Chavez likely to get one of last two ‘pen spots

Clearwater, Fla. – With five games left before it all starts to count, five Braves pitchers are still competing for two available bullpen spots.

But one spots seems earmarked for right-hander Jesse Chavez, who had a 1-2-3 inning Monday and drew praise again from manager Bobby Cox.

Even when Chavez surrendered eight runs and 11 hits in his previous two appearances, Cox lauded his performance and said statistics were no indication of how he’d pitched in those games – that he’d been victimized by bad luck and a lot of groundball hits.

So after Chavez pitched a perfect inning Monday, both pitcher and manager seemed relieved not to have to defend his performance or explain away hits and runs.

“Good for the ball to bounce my way today, finally,” Chavez said. “What was it, 11 straight singles? I mean, more than half didn’t even get out of the infield.

“I just took the same approach I did the last four or five times out – keep the ball down, just let it play out. Got some ground balls today, like I have been.”

Chavez, 26, had an 18.00 ERA .513 opponents’ batting average in seven appearances before Monday. But the slender pitcher had a 4.01 ERA in 73 appearances last saeason with Pittsburgh.

As Cox said Sunday, past performance generally means a lot more to him than what someone does in spring training. And as Chavez noted, he also had a rough spring training last year with the Pirates.

“Physically I haven’t felt this good in a while,” Chavez said. “I know that’s probably kind of cliché to say it, but for the ball to be coming out of my hand the way it is, as easy as it is, it feels good.

“I think last [spring] was worse — I was up in the zone a lot more. I was pitching to the gaps last year. This year I’m keeping the ball down, keeping it on the ground. That’s a good thing for me.

“I’m not the first to say I’m not a spring pitcher. But that’s what it’s for. Get ‘em out of the way now and be ready once the lights turn on.”

When asked about his performance Monday against the Phillies, Cox said, “Chavez honestly has pitched the last two outings … I mean, the score and everything wasn’t indicative. He kept the ball down [in those games] and did it again today. It was the same as the last two times, for me. Nothing [hit] hard.”

If Chavez gets one of the two available jobs, it would leave left-handers Jo-Jo Reyes and Jonny Venters and hard-throwing righties Craig Kimbrel and Scott Proctor as options for the last spot.

There are factors that might come into play and narrow the field, though the Braves aren’t saying.

Kimbrel, 21, figures big in the Braves’ future plans and could be their next homegrown closer. But he’s pitched only 13-2/3 innings above Class A, and isn’t on the 40-man roster.

General manager Frank Wren indicated in a radio interview Tuesday that Kimbrel will start out at Triple-A Gwinnett, which was not surprising.

“He’s pitched extremely well,” Wren told Sirius XM radio host Jim Bowden. “He’s really shown great poise for a young kid in his first big league camp.  He’s our right-handed Billy Wagner.  He’s similar stature-wise, body, his delivery, arm slot, they’re all almost identical.  And his stuff is very similar.  He’ll pitch at 96, 97 [mph] and he has that real good, tight slider.  Like I said, just like Billy Wagner, just the opposite side.

“He continues to be impressive but I think for his development we probably need to give him a little more time, just to pitch in Triple-A and continue to work on his command and he’ll be here real quickly, I think.”

Proctor’s rehabilitation from May 2009 “Tommy John” elbow surgery likely will call for two or three weeks of pitching at Gwinnett before he’s activated by the Braves.

The 33-year-old setup man had two elbow surgeries and went 17 months without pitching in a game until two weeks ago.

Also, Proctor has five years and 10 days of major league service time, and would reach six years’ service and free-agency eligibility if he spends the entire 2009 season on the major league roster.

If he’s not added to the 40-man roster until after mid-April, the Braves would have him under contractual control for 2011.

If the Braves wait to add Proctor later in April, they could go with one of the other candidates for at least the first few weeks of the season.

77 comments Add your comment

test

March 29th, 2010
8:06 pm

test

March 29th, 2010
8:07 pm

FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!

Brava

March 29th, 2010
8:12 pm

I’ll withhold my judgment on Bobby’s judgment until I’ve seen Chavez pitch in some regular season games. Not getting a warm and fuzzy though.

