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The Braves by Position at the All-Star Break


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I'm going to look at each Brave regular by position as to where they rank in the NL. I will be using OPS+ as my determining statistic, but will also include their "slash line" (Batting Average/On-Base Percentage/Slugging Percentage).

For those unfamiliar with the term OPS+ is a statistic used to measure the overall offensive output of a player, weighted by position and league averages, and neutralizing ballpark factors. It's a good way to measure offensive worth between players at multiple positions. A score of 100 means that the player is at or close to ML average.

First Base

1. Joey Votto, CIN. OPS+ 167, .314/.422/.589

2. Albert Pujols, STL. OPS+ 165, .308/.416/.576

3. Adrian Gonzalez, SDP. OPS+ 165, .301/.397/.533

4. Adam Dunn, WAS. OPS+ 154, .288/.372/.588

5. Aubrey Huff, SFG. OPS+ 142, .295/.384/.544

6. Prince Fielder, MIL. OPS+ 142, .295/.384/.544

7. Ryan Howard, PHI. OPS+ 126, .294/.350/.509

8. Lance Berkman, HOU. OPS+ 122, .255/.369/.459

9. Gaby Sanchez, FLA. OPS+ 120, .302/.365/.467

10. James Loney, LAD. OPS+ 119, .309/.361/.442

11. Troy Glaus, ATL. OPS+ 116, .254/.361/.441

12. Garrett Jones, PIT. OPS+ 108, .272/.337/.431

Glaus's emergence in May ignited the offense. The six-week hot streak he was on has been sandwiched between two very cold spells. The first was likely due to rustiness after essentialy not playing regularly since 2008. The later is likely due to a myriad of minor injuries. Nevertheless, Glaus has proven to be a tremendous pick-up for the Braves. Here's hoping that the All-Star break will allow him to heal up and resume the production we enjoyed in May and early June.

As for the rest of the NL, Joey Votto has been the most productive hitter in the entire National League, and I still can't figure out why he only got on the All-Star team with the final vote. Pujols and Gonzalez have been productive but both are having "off years" compared to previous seasons. It would not surprise me to see them be even better in the second half.

Second Base

1. Martin Prado, ATL. OPS+ 129, .325/.367/.484

2. Chase Utley, PHI. OPS+ 125, .277/.383/.466

3. Dan Uggla, FLA. OPS+ 125, .285/.369/.483

4. Kelly Johnson, ARI. OPS+ 123, .276/.374/.497

5. Rickie Weeks, MIL. OPS+ 122, .269/.370/.449

Prado's been the most valuable hitter on the Braves this season, and was one of the only Braves hitting in the month of April. He leads the National League in hits, and is on pace for 224 hits, which would break the Atlanta Braves record. Lately he's also been demonstating a little more pop in his bat, and now has 10 home runs on the season. It's hard for a hitter to maintain the level of production he's demonstrated over the course of a full season while drawing as few walks as he does, but it's not unheard of.

Chase Utley usually draws the top spot here, but has been hampered by injuries and by injuries in the supporting cast around him in the line-up. There's no reason to think he won't rebound in the second half. Former Brave Kelly Johnson comes in fourth. Johnson was a top-5 offensive 2nd baseman for the Braves until 2009, and it's not surprising to see him have success elsewhere.


