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Atlanta Braves State Of The Union 2014: The Hitters

Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward are the future of this team.  Having said that, Freeman has displayed a little bit more consistency in his play to start their Careers.  In 1908 AB so far (about 3 full years), Freeman has a 3 Slash Line of .285/.355/.466 with 68 HRs and 280 RBI.  2013 saw him make his 1st ALL - Star Game, and finish 5th in NL MVP Voting by going .319/.396/.501 - with 23 HRs and 109 RBI despite missing 15 games.

Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward are the future of this team. Having said that, Freeman has displayed a little bit more consistency in his play to start their Careers. In 1908 AB so far (about 3 full years), Freeman has a 3 Slash Line of .285/.355/.466 with 68 HRs and 280 RBI. 2013 saw him make his 1st ALL – Star Game, and finish 5th in NL MVP Voting by going .319/.396/.501 – with 23 HRs and 109 RBI despite missing 15 games.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Braves won 95 Games in 2013, and the NL East was a runaway by 9 games over Washington.

This was done even though of paltry numbers posted by Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton, and a half year with Jason Heyward hitting underneath the Mendoza Line.

The game changer for the offense was a surprise performance by 3B Chris Johnson, who contended for the NL Batting Title for the better part of the whole year.

Evan Gattis and Brian McCann also hit near 20+ HRs each for just about a seasons worth of Plate Appearances out of the Catchers position.

Justin Upton charged out of the gates in April with 12 HRs, and then after going cold in the next 3 months. bounced back in August to take a run at it again.

The younger brother to B.J., had stretches were he carried the club. Read the rest of this entry

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Atlanta Braves Payroll in 2014 + Contracts Going Forward Part 1

It would be one thing if B.J. Upton were the only player on the Braves who had an abysmal season.  When you add the injuries and the season of Dan Uggla to Upton worst year of his career, it is actually amazing this team ended with 96 Wins.  With the club losing Brian McCann, Paul Maholm and Tim Hudson, they will need Upton and CO. to rebound for the team to contend again in 2014.  Upton has to get back to 20/20 years for powers and steals, and at least hit to 85% of his career 3 slash - to justify the contract doled out by the Atlanta Braves.  Uggla must correct his vision problems and get back to raking again.  These 2 guys are the #2 and #3 paid guys on the squad in 2014 behind Justin Upton.

It would be one thing if B.J. Upton were the only player on the Braves who had an abysmal season. When you add the injuries and the season of Dan Uggla to Upton worst year of his career, it is actually amazing this team ended with 96 Wins. With the club losing Brian McCann, Paul Maholm and Tim Hudson, they will need Upton and CO. to rebound for the team to contend again in 2014. Upton has to get back to 20/20 years for powers and steals, and at least hit to 85% of his career 3 slash – to justify the contract doled out by the Atlanta Braves. Uggla must correct his vision problems and get back to raking again. These 2 guys are the #2 and #3 paid guys on the squad in 2014 behind Justin Upton.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): & Jeff Kleiner (Org. Depth Chart/Payroll Expert)

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The ‘Tomahawk Choppers’ have 2 players that are killing them for Free Agent signings this winter.

B.J. Upton is only in the 2nd year of his 5 YRs/$75 MIL – and underachieving Dan Uggla  is still on the  books for 2 more years.

Between these 2 gentleman, they will bring down $26.25 MIL in 2014.  The Braves are hoping for more than under the ‘Mendoza Line’ Batting Averages – and an occasional big fly.

The Braves are also headed to Arbitration with Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward and Craig Kimbrel.  This is certainly bound to cost the organization a pretty penny.

In fact, those 3 players will likely exceed the amount of the B.J Upton and Uggla contracts.

Craig Kimbrel 2013 Highlights – Mature Lyrics Parental Guidance Is Advised:

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The Braves Will Be Paying The B.J. Upton Deal For Years – Not Just Money Either!

The Brothers Upton both were acquired in the offseason by the Atlanta Braves.  This was a risk for the organization, and while Justin played extremely well in condensed pockets, Upton is quickly establishing himself as one of the worst contracts ever signed in Major League Baseball.  a .184/.268/.557 - with 9 HRs and 26 RBI is simply abysmal.  The Braves brass should send him to the Winter Leagues, to correct his problems.

