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Random Observations On The Braves

From a few minutes spent playing around with the Braves' Baseball Reference page:

  • Every one of the Braves' regulars has an OPS above the league average, save for Tyler Pastornicky. Tyler has drawn only five walks in 129 plate appearances, despite the fact that he bats eighth and should get some free passes just by virtue of opposing hurlers pitching around him to get to the pitcher's spot. And in case you are wondering, Andrelton Simmons' OPS is hovering right around .700 in AA, so he isn't exactly screaming "I'm the one that you want right now!" That said, the defensive metrics are uniformly negative about Pastornicky's fielding so far. I am by no means saying that the Braves should give up on a 22-year old who has played all of 35 games this season, but it is worth nothing that he is the weak spot on a championship-caliber team.
  • Last year, the criticism of Larry Parrish was that he encouraged an excessively-aggressive approach at the plate. In looking back at the numbers, the Braves ended the year with a league-average 3.79 pitches per plate appearance. This year, the league average is at 3.80 and the Braves are at 3.87, which is good for third in the NL. (The Mets and D-Backs are the only teams that have been more patient at the plate and they have combined to score exactly five runs over the league average, so P/PA isn't a be-all, end-all stat.) The evidence is clear that the Braves are being more selective. Is this impact of a new hitting coach or is it simply the result of replacing Alex Gonzalez (the most impatient hitter on the team last year, seeing only 3.53 pitches per at-bat) and a pu-pu platter of centerfielders with Michael Bourn (4.06, best on the team) and Pastornicky (3.93)? Interestingly, the only Brave regular with a P/PA ratio below the league average is Chipper, who has been a paragon of patience at the plate throughout his career. You have anything to say about that, Jagger & Richards?
  • The Braves' leader in strikeout-to-walk ratio? Would you believe that it is Mike Minor? Minor has seen an increase in his home run rate, so he can't attribute all of his struggles to bad luck, but he can point to the fact that he has a ridiculously high .344 BABIP. Brandon Beachy, on the other hand, has been very lucky as evidenced by the fact that he has a .216 BABIP. (League average is .298.) Anyway, Minor's peripherals indicate that Fredi Gonzalez should have a longer leash for him than he did with Jair Jurrjens.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.