Hanson rested, ready & excited for Act 2

There was a point this offseason when young Braves pitching star Tommy Hanson was fed up and talked about leaving Atlanta.

Fed up with the weather, that is.

And talking — only half-seriously, we gather — about going home to Southern California to get away from Atlanta’s near-record rain in November-December.

“I was joking that if it rains one more day, I’m out of here,” Hanson said of a conversation he had with roommates, Kris Medlen – a fellow Southern Californian — and Braves minor league pitcher Ryne Reynoso.

“I couldn’t take it,” Hanson said. “Then after it stopped raining, it got cold and everything froze.”

Hanson says he's comfortable now and knows he belongs.

Hanson says he's comfortable now and knows he belongs in the bigs.

But the towering redhead stuck it out and had a good time in his first offseason in Atlanta, where he shares a Buckhead hi-rise apartment with Medlen and Reynoso. Last week you might have caught Hanson live on the MLB Network in their studio. They flew him up to New York for an overnight trip just to do that segment live in their studio.

Yes, Hanson is kind of a big deal — even if he’d never say so himself.

Hanson and Medlen moved into their new digs during the All-Star break last year, after deciding they’d had enough of the daily commute to Turner Field from their apartment in the ‘burbs north of Atlanta, where they had both began the season with the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves.

Reynoso moved in later, after spending almost the entire 2009 season at Double-A Mississippi (7-9, 3.47 ERA in 24 starts) except for one start at Gwinnett.

While the weather wasn’t perfect at times during his first offseason in Atlanta, just about everything else – including the stuff that really mattered – went splendidly for Hanson, 23.

He arrived with a potentially heavy burden of soaring expectations, but Hanson met or surpassed them while going 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA in 21 starts to finish third for NL Rookie of the Year.

“[The hype] didn’t bother Hans at all,” manager Bobby Cox said right after the season ended. “That’s pretty hard to live up to. Everybody’s expecting a shutout every time you pitch. And he lived up to it. Again, that comes with makeup, his character, his abilities to fix things on the mound himself.”

It only took Hanson a few starts to settle into a groove and succeed against major league hitters, much like he’d answered every other challenge during his brief professional career.

Hanson led majors with .192 avg by right-handed batters

Hanson led majors with .192 avg by right-handed batters

He was called up from Gwinnett two months into the season, and in his first start Hanson struggled in his last innings and was charged with six hits, six earned runs and three homers in six innings of a June 7 game against Milwaukee, which the Braves still won.

Despite allowing nine hits in 5-2/3 innings in his next start June 12 at Baltimore, and giving up 14 walks in 17 innings in three starts beginning with that game, Hanson was charged with only two runs against the Orioles and none in his three starts after that.

He had a 26-inning scoreless streak snapped when he gave up a homer in the seventh inning of a July 4 start at Washington.

But the kid is a perfectionist. So when I asked him if anything about last season jumped out at him as he analyzed it and reflected upon it this winter, Hanson said: “I think the biggest thing was how, when I first got called up, I wish I would have felt more comfortable sooner.

“When I got more comfortable out there, I sort of took off.”

Keep in mind, this is a rookie who gave up three runs in 30 innings during his second through fifth starts in the major leagues. At age 22. After pitching in a total of 29 games above A-ball.

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Medlen had such a great start at Gwinnett that he was actually called up to Atlanta before Hanson, who was dominating Triple-A hitters almost to the point of absurdity by the time he was brought to the majors.

Hanson had a 1.49 ERA and 90 strikeouts with 17 walks in 66-1/3 innings at Gwinnett before getting his call to the majors. And despite missing the first two months of the big-league season, he still finished second among NL rookies in strikeouts (116) and fourth in innings pitched (127-2/3)

“It was a huge learning experience last year,” said Hanson, whose 2.89 ERA was the lowest for a Braves rookie in 20 or more starts since 1943, when Nate Andrews had a 2.58 ERA and the franchise was still located in Boston.

“And it just gives me that much more confidence to know that if I’m out there feeling comfortable, I can compete with anybody, that I belong,” he said. “I can go out and compete and help the team win.”

Hanson led all major league starters in lowest batting average allowed by right-handed batters at .192, ahead of the Angels’ Matt Palmer (.197) and San Francisco’s two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum (.203).

If Hanson had pitched 34-1/3 more innings to quality, his 2.89 ERA would have ranked seventh in the NL with the Giant’ Matt Cain, one spot behind Vazquez.

And despite pitching a career-high 194 innings combined in Triple-A and the majors, Hanson appeared to get stronger – and pitched better — as the season wore on. He gave up five or fewer hits in seven of his last eight starts, and had at least seven strikeouts in eight of his last 10 starts.

Hanson posted a 2.25 ERA in his last six starts, with 43 strikeouts, 14 walks and 26 hits allowed in 40 innings. He had only a 2-1 record in that span, including three games when the Braves scored only one run while he was in. But Hanson never showed any sign of frustration or disappointment.

Always upbeat, always humble. From the time that national writers came to camp to write stories about the phenom during spring training, through his last start in Washington on Oct. 1, when Hanson allowed one run, five hits and one walk with nine strikeouts in seven innings.

The rangy right-hander never changed his demeanor, and his teammates, manager and coaches loved everything about him.

Now, Hanson is eager to get it started again. He said he’s never felt better after getting a full offseason of rest (he only took a month off last winter after the Arizona Fall League).

