Pitchers and catchers report soon, Hanson without hitch

In the last week of spring training in one of my first years as a baseball beat writer, a manager said something about his team that wasn’t for publication. Now that it’s been 15 years or so, I don’t think he’ll mind if I share.

“This may be the worst pitching staff ever assembled,” he said, and we laughed. “I’m serious. We are going to get slaughtered.”

And they did.

The palm trees and gentle breezes of spring training await next weekend when Braves pitchers and catchers report to Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Jason Getz/AJC photo)

The palm trees and gentle breezes of spring training await next weekend when Braves pitchers and catchers report to Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Jason Getz/AJC photo)

But that was an exception to the general rule of spring training – you know, the whole rebirth/renewal theme, where every team starts fresh each year with high hopes regardless of how the previous season ended. It’s true; they do.

Just about every player and manager goes into spring training talking about how excited he is and how he believes his team has a real chance to compete if it stays healthy and does what it’s capable of and blah blah blah.

Regardless of whether he believes it entirely or is trying to convince himself or others that it’s true, there is excitement in virtually every player’s voice as he prepares for spring training, and then even more once they’re in Florida going through the first workouts.

That’s one thing that’s notably different about baseball spring training and other pro sports. Unlike an NFL or NBA training camp, most baseball players want to be there and don’t mind saying so. Baseball teams, with 6-7 weeks to train together in the February and March sunshine of Florida or Arizona, don’t generally work at a frenetic pace.

The crack of the bat and the comforting sound of the ball hitting leather, nearly constant during a spring training day. The dew on the perfectly manicured ball fields. The aroma of coffee colliding at 8 a.m. (or earlier) with the smells of pine tar, chewing tobacco and an occasional cigar. Later, the smell of brats and BBQ from grills beneath the stands.

Pretty girls behind the backstop, trying to get players’ attentions. Little kids with sunburned noses, shouting players’ names and asking pleeeeease for an autograph.

Tape-measure homers onto grass berms during batting practice. Acrobatic double-play ballets from middle infielders who still get a kick out of putting on a show during drills.

It’s special. All of it.

Spring training snapshot: Chipper Jones chats with Braves legend Hank Aaron behind the cage.

Spring training snapshot: Chipper Jones chats with Braves legend Hank Aaron behind the cage.

Even for a 15-year veteran player, or a cynical ink-stained wretch facing 12-14 hours a day of reporting, waiting, writing, Tweeting, blogging and waiting some more, all while consuming copious amounts of coffee, there is something undeniably good and rejuvenating about sunshine and preparing to play a game or chronicling those who are.

And players and reporters aren’t even the ones who enjoy it most.

The great broadcaster Harry Caray – Skip’s dad and Chip’s grandfather — put it this way: “It’s the fans that need spring training. You gotta get ‘em interested. Wake ‘em up and let ‘em know that their season is coming, the good times are gonna roll.”

One more week and we begin to roll.

♣ Hanson ditches hitch: Next time you see Tommy Hanson pitch, you might not recognize him. Gone is the distinctive pause in his throwing motion, that unusual hitch in his delivery that might have – some say probably — contributed to injuries including the shoulder woes that wiped out much of the second half of his promising 2011 season.

“Some of the fatigue that he had, some of the back issues and shoulder issues, we wanted to see if we could make some adjustments and do some delivery work that would take that stress off,” said pitching coach Roger McDowell, who has worked with Hanson on the changes for about six weeks.

Hanson, shown with fans during a recent Braves Caravan stop, has worked this winter to eliminate the hitch in his delivery in hopes of reducing stress on his arm and back.

Hanson, shown with fans during a recent Braves Caravan stop, has worked this winter to eliminate the hitch in his delivery in hopes of reducing stress on his arm and back. (Jason Getz/AJC photo)

Hanson, a rangy 6-foot-6, has honed a more conventional throwing motion that better utilizes the driving power of his long legs instead of relying so much on the funky short-arm, whip-action mechanics he relied upon in the past.

“I like it a lot,” said McDowell, who was asked if he thinks the changes might also benefit Hanson’s overall performance. “That remains to be seen. But anytime you use your legs, for me it’s going to help, because those are the strongest muscles in our body.”

Hanson went 10-4 with a 2.44 ERA and .190 opponents’ average in 17 starts before the All-Star break. Then the shoulder went from nagging to aching, and he was 1-3 with an 8.10 ERA and .313 opponents’ average in his first five starts after the break.

