Week in Review: April 10-16

It was another up-and-down week for the Braves, although it appeared to be ending on a high note. The bullpen blew today’s game, so the Braves fell to 3-3 at home, 6-7 overall. The Mets will be out of reach in first place in the NL East, with the Braves four games back in second.

The Week’s Performances

Individual WPA:
Player Gm PA Off Pitch Field WPA AV WV
Thomson 4 6 0.323 0.581 0.000 0.904 0.156 0.346
A. Jones 13 59 0.484 0.000 0.031 0.515 0.165 0.050
LaRoche 13 50 0.404 0.000 0.011 0.415 0.134 0.060
C. Jones 6 25 0.264 0.000 -0.043 0.221 0.123 0.086
Renteria 12 57 0.336 0.000 -0.117 0.219 0.151 0.039
Betemit 11 32 0.160 0.000 0.000 0.160 0.152 0.033
Cormier 8 0 0.000 0.149 0.000 0.149 0.000 0.000
Langerhans 12 47 0.136 0.000 0.009 0.145 0.180 0.016
Smoltz 3 8 -0.173 0.239 0.000 0.066 0.169 -0.128
Pratt 3 11 0.040 0.000 -0.016 0.023 0.076 0.048
Villareal 7 0 0.000 0.018 0.000 0.018 0.000 0.000
Moylan 1 0 0.000 0.008 0.000 0.008 0.000 0.000
McCann 12 42 -0.018 0.000 0.024 0.006 0.161 -0.003
Pena 1 1 -0.006 0.000 0.000 -0.006 0.039 -0.157
Francoeur 13 55 -0.006 0.000 -0.026 -0.032 0.148 -0.001
Reitsma 5 0 0.000 -0.056 0.000 -0.056 0.000 0.000
Boyer 2 0 0.000 -0.067 0.000 -0.067 0.000 0.000
Ray 6 0 0.000 -0.070 0.000 -0.070 0.000 0.000
Jordan 9 13 -0.053 0.000 -0.018 -0.071 0.201 -0.020
James 4 0 0.000 -0.082 0.000 -0.082 0.000 0.000
Orr 10 14 -0.192 0.000 0.001 -0.192 0.190 -0.072
Giles 13 75 -0.089 0.000 -0.139 -0.228 0.159 -0.007
Ramirez 1 2 0.091 -0.340 0.000 -0.250 0.146 0.309
Remlinger 9 0 0.000 -0.306 0.000 -0.306 0.000 0.000
Diaz 8 17 -0.383 0.000 0.000 -0.383 0.194 -0.116
Devine 2 0 0.000 -0.456 0.000 -0.456 0.000 0.000
Sosa 2 2 0.078 -0.549 0.000 -0.471 0.119 0.327
Davies 2 3 -0.089 -0.384 0.000 -0.473 0.195 -0.152
Hudson 3 6 -0.124 -0.418 0.000 -0.542 0.153 -0.135
TEAM 13 0.334 0.000 0.000 0.334

Relief pitching:
Player Gm IP Avg. P Tot. P WPA WPTP EO% USG
Cormier 8 8.7 0.043 0.377 0.152 0.404 0.750 0.077
Villareal 7 8.0 0.093 0.675 0.130 0.193 0.857 0.012
Moylan 1 1.0 0.008 0.008 0.008 1.000 1.000 0.162
Thomson 2 3.7 0.058 0.272 -0.044 -0.160 0.000 -0.055
Reitsma 5 5.7 0.107 0.967 -0.056 -0.058 0.800 -0.104
Boyer 2 0.7 0.075 0.150 -0.067 -0.448 0.000 -0.016
Ray 6 5.0 0.060 0.365 -0.070 -0.190 0.667 0.018
James 4 8.7 0.019 0.213 -0.082 -0.385 0.750 0.011
Remlinger 9 5.3 0.044 0.400 -0.306 -0.764 0.667 -0.009
Devine 2 1.0 0.045 0.090 -0.456 -5.062 0.000 -0.338

Season to Date stats are up on the brand new stats page. I plan to update that page as I score the games, so keep checking back there throughout the week.

Player of the Week: John Thomson, who threw 11 shutout innings in two starts and still couldn’t pick up a win. He’s the Braves’ MVP at this point, with 1.81 equivalent wins. That means he’s been worth 1.81 wins over a league-average pitcher so far, pretty impressive for just 13 team games.

Thoughts

1. Looks like Jeff Francoeur is back on track after a rough start. I still wouldn’t bet on him hitting better than .250, but it looks like he might be learning to take a few pitches. I’m waiting for him to draw some actual walks, though, before I pass judgment on that.

2. The sample sizes are still small. Had Francoeur not made the last out of today’s game, he would have been in the top three, if not at the very top of the list of Braves hitters. So far, that list would be 1) LaRoche, 2) Andruw, 3) Renteria, then everyone else. I think Andruw will eventually pull ahead, but it’s interesting to see the value of a timely hit or two in the early going. The bottom three (among the starters) would be 1) Giles, 2) Francoeur, 3) McCann.

3. It would appear that bullpen roulette is in full force. Ken Ray fell off the top of the WPA leaderboard today, leaving Lance Cormier as the next potential victim. Don Sutton and Pete Van Wieren were talking about the effects of a bad outing in the early going on a reliever’s ERA, and I found myself in agreement with them: we shouldn’t place too much impact on one outing. While today ruined Ray’s WPA for the time being, he has still been effective (added win probability) in 2/3 of his outings. Cormier and Villareal also have nice effective outing percentages, and so does Reitsma.

4. In my mind, Reitsma is still the Braves’ best reliever by a large margin. The blown save fouled up his WPA horribly, and he’s still not far away from breaking back into the positives. Don’t buy into the -.104 usage rate for him. He still needs to be used in the most crucial situations, just not on back-to-back days (his ERA in recent history is about twice as high with no rest as it is otherwise). When Villareal came into today’s game in the 7th with a runner on 2nd and nobody out (P greater than .2), I thought it would have been a great time for Reitsma instead. Alas, league-wide bullpen mismanagement has prevailed once again. Someday, someone will break through the groupthink and use relievers optimally. Just don’t count on that someone being Bobby Cox (or Tony La Russa, whom I blame for the current usage patterns). Until next week, keep chopping.

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