Who’s in LF? Plus, DOB’s Top 50 albums

We’re inside the last week before Christmas, Braves fans. Do you know where your left fielder is?

No, I didn’t think so. But at least you’re about to know the best 50 albums of 2012, as judged by your Crusading Everyman. The list is at the bottom of this blog.

Gattis, aka "El Oso Blanco," could compete at some point in 2013 for playing time in left field and as a third catcher.

Gattis, aka "El Oso Blanco," could compete at some point in 2013 for playing time in left field and as a third catcher.

As for left field, you’re not sure who it’ll be and neither is anyone else. The Braves say they continue to search the trade market for a left fielder or third baseman, but also insist if they don’t make another big acquisition at either spot and end up going to spring training or starting the season with what they have now, they’ll be OK with it.

Until proven otherwise, we’ll take them at their word.

Going into the season with what they have now seems a bit more feasible and less risky than it would’ve if they had stated that intention a few weeks ago, right after signing center fielder B.J. Upton. More feasible because they later re-signed outfielder Reed Johnson, and less risky because Juan Francisco has continued to make what the Braves believe to be significant strides during winter ball in the Dominican Republic, where he’s slimmed down some and kept working on his swing.

From what I gather, the Braves would be fairly comfortable going into the season with Martin Prado splitting time with Reed Johnson in left field and splitting time with Francisco at third base, and saving the extra funds for a big in-season trade or two as needs arise.

In that scenario, Prado would play every day but at a couple of positions once again — he’s proved that playing multiple positions doesn’t affect his offense the way it does some players – and Johnson and Francisco would play mostly against pitchers they handle best, lefties for Johnson and righties for Francisco.

In that scenario, Prado or second-year shortstop Andrelton Simmons would probably bat leadoff.

Johnson is a fourth outfielder and pinch-hit specialist still capable of starting several games a week. His .290 average last season with the Cubs and Braves included a .311 average against lefties, with a .798 OPS and 14 extra-base hits in 151 at-bats. During the 2008-2011 seasons, the veteran hit .308 with an .822 OPS and 34 extra-base hits in 276 at-bats vs. lefties.

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  And if Francisco can continue the progress he’s made this winter in the D.R., where his .307 average and .944 OPS before Tuesday included a .333 average and .965 OPS in 60 at-bats vs. left-handers, he could also face some lefties, allowing Prado to potentially play more in left field and Johnson. That might allow Johnson, 36, to be used in more of a versatile backup/pinch-hitting role.

There is also the chance for Jose Constanza to compete for left-field time this spring if the Braves don’t make another move. And then there is the more intriguing possibility – intriguing for you fans, for the Braves, and definitely for us in the media – that Evan Gattis, dubbed “El Oso Blanco” (The White Bear) by his admiring teammates in the Venezuelan Winter League, could earn a spot as a backup left fielder and third catcher, if not at spring training then perhaps by July. He homered for the third consecutive game Tuesday and has half as many homers (13) as strikeouts (26) in 177 at-bats this winter.

The thick-armed Texas with the considerable raw power has a colorful past and what the Braves believe could be a bright future, despite the fact Gattis is 26 and hasn’t played above Double-A. He was out of baseball nearly four years – read about it here — while on a personal journey to figure out his purpose in life, a quest that included various new-age spiritual teachers and self-help gurus.

But for the past couple of years, Gattis has found a happy place pounding tape-measure homers and climbing the organizational ladder. And he and fellow Braves big-hombre roster hopeful Ernesto Mejia have thrilled the Aguilas fans this winter in Venezuela, with Mejia (14 homers) ranking first and Gattis second in the league home-run race before Tuesday, when Gattis continued his binge.

Mejia was batting .311 with a league-leading 38 RBIs, a .923 OPS (fifth in the league) and 27 extra-base hits in 209 at-bats (52 games) before Tuesday. This after hitting .296 with 50 homers and 191 RBIs during the past two seasons in Double-A and Triple-A.

He’s already 27 and has played eight years and more than 700 games in the minors without so much as one cup of coffee in the bigs, but Mejia’s progress the past two years and offseason move to the 40-man roster could put him in position to compete for a backup first-base/pinch-hit job at some point this year.

If the Braves don't make another move for a left fielder, Reed Johnson (above) could end up sharing time in left field with Martin Prado and perhaps another player.

If the Braves don't make another move for a left fielder, Reed Johnson (above) could end up sharing time in left field with Martin Prado and perhaps another player.

Gattis, meanwhile, has boosted the Braves’ confidence in his major-league potential, bouncing back from a wrist injury that sidelined him for a couple of months this season, after he’d gone on a remarkable power-hitting binge in high-A and Double-A at the beginning of the season. He was injured shortly after being promoted to Double-A and moved to the outfield to help open a potential path to the big leagues.

He’s regained his considerable strength this winter and was batting .282 with an .871 OPS, 20 extra-base hits and 33 RBIs in 47 games before Tuesday. His dramatic late-innings hits and tape-measure longballs have made him a fan favorite in Venezuela and earned him the colorful nickname from his mostly Latin teammates there.

While the competition in the winter leagues is usually on par with Double-A or Triple-A for most of the winter (until more major leaguers play in their homeland in the final weeks of the winter-league season and playoffs), Braves GM Frank Wren pointed out that playing in front of the large crowds – often 20,000 to 30,000 for some rivalry games – in the Latin American winter leagues is an experience that can give scouts and team officials some good insight.

