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'If Braves' Pendleton Got Blame Before, He Better [Get] Credit Now'


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http://blogs.ajc.com/jeff-schultz-blog/2010/06/14/if-braves-pendleton-got-blame-before-he-better-credit-now/?cxntfid=blogs_jeff_schultz_blog

10:41 am June 14, 2010, by Jeff Schultz

So does this mean Terry Pendleton isn’t so bad?

(Sarcasm.)

After going 6-5 on what could have been a crushing 11-game road trip, the Braves are 14-5 since a 6-4 loss to Florida – Kenshin Kawakami shockingly was the losing pitcher – and 29-13 (.690) since a nine-game losing streak.

Nobody figured they were that bad at 8-14. Some probably wonder if they’re really this good at 10 games over .500 in mid-June.

But I just wanted to bring something to your attention. Despite still getting little production from their expected primary run producers – Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, Yunel Escobar – the Braves have been climbing in National League statistical categories.

They rank No. 1 in walks (.295), No. 1 in on-base percentage (.352), No. 2 in doubles (124), No. 2 in runs (.327), No. 4 in batting with runners in scoring position (.277), No. 5 in total hits (.565) and No. 6 in batting average (.262). All in all, that’s pretty good for a lineup most of us wanted to blow up in April.

Which leads me back to Pendleton.

During this 14-5 stretch, the Braves are scoring 5.58 runs per game. That’s a full run more than the previous 45 (4.58).

Hitting and pitching coaches get way too much credit and blame. Pendleton wasn’t the reason Jeff Francoeur nose-dived in Atlanta. Similarlly, Pendleton is not the reason Martin Prado has turned into a .332 hitter. Coaches can help only so much in terms of pointing out flaws and making suggestions. Players either adjust or they don’t.

When Leo Mazzone left the Braves for Baltimore, it was comical the way some fans believed the Braves were suddenly going down like Pompeii, as if Mazzone created the greatness that was Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz.

What happened when Mazzone went to the pitching-poor Orioles? Suddenly, he stunk. All those people who whined when he left the Braves suddenly went mute.

Funny. The same thing is now happening with Pendleton’s critics. We’ve gone from screams to crickets.

If Pendleton is going to get the blame for Nate McLouth, he needs to get some credit for Troy Glaus, Eric Hinske and Omar Infante.

Can’t have it both ways, folks.

So, who here still believes that we should have fired TP back in May?

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So, who here still believes that we should have fired TP back in May?

I didn't want to fire him in May. But I'm not going to go singing his praises now either. As Schultz says, coaches take too much heat when things go bad and too much credit when things go well.

Even Bobby Cox has said most of the credit for the Braves being a more patient team at the plate this season (and therefore for scoring more runs) probably goes to Jason Heyward. He has said on more than one occassion that his success in spring training with a patient approach cause others to give it a try.

And while I don't blame Pendleton for Francouer, I do think he shares some blame for Kelly Johnson. Johnson was as patient as Heyward when he came up, but Pendleton pushed him to be "more aggressive". I was very worried that Pendleton would do the same to Heyward.

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I didn't want to fire him in May. But I'm not going to go singing his praises now either. As Schultz says, coaches take too much heat when things go bad and too much credit when things go well.

Sorry, but my friend 'Search' says otherwise...

What I'd like to see:

1. Terry Pendleton thanked for his years of service and contributions to the franchise, and then shown the door.

2. Phil Wellman called up from AA Mississippi to take over the position of Batting Coach.

3. Eddie Perez sent to AA Mississippi to take over managing the team. Get him some practical managerial experience, and give him an up-close look at some of our best prospects in anticipation of his stepping into the big chair next season.

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Sorry, but my friend 'Search' says otherwise...

Well, I stand corrected. +1 for actually doing some research.

In any case, I am unimpressed by Pendleton. Fire him now, fire him after the season, or even promote him to manager, I think the Braves could do better in the office of hitting coach. Apparently a 20-year-old rookie has more of an influence on the offensive philosophy of the team than the hitting coach.

