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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Terence Moore: Is this the best Braves team ever?

Holy Harry Hanebrinks…10 in a row!

So will these Braves evolve into a better “team” than any of their predecessors—Atlanta or otherwise? We’re talking about teams ranging from the 1875 one that won nearly 90 percent of its games (71-8) to the Miracle Braves of 1914 who shocked the Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series to Chipper’s 1995 bunch that won it all.

“From top to bottom, this Braves team certainly has the capability of being in that same conversation with some of the best in franchise history,” said Chipper Jones, who retired from the Braves after last season as one of the game’s all-time great switch-hitters.

Then Jones added quickly, “But let’s give it a half [of a season], or a quarter anyways, because it’s a long, long season.”

Fair enough, but it has been great during the short, short start to the season for a Braves team that entered Tuesday night’s game at Turner Field against the Kansas City Royals with outrageous numbers.

Only the Colorado Rockies had more homers in baseball to this point than the Braves’ 20, and nobody had a better overall team ERA than their 1.82 mark. The same was true for the 1.30 ERA Braves relievers had posted. Justin Upton led the Major Leagues in homers with seven. Plus, Evan Gattis kept racing toward NL Rookie of the Year honors with a bunch of clutch moments to go along with his .324 batting average, four home runs and 10 RBIs in nine games.

If that wasn’t enough, the Braves owned baseball’s best record of 11-1 for their hottest start in 19 years.

It gets better. It’s how the Braves have done this.

Repoz Posted: April 17, 2013 at 05:13 AM | 55 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves, history

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. denDekker, Mattsui (jemile weeks) Posted: April 17, 2013 at 07:29 AM (#4416566)
Let me be the first to say: no.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: April 17, 2013 at 07:39 AM (#4416568)
They'll win 150 but once they run into the murderer's row of the Tigers, they'll be doomed.
   3. TomH Posted: April 17, 2013 at 07:51 AM (#4416574)
Will Jeter hit .400?
Are the Tigers the new murderers row?
Can we cease writing silly prognosticaintg questions every April?

   4. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 17, 2013 at 07:53 AM (#4416576)
They'll win 150 but once they run into the murderer's row of the Tigers, they'll be doomed.

Or they'll have their foam tomahawks melted by an army of scrappy underdogs led by Youkilis, Hafner, and Overbay.
   5. Rants Mulliniks Posted: April 17, 2013 at 08:14 AM (#4416580)
If Kris Medlen keeps up the Greg Maddux impression they might be.
   6. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 17, 2013 at 08:19 AM (#4416583)
Can we cease writing silly prognosticaintg questions every April?

But then what would dopes like Terrence Moore write about?
   7. zonk Posted: April 17, 2013 at 08:47 AM (#4416593)
Medlen? Then what is Paul Maholm, Cy Pedro Koufax Gibson Big Train Spahn?

I demand the carcass of Julio Teheran be added to last year's deadline deal.
   8. TerpNats Posted: April 17, 2013 at 09:12 AM (#4416603)
Yep, just as that '87 Brewers team was their best ever.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 17, 2013 at 09:28 AM (#4416616)
Its the most Gattified team ever, which is kinda the same thing.
   10. Gaylord Perry the Platypus (oi!) Posted: April 17, 2013 at 09:31 AM (#4416621)
Evan Gattis kept racing toward NL Rookie of the Year honors

I love Evan Gattis as much as anyone, but let's see him hit like this for a couple of months before we believe it's real. He didn't even play a full season in AA, so it's unlikely that there's any real scouting report on him yet. After last weekend, I don't think pitchers are going to try to get fastballs by him anymore - anyone who can hit a high 96 MPH fastball out of the park doesn't get those pitches. So the next few weeks will be a lot of breaking balls for him.
   11. McCoy Posted: April 17, 2013 at 09:41 AM (#4416628)
So far the ex-Cubbie factor is very amusing.

Paul Maholm-3 starts, 20.1 innings, 20 SO, no runs, and 3 wins.
Blake DeWitt-292 OPS+
Reed Johnson-3 OPS+
   12. BourbonSamurai Is a Lazy Nogoodnik Posted: April 17, 2013 at 09:46 AM (#4416631)
They look good as hell, but the pitching is way over its head I think.
   13. rb's team is hopeful for the new year! Posted: April 17, 2013 at 10:03 AM (#4416643)
I didn't realize terence moore was allowed to write about the braves anymore. I thought we got a restraining order.
   14. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: April 17, 2013 at 10:11 AM (#4416648)
The starting pitching is where the Braves might run into issues. The individual pitchers in the rotation are all guys I like, though they all also have question marks. But there's no depth behind the starting five until Beachy returns mid-season.
   15. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: April 17, 2013 at 10:22 AM (#4416660)
The starting pitching is where the Braves might run into issues.


