Tag:Atlanta Braves
Posted on: April 15, 2009 12:28 am

NL Only Player Spot Light- Javier Vazquez


Steve walks warily down the street,
With the brim pulled way down low
Ain't no sound but the sound of his feet,
Machine guns ready to go
Are you ready, Are you ready for this
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat
Out of the doorway the bullets rip
To the sound of the beat

Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey, I'm gonna get you too
Another one bites the dust......


If you were born anytime within the last 20 years you'll have surely heard this Queen classic Another One Bites the Dust . To me it's a great anthem, it's a song that ought to be played at all big sporting events (boxing, mixed martial arts, football, basketball, hockey, baseball, curling, bowling you name it) but of all things it should be reserved for ace pitchers, lets take it a step further it should be reserved for strike out artists.

A mocking exit for the hitter and a forboding message for the man on deck....you don't mess with this.

Every time I watch the Atlanta Braves new K-Master Javier Vazquez take the mound, I start singing this song. I just can't help myself. Nothing excites me more then watching a pitcher mow through the lineup whilst picking up 9-12 strike outs in the process. Sure I know that it leads to high pitch counts and early exits yadda yadda, but I can't help it. I'm a slave to the strike out.

That is the one facet of the game that Javy excels in, check these out.

2006- 11-12, 4.84era, 1.29whip, 184k, 56bb, 8.17K/9, 3.29K/BB

2007- 15-8, 3.74era, 1.14whip, 213k, 50bb, 8.85K/9, 4.26K/BB

2008- 12-16, 4.76era, 1.32whip, 200k, 61bb, 8.64K/9, 3.28K/BB

2009- 0-1, 4.50era, 1.25whip, 17k, 5bb, 12.64K/BB, 3.40K/BB

From those stats we can see a few trends thathave true through out Javy's career. A- He's not going to be a huge 20 win starter, or much better then a .500 guy for that matter (127-129 life time), so counting on him for more then 12 wins is a bit much. B- His ERA and Whip, could both be better but's a career spanning stat so expect improvement, and finally, though not displayed a propensity to serve up the long ball. Surrendering  23, 29, 25 in the previous three seasons it at least indicative that he's creative. So with these knocks against why do I like him?

1-K/9 Ratio- Anything higher then 7K/9 amongst starters is a great, 8+K/9 is fantastic. So you know that no matter what you're going to get a bunch of strike outs each outting.

2- Very good control- A base line for starters is a 2/1 K/BB ration, when a guy boasted a career 3.32K/BB ratio you know he's pretty good.

3- A Pitcher Park- After years of pitching in hitters havens Yankees Stadium, Chase Field and US Cellular, Javy is moving into a pitchers park, which should help knock down the 1.19HR/9 ration he's sported over his career.

4- Durability- Not to many pitchers can say that they've averaged 208.2 innings over the last 3 seasons. Combine that with an average of 199 strike outs, and you've got yourself a war horse.


In your drafts this year if you took Javier Vazquez as your ace, unfortunately you're going to be disappointed but if you made him your number 2-3 knowing that what you see is what you get then you'll get your money's worth. There may be a new breed of strike out artists on the horizon, but as long as this horse is still over powering hitters, he'll remain a favourite of mine, and on my fantasy rosters.

Posted on: April 5, 2009 3:37 pm

This Years National League Rookie of The Year

There are a ton of websites and experts offering you Top 100 Prospect lists, their feelings on the potential 2009 Rookie of the Year, as well as providing a little snip-it of their fantasy relevance.

Since I'm not a certified "expert" , and I don't get paid to write this blog, I figured I'd wait until the beginning of the season until the rosters were established to make my pick. I mean what's the point of saying that Dayan Viciedo is going to win the Rookie of the Year if he's no the opening day roster?

So without further delay here's my bold prediction.

Well it's not very bold, nor is it a shock to others, but my pick for National League Rookie of the Year is none other then the Atlanta Braves center fielder Jordan Schafer.

I've like this kid for a number of years. He's a highly touted player with a great skill set, and despite that he's most commonly known for his 50 game suspension last year for his steroid use.

So why do I think he's going to beat out the likes of the Colorado Rockies outfielder Dexter Fowler, the St.Louis Cardinals Colby Rasmus or the Florida Marlins Cameron Maybin?

