Bradley’s Buzz: More Braves shoulda been All-Stars

Laying down the Law on the Midsummer Classic

A word here about the All-Star Game: I don’t much care about it, and I don’t get upset when Some Deserving Player doesn’t make the roster despite having had a good half-season. Because — OK, you’ve got me going now — who says one half-season defines an All-Star?

And why is it always the first half of a baseball season that counts? What about a guy who had a great second half of last season? Why should he get snubbed? Why wasn’t Kelly Johnson, who hit .308 over the second half of 2008, given an All-Star nod this summer? Huh? Huh?

OK, I exaggerate. But Keith Law of Scouts Inc. is one of those folks who takes the All-Star Game seriously. Writing for ESPN.com’s Insiders, he believes two Braves were given the royal scam (Steely Dan reference) this time. Guess which two.

You got it. Kelly Johnson and Greg Norton.

No, I’m kidding. Law plumps for Jair Jurrjens and Javier — he calls him “Javy” — Vazquez. (Link requires registration.) He also believes Brian McCann should be the National League’s starting catcher. He also believes Chipper Jones should replace the injured Carlos Beltran on the NL roster. (Yes, I’m aware Chipper plays third base and Beltran plays center field. I’m just the messenger here.)

Vazquez, Law writes, should have made the team over St. Louis closer Ryan Franklin. Law’s rationale:

“Ryan Franklin throws 32 decent and hit-lucky innings and takes the spot of Javy Vazquez, who ranks ninth in the NL in ERA and second in strikeouts and has thrown more than three times as many innings as Franklin — and unlike Franklin, who has never been anything better than a fifth starter or mediocre middle reliever, Vazquez has proven before he can pitch at a high level.

“(Speaking of Franklin, what is the lesson here? Using steroids is OK? [Franklin was suspended 10 games in 2005.] Will we see editorials questioning the refusal to condemn Franklin, or urging fans to boo him next Tuesday?)”

Not from me, Mr. Law. See, I don’t really care. Except about Kelly Johnson, who got jobbed, I say! Jobbed!

Onward and upward for Jason Heyward?

Writing for SI.com, John Manuel of Baseball America ranks Braves prospect Jason Heyward 10th on his 10-man list of — hyphen alert! — possible high-impact second-half call-ups. But Manuel undercuts his case, sort of:

“[Heyward] was a non-roster invitee to big-league camp this spring, hanging around through mid-March, and just got promoted to Double-A. It would be a rush job to bring his premium bat speed and right-field tools to the majors to replace Francoeur, but the National League East is wide open, and a jolt from a big bat like Heyward’s could separate Atlanta from the pack.”

Should the Braves bring up Jason Heyward in 2009?

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I’m going to disagree on this one. Heyward just moved from Class A Myrtle Beach to Class AA Mississippi, and he’s having a good-but-not-scorching season. (MLB.com has his updated numbers.) He could arrive as a September promotion, but I don’t think anyone in the Braves’ organization is sitting around thinking, “If we promote Heyward, we’ll catch Philly for sure.” I think they’re thinking, “Let’s not pull a Joey Devine and rush this guy.”

Speaking of a young Brave …

Both Jon Heyman and Tom Verducci of SI.com rate Tommy Hanson as the NL’s second-best rookie behind St. Louis outfielder Colby Rasmus. Here’s Heyman’s take, and here’s Verducci’s. Note that Verducci writes: “The award may wind up with Hanson, but Rasmus has the edge as an everyday outfielder who has been in the bigs all year.”

And this from Heyman: “[Hanson is] off to a 4-0 start. With Jair Jurrjens he gives the Braves a good shot to steal the division.”

And let’s not forget Javy Vazquez, shall we?

139 comments Add your comment

Ernest

July 9th, 2009
6:04 am

This merely reinforces the thought that the Braves need a big bat to be more competitive and perhaps challenge for the division crown. We have a fairly solid pitching staff this year. Perhaps that is Frank Wren’s plan for this upcoming offseason, shore up the offense without compromising the farm.

At the same time, is the rule that requires one player from each team to be on the All-Star team somewhat antiquated?

honest_abe

July 9th, 2009
6:55 am

someone’s an early riser.

until the braves figure out how to hit they ain’t winning nothing. looks like andruw has found his power again. sure could’ve used his power in center. not sayin tp is a bad hitting coach but it sure does seem like players find their stroke once they leave atlanta. hope franceour isn’t another example of this.

do people still watch baseball?