Edited by K26dp
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Five top 10 offenses during the last eight years doesn't impress you?

i stand by my opinion. define a "top 10 offense." is it top 10 in the NL or MLB?

i'll assume that since you failed to post stats, links, or any other kind of reference to support a "top 10 offense," argument that you're basing it off of stats like hits, runs, RBI's, HR's, etc.

i'd be curious to see what the rankings of some of the other offensive stats like K's, BB, GIDP, SF, SH were during those 5 out of 8 years as a "top 10 offense."

i'm not going to debate the fact that i'd welcome the sight of TP leaving, but to each their own. yes we played great in May and have played pretty good in June, but with just less than 100 games left on the season, i'll hold my golf clap for TP until October.....

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Leave it to the AJC to write about a topic late like this. Most the people on this board who really bashed Pendelton said they were wrong or took things back 2-3 weeks ago.....you know when the Braves were killing the ball and on a great win streak and when this was a conversational topic.

Way to wait 3 weeks after a message board touches on this topic to write about it in the city paper.....they always do have the finger on the pulse. :rolleyes:

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i stand by my opinion. define a "top 10 offense." is it top 10 in the NL or MLB?

i'll assume that since you failed to post stats, links, or any other kind of reference to support a "top 10 offense," argument that you're basing it off of stats like hits, runs, RBI's, HR's, etc.

i'd be curious to see what the rankings of some of the other offensive stats like K's, BB, GIDP, SF, SH were during those 5 out of 8 years as a "top 10 offense."

i'm not going to debate the fact that i'd welcome the sight of TP leaving, but to each their own. yes we played great in May and have played pretty good in June, but with just less than 100 games left on the season, i'll hold my golf clap for TP until October.....

I was referring to runs scored, as I figured that was the best measure of an offense's potency. And yes, those top 10 finishes were among all 30 ML teams. Here are the exact numbers:

2003: #2

2005: #10

2006: #5

2007: #9

2010: #7

http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/MLB/2010.shtml

Even if you take out this season, that's still four out of the last seven complete seasons that the Braves have finished in the top 10 in runs scored - as well as finishing five out of those last seven seasons above the major league average (#14 in 2004.)

Is TP Rudy Jaramillo? No.

Is TP the reason that Andruw Jones hasn't hit above .220 since 2007 and is currently hitting .211 three seasons removed from TP's instruction? No.

Is TP the reason that a clueless Jeff Francoeur was placed in the five hole for over half of the '09 season, dragging the entire offense down with him? No.

Has TP been an above average hitting coach for the Braves? Unfortunately for the lynch mob, the numbers say yes.

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Well, I stand corrected. +1 for actually doing some research.

In any case, I am unimpressed by Pendleton. Fire him now, fire him after the season, or even promote him to manager, I think the Braves could do better in the office of hitting coach. Apparently a 20-year-old rookie has more of an influence on the offensive philosophy of the team than the hitting coach.

And, of course, we all know that the offensive philosophy of a team is established by the hitting coach, not the manager. It's the hitting coach that sets the batting order based on his pupils' strengths and weaknessnes, calls bunts, steals, hit and runs, etc., decides who pinch hits and when and holds players accountable when they ignore his instruction and continually go up to the plate without an approach.

All this frees up the manager to do his job, which is to yell, "C'mon Frenchy!" from the dugout steps.

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And, of course, we all know that the offensive philosophy of a team is established by the hitting coach, not the manager. It's the hitting coach that sets the batting order based on his pupils' strengths and weaknessnes, calls bunts, steals, hit and runs, etc., decides who pinch hits and when and holds players accountable when they ignore his instruction and continually go up to the plate without an approach.

All this frees up the manager to do his job, which is to yell, "C'mon Frenchy!" from the dugout steps.

:lol::lol::lol::lol:

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And yet he had everything to do with the less-than-patient approach by last year's Braves. Got it.

