Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

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18 Dec

Kris Medlen (by kc)

Ho, ho, ho, my Braves Journal friends, the holiday season is approaching. You’re saying you want something for Christmas?

Aren’t you forgetting something?

Santa is very sorry, but Santa already gave you your present on July 31. That was the day that Kris Medlen made his first start for the Braves. Medlen made a total of 12 starts, pitching 83 2/3 innings with a 0.97 ERA, 84 strikeouts and 10 walks, while allowing 57 hits and 9 earned runs. (Santa excluded the stats from the wild card game, because as far as Santa is concerned, that game never happened.)

Those are some very shiny numbers. But just how shiny are they? Take a look at the following rate stats:

Pitcher A: 7.5 inning per start, K/9 of 7.8, BB/9 of 1.0, H/9 of 7.5, and ERA of 1.63
Pitcher B: 7.1 inning per start, K/9 of 9.3, BB/9 of 1.0, H/9 of 6.1, and ERA of 0.92

Pitcher B is Medlen. Pitcher A is Greg Maddux in 1995, his fourth straight Cy Young season and the best season in his career by rWAR. (He had 9.5 WAR that year. Yeah.) So Medlen was that good. For two months, he was as good as Greg Maddux at his prime.

The similarities between the two are beyond the numbers and also their style of pitching. I think Chipper put it the best:

He’s the closest thing I’ve seen to Maddux for the simple fact that he has a devastating changeup. Maddux would kill you with command of his fastball and cutter early in the count and then put you away with his changeup. Medlen is able to make the ball start off the plate and come back on the corner. The one difference is that Maddux could make the ball go both ways on both sides of the plate. Medlen doesn’t have the cutter, but he has a better breaking ball than Maddux did. The approach to getting people out is the same.

Santa loves watching Kris Medlen, and who doesn’t? It’s the same reasons that Santa loved watching Maddux:

  1. Their deliveries are both very simple and smooth
  2. They field their position amazingly well
  3. They pitch fast and aggressively attack the strike zone
  4. They make hitters look stupid with the unusual frequency of hitters taking a called strike three
    (This is so fun to watch. Eight of the thirteen strikeouts came with the hitter taking third strike, and that came against the Natspos. Santa HATES the Natspos. That’s why he gave them a big lump of coal named Jayson Werth.)

With that in mind, what should we be expecting from Medlen in 2013? There is a Bill James projection on FanGraphs, and Santa thinks it sounds pretty reasonable: 14-7, 190 IP, 2.94 ERA, 2.80 FIP, 8.2 K/9, and 1.7 BB/9. Boys and girls, even accounting for regression from his off-the-charts performance last year, Santa gave you a top of the rotation starter.

The development in 2012 of Medlen, along with Brandon Beachy and Mike Minor, allowed the Braves to ship out Tommy Hanson and jettison Jair Jurrjens, instead of hoping for an unlikely rebound season. The development of the trio as well as our great bullpen allows the Braves to focus on offense during this offseason.

Top of rotation starters don’t exactly grow on trees. The Braves have been teased by a seemingly endless group of prospects that didn’t quite pan out for them, like Bruce Chen, Terrell Wade, Odalis Perez, Jason Marquis, Kyle Davies, Chuck James, Charlie Morton, Horacio Ramirez, and Jo-Jo Reyes, and they let go of some like Millwood, Schmidt, Wainwright, Harrison, and Feliz through trades. Santa hopes that Medlen, Beachy, and Minor will anchor the Braves’ starting rotation for many years to come.

Braves fans, you had your Christmas in July. But Santa wishes you a very Happy New Year! Ho ho ho!

109 Responses to “Kris Medlen (by kc)”

  1. 1
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Awesome write-up.

    This: “Santa HATES the Natspos.”

  2. 2
    csg Says:

    Medlen is a beast, great write up

    @95 With the losses of Reyes, Buerhle, Johnson, and Dickey and no real significant upgrades in our division, I think our current team, W/L wise, is equal to last year.

    I dont really think that will be the case though. The Braves handled both the Marlins (14-4), Mets (12-6), and Phils (12-6) last year. Its tough beating any team 14 out of 18 times.

  3. 3
    Johnny Says:

    Great write up. Now go out and get me a LFer, dammit. I know, I’m an ungrateful bastard. But I’m not picky I’ll take a competent 3B if you can’t get me a LFer.

