G. Anderson: New Brave “quiet, underrated”

  Lake Buena Vista, Fla. — Before anyone advances toward the edge of a building, let me relieve any concerns by telling you that Garret Anderson is the building. Or will be.

 He’s on the ground here, getting his physical, and they’ve already set up for the press conference that’ll probably happen after this morning’s workout. Still no official word from the Braves, but I think that’s probably just because the time for the press conference isn’t official.

 Anyway, the point is, he’s here and the Braves are happy to have him.

 “He’ll make a difference,” said Chipper Jones, who ideally wanted the added outfield bat to be right-handed, but said he’s pleased with the addition of Anderson, a .296 career hitter with 272 homers and 1,292 RBI in 14 seasons, all with the Angels.

  “We’re a little left-handed for my tastes,” Jones said this morning. “But what are you gonna do? We tried and tried and tried [to get a hitter]. I can’t believe some of the guys still on the market are still out there.\

 “But Garret’s going to help this team win ballgames. That’s all I care about.”

 Braves 1B Casey Kotchman played with Anderson for several years with the Angels.

  “You look at the number of hits he’s accumulated over his career” Kotchman said of Anderson, who has 2,368 hits, including 150 or more in 11 of his 14 full seasons. “That puts him in pretty good company among hitters. You have over 2,300 hits, you know what you’re doing.”

 Chipper has a .310 career average with 2,277 hits, 408 homers and 1,374 RBI, so we figure he and Kotchman, who played with Anderson, are the best qualified to talk about the new addition to the middle of the Braves’ batting order.

  “He’s just a quality hitter,” Chipper said. “You don’t stick in this league 15 years and not be a good player. For a long [stretch] he led all of baseball in hits, clutch hits, game-winning RBI … the guy’s big time.”

 He doesn’t take many walks, hence his relatively low career OBP (.327) for such a high-average hitter. But Anderson also doesn’t strike out much. Only once in his career has he struck out 100 times in a season, and he’s averaged a strikeout per 7.15 at-bats for his career (Chipper has averaged one strikeout per 6.42 at-bats, also a very low number by today’s standards).

 “I like guys who put the ball in play and don’t strike out a lot,” Chipper said. “Guys who hit balls all over the field, have some power, and are not fazed by the big spots [pressure situations].”

  Anderson was the runner-up for AL Rookie of the Year in 1995, and his best stretch was 2000 to 2003, a period when he had four consecutive seasons of at least 28 homers and 116 RBIs.

 Dude hit .299 with 121 homers and  479 RBIs in that torrid four-season span, and finished fourth, 14th and 21st in MVP balloting.

 He hasn’t posted 20 homers or 100 RBIs in the five seasons since, and has a .290 average with 420 RBIs and a .768 OPS in 647 games.

  For those who might be curious, during the past five seasons, Ken Griffey Jr. hit .268 with 388 RBIs and an .852 OPS in 607 games.

 Is he a better player at this stage of his career than Griffey? In terms of reliability, and being able to face right-handers and lefties, and hitting with runners in scoring position, among other stats, he does compare favorably with Griffey, who turned down the Braves last week to sign with Seattle.

  Do you guys think the Griffey decision might end up working to the Braves’ favor? Because I’m hearing a lot of that sentiment from people I talk to here.

 Someone wrote out in L.A. recently that Anderson might be the most underrated player in the past 15 years. When you spend your entire career playing for the Angels, playing games that start after 10 p.m. (East Coast time), playing in the shadow of bigger stars on your own team, and bigger stars up the road at Chavez Ravine, it’s easy to get overshadowed.

 And when you’re not a flashy player or one who fills up reporters’ notebooks with sizzling quotes, then the recipe for “underrated player” is just about complete.

 Every Brave I talked to said they’ve heard nothing but great things about Anderson in the clubhouse, and those who’ve met him, or just talked to him during batting practice or at the first base, say they were impressed by what a quality guy he seemed to be.

 So why don’t more people mention Anderson in the discussion of the top hitters in the past 10, 15 years?

 “He’s just quiet,” Kotchman said. “He’s put up his numbers. Sometimes when you’re quiet, you get overlooked. When you don’t cause trouble, it gets overlooked. That sometimes leads to being underappreciated, when you don’t call attention to yourself.”

  But teammates notice. They love players like that.

  “Absolutely,” Kotchman said. “Like I said, he’s quiet. But he’s put himself in position that, if he wants to get 3,000 hits, he’ll get it.”

  Asked if the proverbial “professional hitter” label fits Anderson, Kotchman said, “Oh, yeah. You just look at his history. He’s got a knack for driving in runs. He can move runners over, to. If a guy’s on second with no outs, he’s the best at getting the runner over. He can do everything.

  “He’s productive. You look at where he hit in the order last year, and he still knocked in 84 runs. That’s not easy to do when you’re moving all over the place in the order.”

 Anderson had 40 or more at-bats in five different spots in the lineup (second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth), including 145 at-bats in the cleanup spot and 175 in the sixth position.

 After a sluggish start last season, Anderson hit .337 over his final 69 games beginning July 1, posting 49 RBIs and an .871 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) in that stretch.

 Chipper thinks that he (Jones) will bat fourth this year, but he also said he wasn’t certain. He doesn’t mind doing it, if that’s what Bobby Cox wants him to do. Actually, Chipper sounded as if he isn’t quite sure what works best.

