Good Signs, Bad Signs

The Braves are in a hitting slump to start the season. Though some bats have started to come alive I wanted to point out some good and bad performances in some areas that may show how the future will go for some a few players. I will forgo mentioning that Chipper is 100% kicking ass (good), that he is hurt (bad), and that Andruw Jones is really struggling right now (bad).

Good signs

  • Adam LaRoche: 2004 walk-rate = 7%, 2005 walk-rate = 14%
  • Marcus Giles : 2004 Isolated Power = .130, 2005= Isolated Power= .170
  • Johnny Estrada: 2004 BB/K = .59, 2005 BB/K = 1

Bad signs

  • Rafael Furcal: 2004 walk-rate = 9.3%, 2005 walk-rate = 5.3%
  • Rafael Furcal: 2004 Pitches/PA= 3.97 , 2005 Pitches/PA= 3.55
  • Brian Jordan: 2004 Isolated Power = .142, 2005= Isolated Power= .070
  • Raul Mondesi: 2003 walk-rate = 9.6%, 2005 walk-rate = 2.7%
  • Raul Mondesi: 2003 BB/K = .58, 2005 BB/K = .11

I am particularly excited about Adam LaRoche. That .329 OBP to go with his .200 AVG makes me smile. He won’t be near the Mendoza line much longer. I am particularly bummed with Furcal. Bunts can be effective in spots, but he’s trying to do it way too much. I think his overall hitting is suffering, because he is not getting his at-bats. To me, speedster bunting should be like a basketball offense. You pound it inside to free up the jump shooters. Furcal needs to get his swing going to force the fielders back so he can get a bunt down when he needs to be on base. Plus, maybe he’d have the opportunity to get a walk here and there.

One Response “Good Signs, Bad Signs”

  1. Chuck Oliveros says:

    I must confess to being an Adam LaRoche skeptic. I keep reading people who expect great things for him, but I’ve never understood it. His OPS+ last year was 109, which is no great shakes for a first baseman, especially one who was platooning and generally didn’t have to face left-handers. Though we must consider the fact that we’re dealing with a small sample size here, wouldn’t it also be a bad sign that LaRoche currently only has a slugging percentage of .356?

    In addition to his numbers, there’s that nasty loop in his swing. Though the Braves were apparently working with him to eliminate it, the loop is still there. He’s probably been hitting that way since he was a little kid, so the chances of successfully teaching him a more compact stroke are probably pretty slim. If I were opposing pitchers, I would pound him inside with the fastball. Also, as long as he has that loop in his swing, he’ll never hit lefties effectively.

    I don’t know anything about Rafael Furcal’s general intelligence, but he certainly plays baseball like he’s a real bonehead. Instead of taking any kind of considered approach at the plate, he seems to fall in love with what he’s been most successful with of late. If he bunts for a base hit, then he’ll keep trying that until something distracts him from it. If he gets a hit on the first pitch, then he’ll go through a streak where he’s whaling away early in the count until he finally remembers that this might not be such a good idea, then he’ll go to working the count, which is great if he were to stick to it. And God forbid that he hit a homerun because then he’ll try to uppercut everything he sees for a while.