RobertNAtl

July 9th, 2009
7:01 am

jimmya

July 9th, 2009
7:32 am

jimmya

July 9th, 2009
7:45 am

i`ll say it again FIRE WREN

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 9th, 2009
7:46 am

Jurrjens deserved some consideration as well. The Braves core of pitchers gets better every day. I’m also tired of McCann getting 2nd in the voting, what has this guy got to do to get the nod. Molina as starter is a joke and I don’t even know which Molina it is. MB, do you think it is time to send him to a contender and get something really good in return. Do him and the Braves a favor and send him to Boston to replace Lowell and get one of their young pitchers.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 9th, 2009
7:47 am

Keep Wren, fire TP

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 9th, 2009
7:49 am

By him I mean Chipper being sent to Boston

ATLfan15

July 9th, 2009
8:12 am

Right on MB! Vazquez definitely got shafted; that’s okay though, he has proven his worth to the Braves and that’s all that matters. Good call on Heyward; he needs more time to refine his skills. Sorry to say, but Francoeur looks like a lost cause at this point…like Wilbert Harrison sang, ‘I’m going to Kansas City….Kansas City here I come.’

Bank Walker, you want to send our only power-hitting threat to Boston for a young pitcher? How would that be doing the Braves a favor? Right now, we need a big bat in the lineup; that’s the trade we need immediately because our offense is suffering. Let’s not focus on next year just yet…we are still in it.

ATLfan15

July 9th, 2009
8:17 am

By the way, I don’t count McLouth…even though technically he leads the club in HRs. We need a full season out of him to fully feel the impact he will have. While McCann is an excellent hitter, I don’t think his power numbers are enough to carry an entire lineup. Bottom line: we need another big bat!

MightyQuinn

July 9th, 2009
8:22 am

Bank Walker, the last thing the Braves need is pitching. Last time I checked, only 1 pitcher plays at a time and ours are doing pretty well. Plus, Hudson will be back by 2010 at the latest, and possibly even this season, which would be akin to a pickup via trade. We need people that HIT and hit consistently and in the clutch. The Braves need a pickup (or a couple of current players to step up) that can lift and carry the entire team. Prado’s been great but we need more.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 9th, 2009
8:24 am

ATL, trying to rebuild around our pitching like 1991. Chipper has 1 maybe 2 good years left and I don’t think we will be in a position to win it all in that time. I think we should start looking to the future becasue the “big bat” scenario is what cost us 4 prospects for a “big bat” for 1 year and a runner-up title. Plus the names that I hear floating around will not help. We can’t hang on tho these guys till it is too late. It Turner still owned the team we could do it but now we are on a budget. Florida keeps tearing it down just to come back 2 years later. We don’t need to go that far but we do need to use some portion to that. One of our best deals was trading a Vet for Jurrjens. Lets keep that going.

Mac

July 9th, 2009
8:26 am

Dude is right about Jurrjens and Vazquez. I know he could possibly bring a lot in trade, but I sure would like to see Vazquez stay in a Braves uni. The guy’s a warrior. Like you, I was underwhelmed when Wren made the trade. But, he’s a really good pitcher, who could be No. 1 on a lot of staffs.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 9th, 2009
8:28 am

Quinn you can’t have enough pitching. And we don’t have to keep it all. Vazquez could be bait this year. Hudson could be next year after he shows he is able to pitch. The Braves are good enough to keep your hopes up but can never get over the hump with its current talent. Go down the lineup. This is not a championship contending team and 1 or 2 bats will not help that.

“The biggest enemy of great is good”

MightyQuinn

July 9th, 2009
8:42 am

Gotta disagree with you, BW, our pitching is getting it done. Prado shows what can happen when just one guy gets hot. Adding the right bat(s) will win this division. That said, I DON’T want another player rental trade that robs us of young players. The Tex and JD Drew deals will go down as the worst trades in franchise history. I’d rather roll the dice with what we have now than go that route again.

Homer

July 9th, 2009
8:43 am

FIRE BRADLEY!!!

ATLfan15

July 9th, 2009
8:44 am

Quinn, agreed! BW says ‘you can’t have enough pitching, but wants to use a starting pitcher who is responsible for helping us stay in contention and is second in the majors in strikeouts as trade bait? Doesn’t seem logical to me. Vazquez is one of our most consistent starting pitchers; thanks to him and Lowe, our staff is 5th in the NL in quality starts. Trading away Vazquez is not going to help us rebuild the staff like 1991.

Waittilnextyear

July 9th, 2009
8:45 am

Why is Francoeur still in the lineup???????????

MightyQuinn

July 9th, 2009
8:50 am

MB, are you ignoring us, pounding out another blog, or gone to bed after being up late/early writing?

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 9th, 2009
8:50 am

We can agree on that. Much rather have a long term McLouth than a short term TEx or Drew. What would it be like to have Wainwright, wow.

GT, where nerds get shot and robbed everyday

July 9th, 2009
8:57 am

If Vazquez got shafted by anybody, it was his own team. If we give him any kind of run support he’s a 10 game winner right now and an All-Star lock. But this could be a blessing, Jair and Javy now have the weekend off and won’t have to travel or throw.

Sonny Clusters

July 9th, 2009
8:58 am

I dont think Jeff should be a starter but I dont see any reason he couldnt be an All Star with so many plate appearances and playing so many games and always coming to bat with men on base and having so many chances and doing interviews all the time. When we was playing ball together he was always and All Star and we was always on the team together.

MightyQuinn

July 9th, 2009
8:58 am

ATL, yep, this staff doesn’t need rebuilding, its pretty doggone good now and Hudson’s coming back. We need bats, whether its our own stepping up with career half-seasons or via trade. We started 1991 with Glavine, Smoltz, Avery and Pete Smith all having come out of the farm system (Smoltz was in minors when we traded for him but that was in the 80’s). We added Pendleton, Bream and Belliard. In a perfect world we would pull another Fred McGriff trade but that was more than likely a once in a generation deal. But there can be little doubt that trade was why we were able to squeak by the Giants with 104 wins in ‘93.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 9th, 2009
9:04 am

Atl, just trading for the future, not trying to stay in contention this year. And a 32 year old pitcher with a career 4.25 ERA is nothing to hang on to. He has value today. Next year he could be the same 4.25 ERA pitcher as he was last year and you get nothing for him. His peak value will be in the next 22 days. Now if you think you can trade for a “big bat” without giving up the farm, then keep him and go for it but your looking at 2nd or 3rd place because while your trading for that magical big bat, Philly will be picking up R Halliday.

matt r

July 9th, 2009
9:04 am

FIRE DIMITROFF!!

Mark Bradley

July 9th, 2009
9:11 am

I’m right here, Quinn. Monitoring developments.

Bryan

July 9th, 2009
9:22 am

Andruw Jones has 14 home runs and an OBP of .350. Lets swap Franceour for him while we might have a chance.

JEZ

July 9th, 2009
9:25 am

It’s frustrating for sure that Javy or JJ are not in the Allstar game. I’m also frustrated that just because Molina will be in his home park, he got voted to start with mediocre at best numbers compared to MAC..

Bryan G.

July 9th, 2009
9:26 am

I have to say, once again, that the numbers simply do not reflect the position that TP should be fired. The Braves are generally top 5 in average and runs scored since he’s been the coach. Maybe it’s just that Kelly Johnson and Frenchy can’t hit.

Why is it that no one is giving TP props for the play of, say, Prado and Brooks Conrad? Does TP only coach the guys who are hitting sub .250, Mark????

Again, obviously the Braves aren’t hitting well, but I think it’s more an issue of the groceries that were bought and less an issue of the meal that is being cooked.

ATLfan15

July 9th, 2009
9:29 am

BW, I think the stats tell the story. Our pitching staff is third (I think?) in team ERA, yet their record is right at .500; this dictates the need for run support because they haven’t gotten any so far. So, you don’t want to even try and stay in contention in a division that no one is running away with yet? You’re giving up too easily. Do you honestly believe that Wren has the money to offer Halladay? I wish, but I don’t think that’s realistic.

GT, you got it right: Vazquez would easily be a 10 game winner (AND an All Star) if he had gotten any run support during the first half of the season.

Curtis Jones

July 9th, 2009
9:32 am

I think Chipper is right where he belongs this All Star break. He is not having an All Star season at the plate, and on the field…let’s not even go there. Whether it’s injuries, age, or disinterest, he’s not the Chipper of old. He’s just old Chipper.

MightyQuinn

July 9th, 2009
9:32 am

Thanks, MB. But are you saying no one has said anything worth commenting on? “sniff, sniff.” Hurting my feelings on my birthday!

Kenneth Simpson

July 9th, 2009
9:33 am

Has anyone noticed that Andruw has hit 4 home runs in the past 2 games including 3 last night. The braves could have had him for nothing and given him a chance. See what he has done for Texas. I don’t know what he would have done in Atlanta but he has more home runs than any of the other outfielders. They sure need some power from somewhere.

Curtis Jones

July 9th, 2009
9:33 am

Rafael Soriano should be on the All-Star team.

Javy Vazquez/Lopez

July 9th, 2009
9:34 am

Breaking News! Braves just found big righty power bat in Texas, hes wearing #25 & hit 3 homers last nite, some dude named Jones! You think Andruw would be doing this well if the Braves would have invited him to spring training under the watch of TP??? NOT theres your answer Love TP but hes not the answer, just ask Frenchy, he would love to be traded to Texas so he could work with their batting coach, bet Frenchys numbers would improve, trade Frenchy, KJ, & Medlen for a bat to Texas, you cannot trade Vazquez when hes your best pitcher, put Huddy in long relief in Medlens spot & let him progress, if we get a good righty bat from Texas & add Infante then weve got something but KJ, Norton, & Frenchy need to go ! & throw in Acosta with the Texas deal please

Kenneth Simpson

July 9th, 2009
9:36 am

By the way Chipper does not have the numbers to be in the All Star Game but again it is nothing but a popularity contest anyway. Mac should be starting instead of Molina but guess where the game is being played. Chipper needs to stay at home and get one of his tweaks healed so he can be ready for another tweak. He has more tweaks than anyone I ever heard of. Players in the old days such as Aaron and Matthews didn’t know what a tweak was.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 9th, 2009
9:38 am

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MightyQuinn

jimmy

July 9th, 2009
9:39 am

WE NEED A BIG BAT

MightyQuinn

July 9th, 2009
9:41 am

Thanks, BW! Whats the story on your screen name, by the way? You a Lone Star Native?

