Saturday, August 13, 2011

Just Another Jose Constanza/Jason Heyward Post

Hot streaks have little to no predictive value. If a player's career minor league numbers are based largely on empty batting averages and luck, it would be smart to assume a small-sample hot streak is not sustainable. Somebody please pound this into some heads for me.

Constanza's .408 average isn't sustainable, of course, but a .429 BABIP and 3.8 BB% are outrageous. Braves fans, and more importantly Fredi Gonzalez, are blinded by 53 plate appearances from a guy who has walked over 10% in a full season just twice as a professional while recording the majority of his hits by slap bunts and infield singles.

Constanza's career OPS in the minors is .720. Jason Heyward's is .897. A couple weeks ago, Heyward's OPS this season was the same as Constanza's career minor league mark. What does this tell you? Heyward should not be sitting because a hitter with the minor league numbers of a fourth outfielder has a hot streak over 53 plate appearances.

Those that continue to preach that the Braves should ride out Constanza's hot streak fail to realize that his numbers indicate there is no reason for the streak to continue past yesterday. They are also the ones to say they still believe Heyward is the long-term answer in right field. If that is the case, shouldn't he be in the lineup? Has he not proven capable of this yet?

There is nothing that hasn't already been said in regards to the Constanza/Heyward debate, and I'm doing nothing more than repeating what the more intelligent Braves bloggers have already written. But after seeing the results of this, I felt it necessary to say something. There is no reason at all that Heyward should be sitting.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Arodys Vizcaino Called Up To Majors

The inevitable took long enough.

Scott Proctor has been released and Arodys Vizcaino will take his spot in the Atlanta bullpen, says Chris Schiavone.

By all accounts, Proctor is a good guy and I hate this happened to him, but he doesn't need to be in a major league bullpen. The Braves sunk $750,000 into him, which included an opt-out clause for May 15 if he wasn't in the major league bullpen. With his veteran status and revolving door from Gwinnett to Atlanta for the bullpen, as well as solid numbers at Gwinnett at the time, the Braves made a mistake and took on his contract. His many opportunities with the Braves were unwarranted, and he failed to take advantage.

Anthony Varvaro allowing a three-run homer to John Buck seemed to be the last straw for a Braves staff that has nothing to offer from the right side prior to the ninth inning. Scott Linebrink has performed well this year, but as a contender, he isn't the answer for the role.

Enter Vizcaino, who immediately becomes the best right-handed reliever not named Kimbrel. The 20-year-old has a mid-90s fastball that touches 100 with running movement, which is a killer pitch inside to right-handed batters. His power curveball is a plus pitch and profiles as his out pitch. It keeps both sides of the plate honest and records a solid amount of strikeouts. His third pitch is a developing changeup that would be more of a factor if he was in the rotation. However, it's nothing more than a show-me offering that can get him in trouble if used one too many times in the bullpen.

Braves fans have been waiting for this day to come. Eliminating Proctor is valuable in itself, but adding an arm like Vizcaino is the equivalent of a deadline trade for an above-average setup reliever. He will give the pen strikeouts with solid control and a low amount of home runs allowed. But most importantly, he gives them an honest-to-goodness right-handed reliever for the late innings to pair with Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty.