One week before Opening Day, who’ll be Braves shortstop?

DARK STAR, Fla. – Opening Day is now just a week away, and we don’t know who’ll be the Braves’ Opening Day pitcher. Or more importantly, who’ll be their starting shortstop.

Can’t say that I’ve ever covered a team where those were still question marks a week before the season opener. Although it should be pointed out that Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez and pitching coach Roger McDowell know who the OD starter will be and just haven’t told us yet. Nor told the pitcher, as of Wednesday.

Gonzalez said they would tell the pitchers by the end of this week and then make the announcement. We could find out as soon as today, but I’m not holding my breath.

As for the shortstop battle between rookies Tyler Pastornicky and Andrelton Simmons, that’s come down to the last days of camp and still there is no consensus among people I’ve asked around camp.

It was Pastornicky's job to lose entering spring training, but shortstop soon became a two-rookie competition.

It was Pastornicky's job to lose entering spring training, but shortstop soon became a two-rookie competition.

When I asked Gonzalez on Tuesday about whether that decision might not be made before the team broke camp Monday and headed to Atlanta for its exhibition game next Tuesday against the organization’s top prospects, he gave every indication that it would be announced before then.

“You hate to bring guys to Atlanta not knowing their roles, so maybe [it will be announced] just before that.”

That position battle was going to be high on the agenda at last night’s meeting with the coaching staff, and it wouldn’t surprise me if we get a decision on it real soon. Gonzalez takes a vote among his coaches on matters such as this, to see where they stand.

“Yeah, it’s not going to be easy,” he said. “I’ll be curious what the poll is. It’s not going to be easy, which is what you want really. You don’t want it to be so lopsided that it’s not going to be a two-hour meeting.”

In the past week, I talked to some people in camp who believed the Braves would stick to their original plan of Pastornicky, who has looked more comfortable lately and gone 8-for-17 in the past five games in which he’s batted.

Some others still think the Braves would go with Simmons, who is superb defensively but has no experience above the Class A level. (Pastornicky has 155 games and 672 plate appearances above Class A, but no major league experience.)

After getting three hits and a walk in his first eight plate appearances this spring, Simmons has since gone 5-for-36 (.138).

Their spring stats:

• Simmons has hit .186 (8-for-43) with a .271 OBP, .233 slugging percentage and .503 OPS in 14 games, with one triple and two RBIs. He has three walks and seven strikeouts.

• Pastornicky has hit .220 (13-for-59) with a .230 OBP, .237 slugging percentage and .467 OPS in 20 games, with one double and three RBIs. He has one walk and six strikeouts.

“Whichever one we choose, I think the other guy is going to be fine” with being sent down, Gonzalez said. “And if he’s not fine, then we got the wrong guy. Because there’s going to be adversities in major league seasons and careers, if that’s going to derail you then we got the wrong person in our organization. I feel strongly that those two guys mentally are quality guys who should be able to handle it. And having Jack [Wilson] is going to help…

“And you know what, how many guys are sent down – we could start with one in April and if he doesn’t do the job, the other guy can come back up. And maybe it’s the last time he goes down in his career. It’s one of those things, it’s not like whoever doesn’t make it, your career is over.”

Did we mention the Braves aren’t — and never were — expecting much offensively this year from whichever of these 22-year-olds they choose to be their shortstop? And that they keep emphasizing that whenever possible?

“Whoever we choose, I think we have enough [offensive elsewhere in the lineup] that you don’t have to worry about them hitting .270 or .280,” Gonzalez said. “Jst go out there and play, make sure you get the signs, get the bunt down, get the hit-and-run, and don’t worry about trying to so something offensively. I’m more worried about defensively, with our pitching staff. Those guys throw a lot of groundballs. So…”

Simmons' splendid defense is the reason the Braves have considered jumping him directly from Class A to the majors, which would be a rare move for the organization.

Simmons' splendid defense is the reason the Braves have considered jumping him directly from Class A to the majors, which would be a rare move for the organization.

So the shortstop defense is paramount to the Braves. That and/or a lack of funds were reasons they didn’t get a veteran shortstop or utility-type player this winter with plenty of shortstop experience and more present-day offense than what they expect from either of these youngsters. Plus they didn’t want to sign a player to more than a one-year contract with these two so close to being ready.

Anyway, Pastornicky or Simmons? Simmons or Pastornicky? It’s tough to get a read on how the manager is leaning, but …

When someone pointed out that Simmons had no experience above A-ball, Gonzalez said: “But he’s two months older [than Pastornicky]. The other guy has played a little higher level, but how much more? How many more games? Tyler’s played a little bit of Double-A and a little bit of Triple-A.”

