Fredi: Schafer’s been better than his stats

DENVER – Jordan Schafer has hit .220 with a .271 on-base percentage in his past 40 games, and Alex Gonzalez has the second-lowest on-base percent (.259) and fourth-lowest OPS (.601) in the National League.

Schafer has made bigger impact than stats indicate, says Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez.

Jordan Schafer has made bigger impact than stats indicate, says Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez.

But when manager Fredi Gonzalez looks at them, he sees not those ugly numbers, but two players he believes have played big roles in helping the Braves compile the second-best record in the National League at 57-39.

On Monday I asked Fredi about both players. Asked him about Schafer and whether he believes Schafer has contributed more than his mostly lackluster-to-bad stats indicate.

“I looked at it today,” he said a few hours before the Braves’ series-opening win against Colorado. “I’m not a big numbers guy, but I looked at [Jason] Heyward, Schafer and [Nate] McLouth’s numbers.

“They’re all about the same [statistically]. But you feel like Schafer’s done so much more. Maybe it’s just us looking, or maybe it’s what he does on the basepaths, the defense, but you feel like – and I’m not putting the other guys down – but you feel like Schafer’s one-base percentage is higher. It’s [actually] lower than McLouth’s.

“They’re [all] hitting three or four points different. But you feel like he’s done something. I don’t know if it’s the stolen-base threat that’s there.”

Schafer has hit .230 with a .311 OBP and 13 stolen bases in 17 attempts in 46 games since arriving from Triple-A to replace then-injured McLouth. Certainly that’s a bad OBP for a leadoff hitter, or for any hitter, really. He has 10 extra-base hits, including three triples and one homer, and seven RBIs.

McLouth has hit .227 with a .341 OBP in 71 games, with 17 extra-base hits (four homers), 14 RBIs, and three steals in five attempts. His walks and OBP climbed considerably since he was dropped from leadoff, where he struggled, to the eight-hole.

Heyward has hit .224 with a .319 OBP and 22 extra-base hits (nine homers) in 72 games, with 23 RBIs and five steals in seven attempts. His numbers pale next to his robust across-the-board production as a rookie in 2010.

I didn’t mention McLouth or Heyward when I asked Fredi about Schafer. He brought them into the discussion, for sake of comparison and to make a point. I thought it telling that he mentioned them.

The manager relayed an incident from earlier in the day in Denver.

“I posed that question to the coaching staff,” he said. “ I said, has anybody looked at the stat pack” [The lenghthy statistical report that’s distributed to coaches daily] “No? OK, then who’s got the better on-base percentage of those three?”

He said the response from coaches was, “Oh, Schafer does, hands-down.”

To which he replied: “Oh, really?”

Then he told the coaches that Schafer’s was actually the lowest.

“It’s crazy, this game,” he said.

So, getting back to my question about Schafer, I asked, “So you believe he’s done a lot to help you win?”

“Yeah, I think so,” Fredi said. “Whether it’s defense, running the bases, maybe disrupting, if there’s a stat for that – can you quantify disrupting the pitcher?

“It’s something. Whether it’s his energy … or just perception.”

He cited the perfect bunt that Schafer laid down on Sunday. Someone else noted that Schafer’s speed also created the two-error play by Nationals first baseman Michael Morse to start Friday’s game, to which Fredi concurred.

Also, he had this to say about Eric Hinske starting in LF Monday instead of McLouth, since Hinske had good career numbers against Rockies starter Jason Hammel.

“I told him, I’m going to play Hinske, but you’ve got the rest of the series,” Fredi said. “It’s a good matchup [Hinske vs. Hammel], and you try to play your bench, let him get three or four at-bats, but [he told McLouth] be ready to play defensively.

“But he [McLouth] has done OK. You wish [for] more? You wish for more from anybody.”

Folks, here’s what I’m reading into this situation. And maybe I’m jumping to conclusions, but this is how I’m interpreting:

If nothing changes, if the Braves don’t make a trade, when Chipper Jones returns to third base next week and Martin Prado moves back to left field, I think Nate McLouth is going to be out of an every-day job and Schafer will remain the primary center fielder.

Of course, if I’m wrong it wouldn’t be the first time, either.

As for Gonzo: Do you realize that Dan Uggla’s 10-game hitting streak has raised his on-base percentage enough that he not only doesn’t have the lowest OBP in the league, he doesn’t even have the lowest on the team.

Alex Gonzalez has played such strong defense, manager Fredi Gonzalez said it doesn't matter what he does with the bat.

Alex Gonzalez has played such strong defense, manager Fredi Gonzalez said it doesn't matter what he does with the bat.

Of course, Alex Gonzalez’ extended slump also has played a role in that. The shortstop’s batting average is down to .228, and Gonzalez has a .259 OBP that’s the second-lowest among NL qualifiers, ahead of only Milwaukee’s Yuniesky Betancourt (.257).

Gonzalez is one spot ahead of Uggla (.263).

Yes, the Braves’ lineup now have two of the three lowest OBPs in the league. Which says a lot about the level of their pitching, defense and the work of several other hitters, doesn’t it?

(By the way, Brian McCann’s .380 OBP ranks 10th in the league, right behind Carlos Beltran’s .381.)

Gonzalez has hit just .213 with three homers and 15 RBIs in his past 56 games, and has eight walks and 60 strikeouts in 221 at-bats in that period, along with a .243 OBP and .290 slugging percentage.