Milt Famey

March 29th, 2010
8:23 pm

I think the roster issue will figure prominently. Venters is on the roster but has been hit hard lately. I see them keeping Reyes until Proctor is ready and then sending him to Gwinnett to stretch his arm out to be ready as an emergency starter.

Bobby Cox

March 29th, 2010
8:58 pm

Jesse “Albie” Chavez has been “lights out” in the simulated games.

Mr. Enigma

March 29th, 2010
9:43 pm

So Chavez has stunk up spring and will still get a roster spot because the team needs to rationalize the Rafael Soriano trade. Meanwhile, Craig Kimbrel and his 0.00 ERA gets to start the season in the minors.

Awesome.

BravesfaninWis

March 29th, 2010
9:55 pm

2 things here for me.

1. I was excited for the season to start next Monday, now I realize that I will see many games blown because of Chavez like we saw last year with Boyer, Bennett, and Acosta.

2. If Cox praises a pitcher who has gotten beat like Tina Turner, then I am glad that this is Cox’s last season running the Braves.

I understand that Cox is a players manager and all, but if he is truly going to retire after this season, wouldn’t he want the best possible bullpen pitchers? Jesse Chavez is not the answer, and I am willing to bet that he will blow many games for the Braves this season. Unreal, and I thought maybe Cox could get a little smarter in his final year at the helm. I guess I was wrong on that.

Earl

March 29th, 2010
10:00 pm

I have a feeling a trade or waiver claim is coming,

Braves One

March 29th, 2010
10:00 pm

A bit off the Chavez subject here, but foes anyone know the significance of being (or not being) on the 40-man roster? I noticed Jason Heyward is not on it.

JohnSmith

March 29th, 2010
10:32 pm

Chavez will be fine…as a back-end-of-the-’pen kind of pitcher. He most likely won’t be put in a situation where he’ll be ABLE to blow any games, unless he’s doing extremely well in long relief to start the season.

Reyes will probably go to the ‘pen as well, at least until Scott Proctor’s ready and able. If Chavez can’t handle his role, he’ll likely get waived or demoted so Jo-Jo can take over.

Honestly, it seems like most of the folks who have a big problem with Chavez really just have a big problem with the way Bobby Cox defends his players. I mean, for all we know, Bobby might not be all that thrilled with Mr. Chavez, but the manager’s got to show his support, and he most definitely doesn’t want to rag on the end result of Frank Wren’s trade of Soriano, for obvious reasons…

Chief Nockahoma

March 29th, 2010
10:33 pm

So nobody is willing to wait and at least see how Chavez pitches in regular season before writing him and Bobby off? Rediculous.

Coach B

March 29th, 2010
10:39 pm

A player must be added to the 40-man roster to be added to the 25-man active roster. There are several things related to the 40-man roster but the some of the key things are:
1. Players must be on the 40 man roster before they can be activated onto the 25 man roster and participate in a Major League game.
2. Players on the 40 man roster are protected from the rule 5 draft (minor leaguers with 4 or 5 years or more of service time, depending on what age they signed at).
3. 40 man roster give the club additional years that they can control a player before he becomes a free agent or must clear waivers to be assigned to a minor league affiliate.

You could probaly google 40-man roster for a more information.

J-Hey will need to be added to the roster before the season begin. The Braves could have to make room by moving a player (multiple ways), or changing someone to the 60 day disabled list from the 15 day list. Depending on who makes the final 25 man roster, the Braves will need to make one spot available. Probably when Proctor is brought up a few weeks into the season.

Poorbrave

March 29th, 2010
10:56 pm

Chavez will be ok…bet on it. He has always been slow to start in ST. Wait and see before running off at the brain. Spring Training is just that, TRAINING. The Season starts next week, then its put up are go home.
Go Braves and go Bobby Cox………………………etc

GT Fan

March 29th, 2010
10:59 pm

Fire Paul Hewitt.

chavex support

March 29th, 2010
11:02 pm

the article said that most of the singles were groundballs. in the majors with the real defense in line, those grounders will become outs.

