Projections and Paces – Braves

Leave a comment

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.

Reds sign Ryan Raburn to minor league deal

DENVER, COLORADO - APRIL 10:  Ryan Raburn #6 of the Colorado Rockies rounds the bases on his solo home run off of James Shields #33 of the San Diego Padres to take a 4-2 lead in the seventh inning on April 10, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the Padres 6-3.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Veteran infielder/outfielder Ryan Raburn has a minor league contract with the Reds, the club announced on Sunday. The deal was reported last week, but had been pending a physical. It includes an invitation to spring training, where Raburn is expected to compete against Desmond Jennings for a major league utility role. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s C. Trent Rosecrans, there’s a $900,000 base salary waiting for him if he makes the big league roster by Opening Day.

Raburn, 35, is coming off of a down year with the Rockies in 2016. He slashed .220/.309/.404 for the team last season, clubbing nine home runs as he struggled to stay above the Mendoza line. Raburn was stationed in left field for much of the season, but also saw some time at DH, first base and right field toward the end of the year. Assuming he can turn out a production rate that skews closer to the .301 average and .936 OPS he put up with the Indians in 2015, however, the Reds should have little trouble finding a place for him off the bench or as a platoon option with Scott Schebler in right field.

Dexter Fowler unhappy with President Trump’s attempts to institute a travel ban

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 01:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs looks on during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 1, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
7 Comments

ESPN’s Mark Saxon reports that new Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler isn’t a fan of President Trump’s ongoing effort to institute a travel ban. Trump signed Executive Order 13769 on January 27, 2017, which limited incoming travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. However, a temporary restraining order was placed by Judge James L. Robart following Washington v. Trump.

Fowler’s wife was born in Iran. Fowler said that her sister delayed her return from a business trip to Qatar to avoid potentially being detained. Fowler and his wife have also delayed traveling to visit her relatives in Iran.

Fowler said, “It’s huge. Especially any time you’re not able to see family, it’s unfortunate.”

The response by Cardinals fans was predictably terrible. Via the BestFansStLouis Twitter account:

One of the commenters wrote, “He signed a contract with the Cardinals so that makes him property of stl cardinals and mlb so he needs to keep his mouth shut. His personal opinions, problems, beliefs and political views should be kept to himself as long as he’s under a mlb contract…” He continued, “It’s not our fault he married someone from another country.”

Fowler caught wind of this and other responses to his statement, so he tweeted:

Fowler, of course, is one thousand percent correct.

These same “stick to sports,” “keep your politics out of my sports” people either said nothing or cheered when athletes and coaches espoused political views from the other side of the spectrum. Like when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady hung a “Make America Great Again” hat in his locker. Or when reliever Jonathan Papelbon played a pro-Trump song in the clubhouse. Or when former NFL head coach and ESPN commentator Mike Ditka said last year, “Obama’s the worst president we’ve ever had.”

Even Saxon and Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch have received myriad “stick to sports” comments simply for acknowledging that Fowler made a comment on the matter.

As we’ve pointed out here countless times, it is impossible to separate sports from politics. It is irresponsible to pretend like it’s even possible. Sports and politics intersect in so many ways, including race, religion, gender, sexuality, and class. This particular situation with Trump’s executive order impacts baseball quite a bit as Fowler’s individual situation shows. He’s certainly not the only player to have a loved one who came from one of the seven aforementioned countries. Non-white players are also much more likely to have a bad experience at the airport — consider how often players are at the airport during the season — and their family and friends may be subject to one of the many ugly ICE raids that have taken place over the last three weeks.

Kudos to Fowler for speaking up and kudos for Saxon and others for reporting on it. This is certainly not a time during which we should pretend we can keep sports and politics separate.