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06 May

I babble on another blog

Series Preview: Mac Thomason Talks Braves

I answered the questions a week ago, though Geoff and I did a little editing since then. So the facts are probably not 100 percent accurate anymore, but they are essentially true.

40 Responses to “I babble on another blog”

  1. 1
    ermoore Says:

    Nice interview, Mac. One thing: isn’t it Gregor Blanco and not Carlos Blanco? Or is this a nickname/inside joke that I’m not privy to (due to a recent absence from BravesJournal)?

  2. 2
    Mac Thomason Says:

    You’re right. I don’t know what I was thinking.

  3. 3
    ermoore Says:

    I probably wouldn’t have noticed it, but I just finished reading Ludlum’s Bourne trilogy and I have Carlos the Jackal on my mind. (Great books completely seperate from the movies).

  4. 4
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I think what happened is that I always used to confuse Blanco with Carlos Duran, who was also a no-power outfielder who played on a lot of the same minor league teams, but stalled out in AA.

  5. 5
    kc Says:

    Stu, that’s insane. Rohrbaugh is untouchable. Not for Blanton at least.

  6. 6
    Stu Says:

    Rohrbaugh is untouchable. Not for Blanton at least.

    Obviously, I disagree. Rohrbaugh is still a couple years from the majors, and we have several similarly-regarded pitching prospects. Seems like a position of depth.

    Also, Blanton may not be sexy, but he is a proven innings eater. Sort of a #2.5 starter in the AL, which could very well translate into a legit 2 in the NL.

    Sure things are more valuable than prospects, IMO.

  7. 7
    Cliff Says:

    Another sign Skip was “on” over the wekend.

    When announcing Gregor Blanco for an at bat he said something like, “And stepping to the plate, Gregor Blanco, and we know that’s Greg White, anyway.”

  8. 8
    Robert Says:

    Francoeur (Felix) is a tools guy who is slowing making himself into a good player. Every year, he seems to learn another pitch that he shouldn’t swing at.

    Francoeur, HR per 100 PA
    2005: 5.1
    2006: 4.2
    2007: 2.7
    2008: 2.2

    While I agree he’s getting a little more patient, it’s costing him power. I’m not sure he’s getting better so much as he’s getting different. And still not all that good for a corner outfielder. Although a decent value for the price.

  9. 9
    Stu Says:

    Francoeur, HR per 100 PA
    2005: 5.1
    2006: 4.2
    2007: 2.7
    2008: 2.2

    Terrifying.

  10. 10
    Smitty Says:

    Francoeur is the least of our problems.

  11. 11
    ububba Says:

    The offense has certainly been inconsistent. I’ll hold out hope that, at some point, 1 thru 5 will begin to mash together.

    And how strange it is that I feel confident with Jurrjens on the mound. Let’s kick the Pads while they’re down.

    Headed to the Bronx tonight—Pettitte vs. Carmona. Am very relieved to see someone other than Mussina pitch for the Yanks (he seems to pitch every time I go). I’d prefer Wang (his games go fast), but I’ll take Pettitte.

    Now that Hughes is hurt & Kennedy is back in the minors—they pitched terribly & won exactly zero games—tonight will be full of fun conversation about “The Trade They Didn’t Make.” Better believe, I’ll bring it up.

  12. 12
    Marc Schneider Says:

    Francoeur doesn’t seem to be making much progress. He is an adequate right fielder-great arm, moderate power, doesn’t walk much–but nothing special at this point. If he isn’t going to hit home runs and he isn’t going to walk, what’s left?

  13. 13
    ububba Says:

    Maybe he shouldn’t have turned down that McCann-Money contract.

  14. 14
    Nick Says:

    Everyone says “Oh, Francoeur will be fine,” “Francoeur is the least of our problems,” etc. And while it is true that we have bigger problems than he (at least in the short term), I’m sorry to say that he is a definite problem. There is not a more infuriating player on this team right now other than Resop IMO. The only word to describe his approach at the plate is “stupid.” I can almost guarantee you that if you were to go back through the video and find our five worst ABs of the year, all of them would belong to Jeff Francoeur. The one that sticks out in my memory is in the top of the 12th of that debacle in Washington last week. He has a runner at third and one out and a 2-0 count on him and he swings at a 2-0 pitch in the other freaking batter’s box because he just assumes he’s gonna get a good pitch rather than waiting for it. He then goes on to strike out to finish what might be the most incompetent AB I have ever seen by a Major League player. And this is not an isolated incident. It happens every freaking game and I’m not seeing any improvement at all. In fact, it’s worse than it was last year, because he’s decided that he’s gonna try and hit home runs this year.

