Projections and Paces – Braves

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The article below is meant to provide a quick look at how my
preseason projections match up with the paces of select major league
hitters.

Chipper Jones
2008: .364/.470/.574, 22 HR, 82 R, 75 RBI, 4 SB in 439 AB
Proj..: .318/.425/.548, 23 HR, 84 R, 81 RBI, 3 SB in 434 AB
Pace: .308/.422/.514, 21 HR, 77 R, 80 RBI, 3 SB in 476 AB

As the other projections will indicate, I was expecting the Braves to
have a better offense than this. Chipper and Brian McCann are meeting
expectations, but they’re hardly piling up runs and RBI with two-thirds
of the lineup struggling to produce.

Brian McCann
2008: .301/.373/.523, 23 HR, 68 R, 87 RBI, 5 SB in 509 AB
Proj..: .296/.365/.509, 23 HR, 66 R, 90 RBI, 3 SB in 483 AB
Pace: .331/.424/.530, 15 HR, 46 R, 67 RBI, 5 SB in 388 AB

McCann is hitting .351 with RISP and is 3-for-4 with the bases
loaded, so it’s hardly his fault that he’s been limited to 26 RBI in
151 at-bats. Scoring runs has been an even bigger problem, as he’s been
driven in just 12 times after his 33 singles, 10 doubles, one triple
and 22 walks.

Yunel Escobar
2008: .288/.366/.401, 10 HR, 71 R, 60 RBI, 2 SB in 514 AB
Proj..: .295/.361/.430, 13 HR, 82 R, 70 RBI, 7 SB in 556 AB
Pace: .286/.348/.432, 15 HR, 90 R, 85 RBI, 5 SB in 566 AB

The only other Brave living up the expectations, even if he has put himself into Bobby Cox’s doghouse with his mental miscues.

Jeff Francoeur
2008: .239/.294/.359, 11 HR, 70 R, 71 RBI, 0 SB in 599 AB
Proj..: .279/.332/.453, 22 HR, 78 R, 95 RBI, 4 SB in 605 AB
Pace: .250/.282/.343, 10 HR, 69 R, 77 RBI, 8 SB in 607 AB

6/7 K/BB ratio in 67 at-bats this spring. 35/10 K/BB ratio in 236
at-bats this season. And the biggest issue at all is that he still
thinks he has the right approach at the plate.

Casey Kotchman
2008: .272/.328/.410, 14 HR, 65 R, 74 RBI, 2 SB in 525 AB
Proj..: .303/.369/.470, 15 HR, 64 R, 73 RBI, 3 SB in 485 AB
Pace: .284/.349/.409, 5 HR, 39 R, 62 RBI, 0 SB in 453 AB

Not that he’s showing much power against righties either, but
Kotchman seems to have nothing but weak at-bats against left-handers.
It’s pretty surprising, given that he was better against lefties than
righties last year and also pretty good against them in 2007.

Kelly Johnson
2008: .287/.349/.446, 12 HR, 86 R, 69 RBI, 11 SB in 547 AB
Proj..: .276/.360/.447, 16 HR, 87 R, 75 RBI, 10 SB in 555 AB
Pace: .233/.296/.390, 13 HR, 77 R, 51 RBI, 5 SB in 540 AB

Johnson, on the other hand, has had all of his success in
lefty-lefty matchups. He has a 935 OPS against lefties and a 593 mark
against righties. He’s better than this, but he’s 27 now and he still
hasn’t put it all together for a full season.

David Wright: Matt Harvey made a mistake not talking to the media

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 19: Pitcher Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets walks off the mound after being relieved during the third inning of a game against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on May 19, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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The day after Matt Harvey left the clubhouse without talking to the media following yet another bad start, Mets captain David Wright spoke to the press about the whole affair.

Despite column, after column, after column after column in which Harvey was portrayed as a prima donna, was called names and otherwise had his character impugned for not talking to the press, Wright, amazingly, found a different tone to strike. Specifically, he managed to note that (a) it would have been better form and would have shown some accountability for Harvey to talk to the media; while (b) simultaneously acknowledging that Harvey is going through a bad time like most players go through and that it’s understandable that he’d make a mistake in this regard. Which Wright calls a “lapse” which he doesn’t think will happen again and about which Wright will likely talk to Harvey.

Most amazingly, Wright does all of this without calling Harvey names, saying he’s a phony or bringing up minor incidents from years ago in an effort to disingenuously cast Harvey not talking to the media as just the latest in a series of serious and escalating transgressions and/or failures of moral and ethical worth. How he did that I have no idea. Unlike the learned members of the sporting press, Wright didn’t even go to college. Maybe he’s mistaken to think this situation is somewhat complicated and emotional rather than one of stark right and wrong? Clearly, Wright must be mistaken. Life really is that simple, after all.

