Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Quick Thought on the Braves

The Braves' three-game winning streak ended last night at Petco Park. Likewise, the team's improved patience at the plate that saw them walk 16 times in three game against the defending world champions disappeared, as the Braves managed to go for an entire 13-inning game without getting a single free pass. The series against the Padres matches the teams with the two lowest on-base percentages in the NL. Not surprisingly for two teams that can't get on base, the Braves are 14th in the NL in runs per game and the Padres are dead last. Also not surprisingly, two teams that combine to average 6.71 runs per game were 3-3 at the end of nine innings.

Based on a subjective feeling that the Braves are hacking at everything, I expected to look at the league offensive numbers and see the team at the bottom of the NL in walks. That's not the case. The Braves are fifth in the NL in walks, while the similarly punchless Padres are second. The problem with these teams' offenses is not that they are hacking at everything; it's that they aren't getting hits when they put balls in play, as they are 15th and 16th in the NL in BABIP. Now, I only know enough about advanced baseball stats to be dangerous to myself, but doesn't this imply that both teams are a little unlucky? I know that BABIP isn't a luck issue for batters the same way it is for pitchers, but there has to be something of a luck element going on here. The Braves are second in the NL in homers, they're fifth in walks, and they're right at league average in strikeouts. Their three true outcomes are indicative of a team that should be a little above average in offense, not scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Anyway, these are the things I tell myself after they scored three runs in 13 innings.

1 comment:

peacedog said...

Well, the Braves are only 5th in walks thanks to the staggering 16 Walks they posted in 3 games against SF (Colorado, the league leader, averagea a little over 4 walks a game and the Braves were a walk a game ahead of that). So they probably jumped from 9th to 5th.

But yeah, you would expected BABIP to shift over the course fo the year. It would be interesting to see how many ground balls are being produced. A high number would lead to more outs, and possibly reflect the slow starts of folks like Uggla.

It's also true that the 1st and 2nd spots haven't generated many walks until the last week (Prado at one point had 5 of his 6 walks on the season on this road trip; Heyward got moved up in the order of course).