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(CBS Sports)   "The Atlanta Braves are in trouble with their starting rotation" is the greatest understatement since Noah called the weather bureau and got a recording predicting light fog and drizzle   (tbd.radio.cbssports.com) divider line 47
    More: Obvious, Braves, Leo Mazzone, rotation, Kris Medlen, Dan Uggla, B.J. Upton, Freddie Freeman, Bronx Bombers  
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686 clicks; posted to Sports » on 21 Mar 2014 at 8:06 AM (36 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



47 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2014-03-21 12:03:39 AM  
So now our ace is... Julio Teheran?

Luckily, I think we've got a few minor league guys to ruin by bringing them up too early. Alex Wood will obviously be moving up, but he might have been a bullpen guy this season anyway. But if we're not swinging wood like Ron Jeremy with the cameras rolling, we're going to be fighting the Astros for the lube.
 
2014-03-21 01:36:45 AM  
Name one thing that will suck harder than the Mets raised to the Phillies power in the NL East this year.
 
2014-03-21 08:02:57 AM  
Don't worry, once they move to the safety of the suburbs they will no longer have to worry about suffering random injuries.
 
2014-03-21 08:58:37 AM  
I got a weird sense of deja vu reading that article...
 
2014-03-21 09:04:11 AM  
25.media.tumblr.com
 
2014-03-21 09:04:23 AM  
I think this is exaggerating a bit. Minor's injury isn't anything that will affect his play when he comes back in late April. Medlen will be missed but his 2013 season was nowhere near as good as his 2012.

Also, there's not a Braves fan out there that is counting on Beachy ever playing a full season again.

By late April, there will be a good core of Teheran, Minor, and Wood.
 
2014-03-21 09:11:03 AM  
What an abortion of a headline.
 
2014-03-21 09:16:30 AM  
Yeah, we didn't have Beachy last year...and didn't have Hudson for a couple months.  Medlen hurts, but Santana should be able to eat 175-200 innings.  If Uggla and Upton can manage to each hit just .230, we'd score a bunch more runs.

I'm also hoping this is finally the year that we get a full season of Heyward being a badass.
 
2014-03-21 09:16:37 AM  

wholedamnshow: I think this is exaggerating a bit. Minor's injury isn't anything that will affect his play when he comes back in late April. Medlen will be missed but his 2013 season was nowhere near as good as his 2012.

Also, there's not a Braves fan out there that is counting on Beachy ever playing a full season again.

By late April, there will be a good core of Teheran, Minor, and Wood.


Johan Ervin Santana is playing for another contract too.  Workhorse with a decent WHIP.
 
2014-03-21 09:26:15 AM  
I'm actually more worried about next year than I am about this year.  Don't get me wrong, this year could royally suck for Braves fans if a couple of our young guys don't step up and fill the gaps.  But, Santana is a one year band-aid who will not be returning to the Braves next year.  There is an outside chance that either Beachy or Medlen could return at some point next season, but two TJ surgeries in less than 3 years for both of them leads me to believe they may be wrapping up their major league careers shortly.

Sadly, the only upside I can find right now is that assuming Sony takes the recent roster changes into account in this year's MLB TheShow, I won't have to worry about the Braves trading away every pitcher I create and develop in RttS.
 
2014-03-21 09:30:01 AM  
For the first time in 25 years.  Whine a little more why dontcha.
 
2014-03-21 09:55:07 AM  

ox45tallboy: So now our ace is... Julio Teheran?


By the end of last year, he was our defacto ace, so I'm ok with that.
 
2014-03-21 09:57:04 AM  
10 tommy john surgeries since 2010 with three players getting their second surgery.

What the f*ck is going on?
 
2014-03-21 10:11:19 AM  

KingKauff: By the end of last year, he was our defacto ace, so I'm ok with that.


He's pretty damn good but he's no Tim Hudson. Kris Medlen is even better, he just doesn't have the experience of Tim Hudson (nor can he hit like Huddie), and I'm not getting how in the world he needs another surgery so soon.