  4. 4
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Report linked to on MLBTR states the Dodgers are shopping Ethier to make room for Swisher.

    Ethier is a strange case. He is all-star caliber against RH pitching but so bad against lefties that he is basically a platoon player, even if it has taken the Dodgers five years to realize this. He is owed 85 million for his age 31-35 seasons, which is way too steep for a declining, platoon player on a team with a limited budget. But if the Dodgers kick in 20+ million I’d be intrigued.

  5. 5
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Ethier’s a reasonable player on an insane, Ryan Howard-esque contract. I’d certainly be interested, but they’d have to kick in a lot of cash for him to make sense. Actually, it’s a good bit like the Soriano situation.

  6. 6
    Kevin Lee Says:

    Most entertaining!
    Great write-up, kc.
    (And sorry so late, Rob Cope, but you can certainly write, too!)

    Go Braves!

  7. 7
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Eithier + cash for Uggs? Not sure that would help or hurt.

  8. 8
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Or the Dodgers eat less salary but take Uggla and we use a three headed platoon of Prado/Roadrunner/Janish. Janish would save enough runs with the glove and Ethier produce enough with the bat to basically make the move a wash for this year. But it would make room for Ahmed at 2B in 2014 (or sooner).

  9. 9
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    I find myself thinking like Sam with a disturbing regularity.

  10. 10
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Delgado + Uggla for Ethier + 15 million + 2 prospects.

  11. 11
    ryan c Says:

    If we’re debating trading for Ethier, why not just look at trading for Soriano? Both are likely a 2.5-4 WAR player and Soriano would cost less in prospects and less in terms of money (as the Cubs have said they’d be willing to eat 26m of his contract).

    Janish, even with plus defense, is a negative WAR player. Put him at 3rd, and the defense wouldn’t stand out as much as it did at SS and the nonexistent bat would be glaring.

    Uggla for Ethier is a lateral move as Ethier’s overall numbers aren’t much better (if any) than Uggla’s.

  12. 12
    Adam R Says:

    I don’t think the Dodgers are interested in our piddly little lotto-ticket prospect-type pitchers.

  13. 13
    NickH Says:

    I love Medlen, but I think the Bill James prediction (2.8 FIP) for 2013 is overly optimistic. For comparison’s sake, here were the best starting pitchers in 2012 by FIP: Stephen Strasburg (2.82), Gio Gonzalez (2.82), Felix Hernandez (2.84), Clayton Kershaw (2.89), Justin Verlander (2.94). Essentially, with a 2.8 FIP you’d be predicting Medlen to be statistically the best pitcher in baseball on a per-inning basis.

    Medlen’s run as a starter last year was amazing to watch, and while a lot of his success was legit (particularly the excellent K/BB rate), he was also fortunate with respect to every indicator affected by luck – LOB%, HR/FB %, BABIP. Last year’s 138 IP was also the most innings he’s thrown at a single level in one year. Part of Medlen’s challenge will be to stay strong and stay ahead of major league hitters for a full season’s worth of starts. I think he can do it, and be a true #1, but probably not on the level of Kershaw or Strasburg. Here’s my guess for 2013: 15W/3.1 ERA/1.1 WHIP/170 K (200 IP).

  14. 14
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Problem is, Uggla sucks, but he provides at least theoretical right-handed power. Ethier can’t hit lefties. Of course, finding a taker for Uggla would mean Prado slides back to 2B and we’d need to platoon someone with El Nino Destructor.

  15. 15
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    @11, I worry that that estimate may be high. At least by rWAR, Ethier’s never produced 4 WAR, and Soriano hasn’t produced more than 2.5 WAR since 2007. I think 2.5 WAR is closer to an upper bound than a lower bound for both.

  16. 16
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Apart from his age and continued decline, the other problem with Soriano is that he is right handed. Ethier works pretty well for us because we already have a decent right handed platoon partner (Johnson), and there is a fair chance we will soon have an even better option (Gattis).

    12- You are right, of course. Dodgers have no need for Delgado.

    I’d still do Uggla for Ethier + cash.

  17. 17
    MikeM Says:

    Nice write-up kc.

    What’s a reasonable innings total for Medlen this year, assuming no injuries?

    He pitched 138 last year. Is asking a 27-year old a couple years removed from surgery to throw 210+ inning too much?

