Originally posted at The Bravesologist




The Braves lineup is markedly better than most projected to start the season. Certain players have stepped their game up tremendously. The offense has prospered despite a lack of production from others. Baseball is an odd sport. Some years players produce numbers far better than expected while others perform poorly and seemed destined to be non-tendered. Here is the report card for the lineup.



Martin PradoA


.325 AVG, .367 OBP, .484 SLG, .851 OPS, 10 HR, 25 2B, 2 3B, 16.8 bRAA, 115 wOBA+


Martin has had an unbelievable first half this season and has been one of thebiggest keys to the Braves great first half. Prado’s ability to get hit after hit and put himself into scoring position over 35 times has ignited this offense. What’s funny about it all is that Prado has really just done what he has always done. His wOBA+ for the past three years is 112, 115, and 112, right along pace with his current 115 mark.


Jason HeywardA-


.251 AVG, .366 OBP, .455 SLG, .821 OPS, 11 HR, 13 2B, 3 3B, 16.7 bRAA, 120 wOBA+


Before Jason’s thumb injury he was a legitimate MVP candidate. His OPS was near the top of the league and his memorable late inning hits were crucial as the Braves moved up in the standings. His plate patience has been incredible, walking 42 times in just 303 plate appearances. He has an isoOBP over .100 and an isoSLG over .200. I fully expect Heyward to bounce back to form once he returns from the DL.


Troy GlausB+


.254 AVG, .361 OBP, .441 SLG, .802 OPS, 14 HR, 13 2B, 12.1 bRAA, 112 wOBA+


Glaus has been the power right-handed bat that many were hoping to get in trade this offseason. With Javier Vazquez or Derek Lowe being expendable, a big right-handed left fielder or first basemen seemed attainable. The Braves ended up trading Vazquez for Melky Cabrera and prospects, but the Glaus signing has turned into one of the best value picks of the offseason across the Majors. He has had some big clutch hits including a game-tying home run against the Philadelphia Phillies and a walk-off home run against the Kansas City Royals. Glaus has stayed relatively healthy as well, which was one of the big questions heading into the season.


Brian McCannB


.267 AVG, .380 OBP, .447 SLG, .827 OPS, 10 HR, 16 2B, 10.9 bRAA, 113 wOBA+


Brian has had better seasons in the past, but he has increased his patience and is continuing to be one of the top hitting catchers in all of baseball. He is only 15 walks away from surpassing his career high as he has 42 already this season. McCann and Glaus have made for a great cleanup platoon and have been fortunate to have guys like Prado, Heyward, and Chipper Jones getting on base regularly in front of them.


Chipper JonesC+


.252 AVG, .378 OBP, .393 SLG, .771 OPS, 6 HR, 16 2B, 4.8 bRAA, 106 wOBA+

Chipper has had an odd couple of months at the plate. The first two months he was getting on base at a very high rate but not hitting for much power. Over the past month and a half, Chipper has had a lower on base but is hitting more doubles and homers. He could definitely be performing better, but at his age I believe this is what you can expect out of him.


Melky CabreraD


.259 AVG, .316 OBP, .348 SLG, 3 HR, 13 2B, 1 3B, -4.0 bRAA, 95 wOBA+

Melky hasn’t been very productive this season at all. He has had some spurts of success, including a go-ahead home run against the New York Mets last weekend, but for the most part he has struggled. He’s on pace for a similar amount of plate appearances as last year and his numbers are down across the board. He’s played close to every day due to his ability to switch hit and play all three outfield spots but he will likely see his role reduced again when Heyward returns.


Yunel EscobarF


.238 AVG, .334 OBP, .284 SLG, .618 OPS, 0 HR, 12 2B, -8.9 bRAA, 90 wOBA+


Yunel has seen a dramatic decrease in his production this season and has been close to worthless offensively. He has walked a good amount, as usual, and has kept his strikeouts down, but he has hit for close to no power and his on base has suffered due to a low batting average. He has put himself into scoring position just 17 times and he is staring at a career low fly ball percentage.

Nate McLouthF


.176 AVG, .295 OBP, .282 SLG, .577 OPS, 3 HR, 9 2B, -9.2 wOBA, 84 wOBA+


Much like Escobar, McLouth has done nothing offensively this year when many expected him to improve. He was better than average last year with the Braves despite popular belief, but he has done nothing offensively aside from one walk-off win this year. The concussion he received against the Diamondbacks was unfortunate, but time off may have been the best thing for him at the time. Hopefully he can return to being at least a decent center fielder when he comes off the DL.


