October 5, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Eric O

Morning Chop: Atlanta Braves News 1/16


The Rangers have checked in with free agent Paul Maholm

Hardball Talk

Free agent lefty Paul Maholm has drawn a lot less interest than expected, perhaps due to a rough second half of the 2013 season. Maholm, now 31 years old, finished with a 4.41 ERA after back-to-back sub-3.70 ERA seasons with the Pirates in 2011 and the Cubs and Braves in 2012. One would think it would be easy to make some room for him at the back of just about any starting rotation, yet he remains freely and cheaply available.

The Rangers, scrambling for a replacement for leftyDerek Holland after he suffered a knee injury which required surgery, have checked in Maholm recently,reports ESPN’s Jim Bowden. Previous reports have indicated that the Rangers prefer to stay in-house when it comes to replacing Holland, so this may be nothing more than tire-kicking.

Maholm was fantastic in the first half of 2013 for the Braves, posting a 3.69 ERA through the end of June. After three mediocre starts in July, Maholm missed a month on the disabled list with a sprained wrist. He was slightly better upon his return, but wound up missing more time in September with inflammation in his left elbow.



Inbox: Is Atlanta looking for a lefty reliever?


If Alex Wood begins the season in the rotation, the Braves could have just one left-hander in the bullpen. Do you think they will add another left-handed reliever?
— John H., Greenville, S.C.

What a difference a year makes. At this time last year, the Braves were hoping that a pair of left-handed relievers — Eric O’Flaherty and Jonny Venters — would serve as Craig Kimbrel‘s top setup men. Now we are wondering if Luis Avilan will begin this season as the only southpaw in the bullpen.

Although there is still a slim chance that O’Flaherty will opt to return, the odds have steadily decreased over the past month. It seems more likely that he will end up with the Orioles or another club that is interested in what he could provide once he misses at least the regular season’s first month while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Venters’ rehab from this same surgery will likely keep him out of action until at least June.

As the Braves project their bullpen makeup for the season’s first two months, they are hopeful that Avilan will continue to be as effective as he was during the first season and a half of his Major League career. At the same time, they are confident that their top right-handed setup men — Jordan Walden and David Carpenter — are quite capable of handling left-handed batters.



Atlanta Braves’ Prospect Tommy La Stella Ready for MLB Call

Rant Sports

The Atlanta Braves have a small situation on their hands. Dan Uggla really can’t hit. He’s also not the not the most reliable guy to have out on the field either. With his contract and his performance, the Braves will make an easy decision in the next season or two to bench or trade Uggla and look for young blood. Lucky for the Braves, they have a young man in their farm system named Tommy La Stella.

I had the pleasure of very briefly meeting with La Stella recently, and he is even impressive with how he thinks and speaks.

Question: “You’re considered one of the better prospects in the organization and we all know about your offensive ability, but how are you working on your game defensively?”

Answer: (La Stella) “Every day is pretty much a process, I mean we’ve got a good routine here with the coaches. We work a lot of the double-play turn and footwork around the bag. Overall it’s just a process to work hard, not just on one thing, but getting better overall.”



Fake Teams Consensus Rankings – Projections Approach Part II (Hitters)

Fake Teams

As a follow-up to his general projection approach yesterday (z-scores, positional scarcity adjustment and $ values), Dan presents his hitter projection approach.

Prior/during/after this post, make sure you check out my general ranking approach (using z-scores), how I adjust for position scarcity (through fantasy replacement value at each position) and the auction value association formula (from Zach Sanders’ Fantasy Value Above Replacement series on FanGraphs). All of this is to support Fake Teams Consensus Position Rankings that you can find in Ray’sschedule.

This post will focus on my hitter projections with the use of my bullish mancrush,Freddie Freeman. I’ll post my pitcher approach on Thursday morning. Let’s start with per plate appearance/at-bat related projections:

Tags: Atlanta Braves FanSided

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