  With Anderson and McCann both left-handed, perhaps having switch-hitting Chipper in the cleanup spot, at least against lefties, makes the most sense. We also don’t know yet whether Anderson and Matt Diaz will play a straight platoon in left field, though it seems more likely that Anderson will play against at least some lefties, given his career numbers against them.

  Griffey was expected to play in a left-field platoon with Diaz, but it’s not clear if the Braves plan to use Anderson similarly. Bobby Cox will probably tell us a little more later.

  While Griffey hit .202 against lefties in 2008, Anderson hit .290 against them. In 2007, Anderson’s slugging percentage was almost as high (.490) against lefties as against right-handers (.492).

  Still, Diaz has a .328 average and .508 slugging percentage in 478 career at-bats against lefties, and a robust .869 OPS.

  Another thing to consider: The last time Anderson played as many as 95 games in the outfield was 2005, and last season he played 82 games in left field and 59 as designated hitter.

  One thing is clear: The Braves are very left-handed. Yunel Escobar and Jeff Francoeur might be their only right-handed batters, in addition to the switch-hitting Hoss and Diaz. Omar Infante could play some center if Josh Anderson is the regular starter and has early trouble with lefties (Anderson hit .341 vs. righties and .200 in 45 at-bats vs. lefties last season in the majors, but he’s hit lefties far better in the minors).

 “In the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, teams are going to flood us with lefty [relievers],” Chipper said, before delivering the funniest line of the morning: “We’re going to see a lot of the [J.C.] Romeros, [Pedro] Felicianos, [Renyel] Pintos — a lot of the lefty o’s in our division.”

 OK, so if you guys want to make lineup suggestions, then give us yours. Or we can talk more rasslin’ or Eastern N.C.’s BBQ preeminence. Meanwhile, enjoy the late, great Zevon.

  Oh, wait: Almost forgot to mention Charlie Morton. He’s not going to throw for a week because of the left oblique strain he got yesterday while throwing batting practice. “If it’s gonna happen, better to have it happen now, I guess,” he said.

  OK, gonna get down to watch some batting practice.

 

“ACCIDENTALLY LIKE A MARTYR” by Warren Zevon

The phone don’t ring

And the sun refused to shine

Never thought I’d have to pay so dearly

For what was already mine

For such a long, long time

 

We made mad love

Shadow love

Random love

And abandoned love

Accidentally like a martyr

The hurt gets worse and the heart gets harder

 

The days slide by

Should have done, should have done, we all sigh

Never thought I’d ever be s lonely

After such a long, long tim

Time out of mind

 

We made mad love

Shadow love

Random love

And abandoned love

Accidentally like a martyr

The hurt gets worse and the heart gets harder

819 comments Add your comment

Bob Dole

February 24th, 2009
11:12 am

I heard yesterday at the Atlanta Braves Charity golf tourney that a Brave hit a hole in one, i was wondering who the brave was?

car3boogie

February 24th, 2009
11:14 am

Neko Case, to be honest never heard of her until I read her name on the Blog the other day. Googled her, Images first of course…….very nice……. then her web site …….. sampled her songs …… downloaded several songs……have been playing them since. DOB you and I do not mesh on the music end very often, but this one is a keeper and dayum she looks good.

Bob Dole

February 24th, 2009
11:16 am

when did diaz start hitting both ways?

Josh from Columbus

February 24th, 2009
11:20 am

‘Rasslin used to be big here in Columbus. Jerry Oates was very instrumental in wrestling’s hay day here in town. Steve Beverly used to write about Columbus all the time. But, alas, Vince McMahon has detroyed what once was.

Also, speaking of BBQ, until you all have had Country’s BBQ (started here in Columbus), you cannot make mention of the ‘best’ BBQ. Country’s has three locations here in town and four or five franchized locations in Opelika, AL, LaGrange, GA and a couple other locations.

DOB, we are only an hour south of the Atlanta airport.

Kevin C in VA

February 24th, 2009
11:21 am

DOB

here anything on a right hand bat or Will Ohman? Saw where the Pirates were takling with him. he has to be a better option than some.
Thanks

Josh from Columbus

February 24th, 2009
11:21 am

GRAPEFRUIT LEAGUE STARTS TOMORROW!

stamper

February 24th, 2009
11:22 am

Vs. Righties
Anderson/Schafer
Escobar
Jones
Anderson
McCann
Francouer
Johnson
Kotchman
—Pitcher—

Vs Lefties
Escobar
Prado (2nd)
Jones
Infante (cf)
McCann
Francouer
Diaz (lf)
Kotchman
—Pitcher–

MinnesotaJacket

February 24th, 2009
11:24 am

The Blog seems awfully quiet today for some reason…DOB question for ya that might have been answered, has Frenchy been hitting for power thus for in BP or has he been hitting up the middle and gap shots?

TnBrian

February 24th, 2009
11:25 am

I guess when you have guys like KJ, Mac, Kotchman who all hit lefties well, G.A. being a lefty isn’t a big deal. But, Chipper is right that they’ll be flooded with late inning lefties out of the pen. Something to think about for sure. Chipper in the cleanup does make sense.

