Mac: You really need another lefty, you want Horacio Ramirez?
Rich: Hey, Mac…you mean the guy you like to call HomeRam?
And later in the chat:
Mac: What really worries me is that we’re in a division with Delgado, Floyd, Howard, Utley, and Abreu and we have one southpaw starter, who isn’t very good and gives up lots of homers.
Jeremy: I really wouldn’t be shocked to see Ramirez displaced at some point this season. I just don’t see him pitching well at all this year. But, as you note Bryan, the Braves have young starters ready to step in.
Mac: I like Davies a lot, as does Cox, and the Braves are going to do something (a trade, or a move of Sosa or Thomson to the pen) to get him in the rotation.
HoRam reminds me of another young left-handed pitcher who came through the Braves system—no, not Tom Glavine. He reminds me of Jason Marquis. I know he’s a lefty batter, right-handed thrower, but his situation was quite similar. He was a young starter whom the Braves gave every chance to succeed. Eventually, the Braves lost their patience with him, moved him to the bullpen, and then traded him. Marquis had a decent season two years ago with the Cardinals, but reverted back to form in 2005. Like HoRam, Marquis has trouble keeping the ball in the park, he’s no strikeout wizard, and his best ERA seasons have been out of line with his peripheral stats.
Those who think HoRam is going to succeed because Leo Mazzone is gone need to have something more to hold onto than that. I’ve been doing a lot further analysis of Mazzone’s work and I’ve found that he works his magic in the areas where Ramirez needs the most help: strikeouts and home runs. Mazzone’s pitchers have consistently better strikeout and home run rates when they pitch for him. Bobby Cox may handle pitchers well, but he doesn’t show them how to pitch. I think it’s going to be an extremely tough year.