It's the good mix of power ,speed and defense.

His minor league numbers are rather impressive.

2005- Rookie Ball- 3hr, 19rbi, 13sb, 18r, .203ba, 13bb, 49k, .256obp, .352slg, .608ops

2006- Single A- 8hr, 60rbi, 15sb, 49r, .240ba, 28bb, 95k, .293obp, .376slg, .669ops

2007-A/Advanced A- 15hr, 63rbi, 23sb, 86r, .312ba, 56bb, 126k, .374obp, .513slg, .887ops

2008-Double A- 10hr, 51rbi, 12sb, 46r, .269ba, 49bb, 88k, .378obp, .417slg, .850ops.

All before the age of 22.

The guy has double digit power and speed with solid on base numbers, and an improving batters eye. The biggest knock against him is the hole in his swing resulting in a high K rate (24.1, 24, 21.8, 29.6) which can be fixed given his age, but the real knock against him is the taint remaining from his use of HGH.

With out any real competition in the OF his job is safe and I'm expecting good things. Not to the extent of Evan Longoria last season but a solid line of  70r, 15hr, 65rbi, 20sb, .270avg from the number 6 slot. Though a move up in the order, a bounce back from Jeff Francouer and a break out from Casey Kotchman, and those numbers could look conservative.

Maybe it's a little Braves homerism, but this guy has all the tools to be a star in the big leagues, and is my pick for the 2009 NL ROY.




Posted on: January 10, 2009 4:03 am

Smoltz, Penny Sign with Red Sox

So all those rumors that Atlanta Braves fans were fearing, are now in fact true.

Legendary Braves pitcher, John Smoltz has officially signed with the Boston Red Sox.

 After posting 210 W and 154 SV in 21 with Atlanta, Smoltzy leaves after 21 years of service to better his chances of finishing his career a with a World Series ring.

"Smoltz will earn a $5.5 million base salary with the Red Sox, and can earn up to $5 million in an incentive clause. The incentives include $125,000 for his first day on the active roster, $500,000 if he is on the active roster on the last day of the season, and up to $4.375 million for the number of days he is on the major league roster during the season. Miscellaneous bonuses would come into play if he wins comeback player of the year, the Cy Young or other such awards. " ( http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/
story?id=3819298 )

 Smoltz will likely start the season as the 4-5 starter, and gives the Red Sox (if healthy) the best pitching rotation in the league, head lined by Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield and the newly arrived, Brad Penny.

From a fantasy stand point, John Smoltz becomes an attractive late round pick in deep leagues or a guy to keep a watch on as a free agent. His win total will definitely rise, as well as his era and whip, if he return in early May, a 13-14 win season with a 3.70 era and 1.34 whip wouldn't be out of the question.

 As a Braves fan this is beyond disappointing even more so then when Tom Glavine signed with the enemy, the New York Mets. Many Atlanta fans are flabbergasted at John's decision. I understand the reasoning for the move, and even though it's going to hurt to see Smoltz on the back of a Red Sox jersey I will take solace in the fact that his odds of ending the season with a championship are a lot higher now.

Brad Penny like Smoltz signed with the Red Sox after enduring arm injuries in the previous season,

 "Penny signed a one-year contract worth a base salary of $5 million, but has innings-based performance incentives that could garner him an additional $3 million. Penny became a free agent after the Dodgers paid him a $2 million buyout rather than picking up his $9.25 million option. Penny, 30, is 94-75 in his career, with a 4.06 ERA and 1,032 strikeouts. He has spent his entire career in the National League." (http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/news/a

From a fantasy stand point Brad Penny is in the same boat as Smoltz. His era, whip and wins will most definitely rise, 15-16 w, and a 4.00 era, 1.35 whip are worth a late round flyer or early free agent pick up. In AL only leagues, Brad Penny is a must draft pitcher, but only as a #5 SP. 

 As stated in the article, this signing could well be one of the biggest steals of the free agent signing season.
All being told the Boston Red Sox have countered the New York Yankees extravagant spending spree by signing high risk/ high reward pitchers that should again make them the favourite of the East. 2009 will be a season to remember, especially the battle for AL East supremacy.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com