Week in Review: April 3-9

The Braves went 3-4 in the first week of the season, disappointingly losing 3 of 4 in San Francisco to close out the West Coast trip. They’re now two games behind the Mets for first place in the NL East. Luckily for the Braves, every other NL East team besides the Mets is off to a slow start (6-13 against the rest of the league), so the Braves are in second place. In the first week, Andruw Jones and Edgar Renteria are off to very hot starts, and the Braves offense is pacing the NL in scoring.

The problem for Atlanta has been pitching, both starting and relief. Coming into today’s game, the staff had an ugly 7.76 ERA, which can’t make new pitching coach Roger McDowell a happy man. While most of the hitters have been great, some haven’t. And by “some,” I mean just Jeff Francoeur. Entering today, only Francoeur had an OPS below .700 (and only Chipper and Matt Diaz were also below .800), and his was .191. When your OPS is below the Mendoza line, you know you’re not having a good week. Frenchy was clearly overmatched after the first month or so of his debut last year, so we’ll see how long Bobby Cox sticks with him before he gets sent to Richmond (my guess is “too long”). It’s hard to notice much of a difference at this point when you look at the traditional stats and the WPA stats, but I’ll point out a few things.

First, the WPA stats for all players, then just relievers:
All Players Player Gms Off Pitch Field WPA Eq. Wins
A. Jones 7 0.554 0.000 -0.004 0.549 1.10
Renteria 7 0.540 0.000 0.000 0.540 1.08
LaRoche 7 0.493 0.000 0.000 0.493 0.99
Langerhans 6 0.259 0.000 0.008 0.267 0.53
C. Jones 6 0.264 0.000 -0.043 0.221 0.44
Betemit 5 0.159 0.000 0.000 0.159 0.32
Cormier 4 0.000 0.100 0.000 0.100 0.20
TEAM 7 0.093 0.000 0.000 0.093 0.19
Ray 3 0.000 0.092 0.000 0.092 0.18
Thomson 2 -0.005 0.072 0.000 0.066 0.13
James 3 0.000 0.047 0.000 0.047 0.09
Giles 7 0.176 0.000 -0.141 0.035 0.07
Orr 6 0.034 0.000 0.000 0.034 0.07
Villareal 3 0.000 -0.005 0.000 -0.005 -0.01
Pratt 2 0.003 0.000 -0.016 -0.013 -0.03
Boyer 2 0.000 -0.067 0.000 -0.067 -0.13
Jordan 5 -0.068 0.000 -0.018 -0.086 -0.17
Remlinger 4 0.000 -0.121 0.000 -0.121 -0.24
Davies 1 -0.080 -0.041 0.000 -0.121 -0.24
Diaz 5 -0.135 0.000 0.000 -0.135 -0.27
McCann 6 -0.176 0.000 -0.003 -0.178 -0.36
Ramirez 1 0.091 -0.340 0.000 -0.250 -0.50
Francoeur 7 -0.332 0.000 0.077 -0.255 -0.51
Reitsma 3 0.000 -0.295 0.000 -0.295 -0.59
Hudson 2 0.009 -0.356 0.000 -0.347 -0.69
Sosa 1 0.102 -0.463 0.000 -0.361 -0.72
Devine 2 0.000 -0.456 0.000 -0.456 -0.91
Smoltz 2 -0.152 -0.354 0.000 -0.507 -1.01

Relievers Player Gms IP Avg. P Total P WPA WPTP EO%
Villareal 3 4.0 0.074 0.249 0.107 0.428 1.000
Cormier 4 4.7 0.038 0.167 0.103 0.621 0.750
Ray 3 3.0 0.051 0.157 0.092 0.586 0.667
James 3 6.0 0.008 0.047 0.047 0.993 1.000
Thomson 2 3.7 0.058 0.272 -0.044 -0.160 0.000
Boyer 2 0.7 0.075 0.150 -0.067 -0.448 0.000
Remlinger 4 2.3 0.040 0.161 -0.121 -0.747 0.750
Reitsma 3 3.7 0.099 0.729 -0.295 -0.404 0.667
Devine 2 1.0 0.045 0.090 -0.456 -5.062 0.000

What immediately jumps out at me, other than Francoeur’s terrible performance, is that Brian McCann has not performed well. His -.178 WPA tells me that his good hitting (.968 OPS) has come in less crucial situations. I know it’s just the first week, but I suppose that’s worth tracking. Looking at the relievers, nothing surprises me all that much. Chuck James has done an excellent job converting potential win probability (P) into actual WPA, as measured by WPTP (Win Probability over Total P). It’s only three appearances, but on this staff, it might not be too early to make some changes. Cormier and Ray have also done a pretty good job in that respect, and Villareal has been decent. Joey Devine, on the other hand, needs to get a seat next to Francoeur on the next flight back to Richmond. Check back next week for more fun with WPA. I’ll be tracking it in the meantime.

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