He’s 10-for-77 (.130) in his past 19 games with two extra-base hits, one walk and 20 strikeouts.

“That’s him, he’s a streaky guy,” Fredi Gonzalez said.

For the guy making out the lineup card, it doesn’t matter that the other Gonzalez isn’t doing much most nights at the plate.

His defense has been so strong this year, Fredi said he isn’t concerned about his offense.

“To tell you the truth, I could give a [bleep] what the batting average is or how many home runs,” he said. “Because what he gives you defensively… He stops rallies — they’re dead in their tracks if the ball’s hit to him. The routine outs are outs, and then he’ll come up with something spectacular.”

So, I asked, that’s a position where you can live without much offense?

“Oh, I can live without it,” he said. “I don’t even worry about it from [that position].”

Beachy on bump tonight: Tonight will be Brandon Beachy’s first experience pitching at Coors Field, and if you think he’s intimidated, then you don’t know the Braves rookie.

“That’s definitely not happening,” he said. “I’m going to go out there and go at them with everything I’ve got.”

He’s heard from pitchers that sinkers don’t sink as much and sliders don’t slide as much in the thin, mile-high air of Denver. He said he’ll find out for himself. No worries.

“If there is something that isn’t quite working, that’s something I deal with all the time, start to start,” he said. “There’s usually one pitch that’s not quite as good as it normally is and I just rely on the other stuff. Nothing I’m not accustomed to dealing with.”

Rookie Brandon Beachy starts tonight, says he won't be intimidated by his first game at Coors Field -- or by anything else.

Rookie Brandon Beachy starts tonight, says he won't be intimidated by his first game at Coors Field -- or by anything else.

Did we mention that Beachy’s toughness and aggressiveness has served him well?

He’s been a bit overshadowed by rookie teammates Craig Kimbrel and Freddie Freeman, but Beachy is also compiling a resume that could be worthy of rookie-award consideration by season’s end.

He’s 3-1 with a 3.21 ERA in 12 starts, with 78 strikeouts and 15 walks in 67-1/3 innings. That includes 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five road starts.

In his past nine starts, Beachy is 3-0 with a stingy 2.52 ERA and .216 opponents’ average, while piling up 61 strikeouts with eight walks in 50 innings.

And after spending nearly six weeks on the DL for an oblique strain, Beachy came back in splendid fashion, going 2-0 with a 2.74 ERA in four starts since his return. Here’s what’s startling about that stretch: He has 32 strikeouts with three walks in 22 innings.

“I feel good,” he said. “ I feel fresh. I feel really good.”

His arm feels a bit rejuvenated after the time off, and he continues to approach every new challenge without hesitation. Coors Field a pitcher’s nightmare? Pfft.

“I live by that mentality — I’m not really intimidated by anything or anybody,” Beachy said. And he said it without arrogance or cockiness. Just matter-of-factly.

BRAVES LINEUP

  1. Schafer CF
  2. Prado 3B
  3. McCann C
  4. Freeman 1B
  5. Uggla 2B
  6. Hinske RF
  7. Gonzalez SS
  8. McLouth LF
  9. Beachy RH

♣ Ubaldo again: Beachy faces the Rockies for the first time, while the Braves will face Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez tonight for the second time in 16 days.

Jimenez gave up three runs (two earned) and six hits in 5-1/3 innings of a 4-1 Braves win on July 4. He is 2-3 with a 2.97 ERA in his past six starts against the Braves, including a no-hitter last season.

The righty is 5-3 with a 2.56 ERA in nine June-July starts, after going 0-5 with a 5.86 ERA in nine April-May starts.

Freddie Freeman is 1-for-2 with a homer against him, Brian McCann is 5-for-19, and Nate McLouth is 3-for-19 with a homer and six strikeouts against Jimenez.

Etc. The Braves have a league-leading 44-24 mark since May 1, which is 3-1/2 games better than Phillies over that same stretch….

Freddie Freeman has hit .316 with 10 homers, 36 RBIs, .375 OBP and .547 slugging over his past 49 games. This after hitting .227 with four homers, 14 RBIs and .319/.355 in his first 43 games….

Eric Hinske has hit .395 (15-for-38) in 18 games against the Rockies with four doubles, two homers, 10 RBI and .468 OBP and .658 slugging percentage. And he’s actually hit better against them in 10 games outside Denver than in eight at Coors….

Brian McCann has hit .350 (28-for-80) with seven homers, 16 RBIs, a .416 OBP and .625 slugging in his past 21 games. He’s hit .331 with 14 homers in his past 45 games.

♣ Let’s close with some classic Philly soul from The Intruders, which came up on my Ipod shuffle this morning and which you can hear by clicking here.

