What does awful (or great) spring record mean?

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Spring training results are generally forgotten around the time the national anthem is played on Opening Day, but that doesn’t mean they have no significance whatsoever.

Especially if you’re at one of the extremes in either direction.

Jair Jurrjens, coming off an injury-shortened season, hasn't pitched like an Opening  Day starter, but he might get that nod for the Braves.

Jair Jurrjens, coming off an injury-shortened season, hasn't pitched like an Opening Day starter, but he might get that nod for the Braves.

By that I mean, if you win three out of every four games or lose three out of every four in the spring,  it  can affect the atmosphere around a club, depending upon the makeup of the team and its leadership.

I covered the 1997 Marlins team that went 26-5, the best spring-training record in at least the past quarter century. They won the World Series.

Right now I’m covering a team on pace for the worst record in that period.

Yes, the Braves today are at the other extreme of spring-training record. They have a 2-11-1 record entering Friday night’s game against the Houston Astros. The record isn’t too misleading, either. They haven’t played more than a few games where all the components — hitting, pitching, defense — were solid.

The two worst spring-training records since the mid-1980s belong to the Pirates – 6-18 in 1985 and 7-21 in 2010. Pittsburgh finished 57-104 in the ’85 regular season and 57-105 in ’10.

No, I’m not saying these Braves are headed toward 100 losses. Not at all. But they need to start winning some Grapefruit League games to avoid being lumped with rather undesirable company.

With the Astros in town, coincidentally enough, we can note that the 2009 ‘Stros had a 1-10-1 record after 12 Grapefruit League games — same as the Braves had before their Wednesday win against the Nationals.

Houston won just one of its first 18 spring games that year, but finished with a flurry and had 12 wins by the end of spring training. They finished 74-88 in the regular season.

Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez knows that plenty of Braves fans are getting antsy. Being lumped in with the  Pirates and recent Astros isn’t what folks expect from the Bravos.

Coming off his team’s 10-20 collapse that ended the 2011 season, Gonzalez realizes that two wins in the first 14 spring games is not comforting for Braves Nation, even if these are only exhibition games.

The Braves have a lot riding on Jason Heyward, who has shown some encouraging signs in recent days, including a homer and double in Wednesday's win against Washington. But he's still putting things together and one of many Braves with poor overall statistics this spring.

The Braves have a lot riding on Jason Heyward, who has shown some encouraging signs in recent days, including a homer and double in Wednesday's win against Washington. But he's still putting things together and one of many Braves with poor overall statistics this spring.

That was one reason he was so pleased to see the team have a well-rounded solid performance in Wednesday night’s win against Washington, which happened to be televised on both Fox Sports South and the MLB Network.

“It creates momentum,” Gonzalez said of winning. “If you’re playing well it’s contagious, like hitting. Winning is contagious, no matter if we’re playing a spring training game. Health is more important in spring training that winning … but yeah, winning is important.

“We played well [Wednesday], and we’ve played well sometimes and lost. But yeah, it’s a good feeling to win, it really is. If you’re a competitor – which these guys are, we all are in our business – it’s not a good feeling when you lose a ballgame. You’ve got to feel bad. I know it’s spring training, but still you want to win ballgames.”

He said this Thursday morning at Clearwater, before the Braves blew a 3-2 lead and lost 6-4 to the defending NL East champion Phillies.

Braves reliever Adam Russell gave up the last two runs of the game in the seventh inning Thursday, not the first time this spring when games have been blown by pitchers who are either minor leaguers or guys competing for a job.

But the Braves are playing teams doing the same things, teams that for the first part of spring training turn games over in the late innings to minor leaguers and/or non-roster invitees fighting for jobs. Most of those teams are beating the Braves.

I asked Gonzalez if he or the players paid much attention to what’s being said and written about them nationally, the quotes from some scouts and officials from other teams (always anonymous, of course) saying that things are looking alarmingly bad for the Braves. The 10-20 finish and 8-1/2-game blown wild-card lead is almost always referenced.

“I know that I don’t [pay attention to what’s being said and written],” Gonzalez said. “I can honestly tell you from my end of it, I’m trying to get this club ready, prepared to play the major league season healthy. And that stuff for me, last year, it’s over with. Now obviously it’ll keep coming up every time we lose three or four in a row, and you understand that and you’ve just got to manage that through the course of the year.

“That’s just me speaking personally. I think those guys [players] are even less worried about that stuff.”

With that in mind, I asked him about the team’s health — he’s pleased overall, especially the recovery of pitchers including Tim Hudson, Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson – and about its work on the practice field and in games.

Shortstop prospect Andrelton Simmons has been one of the bright spots this spring for the Braves. (Jason Getz photo/AJC)

Shortstop prospect Andrelton Simmons has been one of the bright spots this spring for the Braves. (Jason Getz photo/AJC)

“Other than the win and loss columns, I think we’re right where we’re supposed to be, as far as getting guys ready,” Gonzalez said. “We’ve seen good performances from guys that we brought in like [Jordan] Parraz. ‘Dodge’ has done a helluva job – Dodge Durango. [Luis Durango] That’s what the boys have named him.