Or maybe Wright was simply able to appreciate that another person’s struggles are not about him. And that the healthy first impulse when someone who is struggling makes a mistake is to have at least a modicum of empathy and understanding rather than enter into a competition with one’s colleagues to see who can roast that struggling person the hardest.

But again, maybe that’s just crazy talk from a person who didn’t go to journalism school.

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 25: Brandon Crawford #35 of the San Francisco Giants is congratulated by George Kontos #70 and Matt Cain #18 after hitting a walk-off RBI single against the San Diego Padres during the tenth inning at AT&T Park on May 25, 2016 in San Francisco, California. The San Francisco Giants defeated the San Diego Padres 4-3 in 10 innings. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The lite version today, as I mourn the last day of school for my kids. Really, kids should go to school until mid-June. And then start school again in late June. School all year with no breaks except for, maybe, when the parents want a vacation. It would make the world run way, way better.

The Giants continued to roll on yesterday, winning in walkoff fashion with a Brandon Crawford RBI single in the 10th. They’ve won 13 of 14 games and now would be a good time to remind y’all that I picked them to win the World Series. The Yankees’ six-game winning streak was snapped thanks in part to a couple of homers from their old friend Russel Martin. A couple of streaks continued, hitting streaks that is, from Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts with the former’s standing at 29 games and the latter at 18. The Braves fell to the Brewers in 13 innings, causing one to wonder what on Earth would make someone watch a 13-inning Braves-Brewers game if they weren’t being paid to.

Anyway, summer unofficially begins this weekend. If you’re like me and your kids will be hanging around constantly now, claiming they have nothing to do, summer begins at about 3pm today.

Here are the scores

Mets 2, Nationals 0
Phillies 8, Tigers 5
Twins 7, Royals 5
Cubs 9, Cardinals 8
Rangers 15, Angels 9
Indians 4, White Sox 3
Giants 4, Padres 3
Blue Jays 8, Yankees 4
Pirates 5, Diamondbacks 4
Red Sox 10, Rockies 3
Brewers 3, Braves 2
Marlins 4, Rays 3
Astros 4, Orioles 3
Mariners 13, Athletics 3
Dodgers 3, Reds 1

Video: Odubel Herrera’s glorious bat flip

DETROIT, MI - MAY 25: Odubel Herrera #37 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits a three run home run during the fourth inning of the inter-league game against the Detroit Tigers on May 25, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera, playing in his second game since being benched for a lack of hustle, hit a three-run home run to extend his team’s lead to 5-1 in the fourth inning on Wednesday afternoon. After putting a sweet swing on an Anibal Sanchez 2-1 slider, Herrera flipped his bat in grand fashion. It wasn’t quite as emphatic as Jose Bautista‘s from last year’s ALDS, but it was glorious nonetheless.

To the Tigers’ credit, Herrera’s bat flip didn’t result in any shouting or fighting or throwing intentionally at hitters. So that’s nice.

Herrera is now batting .327/.440/.461 with five home runs and 17 RBI on the year. The Phillies selected him in the Rule 5 draft from the Rangers ahead of the 2015 season and he’s proven to be the lifeblood of the offense thus far.

30 years ago, Dave Kingman sent a live rat to a female reporter

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Someone on Reddit’s /r/baseball page linked to this New York Times article from June 1986.

Dave Kingman, then with the Athletics, was 37 years old and playing in what would be his final season. He was fined $3,500, which is a little over $7,600 in 2016 dollars, for sending a live rat in a pink box to a female reporter, Susan Fornoff of The Sacramento Bee. The rat wore a tag that said “my name is Sue.”

Kingman refused to apologize, saying, “I’ve pulled practical jokes on other people and I didn’t apologize to them.”

According to Fornoff, Kingman had said to her that women don’t belong in the clubhouse, and Kingman had been harassing her since she began covering the team in ’85. The Athletics didn’t keep Kingman around after the season, and he ended up hanging up the spikes.

Pete Dexter wrote in more detail about the incident at Deadspin a few years ago. It’s a good read.

I wasn’t familiar with this story as I was still more than two years from being born when it happened. Sports media has made strides towards being more inclusive of non-white cisgender straight men, especially compared to 30 years ago. But, of course, we’re still a long ways away from an ideal world in which everyone is treated equally and everyone has equal access. Some of the best baseball reporting and analysis these days is being done by women and it’s nice to see sites, especially FanGraphs recently, make a concerted effort towards diversification.