Monday, June 16, 2014

Diagnosing BJ

Seems like a waste of time to wonder about BJ. Like Kruck mentioned last night, he is all messed up, guessing wrong on pitches and not swinging at balls down the middle. 
Earlier yesterday I was reminded of an old study showing how athletes of a particular race performed certain sports actions better than those of other races. While Caucasian athletes were better at repetitive things like shooting foul shots, African-American athletes were better at making decisions on the fly, like driving the lane and either passing or shooting. While digging up such info may be treading on thin ice, it is obvious BJ needs to stop thinking so much and let his athletic ability take over.

The tepid outfield defense by the Upton brothers will severely hamper the Braves chances to advance in the playoffs. Too often both attempt feet-first sliding catches on balls dropping in front of them, instead of diving headfirst with their glove stretched out in front of them, like Jason Heyward and most other outfielders. Last night Mike Trout robbed BJ of a hit by charging hard and diving head and glove first – after BJ had complained to the inconsistent plate umpire for calling him out on a pitch "that was a ball to Trout". Both Justin and BJ play so deep that baserunners routinely go first to third on them.

BJ's attitude hurts him worse than anything. I can't blame him for taking the Braves $75 million. With few other centerfield options at the time, do you think Wren's signing of BJ was a roll of the dice? Wren probably wouldn't have been able to pull off the Justin Upton/Chris Johnson for Martin Prado trade had BJ not already have been signed. A MLB GM has a tough job. Everyone (including me) makes mistakes. Based on the Braves record and circumstances, I find few reasons to fire Wren or Fredi.  
Chuck Oliver had an interesting suggestion: trade BJ to the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton, and play ALL of BJ's salary. Good idea, though I doubt either team would pull the deal, for differing reasons. As you can tell, I'm really struggling with BJ.

No one can maintain Gattis' blistering pace, but do you think he can be a consistent .280-.290 hitter slugging 35-40 home runs? Bethancourt may be up to .270, but is that a better option than Gattis? I won't hold my breath to see Gattis in the All-Star Game, with at least three other NL catchers having good years.

Will went to Saturday night's Braves game with MC's family. I didn't know where they were sitting until her brother posted a photo on Facebook from the 755 Club above left field. In the bottom of the ninth they showed Steve Bedrosian sitting in the 755 Club seats. I looked for Will sitting nearby but didn't see him. I texted Will, and he saw Bedrock sitting behind them. Will may have played against Bedrosian's son. Wild that neither Will nor Joel knew who Bedrosian was. Joel went to the Friday night game.

Saturday's loss made me wonder what the Braves' record is on national TV, particularly in the Fox/ESPN era. I had resigned myself to another ESPN loss last night, but enjoyed the nice comeback. ESPN loved talking about Gattis and Freeman. Fun Fox interview with Santana on Saturday. On the radio Saturday night Powell blasted Angels' Howie Kendrick for his lack of hustle on two plays.

So far "The Zen of Zim" is good, though a good chunk of it is how Steinbrenner turned against Zimmer. His first book, more of an autobiography, is probably better.

Rob replys: If Gattis played every day in LF, he would be a .270 - .290 hitter with 30-40 HR's and 90 - 100+ RBI.  He might not get to some balls in LF that Justin would, however he would do the right thing with the balls he could get to.  What gets lost in the hoopla surrounding his power, is the fact that he is a very smart ballplayer.  If he continues to catch, his numbers won't stay where they are at.  Last year we talked about how McCann's OPS declined by month over his career.  We will see something similar with Gattis.

I don't think the BJ signing was a dice roll.  If BJ had of only replicated his Tampa performance, there would not be an issue.  BJ was cheaper than what Bourn was asking for (though Bourn eventually received less).  BJ also had more skills than Span or Revere, who signed for less money.

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