Pastornicky has 128 games (555 plate appearances) in Double-A and 27 games (117 plate appearances) in Triple-A.

When someone pointed out that Pastornicky had more than twice as many minor-league games and plate appearances than Simmons, Gonzalez said: “Right, but the other guy has won the batting title, so… There’s a lot of stuff.”

Their stats in 2012:

• Simmons hit .311 with a .351 OBP, 35 doubles, one homer and 26 steals at high-A Lynchburg, while no other qualifier in the Carolina League hit .300.

• Pastornicky hit .299 with a .345 OBP last season at Double-A Mississippi, and .365 with a .407 OBP at Gwinnett before spraining an ankle. He had combined totals of 15 doubles, five triples, seven homers and 27 steals.

When Pastornicky got off to a 5-for-42 start this spring, Braves coaches didn’t have him go into the batting cages and start making adjustments. Because they didn’t think his problems were caused by anything more than trying too hard to impress.

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“Even when he was scuffling, we weren’t changing anything,” hitting coach Greg Walker said. “He got into a few little bad habits, most of it caused by being sped up. He was just pressing; you can’t play the game like that. It’s hard to get out of, because what do you tell them? ‘Don’t do it?’

“That at-bat he had pinch-hitting against Washington [March 21], he got a base hit and that was a great at-bat. I knew after that, or I felt like after that, that he’d be ready to compete now. He just wasn’t giving himself a chance early in camp.”

That was the first hit of Pastornicky’s current 7-for-14 stretch.

“I think I got a little more comfortable the last [two weeks],” Pastornicky said. “Really nothing mechanical. I changed or anything, just kind of a confident feeling. Definitely feeling better in the field and feeling better at the plate. Overall just feeling more like myself and able to go out there and play my game.”

He has only one walk all spring, low even by his standareds. Neither Pastornicky nor Simmons drew many in the minors, but neither struck out much, either. Simmons had just 29 walks and 43 strikeouts in 570 plate appearances at Lynchburg, and Pastornicky had 32 walks and 45 strikeouts in 512 plate appearances last season at Mississippi and Gwinnett.

“Early on [this spring] I was swinging at some pitches that were probably not pitches I could do damage with,” Pastornicky said. “That can hurt you when you try to have quality at-bats. Lately I’ve had some quality at-bats and I’ve also been getting some pretty good pitches to get some swings on. And I think the walks will come – the more locked in I get, the more I can recognize the strike zone. I think it’s coming.”

I asked Walker about Pastornicky’s swing.

“I like it a lot,” he said. “It’s pretty solid. Even when he was scuffling there was nothing to work on. I’ve gone into seasons with kids that were given jobs and knew from the first day we were going to be working on mechanics. With him that was not the case.

“He’s going to hit for some power but he’s more of a line-drive hitter. The trajectory of his balls, the line drives he’s hit to right the last couple of days, that’s him. But he can pull the ball with some pop. He’s going to be gap-to-gap line drives, hopefully.”

As for whether he’ll be doing it in the majors or at Gwinnett when the season begins, well, stay tuned.

♣ Much of the funny stuff one hears in the clubhouse or dugout isn’t printable here. Here’s a couple of things I heard this week that are (well, slightly censored and perhaps slightly altered).

Standing with Gonzalez and ESPN write Jayson Stark on the field during batting practice, a slip of paper I’d had in my notebook fell out. I picked it up, mentioned what it said – that Chipper Jones would be inducted into the Florida high school athletic hall of fame on April 29.

“Damn, he’s not in that already?” Gonzalez said. “That’s a tough hall of fame.”

He had a point.

Standing at the dugout railing at Port St. Lucie on Tuesday morning, talking to pitcher Buddy Carlyle, who’d been brought over from minor league camp to start that day against the Mets. Non-roster invitee outfielder Jordan Parraz leaned against the railing near Carlyle and watched as several Mets hit long batting-practice homers.

Parraz to Carlyle: “The ball’s carrying like a mother****er today.” Just then a ball sailed a good 25 feet over the left-field wall. Parraz: “Look at that ball, it was barely hit.”

Carlyle to Parraz: “Did you ever learn to talk to a starting pitcher? Come on, dude.”

He had a point.