Quick

March 29th, 2010
11:17 pm

Cox really needs to put the best players on the field and quit screwing around like he’s done the past 3-4 years. He really needs to just go away and enjoy retirement. Coaches and politicians should be forced to retire at 65. And as a big Tech fan, I second the motion to fire Paul Hewitt.

Lawton

March 29th, 2010
11:32 pm

Nockahoma, I am with you.

I think that those of us who watch other teams play regularly see plenty of teams who would love to trade bullpens with the Braves.

Braves One

March 29th, 2010
11:41 pm

Coach B … a late thanks for the thorough explanation of the 40-man rosters.

Henry D.

March 30th, 2010
12:15 am

Just like he defended Greg Norton last year and explained away his crappy hitting. How did that work out for us?

Greg Norton

March 30th, 2010
5:43 am

You should have faith, as do I, that the best players will be on the roster and used wisely in the games.

Jesse Stone

March 30th, 2010
5:51 am

A pitcher can get some hard-hit outs and it doesn’t show up in the box score. Chavez’s outings don’t look good in the box score, but he’s giving up a lot of ground balls, they are just finding holes. Sometimes the result is not indicitive of how the pitcher pitched.

Bravesfan in Wis- “I thought maybe Cox would get a little smarter in his final year at the helm. I guess I was wrong.” Who the hell are you? Where have you managed?

Bye Bye Bobby

March 30th, 2010
6:16 am

Doesnt take a genius or ex manager to see Cox’s stupidity. Greg Norton for example.

Bart Kowski

March 30th, 2010
6:20 am

Doesn’t take a genius or ex-manager to be stupid on a blog. I’ll be glad when Bobby is in the Hall of Fame and you butt scratching haters can eat it. Go root for the Mets, you pack of losers.

kurula

March 30th, 2010
7:54 am

i’ll give him three regular season appearances before i like or dislike this move…

Jesus

March 30th, 2010
8:31 am

How terrible is this? If the Braves are suppose to take the best 25 man roster to Atlanta, how does he fit into that? Terrible move and he will cost us some games in the first month of the season.

Playoffs!?!?

March 30th, 2010
8:45 am

Bobby is the eternal optimist, and has something nice to say about everyone–no matter how subpar his performace might be. Here is what might be Bobby’s take on a hypothetical 12-car accident with fatalities on I-285: ” Well, you know, that 13th car made it through without a scratch.”

usnavyvolfaninva

March 30th, 2010
8:52 am

It seems to me that the guy closest to the situation (Cox) knows more about Chavez than any of us… his potential, shortcomings, etc. Maybe we should hold our fire a little before being judgemental. just a suggestion.

Quick

March 30th, 2010
8:53 am

Again let me reiterate…coaches and politicians should be forced to retire at 65. That’s not to say that everyone who isn’t pullin for Bobby Cox now isn’t a Braves fan. On the contrary, we ARE Braves fans who want our team to WIN. Bobby was great and will always be respected for 14 strait division crowns and a World Series. But onless you’ve been under a rock for the last 4 years, his strategies aren’t paying off. It’s just a matter of lookin at the obvious. Unless you just insist on swingin from his nuts. In that case, be my guest. Just don’t take offense when some of us Braves fans don’t join you. We would rather see a winning team than a nostalgic coach parade away into the sunset with a 500 season.

Let's Go

March 30th, 2010
9:09 am

I’m OK as long as Manny Acosta doesn’t come anywhere near Turner Field.

Slow

March 30th, 2010
9:12 am

Hmmm, 86 wins in a 162-game season and wildcard contention until late in the year. That seems a lot better than .500 to me. And, I guess Cox played no role in that?

Let's Go

March 30th, 2010
9:13 am

At least Chavez has had a decent major league season before. Jo Jo on the other hand has stunk everytime he has been up so this is the guy that worries me the most if he gets the final spot. He’s looked good this spring but we have all seen that before.

usnavyvolfaninva

March 30th, 2010
9:21 am

quick… at best a naive statement… Reagan would never have been president, Bobby Bowden, Joe Paterno won a lot of games after they turned 65… those are just a few off the top of my head.