1180553209

The Intruders

“COWBOYS TO GIRLS” by Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff

Cowboys to girls
I remember when I used to play shoot em up
(Shoot em up, bang, bang baby)
I remember when I chased the girls and beat em up
But I was young and didn’t understand
But now I’m a grown up man
I know girls are made for kissing
Never knew what I was missing
Now my life is not the same
My whole world has been rearranged
I went from (cowboys to girls)
Oh yes I did
(Cowboys to girls)

I remember when I used to see you jumping rope
(Jumping rope up and down baby)
And I remember when you got your first baby coat
But you were young and didn’t understand
Now you want me that I’m a man
And it’s me that you’re kissing
Ain’t it fun reminiscing
Now our lives are not the same
Our whole world has been rearranged
You went from (Pretty dolls to boys)
Oh yes you did
And I went from (cowboys to girls)
Oh yes I did
Still it’s me that you’re kissing
Ain’t it fun reminiscing
Cause our life is not the same
This whole world has been rearranged
I went for (cowboys to girls)
Oh yes I did
You went from (pretty dolls to boys)

-- David O’Brien, Braves/MIB blog

1,797 comments Add your comment

TennesseePaul

July 19th, 2011
4:42 pm

Thanks for the work DOB.

GO BRAVES!!

TennesseePaul

July 19th, 2011
4:44 pm

Schafer has hit .230 with a .311 OBP and 13 stolen bases in 17 attempts in 46 games since arriving from Triple-A to replace then-injured McLouth.

.311 OBP would be nice. Unfortunately, that’s his slugging percentage. His OBP since coming up is .295

BravePack

July 19th, 2011
4:46 pm

DOB

Is Hurtward in the line-up tonight?

Stay Classy

July 19th, 2011
4:49 pm

I’m Ron Burgundy??

JGWOOD

July 19th, 2011
4:49 pm

I think with Uggla getting his act together (I think it is safe to say that something is happening) and Freeman going on a tear, the pressure is off guys like Heyward to produce. I think with the pressure off, he will start to relax and do what he does best. Maybe instead of sending him to Triple-A, just send him to the 7 spot in front of Gonzalez and make him earn walks for awhile to get comfortable seeing pitches.

Bama Braves

July 19th, 2011
4:50 pm

Alex Gonzalez(the human rally killer) is painful to watch him kill run scoring opportunities over and over again

southern hope

July 19th, 2011
4:51 pm

DOB, and other knowledgeable folks….so I was reading in the Chicago Tribune about the Philies/Cubs game and Halladay having to exit the game because of extreme heat in Chicago. Then there was a line about Rodrigo Lopez (Chicago pitcher) and it noted that he “felt pretty good out there….I just stayed in the air-conditioned weight room between innings and I was able to last.” And that raises the question: Do visiting teams have access to air-conditioned rooms during the game? Not that I’m not happy about a Philly loss…but having your pitcher in AC during a game feels like a mighty big advantage.

(thanks for the new blog :)

AccBrave

July 19th, 2011
4:52 pm

Schater’s speed is what makes the differance.

Dennis Reynolds

July 19th, 2011
4:52 pm

Fredi, just keep your mouth shut. Its bad enough your running our bullpen into the ground, the least you could do is spare us the ridiculous comments.

People are giving him too much credit for being 2.5 games behind Philly. His miscues will become clear in Sept./Oct when JV and CK have dead arms.

davidsonrva

July 19th, 2011
4:52 pm

I’VE GOT A FEELIN’

joe

July 19th, 2011
4:54 pm

maybe FG played McLouth in RF last night to get him used to playing there when Chipper returns and Prodo goes to LF…maybe a Heyward/McLouth platoon is on his mind…

Dennis Reynolds

July 19th, 2011
4:56 pm

joe, don’t try to make sense of Fredi’s decisions. Its just not possible

Graham

July 19th, 2011
4:57 pm

If you ever needed more convincing evidence that the braves coaching staff has no idea what they’re doing, here it is. “It just feels like Schafer does more.” My goodness, if there was a more inane statement made by a major league manager over the past decade, I haven’t seen it. He out and out says ‘I don’t care about facts. I’m going on a gut feeling.’ I find Frank Wren to be a generally smart man, but this manager may end up his undoing.

For what it’s worth, especially based on cost, I agree with F. Gonzalez about A. Gonzalez. That doesn’t mean you need to hit him 2nd, though.

Jonk

July 19th, 2011
4:58 pm

Is it just me or are those quotes from Fredi absolutely horrifying?

JC Boscan III

July 19th, 2011
4:58 pm

Wow – I’m surprised that the coaches would not be aware of the actual performance of the outfielders!? How can they not know who’s getting on base the most?! They’re the coaches!!

Schafer’s good games make a fan excited about what he could do. But, he also throws a lot of 0-4 and multiple strikeout games in there as well. If we ever get a REAL leadoff hitter (steals and a high OBP), THAT will be exciting! GO BRAVES!!

Clifton

July 19th, 2011
4:58 pm

Joe
The Braves will not platoon Heyward also you dont platoon two lefties.

Kevin

July 19th, 2011
5:01 pm

Being a class half full kind of person. We could look to Schafer’s .389 OBP since the half started despite a .214 BA as a slight sign of encouragement.

Burrito Brother

July 19th, 2011
5:01 pm

David,

You may want to check out El Chapultepec up the street 2 blocks (20th and Market) after the game.

Dive bar(cheap)…Great jazz…decent burritos…good crowd…the “hole in the wall” to visit in LoDo. Enjoy!

cabravesfan

July 19th, 2011
5:02 pm

He out and out says ‘I don’t care about facts. I’m going on a gut feeling.’ I find Frank Wren to be a generally smart man, but this manager may end up his undoing.

Maybe it’s just me, but Fredi’s gut seems to be doing ok. We are on pace to better last season’s record. 4th best record in MLB (3rd most wins). I’ll take that.

