vy6k6

  87. 87
    Adam R Says:

    Horrible. Evidently, the new helmets wouldn’t have protected him.

  88. 88
    Marc Schneider Says:

    @14,

    Can I get some of whatever those people are smoking that proposed that deal?

  89. 89
    Smitty Says:

    No way the Tigers want Pastornicky as a SS.

  90. 90
    Seat Painter Says:

    Here’s hoping Chapman makes a quick recovery.

    I agree that the Tigers want no part of The Rev at SS. If they made a run at Ramiro Pena however, I’d certainly hope Wren’s ears would perk up a bit.

  91. 91
    jjschiller Says:

    I think Ramiro Pena has more value to this team than he would net in a trade. He’s hit well enough to keep, but not well enough to acquire.

  92. 92
    Adam R Says:

    I get that it’s a writer manufacturing a story…

    But if Pastornicky represents an improvement on the Tigers’ current options — can they hit or field at all? Look, if you think you can handle it, at what Hernan Perez is projected to do this year — and if Pastornicky is an affordable stopgap (trade and salary-wise) until Iglesias returns, why wouldn’t they want him?

    It’s hard to wrap one’s head around the idea that Pastornicky could be a cheap and available improvement on the Tigers’ current situation, but there it is. And if they want, they could use him on the bench to pinch hit for Iglesias when he’s back.

    EDIT: I would like to think that Wren is using Rosenthal to let Dombrowski know that the Rev is available.

  93. 93
    Jeff K Says:

    Guys, guys, now is the time for us to be talking up Pastornicky. I, for one, wouldn’t deal him to the Tigers or anyone else without good middle relief in return.

  94. 94
    braves14 Says:

    Per DOB, Beachy is going to have his 2nd TJ surgery done by Dr. ElAttrache.

  95. 95
    Rob Cope Says:

    Tyler Pastornicky is worth a good middle reliever. We have Tommy La Stella, Ramiro Pena, Dan Uggla, and Tyler Pastornicky, and they’d all do about the same amount of production at second. Turn one of them into a middle reliever. A left middle reliever would replace Wood pretty nicely.

  96. 96
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    You know, Jeff K, you’re right. Winning ballclubs don’t trade away versatile players like Pastornicky — they build around them. Tyler Pastornicky plays the game the right way, does all the little things, doesn’t try to do too much, and he does everything they ask him to. Guys like that win championships, fellas.

  97. 97
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    [/ sarcasm]

    That said, I think that Wren would have traded Dan Uggla for a ham sandwich this offseason if he could have found someone willing to pay his salary. There were no takers.

  98. 98
    ryan c Says:

    @Adam R
    Your original statement is a misrepresentation of a writer saying the Tigers should be interested in Pastornicky.

    This doesn’t mean that I would mind to deal with them. They have some attractive bullpen arms.

  99. 99
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    By the way, Ervin Santana’s debut is being aired live on MLB.com right now.

  100. 100
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Heyward leads off the game with an opposite-field triple, and my God I love watching that man run.

  101. 101
    Seat Painter Says:

    Annnnd…the first game finished today gives us the first One Shining Moment….

    Dayton 60, The Ohio State University 59.

  102. 102
    One Eye Says:

    My billion dollar bracket is busted after game 1 – thanks buckeyes…

  103. 103
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Erik Bedard may not make the Rays rotation, and if he doesn’t, he wants out.

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/10633620/erik-bedard-tampa-bay-rays-plans-opt-contract-not-tampa-bay-rays-rotation

    Go get him, Wren. He could be our 2014 Ben Sheets.

  104. 104
    Smitty Says:

    Bedard sucks

  105. 105
    Rusty S. Says:

    My last memory of Bedard is that he was pretty dominant for 3 or 4 innings a couple of years ago.

  106. 106
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Mets fans are shouting, “Let’s go soup!” for a guy named Eric Campbell, which is weird.

    This one is actually just two years younger than the guy who busted for us all those years ago.

    Theirs: http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=campbe003eri

    Ours: http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=campbe001eri

  107. 107
    Adam R Says:

    @98, I tried to retract my statement at the top of 92… I should have known better. Nobody likes Pastornicky.

  108. 108
    spike Says:

    And down goes Cincy. That should just about do it for Buffet.

  109. 109
    Stu Says:

    Dunno about that. Four of the 15 entrants in my office are still perfect through the first five games. I think the two upsets have been commonly-picked ones, so far.

  110. 110
    ububba Says:

    I had Dayton in my pool. But that was only because I’m a fan of Guided By Voices, who live there.

  111. 111
    Rob Cope Says:

    https://twitter.com/ajcbraves/status/446747236748525568

  112. 112
    jjschiller Says:

    @111 – Well the 9th would line up directly with his start today, where as they’d have to add a few random rest days to get him lined up for the 12th.

    But slotting him on to start on the 9th would only let you skip one of Garcia and Hale, not let you replace them yet. Whoever you skipped would likely make at least 2 more starts before Minor returned to replace him for good.