JEZ

July 9th, 2009
9:41 am

Kenneth I agree. It had been awhile since he was out of the lineup so I guess Chipper figured he would “tweak” something, guess he got tired and wanted a day off. Fortunately for him we found a way to win without his bat in the lineup. I think we can truly attribute that to our dominant pitching and our terrific defense we had. Go escobar! I hope people are seeing that he doesn’t need to go ANYWHERE!

Bob horner stayed hurt

July 9th, 2009
9:41 am

Kenneth you are sooooo right about Andruw….Atlanta should have signed him…I had a feeling he wasn’t washed up…oh well…he wanted to play for the Braves..we screwed up….

Don

July 9th, 2009
9:42 am

Enter your comments here

Don

July 9th, 2009
9:44 am

How could Chipper even be considered when he is only a part time player, is not having a great offensive year, and has never been a very good defensive third baseman (plays too shallow in unndessary situations, cutting down his range significantly).

Dave

July 9th, 2009
9:45 am

This is the type of thing that should motivate Chipper and the resto of the Braves for the second half. WHO CARES! I would rather see our pitchers rest and Chipper get well from all his little nicks and the team come strong out of the gate and get the lead in the division! Bobby Cox needs to wake up and realize that if he is going to retire he should have done so last season and he needs to find some fire in his belly and kick butt and quit worrying about players liking him! The division is there for the taking and if he wants to retire on top he should bring another banner home to Atlanta and get this city behind them!

submariner

July 9th, 2009
9:45 am

I know we’re supposed to be talking about the All-Stars but what are the chances that the Braves are thinking ’bout pickin up BJ Ryan off of the scrap heap? He might rebound coming in to set up Soriano and lord knows they could use another lefty out of the pen.

ALforATL

July 9th, 2009
9:46 am

BrianG makes a good point about TP and those calling for the firing of Wren should remember that he got us those two top of the line pitchers that should have been All Stars, and made a steal of a deal for McLouth. He’s made some very good moves as GM, with a few mistakes. Certainly not firing material.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 9th, 2009
9:47 am

Curtis agree on Chipper and Soriano. MB, agree on Javy and Jurrjens. Javy, agree on TP. Andruw 14 HR’s in only 160 AB’s also compared to Kinsler .252 BA, 20 HR’s in 333 ABs.

Bravos33

July 9th, 2009
9:50 am

I am not too disappointed with Chipper and Jair and Javy getting “shafted” on the All-Star game. Chipper and Javy need the rest and they both have at least experienced the All-Star game before. Jair hopefully will get another opportunity later in his career (I guess there is never a guarantee though). Honestly, with the workload that he has, I would almost prefer McCann not have to go. (3 days off could sure help him!) BUT, he was voted by the players, he represents our team and our city, so I will look forward to rooting for him and the NL.

Also, to people that question the rule of each team being represented: think about all of the people who are fans of a team that will watch solely to root for their one and only representative. More importantly, the kids out there who probably never get to see their team (Pirates, Nationals, Royals, etc.) play on the big national TV stage want to see their heroes out there. I know when I was younger, watching Dale Murphy represent the Braves was a big deal to me. Heck, even in 1990 (I think it was) watching Greg Olson be the Braves one rep. was what I looked forward to from the All-Star game.

Don

July 9th, 2009
9:53 am

There is no mystery — As long as you have Bobby Cox’s complete lack of management of the offense and teaching/emphasizing/demanding that hitters work the count and make opposing pitchers throw a lot of pitches, we will not have a good offense. The Braves are NEXT TO LAST in all of baseball in average number of pitches seen per at bat – this GUARANTEES we will have terrible run production. This is typical Cox management. Making the pitcher throw a lot of pitches enables the hitters to see what he has, adjust to him, get better pitches to hit, wear him down, get into their weak middle realief etc. etc. Doing this and working the count in the first absolute essential of offense. Cox does’t have a clue – has never taught, emphisized, demanded this.

Zach Battles

July 9th, 2009
9:54 am

Congratulations Jurrjens and Vasquez, you are reaping the rewards of playing on a bad team! How many saves would Soriano have if he played for a legitimate contender? It’s great to be an Atlanta Brave!