“I’m definitely looking forward to some baseball,” said Hanson, who “I’ve had enough time away from it. I’m ready to go. My arm’s never felt better. And I feel really good about the team. I think everything that was done [this offseason] is going to help the team out.”

Hanson and plenty of other Braves pitchers will take part in a two-week voluntary pitching camp that starts Monday at Turner Field, and then the words you’ve all been waiting for: Pitchers and catchers report to spring training Feb. 19.

Other position players will report to Dark Star (Disney’s Wide World of Sports) on Feb. 22. First full-squad workout is set for Feb. 23.

Now, back to Hanson’s comment about the offseason moves. Braves starters led the majors with a 3.52 ERA and pitched the second-most innings (986) behind St. Louis starters (1,003-2/3).

But they traded Javier Vazquez to the New York Yankees, after Vazquez finished fourth in NL Cy Young balloting and led the Braves with a 15-10 record, 238 strikeouts and a career-best 2.87 ERA.

The Braves had a surplus of starters after signing Tim Hudson to a three-year extension following a late-season return from elbow surgery. They tried first to trade Derek Lowe, but $45 million left on his contract thwarted their attempts.

Blah blah blah, you all know the rest of that story. So let’s look ahead.

“It’s tough losing Javy,” Hanson said when I talked to him Thursday. “He helped a lot of us out. I know him and J.J. [Jair Jurrjens] were real close, and he helped me just being able to watch him pitch. But with everybody we’ve got back we’re going to be more than fine with our rotation.

“And we’re going to be tough in the bullpen, too.”

Jurrjens and Hanson give Braves a formidable duo of 23-year-olds

Jurrjens and Hanson give Braves a formidable duo of 23-year-olds

The Braves lost closers Mike Gonzalez (free agency) and Rafael Soriano (traded after he accepted arbitration). They signed veteran closer Billy Wagner and setup man Takashi Saito (who’ll be 40 in February) and traded for hard-throwing if still-developing relievers Mike Dunn, a lefty from the Yankees, and Jesse Chavez, coming off a 73-appearance rookie season with the Pirates.

They join incumbent relievers Peter Moylan, Medlen and lefty Eric O’Flaherty, along with possibly Manny Acosta. And don’t forget waiting in the wings: veteran signee Scott Proctor, who’s expected back from elbow surgery in May or June.

The Braves rotation includes Hudson, Jurrjens, Lowe, Hanson and veteran Kenshin Kawakami, in his second season since coming from Japan. The order, we probably won’t know until Cox announces his spring-training pitching plans, at which point we can usually figure out how that projects to opening week.

Can the Braves again field one of baseball’s best starting rotations?

“I think so, definitely,” Hanson said. “Getting Huddy back, in his second year being healthy — good things will come from that. And having everyone else back … it should be fun to watch. Hopefully like last year, where every time someone takes the mound it’s a good start.”

As for Hanson, he’ll be coming to camp this year to get ready for the season, not worrying about making perfect pitches during every start of spring training like he tried to do last year when he wanted to impress Cox and the brass.

“That’s the biggest thing, just being comfortable and knowing what to expect this time,” he said. “Last year I had no idea what to expect, how ready I needed to be [going into spring training], all that. I just didn’t know. This year I have an idea how far along I need to be in my throwing, conditioning, working out. The main thing is throwing – I feel like I’m right where I need to be.

“Last year, it’s hard when you get on the mound in front of people who’ve never seen you throw, and you want to show them your best stuff. Now they’ve seen me, they know what I can do.

“Instead of having to be ready right away in spring training, I feel like I can work up to where I need to be [going into the season], and work on the things I need to work on instead of having to impress everyone.”

He also predicts good things from his roomie Medlen, who made huge strides last year from his deer-in-headlights first couple of starts to being a middle reliever the Braves trusted in some big situations late in the season.

Medlen had 2.80 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 26 appearances after All-Star break

Medlen had 2.80 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 26 appearances after All-Star break

Medlen had a 2.80 ERA in 26 relief appearances after the All-Star break, with 39 strikeouts and 10 walks in 35-1/3 innings.

For the season, Medlen had a 4.26 ERA in 37 games (four starts), and he allowed 65 hits and 30 walks with 72 strikeouts in 67-2/3 innings.

“I think he’s kind of in same boat as me — I’m not happy my first year’s out of way, but [am] kind of,” Hanson said. “I’m looking forward to my second year and knowing what I need to do. And I’m definitely looking forward to watching Med pitch, because I think he’s going to have a great year.

“I was on a routine [starting every fifth day] last year, where he wasn’t. He got moved around and went a long time without pitching sometimes. This year he knows a little bit more what to expect, and he’s going to be ready for it.”

“Medlen really came on strong,” Cox said of the right-hander, who’s about eight inches shorter than his roommate Hanson. “He had more strikeouts than innings pitched, and less hits [than innings pitched] in his very first year.

“He’s come a long ways. We like him.”

♣ Damon update: Still available, but perhaps not for much longer.

As I’ve said, it ain’t over till the Braves say it’s over, folks. And they still haven’t come out and said they have no interest in Johnny Damon, who grew up a Braves fan in Orlando, respects the hell out of Bobby Cox, and has said he’d like to play for the Braves, who train near his Orlando home.

Braves could get Damon at a reduced rate

Braves could get him at reduced rate

As of Friday he’s still unsigned, and the Braves could still use a proven leadoff man and left fielder – which would allow them to not rely on Melky Cabrera to play every day if uberprospect Jason Heyward isn’t ready to start the season in right field (Matt Diaz could play some right if the Braves get Damon).