Larry

July 19th, 2011
5:02 pm

I agree on Schafer.

If this kid starts hitting at a .270 or above clip the balance of the season with his speed, defense and presence on the base paths he will start the playoffs in center field and lead off.

Just get his average up to a respectable number and his critic will become crickets.

ted william's head

July 19th, 2011
5:02 pm

thanks for the work DOB. any idea whats wrong with our RF. surely this cant be real or can it

DS1

July 19th, 2011
5:03 pm

If I were a major league coach or manager, I’d be more concerned about what my players are doing this week/month. Season long stats don’t tell you a lot about how a player is trending.

Just sayin

JC1031

July 19th, 2011
5:04 pm

Doesn’t it just fill you with confidence when you read that that the ENTIRE coaching staff ignores the stat pack and thinks Jordan is doing a good job as our leadoff man? How would they feel if we had an actual average to above average leadoff man. On the positive side, four of our eight position players are failing at the plate and we are still in good position for the playoffs.

southern hope

July 19th, 2011
5:04 pm

I like Freddi’s quotes….i go to a lot of Braves games and I have that same feeling when Schaefer gets up….it’s just a gut reaction that he’s helping things…that the other team is playing a bit more nervous with him around….I don’t know….any of you who have run businesses know what I mean,…some guys bring more stuff to the table then numbers show.

Jonk

July 19th, 2011
5:04 pm

DOB wouldn’t it make sense to follow up with some questions about why he is “not a big numbers guy” and if he feels his gut is the most reliable or only source of information to base his decisions?

ISH

July 19th, 2011
5:04 pm

I agree DOB, I think Schafer HAS the CF job and Nate is the odd man out…

ncscoots

July 19th, 2011
5:05 pm

Maybe it’s just me, but Fredi’s gut seems to be doing ok.

Yes, the baseball gods have a wicked, wicked sense of humor. :-)

Shaun

July 19th, 2011
5:05 pm

I applaud Fredi for acknowledging that his views on Schafer could be all perception. I think that’s what’s going on. Confirmation bias. Remembering the good and forgetting the bad. But when you look at the information instead of relying on perception, it’s hard to be convinced that the Braves wouldn’t have scored at least a few more runs with someone like McLouth in the leadoff role over the long haul instead of Schafer, and I think that’s likely going to be the case going forward. When he’s not getting on base as often as someone else would, you have to figure that that cost the Braves at least a few runs.

DS1

July 19th, 2011
5:05 pm

Burrito Brother

Been to that burrito place…..it’s da bomb four shore!

CB

July 19th, 2011
5:06 pm

Jonk,not just you.

MikeInFl

July 19th, 2011
5:06 pm

I think Fredi made those comments just to make the blog’s collective head explode.

Mission accomplished, lol.

bobby

July 19th, 2011
5:07 pm

FLASH! Heyward has infected whisker, goes on 60 day DL.

Greg

July 19th, 2011
5:07 pm

I just don’t understand, how, if you are knowledgeable baseball fan, these quotes by Fredi Gonzalez don’t make you feel totally upset. Does he not understand these comments make him look like a fool?

Heisenberg

July 19th, 2011
5:07 pm

These are the guys he has so he has to talk them up. But I doubt he would complain either if FW got him an upgrade or 2.

Blankster

July 19th, 2011
5:07 pm

Fredi seems to be throwing Nate and Jason under a bus in this interview. Horrible management.

DS1

July 19th, 2011
5:08 pm

Our W/L record has been pretty decent with Schafer starting. To say we could have scored a few more runs is only speculative.

Powder Blue

July 19th, 2011
5:09 pm

“Fredi: Schafer’s been better than his stats”

Translation: we’re too cheap to go out and get an upgrade. I wonder if McGuirk or Wren told Fredi to say that.

ncscoots

July 19th, 2011
5:10 pm

My memory is probably clouded by the respect I grew to have for Bobby, but, looking back, I probably had some nits to pick with him in ‘91, too. So, I probably should give Fredo the benefit of the doubt, for the time being, anyway.

cabravesfan

July 19th, 2011
5:10 pm

Does he not understand these comments make him look like a fool?

Foolish to see that numbers don’t tell everything? That Jordan’s defensive and speed are valuable? Or that Alex’s glove might be more important to the team right now then his bat? Doesn’t upset me. We are winning. That’s all that really matters.

Brian from SC

July 19th, 2011
5:10 pm

You folks are awful cranky for being fans of one of the best teams in baseball.

Blankster

July 19th, 2011
5:11 pm

How can Fredi ignore stats. Its so stupid. What makes Albert Pujols good? The fact he puts up a 1.1 OPS every year and belt 40 homers and hits .330. What made babe ruth good? It certainly wasnt hitting .600 OPS like schafer. What made greg Maddux good? It was logging an ERA of 2 every year and winning 18 ball games. STATS ARE FACTS FREDI. Everything else is subjec to bias. Basically fredi has a man crush on schafer, which is completely stupid.

McFann :Ô: :Ô:

July 19th, 2011
5:12 pm

Fredi G. “I’m not a big numbers guy…”

That much is obvious…

Thanks for the new Blog, Chief!