When you tell a guy like Kelly Johnson, who makes a living by being patient, to become more aggressive at the plate......then yes. If you look at the years you've listed except for '05, we've had established hitters on those teams that didn't need guidance from a hitting coach. Oh, and '03 is not a win for TP. We had one of the best offensive lineups in a long time with Javy having a monster year, Sheffield, Chipper, Furcal, Giles, Andruw, etc.

EDIT:

I mean, when do we hear about a guy crediting TP for his success? Generally if a player gets a helpful tip from a coach, they will pass along the credit to said person. But no, all I hear about is that Chipper and Mac both go to see their dads, Francoeur and Andruw go to see Jaramillo, and other players get tips from each other. The only person I have ever heard connected with TP is Kelly Johnson......and we all saw how that worked out.

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I was referring to runs scored, as I figured that was the best measure of an offense's potency. And yes, those top 10 finishes were among all 30 ML teams. Here are the exact numbers:

2003: #2

2005: #10

2006: #5

2007: #9

2010: #7

http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/MLB/2010.shtml

Even if you take out this season, that's still four out of the last seven complete seasons that the Braves have finished in the top 10 in runs scored - as well as finishing five out of those last seven seasons above the major league average (#14 in 2004.)

Is TP Rudy Jaramillo? No.

Is TP the reason that Andruw Jones hasn't hit above .220 since 2007 and is currently hitting .211 three seasons removed from TP's instruction? No.

Is TP the reason that a clueless Jeff Francoeur was placed in the five hole for over half of the '09 season, dragging the entire offense down with him? No.

Has TP been an above average hitting coach for the Braves? Unfortunately for the lynch mob, the numbers say yes.

well i guess i just have a different opinion of what an offense is. to me, it's more than just how many runs you score. how many of those runs were manufactured with sacrifices? how many were hit and runs? how many were with 2 outs? how many came in critical spots or were game changing? to me, those should be factored in to what makes a good offense.

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And, of course, we all know that the offensive philosophy of a team is established by the hitting coach, not the manager.

So what would you say is Cox/Pendleton's offensive philosophy? What approach do they try to instill in their young hitters, and what players can you point to as successful exemplars of that approach?

It's the hitting coach that sets the batting order based on his pupils' strengths and weaknessnes, calls bunts, steals, hit and runs, etc., decides who pinch hits and when and holds players accountable when they ignore his instruction and continually go up to the plate without an approach.

Bunts, steals, and hit & runs happen so infrequently that they have little to no influence on a hitter's approach. Pinch hitting has no bearing on offensive philosophy. And you'll have to be more specific about "holding players accountable". Cox is famous/infamous for allowing players to play through slumps and supporting them outside of the clubhouse. Neither you nor I have any idea what Cox does or doesn't do to players who "ignore instruction". Do you also hold a player "accountable" for trying to follow instruction and regressing as a hitter, as Kelly Johnson seemed to do?

BTW, kudos for starting a discussion, sticking with your point, and backing your assertion with good thoughts and stats. I'm actually enjoying this conversation.

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When you tell a guy like Kelly Johnson, who makes a living by being patient, to become more aggressive at the plate......then yes. If you look at the years you've listed except for '05, we've had established hitters on those teams that didn't need guidance from a hitting coach. Oh, and '03 is not a win for TP. We had one of the best offensive lineups in a long time with Javy having a monster year, Sheffield, Chipper, Furcal, Giles, Andruw, etc.

EDIT:

I mean, when do we hear about a guy crediting TP for his success? Generally if a player gets a helpful tip from a coach, they will pass along the credit to said person. But no, all I hear about is that Chipper and Mac both go to see their dads, Francoeur and Andruw go to see Jaramillo, and other players get tips from each other. The only person I have ever heard connected with TP is Kelly Johnson......and we all saw how that worked out.

"Makes a living by being patient?"