1)Anderson 2)Escobar 3)G.A. 4)Chipper 5)Francoeur 6)Mac 7)Kotch 8)KJ…
would seem right on opening day against Hamels.

Steve

February 24th, 2009
11:25 am

Chipper’s got a point about us being lefty-heavy. I guess we’re making up for our lack of left-handed pitching with an overstock of quality left-handed batters.

Steve from OH

February 24th, 2009
11:26 am

Steve from OH

February 24th, 2009
11:15 am
Let’s try this “link” thing….

Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects are up and Tommy Hanson and Jason Heyward come in at No. 4 and 5, respectively. Jordan Schafer comes in at No. 42, Gorkys Hernandez is No. 62, Freddie Freeman is No. 87, and ex-Brave Tyler Flowers came in at No. 99

Steve

February 24th, 2009
11:28 am

About our possible lineup .. I definitely want to see Kotchman hit higher in the order. He’s a much better hitter than the guy we saw after the Teix trade.

VS RHP: Johnson, Kotchman, Chipper, Mc, Anderson, Escobar, Frenchy, Anderson and the P … VS LHP: Johnson, Escobar, Diaz, Chipper, Mc, Kotchman, Frenchy, and Anderson.

sri

February 24th, 2009
11:29 am

Hi DOB,

Thanks for the frequent updates. A typo..
“You have over 2,3000 hits, you know what you’re doing.”

The new pagination of the blog looks good. Would you consider reversing the order of the pages? The most recent comments first.. I usually look for the most recent news first.. and I follow all the conversations backwards in time ( I know a little weird..)..

mbatl

February 24th, 2009
11:29 am

Josh Anderson pounded lefties at Richmond last year (.338/.375/.387 – well, a .387 SLG Pct isn’t exactly pounding, I guess, but he got on base well). Seems like he can hit LHP if given the chance. Without the benefit of a single ST game, I’d say stick him at leadoff and let him grow into it. Unless Schafer is ready, of course.

Danga

February 24th, 2009
11:29 am

You guys see this article?

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/2-hitters

Basic premise is that SB guys normally bat leadoff. The best defense against a SB is a fastball. So, the logic follows that you should put guys who crush fast balls in the 2 hole. Either the pitcher serves up a pitch to the batter’s liking or he throws an off speed pitch thereby increasing the likelihood of a SB. If J. Anderson wins the job in CF, this could actually be an option for the Bravos this year. The article actually mentions G. Anderson, but who do you think best fits this description of #2 hitter in or lineup?

Original Jon

February 24th, 2009
11:29 am

Being lefty heavy in the late innings isnt going to affect the Braves as much as some of you think. If our big lefty hitters are up in the late innings, it will be ok as most of them hit lefty pitching pretty well, and if its the lower part of the order thats hitting and its mainly lefties, well, we have a bench that is primarily switch hitters or right handed bats. So we will be ok.

DWW

February 24th, 2009
11:29 am

We are left handing with starters, but our bench is right handed. Shouldnt be a problem late in games against the lefty’s.

Daniel

February 24th, 2009
11:30 am

stamper that is way too much variation in line ups for my taste. One maybe two changes in line ups based on pitching. Otherwise guys can’t get comfortable in their roles. And honestly, not know the centerfield situation really makes this a difficult task.

I go
Johnson
Escobar
Jones
Anderson
McCann
Francouer
Schafer (if Josh makes the team I would consider switching spots with Kelly)
Kotchman

JPHunt

February 24th, 2009
11:30 am

Baseball America’s top prospects is out, Braves looking good with #4 and #5 (Hanson/Heyward)

John Quest

February 24th, 2009
11:30 am

Last time I checked, wasn’t Chipper a switch hitter, too? Doesn’t this make him a right handed batter?

cvbraves

February 24th, 2009
11:31 am

Great Blog. I say Griffey not signing was a good thing for the Braves. Like Griffey and always have, but Garret Anderson will give us a much better boost in the day-to-day lineup.

And, the Braves can put up a pretty good lineup with righthanders when needed…1) Prado, 2B; 2) Yunel, ss; 3) Chipper, 3B; 4) Norton, 1B; 5) Omar, cf); 6) Francouer, rf); 7) Diaz, lf; 8) Ross, c. Know Braves won’t start a game like that, but they could use these guys to PH and have a place to play in the field.

Actually, the way Kelly, BMac and Garret hit lefthanders, Braves don’t need a RH pinchitter for them.

Glad you talked with Chipper and Casey about Garret. Good Stuff!

Daniel

February 24th, 2009
11:34 am

btw I CANNOT WAIT to get some spring training games going!!!

Original Jon

February 24th, 2009
11:34 am

Hey, let me ask you guys a question. If you have a guy with great speed, good defensive abilities and consistently hits around .300 and has no options left, what do you do with him? Release him or replace him with a player that has options and risk losing that player on the waiver wire? What would you do?

pryguy

February 24th, 2009
11:36 am

Just going off the cuff here. I like Kelly as a number 3. I think his power is overlooked and he is real patient at the plate. He will be given some good pitches to hit with Chipper behind him, and he finds the gaps real well. McCann needs to bat 5, it suits him best I feel. I’m sure Bobby will juggle this lineup a lot, like he has done it the past. As the say, it’s not the individuals that make a team, its the team that makes the individuals. This lineup compliments each other very well.