We have Cristian Martinez, who's used to throwing 4-5 innings off the bench and doing pretty well at it, although usually when we pull him in, the opposing team is playing conservatively. Would it be a real stretch to make him a starter?
 
2014-03-21 10:12:16 AM  

my_cats_breath_smells_like_cat_food: I got a weird sense of deja vu reading that article...


I got a weird sense of deja vu reading that article...
 
2014-03-21 10:16:23 AM  

mab1823: If Uggla and Upton can manage to each hit just .230, we'd score a bunch more runs.


Uggla's making 15 million, and all we're hoping for is .230? He's a damn good second baseman, but he owes us a .270 or better. Heyward as well - he can hit better than that.

I think both of them need to work more on swinging to contact more - they both want to be sluggers, Uggla especially, and that's not always the best thing for the team. I read an article last season that suggested sticking Uggla in leadoff just to get him to swing to contact more. It made sense in a weird sort of way.
 
2014-03-21 11:13:54 AM  

ox45tallboy: I think both of them need to work more on swinging to contact more - they both want to be sluggers, Uggla especially, and that's not always the best thing for the team. I read an article last season that suggested sticking Uggla in leadoff just to get him to swing to contact more. It made sense in a weird sort of way.


The problem is that Uggla is what he is.  I'm not sure he'll ever be a swing to contact sort of fellow.  He's always been a high strike out, high walk, and lots of power kind of guy.  If he even reverted to the 2012 form (2.9 WAR), the Braves would be set.

It's crazy that he hit .179 and his OBP was .309 last year.  His BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play)  last year was just freaking awful (.225) compared to his career mark of .287.  I'm not a stats wizard, but I do know that a low BABIP usually means that you are extremely unlucky.  If it is a new 'performance level' I'm not sure that you want him trying to hit the ball more, though.
 
2014-03-21 11:40:12 AM  
we all know the mets and phillies will still find a way to tank their seasons.
 
2014-03-21 12:03:38 PM  

SlothB77: we all know the mets and phillies will still find a way to tank their seasons.


Huh.  Your prediction is the best news those sorry franchises had all day.

SlothB77: When Romney wins, it is threads like this that Fark.com will delete and farkers everyone will pretend never existed.


Time to call a bookie and get the odds on Ike Davis, Chris Young, and Ryan Howard tying for the NL batting title, Ben Revere and Ruben Tejada hitting 30 HR, 2014 Roberto Hernandez magically turning into 2007 Fausto Carmona, every member of the Washington Nationals' rotation retiring, and Bartolo Colon ripping off his uniform, and then another uniform, and then a sweater, and then a Kevlar vest, and then four more uniforms, and then a Snuggie, and then a bandoleer made of Snickers bars, to reveal that underneath that BAH GAWD, KING, he's actually Babe Ruth reincarnated as a center fielder.
 
2014-03-21 12:10:17 PM  
I'm sure they have a cunning plan.
 
2014-03-21 12:19:00 PM  

chimp_ninja: he's actually Babe Ruth reincarnated as a center fielder.


Just a small point of order - Babe Ruth spent most of his professional career as an outfielder, including many stints at center. In 1918, he played center field several times between pitching assignments.
 
2014-03-21 12:23:30 PM  

ladodger34: If it is a new 'performance level' I'm not sure that you want him trying to hit the ball more, though.


Well, that was one of the things the article brought up - he has a good enough eye to walk far more often than what you would expect with such an abysmal batting average. If he doesn't go for contact, you've still got a pretty good chance of a man on first and no one out, and a pitcher that's just walked the leadoff batter of the game - it's kind of a psychological thing. Many pitchers will throw fastballs down the middle on ball 3 to avoid walking the leadoff runner, and that's something he excels at hitting - which is why pitchers hardly ever throw those to him.
 
2014-03-21 12:23:37 PM  

ox45tallboy: KingKauff: By the end of last year, he was our defacto ace, so I'm ok with that.