“The intensity is much greater [than in the minors], and the crowds give it a more important feel,” Wren said. “They [Gattis, Mejia, Francisco] have come up big in big moments, which tells you something about them. Tells you something about their makeup.”

Danny Knobler at CBSSports.com had this Tweet on Monday: Braves very excited about Evan Gattis, suggesting to teams that they could even go with him in LF next year. We’ll see.

Now, granted, some of what they’re saying may be posturing, because as the Braves continue to look through what are now far fewer trade possibilities than a month ago, they don’t want teams thinking they are desperate to find a left fielder (or a third baseman, though they’d prefer to have Prado play third and get a left fielder, ideally one who could bat leadoff).

Switch-hitters Dexter Fowler and Emilio Bonifacio might be the only remaining available outfielders who could both play left and bat leadoff, and Colorado’s asking price has been too high so far for Fowler. Angels OF Peter Bourjos was an option, but it looks like he’ll be staying put after the Angels traded Kendrys Morales this week.

It’s unclear if Bonifacio is even available at this point. Toronto seems less inclined to part with the versatile speedster, who could be their starting second baseman.

Cody Ross and Josh Willingham were possibilities earlier, and still might be, although free agent Ross is asking for a longer contract (three years) than the Braves had in mind, and the Twins haven’t shown any inclination to trade Willingham after getting plenty of pitching back in the trades that sent outfielders Denard Span to the Nationals and Ben Revere to Philly. But we’ll see. Still possibilities.

So with the trade market diminished, the Braves need any leverage they can get if they still want to acquire an outfielder (or third baseman, though there are even fewer of those).

The Braves are interested in Colorado outfielder Dexter Fowler, but so far the Rockies' asking price for the Atlanta native has been too high

The Braves are interested in Colorado outfielder Dexter Fowler, but so far the Rockies' asking price for the Atlanta native has been too high

But if part of it is posturing, part of their excitement over Gattis is sincere. I’ve seen that a few times this winter during conversations with Wren, who smiles and relishes relaying the latest news of El Oso Blanco. (Wren loves that nickname.)

• Still want RHB: By the way, Gattis bats right-handed (as does Mejia). With Gattis, this is big for the Braves, who have been trying for years to get more right-handed bats in their lineup. His right-handedness can only help his chances.

Yes, the Braves pursued trades this winter for Cleveland’s Shin-Soo Choo and Minnesota’s Span and Revere, all left-handed hitters who got traded elsewhere. But Wren said from the start that lefty or righty wasn’t important for leadoff (any of those guys would’ve been penciled in for leadoff if the Braves had gotten one).

For any outfielder or third baseman they might get who wouldn’t be batting leadoff, he strongly prefers adding another right-handed bat (Upton was first).

When a rumor circulated Tuesday that the Dodgers might be looking to trade outfielder Andre Ethier, a lot of Braves fans immediately asked me if the Braves would be calling the Dodgers. (It didn’t take long before a Dodgers official tried to quash the rumor by saying they weren’t looking to trade Ethier and had merely received a couple of calls about him.)

Even if he were available, I said the Braves would not likely be involved, even though they were interested in Ethier in the past. I said it not so much because Ethier now owed a fairly steep $82.5 million over the next five seasons, in addition to a $17.5 million vesting option in 2018 with a $2.5 million buyout. Rather,  it was because he bats left-handed. And no, he’s not a leadoff hitter (only two at-bats in his entire career from the leadoff spot).

The Braves are building around lefty sluggers Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman, and adding Ethier would keep them too lefty-dominant in the middle of the order, with three of their four middle hitters batting from the left side for years to come in that scenario, and four of their middle five hitters in 2013 all batting from the left side, including catcher Brian McCann.

Even if you have four lefty hitters and four righties, that’s not balance when all four lefties are going to hit in the middle of the order and the four righties or switch hitters would be in the top and bottom of the order.

With Freeman and Heyward expected to be entrenched in the middle of the order for years to come, the Braves prefer to add a right-handed bat if they add another non-leadoff hitter.

With Freeman and Heyward expected to be entrenched in the middle of the order for years to come, the Braves prefer to add a right-handed bat if they add another non-leadoff hitter.

And it might not be so bad if Ethier was one of those lefty hitters who hits about the same against lefties or righties. He is not one of those hitters. He has a career .238 average and .649 OPS vs lefties,  .311/.913 vs. righties. He has 19 homers in 1010 at-bats vs. lefties, compared to 110 homers in 2514 at-bats vs. righties.

That’s extreme for any team, but particularly the Braves, who faced more lefties than any other major league team in 2012, with more than 2000 at-bats against lefties while no other team had as many as 1900. The Braves’ .244 average vs. lefties was sixth-lowest in the NL, and they had a .689 OPS vs. lefties compared to .721 vs. righties.

In 2011, the Braves had far and away the most at-bats vs. lefties among NL teams, and ranked last in the league in average (.229), OBP (.291) and slugging (.354) vs. lefties.

So you can see why they would like to do all they can to get that lefty situation improved.

• The Top 50 albums: If you don’t like my non-baseball comments or Tweets, now would be the time to stop reading today’s blog and skip to the comments. Because the baseball portion of our program is over and the annual music list begins now.clash-london-calling-vinyl-700x510

As many of your know, I spent an inordinate about of time (and money) purchasing and listening to music. So what started as my Top 25 albums list years ago on the blog has since expanded to a Top 50, along with a length honorable-mention section.