Dumbfound

July 19th, 2011
5:12 pm

mlbbowman Mark Bowman
Heyward’s struggles are becoming more concerning http://wp.me/p1rXym-8TWo
mlbbowman Mark Bowman
#Braves blog: Heyward’s struggles concerning fans and drawing interest from scouts… http://t.co/tVWf2YC
mlbbowman Mark Bowman
@ Much different situation. #Braves are responsible for protecting Heyward’s developmentmlbbowman Mark Bowman
Right now I don’t think the #Braves will send Heyward down. But it would be irresponsible management if they weren’t at least evaluating it.

Frankie Wren

July 19th, 2011
5:13 pm

Yes, the Nater will be coming off the bench regardless if a move is made or not. Still need a RH bat off the bench to platoon from time to time. Schafer, Nate and Heyward have been embarrassing against southpaws. Winning record so far this season but Hamel, Lee, Sanchez will shut this team down in October. Go get Reed Johnson.

ncscoots

July 19th, 2011
5:13 pm

Does he not understand these comments make him look like a fool?

I think his wife and kids will still let him in the house, man.

Blankster

July 19th, 2011
5:14 pm

Larry – did you just say if scahfer hits .270 it will be ok? That will never happen. He cant even hit .250 in the minors!

DC Braves Fan

July 19th, 2011
5:14 pm

Brian from SC…I agree.

Fredi is managing a team with the second best record in the NL. I think he’s entitled to say what the thinks instead of carefully crafting every answer to a question.

Ralph

July 19th, 2011
5:14 pm

I agree with FG that Shafer has contributed but wouldn’t it be nice to have a centerfielder that could steal a base and most importantly get on base.

cabravesfan

July 19th, 2011
5:15 pm

What made Greg Maddux good?

Actually, what made Maddux good was his ability to throw pitches where he wanted them. The stats are a reflection of that ability. Same with Pujols. His stats are a reflection of his ability to recognize pitches and hit them.

Larry

July 19th, 2011
5:15 pm

Agree with the comments on Fruity Gonzalez.

He’s the luckiest man alive to have this pitching staff to cover his blunders but a man that bats either Alex Gonzalez or Jason Heyward at #2 is a man just waiting to lose a 5 or 7 games series to a more intelligent manager that can match his pitching.

The same was true with his mentor and predecessor in 15 of 16 postseason opportunities.

Alex

July 19th, 2011
5:15 pm

Stats don’t lie. Schafers numbers are what they are, which is ugly. If we want to be serious contenders for this year’s title, we need someone better. Trade for Michael Bourne. Please.

mpimentel

July 19th, 2011
5:15 pm

the time for a traed will come toegether with the add of chipper in the line up…minor, nate or jordan and a pitching prospect are allreaddy gone for sure….the hope is to have someone healthy and capable of produce runs…

mpimentel

July 19th, 2011
5:16 pm

Bobby Hill

July 19th, 2011
5:16 pm

There’s an obvious discrepancy here between perception and reality. It blows my mind that the coaches as less familiar with the teams’ stats than most of us here on the blog.

If Fredi is going to go with Schafer over McLouth he’s got to be able to clearly articulate his reasoning. He has to be able to quantify the issue in some way or other.

FJR

July 19th, 2011
5:16 pm

How can you be a major league manager or coach and be mistaken about a 50 POINT DIFFERENCE in a MAJORLY IMPORTANT STAT?

Like even if you’re not a “stats guy” how can you even watch the games and not notice that Nate gets on base roughly 15% more often than Schafer?

.295 OBP is terrible, .347 is actually pretty good. The fact that they could mistaken at that HUGE of a difference is just downright frightening. It’s their job to know these things. Stat obsessed or not. It’s as bad as the time when Fredi clearly had no clue during an interview how many innings that Venters had pitched. Do your job.

If I ever did anything like what Fredi has done at my job, I’d be fired immediately.

David O'Brien

July 19th, 2011
5:16 pm

Braves lineup: 1. Schafer CF, 2. Prado 3B, 3. McCann C, 4. Freeman 1B, 5. Uggla 2B, 6. Hinske LF, 7. Gonzalez SS, 8. McLouth RF, 9. Beachy

Steve in NYC

July 19th, 2011
5:17 pm

Schafer had power before he hurt his wrist, and in the minors this year, they taught him a whole new approach to hitting – to be more patient, and try to bunt to get on more. He gives plus defense, and when he gets on base, he scores! 13 SBs & 31 runs in 46 games means 45 SBs & 110 runs for the season with his CURRENT OBP!

How many runs would he score and how much havoc could he cause on the base paths, if his OBP gets up to .350, as he gets more experience? With Uggla and others hitting well, why not keep him up there?

My 2¢…

FJR

July 19th, 2011
5:17 pm

Fredi is clearly riding a great pitching staff and two of the most dominant relievers in the game. That approach isn’t going to work all year.

PDOG

July 19th, 2011
5:17 pm

The reason Braves are winning is not Schafer it is BM and FF being has hot as any two hitters in anyone’s lineup. If FG believes that it is Schafer we are doomed. Nate should be starting over Jordan when Chipper gets back the law of averages will catch up with the manager.

Larry

July 19th, 2011
5:17 pm

Blankster,

Yes, I said “if,” not when! Schafer has yet to prove it! Hope he does!

Brian from SC

July 19th, 2011
5:18 pm

“If I ever did anything like what Fredi has done at my job, I’d be fired immediately.”