He's pretty damn good but he's no Tim Hudson. Kris Medlen is even better, he just doesn't have the experience of Tim Hudson (nor can he hit like Huddie), and I'm not getting how in the world he needs another surgery so soon.

We have Cristian Martinez, who's used to throwing 4-5 innings off the bench and doing pretty well at it, although usually when we pull him in, the opposing team is playing conservatively. Would it be a real stretch to make him a starter?


Actually, Teheran was a better pitcher last season than Hudson.  And add in his youth, it would be reasonable to believe Teheran will continue to be better than Old Man Huddy. Also, C-Mart was non-tendered and will miss at least the beginning of the season anyway.

Things really aren't that bad. Once Minor gets healthy, a rotation of Teheran, Minor, Santana, Wood, and Hale/Garcia should be sufficient enough. They could always add a pitcher toward the deadline.
 
2014-03-21 12:30:23 PM  

ox45tallboy: Well, that was one of the things the article brought up - he has a good enough eye to walk far more often than what you would expect with such an abysmal batting average. If he doesn't go for contact, you've still got a pretty good chance of a man on first and no one out, and a pitcher that's just walked the leadoff batter of the game - it's kind of a psychological thing. Many pitchers will throw fastballs down the middle on ball 3 to avoid walking the leadoff runner, and that's something he excels at hitting - which is why pitchers hardly ever throw those to him.


Yep, the 2 things that Uggla can do really well are walk and hit bombs.  The only problem putting him in the leadoff spot is that the 2013 Uggla made alot of outs and the leadoff hitter should avoid that.  Other than that, it probably wouldn't be a horrible idea.
 
2014-03-21 12:44:15 PM  

ladodger34: It's crazy that he hit .179 and his OBP was .309 last year. His BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play) last year was just freaking awful (.225) compared to his career mark of .287. I'm not a stats wizard, but I do know that a low BABIP usually means that you are extremely unlucky. If it is a new 'performance level' I'm not sure that you want him trying to hit the ball more, though.


Uggla's other problem is that he doesn't have the usual middle-infielder secondary skill set that could rescue him: his defense at 2B is below average, and he's not a particularly good baserunner.

Otherwise, he'd be a prime candidate for the kind of guy that could be both under the Mendoza line and very valuable.    Even with the trainwreck of a season he had last year, he was still +0.5 fWAR, for example.  He only had 80 hits in nearly full-time play (537 PA), but 22 were HR and he got on base 86 times for free (BB + HBP).

ox45tallboy: If he doesn't go for contact, you've still got a pretty good chance of a man on first and no one out, and a pitcher that's just walked the leadoff batter of the game - it's kind of a psychological thing.


There's no chance that you want Dan Uggla leading off any time soon.  Even with all the walks, his OBP isn't high because he is so bad at making contact.  Plus, his other talent is mashing dingers, so why have him hit behind no one in the first inning, and the P/PH spot the rest of the game?

Probably, you hide Uggla 6th-8th behind some slow guys, and hope his XBH drive in some runs while he prolongs innings and gives the pitcher someone to bunt over.  If he returns to his Marlins form, maybe he's a #5.
 
2014-03-21 12:52:04 PM  

ladodger34: Yep, the 2 things that Uggla can do really well are walk and hit bombs.  The only problem putting him in the leadoff spot is that the 2013 Uggla made alot of outs and the leadoff hitter should avoid that.  Other than that, it probably wouldn't be a horrible idea.


That's kind of the idea the article was getting at - he's a pretty damn good "baseball player" in general, and I think he might take the responsibility of leadoff man seriously enough to focus on getting on base instead of trying too hard to drive in runs. Settling for some singles every now and again and letting someone else bat him in would be a huge benefit for the team, and sticking him in leadoff seems to be the best way of accomplishing that.
 
2014-03-21 12:55:54 PM  

chimp_ninja: so why have him hit behind no one in the first inning, and the P/PH spot the rest of the game?