PMC

March 30th, 2010
9:21 am

Of course he’d get one. That’s just politics. You can’t have a guy they gave up arguably their best closer for in the offseason start the year in Triple A. Also if history serves correct. They don’t really care how effective thier middle inning bullpen pitchers are. Manny Acosta, Jo Jo Reyes…. Blaine Boyer…. they are going to keep throwing them out there year after year like pasta on the wall hoping someone will eventually mature.

usnavyvolfaninva

March 30th, 2010
9:22 am

Slow…. a lot of people forget the Braves made the Phils’ sweat until the last week of the season when no one thought they’d even come close to the division title. If the Rocks hadn’t won so much down the stretch they’re in the playoffs.

PMC

March 30th, 2010
9:23 am

Think about how many close games have been blown open by these bums the last 3 years…… yuck.

usnavyvolfaninva

March 30th, 2010
9:24 am

Quick…. coaches do the best with what they have… I recall the last two off seasons FW trying to land deals with FA’s that just fell through… Heck, he tried to get Johnny Damon, and just got outbid by the Tigers.

usnavyvolfaninva

March 30th, 2010
9:25 am

I’m not saying that the roster is all “apple pie, and deep blue sky,” but this crew went 10 games over .500 last year! I think this team has the potential to get into the playoffs!

usnavyvolfaninva

March 30th, 2010
9:27 am

Jonathon Mayo of mlb.com is already penciling in heyward as the top NL ROY candidate… no pressure or anything! lol.

PMC

March 30th, 2010
9:28 am

Bobby is a great boss because he sticks up for people when they have a bad night. The Braves were consistant for a long time because he’s not up and down and ridiculous like Larry Bowa. It’s not his decision alone to have these guys in the pen… if there is a weak point outside of the lineup though the last 5 years it’s the wretched awful front end and “depth” in the pen.

Dawgs97

March 30th, 2010
9:28 am

Nerds, please extend Paul Hewitt’s contract. We love him in Athens.

But seeing as this is a BRAVES blog, we’ve all seen this movie before, where the clearly more talented pitcher waits his turn so we throw Chavez out there, who appears to suck, he gets killed through April and May, and then we eventually release him after he’s screwed up a bunch of games, and bring up the more talented guy (Kimbrel) when it gets desperate.

For a nice change of pace, why not get the more talented guy out there now?

PMC

March 30th, 2010
9:29 am

Win the Pennant should be the battle cry all year.

usnavyvolfaninva

March 30th, 2010
9:30 am

Any relation between Thomas and Damon Berryhill?

Quick

March 30th, 2010
9:31 am

Let’s see…79-83 in ‘06. 84-77 in ‘07. 72-90 in ‘08. 86-76 in ‘09. No better than 3rd in the division any of those four years. That’s four years of mediocrity. Not bad if you’re a Padres fan. This is Atlanta. The Cox ship has sailed. We know victory here. I’m not willing to settle for 500. And I don’t mean exactly 500. That’s a give or take 5 games for those who call themselves Slow. The beauty of blogs is that we can voice our opinions and on the outside chance someone actually reads these things, maybe they can take note that the fans of the Atlanta Braves want a winning team. Bobby Cox is just unable to provide that now. And Chavez may or may not be able to hang. If he can’t, we gotta cut him loose. Someone mentioned Kimbrel earlier. That guy has alot of walks too. Good strike out count, but he might need a little more grooming.

Bobby Cox

March 30th, 2010
9:38 am

Frank Wren is on the phone with Chris Reitsma, I hear he’s been lights out in the Aruba/Trinidad/Tobagos Winter-Spring League.

Bobby Cox

March 30th, 2010
9:45 am

Man, I wish Jeff Bennett and Mike Remlinger were still here ! Frank overruled me on Manny Acosta and sent him packing.

Roja

March 30th, 2010
10:04 am

They will keep Venters in the bigs so we’ll have a guy to throw BP to the other team after our starter has thrown 7 brilliant. It’s known as the “Bennett Rule”

GetwhatUpayfor

March 30th, 2010
10:31 am

I third the motion to Fire Paul Hewitt. Go Braves

Braves73

March 30th, 2010
10:32 am

“Even when Chavez surrendered eight runs and 11 hits in his previous two appearances, Cox lauded his performance and said statistics were no indication of how he’d pitched in those games – that he’d been victimized by bad luck and a lot of groundball hits”.

