Braves mulling leadoff options
Like many Major League clubs, the White Sox seem interested in the Braves’ wealth of young pitching talent. But those fans hoping this means outfielder Carlos Quentin could be headed to Atlanta should be prepared for disappointment.
White Sox advance scout Bill Scherrer was at Turner Field for this past weekend’s series against the Orioles and he stuck around for this week’s series against the Rockies. Given the White Sox and Orioles will not meet again until Aug. 8, Scherrer has likely focused most of his attention toward the Braves’ pitchers.
While the Braves might be in the market for an outfielder, their primary focus will likely not be aimed toward corner outfielders like Quentin. Instead they will continue to evaluate what Jordan Schafer can provide in the leadoff spot and determine whether they need to increase their efforts to find a proven leadoff hitter like the White Sox have in Juan Pierre.
When I simply used this as a tease to link to a blog post on Twitter, a number of fans attacked me like I was a juror from the Casey Anthony trial. Really the blog was written to simply point out the White Sox have been in town all week and they are interested in Major League-ready pitchers who are not yet eligible for arbitration.
Obviously the Braves have a few arms that fit this description.
Look Pierre probably isn’t answer. He has batted .261 with a .322 on-base percentage and been successful with just 12 of his 22 stolen base attempts. In other words, he hasn’t been the same guy who was successful with 68 of 86 stolen base attempts last year. But since May 1, he has hit .270 with a .340 on-base percentage and been successful with seven of his 10 stolen base attempts.
Still whether you’re a member of #Team Schafer or #Team Nate you might be saying you argue your guy is a better fit.
Coming off Tuesday’s four-strikeout game, Jordan Schafer returned last night and recorded one hit in four at-bats. In the 28 games he has played since getting struck in the face by a fouled bunt attempt, Schafer has hit .223 with a .263 on-base percentage and nine stolen bases in 11 attempts.
McLouth has batted .205 with a .404 on-base percentage in the 15 games he has played since missing more than a month with a strained right oblique muscle.
Now is the time for many of you to begin chiming in about the need to get Michael Bourn, who has has hit .292 with a .355 on-base percentage and 35 stolen bases this year. But if the Astros are going to give up Bourn or Hunter Pence, they are certainly going to be asking for a much greater return than the White Sox would in exchange for Pierre.
While it would be great to find a legitimate leadoff hitter, maybe the Braves should just stick with what they have and put Martin Prado back at the top of their lineup when he returns, likely after the break. He did hit .314 with a .352 on-base percentage and .512 slugging percentage while serving as the Braves’ leadoff hitter from May 15-July 30 last year.
Prado will begin his Minor League rehab assignment tonight in Charlotte with Triple-A Gwinnett and will likely spend this weekend playing for the G-Braves, who will be hosting Charlotte.
More on Chipper and the ump: It did not look good when plate umpire Mark Ripperger ended Sunday’s game with two very, very questionable strike calls against Chipper Jones and then stared at Jones as he walked in disgusted fashion toward the dugout. But it has since been brought to my attention that Ripperger felt his job was to watch Jones to make sure he didn’t throw any of equipment in a manner that warranted a fine.
As he sat at his locker Tuesday, Jones laughed when thought about the fact that midway through Sunday’s game he had told Eric Hinske that the Minor League umpire was doing a good job with his strike zone.
Safe to say, Jones will be careful to not jinx himself with many more in-game compliments. After the game, he said “the officiating in this game is substandard.”
When Jones issued an apology Monday, he said it was unfair to direct his displeasure toward some of the game’s top umpires like Tim McClelland, the crew chief from this past weekend’s series.
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