That was it for the year. He didn’t pitch again after Aug. 6. Hanson tried a few times to get back in the rotation, but each time the pain returned when he got back on the mound and ramped up the intensity of his throwing sessions.

With his new, more compact delivery, the California native might have a better chance to stay healthy. Meanwhile, he should be in better position to hold runners at first base. In the past two seasons, he’s allowed more steals (63) than any big league pitcher.

Still, baserunners darting seemingly at will weren’t the impetus for this change.

Hanson was diagnosed with a small undersurface rotator cuff tear in his pitching shoulder in late August, an injury that many veteran major league pitchers develop through normal wear and tear. Usually they can avoid surgery unless the tear worsens.

Only 25, Hanson wanted to take preventive measures this offseason to avoid serious damage. He started with a rigorous conditioning program immediately after the season ended, designed to strengthen the back and shoulder muscles.

He made decision to alter his pitching mechanics when he resumed his throwing program after Christmas.

Hanson and pitching coach Roger McDowell, shown here in a photo from 2011, have worked together this winter to smooth out the pitcher's delivery.

Hanson and pitching coach Roger McDowell, shown here in a photo from 2011, have worked together this winter to smooth out the pitcher's delivery.

Although Hanson and the Braves had discussed in the past couple of years the possibility of eventually making such a change, McDowell said the decision to do it now came from the pitcher when Hanson began throwing at Turner Field.

“It was Tommy’s idea,” McDowell said Friday during the second week of a two-week early pitching camp at the stadium, during which Hanson has continued his workouts. “He came in and wanted to make some adjustments and changes. I told him my ideas and thoughts, and collectively we came up with a plan, and hopefully it’ll work.”

So far everyone likes what they’ve seen from Hanson. McDowell, manager Fredi Gonzalez and bullpen catcher Alan Butts all remarked on how thoroughly Hanson has smoothed out his mechanics in a relatively short period.

“I like it a lot,” said Gonzalez, noting that other byproduct of Hanson’s new delivery. “He is going to be faster to the plate, which should help him hold runners better.”

Hanson allowed a National League-high 33 steals in 2010, and last year he had a majors-leading 30 steals allowed in 22 starts at the time when he went down with what turned out to be a season-ending injury.

“It’s kind of like killing two birds with one stone,” McDowell said of Hanson’s streamlined mechanics. “You can work on your delivery and hopefully that has a better result, as far as his times to the plate and getting his arm in a good position and getting him in a strong position to hold [runners].”

Hanson already threw plenty hard, in the low- to mid-90 mph range. Now that he’s using his legs more in his delivery, it could possibly get his velocity back up a tick or two. Most importantly, it might help him stay healthy for 34-35 starts the Braves need.

“I think that with all pitchers their strength is their core and their lower half,” said McDowell, a former successful major league reliever. “And to be able to utilize that part of their body, it has to take pressure off first and foremost the shoulder, but guys with lower-back issues … I don’t know how much it’ll help, but hopefully it’ll help some.”

A week ago, Hanson said he’s felt strong since he resumed throwing.

“The shoulder feels good, and I don’t feel like there’s going to be any restrictions or anything like that” at spring training, he said. “I feel like I’m going to be ready to go.”

Hanson has grown his red hair grow down to his shoulders this winter. Coupled with a full, untrimmed beard, the 230-pound pitcher has a mountain-man edge about him.

When it was remarked to McDowell that Hanson appears to be in great shape, McDowell smiled and said, “Yeah, and he looks like the Geico man,” referring to the caveman character in a popular series of insurance-company TV commercials.

♣ Braves ticket prices: For single-game ticket sales at Turner Field in 2012, the Braves have expanded their pricing scale to six different ranges according to factors such as to time of week, time of year and attractiveness of opponent.

The Braves' variable ticket pricing this season will include six tiers of games, the highest-priced level including summer Saturday games plus the home opener and Yankees series.

The Braves' variable ticket pricing this season will include six tiers of games, the highest-priced level including summer Saturday games plus the home opener and Yankees series.

For example, the highest range of prices, $13-$95, is for “A” games that include all Saturday dates during June, July and August, along with the April 13 home opener against Milwaukee and the entire June 11-13 series against the New York Yankees.

The least expensive range is $6-$70 for “F” games including all mid-week series in April, May and September — the months when kids are in school and attendance is traditionally lower at Turner Field during the week.

