Alex Cora, who now works as an analyst for ESPN after spending 14 seasons in Major League Baseball, recently did an interview with Talking Chop to discuss a variety of topics. You can find the first part of our interview here. Here is the rest of what Cora had to say.
On B.J. Upton's struggles and if his transition to the NL may be a problem:
"Maybe. He should feel comfortable with his brother around, but getting used to a league wasn't that big of a consideration for me, personally. He's struggling, and from afar it seems like his timing is way off. He's late all the time and the end of the bat just goes in and out of the strike zone very quickly. Dragging isn't the perfect word, but the barrel of the bat doesn't stay in the zone long enough to make contact.
Like I said, one thing that benefits Fredi is Schafer is playing great and Gattis has done a great job; so it's a hole where if those two guys weren't doing what they're doing, more people would be talking about BJ's struggles. But, hey, they're winning and he plays great defense, and everyone there feels he's going to turn it around. That's why he got paid all that money."
"He plays way above his years in the big leagues. At his age, he holds it down defensively. Obviously, he has the benefit of having the great arm, but his instincts are off the charts. I really like what he does. He's a big part of what they're doing over there.
I know some people don't like it, but he played in the World Baseball Classic. You can tell from watching a few games that they did a lot of good things as a team in that tournament to make it to the semifinals. Being around guys on the team like that really helps. He played really good, and just watching him, he has the swagger. Defensively, he's up there with the best of them."
On the NL East and the Braves' chances moving forward:
"When you play the Marlins and the Mets, you're in good shape. Having the record they have and that they haven't played the meat of the schedule with the NL East, it can only help. Nothing against those two teams, but those are teams that you have to beat up on to win big and be in good shape.
They had a great month to start, and their schedule definitely benefits them coming up. They've got the Mets and Jays, followed by the Nationals. After that, they keep playing teams under .500. As long as they keep winning against the struggling teams, they are in a great position."
A big thanks to Alex for taking the time to do the interview. You can catch him on Baseball Tonight, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes and other ESPN programs throughout the season.