If the Braves decide to jump in with an offer, it wouldn’t take long for GM Frank Wren and agent Scott Boras to work a deal for Damon.

Remember that a year ago, after some media outlets had reported the Braves had no interest in Derek Lowe, Wren reached out to Boras in January and quickly negotiated a deal for the veteran pitcher.

A deal for Damon would be a whole, whole lot cheaper (and shorter) than the one for Lowe, so you’ve got to think they could do it quickly if the Braves decide they can’t pass up the opportunity to sign a reduced-rate, 36-year-old veteran with his winning background — weak arm and aging legs be damned.

Seriously, does anyone really not believe Damon would help the Braves win?

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Damon had one of his best seasons for the Yankees in 2009, hitting .282 and matching a career high with 24 homers while, yes, taking full advantage of hitter-friendly dimensions at new Yankee Stadium.

But it wasn’t just the ballpark, folks. His .365 on-base percentage in 2009 was 10 points above his career mark, his 36 doubles were his most in nine seasons, and his 82 RBIs were his best since a career-high 94 in 2004 with Boston.

The Braves would get a marquee player and a teammate of highest repute in Damon, a top-20 finisher in American League MVP top voting four times, including three straight years (2004-2006) with Boston and New York.

And you might have heard, he was on a few teams that did some things in Boston and the Bronx.

♣ Funny rotation: Steve Rushin had a recent Twitter post — we hate the word “Tweet” and try to always avoid using it — in which he noted that the Phillies’ new Ha-Ha-Ha rotation (Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels & J.A. Happ) rivals the Ho-Hu-Ha staff of ‘72 A’s (Holtzman, Hunter & Hamilton).

Well, I thought, why stop there?

Tommy Hanson is obviously off-limits, but the Phillies could pursue Jason Hammel, the right-hander who went 10-8 for Colorado last year in his first full season in the majors.

And they could go after Aaron Harang. Sure he lost 31 games the past two seasons with Cincinnati, but only after winning 32 games for the Reds during the two prior seasons. Or they could make a run at Rich Harden, who had 352 strikeouts in 289 innings over the past two seasons with Oakland and the Cubs.

As a fallback, they might even consider lefty John Halama, the 37-year-old journeyman who started 13 games for the Braves’ Triple-A team last season.

Halama hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2006, but just think about the marketing opportunities of this hilarious rotation. Funny how? Funny as in Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha.

For relief, they might even pursue Joel Hanrahan, who had a 1.72 ERA in 32 appearances for Pittsburgh last season. And for the playoff drive, I hear that Mike Hampton might be recovered from his latest surgery.

OK, we’ll stop. It’s getting late in the offseason, isn’t it? Whew.

The once-and-again Yankee left quite an impression in Atlanta, where Vazquez was voted Brave of the Year.

Once-and-again Yank left big impression in Atlanta, where Vazquez was voted Brave of the Year.

♣ Vazquez named top Brave: Speaking of Javier Vazquez, he was voted Brave of the Year (team MVP, in other words) by the local chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Vazquez got 10 of the 20 votes cast, while Jair Jurrjens and Brian McCann each received four votes. I was a bit surprised to hear Yunel Escobar and Martin Prado got only one vote each.

♣ And now, a projected finish: If you haven’t seen it, here’s how Baseball Prospectus projects the final 2010 division standings to look.

They have the Braves finishing second in the East at 85-77, three games behind the Phillies and tied with Diamondbacks for NL’s best record for non-division winner.

So what if the Braves make one more addition to their lineup. Maybe a veteran leadoff hitter, for instance? Would that be worth a game, three games, in these projected standings? Who knows?

(Blogmeister addendum: Apparently since I first linked these standings earlier today, BP has altered them quite a bit and now has the Braves winning the division. I guess they liked all the moves the Braves made today? (he says sarcastically. But anyway, remember as you read the rest of this note that I wrote it before they altered their projections. I, on the other hand, haven’t altered my responses to original projections.)

I never put much stock in projected standings, particularly not before we even get to spring training. But I looked over these to see if I agreed.

Well, not with 96 wins for the Rays. Too many. Oh, and it’ll take more than 82 wins to finish first in the AL Central. And I don’t know about Oakland over Seattle in the AL West. Also, I don’t think the Marlins will finish last behind the Nationals.

Oh, and what the … the Nationals with 82 wins?

Like I said, I never put too much stock in projected standings.

♣ Diversions: I know we’ve got a few Graham Parker fans on the blog, and you’ll be pleased to hear that I’ve been listening to upcoming release and that it’s quite good. Called Imaginary Television, it’s a concept album wherein our her, the estimable Mr. Parker, pens songs for TV shows that don’t exist.

It’s not coming out until March, but I got my dirty paws on an advance copy.

This is more great music from a man who keeps putting out terrific albums that, if he’s lucky, sell about one-tenth as many as the average (in every sense) American Idol alum.

But as long as he keeps cranking them out, we’ll keep listening. If only more knew what they were missing.

Speaking of missing, they just announced  a Drive-By Truckers show at Variety Playhouse in Atlanta on … March 12-13. Fellas, don’t you know that’s the middle of spring training?

♣ Eat, greet, etc: The Braves 400 Fan Club is having its annual winter banquet and fundraiser on Saturday, Feb. 13 at the Marriott Perimeter Center just off I-85 inside the Perimeter (take the Clairmont exit). It’ll include a gala reception, silent auction and raffle of Braves memorabilia beginning at 5:30, followed by the awards dinner and program at 7:00 PM.

