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

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.

Photo of the Day: Colby Rasmus just wants to love on everybody

Colby Rasmus

Colby Rasmus hit a big home run last night to set off the scoring and to set the tone for the Astros.

After the game he spoke to Jeff Passan of Yahoo and voiced some nice perspective and maturity as well, acknowledging that his time and St. Louis and Toronto left him with a reputation that he’d rather not have follow him around forever, saying “I don’t want them to say Colby Rasmus was a piece of crap because he had all of this time and just wanted to be a douche. I just try to love on everybody.”

Fair. By the way, this is what Rasmus looked like either just before or just after telling reporters that he “just tries to love on everybody.”


Ready for some lovin’?

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi

You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.