OK, gotta post this and get on the road to Viera for Braves at Nationals. Mike Minor against Edwin Jackson today. Let’s close with a great tune by John Hiatt, which you can hear by clicking here.

john+hiatt2

“DRIVE SOUTH” by John Hiatt

I didn’t say we wouldn’t hurt anymore
That’s how you learn, you just get burned
But we don’t have to feel like dirt anymore
Though love’s not earned, Baby it’s our turn
We were always looking for true north
With our heads in the clouds, just a little off course
I left the motor running, now if you’re feeling down and out

Come on baby drive south, with the one you love
Come on baby drive south, with the one you love

I’m not talkin’ ’bout retreatin’ little girl
Gonna take our stand, in this Chevy van
Windows open on the rest of the world
Holdin’ hands, all the way to dixieland
We’ve been tryin’ to turn our lives around
Since we were little kids, it’s been wearin’ us down
Don’t turn away now darlin’ lets fire it up and wind it out

Come on baby drive south, with the one you love
Come on baby drive south, with the one you love

I heard your mama callin’, I think she was just stallin’

Don’t know who she was talkin’ to, baby me and you
We could go down with a smile on, don’t bother to pack your nylons
Just keep them pretty legs showin’, it gets hot down where we’re goin’
We were always looking for true north
With our heads in the clouds, just a little off course
I left the motor running, now if you’re feeling down and out
Come on baby drive, come on baby drive south, come on baby drive south

Come on baby drive south, with the one you love
Come on baby drive south, with the one you love

– David O’Brien, Braves/MIB blog

3,100 comments Add your comment

justin

March 29th, 2012
8:56 am

First..maybe…Go Braves!

haggard

March 29th, 2012
8:59 am

David O’Brien

Author Pat Conroy often speaks of the roll great vistas play in shaping the quality of his writing and, obviously, a certain Atlanta Braves beat / blog writer shares his opinion. Thank you for all the extras, such as the picture at 7:30.

Andy

March 29th, 2012
9:00 am

Hope we let Rev get his shot with the way he’s been closing Spring Training. No secret that Simmons is the better prospect, so let’s let him develop at a more natural pace.

Never thought I’d say this, but perhaps another year of Alex Gonzalez might have been necessary.

haggard

March 29th, 2012
9:00 am

Allright justin ! Go Braves !

Tomahawkin

March 29th, 2012
9:00 am

4th

1 More Week Dammit!

Tony

March 29th, 2012
9:04 am

New Braves blog AND Mr. Hiatt, great job DOB!

jordan

March 29th, 2012
9:04 am

Great quips to finish, DOB. Good stuff.

Tomahawkin

March 29th, 2012
9:05 am

After watching a Lil bit of the Series in Japan…I have come to the fact that S. Training is 1 week to 10 days too long…

My Opening Day Lineup Against Cy Johan in The Rotten Apple Next Thursday

BOOM!

The Bourn Identity
Martini (3rd-base)
Fab 5 Freddie
Ugg
B-Macc
J-Hey
Matty-D or SKE (LF Pick Your Poison)
Simmie (Though It won’t Happen)
Big Red

VaBravesfan

March 29th, 2012
9:05 am

I love it when I log on in the morning and there is a new blog. Thanks, DOB.

Red Clay Hound

March 29th, 2012
9:08 am

Pastornicky needs to cut the head off of a live chicken. I hear candle sticks make a nice gift. Ok, come on let’s get two!

Tomahawkin

March 29th, 2012
9:09 am

Since I didn’t do it on the last blog….

Here are my 2012 Dirty East Predictions

Phillies 93-69
Braves 90-72
Marlins 87-75
GNats 84-78
NY Mess 74-88

Bank on It!

Danga

March 29th, 2012
9:09 am

If we ain’t expecting much O from the SS position then my vote is with the kid that can pick it. A rare occasion I agree with Fredi, “I’m more worried about defensively, with our pitching staff. Those guys throw a lot of groundballs.”

Tomahawkin

March 29th, 2012
9:11 am

I’m not a fan of The Rev’s average Arm…

s Good as Fab 5 Freddie is at saving errant throws in the dirt, he Can’t be relied on to save a 1/2 dozen errant throws every night. Those errant throws can cost us in close games

George Stein

March 29th, 2012
9:12 am

Shouldn’t the tune this time of year be “Drive North?” Excellent song, though.

TexasBrave

March 29th, 2012
9:13 am

If it is defense we want then Simmons is the man. However, I feel like they will start out the year with Pastor. Whether or not he remains will depend if he is costing the Braves runs with his defense.

jonathan Simeone

March 29th, 2012
9:15 am

Right now it looks like Pastornicky’s a little more advanced at the plate; however, if all the organization cares about is defense Simmons has to get the job. He could contend for a gold glove right away. He’s the best defensive shortstop the Braves have had since I started watching the Braves in the 80s. From his comments it sounds as if Gonzalez wants to give Simmons the job. I suspect the organization’s backing Pastornicky because that was the plan from the outset and sending him down would limit his value—especially if Simmons ran away with the job.

