I saw someone pose this question in the Atlanta Braves group that I am in on Facebook:
Do you think the Braves will have a batter hit over .300 when the regular season ends? If so, who?
A solid question, and certainly one to spark a fun debate among a forum. I want to take a deeper look into this question and determine whether or not it will actually matter for the 2013 Atlanta Braves.
The Braves enter a baseball season for the first time since 1995 without Chipper Jones being a regular in their lineup. He takes with him a career .303/.401/.529 line and one of the few threats to hit for .300 over the last few years for Atlanta. Add in the trade of Martin Prado (career .295 hitter) and the likelihood of a Brave posting a .300 average over a full season of at bats seems unlikely.
The significance of batting average is debatable. It’s a bit overrated in my opinion. I suppose you figured that much from the title of the article, but hear me out.
Are you getting a .300 average from Joe Mauer or Albert Pujols? Let me dig a little deeper.
In 2010, Albert Pujols finished with a .312 average while Joe Mauer finished at .327. Neither led their respective league in hitting, but despite a similar batting average — Pujols significantly outproduced Mauer. Read more
It’s time for the Braves to make a bold decision and “bench” Tommy Hanson for the rest of 2012, just as they have done with Uggla.
Hanson, a once-promising ace in the farm system, has regressed to a pitcher who can’t control his pitches and one that can’t seem to stop allowing runners on the basepaths. His loss of velocity on his fastball is well-known to Braves fans who follow the team closely enough, but it’s his complete loss of command — both of the mound and his pitches — that is really the most alarming development.
While it’s true that Hanson is in his age 25 season (just turned 26), and that does offer some hope, his future looks cloudier with each outing. He’s spent time on the DL two years in a row and it’s looking like his delivery could be his downfall. Read more
You can never have too much pitching.
It has been said time and again, and it almost always rings true. You simply cannot win consistently if you don’t have strong pitching, but what happens when your top pitcher is barreling toward an innings limit? The dilemma approaches for Washington’s front office.
You can be sure that the majority of the Nats fan base will no doubt be outraged if Strasburg is pulled from the rotation once he hits his limit, while Braves fans will have the opposite reaction. Strasburg himself said the Nationals would have to “rip the ball out of his hands.” It’s hard to blame him for making such a comment, but the decision may really be out of his hands soon (pun intended) as Jayson Stark writes today.
If you’re a Braves fan (like myself), it’s nice to see the Braves hitting their stride, but also frustrating to see the Nationals match them every step of the way. Indeed, the Braves are 17-9 since the All Star break, but the Nationals have “one-upped” that with a 19-9 mark. Neither team could make any headway in the two team’s previous meeting where they split a four-game series. Atlanta was 3.5 games behind Washington before the series, but now they are 4.5 games back. Read more