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.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.

David Price’s season debut could be pushed back to May

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David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.

Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:

[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.

The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.