McCann and Prado enhance concerns surrounding the Braves

Three weeks ago the Braves’ primary concern centered  around whether they might have enough healthy arms to form a respectable starting rotation for the playoffs?  Life was so much easier for Brian McCann, Martin Prado and the rest of the team back then.

The Braves have spent the past couple weeks understanding Jair Jurrjens’ return was doubtful and holding out hope for Tommy Hanson will be ready for the start of the playoffs.  Now with just two weeks remaining in the regular season, they can only guess what they might receive from the once ever dependable duo of Brian McCann and Martin Prado.

Prado produced a key triple and came within a few feet of delivering a potential game-ending hit in the 11th inning of last night’s 12-inning loss to the Marlins.   But it’s safe to say he simply hasn’t been the same while batting an uncharacteristic .260 this season.

Right now does not seem to be the time to debate whether Prado’s struggles are a product of his move to left field, the staph infection that sidelined him for a month or lingering effects from last year’s torn oblique/hip pointer.  Instead, the Braves are simply holding out hope that he’ll start looking a little more like the guy who hit .307 both of the past two seasons.

Last night as the Braves recorded just three hits in a season-high 20 at-bats with runners in scoring position, Prado and McCann both went 0-for-3 in these situations.

McCann struck out with the bases loaded and one out in ninth and again with runners on first and second base and one out in the 11th inning.  The frustration showed on his face as he sat at his locker and assumed his responsibility to be held accountable.

When asked if he is still bothered by the left oblique strain that sidelined him at the end of August, McCann quickly deflected the question.   If the oblique was a serious issue, he’d likely be dealing with too much pain to play.  But since coming off an 18-day DL stint in August, he has struggle to regain the form he had while spending most of the season as the club’s most valuable player.

Since completing a Minor League rehab assignment that lasted just two games, McCann has batted .159 (14-for-88) with five homers, a .275 on-base percentage and .352 slugging percentage.  But the most telling stat might be the fact that he has struck out once every 3.67 at-bats during this span.

When McCann enjoyed a two-homer game against the Cubs Aug. 25, he seemed relieved that some extra time in the batting cage had helped him regain comfort at the plate.  But he did not play the following night and Hurricane Irene forced the Braves to remain idle over the following three days.

Since then McCann has once again struggled to find comfort at the plate.   He has batted .146 (7-for-48) with a homer in the 13 games since the storm necessitated a mini break.    Once again the most telling stat might be the fact that he has struck out 16 times (once every three at-bats) during this span.

If this sample size is too small, utilize the 3.7 AB/K mark he has posted since returning from the DL and you’ll still see a disturbing trend.   Before going on the DL, McCann’s career AB/K ratio was 6.4.  Simply accounting for this season, his AB/K ratio before going on the DL was 5.4.

So yes, McCann was striking out more frequently even before he went on the disabled list.  But since returning from the oblique strain in less than three weeks, he has been swinging and missing more frequently than ever remembered during a one-month span.

WORTH NOTING: Peter Moylan impressed with two strikeouts in a perfect inning during Monday night’s loss.  It was Moylan’s best outing since returning from back surgery and one that should give the Braves even more confidence to use him in clutch situations during the remainder of the season.

Brandon Beachy issued a costly sixth-inning walk and struggled to command his fastball while totaling 73 pitches in the Monday night’s first three innings.  But while needing just 16 pitches to get through the fourth and fifth innings, the rookie hurler once again showed some of the poise and determination that has caught the attention of many around the baseball world this year.

Beachy needs just four more strikeouts to pass Irv Young for the most strikeouts by a Braves rookie pitcher since 1900.  Young recorded 156 strikeouts for the 1905 Boston Beaneaters.

With the Cardinals’ loss to the Pirates Monday night, the Braves maintained their  4 1/2-game advantage in the National League Wild Card race.   With just 14 games remaining, the Braves still have some cushion  But given that they have won just five of their past 16, it might be worth noting the Giants are also now within 6 1/2 games.

The Braves will play their next 11 games against the Marlins, Mets and Nationals.  With the Phillies coming to Atlanta for the season’s final three games, it might be in their best interest to clinch the Wild Card over these next 11 games.

The Phillies will have already clinched the division by the time they arrive in Atlanta.  But they were in the same position when they came to Turner Field to end the 2010 regular season and I’m quite sure many of you remember that they still managed to win the first two games of that series.

things were exactly the same last year, when they won the first two games of the series and forced the Braves to win their regular season finale to clinch the Wild Card berth.

25 Comments

Mark. Have you ever heard the term addition by subtraction? That is what the braves should of done by trading some of their players to “sell high” half way through the season. Mark, do YOU think it was a mistake to not trade one of JJ or tommy at the all star break? For the LONG TERM interests of the braves organisation?

It’s sad that we keep having to explain this to you…. I wonder if Mark can get through to you…

I highly doubt it, might as well be talking to a wall.

Its sad you feel the urge to comment on every comment I make. WHy does it matter so much to you that somebody has a different view point to you on an internet blog? You must be an angry person to get annoyed at different opinions to yours! And just for everyones future reference it is football not soccer, and yes I watch alot of it. Baseball is a hobby of mine. Everyone should just chill out and relax. I have different views to you all. Maybe you should stop being nazis and get over it.

Hey dumbass. Maybe if everyone else has a problem, it’s not them it’s you???? You think we should trade McCann because he has only batted .159 since August 14th? his past 6 seasons he was an All Star were probably that he “was just lucky”. If we trade him now we will prolly get a lot more than if we wait. I mean monkey, your arguments are so ludicrous you even got Brandie pissed off at you now.

