Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Talent drain? How four famous ex-Braves have fared


El Oso Blanco has emerged from hibernation. (AP Photo/George Bridges)

Yesterday's post addressed a few former Atlanta Braves -- Uggla, Francoeur, Harang -- who'd done well at the expense of the current Atlanta Braves. Today's offers a look at how the four most famous recent graduates of The Braves Way are faring. (None of them have yet faced the Braves in a for-real game.)

Evan Gattis, Houston: He's hitting .194 with an on-base percentage of .286; he has six homers and 18 RBIs; his WAR value, according to Baseball Reference, is minus-0.1 .

That .196 is bad, but it must be noted that Gattis opened the season 0-for-20 with 12 strikeouts. He has struck out 13 times in the 20 games since. Of those 18 RBIs, 17 have come in the past 10 days. (He had 10 in a four-game series against Seattle over the weekend.) He has not appeared as a catcher, playing once in left field. He has DH'ed in every other game. (Remember how we said Gattis was an American League player?) The Astros, for whom he has mostly batted cleanup, are in first place.

Jason Heyward, St. Louis: He's hitting .224 with an on-base percentage of .276; he has two homers and five RBIs. His WAR value is 0.0 .

On Baseball Prospectus, Wilson Karaman asks the musical question: "Hey, so what the heck happened to Jason Heyward?" Parsing the numbers, Karman notes that Heyward is hitting an inordinate number of ground balls -- 65 percent; he has already hit into six double plays -- and is chasing more pitches. (He has 18 strikeouts against seven walks.) The Cardinals are in first place, but Heyward was recently dropped from second in the order to sixth/fifth.

Craig Kimbrel, San Diego: He's 8-for-8 in converting saves; his won-lost record is 0-1; his ERA is 5.06. His WAR value is minus-0.2.

That ERA was skewed by Kimbrel, working with the Padres trailing 3-1 on April 29, yielding a career-worst three earned runs on two hits -- Gattis had the second of those, a single -- and a walk in one-third of an inning. (Kimbrel was pitching because he'd been used once in the previous seven days.) He has been touched for 10 hits in 10 2/3 innings; opponents managed 30 in 61 2/3 innings last year. His loss came against the Cubs on the road. In a tie game in extra innings, Chicago loaded the bases on two walks and an infield hit. Starlin Castro won it with a two-out single.

Justin Upton, San Diego: He's hitting .300 with an OBP of .343; he has seven homers and 21 RBIs. His WAR value is 1.3.

Batting cleanup, Upton leads the Padres -- who also added Matt Kemp, Wil Myers and Derek Norris over the offseason -- in home runs, RBIs and slugging percentage. San Diego has, however, been shut out the past two nights and has lost 10 of 14 to fall into a tie for second in the National League West. The Padres do lead the league in runs; they finished last in the majors in 2014. (The Braves are third among NL teams in runs; they were 29th in the majors last season.)

Going by aggregate WAR, these four ex-Braves have added 1.0 win to their respective teams over the season's first five weeks weeks. By himself, Shelby Miller -- acquired in the Heyward trade -- has a WAR value of 1.6 . (There's also the matter of the prospects the Braves gained in the four trades.)

Not saying the Braves don't miss these four worthies, but the numbers aren't showing it just yet. They actually miss the aforementioned Aaron Harang -- WAR value of 1.6 -- more.


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About the Author

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.