Apr 23, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons (19) attempts to turn a double play over Miami Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich (21) in the eighth inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Morning Chop: Atlanta Braves News 4/25/14


Sports On Earth

Tomahawk Take Editorial Comment: Howard Megdal of Sports On Earth takes a look at how Andrelton Simmons compares with the great Ozzie Smith, and how he has the talent to be on the same trajectory as the legend.


Standing in the Atlanta Braves dugout on Friday afternoon, I asked Fredi Gonzalez to consider his 24-year-old shortstop, Andrelton Simmons, in terms of Ozzie Smith.

This is the comparison many people are reaching for at the moment, and it isn’t a question of hyperbole. It’s because we simply don’t have anyone to compare Simmons to, at the level he is playing defense at shortstop, who’s come after Smith.



Baseball Prospectus

Tomahawk Take Editorial Note: Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus believes there’s no reason to think Aaron Harang‘s current level of success has anything to do with him having somehow re-invented himself, and that his success couldn’t be sustainable.  That’s easy to say when you’re having Harang’s level of success.  No one can sustain that for long, but Harang has in fact made changes to the way he pitches.  Be that as it may, take a look at Ben’s view on Harang…

Overthinking It

One of the things I’d like to think the baseball community has gotten better about is recognizing a fluke when we see one. When Jeff Locke pitched to a 2.15 ERA in the first half of 2013, running an 8-2 record, almost no one was buying. Instead of being distracted by the ERA or the record, we focused on the low strikeout-to-walk ratio, the microscopic BABIP, the middling velocity, and the fact that he wasn’t one of the team’s top 11 prospects the last time he was eligible. “Jeff Locke is going to regress,” intoned every internet analyst. “It is known.” We even had stats—FIP, xFIP, and so on—to support our position, which made the argument easier. That’s not to say that before Bill James, every soft-tosser who strung together a few successful starts was christened the next Sandy Koufax. But information is easier than ever to access, and most of it suggested that Locke wouldn’t last.




Tomahawk Take Editorial Note: You’re living under a rock if you follow baseball, but don’t know how good the Atlanta Braves’ rotation is!  Mark Bowman takes a look at just how good they are…

Despite key losses, rotation boasts Majors’ best ERA

Harang, Santana, Teheran, Wood big reasons why Atlanta sits atop NL East standings

ATLANTA — The Braves entered this season with a rotation that included two highly regarded young hurlers who had combined for 45 career starts, one vagabond who had just joined his sixth organization in the past calendar year, and a rookie whose Major League experience consisted of the two starts he had made in September.

A little more than three weeks later, the Braves find themselves sitting atop the National League East primarily because of the splendid performance of a rotation that has started this season more impressively than any of the storied Greg Maddux/Tom Glavine/John Smoltz staffs that graced Atlanta during the 1990s.




Tomahawk Take Editorial Note: The next series for the Atlanta Braves will be against the Cincinnati Reds, and Mark Bowman takes an early look at some of the challenges that will face the Braves during that series…

Braves, Santana aware of Hamilton’s elite speed

Righty has been superb for Atlanta; Cincy outfielder a threat on bases

ATLANTA — As the Braves attempt to continue their early success, they can only hope that their stellar pitching staff finds a way to keep Reds rookie outfielder Billy Hamilton off the basepaths during this weekend’s three-game series at Turner Field.

The Braves will get their first look at Hamilton when they send Ervin Santana to the mound to oppose Homer Bailey in Friday night’s series opener. While Bailey has experienced some struggles during this season’s first three weeks, Santana has provided indication he is worth the one-year, $14.1 million contract he signed on March 12.




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