“Chavez, 26, had an 18.00 ERA .513 opponents’ batting average in seven appearances before Monday”

ONLY IN BOBBY COX’S DELUSIONAL MIND WOULD ANYONE CONSIDER KEEPING A PITCHER WHO CLEARLY HAS BOMBED IN SPRING TRAINING AND LEAVING A MORE DESERVING (STATISTICAL) PITCHER OFF…WOW!

Slow

March 30th, 2010
10:41 am

Ladies prefer Slow over Quick.

jim

March 30th, 2010
10:42 am

Kimbrel is the future, not the present. He has had very limited time above class A, and he needs to work on his command at the minor league level for at least another 1/2 year. wouldn’t he be better served getting regular work as the AAA closer, than very sporadic work as the 7th option in the major league pen?

Jo Jo has struggled in his previous years, but is he the only young pitcher that might take longer to develop? Glavine was far from lights out in this first three seasons, and Avery and Smoltz struggled or wwere inconsistent in the first year or two. Jo Jo holding the last bullpen slot makes a lot of sense. He is left-handed, he is further along than Venters, and if he is the one to go when Proctor is activated, he can be returned to the starting rotation at AAA for insurance against injury to one of our starters — either to replace the starter, or take the Medlen role in the pen.

BravesfaninWis

March 30th, 2010
10:54 am

Jesse Chavez and Seth McClung have had similar spring stats. While McClung is being released by the Marlins, Chavez is being praised and having excuses made for him by the Braves manager. What is wrong with that picture?

Branch Rickey

March 30th, 2010
11:02 am

By July, John Smoltz will be in the Braves’ bullpen – and fooling nobody !

jim

March 30th, 2010
11:04 am

Bobby is NEVER going to say something negative about his players. Anyone putting any significance to a Bobby quote is not getting a good appreciation of the situation. Bobby needs to be judged on what he does, not what he says. In the past when he used Bennett, Buddy, and Boyer in key situations, what other options did he have? Were there better candidates in the organization to take their roles? Resop? Acosta? The alternative to using one or all of the 3Bs in late inning relief was to go to the likes of Moylan, Gonzalez, and Soriano — who we have rightly accused him of over using as it is. With much better depth in this year’s bullpen we can get a better picture of how Cox will portion out the innings not to overuse any one or two individuals.

Where Cox can be faulted most last year was in his stubborn use of Norton as the late inning PH, despite a season-long futility. KJ was losing playing time to Infante already in May, before Infante’s injury, and KJ did put up some decent offensive numbers the two previous seasons, albeit with inconsistent hot and cold stretches. I think the whole organization was surprised at how well Prado did offensively on a full-time basis.

The organization had a big commitment to Francouer, and we did not have another stud-outfielder to put in his place. I think it was reasonable to give JF every opportunity to get his act together, and can’t blame Cox for playing his “favorites”. Cox wants to win as much as any fan, and will play the players that give us the best chance. He will also give a player he thinks is the best option a full chance to play out of a slump.

come on

March 30th, 2010
11:05 am

it seems the braves like to make excuses for losing, so why not give chavez the job. The only reason they are going to add him to the roster is because of the way we got chavez.

PMC

March 30th, 2010
11:18 am

Will he still be able to continue his career with NSYNC?

2010 Braves year

March 30th, 2010
11:33 am

Hey we need Chavez. I mean without him, who would Bobby put in and let give the game away by allowing hit after hit after hit while Bobby sits on the bench and scratching his head. Chavez comes with a Spring training era of 18.00. IMO thats the perfect pitcher to put in there and let him blow the games in the 7th inning. Maybe he can work some in the 8th and even close one from time to time. Cant allow that 18.00 era to go un-noticed or unloved now can we?