The Brothers Upton both were acquired last year’s offseason by the Atlanta Braves. This was a risk for the organization, and while Justin played extremely well in condensed pockets, B.J. Upton is quickly establishing himself as one of the worst contracts ever signed in Major League Baseball history, a .184/.268/.557 – with 9 HRs and 26 RBI is simply abysmal. The Braves brass should have sent him to the Winter Leagues, to correct his problems.  The younger brother is still on the hook for 4 more years – and $60 MIL.  Not only is the franchise jaded towards signing another Free Agent this winter to a similar deal, they have lost their 2 longest tenured players in Brian McCann and Tim Hudson.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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It is a not a shock the Braves are shying away from the Free Agency thus far in the winter.  After all, the franchise spent the most they ever had for B.J. Upton last offseason, only to have been served a train wreck in 2013.

Honestly, besides the 1st month, and a torrid stretch in August, Justin Upton wasn’t far off the power production of his older brother in the other 4 months of play.

If it weren’t for the Chris Johnson add in that deal (Braves savior), plus his subsequent Batting Average race for the NL lead, this would be an even graver subject.

The last line was not an indictment on the Braves and D’Backs trade, rather just that Johnson helped make up for the lack of production from B.J. Upton. 

We all know overall Justin Upton made the same numbers as were likely projected.  That trade is yet to be determined, but adding Johnson was a nice little move.

B.J. Upton – rare good game in 2013

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MLB Player Profile: How Valuable Has Ben Zobrist Been To The Rays?

Ben Zobrist has quietly tuned into one of the best all around players in the game.  He has finished in the top for WAR in 3 of the 4 years - including 1st in 2011 and 2nd in 2009.  . Zobrist who continues this season with his musical chairs role on the team has not let his bat cool down ays fans need not worry this early. With only 10 games played in the young season now is not the time to start throwing in the towel and saying that GM Andrew Friedman and his staff have lost their touch.

Ben Zobrist has quietly tuned into one of the best all around players in the game of baseball. He has finished in the top for WAR in 3 of the last 5years – including 1st in 2011 and 2nd in 2009.  Zobrist, 32,  who continued this season with his musical chairs defensive role on the team this year, has two years left on his current contract, and will be a Free Agent at the end of the 2015 season.  It was the summer of 2006, that the brass traded Aubrey Huff for the young player.  Zobrist has played 1500+ Innings in 4 different defensive positions for the franchise (SS/2B/RF/LF – and it helps Joe Maddon bring in favorable platoon matchups for several other lineup spots).  He has a career 3 Slash of .263/.354/.789 in 8 seasons for Tampa.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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Picture how bad the Tampa Bay Devil Rays were when the Houston Astros traded Ben Zobrist with Mitch Talbot to the Tampa Bay Rays for Aubrey Huff and cash on July.12/2006.

The team was in the 8th season out of 9 years of under .500 ball.  The guy he was traded for had great offensive acumen, and was the franchise leader in several career categories as he departed the door.

Zobrist had an auspicious beginning with the Rays, struggling during the 2006 – 2007 years.  His OPS numbers for those years were .572 and .391 respectively.

Joe Maddon was not as worried as others were about the 6th Round Drat Pick of the Houston Astros back in 2004,because the guy would be a Maddon type of player.

Ben Zobrist 2 Part Interview

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The Atlanta Braves State Of The Union – Fall 2013: Part 1

2013 was not an easy road traveled either. The Braves suffered so many injuries and set backs this season that I think a lot of us almost forget about the ones that happened earlier on in the year. Johnny Venters never even threw a regular season pitch this year and he has been our premiere set up man. Eric O’Flaherty threw his last pitch somewhere around the middle of May against this very Dodger team at Turner Field.

2013 was not an easy road traveled for Atlanta. The Braves suffered so many injuries and set backs this season that I think a lot of us almost forget about the ones that happened earlier on in the year. Johnny Venters never even threw a regular season pitch this year and he has been our premiere set up man. Eric O’Flaherty threw his last pitch somewhere around the middle of May against this very Dodger team at Turner Field.