“You bring in [Tyler] Pastornicky and see some good stuff that people have told us about. [Andrelton] Simmons is Simmons, he’s showing what he can do. Danny Uggla is having a good approach…

“So yeah, other than if we wouldn’t keep records in spring training, we’re pleased.”

♣ That other extreme: What I remember most about that 1997 spring training covering the Marlins, other than manager Jim Leyland’s foul-mouthed hilarity and a couple of epic home runs by Bobby Bonilla and Gary Sheffield at the Marlins’ then-home ballpark in Viera, were comments that opponents made about that Florida team.

At least three times late that spring, a player or manager I knew from another team told me that was easily the best team they’d seen all spring. Two other times, a Marlin said an opposing player or coach told him, “See you guys in the World Series.”

They were that good that spring. It was glaringly obvious.

They finished 92-70 and didn’t win the division (the Braves did), but those Marlins won the wild card, the NL pennant and the World Series.

There was a mood in that Marlins clubhouse that spring, a confidence that bordered on cockiness. They knew that general manager Dave Dombrowski had assembled a team that was balanced, with a deep pitching staff, powerful lineup and experienced bench – not to mention Leyland, who’d been lured away from Pittsburgh — and winning five out of every six Grapefruit League games certainly did nothing but reinforce their confidence.

Was winning in the spring essential? No. It didn’t hurt, but more important than the spring-training record was the depth and talent on that team.

Consider this: three of the four best spring-training records since then belonged to the 1999 Royals (22-9), ’99 Dodgers (21-9), and ’02 Orioles (20-9), all teams that went on to finish below .500 during the regular season.

Near as I can tell the worst spring record since 1984 – as far back as I could find reliable stats – for a team other than the Pirates was a 7-20 mark by the 1984 Cubs, who went 93-69 during the regular season.

As we’ve said, spring training records aren’t a reliable indicator of anything.

Since 1984 four other teams won only eight games in spring training including the 1988 Braves, who went 8-21 in the spring and 54-106 in the regular season.

The Detroit Tigers went 8-22 in both 1991 and ’93, then had winning records both seasons (84-78 in ’91 and 85-77 in ’93). The other eight-win spring since 1984 belonged to Montreal in 1998 (8-22), and those Expos went 65-97 in the regular season.

Again, any connection between spring and season records is tenuous.

But you’d obviously prefer something other than one of the worst spring-training records in recent history, especially coming off a rotten end to the previous season.

♣ Spring stats: For those so inclined, we bring you some statistical information at the midway point of spring training.

Braves lead the National League with 54 walks. This is good, for a team that slipped from being one of the league walks leaders for years under hitting coach Terry Pendleton to one of the majors’ worst last season in their one year under hitting coach Larry Parrish.

The other five teams with at least 50 walks are all American League teams, led by Oakland and Detroit with 55 apiece. But there’s the other side of the coin: Atlanta is still just 26th in the majors in OBP (.312), with a .227 batting average that ranks ahead of only the Orioles (.208).

The Braves’ .653 OPS is tied with Minnesota for 25th in the majors, and two of the four teams below them happen to be from the NL East: New York (.649) and Miami (.641).

Those same three NL East teams rank in the bottom five in the majors in runs: 26. Mets (45 runs), 27. Braves (44), 30. Marlins (32). It should be noted, the Mets have played two fewer games than the Braves, and the Marlins have played three fewer.

However, Marlins pitchers lead the majors with a 2.71 ERA, while the Braves (5.59) rank 26th.

The eight other teams in the bottom nine in ERA train in Arizona in the Cactus League, where the balls fly further and scoring is higher than in the Grapefruit League. (The three highest-scoring teams this spring are in the Cactus League, as are seven of the nine highest team home-run totals.)

The Braves are also last in the majors with three stolen bases; 18 teams have double-digit totals.

Expected to be an important part of the Braves bullpen, hard-throwing prospect Arodys Vizcaino has been shut down for past two weeks and will have his injured elbow examined Monday by Dr. James Andrews.

Expected to be an important part of the Braves bullpen, hard-throwing prospect Arodys Vizcaino has been shut down for past two weeks and will have his injured elbow examined Monday by Dr. James Andrews.

♣ Bullpen opening? With Arodys Vizcaino shut down for the past two weeks and set to have his injured right elbow examined by Dr. James Andrews on Monday – words a pitcher never want to hear in same sentence: elbow and Dr. Andrews – it looks like there will be an extra opening in the bullpen at least in the early part of the season.

Unless the Braves make a move for another arm, the situation should increase Cory Gearrin’s chances of making the Opening Day roster. The rookie sidearmer has pitched well this spring — three hits, no earned runs allowed in 4-1/3 innings — and had a lot more success against lefties by following pitching coach Roger McDowell’s suggestion to take something off his fastball in order to get more sink on it.