  18. 18
    Coop Says:

    Great write-up, Santa KClaus. Ho! Ho! Hope your Christmas is merry and bright and that Santa stuffs all Braves Jounalistas’s stockings with a quality solution to the LF/3B problem.

    Medlen is my favorite Braves pitcher since the Great One. Long may he thrive in a Braves uniform.

    Merry Christmas, y’all.

  19. 19
    Smitty Says:

    I say we get the following from Meds:

    13-5, 180 IP, 3.10 ERA, 2.50 FIP, 8 K/9, and 2 BB/9

  20. 20
    justhank Says:

    Ya know when your rich relative or successful company gives you that REALLY good box of candy where every piece is so different but SO delicious? Well, that’s like the varied and diverse talents of the contributors to Mac’s House. I’m continually blown away.
    ————————

    Now, as to Medlen – my favorite pitcher since Maddux. And the comparison is apt. Both of them know something that so many baseball people seem to forget: pitching is about keeping the hitter off balance so that his swings are less likely to hurt your team.

    It’s not about being 6’6″. It’s not about throwing 100 mph (see: Phillies bitch-slapping Aroldis in the playoffs). It’s about frustrating the opposition.

    I’d love to know the back-story on Medlen. How in the world – with a 90 mph fastball, a build like a Vandy law student, and a goofiness that must surely have been off-putting to the legion of gruff and negative coaches along the way – did he make it this far?

    If you offer me Josh Johnson or Kris Medlen, I’ll take Medlen every time.

  21. 21
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    I hate to even suggest this, but Uggla for Ethier + Cash, and Delgado to Toronto for Bonifacio + prospects. No need to play Janish.

  22. 22
    NickH Says:

    @17 Between AAA, the regular season and the play-in game which shall not be discussed any further, Medlen threw 157 2/3 innings last year. I’m guessing the Braves hope to push that up to the 200 IP range this year, which would be an increase of 40 innings-ish.

  23. 23
    ryan c Says:

    @21
    Why would that make us better?

    @15
    According to Fangraphs, from 2010-12, Soriano’s had 3.2, 1.4, and 4.0 WAR, while Ethier’s were 2.3, 2.9, and 3.4.

    Furthermore, Soriano had 32 HR last year to go along with an .821 OPS and was rated as an average LF (as of which he’s been his entire career even though many think he’s a butcher in the field). A system that rates that production at anything less than a 2.5 WAR, in my opinion, is seriously flawed.

  24. 24
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    If ever there were a pitcher that demanded a more refined workload measure than IP, it is Medlen. He could throw 200+ IP without ever exceeding 110 pitches in a start.

  25. 25
    ryan c Says:

    By the way…didn’t know the difference in all of the WARs…but really? How can one defensive metric rate 1 player well above average and another rate the same well below?

    http://www.fangraphs.com/library/index.php/war/differences-fwar-rwar/

    Maybe I’ll just go back to saying he’s good/bad because…

  26. 26
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    23-I think we can all agree that previous to 2009 Soriano was a fantastic player. But since then he has had OBPs of .303, .322, .289, and .322. Lat year he hit 32 HRs at the expense of a career high in Ks. He is a player perched precariously on the edge of age-related skill set collapse. Going by the eyeball test on his defense, I trust rWAR much more than fWAR.

    Ethier, by contrast, has an rWAR and fWAR that both punish him for his defense in right field. In left he will be league average, and with Reed Johnson a known quantity we are far, far more likely to get good value out of an Ethier platoon than from Soriano.

  27. 27
    ryan c Says:

    @26
    A platoon player? A platoon player that, at the minimum, would cost 50 million dollars and serious prospects. A platoon player. That’s where we’re at now?

  28. 28
    ryan c Says:

    I’d take 32 HR and an .821 OPS no matter the Ks.

  29. 29
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    If we’re debating trading for Ethier, why not just look at trading for Soriano?

    Who are you willing to send to Chicago? Please note that 1) the Cubs are no longer run by morons and 2) Soriano’s deal is actually a little bit better than Uggla’s at this point, so it’s not like you can just flip bad contracts with them any more.

  30. 30
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    27-28- No one believes Soriano is going to replicate that performance in his age 37 season, least of all the Cubs, which likely explains why they are willing to pay tens of millions of dollars to unload him.