The theme this year is great Braves pitching rotations, and the guests will include current and former Braves pitchers and guests with stories to tell about the franchise’s pitching success. Braves radio man Jim Powell will emcee the program.

Hall of Famer Phil Niekro is scheduled to attend, along with Jason Heyward, Tommy Hanson, Kris Medlen, Charlie Liebrandt, several Braves minor leaguers including Craig Kimbrel, and Giants first-round draft pick Zack Wheeler from East Paulding High in Georgia.

Yankees great Bobby Richardson will accept the Luke Appling Award.

Admission is by reservation only, and the deadline is Feb. 9. Tickets are $65 and include dinner. You can make reservations on the 400 Fan Club website at www.braves400.org, or mail a check to Braves 400 Club, P.O. Box 7689, Atlanta, GA 30309. Information is also available at 770-416-4539.

20090311steveearletvz

Earle (left) with the late, great Townes Van Zandt

“IT’S ALL UP TO YOU” by Steve Earle

No matter which way the wind blows

It’s always cold when you’re alone

Ain’t no candle in the window

You’ve got to find your own way home

Now the rain ain’t gonna hurt you

It’s come to wash away your blues

It’s all up to you

Nobody said it would be easy

But it don’t have to be this hard

If you’re lookin’ for a reason

Just stand right where you are

Now there ain’t no one out to get you

They’ve got to walk in their own shoes

It’s all up to you

It’s all up to you

No one else can get you through

Right or wrong, win or lose

It’s all up to you

You can stand out on that highway

Look as far as you can see

But when you get to that horizon

There’s always someplace else to be

But don’t you stop to look behind you

‘Cause you’ve got some travelin’ left to do

It’s all up to you

3,410 comments Add your comment

jeffrey d

January 29th, 2010
9:23 pm

Not gonna say it…

jeffrey d

January 29th, 2010
9:23 pm

tiger297

January 29th, 2010
9:25 pm

tiger297

January 29th, 2010
9:26 pm

well you could at least let me say it :(

Soph

January 29th, 2010
9:26 pm

Thanks, DOB.

nolie

January 29th, 2010
9:27 pm

Thank you kind sir!

David O'Brien

January 29th, 2010
9:28 pm

Whoa. For a minute there I had a big-arse Chase add over my head.

Anyway, just added a Hanson poll to the blog. So go back up and vote, if you want to.

joerochester

January 29th, 2010
9:28 pm

Jake W.

January 29th, 2010
9:34 pm

Thats got to be a record for free throw attempts in a quarter. Now the question is can anyone score without going to the line.

jeffrey d

January 29th, 2010
9:36 pm

Wow…Boston within 1. When did that happen??

Steve from OH

January 29th, 2010
9:37 pm

Thanks for the new blog, Dave! Good song too, btw.

Anyone got an opinion on There Will Be Blood? I am putting it in the Blu-Ray player in a little while.

Loved it, and I think you will too. That’s one thing I’ve really gotten out of this blog–insight into a lot of good flicks I otherwise wouldn’t have seen.

jeffrey d

January 29th, 2010
9:37 pm

I hope when Bobby called Tommy “Hans” he pronounced it like the German name Hans

nolie

January 29th, 2010
9:38 pm

Still pushing Damon huh? Gonna break some hearts when it doesn’t happen. I keep a first aid kit handy though and we can speed-dial suicide hotline. The blog will likely survive, but some posters are gonna cry a lot of tears .:cry:

paranoiaagent0

January 29th, 2010
9:42 pm

The baseball prospectus projected standings looked a bit off to me, but the CAIRO projections look a lot more realistic. ( http://rlyw.blogspot.com/2010/01/extremely-early-2010-mlb-projected.html )

I think it’s interesting, though, that both projections have the Braves as the Wild Card winner, just a bit behind Philly. Seems the computers are a lot more confident in our lineup than most of us seem to be.

tlj

January 29th, 2010
9:46 pm

Get Johnny Damon and complete out the off season additions. The braves will then be in a position to challenge the Phillies and certainly be in the mix for the wild card. Otherwise it’s third place again.

Come on Frank get it done.

nolie

January 29th, 2010
9:50 pm

Seems the computers are a lot more confident in our lineup than most of us seem to be. Paranoia

hmmm. +/- 7 ain’t as good as the ol’ Greek geek is it? Ain’t his +/-5?
Neither of which are small enough to be of any use whatsoever as predictors. Saying 90 and ending up anywhere from 83-97 is not all that ….

David O'Brien

January 29th, 2010
9:51 pm

Terrific movie, There Will Be Blood. In fact, we might watch that one tonight, too. We decided to avoid theatres tonight, usually too crowded on Friday.

18 Wheels of Love

January 29th, 2010
9:52 pm

Awesome new blog!!!

Doggsbreky, this is for you should you jump on. Midnight Oil gang minus Garrett form new band with some Violent Femmes guy. I’m just now checking it out.

http://www.thebreak.net.au/index.php

Steve from OH

January 29th, 2010
9:53 pm

DOB–good choice, man. Glad you recommended it, definitely worth my limited free time to see. We have our differences over some music, but your taste in movies parallels mine pretty closely…

nolie

January 29th, 2010
9:54 pm

Dear Lord please please please send us Johnny Damon as an early Christmas present since he is sooo totally the difference between glory and ignominy. Thank you. .

joerochester

January 29th, 2010
9:55 pm

Watch Garden State… that’s a classic.

Greaaaaaaaaaat....

