Inspired by my favorite sports blog Cartilage Free Captain I am here to bring you weekly player ratings for your Atlanta Braves or Barves as the case may be. In this hard hitting analysis I will organize the Braves players into different tiers so we have a good comparison for how much they helped the team this week. This week I decided to use Win Probability Added or WPA. This link from Beyond the Boxscore gives an excellent explanation of WPA for anyone unfamiliar with the stat but it essentially measures how much each player contributed to their team’s chances of winning. I used fWAR last week but as was pointed out to me by a couple of people, WPA is more useful in smaller samples than fWAR. Also this week I will be organizing players by tiers of Game of Thrones characters. "Did you plan to die tonight? That’s very good to hear."
Arya Stark Tier – Arya is the best. Arya’s status from day one as the only Stark hero who starts as badass, remains badass, and keeps being badass makes her position in the top spot rather unassailable. GoT is so filled with strong characters that if you want to argue Tyrion or Oberyn I won’t judge you harshly. I try not to judge people too hard just because they are totally and completely wrong about something.
Jason Heyward (0.63 WPA) – Ah yes the objectively most awesome Brave. Last week fWAR told us Jason Heyward was the best and this week WPA tells us the same thing. Heyward isn’t just the best he is the best by a wide margin with the gap between Heyward and second place Evan Gattis being as large as the gap between Gattis and 7th place Jordan Schafer. Heyward is the best defensive player in baseball and has been hitting 47 percent above league average for the past month. He is the best.
Tyrion Lannister Tier – Tyrion has been the closest thing the show has had to a main character and yes he is excellent. Tyrion is the character that has most consistently been able to make the audience laugh and that ten hour video of Tyrion slapping Joffrey on endless loop is my personal idea of nirvana. Tyrion’s speech at his farcical trial is the kind of thing that an Emmy really doesn’t even do justice to. Please let him survive the season finale.
Evan Gattis (0.36 WPA) – Gattis has been an elite offensive catcher this year and every day that passes with Gattis continuing to crush balls makes me feel better that he is for real. In 555 career plate appearances Gattis has been 19 percent above league average as a hitter and he has been much better than that this season. To my untrained eye Gattis’s defense is adequate but what makes me feel good about him as a catcher is his obvious superiority to Gerald Laird behind the plate. If Laird can make a career as an MLB catcher than there is no reason Gattis can’t stick there for a few years to come. At this point the Braves can keep Christian Bethancourt in the minors as long as he needs because there isn’t any chance Bethancourt could give the Braves more total value than Gattis has so far.
Ervin Santana (0.34 WPA) – Allowed no earned runs in seven innings during the Saturday disaster that can’t be pinned on him at all. Santana was mostly lucky as he only struck out one batter and walked two but he did everything he needed to for the Braves to win that game. He isn’t the world beater he looked like out the gate for Atlanta but Santana continues to be an excellent signing for the Braves.
Shae Simmons (0.23 WPA) – Simmons is an awesome last name for a Braves player. Shae has come in an immediately established himself as an excellent option in high leverage situations with that Kimbrelesque combination of easy gas and devastating hook. I joked last week that Simmons is the new Kimbrel but he can certainly be the 2014 version of last year’s David Carpenter. When Jordan Walden comes back the Braves should finally have a solid group of late inning options and the Avilan/Carpenter combo can be relegated to the more low leverage side of things.
Joffrey Baratheon Tier – Joffrey is the best television villain of all time. There has never been a character on tv I have simultaneously hated so much yet loved every moment he was on screen. Relegated to the third tier because of how utterly enraging he could be but then again that was the point. I have never seen my twitter timeline as united in joy as when Joffrey finally got his long deserved on screen death. Joffrey’s death is the closest Braves fans will ever come to winning the World Series.
Mike Minor (0.19 WPA) – Mike Minor continues to chug along and be one of the better starting pitchers in the National League. He continues to allow more home runs than is preferable but as long as he doesn’t walk guys the homers don’t tend to hurt him. A 3.07 ERA and he seems to slip by under the radar. Or at least under the radar for anyone who doesn’t follow Ben Duronio on twitter.
Julio Teheran (0.14 WPA) – Julio has been awesome and wonderful and perfect and oh my God why does his FIP keep staring at me like that. Go away FIP nobody likes you anyway. Julio gonna start striking out more guys, throw that elusive no hitter, and win a Cy Young award in the next year or two.