    As for platoons, you do realize that Ethier + Reed Johnson project to an OPS of better than .880, which is considerably more valuable than even the most optimistic Soriano projection, even before taking into account park adjustments.

    As for 50 million and serious prospects, no one has ever suggested any such thing. Dodgers take a bad contract (Uggla) for one that is slightly worse (Ethier) + cash. In that case we are talking about paying less then ten million a year for five years of Ethier + Reed Johnson/Gattis. Yes please.

  31. 31
    ryan c Says:

    I’m sure in the Dodgers opinion, the Ethier contract isn’t worse than Uggla’s, and yes, guaranteed itd cost at least 1 serious prospect to land Ethier at a discounted rate.

  32. 32
    justhank Says:

    OK, say we do that. Does Prado go to 2B? Francisco to 3B every day?

    Hmmm … not turrible. Francisco replaces the THREAT of the HR lost with the departure of Dangerous Dan and Ethier / Johnson certainly give us professional-grade hitting in LF.

    Spending a million or two on Rolen might make some sense in this scenario. Sure wish Gattis could play 3B.

  33. 33
    Smitty Says:

    If the only reason we aren’t putting Gattis in left is because we aren’t sure he can hack it out there, whey would we trade for Soriano?

    Upton would die from having to chase balls to the LF corner. Soriano is a terrible defender.

    In fact, Soriano makes Klesko look like Andruw Jones.

  34. 34
    justhank Says:

    “Flexo” (as my then-two-year-old called him) was almost as hilarious as Melky in LF.
    ——————

    I asked earlier about Adderol and LaRoche. Isn’t that a banned substance these days? And, if so, what is LaRoche taking to control his ADHD?

  35. 35
    ryan c Says:

    @33
    Sounds like Soriano suffers from Matt Diaz syndrome:
    1. Fails the eye test
    2. Passes most advanced defensive metrics including UZR, TZ, TZL, UZR/150, but not including DRS (-5 for his career, which is minimally below average).

    Could it be he looks horrible at doing his job but actually does it pretty well?

  36. 36
    Kevin Le Says:

    All this mention of Scott Rolen gives a fellow Hoosier hope to see a good player back in uniform.
    But what role would the Braves offer him?

    The disappointing end to the season had him talking retirement. Recently, he told the Reds he’d be interested in coming back and they said they’d be happy to have him back in the “right role”.

    He won a Gold Glove in 2010 and was their rock. Up until September last the Reds fans kept wishing he’d get healthy. Then they all agreed they could do without him.

    His left shoulder is a mess and prone to go at any time. But when he plays, he’s solid and has Chipper-like prescence in the clubhouse.

    The Braves fan in me says pass on Rolen.

  37. 37
    Kevin Lee Says:

    Pass on Scott Rolen.
    The Reds have a place for him. Now that he’s over his disappointment from the playoffs, he’ll most certainly take it.

  38. 38
    NickH Says:

    @34 According to my Google search, LaRoche takes attention deficit medication. Major League Baseball granted 116 Therapeutic Use Exemptions for attention deficit disorder (a record high) in 2012. http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2012/11/30/mlbs-annual-drug-report-adderall/1738371/

    The link I included notes that the exemptions total roughly 9% of MLB players, roughly twice the rate of ADHD a 2006 study commissioned by the National Institute of Mental Health found in the general population.

  39. 39
    ryan c Says:

    Adderol is not a banned substance in the MLB. It has, however, been tripled down on (takes a 3 “expert panel” to be given an exemption). That won’t be hard to get approved as doctors seem to love passing out Adderol to anyone that looks slightly to the right during testing. Average adult population with ADD/ADHD is 5%, Major Leaguers, 8%.

    I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 8 in ’86, when no one was being diagnosed with ADHD. I will say this. I am a fully functional elementary education teacher that has been rewarded for helping many in the past cope with their ADD/ADHD without medication. However, I have broken many bones from being easily distracted and lost my keys for 2 weeks in the bottom of a 6 pack of beer.

    I have never taken medication.

  40. 40
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I love Scott Rolen. I think he’s a Hall of Famer. But I also think he’s done.

  41. 41
    JonathanF Says:

    @39: Ah, the things I’ve lost from a six pack of beer… oh, wait… your’s wasn’t opened? Never mind.