Eric O’Flahrety’s ERA is more than 2 full runs than his career ERA… we should have traded him at the deadline! What was Wren thinking!

You still haven’t responded to my post on the previous thread. Unless you count making ridiculous assumptions about peoples’ personalities and levels of life-fulfillment based on their disagreeing with your claims (ironic, considering you’re trying to play the “holier than thou” card by saying it’s okay to have a different opinion, but you yourself don’t seem to be handling it very well when you’re faced with the fact that not a single person agrees with you).

He hasn’t even answered the question of who we would get in return for Jurrjens and Hanson.

I’ll repost here so we can get your intelligent and well thought out response…

Do you not realize Jurrjens is injured? When healthy, he is one of the best pitchers in the league. The only times he has struggled for any significant period, it was correlated with injuries. No one ever said he was going to keep up his stellar results from the first half, that’s impossible. But to sit there and think his second half results are any indication of what kind of pitcher he is, is ludicrous. It’s not a coincidence that he is probably out for the rest of the season, including postseason. The guy is legitimately hurt. You say the stats prove you right. Do us all a favor and go gather the proper stats to show that Jurrjens should have been traded, and is a #3 starter like you claim he is. Keep in mind, stats from a selective and obviously biased timeframe, such as “since the all-star break”, don’t cut it. We want some sort of long-term evidence to support your claim.

What kills me is the fact that I haven’t seen one single person agree with him unequivocally about that issue and he keeps bringing it up. He’s just a troll guys. As hrd as it is we can only try to ignore him. Its the only way it will stop.

Now you figure it out. You were giving me grief a week ago when he was out to lunch then.

When? About what? I don’t remember giving u shit about anything other than your attitude. Not saying I didn’t but I don’t remember it.

Your definition of a troll seems to be anyone who doesnt agree with you. In fact if you see how I state my opinion backed by cold hard facts (Jj and tommy era/wins since break) and others just cant take it and resort to childish insults. So you, and them, are the trolls here.

My definition of a troll is smeone who constantly makes comments that seem to be aimed solely at pissing people off or to illicit a response that u know will be negative or start an argument. I could care less that ur opinion differs frm mine but u just keep repeating the same stuff over and over withou ever directly answering anyone on anything. U still won’t name said prospects u would pick up for jj and or hanson and assuch who’s to say that ur expectations of who we could get would even be reasonable. With his worth at where it was it would take a good return to get either of them and that’s only if the team felt like they wanted t let them go.

Look – Jurrjens and Hanson will not both be in an Atlanta uniform when they are FA’s. If we had to keep one of them, my opinion would be that Hanson has the better stuff. With our depth at pitching under team control for years, why would we pay out our a$$ to Boras for both of them? It doesn’t make sense. Especially since they are both injury plagued. JJ is the guy I would trade and I have a feeling that looking back on his career we will be able to pinpoint the exact point at which he was at his highest value on the market. He had 12 wins at the break with an ERA under 2. He was pitching out of his mind. He’s obviously not the pitcher he was then, and he’s certainly not the pitcher he is now. He’s a good consistent pitcher and #2 at worse. He would net us a kings ransom. He would have in July and he will in the future if he can return to old form. To roast Zidane for suggesting we should trade him is unfair. JJ is replaceable and will soon be unaffordable.

I’ve been saying since the end of last season that Jurrjens would be traded at the end of this season. Never once did I suggest he wasn’t replaceable, but I just don’t understand how anyone could fathom trading their current best starter MID SEASON while competing for a playoff spot. Zidane is calling the I told you so card because Jurrjens got injured and pitched bad for a couple of games. No one expects him to post a sub 2 ERA; we expect a high 2 to low 3 ERA, which last time I checked, even with those awful starts he made post break, he’s still got a 2.9 ERA.

And replace him with a rookie. I don’t trust Minor or Teheran to post a 2.9 ERA down the stretch and in the playoffs.

Precisely. The braves should of thought long term and made the trade. They would of got roasted for it by alot of people. But it would of been the right move.

Yet you still haven’t suggested a trade; all you have suggested is that we give away Jurrjens because he can’t maintain a Halladay-esque ERA.

I would of traded him for some big time prospects and a shortstop who would be an upgrade on AGon for the next 18 months that he is likely to be our SS.

Sacrificing short-term (such as a chance at winning a world series) by thinking longterm, will certainly never result in a title. And it especially doesn’t make sense when we will still net plenty by trading him in the off-season, if they choose to do so. Trading him mid-season on the assumption that he will get hurt or completely implode would have been reckless and stupid. Teams in the hunt for playoffs and a possible world series title aren’t sellers near the deadline. They are buyers. Teams that have no shot at THIS YEAR need to look to the future. If our chance is now, getting rid of a huge piece of the team would be very dumb…

I also love how you don’t respond to anything we ask. All you do is randomly come up with another post that doesn’t address any of the points we’ve all stated. And, mind you, most of them have been stated without insult. We just want answers.

But we should think long term because we dont have the financial muscle to think short term like the yankees/phillies/red sox. We cant just neglect the farm system and then get a guy for $20m a year on the free agent market. It really is that simple. I reackon most professional commentators will understand this point. You said prove jurrjens is a no.3 starter. Ok, maybe not. He is probably a number 2 starter. A 3.4 career era is good but he has only pitched 43 games in the last 2 years. So clearly injuries are becoming a problem. You really want an ace (in atlantas ballpark) to have an career era at 3 or under. Or to prove he can take the ball every 5 days and eat innings.For example, hudson has a similar era but he has gone 200 innings in a season many times in his career. Jurrjens has only creeped over that mark once. Last year he only logged 110 inning and this year only 150. Not great.

the Braves need mccann to start hitting, also prado needs to start hitting.

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