JT Grace

March 29th, 2012
9:16 am

Pastornicky not in the starting lineup for the 3rd day in a row. What’s up with that??? His bat finally starts to come around and dipstick Fredi quits playing him? Tyler needs to be the starting shortstop for the Braves and Simmons needs to go to AA. Everyone in the universe seems to understand that, except Fredi.

Ease

March 29th, 2012
9:17 am

Today’s lineup: Ja. Wilson 6 Prado 5 Freeman 3 Uggla 4 Hinske 7 Heyward 8 Ross 2 Parraz 9 Minor 1

Soph

March 29th, 2012
9:17 am

Thanks as always, DOB.

Initially, I was on the Simmons wagon but starting to sway the other way now. Seems like Pastornicky is starting to put it together.

PMC

March 29th, 2012
9:17 am

It’s the Braves we’re talking about. Shortstop is not in question. It’s Pastornicky, it was always Pastornicky. They NEVER take the young player immediately if they can possibly wait a bit and control both longer.

There’s no question it’s Pastornicky to start the year.

Bob the Blogger

March 29th, 2012
9:17 am

I predict the Braves will go with Pastornicky. He’s hitting now and and Simmons is not. The Braves knew Simmons was stronger defensively than Pastornicky before they tabbed Pastornicky as the likely starter. Simmons looks like a great prospect who is probably a year away from being able to hit in the majors, and Pastornicky looks like a guy who can at least hold down the fort for a year.

Tomahawkin

March 29th, 2012
9:18 am

@Andy

“Never thought I’d say this, but perhaps another year of Alex Gonzalez might have been necessary.”

(Pointing Finger)

You Just Watch! Gonzo will hit .285 25-80 in Milwaukee…He will pull another Melk Dud Reincarnation on us after leaving The “A”

BravesDA

March 29th, 2012
9:18 am

“…don’t worry about trying to so something offensively. I’m more worried about defensively,” quote by FG is telling. Isn’t the Simmons the higher-rated/better defensive player?

haggard

March 29th, 2012
9:18 am

Funny thing is, I had a better feeling about this team coming into spring training, (after all, the Braves did sport the game’s fourth best record as late as August 4th last year and pretty much the the same roster is in place) than I do now. And, with either Simmons or Pastornicky manning the position, I tell myself, “Well, it wouldn’t be the first time the Braves have relied on–and done well–with a good glove and a weak bat at short”. But, somehow, things seemed more settled “back then” whereas now it seems more like we’re headed into unknown territory. Hmmmm……..

ChopAttack

March 29th, 2012
9:19 am

If you’re complaining about Fredi’s lineups in Spring Training… it’s a good sign you have no clue what you’re talking about.

jeffrey d

March 29th, 2012
9:19 am

Thanks for the new blog, DOB

jeffrey d

March 29th, 2012
9:22 am

You’d think with the title “Big Day for Heyward” they could use a picture where he’s not drooling

http://www.ajc.com/multimedia/dynamic/01348/sp-heyward_1348018g.jpg

haggard

March 29th, 2012
9:22 am

I suppose it’s simply the improved strength of the division that has me most concerned; not that it will necessarily be a long season. It sure will be interesting and I’m glad the Braves early schedule will leave them some breathing room while getting things figured out.

Danga

March 29th, 2012
9:23 am

I predict the Braves will go with Pastornicky. He’s hitting now and and Simmons is not.

I hope the Braves aren’t making roster decisions based on the last 20 ABs of players. And if you aren’t expecting on getting anything offensively from SS, then Defense is where you make up the difference.

dap01

March 29th, 2012
9:23 am

I am shocked that we have issues in LF and SS. I never saw these issues coming. I know that Frank Wren has to be surprised too. I thought that all of the offseason moves would have taken care of these issues.

Lew

March 29th, 2012
9:24 am

PMC – I can pretty much guarantee that if Pastornicky gets the job over Simmons, that it has nothing whatsoever to do with starting Simmon’s clock.

This kid is not projected to be a superstar that will come close to hitting Super Two numbers. I’m betting they couldn’t care less if his clock starts.

haggard

March 29th, 2012
9:25 am

jeffrey d

LOL

Random

March 29th, 2012
9:25 am

Thanks, DOB!