Josh Anderson
Garrett Anderson
Kelly
Chipper
McCann
Yunel
Kotchman
Frenchy
Pitcher

BravesFanInRockies

February 24th, 2009
11:38 am

Steve from OH posted it at the end of the last blog, but here’s the list of Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects heading into 2009.

Hanson’s No. 4, Heyward 5, Schafer 42, Gorkys 62, Freeman 87.

Heyward’s only one of two teens in the top 10. Oh yeah and Neftali Perez is No. 10.

Original Jon

February 24th, 2009
11:39 am

Heres the lineup

J. Anderson
Escobar
Kelly
Chipper
McCann
Anderson
Franceour
Kotchman
Pitcher

Fred

February 24th, 2009
11:40 am

For what it’s worth, here is my proposed line-up (versus right-handed pitchers): J. Anderson, Escobar, McCann, Jones, G. Anderson, Francouer, KJ, Kotchman. I really like McCann in the 3 spot after the right-handed Escobar. If a lefty is pitching, Francouer could hit 5th followed by Diaz.

Rowdy Roddy Piper

February 24th, 2009
11:41 am

pryguy – yunel would be running over mccann, maybe switch him w/ garret

ncscoots

February 24th, 2009
11:46 am

Either the pitcher serves up a pitch to the batter’s liking or he throws an off speed pitch thereby increasing the likelihood of a SB.

Yet, there is no data whatsoever to confirm that the batter hitting in a 1B-steal situation gets “better pitches to see” or that the potential base-stealer “unnerves the pitcher”, two of the favorite bromides for extolling the advantage of a speedy, base-stealing leadoff hitter. If either or both of those were true, 2 hitters would ALWAYS have a higher average or higher OBP when hitting in those steal situations versus other hitting situations. That isn’t the case, and not even close.

fangraphs makes a good point for the TYPE of hitter that might change that circumstance. As to whether it would make any difference in the usual outcomes, though, I have my doubts.

BravesFaninPhilly

February 24th, 2009
11:49 am

Pryguy, I think KJ’s power is more unrealized than it is overlooked. It seems like a lot of us are holding our breath and waiting for him to hit 25+ homers, but he hasn’t really shown us he can do that yet.

Steve McP

February 24th, 2009
11:50 am

DOB – Diaz is not a switch hitter. You were probably thinking about Norton when you wrote Diaz in that paragraph.

Danga

February 24th, 2009
11:51 am

Good points ncscoots…Guys like Maddux were notorious for basically ignoring the guys on base and just focusing on the hitter. It does seem very unlikely that a SB guy would “unnerve” an established pitcher.

VolBrave

February 24th, 2009
11:52 am

**John Quest**

Yes, Chipper is a switch hitter but he hits for power on the left side. He loved having Tex behind him in the lineup for that reason. He saw good pitches and could bat left handed against righties late in games. Now, Chipper has become more of the contact hitter in this latter part of his career, but I’m sure he still likes hitting from the left side more than the right.

If someone has his career splits, I would be interested.

**Any word on Ohman?** Let’s cut this BS out and sign him already. Who cares if we have other lefties, the guy is durable and can be counted on in any situation not just for late inning matchups.

J. Anderson(until proven otherwise, then it’s Yunel)
Kelly
Larry
G.A.(could produce RBI’s without hitting HR’s)
Mac
Escky
Kotch
Frenchy
Lowe

Lunatic Fringe

February 24th, 2009
11:52 am

I like your lineup Original Jon, and in answer to your ?, I would start him (Josh) in CF until Shafer is ready, then see about moving him to LF or trade him.

Lew

February 24th, 2009
11:52 am

Steve-Re:Kotchman batting second- He has a tendency to ground to the first baseman and is slow enough afoot that I see many DP’s in our future if he hits number two in the order-negating whatever positive outcome we might achieve from the leadoff spot. Nothing wrong with having some decent hitters 6-8, though, which is what you’ll likely have with Francoeur, Kotchman and Kelly Johnson.

Since I’m of a more optimistic mindset concerning Frenchy’s return to productivity, I kind of like that bottom of the order-lots of RBI potential down there.

I’m looking at a lineup of 1.Josh Anderson 2.Yunel Escobar 3. Garret Anderson 4.Chipper 5.Mac 6.Francoeur 7.Kotchman/KJ 8.KJ/Kotchman and you could acutally just exchange Diaz for Anderson when Matt plays or switch Kelly between 3rd and 8th if preferred.

I’m thinking that’s a pretty potent offense-maybe not loaded with HR power, but one which will score many more runs that most of the Doom and Gloomers or Mets’ Trolls would have us think. Loads of doubles in those bats and quite a few triples from Yunel and Kelly.

Bobby's Belly

February 24th, 2009
11:53 am

Gotta believe the NL East has to be upping their consideration of Will Ohman just to counter the Braves – seems like a real cheap investment for Mets or Phils.

Lew

February 24th, 2009
11:54 am

Steve McP-I think he meant that Matt was a right handed hitter. Go back and read it again with that in mind and I think it will make more sense, though I can see how you read it the other way.

JMar

February 24th, 2009
11:54 am

I agree with Fred, except you’ve gotta drop Frenchy down if he even hints at struggling like he did last year; we can’t afford to leave him there as long as Bobby did before.