The Braves are also introducing what they’ve called “demand-based pricing” in the Outfield Pavilion sections. On the Braves pocket schedule it says of demand-based pricing: “Buy your tickets early to get the best price.”

The Braves haven’t officially announced single-game ticket prices or a beginning sale date. That announcement is expected in the next week.

♣ OK, we’ll close this with a tune from Thurston Moore, frontman of the legendary Sonic Youth, who had on a pretty terrific solo show last week at The Goat Farm in Atlanta. You can hear the tune by clicking here.

thurston+moore

“THE SHAPE IS IN A TRANCE” by Thurston Moore

I’m not the one they called
but I showed up anyway
set off the critical alarm
tweaked to obey

no matter how they change it
the dream always looks the same
decoy machines are breaking
in protest to the game

the shape is in a trance
fixated on the fire
the shape will take its trance
to think it can go higher

reject his record
eject the lady’s master tape
it’s not that she won’t rewind
its her desire to take shape
abandoned bass amp blowing
love to starlight dream
boxes of blood plugged into
our awesome sick machine

– by David O’Brien, Braves/MIB blog

2,328 comments Add your comment

Me

February 11th, 2012
1:41 pm

Jcook

February 11th, 2012
1:43 pm

Ahhh….Nothing like the sunny sky of Florida and smell of fresh grass to distract the Wintry Blast we are currently in.

McFann O O o

February 11th, 2012
1:44 pm

Thanks for the new Blog, Chief! That opening section was a beautiful piece of writing—you completely nailed it. Your pre-Spring Training Blogs and welcome-to-Spring-Training Blogs are always some of my most favorites…

BRING IT ON!!! :D

George

February 11th, 2012
1:44 pm

Thank Goodness HANSON got rid of that herky-jerky delivery.

nyc_brave

February 11th, 2012
1:46 pm

FIRST?! DOB, it’s baseball season! Ahhh!!! Thanks for the blog.

chc4

February 11th, 2012
1:49 pm

Hanson worries me. Shoulders rarely get better on their own and we need Hanson to have a shot this year. Between Tommy and Hudson’s offseason back surgery, we have some serious question marks at the front of the rotation. And we all know how anemic the lineup is. Geez, I’m getting more depressed as I write this. Time for a Fat Tire to liven things up!

Aris

February 11th, 2012
1:49 pm

DOB

Anyway we could get some video of Tommy’s new delivery? Maybe whip out the camera the next time you see him throwing? Thanks.

Red Wolf

February 11th, 2012
1:51 pm

Pitchers are in for a long season of good outings only to leave behind in the score after 6-7 innings while the paltry offense makes the league’s mediocre pitchers look like Nolan Ryan clones. Wren and management didn’t do anything to improve this team that fell apart in September and in several ways opened even bigger holes. Unless something changes soon this is a last place team going nowhere wasting a multitude of quality starts by it pitching staff. Seems like ownership has gone on the cheap taking a page out of Loria’s book.

David O'Brien

February 11th, 2012
1:52 pm

McFann, thank ya.

Me

February 11th, 2012
1:52 pm

But anytime you lose your legs, for me it’s going to help, because those are the strongest muscles in our body.” ???

BravesFan in DC

February 11th, 2012
1:53 pm

Glad to see Hanson working on that hitch. It sure looked like it put stress on his arm. If he can keep the velocity and movement on his pitches with the new delivery, I’m all for it.

jaybob

February 11th, 2012
1:55 pm

Can’t wait to see Tommy’s new delivery.

Hey DOB, did you mean…”But anytime you USE your legs, for me it’s going to help” when quoting Roger? I’m confused.

GO BRAVES!!

David O'Brien

February 11th, 2012
1:57 pm

jaybob: Thanks for the catch. Yes, “use.” Typo fixed now.

jed

February 11th, 2012
2:07 pm

what team/manager was it who said the pitching staff was so awful they were gonna get slaughtered?

abeeewright

February 11th, 2012
2:08 pm

Spring Training inches closer. Thanks for this blog on Hanson’s modified mechanics and the other piece on Chipper’s reflection on his first Spring.

Question marks there are, but the answers will start to manifest soon.

