Needs Defined on Trade Deadline Friday

Good Friday Morning Braves Fans.  Welcome to let’s state the obvious and see if anyone is listening. The Braves don’t score enough runs. Here are just a few numbers to chew on. When the Braves

  • Score 4 or more they are 47-9
  • Allow 4 or more 13-34

I know this isn’t rocket science but changes to the everyday lineup need to address scoring runs.

We certainly hit enough homers already. In fact we depend far to o much on the bomb. Maybe it’s a holdover from steroid days but that attitude really has to end.  When it comes to scoring there’s nothing new.  Get ‘em on, get ‘em over get ‘em in is still the key to scoring runs and winning games.

OBP is a measure of how we get on. The Brave are 13th in the NL in OBP ahead of only the Padres, Giants and Nationals. This morning Buster Olney tweeted this gem.

Observation from an NL official about the Braves’ interest in Hunter Pence: “They don’t value on-base percentage as much as other teams do.”

Those of us who have been here a while knew that. All we have to do is look at the signings and trades made since 2005. The Braves have been a homer oriented club at least since our last real leadoff hitter Rafael Furcal left. Men on base puts opposing pitchers in the stretch, changes defensive positioning and turns the lineup over bringing our best hitters to the plate more often. Getting them into scoring position is the next step.

Getting on base means nothing if you don’t give them a chance to score and that means getting them to second base. Rarely will a runner be able to score from first on a single hit,  at second with less than two out the odds switch dramatically in the runner’s favor. We’ve been very bad at getting the runner to second.

This year we are near the top of the league hitting

  • .268 with RISP and
  • .314 with runners on 3rd and less than 2 out

However we also have the fewest plate appearances in the league in those situations.

We’ve seem to have forgotten how to bunt and rarely hit behind the runner. Only Hudson and Lowe seem to be able to sacrifice bunt regularly.  Alex Gonzalez looks like he never new how and oddly Nate McLouth and Jordan Schafer are very erratic when asked to bunt.

Here are just a few bullet numbers without comment.

The Braves:

  • Are 6th in BA vs. RH pitchers and 16th against LH pitchers
  • Lead off hitters are 12th in hitting and 13th in OBP
  • Center fielders are last in BA and 11th in OBP
  • Shortstops 15th in BA and last in OBP

The numbers point directly at the team’s weak points. Aside from at least one plus bullpen arm to help take the load off down there the Braves deadline needs are pretty clear.  We need players who

  • Get on base (high OBP)
  • Hit left handed pitching
  • Understand that the team winning is more important that their numbers
  • Preferably play at one of our weakest hitting positions, CF or SS

Addressing those things should increase our run scoring significantly. Increasing the runs scored above the league ERA (3.80) in a game allows the starters to go deeper removing stress from the bullpen and reducing reliance on the inconsistent arms down there. We know that when we score 4 runs a game our winning percentage climbs to .893. It seems to me that should be the goal.

Here are the stats for players in the rumor mill as I write this along with one I think fits the Braves very well. Only Bourn leads off every day. Demorfia has hit leadoff and hits well in that slot, Coco Crisp has led off but was moved down early in the year be3cause he wasn’t getting n base for the As.

Pos. BA OBP SLG LHP BA LHP OBP LHP
SLG
BABip SB/CS
Hunter Pence 9 .309 .356 .472 .281 .333 .448 .370 7/1
Carlos Quentin 9,7 .262 .353 .510 .275 .388 .525 .267 1/1
B.J. Upton 8 .228 .309 .403 .221 .340 .407 .268 23/7
Michael Bourn 8 .306 .367 .409 .295 .352 .411 .381 39/7
Coco Crisp 8 .266 .317. .384 .235 .307 .322 .290 27/9
Josh Willingham 7 .244 .329 .432 .225 .324 .438 .302 4/1
Chris Denorfia 7,8,9 .271 .343 .385 .298 .374 .468 .298 0/1-6

All stats from Baseball-Reference.com along with my thanks for helping me out this morning.

The trade will be what the trade will be. What we need and what we get are not always the same thing. Rick Ankiel is a fine example of that. I hope our GM does MUCH better this year.

What did I miss? Who did I leave out? Your comments are always welcome.

Edited to add BABip as suggested y Bob and correct Chris Denorfia’s numbers as noted by Bob. I can’t type today apparently! With Nate McLouth now on the 15 Day DL, the emphasis on CF should increase.

Tags: B.J. Upton Carlos Quentin Chris Denorfia Coco Crisp Hunter Pence Josh Willingham Michael Bourn Trade Deadline

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