The rules are few, but important: No genre restrictions, unlike other such lists. I listen to everything from rap to alt-rock, trad country to metal. And then I rate them from the CDs or albums released this year that I’ve obtained, almost every one of which I’ve purchased. (A few were sent to me, but only a few.) No downloading for me, no listening to it on the listening station or online and making judgment. I have to have the entire album or CD for it to be eligible.

For my list, I didn’t open it to soundtracks (or else Searching for Sugar Man would be high on the list), live albums (Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit definitely, and Jerry Lee Lewis and Mike Cooley probably would’ve made it if I did), or re-issues (expanded re-issues by Joe Strummer, GZA, R.E.M and Sugar would’ve made it).

So without further ado, here’s the goods. It’s been a good year for music, though to me there wasn’t a clear-cut choice for No. 1 like there has been in many previous years. I went with Killer Mike’s R.A.P. Music as my No. 1, nothing to do with the fact he’s from Atlanta and everything to do with the fact it’s destined to be a hip-hop classic, as are Nos. 3 and 5. Killer Mike has been in my car CD changer for months, and I never tire of it. Also, Old Neil appears higher than ever on my list, for good reason — it sounds close to peak Neil with Crazy Horse.

So here’s my list. Let me know your own top 3, 5, 10, whatever. Enjoy.

Oh, and here are links to my Top 50 albums of 2011, my Top 50 from 2010 and my Top 50 from 2009.

  1. Killer Mike R.A.P. Musickiller-mike-rap-music
  2. Neil YoungPsychedelic Pill
  3. Frank OceanChannel Orange
  4. JapandroidsCelebration Rock
  5. Kendrick LamarGood Kid, M.A.A.d City
  6. Dwight Yoakam3 Pears
  7. Shovels and RopeO’ Be Joyful
  8. Jack WhiteBlunderbuss
  9. Dr. John Locked Down
  10. Bob MouldSilver Age
  11. Torche – Harmonicraft
  12. Dinosaur Jr.I Bet On Sky
  13. Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives Nashville, Vol. 1: Tear the Woodpile Down
  14. Grizzly BearShields
  15. Leonard CohenOld Ideas
  16. BaronessYellow & Greenimages
  17. Nas Life is Good
  18. Bob DylanTempest
  19. Farrar, Johnson, Parker, YamesNew Multitudes lyrics by Woody Guthrie
  20. Beach House Bloom
  21. Mountain GoatsTranscendental Youth
  22. Dirty Projectors Swing Low Magellan
  23. Tame Impala Lonerism
  24. Father John Misty Fear Fun
  25. Sharon Van EttenTramp
  26. The WalkmenHeaven
  27. Chuck ProphetTemple Beautiful
  28. Divine Fits – A Thing Called Divine Fits
  29. Damien JuradoMaraqopa
  30. Ray Wylie Hubbard The Grifter’s Hymnal
  31. The Men Open Your Heart
  32. Andrew CombsWorried Manmarty-stuart-nashville-vol-1
  33. The Swans Seer
  34. Matthew Ryan In the Dusk of Everything
  35. Bobby WomackThe Bravest Man in the Universe
  36. Cloud Nothings Attack on Memory
  37. Screaming FemalesUgly
  38. John Fullbright From the Ground Up
  39. MetzMetz
  40. First Aid KitThe Lion’s Roar
  41. El-P – Cancer 4 Cure
  42. Jamey JohnsonLiving for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran
  43. RayLand Baxter Feathers and Fishhooks
  44. Fiona AppleThe Idler Wheel is Wiser….
  45. DeftonesKoi No Yokan IrisDeMent-SingTheDelta-290x290
  46. Alabama Shakes Boys & Girls
  47. Miguel Kaliedoscope Dream
  48. Public Image Ltd This is PIL
  49. Iris DeMent Sing the Delta
  50. Henry Clay People Twenty-five for the Rest of Our Lives

Honorable mention (in alphabetical order)

Allow Darlin’Europe; And You Will Knows Us By the Trail of DeadLost Songs; Best Coast The Only Place; Big BoiVicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors; Cory BrananMutt; Brother AliMourning in America and Dreaming in Color; Calexico Algiers; Brandi CarlileBear Creek; Cat Power Sun; Jimmy Cliff Rebirth; The CoupSorry to Bother You; Diamond Rugs Diamond Rugs;

Justin Townes EarleNothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me; Kathleen EdwardsVoyageur; Alejandro EscovedoBig Station; GalacticCarnivale Electricos; Gentleman JesseLeaving Atlanta; Godspeed You! Black EmperorAllelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!; Kelly Hogan I Like to Keep Myself in Pain; Patterson HoodHeat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance;

Will Johnson Scorpion; Michael KiwanukaHome Again; Chris KnightLittle Victories; Mark KnopflerPrivateering; Mark Lanegan Band Blues Funeral; Langhorne Slim & The LawThe Way We Move; Bettye LaVetteThankful N’ Thoughtful; Kathy Mattea Calling Me Home; Van Morrison Born to Sing: No Plan B; My Darling ClementineHow Do You Plead?; Sinead O’Connor How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?

Graham Parker & The RumourThree Chords GoodSean Price Mic Tyson; Bonnie Raitt Slipstream; Lee Ranaldo Between the Times and the Tides; Redd KrossResearching the Blues; Rick Ross God Forgives, I Don’t; SantigoldMaster of My Make-Believe; The Shins Port of Morrow; Sleigh BellsReign of Terror; Patti Smith – Banga;

Todd Snider Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables; Sons of Bill — Sirens; Bruce Springsteen Wrecking Ball; Titus AndronicusLocal Business; Turnpike TroubadoursGoodbye Normal Street; M. Ward — A Wasteland Companion; Paul WellerSonik Kicks.