    The fact that he’s a local guy and everyone loves him is seriously blinding everybody to the fact that the guy is turning into the next Andruw Jones. This might even be construed as passable if he had anywhere near Andruw’s power, but he just doesn’t, and probably never will. And everybody just continues wearing their Franceour jerseys and pretending nothing is wrong. Nobody wants to hear it and I, for one, am starting to get extremely sick of it.

    Can he still fix his approach? I think he can. But it would help if everyone would stop kissing his ass. Because if he doesn’t fix it, what is now a relatively moderate annoyance will turn into a gigantic problem in a few years if we still plan on him being the face of the franchise when Chipper retires, because we cannot have our franchise player hitting .270 with 25 home runs.

  15. 15
    ububba Says:

    Frenchy might enjoy the title of “franchise player” in some circles, but this ain’t one of them.

  16. 16
    Another Alex R. Says:

    Actually, what has been infuriating for me has been to watch McCann, who should know better, swing at the first pitch and pop it up weakly. Right now, the two hitters I absolutely trust are Chipper and Yunel, though I still think McCann and Tex should be flipped in the order till Tex remembers how to hit from the right side.

  17. 17
    Alex R. Says:

    #15

    Wouldn’t it be, “FRENCHise Player”?

  18. 18
    Mac Thomason Says:

    No. No, it would not.

  19. 19
    Another Alex R. Says:

    Tex, from the left side: .316 /.395 /.539
    Tex, from the right side: .182 /.265 /.273

    Chipper, from the left side: .438 /.494 /.849
    Chipper, from the right side: .400 /.435 /.475

    Tex is so bad against southpaws this year that he almost needs to be platooned.

  20. 20
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I tend to think that Teixeira’s problems from the right side come under the heading of “just one of those things”. His walks and strikeouts are constant, he’s just not making solid contact. I figure that will come about sooner or later.

    Time to ruin your day… I was trying to find a Mariners blog that actually cared about the Norton deal. I came across this.

    As far as these player-to-be-named-later things go, I get the impression that the PTBNL is chosen based on the contributions of the traded player. For example, Seattle acquired Dave Hollins from the Minnesota Twins for a PTBNL back in 1996. Hollins had been struggling with the Twins, but was a big contributor with the Mariners, so we sent a pretty decent prospect in David Ortiz.

  21. 21
    Alex R. Says:

    #6

    Once again, in relation to similar arguments people on Bravesjournal were having last year about Teixeira, and this past winter about possibly getting Blanton, Bedard or Haren, I once again think more like Stu on this one.

    I also agree that Blanton could be a very solid #2 and a real innings eater – and the value of having someone who throws 7-8 IP each time, with the way Bobby manages a bullpen + the Resop factor, is enormous.

    re: Frenchy

    I actually still have higher hopes for Frenchy than some, but that being said, it is a major issue if he doesn’t step up.

    With the Texeira situation being so up in the air and leaning towards his F.A. departure, one thing that could offset that greatly (in the worst case scenario of losing Tex) is Frenchy moving to the next stage, offensively, making the possible Tex departure, a less bitter pill to swallow and allowing that freed up money to upgrade the rotation.

    In an ideal world, we could keep Tex and add another starter, but if we lose Tex, we will need to find some kind of decent 1st Base offense and then upgrade the rotation signifigantly so we could at least go back to winning a lot of 2-1 games next year.

  22. 22
    braves14 Says:

    I think Francoeur is what he is.

    A league average RF who is cheap right now.

  23. 23
    sansho1 Says:

    nick, that was a beautiful rant. I don’t fully agree, but I must give credit.

  24. 24
    Robert Says:

    He has a runner at third and one out and a 2-0 count on him and he swings at a 2-0 pitch in the other freaking batter’s box because he just assumes he’s gonna get a good pitch rather than waiting for it.

    Watching him every day, I still think he decides whether to swing before the pitch is made a lot of the time. I think Diaz does this some too. It’s hard to have a walk rate that low, you pretty much have to decide beforehand that you are swinging at every 2-0, 3-1 and 3-2 pitch.

  25. 25
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I know that Billy Beane thinks that pitch recognition is a talent, not a skill. Now, that may just be because he was never able to get a handle on it himself, but there may be something to it. Francoeur is better now than he was two years ago at laying off really bad pitches, but strike zone judgment will never be his forte.

  26. 26
    Mac Thomason Says:

    New poll.

  27. 27
    ububba Says:

    Agree on the Frenchy/Diaz comment.

    Those 2 guys come out of their shoes swinging more than anyone I’ve seen. It’s like a wrong guess-gone-weird.

  28. 28
    Stu Says:

    The fact that he’s a local guy and everyone loves him is seriously blinding everybody to the fact that the guy is turning into the next Andruw Jones.

