Sep 23, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward (22) makes a diving catch in the fifth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Morning Chop: Atlanta Braves News 3/2/14

MLBAM introduces new way to analyze every play

BOSTON — Baseball is a game of inches, and those inches will be measured in a brand new way.

Major League Baseball Advanced Media on Saturday introduced a revolutionary plan for in-ballpark infrastructure designed to provide the first complete and reliable measurement of every play on the field and answer previously unanswerable analytics questions.

The announcement was made by MLBAM CEO Bob Bowman at the eighth annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference at the Hynes Convention Center near Fenway Park. MLBAM gave an overview of how it continues to implement various fan experience technologies, including iBeacon and widespread connectivity, to ensure MLB ballparks are crucibles of technology.

“This is going to be pretty exciting,” Bowman said. “We think it’s going to change the way we argue about the game, but we don’t think it’s going to settle any debates. We hope it starts more.”

Video of Jason Heyward‘s Catch, Tracked by MLBAM



Big League Stew

Spring training special: Braves and Nationals combine for 31 runs over four innings

You’ve probably heard the phrase “scoring runs in bunches” before. On Saturday, the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals took that to the extreme, combining for 31 runs in the span of four innings.

The flurry started with the Braves plating two in the top half of the third. It ended with Washington’s five-spot in the sixth. And that was all the scoring for the game. The Nationals took home the victory 16-15 in nine regulation innings.

Granted, it was a spring training special with multiple players and pitchers we’ll never hear from in the regular season, but it was a regulation baseball game nonetheless.

Those aren’t the last four digits of your social security number hidden in the middle, it’s pure spring training weirdness.

The four scoring innings: 31 runs.

The other 4 ½ innings = 0 runs.



New York Times

In a Rough First Season in Atlanta, Upton Suffered in Silence

ISSIMMEE, Fla. — B. J. Upton was having the most dreadful season of his career and his brother Justin was in the same Atlanta clubhouse, a perfect shoulder to lean on as he navigated through the unfathomable time.

But he did not seek comfort from him.

In fact, he did not reach out to anyone for help.

“It was difficult, but I’m kind of a loner,” Upton said, his gaze fixed skyward as he sat in the dugout on a recent dreary day in training camp. “I handle things my own way. That’s just kind of the way it is.”


via Miami Herald

Braves prospect Bethancourt overshadowed but not forgotten


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Christian Bethancourt has been one of the Atlanta Braves’ top prospects for so long, most fans seem surprised to learn the strong-armed catcher turned 22 only in September. Some have put him out of mind or even written him off.

He’s been overshadowed in recent years by the ascent of former prospects such as Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons, and Bethancourt hasn’t been needed by a big-league club that had a seven-time All-Star catcher in Brian McCann and now turns to power-hitting Evan Gattis to replace McCann in Gattis’ second season.

But it would be a mistake to assume Bethancourt has fallen out of favor with the Braves, despite it taking longer than expected for his offense and game-calling to start catching up with his considerable defensive skills, including a rifle-like arm. He’s rated the Braves’ No. 2 prospect by Baseball America, behind pitcher Lucas Sims.

“He’s very close,” said Eddie Perez, Braves bullpen coach and former catcher. “If you asked me last year about him I would’ve said, he’s not ready yet. But I think he’s close now. He’s mature now. He talks about the game, he’s serious, he’s not fooling around like he used to. He comes out here and does his drills every day and he’s serious, and he always tells me, ‘I’m ready this year.’ He never told me that before.”

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