Reyes preparing to make another good impression

Whenever the Braves have mentioned the possibility of Jo-Jo Reyes starting this season in their bullpen, I’ve always felt they would be better off sending him to Gwinnett to continue serving as a starter, who would be available if one of Atlanta’s starters was sidelined with an injury.

But the more I think about this, the more I wonder if they have reached the point where they’ve seen enough of him as a starter at the Major League level.   I mean you can only ask a horse to cover a mile so many times before you decide you better at least try him in some sprint races.

During the 18 starts he has made dating back to his last victory, Reyes has gone 0-9 with a 6.59 ERA.  Of course he’s also allowed seven earned runs in the 3 2/3 innings of relief that he has compiled during this stretch.

Of course with his desire to be more aggressive in the strike zone this year, Reyes has at least kept himself in the picture to win one of these final bullpen spots. 

In previous posts, I’ve mentioned that the Braves might decide between Reyes and Jonny Venters to determine who will team with Eric O’Flaherty to serve as  left-handed option in the middle innings. 

But with Kris Medlen in place, the Braves may opt to begin the season with O’Flaherty as their only left-handed setup man. 

Medlen’s 2009 splits
vs. RHs  .328 BA  .386 OBP  .508 SLG   29 Ks 10 BBs
vs. LHs  .183 BA  .291 OBP .278 SLG 43 Ks 20 BBs

Medlen and Peter Moylan pitched in a Minor League game this morning.  Check back later for their results.

BRAVES LINEUP vs. LHP J.A. Happ and the Phillies

Cabrera 8
Prado 4
Chipper 5
Glaus 3
McCann 2
Escobar 6
Heyward 9
Hanson 1 


Mark, I have been thinking along the same lines as you about keeping Jo-Jo down in Gwinnett so he can stay stretched out and be used to being a starter but after reading your post I think you hit a good point. Maybe JoJo should just accept he’s not a starter. Maybe it’s time for Todd Redmond to step up and be that “first line of defense” starting pitcher. Or maybe James Parr, even though I’ve never been his biggest fan.

I assume you mean Hudson in today’s lineup. Interesting that McLouth is not in. Probably because Happ is a lefty. My guess is that is the way Cox is going to roll this lineup for awhile, platooning McLouth and Melky switching from center to left depending on the matchup.

Jo Jo has a long history of being decent in March. Why screw that up again this year by watching him pitch in April and May? We know what he looks like then, and it ain’t pretty. How about we finally realize that he hasn’t ever even been the best pitcher in AAA, Gwinnett or Richmond. If he threw with his right hand he’d have been throwing french fries in the fryer at McDonald’s years ago already. Where is this upside going to come from? A new haircut? New shoes?
I don’t see it, Jo Jo and Blanco are March only players. Like Pete Orr and Brayan Pena before them. My hope is we are only hearing rhetoric designed to help the Braves create enough interest in these two to move them for some AA or AAA talent. That is after all what both of them are in the long run.

Damn I thought that was gone!!! Since when can Raul Ibanez make basket catches?

The more I see Melky play the less mad I am about the trade. Especially if McLouth’s slump continues into the season, Melky is going to be very valuable to this team.

Yeah, obviously I meant to put Hudson in there instead of Hanson.

Just spoke to Smoltz, who came down today to talk to some of the guys. He reiterated that he’s not officially retired and later added that he is at least “closer” toward making that announcement than he was last week.

Good sign to see McCann drill Happ’s delivery deep over the right field wall and into land where cars become Jason Heyward’s punching bag.

McCann hit just four of his 21 homers against left-handers last year.

Today, Brian McCann is JA Happ’s daddy. That is all.

Within the past two pitches that he’s seen McCann has now accounted for half the total (4) of homers he hit against southpaws last year.

Hey Mark, any word on how McLouth is doing in his minor league game?

I think what Brian McCann is trying to say is that he’s ready for the season to begin…

Looks like you big Brooks Conrad fans might be SOL. Gonna be hard to pick over a guy who has a .100 better average and almost identical in every other statistical category.

Well obviously it doesn’t matter if Canns misses a few “hittable pitches.” At this point it seems like he would hit a ball that was rolled to the plate out of the park.

So–how did Medlen, Moylan, McLouth and Hinske do in the AAA vs AA game

Today’s pitching lines from the Minor League intra-squad game:

Medlen 2 IP, 2 hits, 5Ks, 26 pitches
Moylan 1.1 IP, 1K 14 pitches
O’Flaherty 1.1 IP, 1 hit, 1 BB, 2 Ks 23 pitches

There were no numbers available for McLouth or Hinske. But Cox did say that McLouth singled in his first at-bat and “looked good.” I can’t say he exactly said this with his usual sense of enthusiasm. But really all that matters is how McLouth looks in the coming days in regular games.