McFann O O o

February 11th, 2012
2:11 pm

DOB

You’re welcome! :)

abeeewright

February 11th, 2012
2:13 pm

The only way the Braves offense is as putrid as it was in 2011 is if Bourn pulls a McNate impression, and both Prado and Heyward prove to be busts.

abeeewright

February 11th, 2012
2:15 pm

and if McCann’s oblique is permanently damaged.

abeeewright

February 11th, 2012
2:15 pm

count down to McFann’s response in 3…2…1

kenhotlanta

February 11th, 2012
2:19 pm

DOB: Thanks for the new blog and the interview with Chipper…where has the time gone since he was a Rookie?

kenhotlanta

February 11th, 2012
2:20 pm

McFann: Thanks for sharing those pictures, I really enjoyed looking at them.

Patio Daddio

February 11th, 2012
2:21 pm

1998 Florida Marlins
Uniform Numbers

#1  Luis Castillo
#2  Josh Booty
#3  Ryan Jackson
#4  Randy Knorr
#4  Mark Kotsay
#7  Mark Kotsay
#8  Jim Eisenreich
#8  Preston Wilson
#9  Gregg Zaun
#10  Gary Sheffield
#13  Dave Berg
#14  John Wehner
#15  Cliff Floyd
#16  Edgar Renteria
#17  Todd Dunwoody
#18  Kevin Millar
#19  John Roskos
#20  Vic Darensbourg
#20  Brian Edmondson
#21  Jesus Sanchez
#22  Alex Gonzalez
#23  Charles Johnson
#24  Kirt Ojala
#25  Bobby Bonilla
#25  Derrek Lee
#25  Todd Zeile
#27  Derrek Lee
#27  Kevin Orie
#27  Todd Zeile
#28  John Cangelosi
#30  Craig Counsell
#31  Mike Piazza
#33  Matt Mantei
#34  Brian Meadows
#36  Andy Larkin
#38  Rob Stanifer
#39  Brian Daubach
#39  Jay Powell
#40  Vic Darensbourg
#40  Chris Hammond
#41  Oscar Henriquez
#43  Eric Ludwick
#44  Donn Pall
#46  Gabe Gonzalez
#47  Rafael Medina
#48  Manuel Barrios
#49  Felix Heredia
#50  Ryan Dempster
#51  Justin Speier
#52  Mike Redmond
#54  Joe Fontenot
#57  Antonio Alfonseca
#58  Dave Berg
#60  Gabe Gonzalez
#61  Livan Hernandez

McFann O O o

February 11th, 2012
2:21 pm

His oblique is NOT permanently damaged! Well, I mean, I hope it’s not…but for now I say it’s definitely not… :mrgreen:

VaBravesFan

February 11th, 2012
2:21 pm

Good Blog DOB, Hanson just needs to stay healthy and he’ll be in the conversation for Cy Young. Hopefully make the All Star game too.

McFann O O o

February 11th, 2012
2:23 pm

kenhotlanta

You’re welcome! Glad you enjoyed them…they are my pride and joy—I’m always looking for an excuse to show them off… ;)

CB

February 11th, 2012
2:23 pm

Beautifully written,DOB. Thanks for making it feel like it is time for baseball.

David O'Brien

February 11th, 2012
2:24 pm

Added a Hank/Chipper photo to main blog just now, and two Chipper photos to the recollection blog, one from his rookie year and one from last spring. Check ‘em out.

dogsbrekky - tuxonmadisonave

February 11th, 2012
2:24 pm

Great article, hooray on Tommy H, may actually last a long time now… this is great news for our SP depth now

Bobby hill

February 11th, 2012
2:24 pm

I wish Wren had been as active this offseason as DOB always seems to be.

The A Bomb - OUTCHOKED ® TWICE!

February 11th, 2012
2:27 pm

Still got a little college hoops to be decided before baseball takes hold.

Big game in Vegas today.

But its good to see Hanson is making adjustments. He’s a big key.

Bravetiger

February 11th, 2012
2:27 pm

DOB – Since we all like to eat and like great food places, just curious as to your favorite places (away from the ballpark or within) to eat? What delicacy do you look forward to as you follow the Braves in Central and South Florida. Maybe a top 5 list? Thanks. I really enjoy your writings and looking forward to the season.

Jimmy

February 11th, 2012
2:28 pm

Thanks for the new bloggage DOB. I am one of those that actually read the blog before posting anything.