I also think people are batting G. Anderson to high up at the 5-spot; keep in mind that Bobby likes consistency in his lineups, and if G. Anderson hits 5, that means either Diaz also hits five or the entire bottom of the lineup changes. And I think Bobby likes Kotchman’s bat a lot higher up, preferably at 6. So although I think people will be surprised to see Garrett batting so low, looking at how Bobby thinks, I see it as:

J. Anderson, Escobar, McCann, Jones, Johnson, Kotchman, Frenchy, G. Anderson/Diaz.

(I don’t think Bobby minds the LL, RR at the end with Diaz).

I think Escobar is key to this also. If he struggles, he could easily be dropped to the 8 spot.

Lew

February 24th, 2009
11:56 am

Daniel-Kelly is not a good fit for leadoff. He is way too patient early in the batting order and it leads to too many two strike counts. He is NOT a great two strike hitter and does much better when aggressive early in the count instead of taking those early strikes. He’s better lower in the order (number three on down).

Robert(Chipper Is The Best)

February 24th, 2009
11:57 am

I just heard John Smoltz on the Dan Patrick Show. He sounds awfully bitter toward Braves’ management. DOB, what is the issue there? Is it Wren or Js or both? Something is definitely amiss.

Maddux

February 24th, 2009
11:57 am

DOB, are you live blogging the spring training games again this year?

Steve McP

February 24th, 2009
11:57 am

Wonder what number Anderson will get? Can’t have 16 obviously.

Kentavo

February 24th, 2009
11:58 am

Unless Garret pulls a Mondesi, I like this signing.

toga party

February 24th, 2009
11:58 am

Nice blog DOB. Great quotes from Chipper and Casey. I especially liked this one:

Kotchman said, “He can move runners over, to. If a guy’s on second with no outs, he’s the best at getting the runner over.”

That’s something we were desperately missing last year. Seems like we had a dis-proportionally large number of guys on 2nd with no outs that didn’t score.

Maddux

February 24th, 2009
11:59 am

Lineup

Anderson J
Escobar
Kotchman
Chipper
McCann
Anderson G
Johnson
Francouer
Lowe

PTBNL

February 24th, 2009
12:00 pm

Can someone tell me what kind of coach Coach is? Strange ideas about baseball, but he seems to have the “confidence” of a MLB GM. I don’t mean to be disrespectful. I am just asking.

This thing Chipper mentioned brought me back to a question that I have wondered for a while now. I don’t know much about these kind of rules in the MLB. For example, in this case, since the AAA club is now so close, could the LH hitters go to Gwinnett and have some of the AAA lefties to pitch to them as practice throughout the season? (Or the LH RP come to the Ted.) It would probably not be helpful for the AAA team since the LH RP would not be fresh for the games, but it certainly could be helpful for the MLB team.

ShipHockey7

February 24th, 2009
12:00 pm

Mardi Gras party in the office today, lovin it

FYF

February 24th, 2009
12:01 pm

1. J. Anderson
2. Escobar
3. G. Anderson
4. Larry
5. McCann
6. Frenchy
7. KJ
8. Kotchman

Good thing we don’t have many lefties in the rotation.

dylan

February 24th, 2009
12:05 pm

Garret Anderson = Raul Mondesi all over again

Original Jon

February 24th, 2009
12:07 pm

Lunatic Fringe, thank you. I am glad someone sees my point about Anderson being on the team. Everyone seems to think Schafer will make it over him which wont happen because the Braves wont risk losing Anderson through waivers, especially not when Schafer has options left.

GSU-Lee

February 24th, 2009
12:07 pm

In all seriousness, if French could come on this year again, he could relieve a lot of the “All Lefty” crap in the middle of our lineup. But we won’t hold our breath, will we?

Daybed Wagmoe

February 24th, 2009
12:08 pm

DOB — That Zevon song is beautiful, and I loved Bob Dylan’s cover of it back in 2002 or whenever it was that he was doing it…

Someone on the other blog — and I’m sorry that I can’t remember who — suggested batting Escobar in the 8 hole because he grounded into 24 double plays last year, and thus would take away the speed of Josh Anderson on the bases. I doubt that Cox will hit him that low, but I thought it was an interesting point. So I looked up Escobar’s splits.

Escobar totalled 24 GDPs last year. He grounded into an astounding 9 double plays in August, and 5 of those came in 2 games within a 3-day span (2 in one game, 0 the next, 3 the third). Without the August total, he hit into an average of 3 DPs/month over the entire season; with the August total, the average is 4.

If he had hit into 3 DPs in August, his total would’ve been 18, which is still a lot (Francoeur hit into 18, McCann 17). He also posted high DP totals in the minor leagues: in his final year and a half before getting called up, he hit into 30 DPs in 167 games between AA and AAA. I’d like to give Escobar the benefit of the doubt and say that the 24 total is an anomaly, but given his track record, I’m not so sure that’s the case.

I’d say that something Escobar and TP might consider working on this spring is moving the runner over and avoiding DPs. I know that this is more easily said that done, but those are my thoughts, building on whoever originally brought up the point.

Jon F.

February 24th, 2009
12:12 pm

DOB, can you update on Chuck James? I can’t remeber what happened with him. Was he released? Still rehabbing from another injury? I take it he’s out of the picture for this year?