January 29th, 2010
9:59 pm

joerochester

January 29th, 2010
10:04 pm

Looks like the Reds ruled out Damon now, too.

Soph

January 29th, 2010
10:11 pm

Hawks win! Yay!

We love you Boston. 4-0. :-D

nolie

January 29th, 2010
10:13 pm

If everybody else passes on Damon can we charge him to let him play for us so he can build his value back up?

joerochester

January 29th, 2010
10:17 pm

I read he turned down a 1 yr/ 6 mill contract with the Yanks.

Andrew in PA

January 29th, 2010
10:18 pm

Thanks for the new blog Dave, wish you would have talked a little bit about Heyward,instead of still talking about Damon,which is not going to happen ( unless chipper will pay damon’s salary in 2010)

Cold Stove

January 29th, 2010
10:26 pm

DOB–
“It only took Hanson a few starts to settle into a groove and succeed again major league hitters, much like he’d answered every other challenge during his brief professional career.”

think that should be against not again

joerochester

January 29th, 2010
10:33 pm

Hanson should have been named Rookie of the Year.

Heath

January 29th, 2010
10:38 pm

joerochester

January 29th, 2010
10:33 pm

Hanson should have been named Rookie of the Year.

Hanson pitched really well….even had 116 Ks last year. Though my friend had more strikeouts at the bar last year…maybe he should have been rookie of the year?

Bravefaninok

January 29th, 2010
10:42 pm

Keith Law

Heyward a future superstar

“Heyward will be a middle-of-the-order bat with power and patience while playing above-average defense in right with a plus arm. He has an advanced approach at the plate, something that was already in place when he was a 17-year-old high school senior, and strong, quick wrists that let him commit later to pitches while still driving the ball to all fields. He gets good leverage in his swing and has plenty of loft to eventually produce 30-plus homers a year, and so far hasn’t shown any tendency to expand the zone because he’s trying too hard to hit for power. In the field, he has outgrown center but moves extremely well in right with good reads off the bat. And you can see from all of the above that he has a high baseball IQ, with good feel and/or instincts in every area of the game, especially for someone his age. He murdered Double-A pitching at age 19 in a 200-PA sample, and his career stat line reads .318/.391/.508, nearly all of which was compiled before he turned 20 in August. His swing isn’t perfect — he does bar his front arm very briefly — but he’s so strong and has such bat speed that the minor flaw has been irrelevant at every stop of his pro career. Everything else here points to stardom.”

uga-brave

January 29th, 2010
10:43 pm

sounds like you need a new wingman.

Goldenglove002

January 29th, 2010
10:44 pm

Is it a little odd that Wheeler is attending this Braves event or does a teams first round pick normally attend functions for other teams.

And glad to see DOB still thinks there is a chance for Damon. Think he’s the only writer left says that, but it gives us something to continue discussing. Good new blog

joerochester

January 29th, 2010
10:45 pm

Your friend needs to read “The Game”.

Heath

January 29th, 2010
10:46 pm

Is that new “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” series any good?

matt r

January 29th, 2010
10:54 pm

“[The hype] didn’t bother Hans at all,” manager Bobby Cox said right after the season ended. “Franz, on the other hand, couldn’t handle all the pumping up.”

P'cola Brave

January 29th, 2010
10:56 pm

DOB

What do you think of a Diaz/Melky platoon in the leadoff instead of Mclouth? You may get equal or better production out of them in the leadoff. Plus it allows Mclouth to move down to 6 or 7 and give him more RBI oppurtunities.

Heath

January 29th, 2010
11:00 pm

Was flippin’ through the channels….caught some of “The Longest Yard” with Adam Sandler throwing to darts right to the back judge’s nads….it’s hilarious every time. :D

Heath

January 29th, 2010
11:00 pm

Was flippin’ through the channels….caught some of “The Longest Yard” with Adam Sandler throwing to darts right to the back judge’s nads….it’s hilarious every time. :D

Heath

January 29th, 2010
11:01 pm

Not sure why there was two posts there… sorry.

TnBrian

January 29th, 2010
11:01 pm

nolie, I don’t know about that … I don’t think fans here that would like to see Damon a Brave will be “heartbroken” if we don’t get him. We know the drill by now, or should. Seems all DOB is saying is to not be shocked if we do get him and it should be taken just as that.

I’ll find something to gripe about regardless, so I really don’t count. LOL

P'cola Brave

January 29th, 2010
11:02 pm

In 297 PA and 255 AB Melky has hit .290/.373/.408/.781 in the leadoff.
Diaz sample is much smaller. In 67 PA and 57 AB, Diaz has hit .421/.478/.561/1.039

Andrew in PA

January 29th, 2010
11:03 pm

P’Cola,man i have to agree, i think Nate Mc is a run producer,we need to hit me lower in the order maybe 7th behind yunel

BossLady

January 29th, 2010
11:04 pm

We decided to avoid the crowd? Everything is WE now with DOB. My husband, Michael is a WE. What’s going on here? Everything he says since before the holidays is WE. Is our beloved blogmaster turning into a couple. I have been highly known among my friends and family to be a matchmaker.

Please, don’t get me wrong but, DOB has done a lot of WE in his blogs.
I already said that I was NOSY so this should not come as a surprise to anyone.

DOB has a lot of WEs going on these days. When he went home to North Carolina for Thanksgiving he said WE, then the big Christmas vacation in Canada and all the references to WE is a big thing.

I know that his having motorcycles, the largest music collection, a sweet job and home whatever, he seems to have someone.
(WE.Joey, my husband (Michael Joseph) said stop being so intrusive, but if he has gotten past the material toys and has someone then that is fantastic.