By Bob McVinua (Special Guest Braves Writer – visit his website here):

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At the point after Eric O’Flaherty went down, many of us Braves fans began to panic and wonder how Fredi Gonzalez would get the ball to arguably the best closer

in all of baseball Craig Kimbrel. What happened after that? The Braves would still go on to post the best bullpen ERA in all of baseball and on top of that set a franchise record for the same mark.

Jason Heyward missed significant time as did Brian McCann. Freddie Freeman spent a couple of weeks on the disabled list and still drove in over 100 runs on the season.

BJ Upton and Dan Uggla struggled throughout most of the 2013 season and BJ was one of the players expected to make a huge impact when he signed with the Braves this winter and it just never happened.

Other players stepped up and young players assumed roles that were well beyond the original expectations of them in 2013.

No one panicked and no one quit and as a fan I am appreciative of the heart and effort this team always put forth.

The Dodgers Celebrate winning the NLDS Series versus Atlanta (At Turner Field)

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Braves May Have The Medicine To Cure The “Blue Flu”

The Braves are National League Eastern Division champions and for that they deserve a large amount of recognition. When you think back to the start of Spring Training and look all of those “expert” predictions that said the Washington Nationals would win the East this year you have to realize that despite the busy off season activity the Braves were still labeled as under dogs in their own division.

The Braves are National League Eastern Division champions and for that they deserve a large amount of recognition. When you think back to the start of Spring Training and look all of those “expert” predictions that said the Washington Nationals would win the East this year you have to realize that despite the busy off season activity the Braves were still labeled as under dogs in their own division.

By Bob McVinua (Special Guest Braves Writer – visit his website here):

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Despite injuries and struggles on the offensive end from highly paid players such as BJ Upton and Dan Uggla the Braves still manged to dominant the Eastern Division.

By “dominate” I mean they were in 1st place every single day of the season except for April 4th and they held at least an 8 game lead every single day for the final 60 of the season. If that’s not dominance I don’t know what is.

Besides the incredible season – and all that was achieved, the Braves did fail to secure the number one seed in the National League for the post season – which would have secured them home field throughout the playoffs and allowed them to play the winner of the Wild Card “play in game.” rather then having to face the Dodgers in the N.L.D.S.

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Braves Trade Deadline Talk

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Sunday, July.07/2013

The Brothers Upton are not living up to expectations.  With the exception of an MVP type like April, Justin Upton is hitting right where B.J. Upton has for the year.

The Brothers Upton are not living up to expectations. With the exception of an MVP type like April, Justin Upton is hitting right where B.J. Upton has for the year.

By Bob McVinua (Special Guest Braves Writer – visit his website here):

I’m sometimes hesitant to even put out an article about the trade deadline because the last thing the internet needs is more rumors and theories floating around, most of which never even come close to materializing.

However there is something to be said about the anticipation of the trade deadline as it’s almost the summer version of the winter meetings in which it allows teams to make that one final push towards their ultimate goal of winning a World Series.

And while some fan bases will have renewed hope or further reassurance that their team is in it to win it, other fan bases will suffer the harsh reality that their team is no longer a contender and that they will be more or less packing it in for the rest of the season.

Over the winter meetings the Braves put themselves in kind of tricky spot, possibly without even realizing it.

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MLB Team Power Rankings

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Sunday June.02/2013

Miguel Cabrera is absolutely unconscious this season so far;.  He has a 3 Slash Line of .369 (Leads AL)/.445 (Leads AL/1.121 (2ndi n AL), with 17 HRs (2nd AL) and a mind - blowing 65 RBI through 54 Games Played.  He is on pace for 51 HRs. 195 RBI and about 250 Hits.  He keeps getting better every single year if possible. Despite his prominence - and a lineup full of ALL - Star hitters and Pitchers, the Tigers are limping along at just a few games over .500.  It certainly isn't this 30 Year Olds fault.