Because it will change his batting style a little bit so he'll become a better contact hitter. He's an extremely dedicated player; every report I've seen says that the other players have great respect for his work ethic. What he's doing now is not successful, so instead of pigeonholing him, give him a chance to succeed in a different way. Try him out working for contact rather than power.
 
2014-03-21 01:02:11 PM  

ox45tallboy: That's kind of the idea the article was getting at - he's a pretty damn good "baseball player" in general, and I think he might take the responsibility of leadoff man seriously enough to focus on getting on base instead of trying too hard to drive in runs. Settling for some singles every now and again and letting someone else bat him in would be a huge benefit for the team, and sticking him in leadoff seems to be the best way of accomplishing that.


Uggla won't settle for singles though, and I sort of think that is the weakness of the article. He has had less and less hits every year since 2010 and I just think you gotta roll with Uggla knowing that he is that shiatty "three true outcomes" kind of player (though I think last year was an outlier, 2012 was probably more realistic of his production forward).

If Uggla had Mark Ellis' glove, none of this would even be a concern.  Uggla is kind of a butcher though, so his value mostly lies in his bat.
 
2014-03-21 01:07:15 PM  

ox45tallboy: Because it will change his batting style a little bit so he'll become a better contact hitter. He's an extremely dedicated player; every report I've seen says that the other players have great respect for his work ethic.


I should add, the amount of hitters that have changed their approach is a very, very short list.  Maybe Tony Gwynn in '97 (though even that is an exaggeration)*, especially entering their age 34 season like Uggla.  Folks need to accept Uggla for what he is, lots of power, good OBP, shiatty glove, and low BA.

And Tony Gwynn was a witch with the bat..

*  incidentally, Gwynn had a higher career slugging despite having about 90 fewer HRs than Uggla.
 
2014-03-21 01:34:29 PM  

ladodger34: Uggla won't settle for singles though, and I sort of think that is the weakness of the article.


I don't know that I can make any real argument against that, other than i really do think he's a team player who will put every bit of effort into doing whatever the team asks him to do. You may be right that he won't be good at it, but I'm willing to bet he will try.
 
2014-03-21 01:39:59 PM  

ox45tallboy: I don't know that I can make any real argument against that, other than i really do think he's a team player who will put every bit of effort into doing whatever the team asks him to do. You may be right that he won't be good at it, but I'm willing to bet he will try.


He might try.  Uggla seems like a good dude and he might try to change his approach.  But the chance of him being successful is really low.  He is what he is.  You get a pretty good idea of the kind of hitter he is after 4500 PAs.  He could change, and if he does... wonderful, but the odds are stacked against him.
 
2014-03-21 02:02:25 PM  

ladodger34: You get a pretty good idea of the kind of hitter he is after 4500 PAs.


Well, it's also 4500 PA's in which he was coached to hit the ball a certain way, and always batting in the second half of the order. Heyward definitely altered his style after his rookie season, once he was brought down to the #2 slot. Of course, he was a lot younger than Uggla as well.
 
2014-03-21 02:19:02 PM  

ox45tallboy: mab1823: If Uggla and Upton can manage to each hit just .230, we'd score a bunch more runs.


Uggla's making 15 million, and all we're hoping for is .230? He's a damn good second baseman, but he owes us a .270 or better. Heyward as well - he can hit better than that.


I think Uggla is a mediocre second baseman. He's OK when he's swingin' a hot stick, but he's far too unreliable at the plate. He hasn't earned his paycheck since he's been in a Braves uniform. And don't even get me started on BJ. After last season, I just want to kick him in the nuts.
 
2014-03-21 02:23:39 PM  

Sin_City_Superhero: I think Uggla is a mediocre second baseman. He's OK when he's swingin' a hot stick, but he's far too unreliable at the plate. He hasn't earned his paycheck since he's been in a Braves uniform. And don't even get me started on BJ. After last season, I just want to kick him in the nuts.


I feel your frustration on their batting, but I believe that both of those two excel at their fielding positions BJ is insanely fast and can cover a big swath of turf pretty quickly, and has a decent throwing arm. Uggla has a knack for weird off-balance throws that turn an out into a DP.
 
