Braves Chart of the Day: May 19, 2009

Speed Score is a Bill James creation that’s been proven a fairly reliable indicator of performance in various aspects of baseball related to a player’s speed.  Here’s the BP definition, but it’s essentially a zero to ten scale based on five components: stolen base %, SB attempts as a % of opportunities, triples, GIDPs as a % of opportunities, and runs scored as a % of times on base.

These are the Braves’ speed scores for 2009:

20090519-speedscores

The Braves are a slow team.  Five is an average speed score, and the Braves top out at 4.5.  Now, I know that Schafer is really faster than he looks from this chart, but he hasn’t run like a speedster.  Carl Crawford is a 9.3 this year, if you’re wondering.

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7 thoughts on “Braves Chart of the Day: May 19, 2009

  1. The Braves’ lack of speed and Cox’s unwillingness to play small ball drives me nuts.

    It used to not be a big deal for us to get someone on base and then just wait for a home run—when we had Chipper, Sheffield, Andruw and Javy in the lineup. The sad thing is, this team has no power either.

    For Atlanta to score, they’re pretty much reliant on stringing three hits together in an inning, which doesn’t happen all that often.

    We need a power bat, or at least a guy who could be a threat on the basepaths.

  2. The Braves are in a tough spot with very little speed and little power. It’s a vicious cycle, having none of the skills that create runs, since you can sometimes score with one or the other as a dominant feature of your offense. And it’s very frustrating as a fan.

    I don’t have a really big problem with the Braves’ on-field strategy thus far; I guess it’s more of a personnel issue to me. I’m actually not much of a proponent of “small ball,” at least not as it relates to giving up outs to advance baserunners.

    To me, the Braves’ problem is that they just don’t seem have the personnel to pull off either a power or speed (or both) philosophy. They have below-average hitters at all three outfield positions and on the right side of the infield, so they have only two real plus hitters: Chipper Jones and Brian McCann.

    For what it’s worth, I am in favor of maneuvers that keep opponents on their toes or take advantage of a subtle opportunity (like Ian Stewart’s first-to-third fake-out move on Francoeur in the third inning last night, and his later fight against the rundown to leave runners on 2nd and 3rd). Those plays, which typically fall under the “small ball” umbrella, are just good baseball moves to me. Those kind of heady plays add up, and the Braves don’t seem to do enough of them.

    This is just a frustrating offense to watch right now, since it seems like they’re wasting a lot of good pitching.

  3. John – perhaps you can make a chart of this:

    Jeff Francoeur’s slash line against left-handed pitchers in 2009: .347/.346/.490

    Ha ha ha! His average is higher than his on-base %! Ha ha.

  4. Yeah, I think that was JC’s FB status.

    I decided to research Frenchy’s awkward numbers, because off the top of my head I wasn’t exactly sure how one’s OBP could be lower than his AVG.

    Turns out, in that particular scenario (against lefty pitchers) Frenchy has more sac flies than walks (2 SFs, 1 BB). Sac flies don’t hurt your average but they hurt your OBP.

    You probably already knew that, but I found it interesting and just thought I’d share.

  5. I agree with you about the limited personnel issue, but I guess what frustrates me about Cox is that it seems like in the past, even when he HAS had the personnel, he hasn’t taken advantage of speed.

    With the exception of Otis Nixon in the early 90s, playing for the Braves generally seems to cut back drastically on your base stealing (see Kenny Lofton, Marquis Grissom, Rafael Furcal in the low 20s).

    I don’t know if that’s Cox not giving the green light to his base stealers or what, but at some point, it starts to look like he’s not all that interested in speed since he doesn’t really take advantage of it even when he has it.

  6. You’re right about that. There was a big difference between what Lofton and Grissom did with their previous teams and what they did with the Braves on the basepaths.

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