Study says Braves not going to academic playoffs, either (and Hudson reacts!)

The Wall Street Journal would have you believe that this is the poster child of the Braves? But how do you explain the "smart" Washington Nationals being 16-45?

The Wall Street Journal would have you believe this is the poster child of the Braves? But how do you explain the "smart" Nationals being 16-45?

The Braves haven’t played the smartest baseball of late, with the recent mental and physical miscues of shortstop Yunel Escobar being prime examples of that. But how does the team really rank in overall intelligence?

Well, according to the Wall Street Journal, dead last.

The Journal — apparently taking a break from stock market analysis and fluctuating values of the Euro and the Yen — did an academic analysis of major league baseball rosters. A reporter checked how many players on each team attended a university, whether that was a “top 15″ university (according to the U.S. News and World Report rankings), whether they graduated and whether they currently start. Each was assigned a point value.

Guess what’s coming?

The Braves’ finished with four points. Unfortunately, the WSJ did not grade on a class curve. The next closest team from the bottom was Texas with 12 points.

The team deemed the smartest was Oakland (32 points). But I’m guessing just showing up at the stadium with text books and a copy of the periodic table is not going to help the A’s get out of last place in the American League West.

Although it wasn’t included in the story, the Braves finished last among National League East teams, well behind Washington (23 points), Philadelphia (21), New York (20) and Florida (14).

OK. So, the Nationals are the smartest team in the division, but they have the worst record in baseball (16-45)? That pretty much blows the validity of this study out of the water right there, doesn’t it?

However, it’s worth noting that the American League East, considered by most to be baseball’s best division, also is the “smartest,” according to cumulative point total. Boston (31), Tampa Bay (31), Toronto (30), Baltimore (29) and the New York Yankees (22) also scored well.

In the Braves’ defense, the team has a history of drafting a lot of high school players. Also, the study graded only players who have appeared in a game this season (as of June 1). So it did not include pitcher Tim Hudson (Auburn), who is on the disabled list. It also does not include players who attended only community college (Mike Gonzalez, Brandon Jones).

But still — 4 points? (Check out a photo gallery of Braves with college credit.)

UPDATE: When our Carroll Rogers told Hudson of the story, the Braves’ pitcher, who used to pitch for the “smarter” A’s, cracked: “I knew over the years I’ve gotten dumber. Now I know why. I’m surrounded by a bunch of morons.”

Pretty quick for an Auburn guy.

He then added (seriously): “Well you figure the Braves are known for drafting high school talent, that’s probably a big reason why. Oakland’s Billy [Beane] is more of a big draft college kids guy. For them they draft college kids and it means they can get them to the big leagues quicker. With Atlanta, they’d rather develop them in the minor leagues for four years than getting a college player. That has a lot to do with it.”

The breakdown follows. There will be a test later.

Following are the major league teams that the Wall Street Journal considers the smartest and dumbest — at least, according to its own arbitrary point system. Teams were awarded points for every player on the roster with a college degree or college experience. The WSJ said point values were weighted, depending on whether the player attended an “elite school” and if the player is a starter. The WSJ said managers also were included in the formula. We’ve also added the current standing of the top and bottom teams, just to see if there is any correlation. Draw your own conclusion. (Mine: No.)

TOP OF THE CLASS Record

A’s 32                       27-35 (.435)

Rays 31                     34-31 (.523)

Diamondbacks 31     27-37 (.422)

Red Sox 31                38-25 (.603)

Blue Jays 30               34-31 (.523)

BOTTOM OF THE CLASS

Braves 4                      30-32 (.484)

Rangers 12                 35-27 (.565)

Reds 13                      31-31 (.500)

Marlins 14                  32-33 (.492)

Angels 15                   33-29 (.532)

Royals 15                   28-34 (.452)

80 comments Add your comment

PMC

June 16th, 2009
2:20 pm

Somewhere in this is surely justification for drafting a pitcher out of Vanderbilt.

Sonny Clusters

June 16th, 2009
2:31 pm

Whoa! We was as smart as anybody when we was playing ball. Jeff could hit and run and catch and throw and still go to class and pass some of the stuff we had to do when we was in school together that state championship year. I think hes plenty smart to make the Braves aveges go up when you add him in with Chipper who knows all about huntin and arm-barring and science. I rescent the idea my team is not smart as them other teams they playing. I think the Braves are pretty smart and they was always.

Supes

June 16th, 2009
2:34 pm

Top 2 picks this year…players from Vandy and Harvard. Should improve that score for the future:)

Peter

June 16th, 2009
2:36 pm

Obviously we need to start with the front office and owners, who obviously are not that smart, as the team is mediocre, and playing as such !

mitch

June 16th, 2009
2:38 pm

Mr. JS–sometime funny, sometime not. This time not. Also, you meant “validity”, not “credibility.” Your pal, Mitch

Dave 55

June 16th, 2009
2:42 pm

This is such a dumb study, because most players turn pro out of high school, and the ones that get drafted out of college do so as a junior and thus don’t graduate. By this measure, the NFL is the smartest league of players. Pointless.

Batt 603B

June 16th, 2009
2:43 pm

Isn’t there some guy at Gwinnett that we got for Blaine Boyer who has a degree in something like Aeronautical Engineering from Ga. Tech? I think you call it North Ave Trade School

Robert

June 16th, 2009
2:50 pm

Must be slow news week.

Jeff Schultz

June 16th, 2009
2:51 pm

PMC: Yes. Especially if he throws in the 90s.

SONNY: Shocked you weren’t first. You’re not sleeping on me now, are you? And you still owe me two papers and a makeup quiz, slacker.

SUPES: Yes and yes, and neither would have me.

MITCH: Actually, I think you’re right. About validity, I mean. So I changed it. On the funny factor: oh well. Don’t shoot, I’m only the piano player (name the album).

DAVE 55: Right you are. It’s only for amusement.

Duke

June 16th, 2009
2:51 pm

I played some ball and I know who’s smart. Baseball players are a lot smarter than hockey players. Some of them don’t even speak English. Try to talk to one.

Troglodyke

June 16th, 2009
2:52 pm

I guess the true test is what will the players do when they can no longer play ball? If they’ve been good stewards of the ridiculous sums they’ve earned, it won’t matter. But have they? if they aren’t that bright to begin with, and didn’t stay in school, do they know how to manage their money? So–out-of-work baseball player, no education, and no money left. No one will be laughing then.

The bottom line is that an education is worth way more than money. Our country’s predilection to eschew education for sports, rap careers, or movie stardom is no longer surprising. It’s just sad. And sadder still is all the no-talent or low-talent hacks who think they’ll get to the majors or the NFL, but don’t belong anywhere near it. They blow off schooling, and then they have nothing. Stupid.

I personally have no idea why one would want to be uneducated, but apparently a lot of people do.

John

June 16th, 2009
2:56 pm

Since when did Brian Barton go to GT? He went to Loyola Marymount and Miami…

BravesFan

June 16th, 2009
2:59 pm

JS. Elton John. Great album inculded the classic crocodile rock. I can relate to this because I play college baseball, doesn’t mean im smart though

Batt 603B

June 16th, 2009
3:00 pm

John I humbly apologize. But am I not correct that he is realatively well educated?

John

June 16th, 2009
3:03 pm

You’d be correct on that assessment.

Pete the Great

June 16th, 2009
3:12 pm

Really, you wrote this article? Oh, how embarassing for you Jeff. Have you nothing better to do than to find negative articles to write about the Braves? What a sad sack you have become.

Pete the Great

June 16th, 2009
3:15 pm

So, Jeff, did your buddy John Smoltz go to college? I mean you seem to be Smoltz’s “voice” here with your anti-Braves rhetoric.

Hot Phone Sex Princess

June 16th, 2009
3:24 pm

Jeff, honey, ‘Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player’ was the name of the album. ‘Crocodile Rock’ was the single. Didn’t you graduate from the School of Rock?

Springs

June 16th, 2009
3:24 pm

No points for Parkview High School?

mitch

June 16th, 2009
3:24 pm

BravesFan–thanks. Actually, I know that album very well and like it. But for some reason, I was thinking about that other guy. Joel somebody. Mitch

GT

June 16th, 2009
3:25 pm

My curiosity is not on the ones that made the Braves but the ones that didn’t make it through the minors. I am pretty sure college never hurt anybody though most people than didn’t go haven’t a clue why you need to.

Tim

June 16th, 2009
3:28 pm

Chris, go take your bigoted butt back to the 1950s please.

Brian

June 16th, 2009
3:29 pm

They wasted a lot of energy on a study that just illustrates the two main development philosophies in baseball. Drafting high-ceiling high school players and utilizing a strong Latin America pipeline, the model the Braves had success with for a decade and a half, and the new sabermetric “Moneyball” types like Oakland, Boston, and Toronto that go heavily after college players. This has almost zero to do with how smart baseball players are, on the field anyway. Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz are three of the smartest pitchers of the last 50 years, and they didn’t go to college.

JD

June 16th, 2009
3:31 pm

Jeff – Your titles have just the right amount of cruelty, humor, wit, and truth in them. This is one of my favorites

mitch

June 16th, 2009
3:36 pm

BravesFan (again) and HPSP–it’s coming back to me now. The album had the great “Daniel,” also, but the best on there was “Blues for Baby and Me.” Mitch

Curtis Jones

June 16th, 2009
3:37 pm

The Braves haven’t had a real “brainiac” since Pascual “Magellan” Perez.

JD

June 16th, 2009
3:38 pm

Logic would say that the “dumber” a team is (based on the amount of school attended) the better it is. The best players typically aren’t going to choose to go to more school when they can make it pro. Like that 16 year old who said he’s skipping the rest of high school so he can enter the 2010 draft.

Likewise, the not so naturally talented players play in college longer. They’ll be in the majors quicker, but the ones out of high school tend to be naturally better. At least that’s my thought, anyway.

Braves Gal

June 16th, 2009
3:39 pm

The smartest thing Tim Hudson did at Auburn was meeting and marrying his wife, Kim. He might be the brawn of the family but she’s clearly the brains.

Napoleon

June 16th, 2009
3:40 pm

Your mom goes to college!

bruce

June 16th, 2009
3:41 pm

wsj where is your sports section? and did you make recommendations on this year’s draft… maybe only on the college players?

bruce

June 16th, 2009
3:43 pm

How many of the top IQs at the WSJ are bilingual? Do they conduct their business in at least two languages? And performance reviews…. baseball players get more of those than anyone in any business… daily and in the press. WSJ should be smarter than to take on baseball players for performance and ability.

Brian

June 16th, 2009
3:44 pm

JD, I don’t think even the Moneyballers would tell you they’re more likely to find a transcendent kind of superstar in the college ranks. College players’ ceilings aren’t as high, but they’re also less likely to be busts, just because of the longer development period and amount of sample data. The sabermetricians are all about number crunching. Basically, college players are a more predictable bunch, albeit perhaps not as “talented”.

Outside Robber

June 16th, 2009
3:45 pm

I’d be in favor of someone commissioning a study to determine the most intelligent sports beat writers covering the various teams in MLB.

Kip

June 16th, 2009
3:45 pm

I believe that was my line, Napoleon

poop

June 16th, 2009
3:45 pm

Its because the braves typically draft high school players and not college.

Dave

June 16th, 2009
3:46 pm

George W. Bush went to an Ivy League college. That tells you all you need to know about the premise of this survey.

JD

June 16th, 2009
3:47 pm

There’s nothing quite like offending a good portion of your readers. Cox should be ashamed for letting you publish something like this on the front page of your web site. There are plenty of us who dropped out of high school early on, got our GEDs, and are doing perfectly well in this world. You don’t need a college education to be ’smart’ and well employed and a very productive member of society. In fact, I know several Cox/AJC employees who are rather high up at Cox Media, Cox Interactive, WSB, or at the AJC who never finished college (and some who didn’t finish high school). This article seems to imply that maybe we shouldn’t be taking your publications and broadcasts as seriously because your employer hires people without college degrees?