I am really looking forward to this season!!

abeeewright

February 11th, 2012
2:28 pm

McFann … I was actually responding obliquely to one of our natterring nabobs of negativity, so I had to amp up the most absurd things I could think of. Since you were in the hizzouse, I figgered I would rattle your cage too.

ChattTownBrian (CTB)

February 11th, 2012
2:29 pm

I thought Hanson was 6 ft 6, not 6′ 4″?

abeeewright

February 11th, 2012
2:31 pm

Actually, Hanson is 7 feet tall with the afro.

Soph

February 11th, 2012
2:32 pm

Thanks, DOB. I. Can’t. Wait!

ChattTownBrian (CTB)

February 11th, 2012
2:33 pm

We’d all like to give you a big smooch on the cheek for the new blog, Dave. Or just a handshake and a friendly baseball pat on the butt.

Patio Daddio

February 11th, 2012
2:34 pm

Tomahawkin

February 11th, 2012
2:34 pm

D.O.B.

Thanks For the New Blog…

It sucks that this will prolly be your last blog where you will have the time to kick The Actual Factual with us

A week from now you will be on the Grind! Just be sure to tell us when you are going to do your Pimp Appearances on the 680AMTheFan shows?

Oh and BTW I’m gonna laugh my yellow ass off when people come on here bashing you in that they think that you are taking a vacation, when they don’t know how much time you invest in the blog and players…

Someone said it earlier in the Week that you are the Current version of TBS/Skip Caray and I will Co-sign On That…

And I still can’t believe you don’t like old Mariah and Janet Jackson? They are legends….!

VaBravesFan

February 11th, 2012
2:36 pm

McFann

I’m a big McCann fan and hope he follows Chipper’s path and is a Brave for life. Just pointing out that we have to think about how the long term commitment that will affect the team we love even more down the road.

chief pitchanono

February 11th, 2012
2:36 pm

Thanks for the update. Spring trainings comeing, I can smell it already! I’m feeling good about this season. We have had a good ballclub for the last 21/2 seasons. Yeah September was a let down for sure but we still had a good season over all. I think anytime your team has good pitching you have a real good chance of being relevent come September. Not only do the Braves have that but they also have quality depth which is even more reason for confidence. If our offense can figure out away to score a few more runs this year we can easily go from a good team to a WC contender. The division should be improved this year which I think only hurts the phills. They are the team that has been walking away with the division the last few years by padding there win column by feasting on the Nats and Florida. These teams have played us tough in the past few years anyway so our record against them will prob. be about the same, but if they can improve against philly that will certainly increase the chances of someone takeing the division from them this year. I expect a close 3or 4 team race to the finish with maybe only 1-5 wins seperating 1st and 4th place. Maybe 3 playoffs teams comeing out of the East?

Go Braves!!!

David O'Brien

February 11th, 2012
2:39 pm

I thought Hanson was 6 ft 6, not 6′ 4″?

Actually, I just noticed he’s now listed as 6-6. In past it was 6-5 (my 6-4 was mistake). And while I’m not sure if he’s 6-6 in bare feet, I can say he’s a good inch or more taller than Heyward and Freeman. Hanson actually looks like he’s taller since last year. He’s big.

And he’s a couple sandwiches or more over 230, not the 220 listed. But he carries it well after offseason of working out. Says he wants to lose a little, but not much, before season.

Tomahawkin

February 11th, 2012
2:39 pm

ChattTownBrian (CTB)

“We’d all like to give you a big smooch on the cheek for the new blog, Dave. Or just a handshake and a friendly baseball pat on the butt.”

No No No, D.O.B. Needs a Cigar and A Tokyo Tea or a Tomarita From the Chophouse

D.O.B. is a Vet Though, I bet he Prolly Downs The Heinikens when he is on Tour???

ChattTownBrian (CTB)

February 11th, 2012
2:44 pm

DOB, I’m full of useless information. My wife agrees. Knowing a players height is one of my many useless talents.

Tomahawkin

February 11th, 2012
2:46 pm

Bravetiger

“DOB – Since we all like to eat and like great food places, just curious as to your favorite places (away from the ballpark or within) to eat? What delicacy do you look forward to as you follow the Braves in Central and South Florida. Maybe a top 5 list? Thanks. I really enjoy your writings and looking forward to the season.”

From reading his Blog since 2005, I think D.O.B. loves San Deigo and the Fish Tacos…? He loves it on the west coast??? The Lack of sleep sucks but I’m sure D.O.B. loves Those West Coast Swings?