If I recall correctly, KJ was a sub .300, 100+ strikeout guy with no power when TP suggested he take the bat off his shoulders every once in a while and stop looking at strike three all the time. That ain't "making a living." Everyone likes to imagine that KJ was this high average, OBP machine before TP "ruined" him. He wasn't. TP was right to tell him to be more aggressive.

Just as he was right those times he stated that Andruw and Frenchy needed to be more selective at the plate. This idea that TP's tutelage consists solely of telling hitters to "be more aggressive" is nonsense. Not that you said that in your post, but someone always does whenever a TP debate breaks out. Just figured I'd make a pre-emptive strike.

And when do we ever hear anybody credit a hitting coach not named Jaramillo? I'm sure if I dug around enough, I could find a quote of a hitter crediting TP. I don't think most people really understand what a ML hitting coach does. He's not so much an instructor as a resource that is there for players to use if they so desire.

As for Chipper and McCann declining to consult Pendleton, that's just more bunk. As recently as spring training of this year, I remember McCann talking about how Pendleton was helping him with shortening his swing.

It's time to find another scapegoat, fellas.

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"Makes a living by being patient?"

If I recall correctly, KJ was a sub .300, 100+ strikeout guy with no power when TP suggested he take the bat off his shoulders every once in a while and stop looking at strike three all the time. That ain't "making a living." Everyone likes to imagine that KJ was this high average, OBP machine before TP "ruined" him. He wasn't. TP was right to tell him to be more aggressive.

Just as he was right those times he stated that Andruw and Frenchy needed to be more selective at the plate. This idea that TP's tutelage consists solely of telling hitters to "be more aggressive" is nonsense. Not that you said that in your post, but someone always does whenever a TP debate breaks out. Just figured I'd make a pre-emptive strike.

And when do we ever hear anybody credit a hitting coach not named Jaramillo? I'm sure if I dug around enough, I could find a quote of a hitter crediting TP. I don't think most people really understand what a ML hitting coach does. He's not so much an instructor as a resource that is there for players to use if they so desire.

As for Chipper and McCann declining to consult Pendleton, that's just more bunk. As recently as spring training of this year, I remember McCann talking about how Pendleton was helping him with shortening his swing.

It's time to find another scapegoat, fellas.

His first full season in the majors the kid hit .276 with a .375 OBP with 16 HRs. His walks from 2007 to 2008 dropped by nearly 30. Sure his BA went up by 11 points, but his OBP from by over 25 points and had an OPS under .800. What year did TP tell KJ to be more aggressive? 2008. It's not surprise that his OBP is back up above .370 since going to Arizona.

As for McCann's swing, he also credits Chipper for the help in his swing. And I don't know why that is bunk? How many times have you heard Chipper talk about speaking with is Dad when trying to correct flaws in his approach?

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well i guess i just have a different opinion of what an offense is. to me, it's more than just how many runs you score. how many of those runs were manufactured with sacrifices? how many were hit and runs? how many were with 2 outs? how many came in critical spots or were game changing? to me, those should be factored in to what makes a good offense.

As in football, basketball or any other sport besides golf, a good offense scores points. A bad offense doesn't. Period.

As much as it pains you to admit it, TP has been the hitting coach for some good - and even some great - offenses during his time with the Braves. That is a fact which is not open to your decidedly arbitrary interpretation of "what an offense is."

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His first full season in the majors the kid hit .276 with a .375 OBP with 16 HRs. His walks from 2007 to 2008 dropped by nearly 30. Sure his BA went up by 11 points, but his OBP from by over 25 points and had an OPS under .800. What year did TP tell KJ to be more aggressive? 2008. It's not surprise that his OBP is back up above .370 since going to Arizona.

At the end of April of this year, KJ was hitting .313 with 9 HRs. Since then, his average has dropped over 30 points and he has added just 4 more HRs to his season total. Is it possible that KJ is and always will be the very streaky .270 career hitter he has always been since his minor league days, long before he ever met TP? You and others are acting as if TP single-handedly held back the development of a guy who was a lock to be a perrenial .300 avg/.400 OBP/ 30 HR hitter. Believe it or not, some guys are just destined to be journeymen infielders.