The pitch works a little like a changeup and has helped Gearrin in an area where he really needed it. Last year in 18 appearances with the Braves, he limited right-handed hitters to a .143 average (6-for-42) and puny .427 OPS, including only one extra-base hit with 18 strikeouts and six walks.

But left-handed hitters scorched him for a .393 average (11-for-28) and 1.157 OPS, including four extra-base hits, seven strikeouts and six walks.

Gearrin also plans to work with Gene Garber when the former Braves sidearmer comes to camp this week as a guest instructor. Garber had a great change-up and helped sidearmer Peter Moylan hone the pitch.

♣ OK, let’s get this posted so you can read it during or after lunch. We’ll add a lineup as soon as we get it. It’s  Tommy Hanson against Houston lefty Wandy Rodriguez in a night game (6:05) to be shown on Fox Sports South.

We’ll close with some greatness from The Flaming Lips, which you can see them do live before a huge crowd by clicking here.

flaming-lips

“DO YOU REALIZE?” by The Flaming Lips (W. Coyne)

One, two, three, four -
Do you realize – that you have the most beautiful face
Do you realize – we’re floating in space -
Do you realize – that happiness makes you cry
Do you realize – that everyone you know someday will die

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It’s hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun don’t go down
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Do you realize – Oh, oh, oh
Do you realize – that everyone you know
Someday will die

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It’s hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun don’-go down
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Do you realize – that you have the most beautiful face
Do you realize

– David O’Brien, Braves/MIB blog

1,458 comments Add your comment

hammerinhomer

March 16th, 2012
12:44 pm

MatthewH

March 16th, 2012
12:48 pm

Thanks for the new blog, DOB. It’s getting hard to stay positive up here in VA, but I’m trying. Let’s just hope we forget their ST record because of how well they are playing during the regular season.

richbrave

March 16th, 2012
12:49 pm

richbrave

March 16th, 2012
12:50 pm

Danged near as many BRAVES fans here on the old blog as regulars down in GA.

ncscoots

March 16th, 2012
12:56 pm

NC is for people who like to pay higher taxes for inferior roads, schools, etc.

Then, I don’t like you so much, anymore. :-)

Ease

March 16th, 2012
12:58 pm

What, so there is only myself?

MFin04

March 16th, 2012
1:00 pm

Hitting and pitching terribly in Spring Training is always a concern. Mostly because hitting and pitching are probably going to be important during the regular season too. You can take that to the bank! ;)

George

March 16th, 2012
1:02 pm

The bad think about our ST record is it comes right after our awfull Sept AND the team has basicly the same players. Management did nothing to improve it, just lopped off some payroll and then did not spend what they saved.

George

March 16th, 2012
1:03 pm

thing NOT THINK

flange1

March 16th, 2012
1:03 pm

Thanks for the new blog DOB!

George

March 16th, 2012
1:05 pm

We can all go do what we need to do. No game till tonight.

Kat

March 16th, 2012
1:07 pm

David, thanks for the great new DOB blog .. perfect timing for a lunch time read.

Dutchieeeeee

March 16th, 2012
1:07 pm

Good read yet again, mr. O’Brien. Thuroughly enjoyable.

A repost from the previous blog:
Hello denizens.

Unfortunately, seems like there’s no stream tonight for the Braves-Astros. Back to gameday!

DOB, or anyone else, for that matter.
Do you know what’s going on with the Braves v Netherlands? http://www.tampabay.com/things-to-do/events/2012/3/16/st-petersburg-international-baseball/57967/
Can’t seem to find any info on it. Would be much obliged!

Kind greetings from below sea level!

J-MAN

March 16th, 2012
1:10 pm

I think that last year still haunts the Braves and their mindset. Fredi is not a “Butt-Kicker” or “Firery” guy. And with his laid back and nonconfrontational approach I don’t see how the Braves are to be made accountable. I think the Braves needed a new direction from Bobby Cox and basically they hired Bobby Cox lite. I think we could be in real trouble this season.

Atticus

March 16th, 2012
1:16 pm

DOB,

How many WS Champs the last 10 years had that kind of record? Answer: None.

Same BS coming out of the financially strapped, politically correct Braves offices……and the beat goes on.

Powderfinger

March 16th, 2012
1:18 pm

I have to admit to being concerned, even though my brain tells me it’s only spring training, etc. I’m sure a lot of it has to do with our September collapse, and I keep looking for something positive to hang my hat on so far. Wednesday night was good, especially since it was my first chance to catch them on tv. Hope we can build on that tonight.

jay

March 16th, 2012
1:18 pm

Unfortunately I think it’s going to be a long painful season.

Wil

March 16th, 2012
1:23 pm

Funny that you forgot to mention Arizona who only won 7 games last year yet won 94 during the regular season.

phil

March 16th, 2012
1:28 pm

Good read, Dave…

That said, our record is no mirage I’m afraid.

We’ll know for sure soon enough…

Murph

March 16th, 2012
1:29 pm

So long as the guys who matter, ie the guys who will be on the opening day roster, start gearing up and playing better, I don’t care if the guys who don’t matter, ie the guys who will be cut, blow every game for this team in ST.