I Think he likes Seattle in July as opposed to the Humidity down here in The “A”… And D.O.B Likes Minneapolis and the New Twins Ballpark

South Florida will be a Favorite Again with D.O.B. With the New Ballpark… I can see him and Fredi Getting their Grub on at Several S. Florida joints in the MIA as well as Ft Liquordale?

Am I right D.O.B.?

And D. O.B. is not too fond of The Rotten Apple (New Yawk)?

Patio Daddio

February 11th, 2012
2:48 pm

Tommy’s dad, Tom, is only 6′ if that so Tommy doesn’t get his height from him. I’m 6′4″ and yes Tommy is 6′6″.

Tomahawkin

February 11th, 2012
2:48 pm

@Chatt-lanta Brian

When are you Coming Down To The “A” to see a game?

You seem like a Good Drinking Bro that loves Dem Braves and Knows his Stuff???

Zing

February 11th, 2012
2:51 pm

DOB: AJC is lucky to have a guy who loves baseball and is such an expressive writer. Nice blog post.

ChattTownBrian (CTB)

February 11th, 2012
2:52 pm

I used to think Chipper was maybe a little over 6 feet, but at a game a while back we were down towards the dugout and CJ was standing there, I was surprised to see how tall and big he is in real life.

McFann O O o

February 11th, 2012
2:53 pm

abwright

You’re so considerate… :roll:

;) No, unless something happens during Spring Training to change this, I’m planning on going into the season without anything hanging over my (well, really his) head—no oblique thing, no eye things, nothing. Just relax and enjoy the ride! :)

VaBravesFan

Yeah, yeah…

Tomahawkin

February 11th, 2012
2:55 pm

I have a Question for All Braves Fans

LISTEN UP?

Over The Last 20 years? What was the best Braves Double Play Combo (SS And 2nd-Base)

This is a Hard one to knock….?

ChattTownBrian (CTB)

February 11th, 2012
2:56 pm

Thanks Tomahawkin. I’m sure we’ll be down for a game in the summer, hopefully early like in June. And I can’t drink with the meds and my condition, but I can sure guzzle some water! I’m stilll pretty fun though, I think. Love doing imitations.

David O'Brien

February 11th, 2012
2:56 pm

ChattTownBrian: Chipper’s every bit of 6-4.

David O'Brien

February 11th, 2012
2:57 pm

Zing, thanks. I appreciate that.

VaBravesFan

February 11th, 2012
2:57 pm

I project McCann to hit (if he stay’s healthy) 285/365/475 30 2B 26 HR 100 RBI for the 1st time.

ChattTownBrian (CTB)

February 11th, 2012
2:58 pm

Belliard and Lemke were very good at turning two.

dogsbrekky - tuxonmadisonave

February 11th, 2012
2:59 pm

VaFan – be nice if we had ONE player with >>>> 100 rbi… I mean afterall when was the last time anyone had over 100 rbi as a Brave (Andruw 2005??)

Soph

February 11th, 2012
3:02 pm

Nice to see UNC bounce back after the heartbreaker.

Tomahawkin

February 11th, 2012
3:03 pm

ChattTownBrian (CTB)

“Belliard and Lemke were very good at turning two.”

Co-Sign, I was Thinking the same Thing…I’m Banking Fredi doing The Pastor/Wilson Platoon (The Pastor plays the 1st 7-8innings and bring in Jackie as a defensive replacement from the 7-8thinning on)

nolie

February 11th, 2012
3:04 pm

nice writing

McFann O O o

February 11th, 2012
3:05 pm

VaBravesFan I project McCann to hit (if he stay’s healthy) 285/365/475 30 2B 26 HR 100 RBI for the 1st time.

I’d take that in a heartbeat!… :)

VaBravesFan

February 11th, 2012
3:06 pm

I think we have a damn good lineup. No more SeaBass and his terrible 270 OBP, Uggla will most likely be more balanced and there is no way Heyward or Prado not improve. Also full year of Bourn.

nolie

February 11th, 2012
3:07 pm

RBI are meaningless, everybody knows that Doggy………

Ward

February 11th, 2012
3:09 pm

Hello everyone! Nice article on Hanson. Like the way he changed his motion,and looking forward to see him pitch. Another pitcher I read about was Carlos Perez. He has a change up fast ball,and curve ball. He has some commmand problems,but with velocity on his fast ball. He can clock it around 91,but needs to improve on it. Carlos Perez is another one that could make the jump in a couple of years,or so.Braves are definately deep in pitching.