TOP 50 ALBUMS ADDENDUM: My list was completed and posted before the last week of December. With Christmas gift cards and such, I purchased a bunch more records right after the list was published, several of which would’ve made either my Top 50 or at least honorable mention. They included Lindi Ortega’s Cigarettes & Truckstops (one of the best country albums of the year); American Aquarium’s Burn. Flicker. Die. (Think Drive-By Truckers/Lucero; it’s produced by Jason Isbell, who also plays on it along with his wife, fiddle-picker extraordinaire Amanda Shires); Ty Segall Band’s Slaughterhouse (I’m admittedly late to Segall, who put out three albums in ‘12); David Ramirez’s Apologies (think early Ryan Adams, but more raw and more country); Purity Ring’s Shrines; Dum Dum GirlsEnd of Daze (an EP, but their best record so far), and Wild Nothing’s Nocturne (reminds me of the The Church and some ‘80s dream-pop bands, which is a good thing).

– David O’Brien, Braves/MIB blog

6,309 comments Add your comment

TheOnlyBravesFan

December 18th, 2012
8:39 pm

DOB is the man!

Matt

December 18th, 2012
8:43 pm

Yes he is… Thanks for the update!

Najeh Davenpoop

December 18th, 2012
8:44 pm

Killer Mike doesn’t get enough love from the hip hop community, let alone the baseball beat writer community. Props for giving him the credit he deserves.

nolie

December 18th, 2012
8:44 pm

Thank you TOBF

Johnny Canada

December 18th, 2012
8:45 pm

Because nobody knows rap music like a middle aged, white, baseball beat writer.

chipl1960

December 18th, 2012
8:46 pm

good list DOB. Love Gattis.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 18th, 2012
8:46 pm

Big KRIT’s Live from the Underground doesn’t get an honorable mention, though?

Nova Scotia Steve

December 18th, 2012
8:48 pm

Merry Christmas DOB,

Just a lonely Braves fan, hoping for a LF’er for XMAS and trying to survive all this Blue Jay pandemonium in Canada.

The “fans” are crawling out of the sewer around this place.

Signed

Nova Scotia Steve

Trey

December 18th, 2012
8:48 pm

I think we will have a pretty solid lineup for 2013.

nolie

December 18th, 2012
8:48 pm

who ARE most of those folks??? ;)

TheOnlyBravesFan

December 18th, 2012
8:54 pm

not a problem, nolie

Mejia seems like he could be a special guy… hope he gets the opportunity to start somewhere one day

nc_braves

December 18th, 2012
8:55 pm

great, comprehensive list, dob. really very highly recommend a couple of releases from this year that were rereleases of albums on smaller labels from 2011.

hiss golden messenger’s “poor moon.”
http://shop.heavenandearthmagic.com/album/poor-moon-2

mount moriah’s “mount moriah”
http://mountmoriah.bandcamp.com/

old man

December 18th, 2012
8:55 pm

If Johnny picked .5 bushels of apples a day over the entire apple season, and Suzie picked .4 bushels of apples a day during the season, how many apples a day did they pick during the season together?

ANSWER: .9 bushels, because .5 plus .4 equals .9.

Get it?

bravesfaninnc

December 18th, 2012
8:57 pm

“I think we will have a pretty solid lineup for 2013.”

I think it will pretty up and down. I think Prado, Heyward, and Freeman will be consistently solid. Uggla, Upton, and Francisco will look good at times and horrible at times. Simmons will probably go through some growing pains, but be fairly dependable. And McCann remains a mystery until we see how healthy he is.

Given the solid pitching, the offense should be enough for them to win more than they lose, but the games will be mostly low scoring and close, as has been the Braves mantra the past few years.

BFChris28

December 18th, 2012
8:57 pm

Thanks for new blog!!!!!!!!!

old man

December 18th, 2012
8:57 pm

nolie, it’s very simple.

If one guy has an OPS of .800, and the other guy has on OPS of .700, it totals 1.500.

It’s called arithmetic.

nolie

December 18th, 2012
8:57 pm

Mejia has a bit of age on him, but I have never seen him play so I have no idea whether he is now the real deal or not. I wondered last season why he was not on the 40 man, I hope they give him a real shot at making the big team

Tom O'Hawke

December 18th, 2012
8:59 pm

nolie

George Foreman’s Ten Children
1. Natalie Foreman
2. Michi Foreman
3. Leona Foreman
4. Freeda George Foreman
5. George Edward Foreman Jr
6. George Edward Foreman III
7. George Edward Foreman IV
8. George Edward Foreman V
9. George Edward Foreman VI
10. Georgetta Foreman

m.A.A.d kev

December 18th, 2012
9:00 pm

DOB bumps to Kendrick? Props!

nolie

December 18th, 2012
9:00 pm

forget it dude you are talking meaningless crap. you can average them but there is no way in hell that the average will go 150 points either way.

David

December 18th, 2012
9:03 pm

WOW! 17 comments and no Wren bashing yet! Wonder how long this will last?

David

December 18th, 2012
9:03 pm

WOW! 17 comments and no Wren bashing yet! Wonder how long this will last?