They could go winless from now until April due to poor performances from guys who will never, ever, never make the team. Doesn’t matter, just so long as the guys who will be on the roster start rounding into form.

Uggla is playing well, Prado is playing well, there are glimpses of “The JHey Kid” starting to show in Heyward, Simmons is making a race out of things…. lots to be happy about right now, despite the horrible record.

Pitching, on the other hand…. blech. With the exception of Minor, they’ve all been pretty stinky.

Fish Bisch

March 16th, 2012
1:29 pm

I’m confident that we’ll win out the remainder of ST games.

Mitchell

March 16th, 2012
1:31 pm

What does awful (or great) spring record mean?

What does it mean? Is that a serious question?

It means if you commit one of the worst September collapses in the history of baseball and start the following Spring Training with a record of 2-11-1 with the only two wins coming against baseball’s worst team in 2011 and the other being baseball’s worst team over the past five seasons, after months of empty promises of “learning from the past” and false assurances about bounce back seasons from players who don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt, then you’re a f*ing joke.

That’s what it means.

And if you believed any of it for a second or think eleven losses (I’m sorry, are we at twelve now… no wait, still only eleven) in the first fourteen games is not a gaping window into Braves future, then you’re an idiot.

But if you even have to ask, what does it mean, then there’s simply no hope for you.

Mitchie-sand

March 16th, 2012
1:32 pm

My confidence in Fredi is fading…

Jim

March 16th, 2012
1:34 pm

Thanks, Dave. I will remain worried until I am not worried. All agree. It is time for a few bright spots. And, 25-year crappy TV contract does not make change through acquiring a bat any easier.

Heisenberg

March 16th, 2012
1:34 pm

I hope I am wrong but I got a bad feeling about Viz.

haggard

March 16th, 2012
1:34 pm

David O’Brien
Thanks so much for the new goods. And as for a Spring Training record; I think the final tally is more important for a young club, whereas a veteran squad considers the Florida time an opportunity to simply work the kinks out.

Heisenberg

March 16th, 2012
1:36 pm

What are the chances of Parraz making the team or being an early callup? I have seen very little but what I have seen he looks like a player.

cabravesfan

March 16th, 2012
1:38 pm

Dutchieeeeee-

All I can tell you about the game against the Dutch team is that it is our minor leaguers…will see if Myke Jones (who is playing in it) provides any further details at some point- if he does I will pass them on

WildTurk

March 16th, 2012
1:39 pm

It’s just plain scary to hear FG say he’s OK with where the Braves are. Where’s the passion? Where’s the fire? After 15+ years of relying on pitching and the long ball, you’d think someone in the Braves organization would look for some speed and base hits. Manufactured runs are still runs. “Cheap hits” as JJ called them are still hits.

While I’m at it, WHERE are the veterans, and why, oh why, aren’t they stepping up?

Bob the Blogger

March 16th, 2012
1:42 pm

Does anyone out there know how to get a refund for Sunday’s rainout vs. Toronto? There is a web site that has a form to fill out, but I can’t find it. All of the phone numbers are just recordings. Any help would be appreciated.

RC

March 16th, 2012
1:42 pm

My confidence in Fredi is fading…

At this point I’m simply hoping he can start making better decisions, because up to this point I have disagreed strongly with a number of his strategies. To me he comes across like a blackjack player that flucates between hitting or not hitting on a 16; neither decision is necessarily “wrong”, but at least show some consistency so that it shows you have a process, instead of doing what feels “lucky”.

gordonguy1969

March 16th, 2012
1:42 pm

I’m still on the fence about Gonzalez, but the thing that bothers me most about this article is the statement “that’ll come up EVERY TIME we LOSE 3 or 4 in a row.” Freddi, are you saying that you expect that to happen? Can’t we be a little more positive and say “IF we lose 3 or 4 in a row at some time in the season?” Just wondering.

Samantha

March 16th, 2012
1:43 pm

Cab, I would like to wish you a belated very Happy birthday. Have a good day. Bye.

Powderfinger

March 16th, 2012
1:45 pm

Wow, Mitchell, you really know how to discuss a topic without sounding like a complete a-hole…

BravePack

March 16th, 2012
1:45 pm

Thanks for all that great news DOB. Now this blog will be more negative than ever. (insert crying smiley here)

RC

March 16th, 2012
1:46 pm

What are the chances of Parraz making the team or being an early callup? I have seen very little but what I have seen he looks like a player.

Totally agree. His minor league numbers are decent as well. Not a star in any one category, but seems to be an across the board contributor who would be a really nice 4th or 5th OF on a team. Sort of like Chris Denorfia for San Diego the past few years. Unsure if he can play CF at all, but if he can I’d say his chances are decent of making the team.

Mitchell

March 16th, 2012
1:46 pm

Wil

March 16th, 2012
1:23 pm

Funny that you forgot to mention Arizona who only won 7 games last year yet won 94 during the regular season.

You’re comparing the Braves to the Diamondbacks?

