Morning Chop: Summary of Atlanta Braves’ News
The 2013 Atlanta Braves and core WAR
Just before I sat down to watch game four of the ALCS on Wednesday night, a link to a neat little series of graphics from Mauricio Rubio and Craig Goldstein rolled across my twitter feed. In their piece, Mauricio and Craig show that the St. Louis Cardinals, unlike the other organizations remaining in the 2013 playoffs, owe most of their success to homegrown draftees— over 70 percent of their WARP, in fact.
I tried to remember the last time we saw a team that relied so heavily on their farm system make it this deep into the post-season . The 2008 Rays immediately came to mind, and prior to that maybe only the Moneyball A’s of the early oughts.
But instead of just relying on memory I decided to get particular about it and wrangle up the data. What I found is that despite the high number of homegrown players on the roster, the Cardinals aren’t getting any more production out of their youngsters than the typical major league club. The Redbirds 18-25 year olds were worth a total of 7.7 fWAR this season, just a hair below the average of 7.9 for a major league team.
In fact, it was another club from the 2013 post-season that seemed to be getting historical production from their youth core— The Atlanta Braves.
The Braves yongsters enjoyed over 27 WAR on the merits of their 18 to 25 year olds, far more than any other team this season. Only the Diamondbacks came remotely close to this astounding figure, and their core WAR of just 15 wins still pales in comparison.
Mac’s Layup Drill: A Hall of Fame eye for talent
[Editorial Note: The headline may seem strange, but this is a little interesting blurb about John Smoltz that you may not have known.]
John Hagemann was sitting in the stands watching the Glens Falls Tigers in one more meaningless, late August, Eastern League game.
It was 1987, and the Pleasant Plains resident had been sent by then-Atlanta Braves general manager Bobby Cox to scout a third baseman as a possible acquisition in a deal the Tigers front office wanted to make for big-league Braves pitcher Doyle Alexander.
“He’s one of three guys on a list the Tigers gave us,” Cox advised of the third-base prospect. “Let me know what you think.”
By the time the late innings rolled around, and after most of the other big-league scouts had headed back to the thruway for another long drive to another minor-league park, Hagemann had given up on the third baseman.
“Not good enough,” he thought.
He was just about leave, in fact, when the Tigers farm team marched a long right-hander with prematurely thinning hair out of the bullpen for some relief work.
Is Braves’ closer Craig Kimbrel the next Mariano Rivera?
It seems like a premature question to even ask, but after three superb seasons with Atlanta, it’s time to ask – is Craig Kimbrel the next Mariano Rivera?
Rivera rode off into the sunset after one final, emotional appearance at Yankee Stadium late last month, as he was taken off the mound by longtime teammates Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte. With the title of the game’s best active closer now up for grabs, there’s only one man that comes to mind.
Kimbrel, just 25 years old, has been as impressive as any player in the game over the past three seasons, and will only continue to get better as he matures at the big league level.
But first, let’s look back at the first two season’s Rivera held the Yankees closer role to get some type of a frame of reference.
2013 Statistical Review: Gwinnett
Here we sit. It’s October, and there’s really no more baseball. Don’t talk to me about the playoffs. Those ceased to exist about a week ago.
Anyway, it’s a good time to look back on the season, but before we really try to look at the major league team, I prefer to talk about the minor league teams because… well… I’m just not ready to talk about the major league team. I thought we just went over this. Stop bringing it up.
Where were we before you got me sidetracked with that nonsense? Oh yeah. Time to review the season. Let’s start with Gwinnett.
Joey Terdoslavich, OF - Terdoslavich posted an excellent .318/.359/.567 slash line over 85 games, and it earned him a promotion to the big-league team where he didn’t do so well – .215/.315/.266. The bright spot to all of that was that Terdo began walking again, but he showed no power. I’ve seen better pop from him, so I expect that .051 ISO to rise in the future. There’s a decent chance he finds himself on Atlanta’s bench next season.