1. Rafael Furcal, LAD. OPS+ 144, .333/.383/.514

2. Hanley Ramirez, FLA. OPS+ 129, .301/.381/.485

3. Troy Tulowitzki, COL. OPS+ 125, .306/.375/.502

4. Jamey Caroll, LAD. OPS+ 101, .291/.391/.330

5. Stephen Drew, ARI. OPS+ 97, .275/.348/.416

6. Jose Reyes, NYM. OPS+ 96, .275/.317/.414

7. Edgar Renteria, SFG. OPS+ 89, .299/.350/.361

8. Starlin Castro, CHC. OPS+ 86, .270/.333/.383

9. Ian Desmond, WAS. OPS+ 85, .255/.297/.395

10. Jerry Hairston, SDP. OPS+ 84, .248/.294/.353

11. Wilson Valdez, PHI, OPS+ 75, .250/.272/.393

12. Alcides Escobar, MIL. OPS+ 72, .244/.301/.329

13. Yunel Escobar, ATL. OPS+ 70, .238/.334/.284

14. Bobby Crosby, PIT. OPS+ 71, .236/.311/.311

Well, it probably goes without saying that Escobar is having an absolutely dreadful season offensively. After three seasons that saw Escobar OPS+ 112 combined and burning up much of the second half of 2009, many people (including me) thought that Escobar was poised at age 27 to explode into the upper echelon of shortstops in MLB. For some reason not only has that not happened, but Escobar's performance has been far worse than any stretch that he's shown in his professional career. Usually when you see a drop like this, injury has something to do with it, but other than a short stint on the DL with a hip flexor in May, there's been no indication of injury. It's perplexing to say the least. Fortunately, his glovework has been superb and despite the offensive struggles, he's been an overall plus contributer to the team. If he can find some sembelance of his prior performance in the second half, it would be of tremendous value to the Braves.

Shortstop as a position has been down this season offensively. Even with taking positional scarcity into account, there's only 4 NL shortstops with OPS+ over 100, and two of those, Furcal and Tulowitzki, missing significant time due to injury. I look for a healthy Jimmy Rollins and Escobar to rebound in the second half.

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Third Base

1. David Wright, NYM. OPS+ 148, .314/.392/.532

2. Ryan Zimmerman, WAS. OPS+ 143, .294/.383/.526

3. Scott Rolen, CIN. OPS+ 139, .290/.361/.548

4. Casey McGehee, MIL. OPS+ 115, .274/.342/.455

5. Casey Blake, LAD. OPS+ 109, .259/.339/.427

6. Chipper Jones, ATL. OPS+ 109, .252/.378/.393

7. Placido Polanco, PHI. OPS+ 107, .318/.349/.433

Even though Chipper would be the first to tell you that his offensive performance this season doesn't measure up to his usual levels, he still is one of the best. His ability to work the count has helped offset the loss of power he's exhibited. However, he has now homered in the last two weeks, and it's not unreasonable that he could reach between 12 and 16 home runs again. If he adds the power onto the +.370 OBP, there will be considerable reason for the Braves to hope he doesn't retire at the end of the season as he as hinted that he will do.

Wright is making a good case of MVP of the league so far, but Zimmerman isn't far behind and is probably the biggest All-Star snub in the NL. McGehee in Milwaulkee has really come on strong, and is a fun player to watch.


1. Miguel Olivo, COL. OPS+ 136, .325/.377/.548

2. Geovany Soto, CHC. OPS+ 130, .284/.407/.480

3. Brian McCann, ATL. OPS+ 124, .267/.380/.447

4. Chris Snyder, ARI. OPS+ 107, .240/.355/.448

5. Ryan Doumit, PIT. OPS+ 103, .260/.334/.415

Brian McCann is the best catcher in the National League, and it's really not even that close (Olivo and Soto have about 60 PAs fewer than McCann). That he hasn't been voted onto an All-Star team is one of the mysteries of baseball, and makes me question if Braves fans ever really have a clue as to when they have something special. That said, McCann has been streakier than usual this season. Early on he had continuing issues with his eyesight, but that seems to have gone away. With a more than capable back-up in David Ross, McCann should be able to stay fresh through the second half.

The other catchers in the National League are nothing special. Some of them may be better than McCann defensively, but who cares? McCann's a better defensive catcher than Javy Lopez was, and the Braves did OK back then as I recall.

Left Field

1. Manny Ramirez, LAD. OPS+ 155, .322/.412/.525

2. Josh Willingham, WAS. OPS+ 141, .281/.411/.502

3. Matt Holliday, STL. OPS+ 140, 300/.373/.529

4. Seth Smith, COL. OPS+ 128, .287/.350/.545

5. Alfonso Soriano, CHC. OPS+ 124, .269/.342/.534

6. Ryan Braun, MIL. OPS+ 123, .292/.348/.479

7. Eric Hinske, ATL. OPS+ 118, .274/.337/.480

8. Tyler Colvin, CHC. OPS+ 115, .263/.313/.531

9. Jonny Gomes, CIN. OPS+ 112, .277/.330/.471

10. Jason Bay, NYM. OPS+ 110, .265/.355/.424

Hinske has easily been one of the better $1 million investements the Braves have made. Matt Diaz was ticketed at the beginning of the season to see most of the time in LF, but a hand injury has kept him out of most of the first half. Since his return from injury, Diaz has batted .375/.375/.667. If Diaz can approach the OPS+ 133 level of 2009 in the second half, the Braves may have the most productive left fields in the NL.