    I would love for him to turn into the next Andruw Jones. At this point, I don’t think his ceiling is anywhere near that high.

  29. 29
    Alex R. Says:

    Stu,

    Which Andruw – I assume you don’t mean the fat, .170 hitter currently busting out of a Dodger uni, right?

  30. 30
    Stu Says:

    I mean this Andruw, Alex, the one who was a consistent All-Star-caliber player and was well above average offensively for several years. I would take the same sharp decline from Jeff we’re now seeing with Andruw if it meant we got those highs for a while.

  31. 31
    Marc Schneider Says:

    I pretty much agree with Nick except that I doubt that he can fix his approach. I was at game here in DC the night before the 12 inning game. Frenchy was up 4 times and swung at the first pitch 4 times. While I agree that McCann has had some bad ABs this year, I don’t think you can compare him to Francoeur. He clearly isn’t the worst issue on the team, but I do think he is a significant drag on the offense. To me, he never looks good at the plate even when he does get a hit. And how long does he get away with the excuse of being young? He’s been in the big leagues going on three full years now.

    As for Andruw, I always thought he was overrated but at least he brought significant value being such a fabulous centerfielder and he would hit home runs. At this point, Frenchy’s main value is that, as someone pointed out, he is cheap.

  32. 32
    sansho1 Says:

    I gave him a C — I see progress, but it’s so incremental that he could be past his physical prime before he controls his worst impulses.

    So far this season, his strikeout rate is down significantly, but his popup rate is up significantly. So he’s not missing pitches a foot outside, he’s making poor contact on pitches six inches outside. With a heavy sigh, I’ll call that progress.

  33. 33
    Alex R. Says:

    Stu,

    I had no idea until I clicked the Andruw link you put there that his middle name was “Rudolph”. That fascinates me.

  34. 34
    The Second Spitter Says:

    Frency is hard to peg. I thought for sure the he would be a .280 40 120 type guy, now I’m more inclined to think he’s going to be a .280 30 100 guy. Thats not a bad thing, but guys like that are common. Maybe he’s still adjusting and adapting. I hope he does become a All-Star type OF, but league average corner outfielder is what I’m afraid he’ll remain.

  35. 35
    Robert Says:

    The fact that he’s a local guy and everyone loves him is seriously blinding everybody to the fact that the guy is turning into the next Andruw Jones.

    Yeah, God forbid we come up with another Andruw. I’m not sure I could take another five time All-Star and ten time Gold Glover patrolling the outfield.

  36. 36
    Mac Thomason Says:

    New thread.

  37. 37
    Douglass Says:

    re: 34

    the problem with Frenchy is that his .280 BA tends to come with a .315-.330 OBP. That IS a bad thing.

    OPS>BA>cumulative RBI totals in evaluating a hitter, in my opinion.

    Frenchy hasn’t put up higher than a .782 since his fluke rookie season. That’s not gettin it done for a “franchise” corner outfielder.

  38. 38
    Ron Says:

    Jeff should be platooning (at best), but the Braves don’t have any left handed power hitting outfielders who would be any better than him vs right handed pitchers. Jeff’s throwing arm and meaningless games played streak probably keeps him in the Braves lineup long past the time Bobby would have yanked any other headcase young player. Barring a light bulb going on in Jeff’s empty skull in the next few years, Jeff won’t (shouldn’t) be long on the Braves roster once he’s arbitration eligible.

  39. 39
    Perimeter Perez Says:

    Yes, Jeff is perhaps the most frustrating hitter currently on the Braves’ roster.

    It’s obvious that he has loads of talent, and I do believe that he’s working on his plate approach. However, there are times when he completely loses his plan. Runners in scoring position seem (at least from my all-too-human memory) to trigger it, and then he’s back to looking like the Braves called him up from AA yesterday.

    He certainly exhibits signs of stupidity, but I think the actual problem is much more complex. There are times when I see Jeff at the plate and he has the look of a wide-eyed wild man jacked on adrenaline and the thrill of the hunt. Somebody has to work with him to remain calm, maintain an intelligent plate approach, and wait for a good pitch to hit.

    There are some people who have criticized his bat speed ever since he came to the majors (“slider speed”, etc.) which, if valid, means he may never be an elite player. He may have to guess at pitches more than other batters, essentially making up his mind on swinging before the pitcher is even winding up. If that’s the case, the frustration will continue.

    I believe he’s a very good hitter, though, and I have high hopes for his continual improvement.

  40. 40
    brule™ Says:

    Sorry for late response because I wouldn’t access the internet everyday.

    #19 Alex
    Good point. I just remember Tex was extremely not good the right side compared the left side when he was in the Rangers. This is not a pessimistic view. I see he can’t seem to be a Chipper.

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