  42. 42
    Kevin Lee Says:

    Sorry for the double post.

  43. 43
    Stu Says:

    Rather trade Uggla for Greinke + cash.

  44. 44
    JonathanF Says:

    Am I alone here expecting an Uggla rebound?

  45. 45
    Smitty Says:

    @43

    Stu, have you given up on Uggla for Puljos+ cash?

  46. 46
    Stu Says:

    45—It was Jurrjens for Pujols, duh. And the Braves blew that one via non-tender.

  47. 47
    PeteOrr Says:

    @44 – Are we trading him to the Hawks? That’s the only way I could see it, and even then he’s pretty short.

  48. 48
    spike Says:

    Depends on how high a building we throw him off of.

  49. 49
    cliff Says:

    Dead owl bounce.

  50. 50
    Adam R Says:

    I figured that ‘Britney Beth’ was the rebound.

  51. 51
    jjschiller Says:

    Bowman pointed out that between Uggla’s poor start in 2011, then hot finish, then hot start to 2012, followed by terrible finish, he had a stretch of 130 games where he hit .291 with 34 home runs and a .938 OPS

    I mean, sure, yeah, arbitrary end-points, anybody looks good when you only take their good stretches. But the point here is that was 130 consecutive games, almost a season’s worth, of better than his career averages production. Obviously with 86 games of terrible production before it, and 99 games of terrible production after it.

    There might be something in there. Maybe its mechanical, maybe it’s mental. But he doesn’t appear to be just flat done, to me.

    Of course, these two years are not even HALF of the period we’ll be paying him for, and if he’s been a disappointed in his youngest portion, how can we expect improvement as he ages?

    Short-version, I’m with JonathanF. I think Uggla’s got a chance to rebound.

  52. 52
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Uggla is probably good for +2.5 war next year. He’s not a 5 WAR player. But he’s not a net negative either.

    And Martin Prado is a below average defender at 2B. There’s no point in moving Uggla unless you get something really good in LF.

  53. 53
    csg Says:

    Uggla’s still been a 3+WAR (per season) player for us and has actually been worth the contract so far. Its frustrating to watch sometimes, but Ill take a .340OBP+ and 20+HR’s from our 2B position. I actually dont think it would be that hard to trade him. We could get out from under that contract.

    Bill James projects .238/.341/.439 28HR 87RBI. If he can get that average up to the .260 range, he’ll be incredibly useful.

  54. 54
    Smitty Says:

    I think Uggla goes through those stretches like Andruw did. The ones where he hits a massive HR on a pitch six inches below the knees.

    After that it takes him two weeks to stop chaising balls in the dirt.

  55. 55
    MikeM Says:

    @44 – Depends on what you mean by rebound. Do I think he will be less horrible than last year and hit more than 20 home runs? As I see it, yes.

    Do I think he will return to the Uggla of 4 years ago? Outlook not so good.

  56. 56
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    No, Uggla will not be a 5 WAR player again. That was his peak outlier season.

  57. 57
    jjschiller Says:

    Hey sorry to gum up another thread… but… I’m sure there are some gear-heads here, which I’ve never been.

    I play through an Ampeg 810E. Can take 800 watts at 4 ohms. When I was playing out, I had a 1000 watt amp. Sold that when the band broke up.

    Only amp I currently own is a 350 watt head that I used to play through a single 15 inch speaker, before I shelled out for the Ampeg. I don’t want to pony up for another pro-quality head if I’m not playing out. Likewise, don’t want to buy a crappy cab just to match my low-power amp.

    CAN YOU damage speakers by under-powering? I’ve read conflicting opinions.

  58. 58
    ububba Says:

    Happy Holidaze from the Braves, apparently also from the stop-motion-animation people who created “The Year Without a Santa Claus”:

    http://tinyurl.com/dytsqp9

    Now if only they could get J-Hey to sing “The Heat Miser” song…

  59. 59
    JonathanF Says:

    That reminds me: anybody know where I can get a copy of either the Cee-Lo or the Travis Tritt “My Braves, My South?” For once, the internets have let me down. I presume those recordings are mouldering in a closet somewhere at Time Warner.

  60. 60
    Jeff K Says:

    @57 – Using an underpowered amp-and-speaker setup can cause sound clipping — basically pushing the amp to output beyond its ability, resulting in a distorted wavelength, instead of a true sine curve. I guess this could damage the amp with time but some musicians intentionally push their amps to produce distortion.

