Wednesday’s odds and ends
When looking at how Martin Prado has fared in close and late situations over the past few seasons, I was reminded just how frequently Brooks Conrad delivered clutch hits during his days with the Braves.
Looking at how individual Braves players have fared in close and late situations dating back to the start of the 2010 season, Conrad ranks first in home runs (8), second in RBIs (26) and 10th in plate appearances (96). But this is not a post about the switch-hitting utility player whose short tenure in Atlanta will always be best remembered for the defensive nightmare he lived at the end of the 2010 season.
But this post is not about loyal reader @billreef’s favorite player. In fact it’s really not about anything in particular. But Prado’s decisive seven-pitch at-bat against Javy Guerra on Tuesday night led me to look at how many similar situations he has encountered over the years.
If some of you also had the sense that Prado seems to always come to the plate with the game on the line, there is a reason. He leads the Braves with 308 plate appearances in close and late situations dating back to the start of the 2009 season. Brian McCann ranks second with 294 plate appearances and Chipper Jones third with 251.
Here’s a look at how these three players have fared in close and late situations dating back to the start of ’09:
Prado: .260 BA, .319 OBP, .394 SLG , 7 HR, 35 RBIs, 24 BB, 42 K 12 Go-ahead RBIs, 8 Game-winning RBIs
McCann .200 BA, ..304 OBP, .322 SLG, 7 HR, 32 RBIs, 36 BB, 60 K, 11 Go-ahead RBIs, 10 Game-winning RBIs
Jones: .265 BA, .414 OBP, .388 SLG, 5 HR, 30 RBIs, 52 BB, 29 K, 10 Go-ahead RBIs, 10 Game-winning RBIs
In case you missed it, here is what Jones had to say about Prado’s at-bat last night. (Disclaimer: If McCann is not Prado’s biggest fan in the Braves clubhouse, then Chipper is.)
“He’s the consummate professional,” Jones said. “He’s going to stand up there and he’s going to grind out at-bats. That was no easy task right there. That guy has dominant stuff. He had a long at-bat and fouled off some tough pitches until he finally got one. To be honest, I thought he hit it out. But it’s like Yellowstone Park once the sun goes down here.”
Barring a potential playoff matchup, tonight will mark the final time Jones plays at Dodger Stadium. There will be plenty of final stops this season. But this one is special for the son of a Vero Beach, Fla. native, who began bleeding Dodger blue during his own childhood.
While Jones might have turned 40 yesterday, he still displayed genuine excitement when current Dodgers broadcaster approached him at his locker.
Jones stood, stuck out his hand and said, “Mr. Monday, you don’t know how many times I used to imitate your swing in the backyard.”
Entering tonight’s series finale, Jones has batted .241 with 13 home runs, a .342 on-base percentage and .451 slugging percentage in 59 career games at Dodger Stadium. He had a two-homer game here against Darren Dreifort during his 1999 MVP season and another against a pair of relievers in 2007.
His first at-bat at his historic stadium came against Pedro Astacio on April 28, 1995. He lined into a double play.
Evan Gattis has looked like the second coming of Babe Ruth while hitting .424 with eight homers and a 1.405 OPS in his first 16 games with Class-A Lynchburg. When I said this to a scout this morning, he jokingly responded, “well he’s pretty close to Babe Ruth’s age.”
The 25-year-old Gattis has obviously positioned himself for a promotion to Double-A Mississippi. While he may never serve as a catcher in the Majors, he is providing plenty of reason to believe he has a big league bat. Thus the Braves are going to allow him to spending some time in the outfield. He made his debut in left field on Tuesday night and responded with a three-hit performance that included a pair of home runs.