Hanson, JJ, Medlen, and the bullpen will truly help Atlanta.

DOB is also a forgiving man and if I was him, I would not cover HUDSON or care what happens to him with the Braves. I have a long memory and as I saw DOB on FOX 5 having to defend himself from Hudson I dont have any love for Hudson since he has never delivered from his time in Oakland.

P'cola Brave

January 29th, 2010
11:04 pm

Melky’s OBP is highest in the leadoff than at any other spot is the lineup. He has spent most his career in the 1,7,8,9 spots. If Diaz and Melky produce like they are capable they may be the best option up there. They run well enough and lets face it we don’t steal a lot anyway so having our fastest guy at the top really doesnt matter.

Having Chip, Glaus, Mac, Yunel, and Nate sitting in the middle should lead to a lot more RBI’s.

Heath

January 29th, 2010
11:04 pm

P’cola Brave

January 29th, 2010
11:02 pm

In 297 PA and 255 AB Melky has hit .290/.373/.408/.781 in the leadoff.
Diaz sample is much smaller. In 67 PA and 57 AB, Diaz has hit .421/.478/.561/1.039

In an even smaller sample size…I was 4-4 with 4 2Bs in my only spot in the lead-off spot. It was a softball league, but still, pretty sweet huh? Think the Braves could use me? :)

joerochester

January 29th, 2010
11:06 pm

Was there a scuffle with Tim Hudson?

P'cola Brave

January 29th, 2010
11:08 pm

Heath

I dont know. Those 4 doubles may better suit you for the middle of the order. With that kind of gap power your a run producer.

TnBrian

January 29th, 2010
11:10 pm

I think we all need Bobby to do some serious campaigning for Damon if he isn’t already.

Lets see, Nady went for $3.3m who only played a handful of games last year and is represented by Boras. Honestly, how much does Damon go for here? $4m tops? Even that doesn’t sound like enough considering what Boras got for Nady. But the market for JD seems very dry, so who knows.

Andrew in PA

January 29th, 2010
11:11 pm

i do really wish the braves had a great leadoff hitter,it could def. make the braves a playoff team,they just need people to be on base for chipper mac glaus esco

P'cola Brave

January 29th, 2010
11:18 pm

I have to agree with DOB and figure whoever Damon signs with, they will defer part of the contract. I don’t think to many can afford to pay out $7 mil with out defering some.

nolie

January 29th, 2010
11:19 pm

Doubles are great early in the order cause the immediately get a guy is scoring position. :)
Heath makes a point, 255 AB is not all that large a sample size to place a lot of reliance on. Might continue in that vein, might not. I prefer Nate as leadoff, but it’s not a big deal to me one way or t’other.

Andrew in PA

January 29th, 2010
11:21 pm

Anyone think Orlando Hudson could play some Left?

P'cola Brave

January 29th, 2010
11:22 pm

No 255 is not alot. Matter of fact its only about half a season worth of at bats. But his numbers in the leadoff suggest to me he knows how to work a count and perform at the top. He may not be the best lead off but neither is Nate. To me Nates approach and power suit him better for the middle of the order. Its just my opinion but I’d rather have Nate somewhere he can drive in runs.

nolie

January 29th, 2010
11:22 pm

they already have plenty of outfielder now. Bobby only carries 4 usually.

iopbrave

January 29th, 2010
11:22 pm

dob enjoy the blog – probably not a bad idea to hold back a little $ for the season and see who pans out and who gets hurt – not so bad to have a fast outfield to cover the field – would not be surprised to see glauss go to 3rd when/ if chipper gets hurt

saw kristofferson tonite – pretty good show- what a songwriter

Heath

January 29th, 2010
11:23 pm

Andrew in PA -

If not….Prado could. ;)

P'cola Brave

January 29th, 2010
11:26 pm

One of the biggest problems with O-dawg is the same problem as Damon. He still wants to much money.

BuzzMeat

January 29th, 2010
11:27 pm

DOB,

That website now has the Braves tied with the Phillies for first place in the NL East.

nolie

January 29th, 2010
11:28 pm

saw kristofferson tonite – pretty good show- what a songwriter iopbrave

yes he is. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I have talked to him a number of times over the years. Good guy, very intelligent. Where did you see him?

Bill

January 29th, 2010
11:40 pm

Why not put Damon in blog poll? May alot of Fans happy if Braves sign Damon and help fire up the dugout also.

Spartacus-Blood & Sand is pretty damn good.

joerochester

January 29th, 2010
11:40 pm

buzzmeat

what website?

P'cola Brave

January 29th, 2010
11:50 pm

Just for something to talk about. But who does everybody think will when that last position spot. Assuming Heyward starts in the majors. You already have Cabrera, Hinske, Infante and Ross. Does the last spot go to Thurston, Conrad or someone else?

Bill

January 29th, 2010
11:50 pm

make-not may -sorry.

iopbrave

January 29th, 2010
11:50 pm

nolie-

n charleston performing arts theatre – he has a wry sense of humor about things and has had quite a life- sounds pretty good for 73

P'cola Brave

January 29th, 2010
11:50 pm

I mean win not when. sorry.

jed

January 29th, 2010
11:52 pm

if damon signs with another team, and we dont pursue another option, does that mean we’ve cut payroll this year?