Jordan Schafer (0.09 WPA) – The third highest WPA of the Braves position players this week so clearly I was totally wrong about him and he should be the Braves every day starter in centerfield for the next century. Why doesn’t Frediot and that GM of ours with the personality issues just gives the great white hope the chance he deserves???? Bunch of jerks. (This entire entry was written in sarcasm font)
Ramiro Pena (0.08 WPA) – Hit a big home run in the ninth inning against the Diamondbacks that gave the Braves a chance to actually win that game, which was immediately squandered. So yeah one big homer and this high on the list cause it was a bad week for the Braves position players.
Luis Avilan (0.02 WPA) – Aaaaaaand Avilan is ranked higher than all but two of the Braves starting position players. I should probably just give up sports and do something useful with my life. Join the Peace Corp. Run a marathon to raise money for cancer research. Stack sandbags at a flood site. Sure all those things involve going outside and that isn’t happening but this almost makes me want to do it.
Tommy La Stella (-0.03 WPA) – He is still perfect. Had a few poor games and was given a day off once so Uggla could start a game (LOLOLOLOLOLOL) but was still a competent starter at second base which was awesome. He is still the new Joe Morgan and I look forward to my son running a blog dedicated to tearing down his broadcasting career.
Justin Upton (-0.08 WPA) – Had what should have been a massive homer against the Diamondbacks on Sunday but then Aaron Harang stayed in the game for some reason. Whatever. A down week for Justin but we are in June and Justin has still be the best left fielder in the National League.
Andrelton Simmons (-0.09 WPA) – WPA doesn’t really measure defense so with Simmons we are mostly left with his bat. He wasn’t great this week but when you are the best defensive shortstop in baseball offense is a luxury anyway.
Aaron Harang – (-0.10 WPA) – Look Harang has been much better than he has had any right to be this year. I have no desire to bash the guy and what happened yesterday was much more on Fredi than Harang. He shouldn’t have been out there for another inning. But Fredi sent him out there and predictable result was predictable.
Dan Uggla (-0.10 WPA) – Is still on the team for some reason.
Gerald Laird (-0.11 WPA) – Hits well enough for a backup catcher but I really wish the Braves had better defense at this spot.
Theon Greyjoy Tier – Look Theon’s story in season two was excellent. Watching him struggle between his obligations to the family that raised him and the father he so desperately wanted to please was compelling television. He was a weak willed man struggling to put up a front in a society where weakness is intolerable. This lead him to doing horrible things that cost him his humanity. The scene were he struggled to behead Ser Rodrick was absolutely perfect and a stunningly perfect visual representation of what had happened to this man. But then everything else. The show has been unbearable every second Theon has been on screen for two seasons. The show has bungled this storyline rather thoroughly and I don’t know if it can be saved.
Freddie Freeman (-0.14 WPA) – Hasn’t really been right for a while. He has been 9 percent above league average over the past two weeks which isn’t exactly terrible but it isn’t what this Braves offense desperately needs. His struggles haven’t been so bad as to feel actual concern. But still hopefully he picks it up this week. Also UZR and DRS say he’s been horrible defensively this year. Which, I don’t know.
BJ Upton (-0.24 WPA) – Hit the ball hard some. Played good defense in centerfield. Got out way too much. He isn’t ever going to live up to the contract the Braves signed him to. But he has shown some signs of not being a disaster. He really has. Once hard hit balls start falling for him he should start to at least approach league average as hitter. Or maybe I just have been drinking too much again. Regardless, purely in terms of results this was not a good week for BJ.
David Hale/David Carpenter/Alex Wood (Various levels of eww) – Less of these guys out of the bullpen. More of Walden and Simmons. I firmly believe Carpenter has just been the opposite of 2013 Chris Johnson in terms of luck but my confidence level in him is at an all-time low. Wood is a starter. Hale isn’t great but he is better than Luis Avilan.
Chris Johnson (-0.34) – What can I say about Chris Johnson that hasn’t already been said about Afghanistan? Or rather what can I say that I didn’t already say in my article last week. He has been bad. He should get better. Hopefully it happens soon.
Anthony Varvaro (-0.43) – Varvaro is actually pretty good! But purely in terms of results nobody hurt the Braves more this week than Anthony Varvaro.
Ramsay Snow Tier – Absolutely terrible. Every moment this irredeemable psychopath has been on screen is tied for worst moments in an otherwise incredible show. I know he is in the books. But the show has changed some stuff. Can’t we just write in a meteor crashing into the Dreadfort and wiping out everyone remotely associated with this terrible storyline? The Melky Cabrera of Game of Thrones.
None of our players were as terrible as Ramsay Snow.