The Braves lost 90 games in 2008 after suffering multiple injuries to many key players. They bounced back the following year with three of the best pitching seasons in the majors from a rookie of the year candidate, from Jair Jurrjens, who finished third in era, and from Javier Vazquez who finished fourth in CY Young voting, having a career year.

And by how many did the Braves improve their win total? 14.

The Diamondbacks won 65 games two years ago and 94 last year.

Mitchell

March 16th, 2012
1:48 pm

Thank you, Powderfinger.

ncscoots

March 16th, 2012
1:50 pm

between hitting or not hitting on a 16; neither decision is necessarily “wrong”, but at least show some consistency so that it shows you have a process, instead of doing what feels “lucky”.between hitting or not hitting on a 16; neither decision is necessarily “wrong”, but at least show some consistency so that it shows you have a process, instead of doing what feels “lucky”.

Hit 16 when the dealer shows 7 or better, stay when not. Not that I have a clue as to whether Fredo knows that. :-)

Venice Jim

March 16th, 2012
1:50 pm

David O’Brien ‏ @ajcbraves
#Braves lineup: Bourn DH, Prado LF, Jones 3B, McCann C, Freeman 1B, Parraz CF, Heyward RF, Sutton 2B, Simmons SS (Hanson RHP).

Galarraga

March 16th, 2012
1:51 pm

What a terrible article, Mr. O’Brien. How can you imply that the Braves’ poor record has significance, and then in the same article contradict yourself by citing examples of why Spring Training records mean NOTHING?

I lost a lot of respect for your writing, sir. Good day.

Venice Jim

March 16th, 2012
1:51 pm

I tried to avoid the flucating blackjack players we saw on Monday in Vegas… ;)

Dutchieeeeee

March 16th, 2012
1:51 pm

cab

thx for the info. Kinda figured as much ánd I’ve found a radiostream. Enjoying it now, while having my dinner. http://www.stpeteinternationalbaseball.com/schedule.htm

Thx anyway, much appreciated!

BravePack

March 16th, 2012
1:51 pm

Simmons in with regulars again tonight and Parraz getting another shot to start in CF.

ray k

March 16th, 2012
1:53 pm

Chances of the Braves winning less than 70 games: 5%
Chances of the Braves going to the World Series: 5%

I am looking forward to 2013 and beyond. This year, I just hope they are competitive and make it entertaining as long as possible before the Phillies run away as always.

northbeach Scott

March 16th, 2012
1:54 pm

While I think it has been well established by some of the heavy duty stats sites that there is no correlation between poor (or good) spring training records and regular season performance, the “how” the Braves have played this spring is what is so disturbing to me.

The team team appears disinterested, disengaged and just lackluster. I saw a few positives in Clearwater, but it is like the team is a week behind the competition in getting ready for the season and for that I blame the Manager. The Braves have been a Country Club spring training team for 20 years (the antithesis of a blue collar, gritty team).

I am down here all week in Florida and elected to sell my remainding ST Braves tickets as I cannot stand to watch a lack of hustle. As a fan Braves fan since 1966, I am almost done with them. They just seem like a bunch of spoiled douche bags.

ncscoots

March 16th, 2012
1:55 pm

I tried to avoid the flucating blackjack players we saw on Monday in Vegas

Man, I love blackjack. It’s one game where the house edge is not totally prohibitive. If you know the math and know when to get up from the table, you can actually make a little money at it.

Shaun

March 16th, 2012
1:58 pm

“Hitting wise, would a slash of .267/.329/.373/.702 be acceptable for either SS’s? Well that slash line was from the second coming of Rafael Ramirez…Elvis Andrus. Whom finished second in the ROY race and committed 22 errors.” -Ease

First of all, we need to stop judging fielders solely by errors. If Andrus makes 22 more plays but 22 more errors than another shortstop who makes no errors, but both make the same number of plays, it all evens out. Andrus actually was the best fielding shortstop in the AL that season, leading AL shortstops in Defensive Runs Save, UZR, UZR/150 and Fielding WAR. You may not like some of these stats, but he was the leader in every single one of them.

Second, the rookie class that season was rather week, particularly in the AL. Andrus was one of the few rookie position players who played essentially every day.

Third, offensively Andrus’s production was actually middle of the pack among AL shortstops.

Simmons may be capable of an Andrus 2009 type season right now. He’s probably at least fairly close to that defensively. But we just don’t know if he can be even that kind of hitter in the majors or if he’ll be much worse at this point in his pro career.

Lee in S GA

March 16th, 2012
1:58 pm

I am ready for ST to be over. If this is any indication of how the regular season will fall into play this organization better start working on some good promotions to get fans to come to the park.

Murph

March 16th, 2012
1:59 pm

So, Parraz is getting another chance to show off his skills… but is there even a roster spot available for another OF? I guess Hinske is the backup corner infielder, Diaz the backup corner outfielder, and Parraz the backup CF?

