Morning Chop: Atlanta Braves News 2/22/14

 

via Miami Herald

After elbow surgeries, Braves’ Brandon Beachy feels good

Brandon Beachy endured 13 months of rehab from Tommy John surgery and finally was back starting for the Braves late last summer. But his pitching elbow still wasn’t right. And when he stood before a mirror and extended his arms with elbows bent upward, he could see puffiness beneath the right one.

After more than a year of rigorous rehab, adhering to the program and doing as he was told, including resting for a few weeks because of inflammation at 11 1/2 months, there he was, still feeling pain. And frustration. All of that happened as the Braves were in the throes of a playoff race, trying to secure home-field advantage for the postseason.

“It was just frustrating,” Beachy said, recalling how it felt to know something still wasn’t right in his elbow. “You can get a lot of stuff beating down on you mentally when that’s going on. Just trying to figure out what I can do to get it right, and it seemed like nothing I could do. It was out of my control.

“There was a little piece of bone floating around in my joint. There’s no amount of treatment or exercises I do that’s going to remove that and keep it from filling up with fluid.”

 

 

NBC Hardball Talk

B.J. Upton made some mechanical adjustments

B.J. Upton became one of 12 players since the start of the millennium to post an OPS below .560 while taking at least 400 trips to the plate. Upton, who established himself as one of baseball’s most dynamic players while with the Rays, could never get it going in the first year of a five-year, $75.25 million contract with the Braves. It got ugly.

Trying to put the past behind him, Upton has made some slight adjustments in his swing. Hitting coach Greg Walker liked what he saw when he visited Upton at his home in Tampa in January. Via David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

What Walker noticed first when he visted Upton at his Tampa home in January was how much movement he’d cut out of his swing and stance, including eliminating the leg lift and long slide step with his front foot. Upton, 29, said his swing gradually deteriorated over the past several years after he began trying to pull the ball more after his early success with the Rays.

“If you go back and watch (video of) B.J., his misses got bigger from year to year,” Walker said. “His swing got looser and looser. The only thing we told him to do — we don’t want you to change anything, we don’t want to turn you into somebody you’ve never been. All we want you to do is go back to the way you hit when you were a kid.

 

 

MLB.com

Carpenter looking to build on solid ’13

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – David Carpenter was the last member of the Braves to take the mound in 2013. In Game 4 of Atlanta’s National League Division Series loss to Los Angeles on Oct. 7, Juan Uribe hit a two-run homer off him to send the Dodgers one step closer to the World Series.

The homer marked an unfortunate end to a stellar season by a pitcher who took advantage of his first regular role in a Major League bullpen.

In 56 appearances, Carpenter compiled career-best marks with a 1.78 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP and four wins. Opposing batters hit just .198 against him.

Not bad for the former catcher, a native of Morgantown, W.Va., who was drafted by the Cardinals out of West Virginia University as a backstop in the 12th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

 

 

Ledger-Enquirer

Braves’ Dan Uggla has much to prove after rough year

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Here are some things every Atlanta Braves fans knows about second baseman Dan Uggla: Last season he batted .179, had his lowest on-base and slugging percentages of his career, and he struck out a team-high 171 times.

Here’s something that manager Fredi Gonzalez also knows: He’s not giving up on the three-time All-Star.

“People look at the strikeouts and the batting average, but he gets on base for us. That’s important,” Gonzalez said.

“I don’t know if we are going to change anything. It’s too early in camp for that.”

Uggla’s average has been on a steady decline since moving to the Braves after five years with the Marlins. He hasn’t hit above .233 since arriving in Atlanta.

And he was left off the roster for the division series last October, a crushing blow for Uggla, who walked 77 times last year, down from 94 in 2012. His on-base percentage was .309, the lowest of his career.

“I had a bad year, nothing was going right,” Uggla said. “I got over it and I just want to get on with the new season.”

Topics: Atlanta Braves, FanSided

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  • Lee Trocinski

    I swear I wrote about Beachy’s mechanics right after his injury, but I can’t find it. Look up Beachy Baseball Rebellion to see the problems, mainly stopping his body with his front leg on its landing. If he doesn’t fix that, the injuries won’t go away.

    I saw the video of B.J.’s swing on AJC’s article. BP swings are different, but I see better contact, but very little torque. He does need to make more contact, but if nothing is behind the ball, he won’t be much better.

    Looking at some video from last year, his front shoulder turned inward way too far. When he started his swing, two bad things happened. First, his barrel path was way too long to the ball, leading to the major contact issues. Second, his shoulders and hips turned at nearly the same time, leading to less torque, thus less authority behind the ball. The first issue looks to be corrected, but the second problem is still present.

    • fireboss

      BJ’s swing got longer each of the last two years as he struggled. If he’d quit trying to hit home runs and start going the other way he’d find the home runs would come and he’d make better contact. The test as you say is when he’s playing and the pressure is on. In the past he’s been unable to overcome his muscle memory and reverted back to his bad habits. I wrote about that a month ago http://tomahawktake.com/2014/01/18/whats-b-j-upton/ If you look at him over the seasons you can see his bat wrap became more pronounced and his hand position more exaggerated. His first movement wasn’t to the ball but to get his hands into a starting position. That in turn made him late and he tried to start earlier to compensate essentially guessing on most swings. When that happens the pitcher has to effectively hit his bat in order for him to generate power. The deciding factor will be whether he was embarrassed enough over his performance to stash his ego in the locker room and simply take what the pitchers give him.

      • Lee Trocinski

        It’s fine to have your hands move in different directions, as long as your shoulders aren’t going with them.

        http://www.hardballtimes . com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Loney-Side.gif

        Also, he wasn’t really guessing that bad, despite looking awful at times. His O-Swing% was about four percentage points below league average, while his Z-Swing% was about five percentage points above average. He swung at the right pitches, but he just couldn’t square them up.

        He actually pulled the ball last year at his lowest rate since ’08. Obviously, part of that was due to his swing being so long that, despite trying to pull it, he was late and hit it up the middle. It would be better for him to adopt CJ’s approach, but B.J.’s better pitch selection warrants more than just a .136 ISO. Since he has 4 years left on the contract, maybe make his swing transformation a 2-year process, shortening it this year and adding torque next offseason.

        • fireboss

          The movement is bad if it slows your swing and it did slow his. When he’s swinging it at his best his hand are an asset and they weren’t last year. Swinging in and not out of the zone means little if you don’t connect when you swing and he obviously didn’t last year. You can guess, be wrong and the ball can be an in the zone swing and miss or a weak grounder. His whiff rate was over 15% most of the year when playing regularly but in 08 -09 -10 it was closer to 10. That’s a result of guessing wrong or being late or a combination of the two because we know he recognizes the zone well.
          A two year process wouldn’t surprise me because it took him 4 years to veer this far off of his perfect swing. I wonder if he can sustain his focus if the results aren’t immediate considering the size of his contract and the expectations that go with it