I love the AJC writers. In a strong, masculine way. But lines like this one from Jeff Schultz puzzle me:
It doesn’t make sense to panic only 31 at-bats into a regular season. So I suppose it doesn’t make sense to panic 31 at-bats into spring training. But is it too early to be concerned about Nate McLouth?
In other words, it doesn’t make sense to panic, but IT’S COMING RIGHT AT US! Run for your lives!!
Mr. Schultz goes on to say how the Braves were concerned with McLouth batting lead-off last season, citing, yes, the stat that doesn’t matter any more unless it is super low; batting average. Sorry, but that argument doesn’t wash either because Natey Mac’s on-base-percentage after coming to the Braves was .354. That just happens to be higher than any OBP posted by Rafael Furcal during his Braves tenure with the exception of Furcal’s rookie season, and Furcal is usually the man promoted as the last "true lead-off man (trademark pending)" the Braves had.
Sorry to sound like a broken record (man, am I getting old!), but the Spring Training zone is for the loading and unloading of opinions grounded in some sort of empirical reality. There is no panicking in the Spring Training zone. Also, as much as I have argued that Melky Cabrera doesn’t belong in the starting lineup to begin the season, this is why it is great that we have Melky on the team. If McLouth’s slump continues when the games count, we have a fairly decent, experienced outfielder who can step in. Yet another reason we don’t have to whip out the re-inflation tube on the belt of the automatic pilot just yet.
Lots of Braves stuff, podcasts, etc. at Braves Lifer.