VABravesFan

March 29th, 2012
9:27 am

Love the clubhouse/dugout conversations DOB – wonder what a pitcher not so nice at Buddy would’ve had to say to Parraz….

I’m thinking the Braves stick to their guns and go with Pastornicky at short – although Simmons is much easier to say. At this point it seems that although Pastornicky doesn’t possess the same defensive skills as Simmons, he’ll do fine at SS and looks to be closer to major league ready offensively.

haggard

March 29th, 2012
9:27 am

See you good folks later……

jeffrey d

March 29th, 2012
9:28 am

Lew

March 29th, 2012
9:30 am

Y’all need to realize also that if Pastornicky starts the season and looks that terrible defensively or doesn’t hit, that they can bring Simmons up at that time. Not like he’s getting traded or waived if he doesn’t make the team. None of the Minor League teams are so far away that they couldn’t have him in Atlanta the same day if they needed him.

JT Grace

March 29th, 2012
9:31 am

It seems to me that Fredi has made his decision about shortstop. Tyler isn’t in the starting lineup for the 3rd day in a row. Unless he is injured, that says a lot.

I understand that they don’t expect the shortstop to hit that well, but Simmons looks completely lost when facing major league pitching. Starting him at the MLB level could seriously hinder his development.

Danga

March 29th, 2012
9:35 am

None of the Minor League teams are so far away that they couldn’t have him in Atlanta the same day if they needed him.

I think most of my desire to see Simmons is selfishly wanting to see highlight plays out in the field. Enough for me to root for Simmons over the Rev.

Ease

March 29th, 2012
9:37 am

Unless he is injured, that says a lot.

No it doesn’t. Jack needs his reps too since he has missed most of the spring with his injured calf. That is all there is to that.

Lew

March 29th, 2012
9:42 am

Danga – I understand – I’d kind of like to see him start and don’t like what I’ve seen of Pastornicky’s arm – both times I’ve seen him (small sample size acknowledged), he’s made two throws that Freeman could barely reach strethed out to his full ability.

But…..Like I said, Simmons can be here very fast if they decide it’s that bad with The Rev.

Lew

March 29th, 2012
9:43 am

Signed up for The MLB Extra Innings package today. Nice to see that the price hasn’t changed (at least up here with Comcast) since last year.

TheOnlyBravesFan

March 29th, 2012
9:44 am

The Braves need to start Pastornicky. Simmons will be better in his career, and is better defensively right now, but he doesn’t need to be rushed. Let him start in AA. Last guy that was rushed failed miserably, and is now in Houston.

Coach ( 2012 Fredi's beisbol fandango)

March 29th, 2012
9:49 am

Pastornicky or Simmons?

The answer is……..will Pastornicky hit enough to justify his glove work, because if he doesn’t, then the obvious choice is Simmons. Reading into Fredi’s statement…..

Gonzalez said. “Jst go out there and play, make sure you get the signs, get the bunt down, get the hit-and-run, and don’t worry about trying to so something offensively. I’m more worried about defensively, with our pitching staff. Those guys throw a lot of groundballs. So…”

Fredi fully realizes that defense is offense. In that Simmons glove work will greatly help our pitching staff, which will reduce the team ERA, thereby decreasing the amount of runs scored against us.

That said, Pastornicky’s bat while important is less of a need if the rest of this line up hits. So the team comes first which I think will be the real determining factor.

George Stein

March 29th, 2012
9:49 am

Isn’t the bigger problem at shortstop the fact that the Braves seem so willing to pull the plug on a rookie if he struggles? If you’re going to roll with a rookie, you have to adjust your expectations and not send the player up and down all the time.

I think Pastornicky should be the SS, but I’m bothered by the fact that they seem to be making a decision based on meaningless spring metrics, and small samples at that.

Hillbilly

March 29th, 2012
9:51 am

Lew @ 9:30, We’re on the same page today. To me, the guys that make the jump from A ball to the majors are players who are clearly above and beyond the competition. At this point Simmons is not that guy. When the gap between the two players is that small, I’m going with the more experienced guy. Take the Rev North, and tell Simmons to keep a back packed by the door.

Coach ( 2012 Fredi's beisbol fandango)

March 29th, 2012
9:53 am

That said, looking at the big picture……

Pastornicky is keeping the SS job warm because everybody knows that Simmons is the Braves short stop long term. Come 2013 I wouldn’t be adverse to Pastornicky playing 2B. moving Uggla to LF, Pradp full time at 3B, but who knows what will happen between now and next season? A lot could change.

Hillbilly

March 29th, 2012
9:53 am

clearly above and beyond the competition.

offensively speaking.