Wilson

December 18th, 2012
9:03 pm

Good timing

Gattis just hit number 13

nolie

December 18th, 2012
9:03 pm

aha, do he did George-up some of the girls too huh? ;)

Efrim

December 18th, 2012
9:06 pm

The team will be good, but could of been so much more with a player like Choo hitting leadoff and playing LF. Friggin shame.

old man

December 18th, 2012
9:06 pm

“Dude,” I’m not averaging them, I’M ADDING THEM. It’s the “+” sign on your calculator.

Look, let’s drop it. Compared to you, I’m a newbie here. You say tons of brilliant things in your posts.

Let’s go on to something else. I lost my temper, OK?

Tom O'Hawke

December 18th, 2012
9:06 pm

nolie

It looks as though he starting losing patience on having a boy, on girl #4, naming her Freeda George.

After that, he just kinda went berserk! :)

nolie

December 18th, 2012
9:07 pm

C’est la vie

Enquiring Minds Want To Know

December 18th, 2012
9:08 pm

Graham Parker is still alive? And working?

nolie

December 18th, 2012
9:10 pm

you can not meaningfully add percentages, you could add total bases perhaps as an indicator if you wanted, that would have some meaning

Tom O'Hawke

December 18th, 2012
9:11 pm

The team will be good, but could of been so much more with a player like Choo hitting leadoff and playing LF. Friggin shame. — Efrim

The only problem with that, Efrim, is that you don’t know what Wren would have had to give up to GET Choo.

nolie

December 18th, 2012
9:11 pm

see y’all later. I’m done

old man

December 18th, 2012
9:13 pm

profitez des bons moments, mon ami

Braves Fan for 55 yrs

December 18th, 2012
9:15 pm

have the Braves written off Jordan Schafer bcs he left handed, whats the reason?

brian

December 18th, 2012
9:15 pm

Great blog as always. Amazing collection and assortment do music as well. How do you find the time to listen to all those albums with your insane schedule?

Tom O'Hawke

December 18th, 2012
9:16 pm

old man

What was last year’s starting 8 OPS? Average of the 8, not total… or give me the total, I’ll figure out the average.

old man

December 18th, 2012
9:17 pm

nolie:

Let’s reflect on a way to compare offensive production 2013 to 2012. Maybe something simple, like total team run production? And then reconvene later.

I was sincere about all the smart things you say. Your “banishment” was an arid time here.

Lew

December 18th, 2012
9:17 pm

DOB – Never figured you for a Baroness fan. No love for the new Blackstone Cherry? I love that Southern Metal.

old man

December 18th, 2012
9:18 pm

Tom O’Hawke

Gimme a sec.

AdirondackDave

December 18th, 2012
9:18 pm

If the pitching is as good as we hope, starters and pen, I’m not too concerned about going with the team as-is. Especially with the possibility of Gattis and Mejia on the 25 man roster. The pen looks like it could be even better than last year. The rotation… well, I’ll feel better when Beachy is back at full strength which probably won’t be until ‘14. Club looks competitive to me, especially with Simmons contributing from day 1.

Enquiring Minds Want To Know

December 18th, 2012
9:18 pm

What Old Man is trying to say (I think) is that the team OPS will go up by .019.

150/8 = 18.75

Always extra credit if you show your work.

Brava

December 18th, 2012
9:19 pm

Thank you for sharing your album lists and for the blog, DOB.

The only albums I own from your lists are Alabama Shakes and Bonnie Raitt. I’ll give the others a listen, though.

For anyone who likes old-style rock (like from the 70s), I highly recommend Black Country Communion’s album Afterglow. It’s very reminiscent of Zeppelin. In fact, Jason Bonham, John’s son, is the drummer.

Nova Scotia Steve

December 18th, 2012
9:19 pm

Braves Fan for 55 years: Have the Braves written off Jordan Schafer bcs he left handed, whats the reason?

I’d say he just hasn’t played well enough to stay in the majors. He’s striking out way to much. Another prospect who hasn’t lived up to the hype.

By the end of the season in Houston – he was benched. Think about that for a few minutes – in Houston.

Nova Scotia Pat

December 18th, 2012
9:20 pm

I hear ya Steve

Tom O'Hawke

December 18th, 2012
9:21 pm

EMWTK

That’s what I was gonna add… 18.75

old man & nolie are arguing semantics

ChipperisGod

December 18th, 2012
9:24 pm

Thanks DOB. Needed a Braves fix. Hope Oso Blanco gets his shot. He deserves it, been keeping close track on him.

And Mejia should get a shot too as back up 1B. Guy’s been tearing it up. Would really have liked if both of those guys had gotten September call ups over guys like Lyle Overbay.

ugaaccountant

December 18th, 2012
9:26 pm

They aren’t mentioning Schaefer much because he’s not very good. He’s competing with Constanza for the 25th position on the roster, or both of them might get beaten out.

ChipperisGod

December 18th, 2012
9:27 pm

Also, being a big Dylan fan, gotta say, Tempest is AMAZING! Best album I’ve heard from Dylan in a while. Liked his last two, but Tempest was Dylan at his best. The titular song is like Desolation Row part II.

keyLargo

December 18th, 2012
9:27 pm

Have the Braves written off Jordan Schafer bcs he left handed, whats the reason?

Cause he’s a pothead with a PED background who can’t hit.

AdirondackDave

December 18th, 2012
9:29 pm

Can somebody give the link to Venezuelan league games that Gattis and Mejia are playing in tonight? Thanks.