Agreed, but how many teams can you not say this about?
   16. McCoy Posted: April 17, 2013 at 10:25 AM (#4416661)
Cincinnati
   17. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: April 17, 2013 at 10:32 AM (#4416670)
Agreed, but how many teams can you not say this about?


I was going to say third base defense, but that seemed a little petty.
   18. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: April 17, 2013 at 10:36 AM (#4416674)
I was going to say third base defense, but that seemed a little petty.


When Francisco plays, yeah. Second base defense is also terrible.
   19. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: April 17, 2013 at 10:39 AM (#4416675)
I love Evan Gattis as much as anyone, but let's see him hit like this for a couple of months before we believe it's real. He didn't even play a full season in AA, so it's unlikely that there's any real scouting report on him yet.


OK, what's his story? 26 YO rookie, drafted as a 23 YO. Veteran? Football player who gave it up?
   20. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: April 17, 2013 at 10:45 AM (#4416685)
OK, what's his story?


It's this (from last year). No one sentence can do it justice.
   21. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: April 17, 2013 at 10:56 AM (#4416695)
When Francisco plays, yeah. Second base defense is also terrible.


Johnson also has a pretty extensive history of being a total butcher at third, as expressed in both statistics and fan scouting reports. Still, I have been pleasantly surprised by him. He's looked much better in the field than I expected, and while I knew he could hit a bit he looks really "hittery" (to steal a scouting word) up there.
   22. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: April 17, 2013 at 11:04 AM (#4416703)
Still, I have been pleasantly surprised by him. He's looked much better in the field than I expected


Yeah, I know he does not have a good reputation or stats as a fielder, but in the few games he's played at 3B he looked fine. Granted it's only been a handful of games and my expectations are pretty low.
   23. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 17, 2013 at 11:09 AM (#4416711)

I love Evan Gattis as much as anyone, but let's see him hit like this for a couple of months before we believe it's real. He didn't even play a full season in AA, so it's unlikely that there's any real scouting report on him yet. After last weekend, I don't think pitchers are going to try to get fastballs by him anymore - anyone who can hit a high 96 MPH fastball out of the park doesn't get those pitches. So the next few weeks will be a lot of breaking balls for him.


Hater. Why Gattis could be as great as Bryan LaHair or Tuffy Rhodes!
   24. zonk Posted: April 17, 2013 at 11:14 AM (#4416719)
The starting pitching is where the Braves might run into issues. The individual pitchers in the rotation are all guys I like, though they all also have question marks. But there's no depth behind the starting five until Beachy returns mid-season.


Thing is, though -- the one clunker (Teheran) just might be the most talented pitcher on the staff... He might end up topping out as a guy with great stuff who just couldn't make it work as an SP, I suppose (see Juan Cruz) and settle into a career as a perfectly cromulent reliever... but at this point, I think there's still every possibility it 'clicks' at some point, which could take up the slack when Maholm gets kicked off Mt Olympus or whatnot.
   25. Gaylord Perry the Platypus (oi!) Posted: April 17, 2013 at 11:22 AM (#4416734)
Hater. Why Gattis could be as great as Bryan LaHair or Tuffy Rhodes!

I very much hope that his career exceeds both of theirs, combined.

I'm really happy to see Fredi playing Gattis this much. I was afraid he'd go with Laird's veteran presence instead. With McCann likely gone at the end of the year, I thought it was important to get Gattis a lot of playing time while McCann's out. Maybe Gattis is the answer for next year, maybe not. But this is a great opportunity to get an idea of whether he's capable of being a starting catcher or not.
   26. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: April 17, 2013 at 11:25 AM (#4416742)
Thing is, though -- the one clunker (Teheran) just might be the most talented pitcher on the staff... He might end up topping out as a guy with great stuff who just couldn't make it work as an SP, I suppose (see Juan Cruz) and settle into a career as a perfectly cromulent reliever... but at this point, I think there's still every possibility it 'clicks' at some point, which could take up the slack when Maholm gets kicked off Mt Olympus or whatnot.


Oh, sure. I have no problem giving Teheran as many turns in the rotation as he needs to smooth things out. I'm not even remotely at a DEFCON level with him.