Mitchell's Mom

March 16th, 2012
2:01 pm

Time to button up your knickers young man and push away from the blog. I have a nice PB&J ready for you if you can keep from sticking it down your pants, you little drooling moron.

ncscoots

March 16th, 2012
2:01 pm

First of all, we need to stop judging fielders solely by errors.

First of all, the mere mention of an errors total doesn’t equate to “judging solely”. It’s a datum. Solely.

bvillebaron

March 16th, 2012
2:02 pm

What do spring training records mean? Absolutely nothing.

RC

March 16th, 2012
2:02 pm

Murph,

If Parraz can play CF that would be the only way he makes the roster I’m guessing. Only other option is that Braves decide it’s time to part ways with Matt Diaz, but I doubt that will happen.

Heisenberg

March 16th, 2012
2:03 pm

As RC pointed out, if Parraz can play all OF positions, then he could bump Jose (Georgie) Constanza. We will get a chance to see tonight. Looks like a 3 television night with Braves & NCAA on at same time.

TennesseePaul

March 16th, 2012
2:06 pm

Thanks for the work DOB.

GO BRAVES!

cabravesfan

March 16th, 2012
2:07 pm

Efrim-

You out there? This may explain the delay in the 49ers signing Alex:

Matt Maiocco ‏ @MaioccoCSN
RT @mortreport Third team in Manning race that has emerged is 49ers – Manning worked out for Harbaugh & took physical this week

David O'Brien

March 16th, 2012
2:07 pm

Braves lineup: Bourn DH, Prado LF, Jones 3B, McCann C, Freeman 1B, Parraz CF, Heyward RF, Sutton 2B, Simmons SS (Hanson RHP).

TennesseePaul

March 16th, 2012
2:09 pm

scoots, I had to look it up after you responded to the post, just so I knew for myself. The record, ALEC ranks NC 7th in the nation in schools. The roads do stink, but the schools are performing very well. Despite all the hoopla over the wake county school board politics.

jeffrey d

March 16th, 2012
2:11 pm

Thanks for the new blog, DOB

Shaun

March 16th, 2012
2:12 pm

ncscoots, right. But look at the context of that mention of errors. Ease was essentially implying that Andrus wasn’t a very good hitter and wasn’t a very good fielder but still was an everyday player and finished second in ROY.

My point is Andrus errors alone don’t tell us much of anything about his overall fielding. He was one of the best fielders anyway because of his range and probably also because of his arm. Of the course of the 2009 season, he probably made at least 22 more plays that most other shortstops didn’t, which pretty much cancels out the errors when comparing him to other shortstops.

RC

March 16th, 2012
2:13 pm

Just saw DOB posted the lineup….looks like we’ll find out if Parraz can play CF.

ncscoots

March 16th, 2012
2:14 pm

Despite all the hoopla over the wake county school board politics.

Ahhh, that’s just Wake. High index of numbletards per capita. :-)

Does kinda tick me that, with our gas taxes, DOT plans to put tolls on I-95 between my house and my mother’s in SC, to pay for widening. Bubba, that just ain’t right, LOL.

ncscoots

March 16th, 2012
2:15 pm

Ease was essentially implying that Andrus wasn’t a very good hitter and wasn’t a very good fielder but still was an everyday player and finished second in ROY.

Mind-reading again, are we, LOL?

“Your mind tricks won’t work on me, Jedi!”

TennesseePaul

March 16th, 2012
2:17 pm

Of the course of the 2009 season, he probably made at least 22 more plays that most other shortstops didn’t

So many qualifiers and generalities in that sentence.

BravePack

March 16th, 2012
2:17 pm

northbeach Scott

I think you may need to relax and maybe they are taking it easy the first couple weeks as that is when most injuries happen during the spring. Don’t be so dramatic and jump off the ledge so quickly. I think you start to see a different team as we get closer to the regular season and the players bodies get in shape to regular season form.

Shaun

March 16th, 2012
2:17 pm

ncscoots, no mind-reading. Just paying attention to context, is all.

David O'Brien

March 16th, 2012
2:18 pm

Braves getting look at Jordan Parraz in CF tonight. He’s opened some eyes, good OF w/ great arm, .289 avg/.373 OBP in 8 MiLB seasons. Not a home-run guy (avg 10 HRs past two seasons), but he’s a 25-30 doubles guy.

Hillbilly

March 16th, 2012
2:20 pm

Aw c’mon! No insanely over-the-top, mid-game, PA announcement from Andy Pettite glorifying his return to the Yankees, like his daddy, Clemens did?

I feel cheated. I want to see lasers and fog machines and confetti.

TennesseePaul

March 16th, 2012
2:20 pm

Ahhh, that’s just Wake. High index of numbletards per capita.

True. It boasts the most PhD’s per capita than any other place in America. And they all get fired up and swept in with the most ridiculous partisan flack. “The new plan by the other guys is bad. The world is going to end. Give us the power back.” “Here’s your power back.” “Thanks. You know that new plan we were blasting moments ago? It actually looks pretty good. We’ll just keep it in place.”