Prime Time

February 24th, 2009
12:12 pm

Saw this on MLB.com, have you heard any of this ‘buzz’

Juan Perez, LHP, Braves: Perez began his career with the Red Sox after initially signing at the end of the 1998 season. The southpaw reliever made it as high as Triple-A in Boston’s system, then moved on to the Mets in 2006. The Pirates claimed him that year when the Mets waived him, and he made his big league debut with Pittsburgh that year. He spent time with the Pirates again in 2007 but missed much of last year dealing with an elbow problem. He’s created a little bit of early buzz in Braves camp, though a lack of secondary pitches have some concerned. Still, the 28-year-o9ld’s 9.32 K/9 from the left side has some intrigued.

The Love Child of Dale Murphy and Johnny Cash

February 24th, 2009
12:13 pm

Line up:

vs RHP vs LHP
J. Anderson J. Anderson
Escobar Escobar
C. Jones C. Jones
McCann McCann
G. Anderson Francoeur
K. Johnson Diaz
Kotchman K. Johnson
Francoeur Kotchman

Maddux

February 24th, 2009
12:13 pm

Jon F.

Chuck had some shoulder surgery and wasnt resigned. He wont be ready to pitch till the end of the year so there was no need to resign him now.

TommyP

February 24th, 2009
12:14 pm

Question for the people suggesting Chipper in the #4 hole? Why?

Put Chipper in the #3 hole and guarantee that your best hitter will hit in the 1st inning every game.

Along with the fact that Garret Anderson hits so well with runners in scoring position, I think it’s a perfect fit to put GA in the cleanup spot.

PTBNL

February 24th, 2009
12:15 pm

Regarding Escobar, someone at TalkingChop.com made this observation….

* Yunel Escobar Opening Day to until Brayan Pena’s release….315/.386/.435
* Yunel Escobar for the next 54 games….246/.315/.321
* Yunel Escobar last 38 games…328/.427/.500

I must remember this incorrectly because I thought Pena was released before the season started. But if my memory is wrong and these stats are true, it makes for something interesting to ponder. I am not sure it means much now, but I guess the point is that since this kind of thing won’t happen again this year, we can expect a full year of production from Escobar. However, I am not sure that can be assumed.

MattyRoss

February 24th, 2009
12:15 pm

Jon F. Don’t know if anyone else gave him a look, but the Braves released Chuck James in December. Too bad, really, I hear he was solid until the 6th…

louisville slugger

February 24th, 2009
12:17 pm

I like Chipper batting cleanup, so you have the left-right-left thing going with McCann and Anderson.

As for BBQ, if you haven’t tried Zeb’s Barbecue on US 29 north of Danielsville, GA, you owe it to yourself to do so, especially if you are headed to a UGA game!

WILD BILL

February 24th, 2009
12:19 pm

Anybody else SICK of SMOLTZIE WHINING I hope he starts when the Bosox come here in June & the BRAVOS TATTOO him to the showers, how bout you give back all the cash you got paid when you were on the DL whos knows how many times, just SHUTTY & go away you are history & its time to move on, & hey BLAWG DAWG THIS IS FOR YOU MORON YOU DAM DONKEY HEE HAW GO BRAVOS sweep the Mets sweep the Mets step right up & sweep the Mets LMAO CHOP CHOP BRAVES WIN BRAVES WIN BRAVES WIN THANKS SKIP

chris from md

February 24th, 2009
12:21 pm

Folks, I just can’t see Bobby putting either Frenchy or Kotchman in the 8 hole. I feel fairly certain that J.Anderson will be there. As for the rest of the lineup:

Vs. righties– Escobar, Johnson, Anderson, Jones, McCann, Kotchman, Frenchy, J.Anderson.

Vs. lefties– Escobar, Johnson, Diaz, Jones, McCann, Frechy, Kotchman, Infante.

Cox, doesn’t like to shift people around in the lineup very much. I also believe he will give Diaz and Infante plenty of at-bats by platooning them.

Chris from MD

apowell61

February 24th, 2009
12:24 pm

I hope he’s not another Raul Mondesi, but I do have at least have one good Raul Mondesi memory, a game i went to in 2005 against the Cards, that rained the entire game. It was a close game, the braves tied it 2-2 in the 7th. Going into the 9th, Dan Kolb came in, and didn’t allow a single baserunner (shockingly!) facing Eckstein, Pujols, and Larry Walker. Then, leading off in the bottom of the 9th, Raul Mondesi hits a game winning homer, giving Dan Kolb a win… I know it sounds like I’m making this up, but here’s the recap… http://espnradio.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=250430115

Jon F.

February 24th, 2009
12:25 pm

cool. thanks, guys. Chuck was effective when he first came up. I guess he never made the adjustments after the hitters caught on. Though, I remeber hearing his injury/ies were affecting his velocity.

