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5 Things I Learned Today at The Ted

Posted by jrniemeyer on January 22, 2011

Today the Braves held a great event for all the season ticket holders. I had never been to something like this so I decided to jump at the opportunity when a season ticket holder invited me to go. The event started out with a Q and A with Frank Wren. Most of the questions asked were “softball” questions and Frank gave the usual answer, but there was one question and one response that took me by surprise. After that, Frank introduced all the prospects and an autograph section followed. I will address the questions in the list below along with some other points about the future of the Braves. Please feel free to comment.

  1. For the most part, I feel comfortable with Frank Wren at the helm of the Braves. He reminds me of Thomas Dimitroff of the Falcons. It won’t happen quickly but this organization is heading in the right direction. That steady process could also be part of the problem. I am not interested in being above average every season, I am interested in winning championships. Perhaps the thought process is you can’t win a championship without being above average first.
  2.  

  3. The tough question that was asked was about the state of our medical staff. I believe Frank Wren is overlooking the need for a new medical staff. Over the past few years, I believe the Braves have mis-managed some of the small injuries that have led to bigger injuries. I’m not going to sit here and give you a rundown of every case, because it is more of a collective argument against the staff. When asked about it today, Frank Wren essentially plead ignorance and talked about how it was more about dumb bad luck rather then his medical staff. Only time will tell whether this medical staff is a hindrance to this team moving forward.
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  5. What do we do with Christian Betancourt? I am of the feeling that Brian McCann isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. He is essentially the leader of this team and is one of the best catchers in the game. He will probably go down as the best catcher in Braves history. So what do we do with one of the best catching arms in the minors? It feels like a Saltamachia all over again. Betancourt will be well into the prime years by the time Brian is ready to give it up. If Betancourt is as good as people think he could be, I don’t see him lasting in this organization for much longer (trade?).
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  7. We will struggle at shortstop in the coming years. Alex Gonzalez is a short term answer (and not a good one) and while we do have some players that can play defense at SS…not many have a MLB bat. I hope some of the guys that I saw today will prove me wrong, but I think it will be struggling point for at least 4-5 years (unless we acquire someone).
  8.  

  9. The enthusiasm of our fan base is starting to get to me. The Atlanta Braves are a top 10 MLB team. Today, the Braves held an event for season ticket holders and they could invite up to four people with them. Those in attendance could meet the GM and some of the best young players in that organization and we could all fit in one room!!! For a majority of the top teams, this would have to be held in stages over a few days because of the amount of people. I don’t get it and maybe I’m not supposed to understand but I hope to get some answers soon. I plan on trying to get an interview with one of the front office members that deal with tickets and get their opinion on it. (UPDATE: Since the post, I was told by a source, first time I’ve actually go to use that, that they had to cap the event at 300 people. That explains the small attendance. I still plan on diving into the attendance issue this year.)

Posted in Analysis | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Lineup Discussions and Dan Uggla

Posted by jrniemeyer on November 16, 2010

So it appears the Braves committed a legal felony tonight by acquiring Dan Uggla for Omar Infante and Mike Dunn.  From what I understand what really sealed the deal is the Braves said they would include some fish and light bulbs for the new stadium and aquarium in Miami.

With Uggla in the lineup, it gives you some right-handed power that the Braves have so desperately needed. What I really want to discuss is where Uggla and the rest of the crew will hit in the lineup this upcoming season. Below are some options that I believe to be viable:

Option A Option B Option C Option D Option E
1.McLouth Prado Chipper Prado McLouth
2.Prado Heyward Prado Chipper Prado
3.Heyward Chipper Heyward Heyward Chipper
4.Uggla Uggla Uggla Uggla Uggla
5.McCann McCann McCann McCann McCann
6.Chipper Freddie Freddie Freddie Heyward
7.Freddie Alex G. Alex G. Alex G. Freddie
8. Alex. G McLouth McLouth McLouth Alex G.

Option A-

The one constant in every lineup is Uggla hitting 4th. I just don’t see any other way around that.  McLouth is your ideal leadoff man if he doesn’t suck. When McLouth hits leadoff Prado is a great table setter hitting 2nd. This lineup would have one of the best 2 through 6 lineups in the NL if not MLB(If Chipper is healthy).

Option B-

Option B is probably the one I like best. I like Prado hitting leadoff with Heyward behind him. Like Capitol Avenue, I also believe Chipper will probably hit 3rd until the day he dies. McLouth is a solid 8 hitter with Freddie and Alex. G hitting 6th and 7th.

Option C-

To preface this lineup, it comes from the mind of Brad Rowland(@Browismyhero and http://bradsportsfix.blogspot.com). He thinks nothing would be better than Chipper to hit leadoff. Good luck trying to talk him out of it. If Chipper hits leadoff Prado has to bat 2nd and that sets the order nicely for Heyward, Uggla and Mac.

Option D-

This is the same as option B but with Chipper hitting 2nd and Heyward hitting 3rd. I wouldn’t mind Chipper hitting in the 2 spot. He get’s on base alot and can set the table for Heyward and Uggla.

Option E-

Not sure I love this lineup. It’s the same as option A but Heyward and Chipper are switched. I realize most will not like Heyward batting 6th but it gives you good pop towards the end and Heyward hit pretty well in the 6th spot this past year.

 

So there you go folks. Those are a few options that I believe the Braves will consider. Please feel free to disagree.

Posted in Analysis, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

The Freddi Gonzalez Debate

Posted by Kris N. on October 20, 2010

I’m a little late to this, as Gonzalez was signed on to be Bobby Cox’s replacement, but the question still stands: Is Freddi Gonzalez going to be a better manager than Bobby Cox? Some Braves fans would tell you the answer is absolutely not, because he won’t command the same respect that Bobby did. Others would say that his constant bunting, pinch  hitting and intentional walks will drive Braves fans alike crazy and cost games. Like Mac Thomason from the always excellent Braves Journal:

“Fredi, it seems to me, has Bobby’s weaknesses with tactical managing (that is, lots of bunts, awkward pinch-hitting decisions that blow an extra player, heavy use of a few relievers) without Bobby’s strengths as a leader of men.”

He also says that Gonzalez “went about .500 with .500-level talent.” Which leaves me to wonder if that is how we should evaluate managers. How good they can make a team over how good they actually are? I’m contempt with that, I guess. I really don’t know what makes a good manager. But that’s always easy enough to graph. We can simply take the team’s expected win – loss record (Based on Bill Jame’s Pythagorean Theorem) and subtract it from the actual winning percentage. Here is the graph:

Very interesting.

Now it should be stated that there is a lot that goes into playing above or below your expected level, primarily dumb luck. Managers can not take credit for that, or blame for that matter. The strongly supported evidence though is, the Marlins weren’t a very good team and, while under Freddi Gonzalez, they marginally won more games. Another thing of note, The Braves never won games at their expected frequency. In fact going back to 2003, we can see a decline in the actual and expected difference:

I’d like to go back further, but I just don’t have the time.

Do I think Freddi Gonzalez is going to be a good manager? Yes.

Do I think they should have taken some time and at least interviewed other people? Definitely, and I’m a little pissed they didn’t. I’m also one to believe that players have more to do with winning and losing than a baseball manager.  That being said, people need to focus on who the Braves Left Fielder for 2011 is going to be, and not whether or not Gonzalez is going to be able to win in the postseason.

Do I realize the irony of writing a 408 word post about Freddi Gonzalez and not candidates for the Braves 2011 Left Fielder? Yes, I do.

Posted in Analysis | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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