  113. 113
    beege Says:

    106,

    That was funny. I have a friend with the last name Campbell who everyone calls Soup because his first name is very common (I’m Beege for the same reason).

  114. 114
    Seat Painter Says:

    And the first NCAA result today is an even bigger shocker than Dayton over tOSU.

    Mercer 78, Duke 71.

    #Buffettsleepssoundlynow.

  115. 115
    Rob Cope Says:

    Anybody still perfect over there, Stu?

    ESPN stats said 0.17% was still perfect after last night. Interested to see what it’d be now.

  116. 116
    JonathanF Says:

    ESPN showing 57 remaining perfect scores at this link: http://games.espn.go.com/tournament-challenge-bracket/2014/en/leaderboard

  117. 117
    Stu Says:

    115—Definitely not. I was 15/16 yesterday and have only gotten one right today.

  118. 118
    Dan Says:

    My last memory of Bedard is of a team trading a huge package for him, and then sucking hard. In fact, I seem to remember a Braves-Mariners game in which Bedard walked off the field, injured.

  119. 119
    Askia Says:

    Congrats to the TN fans. They looked dominant today.

  120. 120
    Adam R Says:

    And now Peter Moylan has torn his UCL.

  121. 121
    csg Says:

    Ok so maybe teams need to revisit throwing programs after these surgies and Dr Andrews needs to revisit which ligament he’s replacing these with. Something isn’t right.

  122. 122
    csg Says:

    @mlbbowman: The #Braves have until Mon. to decide if Garcia will be on the roster. If he struggles tomorrow, there’s a chance the plan will be altered

  123. 123
    csg Says:

    Add one more

    KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — Detroit Tigers reliever Bruce Rondon needs surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right elbow and will be sidelined for the entire season.

  124. 124
    td Says:

    @122 – I don’t think you can go by how well Garcia does tomorrow to see if he’ll make the team or not. Scouts will be looking for velocity and how his breaking balls are working – it may or may not translate to a good outing. My guess is he’s really close to done. I’ll be kind of surprised if they determine a few starts will be worth $1.5 mil.

  125. 125
    jjschiller Says:

    ushuerholz said on the broadcast something along the lines of “they enabled us to go substantially over our budget, and now its our responsibility to ensure by the end of the season, we’re not as far out of line as we are here at the beginning.” I found that curious.

    But it tells me that, counter intuitively, Garcia is likely to be a casualty of our lack of pitching depth. Suddenly, since our top end isn’t filled by value priced starters, that $1m difference between playing him versus playing Gwinnett-Roulette looks bigger.

  126. 126
    Rob Cope Says:

    @125

    I take that to mean that they are to create a return on the investment via playoff revenue. If Santana is the difference between NLDS and nothing, Santana is pretty cheap. You would think they would have made that investment in years past.

  127. 127
    braves14 Says:

    Gus Schlosser would be Garcia’s replacement, and might be an upgrade anyway.

  128. 128
    Rusty S. Says:

    @125 – Could also mean they will keep trying to move Uggla the first time he shows signs of life.

  129. 129
    Dan Says:

    Thankfully, Uggla has only two years left on his contract, so it’s only two more years of people here deluding themselves that Wren is going to con anyone into taking Uggla.

  130. 130
    Rob Cope Says:

    Uggla’s ours.

    Liberty Media didn’t build their porn empire by being overly-bottom line conscious. Schuerholz probably communicated it very clearly: if we don’t get a good-to-great starting pitcher, the season is over. Regular season through attendance, TV, and concessions will be down, and there will be no playoff revenue. $14M sounds pretty reasonable under those circumstances. In response, they said, “you better be right.”

  131. 131
    Nick Says:

    @130

    That sounds about right, with “You better be right” not really referring to Scheurholz’s job so much as the likelihood they give the Braves $14 million extra the next time this situation comes up.

  132. 132
    Rob Cope Says:

    Right. “Justify the investment.”

  133. 133
    Rob Cope Says:

    How does tendering contracts to pre-arb players work? What factors would go into whether the Braves would offer Medlen a deal next year? Could they offer him a deal heavily weighted with incentives, or would they have to offer him a deal that is “fair market?”

  134. 134
    Anon21 Says:

    133: Medlen’s not pre-arb. My understanding is that they can offer him whatever kind of deal they want, but that he always has the option of just going to arbitration, where he’d probably get at least a few million based on his career to date. I doubt the Braves will be willing to pay him an arbitration salary, so if they can’t come to an agreement on a deal with a low base salary, they probably won’t tender him a contract.

  135. 135
    ryan c Says:

    Jose Mijares has opted out of his deal with the Red Sox and would be a great 2nd or 3rd lefty in the bullpen. His BABIP against was ridiculously high last year (.410) but he has been very dependable prior to last year’s fluke season. He also looks like he was misused in ’13, facing more right-handed hitters than left.

  136. 136
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    New thread.

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