Hudson said he’ll likely pitch in a Minor League game instead of facing the Phils again on Monday…McCann was happy with today’s results because he finally felt comfortable with a mechanical adjustment that he made after missing some of the “hittable pitches” that he saw the past couple of days.

Thanks for the info. Looks like they got some work in and did some great pitching

Kimbrel recorded three strikeouts against the Phillies, but hurt his bid to open the season in the bullpen by issuing a pair of walks. Cox raved about the curveball displayed by this young hurler, who will likely spend some time in Gwinnett before getting to Atlanta at some point this year.

It will be interesting to see how Chavez pitches against his former teammates tomorrow in Bradenton. Based simply on experience, I still have to consider him to be a favorite to win one of the final bullpen spots.

Reyes recorded a walk and registered a strikeout in a scoreless inning today. The fact that the Braves continue to send him out there for one inning at a time indicates they are serious about this relief thing. We’ll see just how serious when the roster decisions are made next week.

Well Viva, if you had been careful to observe that Brooksy actually Leads Thurston in OBP by 19 points and if you were aware that his defense has been stellar in ST you might be willing to say that those of us who recognize his upside may NOT actually be SOL. We don’t all look at players(including the Braves coaching staff) by how they compare “in every statistical category”. Especially with a limited number of AB in ST. Intangibles count. Defense counts. My money is still on Conrad.

Really? Intangibles count? Defense counts? I had no idea.
“Gonna be hard to pick over a guy who has a .100 better average and ALMOST identical in every other statistical category.” Put your reading glasses on, old man.

Yeah, the stat heads always say average is an overrated statistic. I guess that’s only when you don’t need it to support your argument. A guy who’s average drops over a few AB’s in ST doesn’t really lose a lot of ground in the eyes of the coaching staff. Stats are REALLY overrated in a 34 AB statistical sample. Unless of course your one of Viva’s favorite son’s McLouth who can’t hit a Grandmother in a crosswalk right now. Nobody needs reading glasses to see that obvious fact.

Love the stats Norton had last year. McLouth, if he is not striking out, pulls the ball and hits lazy fly balls which makes you wonder if he thinks he is a power hitter. Really helps with his stolen bases numbers.

udflyers win! Hope Mark can teach them to shoot free throws.

I noticed two things today. Craig Kimbrel most definitely needs to start the year in the Minors. He has mega command problems that should get squeezed out in AAA very easily. And if Freddie Freeman keeps up that type of hitting and hustle until he gets cut he really should start in AAA. I think he would dominate AA to the point where it’s unfair on the poor kid not challenge him right away.

Winboj, the scariest part about last year is that Chipper had a stretch in August and September where he was actually worse than Norton over the same number of ABs. At least we weren’t sitting Norton in the 3 hole the entire time. I’m still concerned about Chipper’s hands a little, but he has been very productive this spring, so I will wait and see what happens when the big lights get turned on. I hope he really is back.
I heard an interview with Frank Wren yesterday where he said Heyward was basically one of the guys now, not just a wide eyed rookie. The number 71 is going to be replaced very soon.

August and September was the time we needed him to help us get to the playoffs and he knew it. He pressed too hard and got in some bad habits expanding his strike zone. I don’t think he will be but I hope Heyward is not another Frenchy. I looked at Ryan Howard #’s as he is similiar to Heyward in size for an idea as to how Heyward might do but Howard is 30 years old and has only been up for 5 years. I think Heyward will hit for a higher ave and his strike outs will be lower. What young outfielder would you try to compare with Heyward?

Yeah, nice win by my Flyers. But when your team wins in the NIT, you’re just reminded how much they underperformed during the regular season.

The current outfielder I’d compare to Heyward would be Matt Kemp. I still remember how much Bobby loved Kemp the first time he saw him play in Atlanta.

Today’s lineup
McLouth 8
Escobar 6
Heyward 9
Diaz 7
Hinske 3
Infante 4
Ross 2
Conrad 5
Kawakami 1

Of every Braves player (starting 8 and bench) that is going to be on the 25-man roster (McLouth excluded as always), the lowest OBP so far this Spring is .371. I know, I know, it’s Spring… but I say that bodes well.


McLouth with a jack! Maybe those minor league ABs helped.

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