Lew

March 29th, 2012
9:54 am

George Stein – You do realize that no matter which one they choose, that a rookie will be sent down and a rookie will be on the team?

Lew

March 29th, 2012
9:54 am

CNN just ran the video of Heyward’s catch.

flange1

March 29th, 2012
9:54 am

Thanks for all the hard work this year in Dark Star DOB!

Another fine blog!

We appreciate it!

Hillbilly

March 29th, 2012
9:55 am

Lew, do you have to renew MLB EI every year, because I’ve never had to. Mine always renews automatically.

George Stein

March 29th, 2012
9:56 am

For sure, Lew. I guess I was saying that the Braves need to pick one and let them grow, knowing that the player may struggle (particularly at the plate).

Random

March 29th, 2012
9:57 am

Pastornicky will be the Braves’ Opening Day SS — mostly as trade bait.

If the Braves sent him down, he would have significantly less value in a trade for a slugging OF.

Braves stash/”palm” Simmons in AAA until the deal is done, then bring him up.

That’s how a GM might think, as opposed to a field manager who wants to field the best player ASAP.

Just opining here.

Lew

March 29th, 2012
9:58 am

Hillbilly – I don’t think it automatically renews. I just call up and deal with it a week before the season starts – takes me a couple minutes. Maybe Comcast in Arkansas is different?

Hillbilly

March 29th, 2012
9:59 am

Lew,
I’ve got DirecTV so maybe that’s the difference.

pat

March 29th, 2012
10:00 am

Simmons is too green…Stick him in Gwinnett and water him.

Baseball Prospectus has the Braves ranked really high and these guys have ESP… I hope they are on to something.

pat

March 29th, 2012
10:01 am

Anybody know if the game is on TV today? If so, which channel?

Ease

March 29th, 2012
10:01 am

but I’m bothered by the fact that they seem to be making a decision based on meaningless spring metrics, and small samples at that.

Simmons performance in ST aside, Pastornicky was slated as the Braves starting SS before spring ever started, so why be bothered by such metrics? Worry about global warming or something…

Mister Frisky

March 29th, 2012
10:02 am

Of the three possible candidates for SS.They all have one thing in common,no stick.Still too many easy outs in this line up.

bravesgrl4life

March 29th, 2012
10:02 am

Thanks for the early blog, DOB. Maybe I’ll run into you this weekend when I am down at Dark Star.

Coach ( 2012 Fredi's beisbol fandango)

March 29th, 2012
10:02 am

Is Simmons comparable to Furcal?

McFann :Ô: :Ô: :ô:

March 29th, 2012
10:03 am

Thanks for the new Blog, Chief!

When I asked Gonzalez on Tuesday about whether that decision might not be made before the team broke camp Monday and headed to Atlanta for its exhibition game next Tuesday against the organization’s top prospects, he gave every indication that it would be announced before then.

He better tell them before that game so they’ll each know what team they’re s’posed to play on!… ;)

Random

March 29th, 2012
10:03 am

PS: Hat tip to jonathan Simeone @ March 29th, 2012 9:15 am.

Venice Jim

March 29th, 2012
10:05 am

I can’t believe both the Mariners and the A’s have won more games than the Braves this season…

Coach ( 2012 Fredi's beisbol fandango)

March 29th, 2012
10:08 am

Venice Jim

March 29th, 2012
10:05 am

I can’t believe both the Mariners and the A’s have won more games than the Braves this season…

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

It’s just more proof that spring training records don’t really mean much.

DAP

March 29th, 2012
10:09 am

danga I predict the Braves will go with Pastornicky. He’s hitting now and and Simmons is not.

I hope the Braves aren’t making roster decisions based on the last 20 ABs of players

i think all they need out of rev is confirmation of what they already think. so, if pastornicky is coming around with the bat, and simmons is still stuck under .200, well….

Hillbilly

March 29th, 2012
10:09 am

VJ, It’s a shame that Major League Baseball’s opening day came and went and nobody in the US cared about it.

It’s an even bigger shame that those teams have 160 more games to play that nobody will care about either.