My concern is what happens if injuries or ineffectiveness require extended time from guys who aren't in the rotation. Then you're talking about Sean Gilmartin, maybe JR Graham, then...Cristhian Martinez?

And yes, everyone has that issue (very few teams just have seven or eight solid starters hanging around), but there are enough question marks in the rotation as it stands that I'm afraid it might come up.

The problem is a little less significant if Beachy can come back at a reasonable level of effectiveness.
   27. Gaylord Perry the Platypus (oi!) Posted: April 17, 2013 at 11:26 AM (#4416743)
zonk, Teheran's last start was promising. He had a rocky first couple of innings, but then straightened things out. And honestly, as a fifth starter, he's better than most, and as you said, there's the real possibility that he ends up the best starter on the team.
   28. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: April 17, 2013 at 11:27 AM (#4416746)
But this is a great opportunity to get an idea of whether he's capable of being a starting catcher or not.


Yep. You wouldn't let Gattis take at-bats from a healthy Brian McCann, but everyone's OK with Gerald Laird (nickname: "Gerald Laird") losing ABs. And every game he plays behind the plate without spiking himself or hitting a pitcher in the face with a throw down to second is evidence that he can handle the position at an acceptable level.
   29. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 17, 2013 at 11:29 AM (#4416749)
I very much hope that his career exceeds both of theirs, combined.

Tuffy Rhodes had a great career!
   30. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: April 17, 2013 at 11:35 AM (#4416755)
Gerald Laird (nickname: "Gerald Laird")


Gerald Laird looks like Fredi Gonzalez in 5 years, which is not good news for Gerald Laird.
   31. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: April 17, 2013 at 11:38 AM (#4416763)
Yep. You wouldn't let Gattis take at-bats from a healthy Brian McCann, but everyone's OK with Gerald Laird (nickname: "Gerald Laird") losing ABs. And every game he plays behind the plate without spiking himself or hitting a pitcher in the face with a throw down to second is evidence that he can handle the position at an acceptable level.


There's a "what else are they going to say" aspect to this but the pitchers have been very complimentary of his ability to call a game. I liked what Hudson said about him:

"I like him back there. He catches well. He receives well. He blocks the ball well. He's good back there around the plate. He's not afraid to throw down a 2-0 changeup. He puts down fingers that ordinarily I might not throw. But I'm like what the [heck]? Let's throw it and get some outs."
   32. Gaylord Perry the Platypus (oi!) Posted: April 17, 2013 at 11:42 AM (#4416771)
DA, that's interesting. I'd been assuming that the bulk of the game was being called by the bench.

I was at the Friday night game a couple weeks back, and Gattis was catching Minor. One of the things that impressed me was how fast Minor worked. That's even more impressive if Gattis was actually calling the pitches himself.
   33. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: April 17, 2013 at 11:43 AM (#4416774)
Tuffy Rhodes had a hell of a career, and definitely was given up on in the US way too soon. Hell, he was still pounding the ball as recently as four years ago.
   34. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: April 17, 2013 at 11:57 AM (#4416799)
I was at the Friday night game a couple weeks back, and Gattis was catching Minor. One of the things that impressed me was how fast Minor worked. That's even more impressive if Gattis was actually calling the pitches himself.


Yeah, it's nice to know that Gattis is doing things other than just pounding the ball. He might be a flash in the pan, but at least he's not (at this point) a one trick pony corner OF or 1B.
   35. KT's Pot Arb Posted: April 17, 2013 at 12:18 PM (#4416826)
A .920 minor league OPS seems pretty good for a catcher, even if he was old for his levels.

Tuffy's was around .780., LaHair .880. So not really the same.

And I think if not for his drug problems, he would likely have been a big time prospect out of college. The Braves may have fluked into a first round type talent here.



   36. Barnaby Jones Posted: April 17, 2013 at 12:26 PM (#4416836)
I think it would be odd if the bench was calling pitches. Back in the Cox/Mazzone era, the latter claimed he never called any pitches. The "Braves way" wasn't so hands on, so I'd be a bit surprised if the current ideological descendants were that far from their predecessors.
   37. McCoy Posted: April 17, 2013 at 12:39 PM (#4416856)
But it was said that Maddux would secretly call pitches from the bench.
   38. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: April 17, 2013 at 12:43 PM (#4416867)
Back in the Cox/Mazzone era, the latter claimed he never called any pitches.