  61. 61
    jjschiller Says:

    @60 – Okay. So it isn’t the actual under-powering, it’s what it might make you do to get the volume you want?

    If that’s the case, then I think I’ll be fine.

  62. 62
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    My twitter feed tells me that Gattis just hit another home run. Either he has a lot of power, or Aguila fans really like the adjective “descomunal”.

  63. 63
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I’ll say this for Roadrunner and White Bear: I sure do like them hitting homers a whole lot better than I’d like it if they weren’t.

  64. 64
    Coop Says:

    True.

  65. 65
    kc Says:

    When I was doing some basic web info research on Medlen in preparing for this write-up, there were two things that caught my attention:

    1) There was an article stating that the most sought after young Braves pitcher in the last offseason was not Teheran, Delgado or Arodys, it was Medlen. Seems like there were many baseball people who liked Medlen very much even before last season;
    2) There was another article stating that Medlen did so well in spring training that Roger McDowell warned Fredi, considering Medlen’s inning limit, not to put Medlen in the rotation at the start of the year. This was because Roger knew Medlen would do so well starting that the Braves would never do what the Natspos did with Strasburg.

    Believe it or not.

  66. 66
    Smitty Says:

    @58

    The umpire in that clip then called Heyward out, as the falling snow falls under the infield fly rule.

    NEVER FORGET!

  67. 67
    Bethany Says:

    I’m more enthusiastic for the White Bear than for the Road Runner.

  68. 68
    spike Says:

    @60/61, as long as the speaker load is matched in ohms it’s okay. It actually take a heck of a lot to blow a speaker that’s in good working order.

  69. 69
    spike Says:

    For example, I use a 50 watt speaker with my 15 watt Princton Reverb – result is loud and clean. I’ve even used an extension cab with a very heavy duty JBL 50 watter simultaneously. You should be fine

  70. 70
    kc Says:

    @67 That’s because we haven’t really seen him play yet…

  71. 71
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    @65, that’s awesome, and thanks again for great work on the profile. I am seriously so freaking excited and happy to root for Kris Medlen. He’s a cold-blooded killer with a baby face and an 89-mile an hour fastball.

  72. 72
    kc Says:

    Thanks AAR for giving me a chance to do this.

    If you believe in fangraph, Medlen actually threw harder than Hanson in 2012. Scary. How can one not see that Hanson’s shoulder is messed up?

    And that two-seamer from Medlen…I haven’t seen such movement on a two-seamer since…who else…Maddux….

  73. 73
    Hate King Says:

    kc,

    Who wrote/published the article about Medlen and McDowell?

  74. 74
    ryan c Says:

    Gattis homered again last night and has pushed his OPS back over .900. He and Mejia are now tied with 14HR each, although Gattis’ come at 5 games and 29 strikeouts less.

    GATTIS FOR LF!

  75. 75
    kc Says:

    @73. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/28/sports/baseball/braves-medlen-has-a-little-man-on-his-shoulder-and-fire-in-his-right-arm.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

  76. 76
    Bethany Says:

    I’d be surprised if another baseball beat writer in America has the ego to present a top 50 albums of the year list, as DOB has done this year.

  77. 77
    Bethany Says:

    Oh, and he’s also got a list of at least 50 more honorable mentions.

  78. 78
    csg Says:

    For whatever reason, Im excited about Gattis and I hope he can contribute. If Wren is looking at just in house options then Id rather see Gattis out there over Fransisco. However, DOB’s latest blog gives the impression that Fransisco at 3B may be the way the Braves are leaning. I do not want Fransisco starting on a regular basis.

  79. 79
    MikeM Says:

    I wonder what would be worse: Sports writers like DOB ranking albums or snobby music critics ranking baseball teams.

    They would probably give the Giants 1-star for being too mainstream after winning two Grammys/Worlds Series in 3 years.

    They would gush about this little-known team from Seattle that you’ve probably never heard of but are gonna totally make it big one day. And when that day comes they will stop liking them.

  80. 80
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Slight change of subject… I’m back in Atlanta for the holidays and I’d love to arrange a meetup. Would any of you be free to come to Manuel’s tomorrow, Thursday the 20th, from 5:30 to 7:30 or so?