Simply put: unless they went to college for “baseball degrees” and failed out, their college status doesn’t mean squat.

marc

June 16th, 2009
3:51 pm

Chill out fellows. It’s a joke. I think it’s hilarious. I have this vision of Bobby Cox having a conversation in the locker room with a guy from Princeton (not Harvard) and a guy from Vanderbilt. That would be worth hearing.

observor

June 16th, 2009
3:54 pm

I love how every sports blog has idiots like dave that feel the need to find any reason or excuse to inject their moronic political opinions into any discussion, no matter how irrelevant it may be.

Brendan

June 16th, 2009
3:58 pm

Does Bobby Cox count??

BigHittas

June 16th, 2009
3:59 pm

Vandy is overrated.

hmmm

June 16th, 2009
4:00 pm

Someone got paid for this? And you got paid to reproduce it? Isn’t America great!

Shamus Thacker

June 16th, 2009
4:04 pm

When Frenchy said the Braves might move him for “financial reasons,” I thought he was delusional.

Nice to know he’s just dumb as Hell.

BigHittas

June 16th, 2009
4:04 pm

not to defend Dave, but the fact that Dubyah went to Yale could be considered comedy, not necessarily politics.

BenHb

June 16th, 2009
4:13 pm

I can’t believe so many of you get offended at seeing something negative printed about your team. Schultz is just reporting on a meaningless study, that even he said in case you’re too dense to notice. Secondly, how is everyone pretending like the Braves are so smart based on how they play? How about Francoeur never adjusting, Andruw definitely never did (granted he doesn’t count for this survey), Yunel with that ridiculous play two days ago. I wished we played smarter ball…

Also, someone mentioned that this was a waste of a lot of energy? Really? Seems relatively simple to me. Just look at a teams roster and see who went to college. What’s so energy-wasting about that? Especially if the people doing it actually didn’t mind.

Dave Perry

June 16th, 2009
4:13 pm

Well, there you go. The WSJ thinks a college education makes you smart. What a bunch of horse manure. Some of the dumbest people I ever met I met in college. And while serving in the military it was the college grads who couldn’t make it through the military training schools. Want to know why? Because colleges don’t education, they diploma!

BenHb

June 16th, 2009
4:19 pm

How long does it take a comment to show up usually, because I’m not sure if I’m double-posting this or if the submit comment button ate this the first time I tried to post it…

I can’t believe so many of you get offended at seeing something negative printed about your team. Schultz is just reporting on a meaningless study, that even he said in case you’re too dense to notice. Secondly, how is everyone pretending like the Braves are so smart based on how they play? How about Francoeur never adjusting, Andruw definitely never did (granted he doesn’t count for this survey), Yunel with that ridiculous play two days ago. I wished we played smarter ball…

Also, someone mentioned that this was a waste of a lot of energy? Really? Seems relatively simple to me. Just look at a teams roster and see who went to college. What’s so energy-wasting about that? Especially if the people doing it actually didn’t mind.

All I'm Saying

June 16th, 2009
4:23 pm

Clearly, Schultz is searching, reaching, straining to find stuff to fill his new weekly content quota. And, obviously, despite everything going on, the WSJ has people sitting around wondering what they can come up with to fill their fish wrapper. Even someone with only a G.E.D. knows how D-U-M-B this WSJ story is: First, how many players in Cooperstown went to college? Second, how many players with World Series rings went to college? Third, then there is the fact that you can have ‘book smarts’ and still be a dumb baseball player. Geez, what a waste of cyberspace (AJC), newspaper (WSJ), and time….Please wake me when they trade Frenchy or the whole team goes on a hitting streak.

Rev. Otis Nixon

June 16th, 2009
4:27 pm

THIS IS GETTING RIDICULOUS, JEFF!!!! HOW MANY NEGATIVE STORIES ABOUT THE BRAVES CAN YOU WRITE IN A 48 HOUR SPAN??? WHERE IS THE BALANCE????

Rev. Otis Nixon

June 16th, 2009
4:30 pm

THIS IS GETTING RIDICULOUS, JEFF!!!! HOW MANY NEGATIVE ARTICLES CAN YOU WRITE? DOESN’T IT START TO LEAVE A BAD TASTE IN YOUR MOUTH?? YOU MUST REALLLY HATE THE BRAVES.