Overall Grade: B+


The reason for the grade is the expectancy. Currently, the Braves are sixth in runs in the NL but many believed pre-season that limited offensive production would be their downfall. Prado, Heyward, and Glaus have been incredible and McCann has done his job, which has made for a very formidable top of the lineup. The improved plate discipline across the lineup is one of the biggest reasons for this team being in first place.





The Braves rotation has been a reason for their success midway through the season. Having five reliable starters is an asset that many teams overlook. The majority of teams slot their starters one through five and have top heavy rotations, but the Braves have done it differently the past two years.

The performances of the starters have taken pressure off of the bullpen and bats. Here are the first half grades for the six starting pitchers.


Tommy HansonA-


102.3 IP, 104 K, 34 BB, 3.35 FIP, 16.9 kS%, 12.4 pRAA, 123 tRA+


Tommy is the ace of this staff and has thrown the ball better than he did last season. His strikeouts and walks are actually up while his ERA and WHIP have suffered. The raise in those two almost meaningless statistics is due to his BABIP being the highest in the NL and second highest in the majors at .349. There is really no doubt that Tommy is the best pitcher on this staff — please don’t let the publicized stats make you think differently.


Tim HudsonB


121.1 IP, 61 K, 43 BB, 4.32 FIP, 11.0 kS%, 5.9 pRAA, 110 tRA+


Hudson has been fortunate on batted balls, posting the lowest BABIP in the NL at .232. He hasn’t pitched nearly as well as his publicized numbers would have you suggest. The defense has played well behind him and he has been able to be successful despite having lower strikeout and higher walk totals than he is used to. His ground ball skills may be a reason for his low BABIP, but even if you factor that in, it’s not enough to explain it being such an absurdly low number. Hudson will either regress or pitch better in the second half to keep his numbers down.


Kris MedlenB-


68.2 IP, 47 K, 13 BB, 4.38 FIP, 14.9 kS%, -4.4 pRAA, 87 tRA+


Medlen hasn’t been as great as a starter as many would believe, but he has still been pretty solid. Despite his overall numbers as a starter, he has posted a 3.83 xFIP and a 3.78 xFIP in June and July respectively. His overall FIP as a starter is pretty high due to his mark being 5.40 this month, but when you normalize the home run to fly ball ratio you can see he is actually pitching better than the aforementioned numbers would suggest. He doesn’t walk many batters and if he can continue to pound the strike zone he will have success.


Kenshin KawakamiC


82.1 IP, 57 K, 28 BB, 4.29 FIP, 11.3 kS%, -3.8 pRAA, 91 tRA+


Kenshin was removed from the rotation, but he has had a similar season to Derek Lowe. Lowe’s perception as a consistent innings eater combined with his lofty contract and name factor are why Kawakami was moved to the bullpen and Lowe was never even an option. Kenshin hasn’t been great, he’s been below average, but he has posted a 4.35 xFIP in May and June. He’s better than his face stats suggest.


Derek LoweC


113.2 IP, 70 K, 44 BB, 4.24 FIP, 12.1 kS%, -4.7 pRAA, 92 tRA+


Lowe is not worthy of his contract, but as a back-end starter he is successful. He throws a ton of innings and keeps the team in ball games. It’s certainly better than the Kyle Davies of the world that the Braves have dealt with in previous seasons. As I mentioned in the introduction, the Braves have five starters who are solid and Lowe, despite his poor performance since joining the Braves, is no different.


Jair JurrjensD+


35.0 IP, 25 K, 16 BB, 4.71 FIP, 15.2 kS%, -1.8 pRAA, 90 tRA+

Jair’s injury kept him out for a majority of the year but when he has pitched he hasn’t been very good. It seems as though his leg injury may have been a product of his spring arm injury and that he was never fully healthy when he was pitching in the beginning of the season. It’s a reasonable argument and he has pitched well in the first two starts since returning. Regardless, he hasn’t helped the team as was expected. You can’t blame him for the injuries, but the injuries hurt his production and overall numbers.


Overall Grade: B


The rotation for the most part has been strong. It hasn’t been the dominant force it was last year, mostly due to Jurrjen’s injury and the loss of Javier Vazquez. Medlen’s and Jurrjen’s stats are a smaller sample size and they should improve. Medlen’s numbers as a reliever would suggest that he is better than his line currently states. Look for the rotation to continue to succeed. More specifically, look for Tommy Hanson to have a great second half.

You can find more from Ben at The BravesologistTalking ChopRoto Experts, or on his twitter @Ben_Duronio

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com