Efrim

December 18th, 2012
9:29 pm

The only problem with that, Efrim, is that you don’t know what Wren would have had to give up to GET Choo.

Totally. Just thinkinh hoe cool it would of been if we got him. Stacked lineup with Mac in there after a few weeks in April. Top 3 offense in the league, no doubt, imo.

old man

December 18th, 2012
9:31 pm

Tom O’Hawke

Here are 2012 ATL starting 8 OPS:

Simmons 751
Prado 796
Heyward 814
Chipper 832
McCann 698
Freeman 796
Bourn 739
Uggla 732

My point is, add them up. Then 12 months from now make up a 2013 list, with BJ for Bourn, and ? for Chipper. Gattis? Platoon? Francisco? Bourjos? The 2013 starting 8 will total at least 150 higher. Or, I could be totally full of crap. Just ask my wife.

For example, if 7 guys had the exact same OPS, but the 8th guy was 150 points higher. That would be 150 higher in the aggregate. Or, all the same except 3 spots, and those three had 50 higher each. Or any combination that gets you 150 extra points over 2012.

It’s just an expression of my overall sense that we will do a decent amount better than last year offensively, that’s all.

Enquiring Minds Want To Know

December 18th, 2012
9:33 pm

Cause he’s a pothead with a PED background who can’t hit.

All God’s children have problems.

old man

December 18th, 2012
9:34 pm

Enquiring minds, yes 18-19 OPS points per starting 8.

I hated that “show your work” crap in high school.

TheOnlyBravesFan

December 18th, 2012
9:34 pm

Upton will OPS about the same as what Bourn did…

Tom O'Hawke

December 18th, 2012
9:35 pm

Efrim

I hear you… but I suspect the Indians wanted one of our starters. With Beachy out until mid-season, and Hanson already traded… that would’ve put to much hope on BOTH Teheran & DelGado.

JC Brave

December 18th, 2012
9:36 pm

old man

There’s absolutely ZERO chance the Braves get a player that can get even close to Chipper’s OPS.

Sg56

December 18th, 2012
9:37 pm

Great list! I look forward to it. I would add m ward, Mumford and the new sound garden. The new sebadoh ep was great also…

Nowhere man

December 18th, 2012
9:37 pm

Whether you classify it as a reissue or not if the world’s greatest rock and roll band puts out an album it has to be on any top list. The two new songs on it is far better than anything else out there.

Sg56

December 18th, 2012
9:37 pm

Great list! I look forward to it. I would add m ward, Mumford and the new sound garden. The new sebadoh ep was great also…

Nowhere man

December 18th, 2012
9:37 pm

Whether you classify it as a reissue or not if the world’s greatest rock and roll band puts out an album it has to be on any top list. The two new songs on it is far better than anything else out there.

Sir Stealth

December 18th, 2012
9:39 pm

Appreciate the blog and the well thought out end of year list. I’m actually fairly stunned that Wrecking Ball didn’t get into your Top 50. Not that I care how you rank ‘em obviously, just honestly genuinely surprised given what you’ve shared about your taste in the past and the quality of that album.

ugaaccountant

December 18th, 2012
9:39 pm

I figure we’ll have a higher achieved average OPS at SS and C than last year by healthier seasons from Simmons and McCann.

keyLargo

December 18th, 2012
9:39 pm

Can somebody give the link to Venezuelan league games that Gattis and Mejia are playing in tonight?

If I’m not mistaken, they’re playing in the Dominican Republic now.

old man

December 18th, 2012
9:42 pm

JC Brave:

You are probably right. But I think the aggregate starting 8 could very likely exceed the OBP of last year’s staring 8.

A lot of the pessimism here is based on ALL of the following:

Uggla will stink again
McCann will stink again
Francisco will fail
Gattis will fail
Reed Johnson will fail
Bonifacio, if we acquire him will fail
Bourjos, if we acquire him will fail
BJ Upton will not improve
Anyone we get for LF will fail

I just don’t think all of those things will happen.

TheOnlyBravesFan

December 18th, 2012
9:43 pm

all while being worth fewer runs thanBourn for the season, having a value nearly equivalent to 4 months of Mikey B

hmmmmm..........

December 18th, 2012
9:43 pm

Fire Wren!! Had to say it.

Wilson

December 18th, 2012
9:43 pm

Braves Fan for 55 years

Schafer was injured for most of 2012 season and that is the reason for his sub par numbers. Here are just three of his injuries. Hopefully this will explain why he didn’t play much. He still stole 26 bases for 6th place in NL stolen base leaders.

Jordan Schafer Injury: Houston Astros Center Fielder Sprains His Ankle Against Texas Rangers  
By Brandon K. Scott on May 20, 2:20p 

Houston Astros center fielder Jordan Schafer will miss the series finale against the Texas Rangers on Sunday with a sprained ankle.

Houston Astros center fielder is out of the lineup in Sunday’s series finale of the interleague matchup with the in-state rival Texas Rangers after spraining his ankle trying to rundown a fly ball in Saturday’s 6-5 victory.

The x-ray Schafer underwent came out negative, but Justin Maxwell will still play center field in his place on Sunday as the Astros look to take a series win over the best team in baseball. Ironically, Maxwell is the one Schafer avoided a collision with on Saturday when the two outfielders pursued a fly ball that neither of them was able to catch.

Since Maxwell is moving over to replace Schafer in center field, Brian Bogusevic will play in right field.

