2010 Braves Extreme Values

Written by Thomas on August 31, 2010 – 1:53 pm

Having three of the worst players in the National League would seemingly ruin most teams’ chances of making the playoffs, but not the Atlanta Braves’. While three of their opening day starters (four if you include Derek Lowe) have done their best to continue Atlanta’s postseason absence, three others have been amongst the best in the league. Here are six players, three on each end of the spectrum, that have had the greatest impact on the Braves’ season so far.

The Good

1) Brian McCann (4.9 Wins Above Replacement, tied for 6th in NL)

No one seemed too worried after Brian’s OBP dipped to .349 a season ago and with good reason. His eye problems are seemingly a thing of the past as he has produced a triple slash line of .281/.388./.484 so far this season. The plate discipline is back, and most defensive metrics say he has significantly improved his performance behind the plate as well.

2) Martin Prado (4.0 WAR, tied for 16th in NL)

Many Braves fans were happy to see Kelly Johnson go last off-season. While he has bounced back (in a big way) out in Arizona, Prado has all but matched his output in Atlanta. Although his bat looks better at second, he is clearly more comfortable playing third base, the silver lining of Chipper’s injury.

3) Jason Heyward (3.8 WAR, tied for 23rd in NL)

Undoubtedly the single most important upgrade from last year’s team was the promotion of Jason Heyward. The Braves’ right field, despite Matt Diaz’s best efforts, was a disaster last season. Everything totaled, Francoeur, Diaz, and Ryan Church combined for an OPS of .743 at the position. Heyward’s triple slash line of .278/.389/.475, however, has made the Braves forget about all that. Everyone knew he was going to be something special, just not this good this early.

The Bad

1) Troy Glaus (.4 WAR, 9th worst among all qualified NL players)

Troy’s second half has made May a distant memory, and April seem quite vivid. Bad legs seem to have been his undoing, and the Derrek Lee trade spelled the end of any significant playing time. There is a good chance he has started his last game as an Atlanta Brave.

The Ugly

1) Melky Cabrera (-.6 WAR, dead last among all qualified NL players)

Not much to say here. Francoeur plate discipline + softball power + shoddy glove = worse than a replacement level player. If Frank Wren has any sense, and I believe he has lots of it, Melky will be non-tendered this off season.

2) Nate McClouth (-1.3 WAR, dead last among ALL NL players)

He does not even have enough plate appearances to be qualified, yet he still tops the list for the worst offensive player in the National League. Unfortunately, I just wrote about one of his replacements; the other isn’t much better either. Regardless of what level he plays at next season, the Braves are on the hook to pay him $6.5 million. Oh, and they will have to pay another $1.25 million to buy him out for 2012 as well.


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6 Responses to “2010 Braves Extreme Values”

  1. By Jonathan on Sep 1, 2010 | Reply

    Since Francoeur was traded to the Rangers…..probably not.

  2. By Kain DeCroix on Sep 1, 2010 | Reply

    The Braves are set for October, the offense is finally getting into a groove, and the pitching is doing well, when we get to the playoffs our pitching is going to be what makes us better than the other teams. I agree with you saying Heyward, Mccann, and Prado have been big for the team, but how can you have Troy Glaus in the bad? Yea he's struggled lately, but without him back when we were struggling the Braves wouldn't even be close to where they are today. Now with the addition of Derek Lee, and the recent call up of Freddie Freeman, Glaus will be able to rest, and hopefully bring that big bat back for the playoffs! (Kain DeCroix)

  3. By Thomas on Sep 2, 2010 | Reply

    Struggled isn't the right word. Smart people came up with the Wins Above Replacement metric. Much smarter than you or I. And according to that metric, ONLY EIGHT PLAYERS IN THE NL have been worse. Therefore, if the Braves had started a a "replacement level" player all season instead of Glaus, they would likely have an identical record.

  4. By CHITOWN4EVA on Sep 8, 2010 | Reply

    I Love Clint Eastwood.

  5. By tdmorgan on Sep 13, 2010 | Reply

    I do agree that if you look at Glaus' whole season you could make that argument, but if you actually look at what he has done, for that month he was one of the best players in the NL. Once he couldn't hardly walk because he played through the pain, unfortunately, his season looked completely awful afterwards.
    McLouth, who I used to complain anytime he was put in the field, may have finally figured things out. Last night's game was the best I have seen him play as a Brave. He had one homerun, another one taken away and a double off the centerfield wall. I'm really glad to hear that he has started to get his head and swing straight. He's still not a great defensive CF, but he can certainly help. Melky does need to go though, we need to find a LF with some pop because Freeman, Heyward, and McCann have average power, while you have to wonder if Jones has any left.

  6. By Thomas on Sep 13, 2010 | Reply

    Yeah Nate has looked a lot better as of late, and he may be the best option in center going forward. You are also right about Melky, but Bobby keeps plugging him into the lineup. As bad as Hinske has been recently, platooning him with Diaz in left seems to be the best option.

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