Ramblin Wrecker

February 24th, 2009
12:26 pm

oK. I trust Chipper on his knowledge of baseball, but I think his focus on the left-handedness of the lineup is a little overblown. Think about it, their three best lefthanded hitters are as follows: Chipper, McCann and Garrett Anderson. Chipper, duh, is a switch hitter, so that takes care of itself. McCann over the last 3 seasons has hit lefties at a (.278 .339 .454 Avg/Obp/Slg) clip vs. (.309 .369 .539) against righties, and only strikes out every 6 at bats against lefties compared to every 8.5 at bats against righties. Not a huge disparity. He slugs better against righties, but he’s not overmatched against lefties. Plus McCann will need regular days off anyways as the catcher and those can be managed to coincide with tough lefties, and David Ross can see what he can do with them. Over the last three years Garrett has hit at a (.272 .306 .407) clip vs. (.295 .335 .464). Very similar to McCann, he slugs better vs. righties, but he’s not overmatched. And there again, he can take days off against tough lefties and let Matt Diaz do what we know he can do. Plus the other potential lefthanded hitting starters, Kelly Johnson at 2B and most likely Josh Anderson in CF, I think could benefit from splitting time with Martin Prado and Omar Infante respectively. Here are my three lineups, one for righties, one for lefties and one for tough lefties:

POS Against Righties
CF Josh Anderson
SS Yunel Escobar
3B Chipper Jones
LF G Anderson
C Brian McCann
1B C Kotchman
RF Jeff Francoeur
2B Kelly Johnson
P TBD

POS Against Lefties
2B Martin Prado
SS Yunel Escobar
3B Chipper Jones
LF G Anderson
RF Jeff Francoeur
C Brian McCann
1B C Kotchman
CF Omar Infante
P TBD

POS Against Tough Lefties
2B Martin Prado
SS Yunel Escobar
3B Chipper Jones
RF Jeff Francoeur
C Brian McCann
LF Matt Diaz
1B C Kotchman
CF Omar Infante
P TBD

JPHunt

February 24th, 2009
12:26 pm

I wonder if Ohman would risk letting some time pass and see if a new suitor arises in spring training. For example the Braves have two unproven leftys that might need replacing if things dont go well. Ohman looks to be cheap at a mil or maybe less, seems like a few teams could come calling if their original plans dont work out.

chris from md

February 24th, 2009
12:27 pm

DOB,

I, too, would love to hear your take on all the verbage we are hearing from Smoltz. I am a big fan of his, but isn’t all of this talk of his a little unbecoming?

Chris from MD

Jerry

February 24th, 2009
12:27 pm

Smoltz realizes he made the wrong choice and now will do all he can to try and look like the good guy. The 2nd greatest Brave ever and he is smearing his name. Poor guy.

We make the playoffs and Smoltz doesn’t.

Great line-up we have with great starting pitching. Our starters look good too. Our problem will be the health of the bullpen and how our centerfielder does.

We will be under the radar for the first couple of months but I predict that come June 1st we will be in 1st place. I believe that.

thewyzyrd

February 24th, 2009
12:28 pm

DOB, Just wanted you to know that your headline writers are at it again. There is a headline on 1A that reads Griffey Picks Braves Over Mariners. Just thought you’d want to know. TheWyzyrd

DAP

February 24th, 2009
12:30 pm

dylanGarret Anderson = Raul Mondesi all over again

the situations are not even close to similar.

David-ATL14

February 24th, 2009
12:32 pm

1.J.Anderson
2.Escobar
3.KJ
4.Chipper
5.McCann
6.G.Anderson
7.Francoeur
8.Kotchman

Optimal Lineup

Ramblin Wrecker

February 24th, 2009
12:32 pm

Oops, forgot to change catcher out for tough lefties.

POS Against Tough Lefties Hits
2B Martin Prado R
SS Yunel Escobar R
3B Chipper Jones R
RF Jeff Francoeur R
LF Matt Diaz R
1B C Kotchman L
CF Omar Infante R
C David Ross R
P TBD

tulsabravo

February 24th, 2009
12:35 pm

DOB, Here’s a link to NPR’s website, and a preview of Neko Case’s new album, “Middle Cyclone.”

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100826714&ps=bb2

dobearsbare

February 24th, 2009
12:37 pm

Inquiring minds want to know, DOB: Did the AJC ante up for the Rosetta Stone course in Japanese for you? You know, so you can work without that interpreter filter with Kawakami?

cvbraves

February 24th, 2009
12:37 pm

Agree with Jerry on Smoltz, for what it’s worth. Apparently he can see the improvements the Braves have made and that they are a contender…and he isn’t a part of it.

Think Lew and a few others are correct on the lineup…Chipper will get opportunites to bat 4th.

Don’t believe Bobby is planning to leave Garret out of the lineup against lefties…unless, contrary to his history, he’s not hitting them.

And, for some reason, I still believe there is some chance that we’ll trade for Nady.

mbatl

February 24th, 2009
12:37 pm

Most (or all) of the elite, late-inning relievers in the division (Putz, K-Rod, Lidge, Lindstrom(?), Hanrahan(?) ) are righties. Bobby just needs to avoid getting duped into pinch-hitting for his best LH bats in the 7th inning when the other team brings in their LOOGY, unless it’s just an absolutely obvious pinch-hitting situation. Having a lot of LH bats could serve us well in the late innings.

