Notes on 755 Hank Aaron Dr

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Not really a season "preview" as such, part one

J:
Well, I guess we should consider doing a season preview thing for the blog. It's pretty much traditional, right? But let's try something a little bit different. You had mentioned trying to do some back-and-forth stuff like Rob and Rany do, but we obviously haven't gotten around to that yet. So how about if we try the preview that way? We could try taking turns on players on the 25-man roster (plus, I suppose the guys on the DL)... One makes a comment, the other responds, then picks the next guy to discuss. Since I'm proposing this, I can start.
Chipper Jones:
I think I've seen the usual articles about how "this year he's going to be healthy again and play 150 games". I don't believe it, unfortunately. I think his body's just not going to let him play more than 120 games a season any more. It's possible that could change if he moved to first base, but who knows? And he doesn't seem interested in moving, so we'll probably never know. In any case, he's played 109 and 110 games the past two seasons. His rate stats have stayed in line with his career averages, but the decreased playing time means that his counting stats are down. I see no real reason to expect that to change. So we can look forward to 110-120 games, a .300 batting average, .550 slugging percentage, and about 25 home runs.

byrd:
I view Chipper the same way I had been viewing Hampton this year, as someone not to count on (note: this was written after Hampton went down for the season, but the sentiment developed over the last 2 years). It's like having a dad who's always on business trips. Sure, having him home is great; he hangs out with you, takes you to baseball games, grills some streaks, your general quality of life is better. But, you know in the back of your mind that you only get to have him for a short period of time. Something will probably take him away next week. If Chipper is able to stick around the whole year, he could help this team run away with a division crown. He's not as streaky as Andruw, who can carry the team offensively for a month, and usually does, but he gives the team a much better chance to win every night that he's in the lineup. A player who doesn't help you win every night, just every fifth night, is Kyle Davies, the pitcher who seeks to replace Hampton and Cormier long term. Like probably every other Braves fan, I remember his game against Boston on Friday night two years ago, and remember thinking that we might finally have another good homegrown pitcher. I still have high hopes for him, in a way that I never did for Terrell Wade. I've heard he thinks too much, and that holds him back, but that seems like a lesser issue than being crappy, like Mark Redman.

J:
I'm less excited about Kyle Davies than you are, I guess. I think he's a good bet to be a back-of-the-rotation level starter, but I'm not holding my breath for him to turn into an ace. He still has too much trouble with control, plus he tends to give up too many home runs. I'd love to be surprised. On the other hand, if he can be a solid #3 or #4 for the team this year, that would be a step up for him.

Since you brought him up, I guess I'll move on to Mr. Redman. I think "crappy" may be a bit of an overstatement, but only a bit. On the other hand, ChadBradfordWannabee thinks that his arm action is terrible. In any case, I think that his first start is probably the best that can be expected from Mark Redman. He'll keep the Braves in about half the games he pitches, probably. He's not likely to win any games 1-0 though. As rotation filler, he's not bad. And maybe the Braves catch lightning in a bottle again. Do you remember John Burkett?
Feel free to respond on Redman, but I'm guessing that you've already covered him as much as you really want to. So let me also bring up Scott Thorman. A lot of people seem to think he's going to be a stud first baseman. I'm not thinking that's too likely. His career OPS in the minors is 794. If he puts up the same number in the majors (a big if), that's Shawn Green v.2006 territory. Not completely awful, but certainly not "stud 1B" either.

byrd:
It's been a little while since you wrote that rubbish about Redman, so maybe you've come around to my way of thinking by now. I hope to not see him start another game, but I’ve felt that way for a while now, so I have little faith that a reprieve is in sight. I certainly remember John Burkett, and Redman is no John Burkett. I know very little about Thorman. I'm glad you're digging up these numbers, because there's no way I would. I deal in conjecture and assertions, emotion and eloquence (though that is up for discussion). I haven't seen him bat, because I haven't seen a single inning of Braves baseball yet this year on TV, but I hear that he's big, and a little old. I was a big LaRoche fan, as you may remember, and didn't want to see him leave. I don't like trading everyday players for relievers. Maybe that's the longtime Braves fan in me talking, but I think that counting on performance from a reliever is like counting on my omelettes to fold properly. I can gather the best ingredients in the world, but I won't know how it's going to turn out until I get them in the pan. . . Too much?Of course, last year all of the eggs were rotten, so maybe a major change was needed, if only to imbue the team with a greater confidence.Speaking of confidence, there are a few Braves players I have the utmost confidence in. McCann. I have never looked forward to someone's career with as much excitement as I look forward to his. There is no ceiling in my mind. I first started reading stats in the newspaper when Chipper came up. Before that I just watched the games and listened to them on the radio. Chipper was the first player who I watched in the box score every day, so you could say he was my first baseball hero, but I was never as excited about him as I am McCann.Andruw. I expect him to carry us for a month or two at some point, as he and Chipper move up the list of teammates who have homered back-to-back.Kelly Johnson. I won't claim him for myself, but he deserves to be someone's favorite player. The Braves have needed someone like him for a long time now, it seems, someone at the top of the order who isn't scared to see a pitch, and will stay out of Furcal-like slumps due to his ability to draw a walk.

J:
I’ll answer your last few here, and then post this as part one. Eventually, maybe we’ll get some more done… Oh, and I have changed my mind on Redman, sort of. At the very least, I don’t want to watch him pitch. He’s too frustrating. It’s like watching Horacio Ramirez, except without the hope – faint as it might be – that maybe, just maybe, he’ll figure it out. At least he’s on the DL for now…
If Brian McCann can just stop getting banged up, he’ll be the best player on the team. He’s young, he’s generally a consistent performer, and he plays a premium defensive position. What’s not to like?
I agree with you 100% on Andruw. Someone over at BravesJournal (I think it was Mac) pointed out that while Andruw is tremendously streaky during the season, he’s also amazingly consistent from season to season. I’m hoping that the recent Smoltz extension is a sign that Liberty is going to up the budget, and that maybe Andruw won’t be gone next year.
And I may end up being the one who makes Johnson their favorite player. I can’t imagine that he’s going to continue to put up the numbers he has so far (no way can he keep an OBP near .500, can he?), but I think something along the lines of 300/400/500 is certainly not impossible.

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5 Comments:

  • Hmmmm. We seem to have some formatting issues.

    By Blogger Benjamin, at 4:23 PM  

  • Hey guys, when did you start this blog? Was clicking links while trying to avoid doing research for a paper and came across this.

    I can pick KJ as my favourite player. Since the Brian McCann bandwagon is creaking already! nice work..was fun reading.
    Just a small point re Thor. His #s actually compare favourably to LaRoche's at every stop, at about the same age..He is not going to be a stud, but he should be above average, offensively and defensively

    By Blogger Godot, at 5:08 AM  

  • A reader?! The hell?!

    By Blogger Benjamin, at 4:28 PM  

  • you just got one more.

    By Blogger Callie, at 10:15 PM  

  • Oh fuck.

    By Blogger Benjamin, at 2:26 PM  

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