Juan Valdez

March 16th, 2012
2:22 pm

ST Record mean nothing…Look that game yersterday agains the Phillies…did you think that Fredie going to bring Russell in that situation…if this was a regular season Game?

southern hope

March 16th, 2012
2:22 pm

thanks for doing the stats work on this, DOB….I wanted to do it myself but gave up because it was too darn confusing! :)

ncscoots

March 16th, 2012
2:25 pm

A good SS will get between 600-700 chances a season, depending on games played and the pitching staff in front of him. To say that one SS will turn three percent of those chances into outs that “most” others wouldn’t? Pretty high cotton. Exceedingly high, in fact. Dam near other-worldly.

‘Course, I need a challenge on “probably”, “most”, and “at least”, to get a good idea of what you actually mean. :-)

ray k

March 16th, 2012
2:26 pm

If Jordan Parraz makes the team and he is an OF only, I assume his role would be limited to LF when Chipper needs a rest or gets hurt?

ncscoots

March 16th, 2012
2:28 pm

I feel cheated. I want to see lasers and fog machines and confetti.

And dancing girls. Gotta have dancing girls.

Laker Girls will suffice.

Heisenberg

March 16th, 2012
2:28 pm

The Pettite comeback lends credibility to the theory he retired last year because of the distraction over the Clements trial. After the mistrial, it looks like there may not be another trial (at least anytime soon) so Andy decides to make a comeback. Could backfire though. Yanks needed him last year. This year he may not make the rotation when you consider the offseason moves Yanks made to upgrade the starters. He will be competing for #5 spot.

Braves Marketing Dept

March 16th, 2012
2:28 pm

“Near as I can tell the worst spring record since 1984 – as far back as I could find reliable stats – for a team other than the Pirates was a 7-20 mark by the 1984 Cubs, who went 93-69 during the regular season.”

That team (84 Cubs team) made late ST trades for Gary Mathews and Bob Dernier ( both started in the Cubs outfield after coming over) from the Phils which changed their fortune. They didn’t start play in the ‘84 season with the same guys who put up that putrid ST record.

I don’t see the cavalry coming for the Braves. I don’t see them making trades to bring in guys like that before breaking camp.

Heisenberg

March 16th, 2012
2:31 pm

ray k, I would hope he could also play RF when JHey needs a day off against a lefty or gets hurt (what are the chances?). Diaz if OK for LF but his arm does not look strong enough for an extended stay in RF.

ncscoots

March 16th, 2012
2:31 pm

True. It boasts the most PhD’s per capita than any other place in America. And they all get fired up and swept in with the most ridiculous partisan flack

Overthink it. :-)

Monty

March 16th, 2012
2:31 pm

I’m sure no opposing players or coaches are telling anyone on the Braves,”we’ll see you in the WS.” LOL! Not that it’s out of the range of possibility mind you. Heck, reptiles can develop wings and become birds and fly according to some. Right now, a 7-20 ST would be a positive. .

northbeach Scott

March 16th, 2012
2:32 pm

Parraz made a nice catch in CF vs the Yankees last Saturday and, I believe a terrific throw from CF to 3b to either nail somebody or to keep them from scoring. At the time, I did not know who #74 was. Just that a tall lanky white dude was in CF that I had never seen previously. As DOB said, a really nice arm. He can play CF and not take the Schafer circuitous routes.

TY BravePack, it is just that in 30 years of going to spring training, I am not sure I have ever seen such a lack of effort put in by one team, especially one that has something to prove. Again, the winning is not important, but the preparation and acting like one gives a darn is what seems to be missing.

For those of you who grouse about Chipper, he very graciously signed a ball for my nephew at the Phillie game, yesterday and Terdoslavich signed a cap for the other nephew. Both from the dugout before the game. Very cool. Heyward posed for a photo with a young kid and signed. Very nice.

Oompha

March 16th, 2012
2:32 pm

Braves are in big trouble. Without superior pitching, they are dead in the water. The bullpen will be outstanding but the starting pitching has been so horrendous they don’t stand a chance. Where else can a pitcher who averages one home run an inning be classified as doing fine? the great bullpen will be worn out in August again. With Freeman struggling to hit foul balls, the offense is down to McCann and Uggla. And even they wore out in Sep. trying to carry the team. Jones might have a good day every now and then but his body has just worn out. Hayward is not coming off a bad year but a bad year and a half. His first two months as a rookie have been obviated by his next year and a half. Thats it offensively. Bourn and Prado will get on but who will drive them in?

Mr. Enigma

March 16th, 2012
2:32 pm

The Twins went 20-12 in spring training last year.

They went 63-99 in the regular season.

Say it with me: Spring training records don’t matter.

MFin04

March 16th, 2012
2:40 pm

“Spring training records don’t matter.”

That logic is ridiculous. The records don’t matter…sure, but the way your starting batters and pitchers play is very important. So far the Braves starters haven’t played well and their back-ups haven’t played well, and thus have a very bad record.

Records don’t necessarily matter, because they don’t always reflect MLB players performance. However, our record does fairly represent our players performance, therefore in the Braves case, our record does mater….and it doesn’t look good for the Braves regular season hopes so far.