Coach ( 2012 Fredi's beisbol fandango)

March 29th, 2012
10:09 am

Pastornicky or Simmons…..competition’s a good thing :)

Braveone

March 29th, 2012
10:10 am

From the previous blog which had 1,947 comments, Venice Jim led the way with 310 posts. There were 198 different poster names. Here are the Top 25:

Rank Poster Frequency

1 Venice Jim 310
2 noleee 104
3 cabravesfan 92
4 Murph 74
5 Owl Hunter 74
6 Lew 65
7 Coach (2012 Fredi’s beisbol fandango) 53
8 David O’Brien 50
9 ChattTownBrian (CTB) 41
10 bravesgrl4life 41
11 Anders 37
12 Braves Fan 37
13 Jimmy 37
14 kenhotlanta 36
15 JC Brave 27
16 ncscoots 26
17 Ward 24
18 Jeff R 23
19 George 22
20 richbrave 22
21 brian 21
22 Trader Jack 20
23 DS1 19
24 ncgary 17
25 BLK09GT 15

Venice Jim

March 29th, 2012
10:12 am

Coach – I meant regular season wins…

Venice Jim

March 29th, 2012
10:12 am

cab will be displeased she couldn’t have come up with 13 more posts to outduel her nemesis…

JRW

March 29th, 2012
10:15 am

Why do I keep seeing posts about moving Uggla to Left Feild? He refused to go out there when the Braves aquired him. That’s why Prado moved from second to Left. What makes anyone think Uggla would accept it now?

Tip your cap

March 29th, 2012
10:19 am

I’d pick them as fourth in the division too. Everyone around us gets better while we don’t even put any accountability for a historic collapse in September. No money to spend, a pitching staff full of injury prones, overused bullpen and bad bullpen management, and no pop from anyone offensively.

Coach ( 2012 Fredi's beisbol fandango)

March 29th, 2012
10:19 am

In other news,

The Braves traded for minor league outfielder/first baseman Christian Marrero from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for cash considerations. He’ll be assigned to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Marrero sports a minor league .284/.362/.451/.813 line and hit .293 last year with 25 doubles, 8 triples, 12 HR’s and 60 RBI in 115 games. Plays RF, LF and 1st base, might be a solid utility/ bench player.

Skullduggery at work by our scouts, I like it!

Lew

March 29th, 2012
10:20 am

No pop from anyone offensively? Do you actually watch baseball?

McFann :Ô: :Ô: :ô:

March 29th, 2012
10:21 am

Lew No pop from anyone offensively? Do you actually watch baseball?

Maybe he wants them to hand out sodas during batting practice…? :?

Venice Jim

March 29th, 2012
10:21 am

He refused to go out there when the Braves aquired him.

I’d like to see the documentation on that…

Coach ( 2012 Fredi's beisbol fandango)

March 29th, 2012
10:22 am

JRW

March 29th, 2012
10:15 am

Why do I keep seeing posts about moving Uggla to Left Feild? He refused to go out there when the Braves aquired him. That’s why Prado moved from second to Left. What makes anyone think Uggla would accept it now?

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Answer is, team comes first and Uggla’s a team player. If and should the Braves pick up someone with great glove work and a decent bat who can man 2B, then Uggla’s bat is even better because his average glove is out in LF.

Homer the Brave

March 29th, 2012
10:23 am

Why not send them both down and go with Drew Sutton at SS.

Lew

March 29th, 2012
10:25 am

McFann – There’s just no figuring some of the idiocy we hear on this blog on a regular basis. HR power is one thing I DON’T worry about with the Braves.

JRW

March 29th, 2012
10:26 am

He wasn’t a team player when he forced Prado out to left. Why think that now? How much ground can he cover out there anyway. He’s not the fastest horse in the pasture.

Murph

March 29th, 2012
10:26 am

Pastornicky, Simmons… Simmons, Pastornicky…

I go with Simmons to start based solely on his glove. The Braves are going to have two rookie SP out there to start the season and then, in May, a rusty Tim Hudson. They’ve got 2 pitchers coming off of season-ending injuries….. it all boils down to the fact that the pitchers, who should be top priority, need all the help they can get, and Simmons provides that help much more reliably than Pastornicky.

If he’s not hitting by the end of May and The Rev is tearing it up, maybe then they make the change. Pitchers will be in the groove, Hudson will be back to full strength, etc. Until then they have to go with the best glove, regardless of what they get from the player at the plate.

Lew

March 29th, 2012
10:27 am

If Uggla is so bad at a position he’s played exclusively for years, what makes you think he’d be better at n unfamiliar position? You want to keep Pastornicky in the lineup and move a player to an unfamiliar position, why not move HIM to LF?

Better yet, go out and get a REAL LF next winter with some of the money we’ll have coming off the books?

Tip your cap

March 29th, 2012
10:28 am

Yes Lew and McFann I do watch baseball and the numbers don’t lie:
22nd in runs, 26th in batting average, 26th in on base percentage, 21st in slugging…
and virtually no changes have been made.
Do YOU watch baseball? Maybe you watch it but are oblivious to the facts. Good job.