FJR

March 30th, 2010
11:34 am

Chavez had a similar spring last year, and a repeat of his performance from last year would be pretty nice out of the, what, 6th guy out of the bullpen?

oh bull

March 30th, 2010
11:39 am

The team of the 90’s had players and pitchers and one could join in the game in the 4th without looking at the lineup card and know immediatley who was up next and how many outs there were.

These last few years, I havent even know who the players were, let alone who was up next. We need to get back to the basics and have regular players. Stop with the platoons, they just dont work. Give the players a rest yes, but these starters are paid to play so let them play.

FJR

March 30th, 2010
11:42 am

oh bull, Bobby has had platoons for forever.

Fillin' up @ Juniors

March 30th, 2010
11:48 am

It sickens me that there are some among us Braves fans who are not baseball fans, and don’t understand the finer points of baseball as a game. You can’t buy championships, you can’t expect a division title every year. Do the Braves management and Coaches put together a competitive team every year? Heck yes, do they roll the dice and try to improve by the end, EVERY FREAKING YEAR. So they have some up years and down years, so they have to make cost cutting measures here and there, so what? Its a solid team every year, whether they are chasing the best first baseman in baseball, Tex, or bringing up constant talent from below, Hanson…Heyward. Its good to be a Braves fan, average years or great years because you are never farther than an offseason away from another chance at a title. We are freaking lucky in this town to have a team like the Braves, a little less mindless biatching and little more baseball knowledge and we could be a baseball city as in love with a deserving baseball team like St. Louis.

Shane

March 30th, 2010
12:11 pm

Every year I come back to this blog and every year the Baseball IQ gets lower and lower

what do you people want Bobby to say? Something like “Yeah Chavez sucks and he smells bad too but were going to give him a shot.”

whensidslid92

March 30th, 2010
12:12 pm

anyone know where I can catch a live feed online for the game today? I know it’s on CSS but I’ve got class and was going to watch on my laptop. Don’t have MLb.tv either.

Shane

March 30th, 2010
12:13 pm

Chavez comes with a Spring training era of 18.00.

Exactly. Key word in that sentence is SPRING TRAINING.

P'cola Brave

March 30th, 2010
12:21 pm

To me Chavez has struggled a lot w/ location. I’d send him to AAA and see how he performs. IMO, Reyes and Proctor are the two best options moving forward. Kimbrel has been awesome but if hes promoted to Atlanta he wouldn’t be pitching in pressure situations.

Unknown Hinson

March 30th, 2010
12:28 pm

I read an article the other day that said the Yankees make more per player than in any other sport in the world. The article was using GBP as currency but after converted it said they pay an average player salary of 7 million U.S. dollars, or 135,000 a week, which is a couple million per player more than the next closest team (English Soccer). They need to be stopped (salary cap) before sports in general goes to the opposite of heaven. Not as much as the Mutts but, hate ‘em.

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2010/03/29/sports/sports-uk-salaries.html

Shane

March 30th, 2010
12:29 pm

And as far as Greg Norton goes he had all of 76 AB’s last year ( and actually had an OBP of .330 That means he was successful and didn’t make an out one third of the time )

Its not like Bobby was starting him or anything.

Shane

March 30th, 2010
12:31 pm

Kimbrel has been awesome but if hes promoted to Atlanta he wouldn’t be pitching in pressure situations.

Kimbrel has never pitched above A ball. Sure fire way to ruin him is to put him on the big league team.

BravesfaninWis

March 30th, 2010
12:34 pm

@ Shane

No, we don’t expect Bobby Cox to say anything bad about a player, but it would be nice to see a liability sent down like Acosta was. Hell, even Acosta had a better spring then Chavez and for some screwed up reason, Chavez is still here when he should be rubbing shoulders with Acosta in AAA.

From my accounts, Chavez has had one good outing this spring and that was the other day when he set the side down in order. Other then that, he has done nothing but give up hits and runs. Cox can say they were cheap hits all that he wants, but they are hits regardless and those runs are about to be counted for real in less then a week. No excuse on why a guy that has had a horrid spring should be in the bullpen on opening day, sorry.

Shane

March 30th, 2010
12:38 pm

No excuse on why a guy that has had a horrid spring should be in the bullpen on opening day, sorry.