Heath

January 29th, 2010
11:53 pm

Any of you Georgians get effected by this:

“The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Friday took over First National Bank of Georgia, based in Carrollton, Ga., with $832.6 million in assets and $757.9 million in deposits.” (Bank #11 of the year to be shut down.)

joerochester

January 29th, 2010
11:57 pm

I have to move in with my in-laws for a week or two until our closing gets completed. Not looking forward to that…

Bill

January 30th, 2010
12:01 am

Don’t surprise me Heath, they will be more. Alot of people hurting looking for jobs. Even the States cut schools again and next year may go to 8 months instead of 9 months school year. Be happy Pitchers and catchers report Feb 22…is that the right date?

nolie

January 30th, 2010
12:08 am

I was just a young man
Working steady in a good time band
Pickin’ every single little lick I could
Just to please the man
Harlan sang the lead for half
And we split up the rest
Hangin’ on through the heavy times
And hopin’ for the best

And I can’t recall the names of all
Them places that we played in
All them squirrely party girls
And pills we used to pop
Hardly ever sleepin’ in
Those cheap motels we stayed in
Hopin’ we could take it ’til we’d make it to the top

Chorus:
And them nights, get a little bit brighter
And them bars just a little bit better
And the sweet, just a little bit sweeter
But them blues, well it’s still the same old song

Now we’re stars and shining on
Them prime time t.v. shows
Every stranger knows our name
And every where we go
Findin’ out the bottom ain’t so different
>From the top
Just a few more friends that you’ll be losin’
When you drop

And I’ve left some of my soul on
Every sweaty sheet that I could sleep on
Gettin’ just as close to any body as I could
I don’t regret a single bed I’ve laid my body down on
Ever since the first I had
The worst I had was good

Chorus:
And them nights, get a little bit brighter
And them bars just a little bit better
And the sweet, just a little bit sweeter
But them blues, well it’s still the same old song
KK

Salty Dawg

January 30th, 2010
12:13 am

Saw “The Hurt Locker” tonight for the first time. I was really looking forward to it after many here gave such rave reviews. It was definitely a good movie, but it was waaaay to long to make my favorites list. What is it with movies that last 2+ hours these days? I mean, if the story is intriguing enough to support it then great. But once again I feel like the movie was padded by a half hour or more. Does a movie have to be that long to be good?

nolie

January 30th, 2010
12:14 am

man I sure didn’t think it was padded. non-stop tension from getgo to no-mo. Best movie I have seen in a long while IMO. I hope Bigelow becomes the first woman to win a best director Oscar.

Bill

January 30th, 2010
12:24 am

be careful…you don’t want to get on political agenda list.

nolie

January 30th, 2010
12:26 am

bad mr baseball. bad bad :roll:

Poorbrave

January 30th, 2010
12:28 am

Nolie if you were the Braves GM and you could make one move are trade what would it be and why? Not trying to put you on the spot but I respect your opinion.

Salamander

January 30th, 2010
12:31 am

shhhh, mr baseball.

Don’t make the crazies come out. We’ve had a (relatively) melarkey-free blog the past couple of weeks. Don’t ruin it!

mr baseball

January 30th, 2010
12:36 am

Politics, schmolitics. I was simply describing s very one-sided verbal sparring bout in pugilistic prose. Best fight I’ve seen since Russell Crowe and the guy playing Max Baer in “Cinderella Man.”

Not nearly as competitive, tho.

uga-brave

January 30th, 2010
12:41 am

mr. baseball, thought your late nite analysis of the 3-4 defense was spot on.

my only problem is it took richt four years to realize he had to make a change. the auburn 4th and 10 situation with 1 minute left, the west virginia fiasco etc.

bama blew us out at home and we did not compete with fla the last two years.

Heath

January 30th, 2010
12:41 am

Watching Comedy central… this guy is pretty funny:

“I was in Kansas….it’s dangerous out there. There was a lot of tornados ripping through mobile home parks. I was really sad about it. When are people gonna stop makin’ mobile homes? I mean the smartest pig lived in a brick home! It’s as simple as a children’s story.”

uga-brave

January 30th, 2010
12:42 am

mr. baseball, what years were you in athens?

wayn-0

January 30th, 2010
12:59 am

sign damon!!! – start season with Damon (LF), McClouth (C), Diaz/Cabera (RF). bring up Heyward 2 months in (just like Hanson) to play right, then trade off Cabera for a prospect & use the rest of his 3 Mil to pay for Damon.

Bill

January 30th, 2010
1:06 am

Wayn-O, What if Cabera is hitting over 300-5 hrs 5 sb 20 or more rbi’s…who u going to trade?

Bill

January 30th, 2010
1:09 am

I do agree to sign Damon.

mr baseball

January 30th, 2010
1:12 am

uga:

Graduated in ‘74. Highlight of my time there was watching Andy Johnson score the winning TD in Knoxville by dribbling the football into the end zone.

Not sure that Richt did the wrong thing utilizing the 4-3 the last few years. His best linemen were tackles. Now that they’re all gone and the team appears to have more depth at LB (woulda been deeper if Curran had stayed), the 3-4 seems the way to go.

Purdue Thomas

January 30th, 2010
1:15 am

“Seriously, does anyone really not believe Damon would help the Braves win?”

I believe that he would not help the Braves win. Seriously

Damon:
Away: .284/.349/.446/.795
UZR/150: -12.1

Diaz:
vsRHP: .255/.349/.400/.749
vsLHP: .412/.464/.640/1.103
UZR/150: 2.8

As a leadoff hitter Diaz matches Damon in OBP against his ‘weakness’ and crushes him whe facing lefties. Diaz also plays better defense than Damon – this is a fact.