2014-03-21 02:36:49 PM  

ox45tallboy: BJ is insanely fast and can cover a big swath of turf pretty quickly, and has a decent throwing arm


Same thing applies to Jordan Schafer. And he ain't costin' the team a bajillion dollars per hit.
 
2014-03-21 02:41:29 PM  
Let me qualify that last post...

Schafer doesn't have quite the range BJ does, but he is fast. And given the discrepancy in pay, I think I'd rather watch him develop at the big-league level, than watch Freddie stick with the expensive player FAAAAR too long, just because of the cost of the investment.
 
2014-03-21 02:44:44 PM  
I got a weird sense of deja vu reading that article...
 
2014-03-21 02:48:39 PM  

MrBeetle: I got a weird sense of deja vu reading that article...


my_cats_breath_smells_like_cat_food: I got a weird sense of deja vu reading that article...

 
2014-03-21 03:02:58 PM  
Cubs opening day starter is Jeff Samardjza. Beat that
 
2014-03-21 03:26:14 PM  

machoprogrammer: Cubs opening day starter is Jeff Samardjza. Beat that


Came to say this.  Beaten.  Wait till next year.
 
2014-03-21 03:28:19 PM  

machoprogrammer: Cubs opening day starter is Jeff Samardjza. Beat that


Not as big a let-down as being a Met's fan...
 
2014-03-21 03:58:53 PM  

Sin_City_Superhero: Same thing applies to Jordan Schafer. And he ain't costin' the team a bajillion dollars per hit.


Jordan Schafer has worked his butt off and deserves an opportunity.

But Justin seems to play better when BJ's playing, so...
 
2014-03-21 03:59:20 PM  

machoprogrammer: Cubs opening day starter is Jeff Samardjza. Beat that


Who?

Or is that the joke?
 
2014-03-21 04:36:22 PM  
troyjurimas.files.wordpress.com

Karma, biatches.
 
2014-03-21 05:26:15 PM  
Wait... why would NOAA call itself?
 
2014-03-21 08:26:36 PM  

ox45tallboy: I feel your frustration on their batting, but I believe that both of those two excel at their fielding positions BJ is insanely fast and can cover a big swath of turf pretty quickly, and has a decent throwing arm. Uggla has a knack for weird off-balance throws that turn an out into a DP.


Upton is roughly average as a center fielder-- he makes about the same number of putouts per 9 IP as the league average.  That's a good first approximation for range.

Uggla grades out poorly by any of the tracking systems-- Defensive Runs Saved, UZR/150, +/-, etc.  Consistently through his career, he makes fewer plays per game than the average 2B, and range is the most critical measure of a 2B.  He's not a butcher, but he's not average either.

ox45tallboy: Because it will change his batting style a little bit so he'll become a better contact hitter. He's an extremely dedicated player; every report I've seen says that the other players have great respect for his work ethic. What he's doing now is not successful, so instead of pigeonholing him, give him a chance to succeed in a different way. Try him out working for contact rather than power.


Can you point to a player who was a terrible contact hitter until he was 33 years old, then suddenly became a good contact hitter in his older years?  He's at an age when players start declining significantly, and contact is a young man's skill.  Claiming he's going to suddenly learn that ability is like claiming he'll suddenly start stealing bases or learn to play shortstop-- you're fighting history.
 
2014-03-21 08:35:00 PM  

chimp_ninja: Can you point to a player who was a terrible contact hitter until he was 33 years old, then suddenly became a good contact hitter in his older years?  He's at an age when players start declining significantly, and contact is a young man's skill.  Claiming he's going to suddenly learn that ability is like claiming he'll suddenly start stealing bases or learn to play shortstop-- you're fighting history.


Can you point to a slugger who was declining in his contact hitting and was ever moved to leadoff? Maybe it hasn't happened because most people rightly feel it was not a good idea, but maybe if Uggla will find a reason to focus on getting to first base through either a single or a walk, rather than focusing on doubles and homers, he might find some improvement.
 
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