Schafer will undergo further tests on Monday to determine the seriousness of the ankle injury.

7 AUG 2012
HOUSTON — The Astros have placed center fielder Jordan Schafer on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder injury.

Schafer begin having problems with his shoulder this weekend and doctors determined he has a separation of the AC joint in his left shoulder.

The Astros selected the contract of outfielder Brandon Barnes from Triple-A Oklahoma City to take his spot. Barnes, a 26-year-old who was drafted in 2005, had never played in the majors.

Schafer, who was acquired from Atlanta last summer in the trade for Michael Bourn, is hitting .216 with four homers and 23 RBIs in 96 games. His 26 stolen bases are tied for sixth in the National League.

Astros | Jordan Schafer unable to swing
Thu, 20 Sep 2012 11:08:44 -0700

Houston Astros OF Jordan Schafer (shoulder) is still unable to lift his arm over his head and has been limited to pinch-hitting duties since Sept. 9. “It’s slowly gotten better, but it’s not to the point to where I can really do anything yet,” Schafer said. “I’ve tried the last couple of days, but it still bothers me and I haven’t even tried to swing yet. It was getting better until I dove in Cincinnati and I landed awkward again, and it hasn’t gotten (completely) better.”

Houston Astros OF Jordan Schafer (shoulder) aggravated his shoulder injury attempting to make a diving catch Sunday, Sept. 9, according to interim manager Tony DeFrancesco. “We’re going to have to keep an eye on him and see where he’s at,” DeFrancesco said.

Tom O'Hawke

December 18th, 2012
9:43 pm

old man

I understood your point. For some reason, nolie didn’t want to add the averages.

There’s a lot wrong with adding them up (# of games played & stuff), but as long as you’re just saying something on a blog…

The AVERAGE of the totals you gave me is 769.75
The AVERAGE of 150 pts higher w/start 8 = 18.75

So, if the AVERAGE of the starting 8 in 2013 = 788.5…. They’ll be 150 points higher!

ugaaccountant

December 18th, 2012
9:46 pm

Wilson, they cut him. If they thought it was due to injuries he’d still be an astro

old man

December 18th, 2012
9:46 pm

old man

December 18th, 2012
9:49 pm

Tom O’Hawke

Yes.

It’s unknown how many more wins that equals. Depends on pitching, eh? But it’s why I tend, just a bit, to the optimistic side, regardless of the solution at LF/3B.

Dadgum.....

December 18th, 2012
9:49 pm

Nice blog but as usual I have only heard of about 15 of the artists listed including honorable mention. A rap artist #1? Seriously? That’s cool but as you often say….just ain’t my thing.

Wilson

December 18th, 2012
9:49 pm

Sonny boy he was placed on waivers just like EOF was and the Braves claimed him. Great character assassination you jerk

Tom O'Hawke

December 18th, 2012
9:50 pm

old man

If you can’t be optimistic THIS time of year, when can you be?

T-Dawg

December 18th, 2012
9:50 pm

Why i have lost faith in this team’s front office:

1. Replaced Bourn with Upton which makes this team better in terms of RBIs but worse in terms of avg with RISP ( an alarming defenciency that any decent GM would be forced to deal with). Wren wrote it off last year as a unconventional slump and made no changes. When the abysmal clutch hitting continued this season we went out and got a .211 hitter with RISP. I just don’t get it.

2. The Braves lost their best clutch hitter in Chipper Jones (a switch hitter) but claim they will be “satisfied” using what we already have for LF (And yes…Upton replaces Bourn…not Chipper). How on earth does this address the problems we saw this season?

3. LHP dominated this team the last two years yet Wren and Co. have ignored the numbers and refused to make adjustments. ( evident by the pursuits of Choo, Revere, Span and now Either). How can you say picking up an everyday LF who bats left is not that big of a deal? Again, this baffles me.

It just seems like management ignores the glaring weaknesses of the team and refuses to buy into what the statistics show. It’s like Wren is trying to prove the Sabermetrics folks wrong?

I just don’t get it.

I like where we are pitching-wise but Wren needs help.

Wilson

December 18th, 2012
9:51 pm

Schafer was placed on Waivers unknown to you Pocket Protector boy

Mark

December 18th, 2012
9:52 pm

If Schafer continues to swing so hard and insists on trying to hit HRs and balls to the gap along with striking out so much, he’ll be out of baseball as a player sooner an later. If he can become a contact hitter that will draw walks and utilize his speed he can stick. I doubt he’ll try to do that.

old man

December 18th, 2012
9:54 pm

There are 3 or 4 (or more) permutations of the LF/3B solution. Even if we don’t trade for or buy the best on the market, we’ll utilize the best permutation we end up with. And, even if it’s mediocre, the other 7 will average out high enough to bring the group of 8 up. That’s my thinking.

nolie

December 18th, 2012
9:55 pm

I understood your point. For some reason, nolie didn’t want to add the averages. Tom

percentages are only meaningful to what they are percentages of. an 800 OPS for Heyward with 570 at bats, has no meaning when added to a 720 OPS for Upton with 660 at bats. It is not semantics it is the essence of percentages.
now you can go back to the raw data of all the players involved and figure a group OPS, but simply adding their separate OPS together is not gonna get you there.
I am surprised there are so many here who do not recognize that mathematical axiom

AdirondackDave

December 18th, 2012
9:55 pm

Old Man — Thanks for the link…

AnotherGM

December 18th, 2012
9:57 pm

You spice it up pretty good DOB, but the Braves will miss Bourn as a lead off more than you think. The Braves do not have a table setter in the lead off and the offense will definitely suffer.

