Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 17, 2005
BASEBALL: Leo, or Andruw?

Can you tell the difference between these two pitchers?


I'd say Pitcher B is clearly the better pitcher, but only by a small margin - a few less homers, a few more Ks, but also a few more walks.

A: Jorge Sosa, 2003 (4.62 ERA)

B: Sosa, 2005 (2.55 ERA).

The difference? A drop in the opponents' batting average on balls in play from .302 to .268. Looks like Sosa was more a beneficiary of Andruw Jones than Leo Mazzone.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:23 PM | Baseball 2005 | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Hmm, wasn't Mazzone doing reclamation projects like Sosa when Jones was playing for Richmond?

I don't know what the Mazzone method is, but it works.


Posted by: SteveMG at October 17, 2005 8:52 PM

Otis Nixon was stealing away base hits prior to Jones' ascendance into the majors. Of course, a staff with a young Glavine, young Smoltz, young (and able) Avery and a Maddux in his prime didn't leave very many tough outs to go snare.

Ah, the good old days.

If Jones does indeed get the MVP it will signal the resurgence of "defense" in MLB, as Pujols is so much better at the plate it's not even funny. Yeah, Jones had the homers and literally carried the Braves, but there were spells where he was non-existent in the batters box. Getting to watch about every game allows me to recognize exactly how many runs he has saved in the field, though.

What could be interesting is if Jones were to win the MVP over Pujols because of his defense while A-Rod were to lose it to a DH because the northeastern press loves big Papi (and everyone else hates the Yankees). There could literally be a legitimate case for arguing that A-Rod should've won 5 MVP awards in his career, IMO.

Posted by: RW at October 18, 2005 8:52 AM

Not just Andruw though. For much of the season, the Braves had three outfielders who were capable of playing CF (Andruw, Franceour, and Langerhans/Johnson-- yes, Jordan had plenty of playing time but he's not a bad fielder either). I have not looked at the advanced defensive metrics for the Braves OF, but I bet they scored very well in them.

Posted by: Gerry at October 18, 2005 9:18 AM

When the Braves traded Doyle Alexander to the Tigers for John Smoltz (among others), Alexander immediately became a much more effective pitcher. I'll never forget the interview where he was asked what made the difference--"The ground balls don't go through and the fly balls don't drop," he said. Course that was a long time ago! I'd vote for Andruw over Pujols for MVP on the basis of superior defense to go along with the home run/rbi advantage.

Posted by: Bob at October 18, 2005 1:16 PM

Doesn't the switch from the AL to the NL explain a lot of the difference? A lot of the balls in play are going to be ground balls from pitchers rather than ropes from the likes of David Ortiz.

Posted by: WD at October 18, 2005 1:35 PM

An outstanding CF does not make a 2 run per 9 innings difference...each and every game. A grat pitching coach might. It is much more likely that Mazzone is responsible for this turn around. Sosa did have a pretty good CF behind him in Tampa Bay. Baldelli could go get it with the best before he got hurt.

Posted by: maddirishman at October 18, 2005 4:39 PM

You need to realize that Andruw also saves runs by people being afraid to take an extra base against him. His pitchers claim that he saves an average of one run per game. Add 162 runs saved to 128 batted in and you get a truer picture of what Andruw means to a team. God (or whoever) help National League pitchers if Andruw ever hits for average, too. If you doubt that he made a difference when Maddux, et al were in Atlanta, go ask Tom Glavine, who would have reached 300 wins if Andruw was still behind him.

Posted by: Lew Hartman at October 19, 2005 9:59 AM

And God help the Braves if Leo goes to New York.

Posted by: Lew Hartman at October 19, 2005 10:01 AM
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