Hillbilly

March 29th, 2012
10:30 am

I’m in the process of reading Javy Lopez’s new book and there’s some fantastic Greg Maddux stuff in there.

Maddux would call his own pitches by holding his glove in a different position as the catcher was throwing the ball back to him. He also told Javy (paraphrasing): “Don’t be suprised if you call for a fastball and I throw you a change-up, because I don’t want to waste time shaking you off.” And that’s exactly what happened at one point when Javy was coming up throwing on a 3-2 pitch. He was expecting a fastball and Maddux threw a change up. The ball hit Javy on the outside of his glove and broke his finger.

Ease

March 29th, 2012
10:31 am

Uggla “forced” Prado to left? Seriously? A career second baseman forced a utility player into another position. Yes. Happened. Not.

Coach ( 2012 Fredi's beisbol fandango)

March 29th, 2012
10:31 am

Tip your cap

March 29th, 2012
10:28 am

Yes Lew and McFann I do watch baseball and the numbers don’t lie:
22nd in runs, 26th in batting average, 26th in on base percentage, 21st in slugging…
and virtually no changes have been made.
Do YOU watch baseball? Maybe you watch it but are oblivious to the facts. Good job.

>>>>>>>>>>>

C’mon this is a blog, don’t talk over their heads.

Rufio

March 29th, 2012
10:31 am

The Braves should have invited Edgar Renteria to camp as a Non-Roster. He would have been stretched out by now and would be in the mix right now.

Is Frank Wren working another job on the side ?? He has not done much the past 6 months that is for sure.

Now, we open the season with a holes in Left Field, Third Base and Short Stop. Those 3 positions no matter who you put in the lineup are all weak in hitting right now. Martin has a chance to bounce back and start hitting. Diaz and Hinsky are Questionable. Now, we have two players at Short who have never faced Major League pitching. Then you have Jack Wilson who has not hit above .260 in 3 years in the AL.

Not Good……..

Venice Jim

March 29th, 2012
10:33 am

Has anyone seen anything on Asencio going to Cleveland for cash?

Murph

March 29th, 2012
10:34 am

Maddux broke Javy’s finger with… a changeup?

Lew

March 29th, 2012
10:34 am

And yetr the Braves were third in the NL last year in HR behind Cincinnati and Milwaukee, both of whom play in hitter’s parks.

Maybe it’s YOU who need to see what you’re looking at.

ncscoots

March 29th, 2012
10:35 am

I hope the Braves aren’t making roster decisions based on the last 20 ABs of players. And if you aren’t expecting on getting anything offensively from SS, then Defense is where you make up the difference.

They may not care if either rook hits .280, but I’m pretty sure they’d care if he hit .180. :-) There’s only so much you can make up with the glove, no matter how sterling. I think the fear would be that Simmons gets totally overmatched at the plate, and I don’t mean just a little. That’s a valid concern, in my opinion.

Now, The Rev might get overmatched, too, no doubt. But Pastornicky is the better hitter at this point in their respective careers and probably has a better chance of adjusting more quickly. He’s probably the safe route.

Coach ( 2012 Fredi's beisbol fandango)

March 29th, 2012
10:35 am

Moving Uggla to LF adds offense and DEFENSE, saves money, doesn’t necessarily add an over priced free agent and makes the team ever younger, more athletic while adding some speed.

Venice Jim

March 29th, 2012
10:36 am

The Indians announced that they acquired right-hander Jairo Asencio from the Braves for cash. The right-handed reliever led the International League in saves in 2009 and 2011 and posted a 1.81 ERA with 11.5 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 54 2/3 innings at Triple-A last year. Asencio is out of options.

Murph

March 29th, 2012
10:36 am

Has anyone seen anything on Asencio going to Cleveland for cash?

I thought there was still some wiggle room in the budget… now we’re selling off our AAAA bullpen guys for a few bucks?

The finances must be worse than I thought.

Venice Jim

March 29th, 2012
10:36 am

Moving Uggla to LF adds offense and DEFENSE,

Wow…

Coach ( 2012 Fredi's beisbol fandango)

March 29th, 2012
10:36 am

Edgar Renteria’s retired.

Puma

March 29th, 2012
10:37 am

If it truly is about only defense, then Fredi has to go with Simmons. But its not only ably defense, so he’ll go with Pastor – that’s my guess.

Both of these guys are the same age as Heyward, who has 2 years MLB expereince..just saying for all you Heyward haters.

Venice Jim

March 29th, 2012
10:37 am

Murph – since he’s out of options, it makes sense…

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