Tagged: Atlanta Braves

9/24 Nothing Left…

…but the Wild Card. That’s right, all of the divisions have been decided except for the Wild Card.

NL West – Diamondbacks
NL Central – Brewers
NL East – Phillies

AL West – Rangers
AL Central – Tigers
AL East – Yankees

As of right now the Red Sox hold a 1.5 game lead over the Rays in the American League and the Braves have a slim 2 game lead over the Cardinals, with the Cardinals igniting over the last two weeks.

With four games left in the regular season losses are huge. Could there be two one-game playoff’s? One? Or will both Wild Card’s be decided in 162 games? We’ll know soon enough.

“Youth Movement” Thoughts & Other Stuff

We all like a good batch of young, talented players. And I am not one to argue the worth of a prospect. But what if none of the players have ever played together at a big-league level? What if it’s a whole new team of youngsters with absolutely no chemistry?

The Sox are going into the 2009 season with a team full of new ballplayers. Dayan Viciedo, Josh Fields (though he’s played before), Cole Armstrong, Chris Getz and a few other pitchers all have never played — or never played long — at this level. We’ve still maintained a handful of the experienced players, but for the most part we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel for an opening day roster.

Spring Training hasn’t started yet, I know, but I can already tell we’re headed for a roller-coaster ride of a season. Sporting News, in their annual preview magazine, see the AL Central as follows:

  1. Twins
  2. Indians
  3. Royals
  4. Sox
  5. Tigers

At first glance I was shocked and appalled at this prediction but now that I have given it time to sink in… I realize the possible truth to their outlook.

Our infield depth has dropped considerably. Orlando Cabrera, Joe Crede and Juan Uribe are all gone. Uribe could play any infield position while O.C. and Crede were limited to only one slot, shortstop and third base, respectively. Alexei Ramirez, our current shortstop, can also play center and can beat the heck out of the second base position. Chris Getz, a promising rookie, is filling the second base role on the current Sox depth chart. In ten games on the South Side squad last year Getz had seven plate appearances with two hits for a .286 average.

Here are two ways the season could turn out based on my above comments.

  • We crash and burn as Sporting News predicted.
  • We sit in first place for a good portion of the year, then drop off the map

Now give me some time to argue with myself.

Maybe having a bunch of rookies is a good thing! All of these players will be fighting to keep their jobs which, more often than not, results in good statistics. Look at Evan Longoria last year. He was rookie trying to keep the job the Rays had given him at third base and he ends up winning Rookie of the Year. I won’t say that any of our players are in line for winning American League Rookie of the Year as David Price, steering clear of injury, will surely walk away with the award.

Though this has nothing to do with the topic, I am going to throw this into the equation.

Say Carlos Quentin matches or betters his 2008 stats. That will give us roughly 100 RBI and 36 home runs (+/-) from one player alone. Give Thome the same thing and we’re up to 200 RBI and 72 homers. Same for Dye and Konerko and we’re already at 400 runs driven in and 144 round trippers from 4 players alone. All of the above mentioned players are more than capable of producing those kinds of numbers and have in the past.

2008Carlos Quentin… you know the story.
2006
– Jermaine Dye drives in 120 runs and hits 44 homers.
2006 – Jim Thome parks 42 jacks with 109 driven in. 
2005 – Paul Konerko hits 40 home runs and drives in 100.

There is proof that those players have had Ruthian seasons.

But, like in science, something has to be repeatable to be possible.

Vazquez, Logan Dealt

I know, I know; I’m a little late in reporting this but I figure if I write about it past the hot-period, I’ll attract more attention!

A few weeks ago Kenny Williams sent Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan down to the Atlanta Braves for a handful of prospects. But the one I’m most excited about is a catcher by the name of Tyler Flowers, and I’ll tell you why.

So far this off season we’ve done practically nothing but unload our big guns for prospects — and I’m all for that, don’t get me wrong. I’d love to see somebody from a trade emerge into someone nobody thought they would be. Carlos Quentin, for example. Who could’ve seen that happen? Anyway; Toby Hall is gone now and we don’t have a good, solid backup for Pierzynski. Flowers is a rookie, yes, so he probably won’t get called up for a good amount of time (at least until he proves himself in the minors). From what I’ve read on Braves.com, he seems to be pretty solid all the way around: good hitting, defense, strong arm, all the things you look for in a catcher.

In the Arizona Fall League last year, Flowers hit 12 homers and drove in 20 runs. This isn’t too impressive or in-your-face-I’m-good, but I think it show’s that he’s more of a defensive-based catcher.