Ramirez has been hampered by injury but has been productive when healthy. Willingham has been a huge surprise this season, especially with an OBP over .400. It wasn't long ago that Willingham was looked at in the same way as Franceour -- tremendous talent, but not able to be a complete hitter. He seems to have turned the corner. Alfonso Soriano has bounced back after a horrible 2009, but there's almost no way that he will be able to be worth the $18 million a year that the Cubs are paying him.

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Chipper Jones has played in 21 games since he put to rest the unreal retirement talk. He is 23 for 75 (.307) with 6 doubles, 3 homeruns and 11 rbis. If I did the math right for sluggling percentage i've got .507 which is really good. So if Chipper keeps that up for the rest of the 2nd half we'll be just fine! B)

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Chipper Jones has played in 21 games since he put to rest the unreal retirement talk. He is 23 for 75 (.307) with 6 doubles, 3 homeruns and 11 rbis. If I did the math right for sluggling percentage i've got .507 which is really good. So if Chipper keeps that up for the rest of the 2nd half we'll be just fine! B)

Well Chipper's slugging percentage just went up with that homerun! B)

24 for 77 (.312) with 6 doubles, 4 homeruns and 12 rbis. .558 slugging percentage.

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Guess I should finish this.

Center Field

1. Corey Rasmus, STL. OPS+ 144, .285/.370/.547

2. Andres Torres, SFG. OPS+ 126, .281/.378/.483

3. Angel Pagan, NYM. OPS+ 124, .311/.367/.467

4. Carlos Gonzalez, COL. OPS+ 124, .314/.346/.532

5. Marlon Byrd, CHC. OPS+ 118, .315/.368/.477

6. Andrew McCutchen, PIT. OPS+ 116, .287/.363/.435

7. Matt Kemp, LAD. OPS+ 111, .258/.315/.465

8. Chris Young, ARI. OPS+ 104, .266/.330/.469

9. Shane Victorino, PHI. OPS+ 102, .252/.318/.448

10. Dexter Fowler, COL. OPS+ 90, .233/.353/.381

11. Drew Stubbs, CIN. OPS+ 88, .235/.310/.399

12. Melky Cabrera, ATL. OPS+ 80, .255/.331/.330

13. Aaron Rowland, SFG. OPS+ 79, .242/.285/.402

14. Michael Bourn, HOU. OPS+ 79, .255/.331/.330

15. Nyjer Morgan, WAS. OPS+ 71, .252/.314/.316

16. Nate McLouth, ATL. OPS+ 58, .176/.295/.282

I've included Cabrera here with the center fielders, even though he's played more games in right so far because I suspect he'll be playing mostly center in the second half. Needless to say, center field has been a problem area offensively for the Braves in the first half. McLouth has been a steady, if unspectacular, 100+ producer the last five seasons, so his drop-off here is extreme. Melky's numbers are a little down as well, but closer to his production with the Yankees. I suspect McLouth needs to come back strong, or the Braves will make a move to address this position.

Rumors are that the Mets offered either Ryan Church and cash or Angel Pagan for Jeff Franceour. Angel Pagan would certainly be a nice addition to the Braves.

Right Field

1. Andre Eithier, LAD. OPS+ 155, .326/.381/.563

2. Corey Hart, MIL. OPS+ 147, .290/.351/.577

3. Jayson Werth, PHI. OPS+ 129, .279/.365/.507

4. Ryan Ludwick, STL. OPS+ 119, .273/.337/.485

5. Jason Heyward, ATL. OPS+ 118, .247/.362/.448

6. Jay Bruce, CIN. OPS+ 108, .266/.339/.446

7. Justin Upton, ARI. OPS+ 102, .259/.348/.439

8. Cody Ross, FLA. OPS+ 98, .282/.332/.415

9. Hunter Pence, HOU. OPS+ 98, .263/.316/.427

10. Jeff Franceour, NYM. OPS+ 82, .253/.302/.392

It wasn't that long ago that Heyward was leading the NL in OPS+. If he can get back to that level again, the Braves won't really need to worry too much about production from shortstop or center field.

A note about Alex Gonzalez

Gonzalez currently has an OPS+ of 112, which would have been good enough for 4th place on the shortstop list. At age 33, it's by far the highest score in his career. His career average OPS+ is 81, and he hadn't gone over that since his 2007 season with Cincinnati. To say that his production this year has been surprising is an understatement. Hopefully he'll keep it up, but kudos to the Blue Jays for selling high on Gonzalez.

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