Well lets just chalk it up to Ill take Bobby opinion WAY over yours. I believe he probably has a better view to evaluate the players. Yes they are hits even the cheap ones, but thats not the same as if guys were hitting balls off the wall against him now is it?

BravesfaninWis

March 30th, 2010
12:39 pm

Chavez got beat up last year in the bigs, and he is getting beat up this spring. The common occurrence there is that he gets beat up. Why on earth would any team want a guy in their bullpen that always gets beat up? All that will do is a cost a team games. He did it again the other day, we were up by several runs and then he pitches us into a tie, then Acosta throws a wild pitch and loses the game for us.

Yeah, it may be spring, but when the stats are the same basically every time out, obviously there is a problem there. If Chavez is on the team opening day, then as a fan I will not feel at all comfortable with him coming into a game with anything less then a 6 run lead. He will have me on edge like Boyer, Bennett, and Acosta did all of last season.

BravesfaninWis

March 30th, 2010
12:43 pm

While Cox is obviously better at evaluating baseball talent then I am (I sure as hell hope so since he has been doing it for 40+ years and I am only 32) He has obviously failed on his evaluations many of times over the past few years.

Need I say more then Acosta, Bennett, Boyer, Yates, Carlyle and several others that aren’t coming to mind right now? Just because his name is Bobby Cox doesn’t mean he hasn’t failed miserably in evaluating bullpen talent for this team.

Shane

March 30th, 2010
12:47 pm

Chavez got beat up last year in the bigs,

huh? His ERA was 4.01. Thats not great but it isnt exactly getting beat up either.

He pitched in 73 games and was very durable and reliable for the bucs.Plus he is only 27. He should continue to improve this season with the Braves

Shane

March 30th, 2010
12:52 pm

Need I say more then Acosta, Bennett, Boyer, Yates, Carlyle and several others that aren’t coming to mind right now?

Most of those guys were used as mop up men over the last few years. Who was he supposed to replace them with? Don Drysdale?

ugaaccountant

March 30th, 2010
1:07 pm

Every team in the history of baseball has somebody that is their worst pitcher. It’s reality, and 99% of the time, that guy will be a middle reliever. That guy will play some games, and it’s simple minded to hate on a guy who’s doing his job effectively just because he’s doing the worst on your team.

Chavez had a 4.01 ERA last year as a rookie. That’s not bad, it’s actually perfectly average.

Now if you want to talk about someone to actually get down on, let’s talk about Brad lidge. He put up a 7.21 era with 8 losses last year. That’s someone that actually is worth disparaging.

Blaine Boyer had a 4.12 era overall last year, although the 5.88 was bad in 08. Bennett with Atlanta 3.18 in 2009, 3.7 in 2008 and 3.46 in 2007. Acosta 4.34 last year, 3.57 in 2008, 2.28 in 2007. None of “Bobby’s Boys” have been horendous.

For context, the team ERA’s from innings 7-9 in 2009 ranged from 3.18 by the Cincinatti Reds to 5.20 by the Orioles. 4.00 is about average glancing at the data.

So if these are the least important members of our pitching staff and their ERA’s are pretty close to average, why does everyone hate them so bad? We can’t have 25 all-stars.

In summary, relief pitchers 6 and 7 get way too much grief.

Dale Murphy's Mole

March 31st, 2010
5:10 pm

Everybody seems to be fixated on Chavez’s ERA last year as an indicator of his worthiness, but relief pitcher ERAs are not the best indicator. Chavez gave up more hits than innings pitched last year and ended up with a WHIP of 1.351, so you can almost guarantee he will put runners on when he comes in a game. He struck out only 47 batters in 67.1 innings, so when he gets batters on base he won’t be striking guys out to get out of the jam. He also gave up 11 home runs in those 67.1 innings, a horrible rate.

Jesse Chavez is not a good pitcher. However, Proctor, Jo-Jo and Venters (minor-league stats) have similar poor WHIP and HR/9 rates, though Proctor has a good K/9 rate. Hopefully, Proctor comes back better than ever and Kimbrel proves himself quickly at AAA and they end up as the last two guys in the bullpen by the middle of the season.

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