New Mexico Lee

March 16th, 2012
2:41 pm

TA upgraded to 8, turned on C. view and I think it is working. Thanks

JoeBrave

March 16th, 2012
2:44 pm

The way the anointed one at SS is playing dang sure matters! if anyone has a clue ie:Frediot, Simmons should have already been named starter!

RC

March 16th, 2012
2:45 pm

ST Record mean nothing…Look that game yersterday agains the Phillies…did you think that Fredie going to bring Russell in that situation…if this was a regular season Game?

I don’t want to think Fredi would, but I’m not so sure. He did bring in Martinez to pitch to Matt Kemp (with a runner on 2nd and first base open!) in the 10th inning of a tie game last year. I’m not going to put anything past him.

Shaun

March 16th, 2012
2:45 pm

TennesseePaul, all I know is that pretty much all the measures beyond fielding percentage and errors suggested that Andrus was the best fielding shortstop in the AL in 2009. So to bring up errors and errors alone is sort of disingenuous.

I’m not so sure Simmons in 2012 could equal Andrus 2009 overall value. Certainly it’s quite possible. But I don’t know that Simmons can be an average hitter for a shortstop right now, as Andrus was in 2009. I think Simmons’s upside in 2012 is certainly comparable to Andrus’s 2009 season. But there is also a distinct possibility that he can’t be that kind of hitter yet in the majors.

I think there is a strong possibility that Pastornicky is close to an average-or-slightly-below offensive shortstop and an average-or-slightly-below defensive shortstop. Pastornicky clearly doesn’t have the upside of an Andrus circa 2009 type season or Simmons. But I think Simmons is more risky because of his bat. I think the odds of Pastornick completely tanking at the plate in 2012 are slightly lower than Simmons completely tanking.

Heisenberg

March 16th, 2012
2:45 pm

If Braves are loosing games because minor league and non-roster players are blowing leads late in games, then what would record be if games ended after 4 or 5 innings when the first string is in for both sides? That would be a better reference.

ncscoots

March 16th, 2012
2:46 pm

However, our record does fairly represent our players performance, therefore in the Braves case, our record does mater….and it doesn’t look good for the Braves regular season hopes so far.

Thus, the Braves are the only ML club in the entire universe for which the ST record is a fair representation. Wow. I mean, you gotta love that the team is unique, at least. :-)

ncscoots

March 16th, 2012
2:50 pm

Shaun, are errors as worthless as RBI? :-)

kenhotlanta

March 16th, 2012
2:54 pm

I will add this to the Simmons vs. the Rev battle:

Mark Belanger, 18 years, .228/.300/.280/.580
4 World Series

Fleming

March 16th, 2012
2:54 pm

Scoots

Looks like NC State won today

Shaun

March 16th, 2012
2:55 pm

How often do really good players have terrible month-long stretches? How long do decent or good teams have poor month-long stretches?

In Spring Training you also have to consider that it’s not always the good team that is playing. It’s the good team plus the good team’s minor leaguers plus some guys who aren’t going to be in that team’s organization playing a mixture of other major leaguers, minor leaguers and other guys who might be in an independent league next month.

The sample size, the fact that the competition and the players on your own team might not actually make up your team and the fact that most of the established major leaguers are just focused on staying healthy and possibly experimenting with different things, and it’s clear that we shouldn’t put too much stock into Spring Training records or final numbers.

LJ

March 16th, 2012
2:55 pm

scoots has a new shyt stick

VABravesFan

March 16th, 2012
2:55 pm

Spring Training is just a time for players to prepare for a long season ahead and to determine a few roster spots. When the regular season starts, no one will care what the Braves record was during ST. Now, if they start the season 2-11 that’s a problem – but they’re too good a team to let that happen. Braves will be right up there with the Phillies all year long.

TennesseePaul

March 16th, 2012
2:55 pm

all I know is that pretty much all the measures beyond fielding percentage and errors suggested that Andrus was the best fielding shortstop in the AL in 2009

That’s it? That’s all you know? Really Payne, there’s just so much more out there than Andrus’ fielding abilities in 2009.

Disgusted

March 16th, 2012
2:56 pm

If Pastornicky hits .250 with a .300 OBP and plays average defense that would look great right now.

I don’t think he is quite as bad as he has been in ST, but a game changer type, don’t think so.

Hillbilly

March 16th, 2012
2:57 pm

Shaun, are errors as worthless as RBI?

Will you stop it?! Trouble maker.

Shaun

March 16th, 2012
2:59 pm

ncscoots, errors aren’t nearly as pointless to look at as RBI. Errors are actually useful to look at. It’s just that errors alone don’t tell you all that much. Failing to get to a ball that is a few steps out of a shortstop’s range but that most shortstops would get to is just as bad as an error. But failing to get to that ball doesn’t show up in the errors column on his stat page. Yet, some still quote fielding percentage and errors as their primary indication of defensive skills or lack there of.

Add your comment