Tomahawkin

February 11th, 2012
3:10 pm

VaBravesFan

“I project McCann to hit (if he stay’s healthy) 285/365/475 30 2B 26 HR 100 RBI for the 1st time.”

My Man, Put down the Kool-Aid Bro on the 100 rbi prediction, that is a hard stat to achieve as a catcher…

B-Macc is only guranteed to start in 125 games and he gets worn down as the heat/summer progresses…Not to mention for B-Macc to drive in that many hitting 4 or 5? the guys in fron of him have to have some nasty OBP’s like in the .360-.390 range?

Im happy if B-Macc drives in 80-90, because that gurantees that 1) he will be an All Star, and 2) He will win another silver slugger…

No offense but B-Macc Nor Chipper Can’t be relied on to carry the offense!

Its Time for Ugg, Martini, and Heyward to step up? If they Don’t we will end up in 3rd place, Bank On It!

Couch Tater

February 11th, 2012
3:10 pm

Nice blog. Cold weather. I might have to hop a Spring Train and get some sand in my shoes.

Juan

February 11th, 2012
3:11 pm

IMO:…Best Combo second & Ss on Braves History is Glenn Hubbard/Rafy Ramirez

Tomahawkin

February 11th, 2012
3:11 pm

WARRRDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

kenhotlanta

February 11th, 2012
3:12 pm

Ward: My comment to you was meant as a joke, I was only kidding. I apologize for offending you.

VaBravesFan

February 11th, 2012
3:13 pm

They are meaningless, but still a milestone number. Shows your a massive run producer. Hard to believe there were 11 players who had 30+ homers but didn’t reach the 100 rbi mark. Only 15 players drove in 100+ runs last season. Only 11 teams had a 100 RBI guy.

nolie

February 11th, 2012
3:13 pm

Rafy Ramirez? You gotta be kidding, a terrible fielder who made 30 or more errors in 6 different seasons

Ward

February 11th, 2012
3:15 pm

Ken- Than all is cool we are buds……

VaBravesFan

February 11th, 2012
3:16 pm

Tomahawkin

McCann at 28 years old could be in line for his career year.

Ward

February 11th, 2012
3:17 pm

Tomahawkin- Like my post on Carlos Perez. We should all keep an eye on him. He reminds me of Pedro Martinez. The way he is built.

McFann O O o

February 11th, 2012
3:18 pm

Hey, he was having a career year last year before he got hurt…That just means this year, he’s going to actually complete it!… :)

Playoffs!!!

February 11th, 2012
3:19 pm

That’s good news on Hanson. He really couldn’t go on much longer with the old delivery.
And, just wondering now—as spring training approaches— who will be the last position player/ hitter to make the team? We usually go with 13 (as opposed to 12 pitchers).
We could use another middle infielder/and someone to be a CF backup.
DOB, who are the candidates?

VaBravesFan

February 11th, 2012
3:20 pm

Last season I said McCann would be a top 5 MVP candidate.

Tomahawkin

February 11th, 2012
3:21 pm

VaBravesFan

“I think we have a damn good lineup. No more SeaBass and his terrible 270 OBP, Uggla will most likely be more balanced and there is no way Heyward or Prado not improve. Also full year of Bourn.”

Good Point! Fredi Better Utilize The Bourn Supremacy’s Speed on the Bases as well as Wreck Havoc….

I’m Gonna Be P’d If Bobby-Lite Doesn’t use Hit and Runs and And Stealing bases with This Lineup…Sitting back and waithing on the 3 run homer Is NOT Gonna Cut it! Didn’t the Braves lead the NL in Solo Homers Last year with that Garbage Philosopy???

Let me be the Hitting Coach for a Week? Free of charge Just give me all the Free Food at the stadium and the Braves Cheerleaders or Sandra Golden….

VaBravesFan

February 11th, 2012
3:22 pm

Playoffs!!!

Luis Durango and Jose Constanza are most likely gonna battle for the back up CFer job. The bench will be Ross, Hinske, Wilson, Diaz and one of them from the looks of it.

Ward

February 11th, 2012
3:22 pm

My guess Is Drew Sutton for SS,and 3rd base,and might be a surprise of the year?

