Drew Stubbs went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts yesterday to drop his batting average to .174, but general manager Walt Jocketty said today that the 25-year-old center fielder is in no danger of being sent back to the minors:
He needs to works it out on the major league level. You don’t want him to lose confidence. He does so many other things so well. He needs to be a more selective and patient at the plate.
I agree with Jocketty on all fronts. Stubbs isn’t a great prospect, but because the Reds are unlikely to be much better than .500 this season finding out how he and other young players fit into the team’s long-term plans is key. He’s also 25 already, so another stint at Triple-A doesn’t figure to do much good given that he played 126 games there during the previous two seasons.
Jocketty is also right that Stubbs’ approach at the plate likely needs to change for him to have long-term success. He has 79 strikeouts in 301 plate appearances as a big leaguer after whiffing 141 times per 600 plate appearances in the minors. Obviously many sluggers can get away with that many strikeouts, but Stubbs has hit just 38 homers in 1,860 pro at-bats and whatever value he ultimately has will come primarily from defense, speed, and (hopefully) getting on base.
If he wasn’t 44 years-old we’d just call it a slump, but the way Bartolo Colon is pitching right now makes you wonder if the end is nigh.
Colon was shelled this afternoon, giving up seven runs on ten hits and walking three in five innings of work to take the loss against the Pirates. That brings his ERA up to 6.96 on the year. He’s allowed five or more runs in five of his ten starts and opposing batters are hitting .320 against him. One of the big reasons he had been so effective into his 40s had been his low walk rate — he led the NL in this category for the past two seasons — but he’s walking more guys this year than last.
The Braves picked up Colon for the reasons a lot of rebuilding teams pick up veteran starters: to provide innings and stability until the younger arms of the future can mature. Colon, however, has been the weakest link of the Braves rotation.
At some point, every baseball player reaches the end. Almost all of them do it before the age of 44. One hopes, given his history and popularity that Colon is just experiencing a rough patch and that, by mid season, he’ll be reliably pumping strikes into the zone the way he has the past few seasons. But with each bad start he registers this year, that’s seeming like more and more of a stretch.
Last night Braves reliever Josh Collmenter surrendered three homers and seven runs in the 10th inning of a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He came into the game when it was tied 5-5 so, yeah, ouch. Today Collmenter is on his way to no longer being a Braves reliever as he has been designated for assignment.
Collmenter made 11 appearances for the Braves, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in 17 innings. If he doesn’t latch on someplace else he can take heart that his final act in the big leagues was striking out former MVP Andrew McCutchen. If only he hadn’t surrendered consecutive homers to David Freese, Jose Osuna and Jordy Mercer just before that. Oh well. Take the good with the bad.
Right-hander Matt Wisler, who has been no great shakes in the bigs himself, was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before today’s series finale against the Pirates. He’s currently throwing mopup duty for Bartolo Colon, who got shelled for seven runs in four innings.
Given how Colon is going, maybe the Braves will be thinking about some more transactions soon.