Shi.....shkabob! Justin Upton's K-rate is causing mucho damage to many a helmet!

The Braves' lineup needs balance, the time is coming...

Shi…..shkabob! Justin Upton‘s K-rate is causing mucho damage to many a helmet!

Make no mistake, Jose Fernandez is one heck of a pitcher…

However, what he did to the Braves tonight shows the major flaw in an offense that is carried by the home run, and beaten by the strikeout.  When the Braves’ hitters face a power pitcher such as the one they saw tonight, it’s hopeless and the ever-wailing starts in; babies cry, grown men throw things, wives beg for divorce and hoards of pre-teens learn words that are not taught to them by their grammar teacher in primary school.  This high-K rate, high power, is one of the major reasons why many baseball analysts think the Braves, as they’re currently built, will never make a serious run into the playoffs, as the playoffs are predominantly full of power pitchers.  Here’s a look at tonight’s lineup, how they fared against Fernandez, and each player’s K% for the year:

Braves’ Lineup

1. Jason Heyward- 1 for 4, 2 K, Striking out 23% of plate appearances

2. B.J. Upton- 0 for 4, 0 K  Striking out  27% of plate appearances

3. Freddie Freeman- 0 for 4, 3 K, Striking out 14% of plate appearances

4. Justin Upton- 0 for 3, 3 K, Striking out 35% of plate appearances

5. Chris Johnson- 1 for 3, 1 K, Striking out 27% of plate appearances

6. Dan Uggla- 0 for 3, 3 K, Striking out 27% of plate appearances

7. Evan Gattis- 0 for 3, 3 K, Striking out 22% of plate appearances

8. Andrelton Simmons- 1 for 3, 0 K, Striking out 3% of plate appearances

In my opinion, it couldn’t be more obvious that the lineup needs some balance.  The lineup is right-handed heavy and strikeout prone, 2 weaknesses that right-handed power arms will expose.

The Braves have a player that would be the ideal compliment to a team chock-full of right-handed power hitters.  An ideal player that would balance the lineup would be a left-handed hitter who puts the ball in play, can take a walk, has the ability to make pitchers work.  This guy will replace one of the right-handed, strikeout prone players of which isn’t producing enough to counter the High-K rate.   It just so happens the Braves have a player that fits the exact criteria! This player has went 9 for his last 16 with 0 strikeouts and 3 walks.  This player has only struck out 3 times the entire 2014 season and has only struck out about 10% of his plate appearances for his career.  In my opinion, this player’s time has come, and the move should be swift and without apology. Dan Uggla, I wish you all the best in another uniform.

Tommy La Stella,  it’s time. Hope to see you in the lineup soon!

Tags: Atlanta Braves Tommy La Stella

  • Jeff Schafer

    Interesting take…Uggla is swinging the bat well (decent) but his defense now is the issue. A left handed bat you want? How about Schafer?

    • Ryan Cothran

      Schafer would be a lateral move as his K-rate is also high. I only have eyes for La Stella.

      • Jeff Schafer

        True about the K’s but he’s also a spark and makes things happen…something this offense could use

        • Ryan Cothran

          Schafer would come at the expense of BJ, of which the Braves still owe 55 million dollars. Uggla is only owed about 1/3 of that. Money talks.

    • Ryan Cothran

      My issue with looking at Uggla’s current success (or, last 9 games which would include is 2 home run day):
      1. It’s really not that outstanding: .828 OPS, 1 double, 2 HR
      2. Carried by a high BABIP (.348, or 61 points higher than his career average)
      3. It’s “one game” heavy (look at last 7 instead of last 9 and the line drops significantly to a.535 OPS)
      4. As you mentioned above, any success was countered by terrible defense of which was a direct factor in 1 loss and would’ve been in the other had Walden not bailed him out.

      I’ll admit, when dealing with a small sample such as 9 games, then saying “well, if you take out this game” is completely unfair and devalues the argument….HOWEVER, the one game anomaly seems to be just that, and Dan Uggla is not a good ballplayer anymore.

      The current veterans on the team have obviously grown close to Uggla over the past few years, and rightfully as he seems to be a good guy and a great teammate. I don’t like the idea of cutting ties with him deep into the season, rather give the guys time to adjust in the clubhouse without him.

      This move is past overdue. La Stella is ready. Uggla seems done.

  • Matt Talbert

    Uggla isn’t the problem. He’s had a lot of hard hit balls (especially the other way) that have been right at-em. Uggla IMO isn’t the problem. Its primarily this year all on Heyward and his abysmal start to the season at the top of the order. Why not drop him in the lineup. Simmons is swinging well, JUp and Freeman are hitting alright too but outside of that and occasionally CJ…we do need a lead off hitter til Heyward gets it going I think either dropping him down in the lineup, benching him for a few games or even consider sending him down to AAA for a little while to get consistent again.

    • Ryan Cothran

      I have a lot of issues with your rebuttal, but I’ll keep it short…
      1. Uggla doesn’t provide offensive or defensive value. Heyward always provides defensive value.
      2. Uggla has 2 repeated years of poor production and is worse this year than either of the other years. Jason Heyward does not.
      3. Heyward’s batting average on balls in play is lower than Uggla’s, which means he’s been less lucky than Uggla.

      I thank you for the thoughts, but your points are very short-sighted and do not take into account past or future production, merely just the now. In no way can baseball operate that way, nor should it.

      • Matt Talbert

        i agree but I was trying to be positive on Uggla for once instead of always critical. So you don’t agree with moving Heyward down in the lineup? I never disagreed with his (Ug) defense, but he’s always been a little shaky on routine plays (he does well in DPs and making great plays)