You mean succeed highly at it, but say some things about your methods that others think is weird? You would be fired for that?

Matt

July 19th, 2011
5:18 pm

What horrendus thinking. Even the article couldn’t get Schafer’s OBP right. Its scary how ignorant the coaches of your favorite team can be. Its like they’ve lowered the expectations for Schafer at the plate so low that every time he gets on base, it gets celebrated as a minor miracle so that’s all anyone remembers.

AtlYnkHtr

July 19th, 2011
5:18 pm

cabravesfan, while I agree that winning is all that matters, its not that Fredi is saying numbers are not everything. He literally does not look at the numbers and neither do any of the other coaches. Its as if they fear them or going out of their way to look at them. I mean why wouldn’t you at least take 20 mins to run through them once or twice a week. So again, it’s not that we think numbers are everything, at least I do not, its that there seems to be no place for numbers with Fredi.

Why does this matter? Because most, or some of us believe that the trend is unsustainable. Without an upgrade on offense at present we may win the wild card if we continue to get the same pitching performance. If not, it could get dicey with all of the holes in our lineup. Then you have to take into account the goal is not just getting to the playoffs, its winning the world series, which means most likely beating the Giants, Phillies (both without home field) and then the Red Sox. I have my doubts with the team as presently constructed.

cabravesfan

July 19th, 2011
5:18 pm

If I ever did anything like what Fredi has done at my job, I’d be fired immediately.

You’d be fired for winning? Dude, you might want to consider a new job…

Jonny Venters

July 19th, 2011
5:19 pm

Guys,

Take it easy, ok? I ask to come in every day, even if Fredi thinks I need a day off. Everyday shortstops have to run and make throws for a whole game. I just have to throw 5-14 pitches to get the side retired in the 8th.

I run, I eat well, and I get my rest. I’ll be good to go, and so will Craig.

Jonny

Powder Blue

July 19th, 2011
5:19 pm

Schafer could hit when he was on PEDs.

David O'Brien

July 19th, 2011
5:19 pm

The guy who makes more sense for Braves is Pence. He’ll be expensive, since he won his arb case this year and is already making $6.9. But he’s got two more years before free agency, so not a rental player. Very solid player, can handle all three OF spots, even though hasn’t play much CF in a while.

Larry

July 19th, 2011
5:20 pm

Good lineup!

And “Steve in NYC,” spot on!

Burrito Brother

July 19th, 2011
5:20 pm

Little things get magnified in the playoffs. Nobody on the staff looks to see there are two bad OBP guys batting first and second? Wow!

The point is not that we’re griping about the Braves having a poor team, we’re griping that they have to overcome poor planning and decision making which has an effect on the W-L record. This will be magnified when the caliber of team they are playing is better.

muffin

July 19th, 2011
5:21 pm

guys that facts r that the braves have the best record in baseball since schafer has been up in the last 45 games. his numbers r not eye caughting but he just seems to bring that piece we have been missing in speed–stolen bases- defense-and the little things.

Frankie Wren

July 19th, 2011
5:21 pm

Does he not understand these commentDoes he not understand these comments make him look like a fool?

I’m sure his thoughts wander to how he is perceived on the blog constantly.

Bay Area Steve

July 19th, 2011
5:21 pm

I’m going with the organization is talking up Schafer because he’s getting dealt somewhere. Like a deal’s nearly in place, and the Braves are hoping Schafer is the final piece…

‘Cause the alternative…

Efrim

July 19th, 2011
5:21 pm

No Heyward again? I thought he almost played yesterday? Unbelievable.

Greg

July 19th, 2011
5:22 pm

The reason why the Braves have the second best record in the N.L. is due to the fact that 1) there are not many good teams, and 2) are pitching has carried us. I think most of us agree, that this team, regardless of any moves made, will make the playoffs. The point is that when we face good teams that match our pitching (Giants, Phillies, etc.) we need to optimize our roster and lineup to give us the best chance to win. Having Schafer playing CF and leading off does not give us the best chance to win.

Burrito Brother

July 19th, 2011
5:22 pm

Pence is sketchy in CF. Bourn or Bourjos would be very nice there (and cheaper).

Ronald Millsaps

July 19th, 2011
5:22 pm

Derek Lowe’s point about his grounder is perfectly valid.

If I’m Atlanta, I’m not making a move for a middle reliever. Rodrigo Lopez would’ve been perfectly valid for this role. If Kris Medlen returns in a few weeks, he can fill the role, a la Tim Hudson pitching out of the bullpen in 2009. Peter Moylan could be a multi-inning reliever.

I’m not sure at all that we need a lefty in the rotation; the five we have are outstanding, and so are our prospects. All these L-L/R-R matchups are overrated, actually. Baseball, by definition, is a pitcher’s game. You need to pitch aggressively and not distract yourself with the so-called factors against you. I commend Cliff Lee for pitching this way.

I watched about two minutes of ESPN earlier and heard Skip Bayless say that 75% of the problems Vince Young had in Nashville are due to Jeff Fisher. I swear; I look around our culture and get flat-out scared. Young’s about as good a quarterback as there is in football, honestly, and his poise and resilience are outstanding. He also has brought some things on himself. His decision-making late in games is unbelievably good, especially compared to his decision-making off the field.