Mark it down.

Chop Chop

December 18th, 2012
9:57 pm

It is natural for most Braves fans in the sunny South to hope for the best, or maybe more than the best, from their players. Some will unnaturally hate their players. The truth about these players lies somewhere in-between, which means that the Braves, as has been the case for 54 of the last 55 years, probably won’t be winning the World Series in 2013. Therefore, what is the point in going to the mattresses to defend or condemn these guys? They aren’t worth the effort. Not a single damn one of them.

(Hell, Chipper was the only guy who had earned that kind of loyalty and, well, I think Rick Pitino would agree that Chipper ain’t hobbling through that door anymore.)

Tom O'Hawke

December 18th, 2012
9:59 pm

nolie

You failed to recognize the other part of that same post. “It’s just a comment on a blog” Geeze, man

old man

December 18th, 2012
9:59 pm

If the LF/3B solution (one guy? platoon?) ends up with over 780-785 OPS, that’s all gravy over 2012 . . . probably. I think 780-785 OPS from the 8th mystery man (or men) is attainable.

Wilson

December 18th, 2012
10:00 pm

http://www.mlb.com/milb/stats/scoreboard.jsp?sid=l135&t=l_sco&lid=135

Try this link for the Venezuelan Winter League. Looks like there are transmission problems updating the game Gattis repotedly homered in tonight for number 13 according to my contact there.

Wide Right

December 18th, 2012
10:00 pm

DOB. Interesting list, always a pleasure to read. I’m a little surprised Wrecking Ball didn’t make the 50 list. I seem to remember you ranking Working on a Dream high and I consider WB to be much better.

I am a Jerry Lee Lewis fan…what is the name of the live album you mentioned? I’m pleasantly surprised he is still capable of making a good live album.

nolie

December 18th, 2012
10:04 pm

it was a comment on which a bet was proposed, therefor the correct approach needs to be used to insure that the right side wins. who would wager on something so imprecise ?

Tom O'Hawke

December 18th, 2012
10:07 pm

Who would wager on a blog?

nolie

December 18th, 2012
10:10 pm

folks do, and to show my age I think a lot of what is wrong with the US anymore is the idea that details don’t matter . close enough sukks IMO, it damn sure did to the greatest generation

JHarber

December 18th, 2012
10:10 pm

Me if someone thinks the Braves will win a World Series under Wren’s watch.

patience

December 18th, 2012
10:12 pm

With Upton signed, the pressure is off the Braves for now. They can afford to go into the season to see what they have. If not, they have over $10M free and a few prospects for trade. Let’s see how Prado, Costanza, Shafer, Francisco and at least one more backup will meld together toward the 3B, LF leadoff needs.

JC Brave

December 18th, 2012
10:13 pm

nolie, lighten up my well respected fellow blogger. The lack of movement from the Front Office leaves everyone with little to talk about, regarding baseball at least. :/

Tom O'Hawke

December 18th, 2012
10:14 pm

OK, you win, nolie

I think you Majored in Meticulous Math, in college…

But I, also, think, your Minor was Old Curmudgeon. ;)

JC Brave

December 18th, 2012
10:15 pm

I think a lot of what is wrong with the US anymore is the idea that details don’t matter.

If only I had waited a little longer before posting my last comment…

That’s so true…

Coleman

December 18th, 2012
10:16 pm

DOB,

Sorry if you have answered this question before but I was wondering if the braves had thought about trading for asdrubal cabrera and playing him at 3rd? If the braves had interest, what would the cost be?

nolie

December 18th, 2012
10:17 pm

I have never denied being a curmudgeon or an old f@rt I might be too meticulous for the current time but it is something that I believe in

nolie

December 18th, 2012
10:19 pm

guess I better go take a blood pressure pill b4 I blow a fuse . off again :?

Dadgum.....

December 18th, 2012
10:20 pm

T-Dawg…..I think the Braves are in good shape or will be. The key is keeping Prado full time at 3rd. Prado is an upgrade over Chipper no question about it and regardless of how valuable a player Prado is because of his versatility we need a solid everyday 3rd baseman. Prado gives us that. Wren flat out said he did not want to play Prado in LF and that his best position is 3rd. That is debatable with 2nd base but you get the picture. Platooning Prado in LF is not going to make the team better and I don’t care what anyone says it is tough to be bounced around positions. Wren will find a LF or Gattis and Johnson might just be nice out there too.

Upton. Let me just say this. The Braves were looking for RH power to upgrade a weak hitting OF. Resigning Bourn was never the answer unless you see something I don’t. Upton can get you 30 dingers with above average D. His average was low but Bourn was horrible too with few homers. The fact Bourn is still on the market is no shock. We upgraded in CF no doubt. Guess we will see.

For me, Uggla and Mac are the cogs. We need rebound years from them. The Braves go nowhere without them playing better. We are a LF trade away from a real good team. Maybe Gattis is the answer.

Tom O'Hawke

December 18th, 2012
10:22 pm

I can appreciate meticulousness…. I’m anal that way, at least, most of the time.

Trying to get those stats just right, though, would mean, what…?

Taking away all the pitchers ABs, PHs ABs, anyone that came into the game that got an AB that didn’t start…

Maybe there’s a site that has, just, the starters OPS. But, otherwise, good luck trying to figure that out, accurately.

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