Good morning everyone! Today we have some really interesting Braves material, with a must read-coming from the fine folks over at Fangraphs.
Fangraphs–You really should examine the whole article, especially if you are still a skeptic of all of the strikeouts the Braves are going to continue having this season. Jeff Sullivan does a great job making us all feel better about our sluggers:
Anyhow, there will be times that the Braves strike out when a non-strikeout would’ve been of greater service. There’ve already been plenty of those times, and there’ll be plenty more. That’s an unchangeable component of the team identity. But the Braves are also going to hit the ball hard, driving in multiple people at once. And one has to understand just what we’re dealing with. It’s not like the Braves strike out all of the time. Their strikeout rate is about four percentage points higher than the league average, which works out to one extra strikeout per 25 plate appearances. If we keep things simple, that’s one extra strikeout per 25 plate appearances in opportunities with runners on base. In the other 24 plate appearances, they’d make a normal amount of contact, and their contact would be harder than most since it’s a team with a bunch of power hitters. Is it really justifiable to be that concerned about one plate appearance per 25, especially when the strikeouts are offset by other team qualities?
The overwhelming majority of the time, a given Braves batter won’t strike out. They’re not automatic, and they’re not out of control. Dan Uggla is probably the most strikeout-prone hitter on the team. For his career, with runners on third and less than two out, he’s driven home a run 47% of the time, against a 51% average. That’s not a gap you’d even notice when watching on TV. No, the Braves aren’t going to be the best smallball team in the majors, but there’s no point in exaggerating a perceived problem, because the same approach that leads to the strikeouts is the approach that allows the Braves batters to hit the crap out of the ball much of the rest of the time.
Capitol Avenue Club–Franklin Rabon talks about Justin Upton in another great statistical piece to improve your outlook. If the Fangraphs article didn’t do it for you, this one should because Rabon basically tells us that Justin Upton is the perfect hitter:
Basically he’s off the charts good in most every measure with two strikes.
Justin Upton is really good offensively for three reasons: 1) He’s in the top 10% of value when he doesn’t put the ball in the field of play (be it by walk, strikeout of home run) 2) he’s still in the top 33% of value when he puts the ball in play 3) He doesn’t put the ball in play more often than the vast majority of players. His value comes from being very good in most all situations, and then also pushing his plate appearances towards the ways in which he’s relatively most valuable.
“I think we’re open to [going with a six-man bullpen],” Gonzalez said. “Not too long ago that was a normal ‘pen, with six men. Maybe we could go with it for the six games at home.”
With the upcoming six-game homestand sandwiched between two off-days, the Braves could at least go with the six-man bullpen on a trial basis over the next week. On an immediate basis, this option seems more appealing than sending Evan Gattis to Gwinnett or attempting to trade backup catcher Gerald Laird.
Sorry for the trio of Braves-only news, but not too much is going on with the Falcons and Hawks at this point that you don’t already know. Be sure to check out Nick Bray’s Hawks Week in Review and check back on the site later today for the Falcons Week in Review.
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