I read a fan letter yesterday where a writer said firing Phil Fulmer and hiring Lane Kiffin were good moves for Tennessee. Whether Kiffin stayed or not, his acquisition wasn’t beneficial. Acquiring his dad, however, is a different story, and his dad’s the one getting him jobs since you have to hire Lane to get Monte.

I heard last night that Green Bay never got invited to the White House. How sorry. Of course, we have a sorry president. Green Bay annihilated Atlanta, and I’d invite them if I were in Obama’s shoes. Truthfully, by the way, Pittsburgh was much more honorable in defeat against Green Bay with Troy Polamalu, the league’s best player, injured than they were in “victory” against Seattle. Seattle was clearly the best team in football that year, and the league gift-wrapped one to its Rooney connection. We would do well to have Obama and Goodell impeached.

Then I did a google search on MLB trades (I refuse to use the so-called verb “googled”, as trying to turn every noun into a verb is punk grammar/the result of laziness) and found someone’s commentary on how the Braves did well to trade Javier Vazquez to the Yankees. The article wasn’t good at all, and the writer continually referred to Vazquez as Javier Lopez and never made the correction.

I’ve gotten to the point where I despise soundbites of any kind because no one seems to be able to go three consecutive words without saying, “and… um/and… uh.”

Some FSS soccer anchor made a snide comment after a player scored a goal and revealed a “John 3:16″ shirt in saying the goal was the player’s first of the year and therefore was excited. Of course, the subsequent celebrations were deemed perfectly acceptable. I wonder if the ignorant anchor realizes just how dumb his prejudiced response was. I guess FSS wants to compete with ESPN in terms of prejudice against Christianity. Someone’s getting a letter. The reporter, not surprisingly, sounded like a tree-hugging, latte-drinking, pot-smoking, “war is never just”-proclaiming, Barnes and Noble-frequenting fool. I’ve had the misfortune of meeting several such types and absolutely love to refute their nonsense.

Alex–The Weather Channel gals? Yeah, they’re attractive, but why does every news/weather outlet have to be an unofficial beauty contest nowadays? Professionalism is almost nonexistent.

If Atlanta does make a move, I could live with Heyward for Ryan Braun. Having suggested that idea, I think Heyward has loads of God-given talent; I just don’t think he’s developing strategically, and we need Uggla and Heyward to be placed in inverse correlation in the order. Uggla has worked to regain his swing and is batting lowly anyway; Heyward isn’t showing much progress and is batting highly.

I’ve asked myself a million times this season why Atlanta made such a fuss over Eric Hinske’s contract. I’m extremely glad that they re-signed him.

Go ahead and keep Lowe.

Blankster

July 19th, 2011
5:23 pm

Ok larry fair enough.

I agree with posters saying that Fredi is riding one of the best rotations in the game and the best back end of the bullpen I have seen in a long long time.

And schafer is getting the credit (in FG mind) for freeman and McCann being super hot since he came in. Like an earlier poster said.

Jerry

July 19th, 2011
5:23 pm

On the Derek Lowe front, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that the chances of the Tigers acquiring him are extremely low. He says the Braves would have to pick up at least 75% of the $21MM owed to Lowe through next year, so about $15.75MM, and that’s not happening. Surely there’s a team that values Lowe at more than $5.25MM through 2012.

Lew

July 19th, 2011
5:23 pm

Why would they platoon McLouth and Heyward, both LH Hitters who don’t hit LH pitching?

AtlYnkHtr

July 19th, 2011
5:23 pm

Brian from SC, if I had no idea why or how my team was performing and what the output was or basically said I don’t look at data and make decisions by my gut, no matter what the peformance, I think the VP of Finance would fire me yeah. If a manager who worked for me said something like that, I’d get rid of him.

"Chef" Tim Dix

July 19th, 2011
5:23 pm

Here’s the Chef’s take on Jordan: If I see your hand on the knob, you’re gone.

cabravesfan

July 19th, 2011
5:23 pm

AtlYnkHtr

Fredi never said he doesn’t look at stats. What he said in the blog was that the coaches had not yet looked at the daily stat pack when they were discussing the outfield when they got to Denver. He was trying to make a point to his coaches (go back and read it…). He also said ““I looked at it today,” he said a few hours before the Braves’ series-opening win against Colorado. “I’m not a big numbers guy, but I looked at [Jason] Heyward, Schafer and [Nate] McLouth’s numbers.” So clearly he DOES read the stats, he just looks at other things that those numbers may not reflect.

McFann :Ô: :Ô:

July 19th, 2011
5:24 pm

Thanks for the lineup, Chief!

Powder Blue

July 19th, 2011
5:24 pm

“No Heyward again?”

He’s more helpful when he’s not playing. Addition by subtraction.

Larry

July 19th, 2011
5:25 pm

Dave,

Can you confirm if Heyward is out of the lineup because of the injury or because of Hinske’s performance yesterday?

If it’s the latter, I’ll be much more impressed with FG’s courage and willingness to practice principles (a lineup best for winning) over personalities (lineup to appease certain egos).