Orange Brave f/k/a Billy Jack's BBQ

February 11th, 2012
3:23 pm

Excellent Blog (as usual), well researched. Can’t wait to see how effective the delivery is.

DOB, you spoke to everyone but Boras re: the change….

dogsbrekky - tuxonmadisonave

February 11th, 2012
3:23 pm

noliw – yes but when was the last time we had any player with 100 of those meaningless thingies

McFann O O o

February 11th, 2012
3:24 pm

VaBravesFan

Yeah, a lot of us were thinking that—I think DOB even wrote a Blog about it…But, that’s all water under the proverbial bridge, now…[Almost] Time to to start over—I think he’s gonna be quite good again this season…

Lakedawg

February 11th, 2012
3:25 pm

Any DB combo with Lemke or Hubbard in the middle was outstanding-

Robards

February 11th, 2012
3:25 pm

That ‘98 Marlins staff was pretty bad. Leyland was correct.

dogsbrekky - tuxonmadisonave

February 11th, 2012
3:26 pm

THawk – Seabass was our best hitter the last 10 games when we choked

Just sayin

Playoffs!!!

February 11th, 2012
3:27 pm

VaBravesFan, Ward–

Don’t know much about Sutton or Durango. They come up through the Braves’ system?

Chris from the Rock

February 11th, 2012
3:27 pm

Call me crazy, but I predict Beachy leads the team in W’s this year-with at least 15.

Tomahawkin

February 11th, 2012
3:27 pm

VaBravesFan

February 11th, 2012
3:16 pm
Tomahawkin

McCann at 28 years old could be in line for his career year.

Good Point…But Rossy Is The best backup in the league!…

And I would agrre with your prediction if and only if PED’s/HGH were around…

If B-Macc Played in the 90’s he’d do .295, 30-100 every year and would be underrated to Mike Piazza (who was on that Sh.t) …but thats not the case now

LAG

February 11th, 2012
3:28 pm

dogsbrekky – tuxonmadisonave – I mean afterall when was the last time anyone had over 100 rbi as a Brave (Andruw 2005??)

Chipper and Frenchy, 2007.

VaBravesFan

February 11th, 2012
3:28 pm

The weakest part of our ball club is gonna be the bench unless some of them bounce back a bit. Hinske was bad at pinch hitting, Diaz showed no power, there both poor defenders, Wilson couldn’t be a ok hitter if his life depended on it. Ross is the bright spot as you can’t do much better than him as your backup catcher. So if we have any major injuries there will be a concern. Also if Pastornicky struggles and isn’t ready Wilson is next in line and he’s worse than SeaBass in the batter’s box.

dogsbrekky - tuxonmadisonave

February 11th, 2012
3:28 pm

2006 Frenchy and Andruw each had over 100 rbi… 5 seasons back

dogsbrekky - tuxonmadisonave

February 11th, 2012
3:29 pm

bugger, missed 07, thx LAG

Tomahawkin

February 11th, 2012
3:30 pm

dogsbrekky – tuxonmadisonave

“THawk – Seabass was our best hitter the last 10 games when we choked”
Just sayin”

Yeah, and that says something abt how bad our AWFense Choked in the last 6 weeks…Gonzo was never Clutch…

nolie

February 11th, 2012
3:30 pm

yeah bench looks like the weakest part of the club right now, perhaps very weak

VaBravesFan

February 11th, 2012
3:32 pm

Playoffs!!!

Durango is from the San Diego Organization. Speedster with no power, his Minor league numbers are very very impressive. 312/403/361 in 2,590 PAs. 25 years old.

Ward

February 11th, 2012
3:32 pm

Wilson is a solid player,and he might have a solid year at the plate.He’s not that bad.Plus Drew Sutton could fill in too.

NV049

February 11th, 2012
3:33 pm

Over The Last 20 years? What was the best Braves Double Play Combo (SS And 2nd-Base) Tomhawkin

Lemke 2b -Belliard – SS

Orange Brave f/k/a Billy Jack's BBQ

February 11th, 2012
3:33 pm

can’t believe ST starts in 1 week.

VaBravesFan

February 11th, 2012
3:34 pm

Also Durango has a impressive 318 BB to only 306 K. So this guy can put the bat on the ball. You rarely ever see non-power hitter compile a 400+ OBP. While he will never be anything special at the MLB level I still think he can be a solid bench player and out produce Jose Constanza.

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