Don’t really have a specific subject in mind, so here are a few things of interest.
The Braves are third in WAR among non-pitchers in the majors. A big part of that is due to the Braves currently leading the bigs in the fielding component of WAR, which for non-catchers is UZR. Last year, the Braves finished in the bottom ten in the fielding component. The outfield has been tremendously important to this change, even though they are not different from the team that closed last year.
- Michael Bourn is second to Texas’s Craig Gentry in UZR among CF
- Martin Prado is second to KC’s Alex Gordon (by a good margin) in LF
- Jason Heyward is third among RF’s.
However, that has been all season. Andrelton Simmons is already fifth in UZR among shortstops and he doesn’t even a full month of action to amount such statistics. It helps put his numbers in perspective. UZR is not a counting stat so it can go up and down, but that is a fairly amazing start to his career without even getting into anything else.
In addition, Atlanta is currently the only team with two guys in the Ultimate Base Running top 10. UBR is the base-running component of WAR.
Now, of course, some crotchety old guy is yelling that games are played by players, not by robots and wins are the only thing that matters. And I won’t argue that the Braves haven’t been a particularly dominant team, but that is not the fault of the defense. In fact, compared to recent years, this defense is amongst the best Braves squads in years. You have to go back to the 2005’s year of the Baby Braves with Andruw, Francoeur, KJ in left field, Langerhans, and the up the middle combo of Giles and Furcal.
Hitting-wise, this team has struggled and pitching-wise, there has been some problems, but for once, the defense of this team is a strength. For all of the talk about moving Prado to third next season, maybe the Braves should try to keep him out in left for his defensive skills.
I have always been a Tommy Hanson fan. Maybe sharing our first names helped. However, after looking like he was on the verge of becoming an ace last season, Hanson’s numbers have taken a fall this year and largely, it’s the same fucking problem that Jair’s had. Loss of velocity. Hanson’s fastball averaged over 92 mph coming into last year where it lost 1 mph to 91. His slider and curve are so good that loss of velocity was made up in some regards. This year, his average fastball is 89.8 mph. Looking at Jurrjens, this was the career arc that has led to at least some of his struggles.
If Hanson doesn’t start to turn it around, I would think the Braves should learn from Jair’s fall and see what the trade market might look like for Hanson. I love him, but I hate losing.
Why are the Braves wasting time with Tyler Pastornicky playing shortstop-only at Gwinnett? I’m sure his makeup is solid enough that he can handle the ego hit of being demoted and turned into a utility player. The best chance he has of getting back in the majors and stay this time is to have positional flexibility.
Watching MLB TV, former Phillies clown Larry Bowa said that NL teams cannot match up to the Yanks at Yankee Stadium. I could have swore the Braves just 2-out-of-3 from them in Yankee Stadium. Even more…the Braves are managed by Fredi Gonzalez so that’s all the more impressive that the Yanks lost 2-of-3 to them.