Back when we were doing the advertising blitz for this site my Braves fan cousin offered to talk about the Braves for a bit when the Cubs eventually played them. He took time from selling all of his shit to move from Atlanta to Hawaii (the lucky bastard) to answer a few questions about the Braves, a team that I’ve barely paid attention to this year.
What happened to Jason Heyward this year?
There is much debate as to who the real Jason Heyward is. Everyone expected that Jason Heyward was the next face of the franchise when he had the hot start to 2010 (that role is now fully owned by Brian McCann). Last years poor 2nd half slump was written off to injuries. This year, everyone expected the same but they got the other same thing as last year…more injuries. He has been a real disappointment and there are signs that no one expects him to bounce back this year. He is looking more like Jeff Francouer every day. Its gotten so bad that recently, Freddi Gonzalez has been studying the tapes of Tony Larussa. Heyward has been relegated to platoon status with Jose “Georgie” Constanza…with the pitcher hitting 8 and Constanza 9 and the newly acquired Bourn 1st. Heyward hit a HR the other night and the next night, Constanza was back in there…there isnt a lot of confidence in Heyward if you take him out after HR (although, Constanza started blazing hot (well over .400 and is hitting .377 in 53 at bats).
In the end, Heyward is the hometown guy and he is one of a dying breed in baseball…the black baseball player. In a city such as Atlanta, they will give him every chance to be a superstar as he will put people in the seats both on his talent and his ethnic background. If this time next year, you are asking me the same question, then we can write off Heyward…if he doesnt get hurt next year…then he should be a serviceable OF that is slightly overrated (.270 85r 20HR 85rbi 10SB) nothing MVP worthy but plenty serviceable.
Lowe has always baffled me….I never understood why they were so high on him and so reluctant to move him. I think in the end, its because he is a seasoned veteran and he does step it up in big time games. Over the course of the season he doesnt put up the numbers to warrant his paycheck. He does eat a lot of innings and can get roughed up and it doesnt go to his head. I’m sure that his role with the starting staff which for the most part is very young (Beachy, Hanson, Jurrjens) is to work to keep the young guys grounded. I do not think he deserves to be a starter in the playoffs and will be dissapointed if the braves do put him in the 3 man rotation above the 3 aforementioned and Hudson.
How is Dan Uggla being perceived by Braves fans? His hitting streak and HRs seem to be doing a lot to mask what’s been an overall lousy year.
You know, this is a pretty interesting question. There has not been the outcry that he isnt producing…sure people were complaining when he was at .173 33 games ago, but it was never a mob of torches and pitchforks. He hustles every day…he runs out every ground ball all the time (I Believe he has like 4 or 5 infield hits during his current streak). He was hitting the ball hard earlier in the season…just right at people and with no one on base when it did land safely somewhere. He has played great defense, he has never given up or shown frustration. He is also notorious 2nd half player and while this year is very extreme I think we have an all star for the 2nd half of the year and its exactly what the braves need. A big power bat.
One interesting thing is that while its amazing that Dan Uggla has gone from .173 to .232 this late in the season, and when you look at the back of the baseball card in a few years, you will see a line that reads .240 90 r35hr 90rbi for this year and think, that wasn’t too bad of a year, overall baseball hitting is way down. I just spend 20 minutes looking for it and couldnt find it, but there was an article written by Pat Doughrety (@RotoPat) about 2 months ago stating how .250 is the new .270. Hitting is way down in baseball across the board, and you see more guys than ever in the Carlos Pena range of .220-.230 .250 has always been the line of respectable hitting and at least for the near future, I think that line is down to .235 or so. (until they juice the ball again).
Can the Phillies be stopped by anyone? It’s nuts that the Braves have the second best record in the NL and are still 7.5 back of Philly.
No…not until the playoffs. I think both ATL and SF can take out the phillies…all 3 teams have great pitching and average hitting so its just a matter of who hits. If the giants can get philly in a best of 5 they can pull off the upset. If its braves phillies in best of 7, then braves need to hit the hell out of the ball for once in the post season. I think the trade for Bourn could be the steal of the season….he is exactly what they needed, a CF…a great glove…speed galore and a solid contact hitter…hes the perfect leadoff guy in an era of very few true leadoff batters.
If the braves can roll this lineup out in the playoffs and everyone is healthy and swinging the bats, then they have a real shot.
Bourn, Prado, Chipper, Uggla, McCann, Freeman, Heyward, Gonzalez, P
Braves chance for a World Series Title? 25%
He also included a pic taken at a 2003 Cubs-Braves playoff game, the last time he’s ever seen a Cubs fan happy (dying laughing). You can find more DDB pics at www.ween.net/ddb. I’m kind of surprised that Ryno hasn’t dug these up at some point.