Struggling Prado could benefit from some rest

Michael Bourn got his chance to catch his breath by being out of the Braves’ lineup for just the second time this season on Wednesday night.  When the Braves conclude their four-game series against the Marlins tonight, it will be Martin Prado’s turn to rest.

Prado’s bat looked slow as he grounded into a pair of double plays and went 0-for-5 in Wednesday night’s loss.  He has hit .235 with a .272 on-base percentage and .296 slugging percentage in the 27 games he has played since the beginning of July.

Prado has started 75 of the 76 games the Braves have played dating back to when the flu kept him out of the lineup for the first two games of a series played against the Rockies in early May. With this in mind Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez opted to place Reed Johnson in left field on Thursday.

The rejuvenated Mike Minor will take the mound tonight to oppose Nathan Eovaldi and the Marlins.  As June neared its end, there was still some reason to wonder how much longer the Braves could afford to keep Minor in their rotation.  But as we look toward the season’s final two months there is reason to be excited about what this young left-handed pitcher will do.

Since the start of Spring Training it has been apparent that Minor is much more confident and comfortable than he had been in the past.  That genuine confidence helped him keep his sanity as he compiled a 6.20 ERA in the 15 starts he made through the end of June.  In addition, it put him in position to do what he did over the past four weeks.  <p>

During the month of July, Minor led all National League pitchers in batting average allowed (.172) and all Major League pitchers in on-base percentage allowed (.206).  He might have gained even more consideration for NL Pitcher of the Month had he not completed 10 fewer innings than the favorite Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmerman.

This marks the second time that Minor has been paired against Eovaldi, who was acquired by the Marlins from the Dodgers last week in exchange for Hanley Ramirez.

When Minor last opposed Eovaldi on Sept. 3, both pitchers allowed one run in six innings.  The Dodgers won the game courtesy of Juan Rivera’s 10th inning sacrifice fly against Anthony Varvaro.  Dan Uggla’s second-inning home run accounted for one of the three hits the Braves recorded against Eovaldi.

Since the start of Spring Training there has been a lot of discussion about the drop in velocity of Tommy Hanson’s fastball.  Courtesy of Fangraphs.com here is the breakdown of this average velocity over the past four seasons:

2009: 92.9 mph

2010: 92.7 mph

2011: 91.1 mph

2012: 89.8 mph

Some of you have asked about how hard he was throwing when he came to the Majors midway through the 2009 season as the game’s top pitching prospect.

According to BrooksBaseball.net, the average velocity of his four-seam fastball during his Major League debut on June 7, 2009 was 93.56 mph and he topped out at 96.1 mph that afternoon against the Brewers.

During the first five starts of his career, the average velocity of his fastball was 92.9 mph and his average max velocity was 95.3 mph.

During the starts made in  July (data available for just five of the six starts), the average velocity of his fastball was 89.58 mph and his average max velocity was 91.68 mph.

To Hanson’s credit, he has made necessary adjustments and managed to find some success while relying more heavily on his curveball and other offspeed pitches.  The opportunity to rest while currently on the disabled list with a lower back strain might help him regain the command he has lacked since the All-Star break.

But one year after seeing his season cut short by a sore right shoulder, there is definite reason to wonder if Hanson will ever be the pitcher the Braves envisioned when he reached the Major Leagues with such promise just three years ago.

17 Comments

I would love to see both him and Uggla take a week off or so and get everything under control and give Johnson and maybe Pastornicky a chance to play.

I’m afraid Hanson is history. His crazy delivery mechanics when he came up allowed the velocity. But now that he made the adjustment, no velocity. He throws totally with his arm now and stands straight up. He can’t hold baserunners, not a good fielder and not athletic at all. I would say he and JJ are both gone after this year. Delgado can replace Hanson and Beachy will be back by mid year. bye bye

and Hanson will never stay healthy even with his current delivery adjustment.

I swear the Braves need to kick Mcdowell to the curb after this year and bring in someone Mike Maddux would be great I mean anyone.

And the Phillies lose Joe Blanton too. Man, I didn’t even know he had any value. Even back end, innings eaters are getting traded. This ISN’T a phire sale, Pherris?

I read somewhere that a team claimed Cliff Lee off waivers as well. But I guess this is more “prudent financial strategy that saves more money than we pull in at the gate.”

No, my friend, this not a phire sale. Whatever the Phillies got for Blanton is more than they would have gotten for him had the Phillies allowed him to walk at the end of the season. The Phillies would not have been in line to receive a compensatory pick because they would not have offered him arbitration. You do understand how the system works, don’t you?

Hanson is not the Hanson of old, and the new delivery this year has taken the power away. That said, he still leads the team in victories. It will be hard to sign him to any type of long term big $$$ contract at this point. Maybe he returns in the spring with the delivery cleaned up and his velocity back. I’m not sure that the slider is anywhere near as good as it used to be either.

The new Philthies lineup, Ruiz, 2 has beens, and 6 never will be’s! 75 wins is looking like a Dream Season in the cheesewhiz capitol of the universe.

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I would love to see Uggla traded to Houston seeing how they are going to the AL he make a perfect DH

Uggla as a DH? Why? He is hitting 220 as a braves with very little production. 82 RBIS on 36 HRs meens a lot of solo shots. He strikes out way too much to provide value to anyone, including the Braves.
Mark, do the powers at the Braves view the Uggla 1.75 year tenure at $15 million per year to be a bad contract? Maybe Prado needs to go back to 2nd and Uggla moved, which won’t be easy.

He seems to have trouble taking anything off his upper cut swing.

Wow, 84.000 attendance for a weekend series, way to go Braves. What is the Mendoza line for attendance? Are the Braves above or below it now that they are 9th out of 16 NL teams in attendance? By the way, Weinus Envy is going to need some new material since the Phillies are no longer in last place. In parting, let me ask, are the Braves going to exercise their $13.5 million option on McCann this off season?

yawn.

Wow, a mathematician. Apparently .500 is the Mendoza line. Then again, this is the guy who claimed that walks had little to nothing to do with on base percentage. Oh, and apparently: *trades away half the team* *1 game above the last place team, still 16 games back* *pretends team still isn’t the laughing stock of the NL East* Also, it’s a $12MM option, and the answer is yes, even if he doesn’t sign an extension. Anyone know if Pennsylvania is above the Mendoza line in reading comprehension?

Medlen is money.For the ten zillionth time. HE SHOULD BE IN THE ROTATION!!!!

How many “aces” do the Phillies have left?

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