Miguel Cabrera is absolutely unconscious this season so far; He has a 3 Slash Line of .369 (Leads AL)/.445 (Leads AL/1.121 (2nd in AL), with 17 HRs (2nd AL) and a mind – blowing 65 RBI through 54 Games Played. He is on pace for 51 HRs, 195 RBI and about 250 Hits. He keeps getting better every single year if possible. Despite his prominence – and a lineup full of ALL – Star hitters and Pitchers, the Tigers are limping along at just a few games over .500. It certainly isn’t this 30 Year Old’s fault.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

Featuring the Podcasters the Big ticket Show in the Audio Portion

I will be doing a stat fueled rankings list on this Thursday.  These rankings will have some stats and  random thoughts of what I will be talking about in today’s podcast with the Big Ticket Show (AKA, Triple Play Podcast.)

Games Prior to Sunday June.02/2013

Cardinals 2013 30/30 Preview

Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON to continue… or scroll past the Triple Play Podcast. Read the rest of this entry

Remembering Baseball’s African – American Pioneers

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Thursday Feb.28th, 2013

 Address: 1616 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108, United StatesPhone:+1 816-221-1920 Hours: Thursday hours 9:00 am–6:00 pm

Address: 1616 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108, United States
Phone:+1 816-221-1920
Hours: Thursday hours 9:00 am–6:00 pm

By Haley Smilow (MLB Reports Junior Reporter and Writer): 

February is black history month. This made me think about the impact that African-Americans have had on the sports world. One of the biggest impacts, in my opinion, was the Negro Leagues. In August 2011, I was lucky enough to go to Kansas City to see a Royals vs. Yankees game. What I did not know was the history of baseball in K.C. is more then just the Royals.

I learned about many great players and the history of a great league on my visit to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. I never imaged that baseball was once divided based on the color of your skin. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of great black players. In the 1920’s, a structured league of black players began under the guidance of Rube Foster, and The Negro Leagues were born.

The Negro Leagues had many great players and stories of men like Satchel Paige, James “Cool Papa” Bell, Josh Gibson, Buck O’Neil, Jackie Robinson and many others, including one amazing women named Effa Manley. What made these people great were their astonishing abilities.

Jackie Robinson Steals Home Plate!

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Hotlanta OF: Hey – U and U!

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Tuesday February 26th, 2013

For those of you that follow @mlbmemes, I found this meme very funny. It is a play on the DMX song, "Party Up".

For those of you that follow @mlbmeme, I found this meme very funny. It is a play on the explicit DMX song, “Party Up (Up in Here)”.  (Explicit lyrics – So Parental Guidance is Advised.)

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

After the signings and trade this winter, Atlanta Braves fans have a lot to be excited about. The Braves made a big impact by signing B.J. Upton and trading for his brother, Justin. Both young outfielders have tremendous skill and will undoubtedly make an impact on the National League East. The Braves got an early jump on the Free Agent market by signing B.J. Upton early in the winter. The main reason for the B.J. Upton signing was to replace Michael Bourn in Center Field.

Bourn became a Free Agent after 2012 and wound up with the Cleveland Indians. The Braves strengthened their outfield even further with the acquisition of B.J.’s brother, Justin, in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks that meant sending utility-man Martin Prado.

Jason Heyward 2012 Highlights Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is Advised:

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Florida Baseball and The San Juan Rays

Thursday November 15th, 2012

Alex Mednick (Baseball Writer and Analyst)

Last week Jonathan Hacohen, the founder of MLBReports.com called to my attention that the Tampa Bay Rays are an anomaly.  Ultimately, if you look at the way their team is structured and where their talent lays, and the kind of game that Joe Maddon manages the Rays are ultimately a National League team; displaced in the AL East.  The Rays greatest strength is their depth of pitching that they can reach into the bowels of an amazing farm system ripe with young talent.  But from there on out, they rely on an offense that generates runs due to other inefficiencies.

Joe Maddon might very well be the best manager in baseball. He possesses a unique approach to the game, that if had to be categorized, is definitely more national league style than american league. He has to be creative in how he manufactures runs, as his offense does not boast the big sluggers other AL East teams do. He does, however, have a plethora of pitching talent available.

