Fredi Gonzalez began the year with a strong group of starters—even with Tim Hudson on the disabled list—and plenty of possible reinforcements. When Jair Jurrjens coughed up five home runs and 10 walks in his first four starts, Atlanta had the luxury of sending him down, because Hudson was finally healthy and Randall Delgado was emerging as a reliable rotation piece.
Legendary scout Bill Wight's legacy lives on in Atlanta's pitching-rich rotation, but should the Braves trade from strength to address a weakness?
The Braves have too many young starters—a statement as timeless as any in baseball, right up there with "the Pirates hope to have a winning season” or “the Yankees lead the league in payroll.” Some things in baseball are destined to stay the same. Atlanta’s evergreen supply of young arms seems to be one of them.
Often, when a person joins a team just as it begins to do something well, he or she is identified as the catalyst for that change. That John Schuerholz has become the iconic figure behind the Braves’ pitching dominance is no surprise. Blossoming starting pitchers shaped Schuerholz’s legacy as much as, or perhaps more than, any other group of players did.
A late-season swoon brought the club's offensive shortcomings into focus
Kiss 'Em Goodbye is a series focusing on MLB teams as their postseason dreams fade—whether in September (or before), the League Division Series, League Championship Series or World Series. It combines a broad overview from Baseball Prospectus, a front-office take from former MLB GM Jim Bowden, a best- and worst-case scenario ZiPS projection for 2012 from Dan Szymborski and Kevin Goldstein's farm system overview.
While there is a confusing starting rotation picture for the AL playoff contenders, the NL is much clearer.
With the matter of the playoff participants in both leagues largely settled, on Wednesday I examined the unsettled nature of the playoff rotations of the likely AL representatives. As I showed, each has a considerable amount of unfinished business with regards to identifying their front four, with injuries and matchup issues both playing a part, and there's relatively little separation between the four, at least according to a quick and dirty measure I nabbed from Nate Silver's back pages. By comparison, the NL teams have much less uncertainty as to who will be taking the ball, and much more certainty about whom the fairest of them all is, at least when it comes to post-season rotations.
We finally learn what's really ailing HanRam, Josh Johnson is done for the year, J.D. Drew is up to his old injury tricks, and Jair Jurrjens' season is in jeopardy.
Hanley Ramirez, FLO (Left shoulder instability) [AGL: 16, ATD: +.030] (Explanation)
The full extent of Ramirez's problems have come to light, and as we expected, he was dealing with more than a simple sprain. It's now been reported that the MRI has shown shoulder “instability,” and Ramirez will be meeting with team physician Dr. Lee Kaplan to discuss the options from here. One thing needs to be cleared up, though: shoulder MRIs don't directly show instability. They reveal injuries and findings consistent with instability, such as sprains of certain ligaments or tearing of the capsule.
The reports of Ramirez not having any structural damage are also somewhat misleading, given the anatomy and lack of bony stability in the shoulder. There can be soft tissue injuries that don't allow a baseball player to function, but they aren’t considered structural issues. The diagnosis of instability relates to symptoms associated with abnormal looseness of a joint and is somewhat dependent on subjective reports of popping out of the shoulder, pain, and other symptoms. It's not like looking at a knee MRI and seeing a torn ACL.
Chipper's forecasting namesake meets its maker, and it doesn't like his chances.
The Team Injury Projections are here, driven by our brand new injury forecasting system, the Comprehensive Health Index [of] Pitchers [and] Players [with] Evaluative Results—or, more succinctly, CHIPPER. Thanks to work by Colin Wyers and Dan Turkenkopf and a database loaded with injuries dating back to the 2002 season—that's nearly 4,600 players and well over 400,000 days lost to injury—we now have a system that produces injury-risk assessments to three different degrees. CHIPPER projects ratings for players based on their injury history—these ratings measure the probability of a player missing one or more games, 15 or more games, or 30 or more games. CHIPPER will have additional features added to it throughout the spring and early season that will enhance the accuracy of our injury coverage.
These ratings are also available in the Player Forecast Manager (pfm.baseballprospectus.com), where they'll be sortable by league or position—you won’t have to wait for us to finish writing this series in order to see the health ratings for all of the players.