Thursday, May 28, 2009


I don't talk much about statistics here, and in fact don't pay much attention to them, but sometimes you *know* a player sucks and want to be able to prove it with more than blurting out, "So-and-so sucks!" So one of my favorite fancy stats to use is VORP, or Value Over Replacement Player. The definition from Baseball Prospectus reads, "The number of runs contributed beyond what a replacement-level player at the same position would contribute if given the same percentage of team plate appearances. VORP scores do not consider the quality of a player's defense."

If there was a VORP for fielding, players like Schafer and Frenchy would probably rank pretty high! However, for hitting, they are kinda bottom-of-the-barrel. Schafer ranks 29th of 31 center fielders in MLB in VORP (min. 100 PA), and Frenchy ranks 29th of 30 right fielders (same guidelines).

That means, in all of major league baseball, there are 28 better CFs and 28 better RFs than who is starting for our Braves. That's sad.

It's clearly not potential-related -- both guys have been hyped since their signing as The Next Great Thing. So what is it? Is it mental? Are they hiding injuries? Are there mechanical flaws? Would it be best if everyone left them alone and let them play for a couple of weeks without any media analysis at all? ;)

If you're interested, here are the Braves' team rankings in VORP. Obviously the higher the number, the better the player.

Best hitter: Chipper Jones
Worst hitter: Jeff Francoeur
Best pitcher: Derek Lowe
Worst pitcher: ...Jair Jurrjens?? I can't agree with that!

Statistics suck. I'm done.

ETA: Ah, this ranking makes much more sense. Thanks, Jessica. I knew something wasn't right.

Best pitcher: Jair Jurrjens
Worst pitcher: Buddy Carlyle


Anonymous said...

I don't understand why Jordan Schafer is still out wracking up strike outs when Jason Heyward is clearly a lot better and only a phone call from taking his place. I've tried being patient w' him throughout his slump, but lately it's been running out and after games like the last three, we need something different. I love Frenchy and I'd really hate to see him go, but he's not helping much either. I find myself moaning everytime he comes up to bat in a clutch situation instead of feeling confident like, say, three years ago.

CABravesFan said...


Jason Heyward has yet to play a single game above high A ball...he is NOT major league ready yet. He may be by September but there is no reason to rush him at all...

Lauren T. said...

I love Heyward, but I don't think he'll be ready to be a major-league starter until 2011, if not 2012. The minors are very important in player development, not just in teaching skills but also in mental preparation. As you can see with Schafer and Francoeur, some players struggle with the mental leap between AA and the majors, and some (Mac) are fine.

SCJ said...

I love Jason Heyward. Love, love, love. But I don't expect to see him called up anytime soon. No need to rush him.

As for Jordan, the Braves have no backup plan. I hear Gregor's name for CF & it makes me want to scream. His numbers are slightly better than Jordan's, but at the Minor League level. Doesn't sound like he'd be a better option.

While I'm ready for Jordan to get in it gear, I kind of like this humbling experience for quite a confident boy.

Jessica said...

Thanks, Lauren. This is awesome.

I like Francoeur a lot as a person and have high hopes for him that he can get his mental issues or mechanical problems worked out. However, at this point, I wouldn't mind if he got them worked out somewhere else. And while I love Bobby Cox and don't think anyone could do better, at what point do you bench Schafer (or Medlen for that matter) and admit it's not just age...they're not cutting it right now? Guess I grew up watching in the early 90's when 1st place was the norm and am not used to finishing below .500.

Jessica said...

SCJ, I like that last comment!

Jen said...

SCJ's right - there's no backup plan for Schafer. While I think he's an above-average defender, at some point, that doesn't make up for the lack of offense (and the zillions of strikeouts). Gregor may fare a bit better offensively if were called up, but you lose the defense. I just hope the Braves get the entire outfield situated soon. Our production out there is absolutely atrocious.

Amanda said...

Neither one of their level of suck would be so glaring if they BOTH weren't so bad. I can over look JS's a little more because he's a rookie and because he, at least sometimes, shows a lot of patience at the plate. I'm out of excuses for the French. And the sad part is, we have nobody behind them who is ready and nobody on the bench who can play their positions well or regularly or at all.

I agree with Lauren's last statement, I hate stats too!

Jen said...

You raise a good point, Amanda. Who exactly is our backup outfielder for those guys? I know Omar Infante was at one time the backup centerfielder, but that's not helpful at this point. Speaking of Omar, we are missing him in a bad way right now.

Lauren T. said...

Norton can play the corner outfield spots, and MattE can play all three spots (even if he's not the most graceful). :)

Tara said...

I want MattE all day! haha. Love that kid!! And Kelly is also another possibility for Jordan since neither Matt or Norton are very long range from center. Believe it or not, KJ's seen time in the outfield before and don't be surprised if he gives Schafer a night off soon! I'm calling it! Haha.

Lauren, did you noticed your "off" Vorp stats for the pitchers were because you were looking at their hitting vorp? Who knew DLowe faired so well as a hitter! Ha!

PS - bought my yankees tickets today. Anybody else??

Lauren T. said...

Ahh, that was the problem. Thanks! :)

I got Yankees tickets through a friend a few weeks ago, and I'll be buying Red Sox tickets tonight or tomorrow. I hate the lottery system, but I suppose the purpose is to keep huge chunks of tickets out of the hands of brokers.

Tara said...

Yeah, and that's the ONLY reason I'm ok with the lottery system in this case. I just hate buying them through TicketMaster. It really is a crappy system. You'd think they'd adopt some pointers from basic sites like swickets and such.

For the record, it only works with internet explorer...not Mozilla. Found that out the hard way!

Lauren T. said...

Tara, apparently I waited a little too late. Two tix in 418 were $54.55! And we're up in the super-nosebleeds! Oh well, at least it'll be shaded. :D

Tara said...

I'm sure the weekend BoSox tickets went first. I'm bet that's why. Well, I hope you picked Friday's late game, rather than the earlier ones for Sat. and Sun!