ATL

February 24th, 2009
12:38 pm

Schafer (braves need to rely on this kid, the next Grady Sizemore)
Escobar
Hoss
Francoeur (Gonna have a BIG year)
McCann
G. Anderson
Johnson
Kotchman
Pitcher

-Not wanting to lose Josh Anderson the braves drop norton off of the bench

DAP

February 24th, 2009
12:38 pm

daybed wagmoe

hitting into doubles plys is something that comes in herantly with guys who dont strike out much, and put the ball in play. (this doesnt apply to francouer) but, we have a team that makes alot of contact, and gets on base pretty well, so our DP number will always be pretty hefty, i bet.

but avoiding souble plays is the job of more than just the batter. one way to avoid DPs is to put runners in motion. (coach, you out there?) i.e. hit and runs, ect. those are the kinds of thing that work well with a lineup like ours, that makes alot of contact.

cvbraves

February 24th, 2009
12:40 pm

dylanGarret Anderson = Raul Mondesi all over again

You wish! Must be a Met or Phillie fan.

thewyzyrd

February 24th, 2009
12:40 pm

DOB, It’s kinda hard to find. It’s under the Most Popular stories.

Most Popular

* Photos
* Topics
* Stories

1. Former Atlanta cop prays for victim of fatal shooting
2. Trial starts next month on airport sex charges
3. How Garret Anderson will affect Braves outfield
4. Griffey picks Braves over Mariners
5. Springsteen to headline UK’s Glastonbury festival

daniel

February 24th, 2009
12:41 pm

Hey when will the braves be on tv? Our do we have to wait til opening day?

David O'Brien

February 24th, 2009
12:41 pm

Bob Dole (fellow KU graduate, by the way): It wasn’t a Brave who carded the hole-in-one, it was one of the fans who pay to play in the charity tourney.

Andre "Pulpwood" Smith

February 24th, 2009
12:41 pm

DOB- Love the blog, but I have a serious question about the print version of the AJC. I know newspapers all over the country are hurting financially, but c’mon. This morning’s sports section was 3 1/2 pages long! Granted, it’s a relatively slow season in sports, but we can’t even come up with 4 pages of sports? Convince me that there will still be a print edition of the AJC in 2010.

brent a.

February 24th, 2009
12:42 pm

Anderson and Chipper have something in common:

They were both runner-up for ROY, in their respective leagues, in 1995.

(Sorry if that was already mentioned).

PTBNL

February 24th, 2009
12:42 pm

Nice observation mbatl.

dylan

February 24th, 2009
12:42 pm

garret anderson = raul mondesi……

exactly alike no. similar yes. both washed up. i doubt garret anderson stays healthy or even with the braves all season. what a mistake

dylan

February 24th, 2009
12:43 pm

and i love the braves. just dont optimistic about garret friggin anderson.

David O'Brien

February 24th, 2009
12:44 pm

Short workout today, no pitchers threw BP, just coaches.

Cox was blown away (again) by Hanson in the ‘pen. Roger McDowell set up some old-school ropes to represent the strike zone, something he does occasionally. Hanson proceded to hit the zone with pinpoint accuracy, pitch after pitch.

crispy

February 24th, 2009
12:44 pm

i dont think anyone will hit into as many DP’s as Andruw did when he wasn’t striking out.

McPoyle

February 24th, 2009
12:45 pm

garret anderson has 23000 hits? HOF for sure

DWW

February 24th, 2009
12:46 pm

DOB
When do the first cutts take place?

PTBNL

February 24th, 2009
12:47 pm

David, how about “just misses”? It seems that many pitchers don’t do the “miss the strike zone” very well. I mean, either the ball drifts back into the zone or they miss so far that a blind person would not swing.

PTBNL

February 24th, 2009
12:48 pm

Or maybe I should have said even Frenchy would not swing.

DWW

February 24th, 2009
12:48 pm

Is there any chance Glavine or anybody else could move to the pen if Hanson dominates ST?

David O'Brien

February 24th, 2009
12:48 pm

Dylan, no offense, but that Mondesi-G. Anderson comparison — based on what? Mondesi played 34 games and hit .241 with three homers in 2004, the year before the Braves signed him. Compare that to what Anderson did last season.

Mondesi had a bad reputation, a lot of baggage. Anderson is, from everything I hear and read, quite the opposite.

Mike

February 24th, 2009
12:48 pm

Tomorrow is my first earlier spring training game. What kind of lineup can I expect to see?

McPoyle

February 24th, 2009
12:49 pm

DOB – You catch that KU/OU game last night? Collins had a special night… goin back and forth with 3 pointers down the stretch. Big win at OU… but without Blake Griff (who was stylin on the sideline btw).

Chuck James was Solid until the 6th!!!

February 24th, 2009
12:50 pm

Here’s another O that needs to be in ATL’s ‘pen!!!
Ohman!

braves4ever

February 24th, 2009
12:50 pm

thewyzyrd, I agree, DOB you need to go here and see this at AJC Braves home page , look at this headline link name and when you click on it it has a story date of 2/17 ,you really picked it way back last Tue, just kidding ,you have some folks that don’t have your backside covered.
link, Griffey picks Braves over Mariners http://www.ajc.com/news/content/sports/braves/stories/2009/02/17/braves_griffey.html?cxntlid=inform_sr&imw=Y
story, Braves map new outfield plans with Anderson
By DAVID O’BRIEN

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

David O'Brien

February 24th, 2009
12:52 pm

For those who might be down here and going to the game tomorrow in Lakeland: You’re going to see a good representation of Braves. All but Chipper are going from the projected regular lineup. (Well, except G. Anderson; wouldn’t expect him to be on the travel list)

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