Tagged: Philadelphia Phillies

The Real All-Stars

I think just about everyone who voted on this year’s All-Star teams has been frustrated in some way or another. Some guys got snubbed despite having a stellar season in favor of someone having a mediocre season but has that “reputation.”
2009 ASGAs an Atlanta Braves fan my biggest issue is having Brian McCann make the team as a reserve and not a starter in favor of Yadier Molina. McCann is easily having the better season despite spending time on the DL and having horrible eye problems. Molina just happens to be the more popular player so he gets the nod even though he hasn’t been playing as well.

Another issue I have as a Braves fan is the fact that neither Rafael Soriano (1-1, 1.63 ERA, 8 saves) or Mike Gonzalez ( 3-1, 3.20 ERA, 9 saves) got voted in. I try to be as unbiased as possible but dammit at least one of those guys deserves to be in St. Louis. Instead of one of them Ted Lilly (8-6, 3.32 ERA) made the team. I obviously see that his record doesn’t tell the tale of his season but if you want to play that game then Jair Jurrjens (6-7, 2.91) deserves to be there.

Lance BerkmanSomething that puzzles me is why does the National League have 4 first baseman? They have 4 first baseman while only carrying 2 shortstops and 2 third baseman. As for the first baseman I think Lance Berkman is having just as good a season as Ryan Howard. People talk about versatility, Berkman can play the corner outfield positions as well as first base. Did I mention he switch hits? Ryan Howard already as 95 strikeouts. Who wants to see a guy take an 0-2 with 2K in a freaking All-Star game? There are 4 first baseman while someone like Casey Blake is left off the team.

In the American League Dustin Pedroia who is having a solid season is starting over Aaron Hill while Brian Roberts didn’t even make the team. Everyone jumped on the Josh Hamilton band wagon and sent him there, the guy hasn’t even played. Hamilton himself said he didn’t deserve to be there. He made it instead of a guy like Juan Rivera, who is killing the ball this year.

Juan RiveraWhat this all boils down to his the All-Star game is a popularity contest. The average fan knows the most popular players and that’s about it. The most popular players aren’t always the best ones. As long as the All-Star game actually “counts” the leagues need to be presenting the best team possible. Something interesting, the National League has 2 more teams than the American League which means they have to have a representative from 2 more teams.

If MLB wants this game to actually count then I want the players making the decisions. No one knows the players like the players so it’s only right. If they want the fans to get involved then make the game count for nothing or give them power over the reserves at most.

Over and out,

Ben

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The Unsung Hero

Martin PradoMartin Prado not only has been Atlanta‘s hero in the last few games, but he has been for the entire season.

It is easy to disregard the earlier part of the season and replace it with the previous two games, in which Prado has gone 6-9 with four runs scored, two doubles, one home run and six RBI. In the last two games Prado has improved his season batting average 25 points, yes, 25 points. It is easy to overlook his complete body of work when he provides an outstanding two game stretch.

When you look past Prado’s recent success you will find a mediocre .280 batting average with 3 home runs and nine RBI. His offense has been above average, but it is his defensive versatility that really gives this young man value. Prado has played in at least 10 games at three different positions. His ability to play first, second, and third base give him value. Seeing his recent success gives me flashbacks of another versatile player named Mark DeRosa.

Mark DeRosaI believe it is safe to
say that the second base job is Prado’s to lose at this point. He has
proven time and time again that he can play solid defense and now his
offense is coming around when given the chance to play on a regular
basis.

Prado’s recent success has not only drawn whispers from fans,
but it has caught the eye of manager Bobby Cox. “He’s too hot to take
out,” Cox stated after Prado’s walk-off single against the Phillies Tuesday night.
If Prado continues to succeed Kelly Johnson will remain on the bench. Johnson has had plenty of opportunities and rarely has been able to cash in. Now it’s Prado’s turn.

Till next time,

Ben

Help On The Way?

It should be interesting to see if the Braves can actually land an impact bat. I think it is pretty clear that without another bat Atlanta’s sickly offense won’t be able to back their strong starting pitching.

Jeremy HermidaI have read that Atlanta has shown interest in Florida’s Jeremy Hermida, but I don’t think that makes much sense. He has been compared to Jeff Francoeur, which I’m sure doesn’t make Atlanta fans very excited. He has more power than Francoeur but doesn’t play as well defensively. People are hard on Francouer’s offense but we often forget that he plays Gold Glove defense year round.

Hermida hits for about the same average but has shown more power with 8 home runs. Francoeur however has driven in more runs. I value runs driven in over home runs, but that’s just me.

I don’t see Atlanta bringing in Matt Holliday as a rental. It would end up being a Mark Teixeira debacle all over again. I would rather Atlanta go for a mid level outfielder such as maybe an Alex Rios over a huge bat such as Holliday. If the Braves can’t bring in a big bat I think Martin Prado has shown as of last night that he can produce. Sure, he isn’t a big bat but he is an upgrade over Kelly Johnson. Atlanta has gotten just about nothing from Johnson so anything from that position could be a huge boost.

Yunel EscobarJohnson has been inconsistent at best, both offensively and defensively. Prado is quickly proving he can play above average defense as well as hit for a decent average and drive in runs. If he plays anything like he did against the Phillies for the rest of the year the Braves may not need another bat.

Unfortunately as Prado shines when on the field, Yunel Escobar keeps giving the Braves reasons to trade him. It really is unfortunate that someone with so much talent can’t play the game the right way. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see Escobar go by the end of the week. He has been arguably the most productive offensive player for the Braves but just can’t seem to see that his behavior both on and off the field doesn’t make up for his production on it. It really is a shame to see a potential superstar waste his career like this.

Till next time,

Ben