We Braves fans tend to get attached to our players, so I think it's a good idea to periodically check in on a few of our former players to see how they are doing with their new teams. Here are some updates on 5 former Braves:
Frenchy (as you probably heard) got off to an unfathomably good start. At one point, he was leading the league in on-base percentage. Yes, Hell froze over--but don't worry, it's thawed out nicely since then; I don't think Hitler will need a parka for too much longer. Jeff is mired in an 0-for-22 slump right now and has resumed his free-swinging ways. According to our colleagues at Amazin' Avenue, he saw 8 pitches in his 4 at-bats last night. Now that's the Jeff Francoeur that we know and are highly ambivalent toward. Despite the slump, though, his overall numbers are quite good:
His peripherals actually support this level of performance. He has more walks than strikeouts, and his BABIP is only .260 (his career mark is .303), so he hasn't been getting a lot of lucky hits. Perhaps the most striking (get it?) stat is that so far, he has swung at "only" 52% of the pitches he's seen, which is 4% lower than in any other year and 6.5% lower than his career mark. He's also been missing less often--his contact rate of 83% would be the highest of his career. If he can keep this up (a gigantic, Heyward-sized if), he might actually develop into the player many of us thought he could be.
(Updates on Acosta, KJ, LaRoche, and Javy Vazquez after the jump...)
Manny Acosta, Mets
Acosta made his Mets debut last night, and it went exactly as we Braves fans would have expected. He struck out the side in the 6th inning but imploded in the 7th, giving up 3 runs, including a 2-run Alfonso Soriano HR. The Mets were only trailing 3-1 when he came in but would go on to lose 9-3. His final line: 1.1 IP, 3 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR.
It feels good to see that line and know that it came for the Mets, not the Braves, doesn't it?
Kelly is another former Baby Brave who has started the year on a tear. He hasn't hit a homer in 10 games, but he has hit 4 doubles the past two nights and is now second in the majors with 8 two-baggers (Jayson Werth has 9). We all know that he'll cool down eventually, but it is great to see him thriving for his new team. I always liked Kelly a lot despite his streakiness. Here are his overall numbers for 2010:
By the way, both Johnson and Francoeur have already topped their WAR values from 2009 (Frenchy was worth 0.4 wins and KJ was worth 0.7). There's nothing like a hot streak to erase memories of a lost season.
Adam LaRoche, Diamondbacks
LaRoche is not off to quite as hot a start as his former-and-current teammate (understatement alert!). That is not surprising at all, though; as any die-hard Braves fan knows, LaRoche does not really start hitting until July. Here are his numbers so far:
Adam's batting average and on-base percentage are actually above his overall career averages. He just hasn't hit for any power yet. He has only 4 extra-base hits, all of them doubles. Don't worry about Roachy, though. He'll be fine once it warms up and blood starts flowing to his extremities again. For some perspective, his career slash line in April is .205 / .297 / .370. So this has actually been a fantastic April by his standards.
Javy's slow start in his second stint as a Yankee has been well documented. He has, however, gotten a bit better each time out. Of course, that "improvement" has been from abysmal to awful to merely sub-par. He even managed to pick up a win in his last outing despite giving up 2 homers in 5.1 IP. Here is his line so far:
As you can see, Javy's strikeout rate is fine, but everything else has gone downhill. The home runs are not much of a surprise given the park he is playing in, but the large number of hits and walks are. His career H/9 is 8.88 and his career BB/9 is 2.36. That means he is allowing more than 4 extra baserunners per 9 innings relative to his career rates. Javy is too good for that to keep up for much longer.
Javy does have the "small sample size" defense on his side, which is persuasive to me, but probably not so persuasive to rabid Yankees fans (I think some of them literally have rabies... though at least they haven't projectile vomited on any little girls lately). I'd hate to see what might happen to Javy if he doesn't turn his performance around fairly soon. He's an excellent pitcher and a good teammate; I'm just not sure if New York is the right city for him. Maybe the Yankees will trade him to a quieter town (like, say, Seattle--they could use another starter). At any rate, I'll be rooting for him.
I'm thinking of making this a semi-regular post, so if you have any other former Brave that you'd like to be updated on throughout the year, leave his name in a comment. I can look up minor leaguers, too.