As for McCann's swing, he also credits Chipper for the help in his swing. And I don't know why that is bunk? How many times have you heard Chipper talk about speaking with is Dad when trying to correct flaws in his approach?

What's bunk is the notion that neither Chipper nor McCann ever consult TP when trying to correct flaws in their approach. Just because there hasn't been a fluff piece about it on the front page of the AJC sports section doesn't mean it never happens. TP is a resource just as Chipper's dad is a resource. The difference is a meeting with your hitting coach isn't quite the feel good story that a good old fashioned father/son parable is.

I did, however, find this recent article that shows TP a little love...

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/Braves-offense-shows-diversityNew-approach-at-the-plate-take-pitches-get-on-base-05715936

"I think that's one of the things that TP preaches is making sure we try to get as many good pitches to hit as possible," Braves general manager Frank Wren said. "You've got to eliminate some of the pitcher's pitches. I think our guys did a real good job of that this spring. It's something you want to continue."

So much for that running urban legend that TP is obsessed with being aggressive at the plate.

Edited by cooperbh
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So what would you say is Cox/Pendleton's offensive philosophy? What approach do they try to instill in their young hitters, and what players can you point to as successful exemplars of that approach?

I don't know about Cox, but Pendleton's offensive philosophy going back to his playing days is about getting good pitches to hit. For proof, see the recent article I linked in my last post, as well as this one:

http://atlanta.braves.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100501&content_id=9718222&notebook_id=9718464&vkey=notebook_atl&fext=.jsp&c_id=atl

And here's one from 2005 that confirms the assertion within the first two sentences:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1208/is_38_229/ai_n15402488/

Personally, I think Cox's offensive philosophy is making sure his pet players get plate time, but that's a whole 'nother discussion.

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At the end of April of this year, KJ was hitting .313 with 9 HRs. Since then, his average has dropped over 30 points and he has added just 4 more HRs to his season total. Is it possible that KJ is and always will be the very streaky .270 career hitter he has always been since his minor league days, long before he ever met TP? You and others are acting as if TP single-handedly held back the development of a guy who was a lock to be a perrenial .300 avg/.400 OBP/ 30 HR hitter. Believe it or not, some guys are just destined to be journeymen infielders.

What's bunk is the notion that neither Chipper nor McCann ever consult TP when trying to correct flaws in their approach. Just because there hasn't been a fluff piece about it on the front page of the AJC sports section doesn't mean it never happens. TP is a resource just as Chipper's dad is a resource. The difference is a meeting with your hitting coach isn't quite the feel good story that a good old fashioned father/son parable is.

I did, however, find this recent article that shows TP a little love...

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/Braves-offense-shows-diversityNew-approach-at-the-plate-take-pitches-get-on-base-05715936

"I think that's one of the things that TP preaches is making sure we try to get as many good pitches to hit as possible," Braves general manager Frank Wren said. "You've got to eliminate some of the pitcher's pitches. I think our guys did a real good job of that this spring. It's something you want to continue."

So much for that running urban legend that TP is obsessed with being aggressive at the plate.

And yet KJ is still batting .282 with an OBP around .390...................................

I don't think anyone who knows Kelly would think of him to be a .300 hitter with 30 HR potential, but he definitely has the capability of hitting .280+ with an OBP around .860+ and 20 HRs. That is pretty good for a "journeyman infielder".

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And yet KJ is still batting .282 with an OBP around .390...................................

I don't think anyone who knows Kelly would think of him to be a .300 hitter with 30 HR potential, but he definitely has the capability of hitting .280+ with an OBP around .860+ and 20 HRs. That is pretty good for a "journeyman infielder".

.282 is closer to his career average of .266 than it is to .300. Don't act like KJ is doing something unprecedented here. He's just being his usual streaky self.

And any team expecting KJ to consistently post an OPS of .860 with 20 HR/year will probably be disappointed.

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