  81. 81
    spike Says:

    @76/79 – I don’t know about ego, but it reads like his baseball analysis – superficially open minded, but upon inspection is just repackaged conventional wisdom with a thin veneer of “hepsterism”

  82. 82
    spike Says:

    @80, I can probably do that – Willie Heath Neal tonight at the Star Bar though – I’ll be at that for sure.

  83. 83
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    74 — For some reason Gattis’ stats on MiLB show 14 HRs but last night’s was actually only his 13th. His OPS should still be slightly below .900.

    The crazy thing is that digging a little deeper, he has been even better than the top line numbers suggest. His BABIP is only .270. He’s slow, and a lot of those outs have been weak grounders, so I wouldn’t necessarily suggest he’s been unlucky, but he hasn’t been lucky, either, which is just as important. And only 26 Ks in 180 ABs (with 14 BBs) is an incredibly high contact rate for a power hitter. When was the last time the Braves had a right-handed hitter with that kind of combination of contact and power? At the big league level, Gary Sheffield, obviously. But as far as major league ready prospects go? I’m drawing a blank. Anybody since Bob Horner?

  84. 84
    jjschiller Says:

    @83- What’s the general thinking, though, on that kind of contact profile: Power hitter seldom strikes out, creates lots of weak contact? Could he be making TOO MUCH contact? Making contact too early in counts, so he’s not falling behind, but also not giving himself a chance to see a mistake?

    Does that happen? Is that a concern? I’m asking genuinely, because my understanding of advanced statistics is based only on reading conversation here and elsewhere, not on reading analysis.

  85. 85
    spike Says:

    Perhaps it’s a function of pitching and parks – if you’ve got a good chance of hitting it outta there, you swing a lot, and if the pitching is less than stellar, you stand a pretty good chance of making contact. Just musing though.

  86. 86
    spike Says:

    edit – “if the pitching is less than stellar, or if you are a pretty good native hitter”

  87. 87
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    I suspect that in general getting results (power) without striking out is usually a very, very good sign. It always means a guy is not swinging at unhittable pitches (like the bad Andruw Jones) and it sometimes means he has very quick hands and can make adjustments even when fooled. With more experience, those weak grounders are more likely to turn into hits than are another guy’s strikeouts.

    On the other hand, though, I suspect you are also right. If I am Barry Bonds it makes more sense to some times strikeout than to try and make contact.

  88. 88
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    And strikeouts might be doubly preferable when you’ve got McCann or Freddie standing on first.

  89. 89
    ububba Says:

    #76
    From DOB’s list, there’s a lot to like, but I especially endorse the Frank Ocean & Japandroids entries–great, great records.

  90. 90
    jjschiller Says:

    I guess as long as he’s hitting for power, who cares about his babip. My guess in that case would be that you’re right and it portends well.

    My only concern is that, being against lower competition, what’s more likely to translate to the bigs: The massive power, or the propensity for 6-3 groundouts?

    Spike could be right, though. He might just be on cloud 9, hitting in some great hitters parks against some flat fastballs, and just lettin’er rip.

  91. 91
    ktbass Says:

    All this talk of Gattis reminds me of Tyler Flowers’s 2008 winter league stats. 394/463/1014 in 19 games w/ 4 doubles, 2 triples, and 12 HRs

  92. 92
    Seat Painter Says:

    Yeah, Oso Blanco could be fattening up down south and it won’t translate to the Bigs.

    However, it MIGHT translate, and that’s a good sign. In that if he was pulling his Paul Janish impersonation, then we’d KNOW. At least, his performance lets us hope he’s for real.

  93. 93
    Coop Says:

    Don’t cross the Bear.

  94. 94
    csg Says:

    Didnt Salcedo receive one of our largest signing bonuses ever?

    BTW, his Winter League stats….
    .140/.187/.267 22K’s/86AB’s

    I could be totally wrong on him, but I dont think he ever reaches the bigs.

    I guess the one reason I have hope in Gattis and not Fransisco is the K rates. Gattis has 14BB and 26K’s in 180AB’s while Fransisco has 12BB and 38K’s in 127AB’s. Plus, I want Prado at 3rd.

  95. 95
    Bethany Says:

    @94 Gattis seems like a guy who wants to hit the ball hard, not a guy who wants to hit home runs (which is what the RoadRunner wants to do).

    I’m saying a lot about a guy I’ve never seen play!