With B.J. Upton leaving town, and Carlos Pena only a carcass of what he once was, there is ultimately zero power left in their lineup.  Their DH for the past two years have been the likes of an aging Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, and Luke Scott.  Ownership is constantly complaining about attendance and looking for bargain free agents like Johnny Damon to bring in at the end of their careers and hopefully attract some Yankees and Red Sox fans to the stadium.

At this point, the Rays power hitters are Evan Longoria, Matt Joyce and Ben Zobrist.  They have an amazing nucleus of pitching talent, including David Price who just won the AL Cy Young, and they are mentioning trading almost all of their starting pitchers.  This is understandable, as you have to dish out talent to bring back offensive talent that they are in great need of.  But I still have major gripes with the way owner Stuart Sternberg has approached the past 4 seasons in St. Petersburg, and I will get into more detail about this in a little while. Read the rest of this entry

James Shields or David Price: Tampa Bay Rays are Ready to Trade an Ace

Thursday November 8th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky:  With center fielder B.J. Upton most likely leaving for free agency, the Tampa Bay Rays will have some gaps to fill in their lineup this offseason. Unless they sign a high-profile free agent like Josh Hamilton (which I discussed in my last feature), the Rays will need to make a move to land a bat. The Rays have a solid pitching staff. Some may even say they have a pitching surplus. With David Price and James Shields leading the staff that includes Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore, the Rays can say that pitching is their strength. Out of all these pitchers, one should probably be traded though in order to boost the offense.

The two pitchers that would carry the most trade value on the staff are Shields and Price. Hellickson and Moore are both young and somewhat unproven, so they would probably not provide much of a return. Shields is a pitcher I compare to Mat Latos, who was traded to the Cincinnati Reds from the San Diego Padres last offseason. The Padres cashed in big time. For Latos, the they got a haul including Edinson Volquez, the projected number two starter in the Reds’ rotation at the time, Yonder Alonso, a top prospect, and Yasmani Grandal, another prospect and first-round pick. If the Rays traded Shields and got a deal similar to that of the Padres, they would be set up quite nicely for future success.

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Chuck Booth’s GWR Streak (MLB Parks 22-24)

The Streak ended at 30 MLB Parks in 23 calendar days!!

I broke my old record of 24 days by being-Fastest to see all 30 MLB parks in 23 days  from April 6th to 28th!

Sked is here: fastestthirtyballgames3021.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/30in20/

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http://mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker/ or at my official website for all updates!

Wednesday May.2/2012

Chuck Booth and Anthony Salter Prior to game #22 in Detroit. Anthony has been to a game with Chuck for every one of his streak quests.

MLB Park # 22 Day # 17

TEX @ DET

April.22/2012

Comerica Park

 

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024)-The passenger exchange was made at 4:30 AM near the Forrest Lawn Oasis.  I jumped from the car that Ken Lee was in to Bob Devries’s rental car.  We were on our way to Comerica Park via Highway 94.  Through the course of the drive, Bob and I realized we know everything there is to know about rental cars.  I rent cars for 365 days a year and Bob rents cars every weekend.  It is not often people can relate to all of my car rental stories.  I haven’t even owned a car since 2009.  If the market was ever to drastically change I would be out of a job and a car.  The day was going to be sunny from our drive in.  After arriving into town early we headed towards HockeyTown and Cheli’s.  We then moved onwards to a Bar Called ‘Bookies’ off of Elizabeth Street. This bar was ideal because it was where we parked for $5.

 I had a BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich with curly fries inside the Sandwich.  It was tasty and hit the spot.  Bob had the local IPA Beer.  About an hour later we met up with the Salter Family (Joe, Dianne, Anthony, Jake and Robert).  These guys have been part of every one of my streaks.  I met them 1st in 2008 at PNC Park when I almost broke the World Record the first time around.  In 2009, the Salter’s were there with me front and center when MLB Park #30 was completed at Comerica.  I call these guys my good luck ‘surrogate’ baseball family.  I was happy that Bob was there to meet them as well.  We all took pictures and headed up to our seats.

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