Mike McDonald

July 19th, 2011
5:26 pm

Talk about underperformance among so many Braves’ position players. And Freddi continues to walk between the raindrops. Meanwhile, DOB, here’s what Yunel has recently done for the Toronto Blue Jays:
BA .299; OBP .375; Slug .442
“Escobar had three hits and drove in a pair of runs as the TBJ again roughed up the NYY for their 5th straight win last Friday.
Esobar is hitting .431 (22 for 51) over his past 13 games with six doubles and eight RBIs.”
His career batting average (2007-11) is .290 with OBP of .366 and slugging .404!
He and the Gonzalez brothers aren’t in the same league … literally and figuratively.

Dennis Reynolds

July 19th, 2011
5:26 pm

BOURN makes the most sense to me. He’s a TRUE CFer and a TRUE leadoff man with legit speed. Pence is a very good hitter, but when Heyward turns the corner, Uggla gets going like he has been lately, and Freddie and Mac keep doing their things, we are OK in the middle of the order. What we need is a threat at the very top of the order and Schafer is not it.

1.Bourn
2.Prado
3.Chipper
4.Mac
5.Uggla
6.Freeman
7.Heyward
8.Gonzo

Powder Blue

July 19th, 2011
5:26 pm

For fans of Dale Murphy, he now has a blog:

http://murphtalks.blogspot.com/

He’s always been my favorite player, but knowing that Wilco’s one of his favorite bands makes me appreciate him even more.

Brian from SC

July 19th, 2011
5:26 pm

AtlYnkHtr,

So if someone who worked for you had one job to do, one result to get, and they succeeded highly at it, you would fire them for doing it a way different than you would? Yeah, right.

Fredi has one job to do: win baseball games. He’s doing it. Period. This is just another example of internet superstar managers who couldn’t get past their son’s little league team thinking they know better than the pros.

Seattle Braves Fan

July 19th, 2011
5:27 pm

I miss the days when I could check the NL leader boards and see a Brave in the top 5 in HRs,RBIs, Batting Average, and Stolen bases………

Efrim

July 19th, 2011
5:27 pm

Those were some really strong words by Bowman. I have been critical of Heyward, but to compare Freeman/Heyward with McCann/Francoeur is just nonsense. Freeman hasn’t even had the impact that McCann did in his first full season. And Heyward hasn’t been nearly as bad as Francoeur. He gets on base. Francoeur couldn’t break .300.

Ronald Millsaps

July 19th, 2011
5:27 pm

No, statistics don’t lie, but they don’t always tell the entire story. You indeed have to consider other factors, i.e. Schafer’s age/MLB experience/work ethic/level of progression/regression. Schafer is blossoming nicely at the plate, and to indict him after two months in the majors is actually something Bobby would do, as offensive strategy was his weakness at times.

I watched a few minutes of Game 4 footage between the Yankees and Diamondbacks, one of the best World Series in history. Why Bob Brenly would pull Curt Schilling in that game when he did is awfully questionable. Game 7 was really the only game of that series that New York should’ve won. They had Roger Clemens, probably the best pitcher in history, starting and the lead going into the ninth. The better team won that series, though.

Lew

July 19th, 2011
5:28 pm

jonk – MIght be horrifying if the Braves weren’t winning.

Y’all can talk about how any of several players can’t hit, are no good, etc., yet the one undeniable fact none of you seem willing to acknowledge is the Braves just keep right on winning – twenty games over .500 and the best record in the league since our Ace Jurrjens came back from the DL – despite Uglla, despite Heyward, despite Schafer, despite Nate, despite injuries to Chipper, Prado, Jurrjens, Heyward, Beachy and Moylan.

Maybe it’s time to not worry so much about the numbers and realize we just flat out have a good, winning team.

Frankie Wren

July 19th, 2011
5:28 pm

I miss the days when I could check the NL leader boards and see a Brave in the top 5 in HRs,RBIs, Batting Average, and Stolen bases

I enjoy the days waking up checking the Standings and seeing a team 18 games over .500 and 2 1/2 games out of first.

Dennis Reynolds

July 19th, 2011
5:28 pm

With the acquisition of Pence, it leaves us without a leadoff man still. I guess you could either put Prado back up there but he’s just so perfect for the 2 spot.

1.Prado
2.Chipper
3.Mac
4.Uggla
5.Freeman
6.Pence
7.Heyward
8.Gonzo

I actually like that.

My Thoughts

July 19th, 2011
5:28 pm

McLouth could not throw out a runner at home plate if he was standing on the pitcher’s mound. One assist since 2010 !!

Efrim

July 19th, 2011
5:29 pm

But nonetheless, it’s quite sad to see how far Heyward has fallen in one years time. Injuries have set him back, but again, that was the label on him in the minors and he just hasn’t been able to shake it. A shame.

Mr. Turnip-Green Jeans

July 19th, 2011
5:29 pm

cabravesfan, your 5:10 was spot-on.

Blankster

July 19th, 2011
5:29 pm

Brian from SC – but he isnt perfect is he. What if you have a winning record but have one of the best teams that the ballclub has created in a long time? What if your line up included some top performers, you had the best rotation in the majors and the best pen by a long way. Then would you be happy sitting second in the division to an injury riddled phillies, who are struggling in alot of areas?

Ronald Millsaps

July 19th, 2011
5:29 pm

Honestly, platooning Heyward and Matt Diaz in RF right now would be awfully nice. Trading Heyward might be awfully wise. I’d be willing to trade him and Minor together for a Ryan Braun. Not giving up on Heyward, just highly questioning his development.

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