  96. 96
    Adam R Says:

    It seems to me that Gattis will reach the majors. The question, in my mind, is in what capacity will he stick. It’s hard to find scouts that are revising their projection up from him being a solid bench bat with a decently long career, or a solid platoon player at his peak. But it’s hard to deny that we really do need to strike it rich with someone like him, given our budget limitations, if we’re going to solidify our playoff chances…

    Just keep hitting, Gattis.

  97. 97
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    I wouldn’t say the optimism is a question of stats translating to the Major League level (in that case there are plenty of other cautionary tales similar to Tyler Flowers), but rather his particular stats graph a really promising developmental curve. That some of these pitchers he is hitting against are crap, like Carlos Zambrano, matters less than the fact that on the whole these are the best pitchers he has ever faced. He is still performing remarkably well, and apparently without changing his basic approach to hitting.

    By contrast, Mejia is only a year older and is putting up equally good power numbers. But this is his fourth full winter league season, and the strikeouts suggest a tradeoff for power that is less likely to translate well to the next level.
    He seems to fit a mold of players who as they move up maintain or increase power by sacrificing some contact. Sometimes those guys turn into valuable players but only rarely do they learn to strike out less (at least not considerably so), and what additional success they have is often more the result of tweaking things like HR to FB ratios etc.

  98. 98
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Unfortunately, his defense really is the million dollar question. Isn’t there still a pretty good argument that what we really need is to have him catching everyday at AAA? With that bat, how good does he have to be back there?

  99. 99
    Adam R Says:

    By contrast, Mejia is only a year older

    Meaning he is 27. Gattis lost time in the minors, and you can hold out hope that he’s a special case without being ridiculous. But Mejia seems like the kind of player that only that team’s fanbase is deluded into paying attention to when, say, Freeman has a little slump.

  100. 100
    csg Says:

    David O’Brien
    December 19th, 2012
    12:55 pm
    Braves signed another right-handed veteran from Mexican League, Tim Corcoran, to minor league deal for depth. The 34-year-old, who last pitched in majors in ‘07 with Rays, was 7-4 w/ 2.50 ERA in 16 games (14 starts) in Mexico in ‘12, and is currently 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA in eight starts in the Dominican winter league.

  101. 101
    ryan c Says:

    I’ve always had issues with players such as Canizares and Mejia not receiving at least a shot to shine on the bench of some team while retreads such as Jeff Baker and Lyle Overbay take their spots.

  102. 102
    Michael Says:

    @100 – “is that you, Tolbert?! This isn’t very funny, you know. I’m hung over! My knees are killin’ me and if you’re going to pull this shit at least you could’ve said you were from the Yankees.”

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

    Being 27 doesn’t necessarily preclude Mejia from being effective in the majors for a few years. Garrett Jones finally busted out when he was 28, and he wasn’t the only one. Sometimes Quad-A minor league sluggers put it together for a little while.

  104. 104
    jjschiller Says:

    I don’t think its crazy to think Mejia could be a bench player at the big league level. The club added him to the 40-man because they thought he’d be taken in the Rule 5. That says they think he has SOME value. Sure, that value for us is probably just as AAA depth in case Freeman hits the DL. But that they anticipated he’d be taken, someone must like him.

    I think Mejia would be great for a club like Houston. Going nowhere, need a DH. Maybe they hit the jackpot and he’s David Ortiz. Too bad for him, I think the Braves value the depth more than what he could return.

  105. 105
    justhank Says:

    Back to Rolen.

    If we’re going with Francisco as the #1 3B, I think adding Rolen to our bench makes a lot of sense.

    Everything I’ve heard about him indicates that he’s a solid, professional, team-oriented guy. If that’s true, his presence in the clubhouse and as the role-model / implied-replacement-if-your-fat-ass-gets-lazy could be very valuable.

    A focused, hungry Francisco might truly blossom into an All-Star level slugger.

  106. 106
    Jeff K Says:

    Francisco most certainly does not look hungry. Satiated, more like it.

  107. 107
    justhank Says:

    @102 – bravo, sir.

  108. 108
    Rusty S. Says:

    I see Gattis’s career best case scenario as a rich man’s Matt Diaz. A guy who’s good enough in his prime years to play in the major leagues. Hopefully more home runs.

  109. 109
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    New thread.

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