In a full season away from Yankee stadium and a full season facing 2/3 RHP and 1/3 LHP you would get these two OBP options at leadoff:

Damon: .349
Diaz: .387

So you are telling me that a player with a worse OBP, worse defense, similar power, and greater cost is without a doubt a player who could help the Braves win more game? Something is wrong with the logic on this one.

uga-brave

January 30th, 2010
1:22 am

well since owens, weston, and atkins are gone, 3-4, 4-3, 5-2…… really just wanted willie out of there.

he had such a read and react scheme. never a toggle or a inside stunt using those three afore mentioned lineman that will play on sundays.

for me finished undergrad in 90.

i never got to experience the fifth quarter. probably around your time. andy johnson ex-dawg, ex-patriot.

StingerSplash

January 30th, 2010
1:24 am

Saw the DBTs several years ago at the Variety, with the great Slobberbone. Damn fine show in a wonderful venue.

uga-brave

January 30th, 2010
1:29 am

stingersplash, you are a music guy right? do you remember the hoodoo gurus?

if not give them a listen.

Tom O'Hawke

January 30th, 2010
1:29 am

“I believe that he would not help the Braves win. Seriously”

Purdue Thomas, I agree. Living in NY, I see the Yankees play, quite a bit. His arm is worse than bad. I just think he’s more cut out for the AL (DH) than the NL. I’m not so concerned about his 36 year old legs, because he still can motor (especially when you consider the lack of speed on our Bravos), but that arm is shot.

mr baseball

January 30th, 2010
1:31 am

uga:

Went to school so long ago, the dorms were segregated by gender. However, a couple of guys in my dorm had semi-live in girlfriends, which made things interesting in the communal bathroom.

Did have a class with one of the B-52s chick singers, though, and was a first hand witness at our record-setting streak in the Spring of ‘74.

That made the whole experience in Athens worthwhile.

StingerSplash

January 30th, 2010
1:32 am

uga brave,

yeah, i remember the hoodoo gurus. i remember pylon and husker du and a whole bunch of stuff the college radio station where I went used to play. there was one band that came through every so often and we thought we’d get plenty of chances to see them, so we really never bothered to see them. I mean, they were from not too far away and while that music appealed to us, it didn’t seem to have a lot of commercial appeal to it.
Who knew REM would hit big and never return to Los Boros?

NO MORE BOBBY

January 30th, 2010
1:40 am

Not on here all the time and have not seen if Norton is still a Brave. Is he? Im praying that he is not even asked to spring training.

uga-brave

January 30th, 2010
1:43 am

stinger splash,

we had love tractor play in our basement, we also had widespread in 86-87.

not a jam band guy, never was but a lot of people loved them.

i never participated in that scene. maybe i should ask tenn brian, snap, crackle, pop.

tenn brian, some things you should keep to yourself.

Tom O'Hawke

January 30th, 2010
1:46 am

NO MORE BOBBY , are you kidding? You missed one of the biggest Braves’ stories of the new year. Norton just signed a 5-year contract for the Braves. But the big story is Bobby deciding not to retire after all. He said he’ll manage the Braves until he dies. Isn’t that great?!

Moe Berg

January 30th, 2010
1:50 am

Tom O’Hawke–Don’t be cruel. If he’s not a blog regular, he may not be used to the rough and tumble ways of many.

Norton is gone. Don’t worry.

Tom O'Hawke

January 30th, 2010
1:55 am

Moe Berg , don’t worry. He’s a regular. Probably more regular than I. (I mean that blog-wise.)

uga-brave

January 30th, 2010
1:57 am

mr. baseball,

i lived in russell hall my fresman year. at that time russell was all male brumby was all female and creswell hall was mixed.

dorm living in 1985-1986 was weird. only had cable in a t.v. room at the end of the hall. worst part about the dorms, were the t.v. watchers or dorm geeks.

there were guys on my hall that came back there year after year to live there. very strange crew on that 7th floor. it was confirmed one night when i sat down with a six pack of bud tall boys in the t.v. room when dune was on. just listened, just listened.

fresman year.

uga-brave

January 30th, 2010
2:01 am

moe berg, you should own a upscale mens clothing store.

kinda like a brooks brothers botique.

MOE BERG’S sounds like a haberdashery shop.

42 regular TWO BUTTON please.

P. W. Hjort

January 30th, 2010
2:01 am

For the record, DOB and all, they messed something up when they released PECOTA today and they’ve since corrected the depth charts.

The Braves are now projected to win the NL East (or, tie with the Phillies, but own an ever so slightly better run differential) with 85 wins. The Nationals are at 81, the Mets at 78, and the Marlins at 76. The Cardinals–who interestingly are project to score and allow the exact same number of runs as the Braves (745 and 702)–are inexplicably projected to win 86 games. The Dodgers are projected to win the NL West with 86 wins and they’re also projected to have a plus 43 run differential. The Diamondbacks are still at 85, tied with the Phillies/Braves for the NL Wild Card. Rest of the projected NL win totals: Rockies – 83, Giants – 82, Reds – 81, Cubs – 77, Brewers – 77, Padres – 76, Astros – 74, Pirates – 68.

And the AL projected standings:
Red Sox – 93
Yankees – 93
Rays – 92
Orioles – 78
Blue Jays – 73

Twins – 83
White Sox – 80
Tigers – 78
Indians – 77
Royals – 74

A’s – 85
Rangers – 84
Mariners – 81
Angels – 77

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