They also didn't have a catcher who only caught 114 games in his entire minor league career.
   39. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: April 17, 2013 at 12:52 PM (#4416877)
They also didn't have a catcher who only caught 114 games in his entire minor league career.


You're failing to take into account his time as a ski lift operator.
   40. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: April 17, 2013 at 01:33 PM (#4416919)
Can we cease writing silly prognosticaintg questions every April?

But then what would dopes like Terrence Moore write about?


With all the Uptii running around, Moore is out at least five 'why don't the Braves have more black players?' columns this year.
   41. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 17, 2013 at 01:45 PM (#4416940)
Today is April 17 - a little early for this type of article, although it is probably the only time of the year it can be written, so it is.
   42. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 17, 2013 at 01:52 PM (#4416955)
Can we cease writing silly prognosticaintg questions every April?


The problem with these articles is that we keep reading them and they get attention. I think a slight change in tone could make this a much more interesting article. Instead of "can this be the best Brave team ever?" change it to "boy this team is off to a great start, let's revisit some of the great teams of Brave history" and use it as a jumping off point for a history lesson/rememberance. A good writer can weave the current team into such a story very well to keep it interesting for both the fans who only care about the now and fans interested in the historical stuff.
   43. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: April 17, 2013 at 01:56 PM (#4416959)
It's this (from last year). No one sentence can do it justice.

I was going to post this story yesterday, but I couldn't figure out how to link the picture of Gattis's janitor ID in the lede.
   44. Nasty Nate Posted: April 17, 2013 at 01:57 PM (#4416962)
With all the Uptii running around...


'Uptonnage' is also acceptable.
   45. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: April 17, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4416967)
I couldn't figure out how to link the picture of Gattis's janitor ID in the lede.


It's his twitter avatar.
   46. Mike A Posted: April 17, 2013 at 02:14 PM (#4416994)
It's a tough call, but I'd probably go with the 1998 squad (106 wins) as the best Braves team ever. You had Glavine, Maddux, and Smoltz at the height of their powers, and an excellent lineup with the Jones boys, Galarraga, Javy, and Klesko. Only real weak spot was up the middle with Weiss and the great Keith Lockhart.

All of the late 90s teams were really good, and the 1993 team was up there as well.

The current Braves team is solid and should get a playoff spot, but I don't think it compares to the 90s squads despite Moore's hyperbole. Perhaps when Beachy and McCann get back they'll prove me wrong. Was a bit surprised to see the 2013 Braves are the youngest squad in the NL.
   47. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: April 17, 2013 at 02:17 PM (#4416997)
Cox has long said that 1993 was his best team, I think.
   48. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: April 17, 2013 at 02:23 PM (#4417004)
Wrong thread.
   49. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: April 17, 2013 at 02:27 PM (#4417011)
I thought this year's A's are the best ever?
   50. cardsfanboy Posted: April 17, 2013 at 03:28 PM (#4417094)
Today is April 17 - a little early for this type of article, although it is probably the only time of the year it can be written, so it is.

So far the Braves have played two of the three consensus worst teams (Marlins, Cubs) in baseball, are starting another series against a team that lost 90 games last year...and swept the Phillies(a sub .500 team most likely) outside of the Nationals, they haven't played a team that anyone thought/thinks is a good team. Of course it's always impressive in baseball to go 12-1, but lets see how they handle things after a month and a half.
   51. bunyon Posted: April 17, 2013 at 03:33 PM (#4417102)
You write an article like this and no one remembers come September if the Braves are in second place. But if they win 110 games, you look like a genius.
   52. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 17, 2013 at 04:08 PM (#4417142)
Shut out by the Royals? Time to re-write!
   53. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: April 17, 2013 at 04:15 PM (#4417148)
You write an article like this and no one remembers come September if the Braves are in second place. But if they win 110 games, you look like a genius.


This is Terence Moore we are talking about.
   54. Barnaby Jones Posted: April 19, 2013 at 04:14 AM (#4418973)
They also didn't have a catcher who only caught 114 games in his entire minor league career.


Well honestly that has little to do with it. The bench doesn't call the pitches because the pitchers are expected to know what they are they doing, not because they think the catcher is a savant. Again, it would be a big departure from the Coxian era to throw out a catcher they didn't think could perform the same basic tasks as the other backstops.
   55. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 19, 2013 at 04:50 AM (#4418991)
I missed Chipper's retirement for some reason. He was still hitting well, and BBRef has his fielding as okay. Was he just in too much pain? And why can't I remember this?

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