Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Comparing 1995 to 2009

I know wishful thinking. Or is it? The Braves of 2009 compare very favorably to the Braves of 1995. I just got done watching "Braves Win...It all" and besides giving me chills it also got me thinking. Whats the difference between the two teams? Why did the '95 team comeback 1.5 more in late innings than they gave up the lead and the 2009 team gives up the lead just as much as they take it? So I did some research and decided to do a side by side, position by position comparison and this is what I came up with: (all 2009 Batting stats are projected to a full season)
Starting Pitching
Greg Maddux 1.63 ERA vs. Derek Lowe 4.39 ERA
Tom Glavine 3.08 ERA vs. Javier Vasquez 2.95 ERA
John Smoltz 3.18 ERA vs. Jair Jurrjens 2.91 ERA
Steve Avery 4.67 ERA vs. Tommy Hanson 2.85 ERA
Kent Mercker 4.15 ERA vs. Kenshin Kawakami 4.26 ERA

Edge: Wash. Before you throw me to the wolves for this call let me explain. No one can top the three-some of Maddux Glavine and Smoltz. All Cy Young winners. Maddux was incredible, 1.63 seriously? But I think the 2009 Braves are deeper 1-5. Tommy Hanson is heads and shoulders above Avery and although Kenshin has a similar ERA to Mercker, he is a big game pitcher. He has only given up more than 3 runs once in the last 2 months so he is better than that ERA would lead you to believe. Derek Lowe is underperfoming obviously and if he comes around this year he is a legitimate ace. That leaves two more aces in Vasquez and Jurrjens at the 2 and 3 spots. The only spot where the 1995 Braves have a clear advantage is with Maddux vs. Lowe. Everywhere else looks to be ad. 2009 Braves. Smoltz and Glavin would both later win Cy Young awards but who knows, Jurrjens and Vasquez would be sure contenders for a Cy Young this year if they only had a little run support.

Bullpen: Taking the top 5 relievers from each club, both teams have ERA's around 3.20. The big difference is in a set up man. Unless Moylen steps up and so does Gonzalez, then the 2009 Braves are in a world of hurt. Soriano is better than Wholers but it just drops off like a cliff from there. If the 2 aforementioned players step it up in the second half then we will make a run at the playoffs. If they don't then we will be sellers by mid august. Advantage right now goes to the 1995 Braves.


Javy Lopez, .315 BA 14 hr 51 RBI vs. Brian McCann .298 16 hr 72 RBI

Edge: Pretty much a wash especially considering McCann is batting well over .300 since getting glasses.

1B: Fred McGriff .280 27 hr 93 RBI vs anyone the 2009 Braves throw out there

Edge: 1995 Braves. This is a clear winner for the 1995 Braves. 1B has been a position this year that we just can't seam to get any production out of this season.

2B: Mark Lemke .253 5 hr 38 RBI vs Prado/Infante .335 10 hr 58 RBI

Edge: 2009 Braves. As long as Prado and Infante play solid defense at second, the 2009 Braves have a clear offensive advantage here. (I left out Kelly Johnson on purpose cause I don't think he'll see the field much the rest of the year)

SS: Jeff Blauser .211 12 hr 31 RBI vs Yunel Escobar .293 14 hr 88 RBI

Edge 2009 Braves. Seriously anyone would be better than Blauser. I have no fond memories of him at all. As long as Escobar doesn't make too many mental errors at short, this is a huge upgrade.

3B: Chipper Jones .265 23 hr 86 RBI vs Chipper Jones .290 18 hr 82 RBI

Edge: 2009 Braves. Chipper hasn't had a great first half of the season and will probably improve on those numbers. Even so the seasoned Chipper beats out his own stellar rookie season.

LF: Ryan Klesko .310 23 hr 70 RBI vs Garret Anderson .272 10 hr 64 RBI

Edge: 1995 Braves. Klesko was really big for this team. Garret Anderson is an ok batter for us this season but his defense is demoralizing. He loafs around and has cost us runs on more than one occasion. This is a big advantage for the 1995 team IMO.

CF: Marquis Grisom .258 12 hr 42 RBI vs Nate McLouth .288 20 hr 60 RBI
Edge: 2009 Braves. Mclouth was a huge get for the Braves this year. If they go on and somehow win the east, this could turn out to be the trade of the decade.
RF: David Justice .253 24 hr 78 RBI vs Jeff Franceour .250 10 hr 70 RBI
Edge: It's a wash, both players underperformed. Justice has twice as many homers and a few more RBI but not enough contribution to give him the clear edge here. Throw Diaz into the mix in right field and get Church who has a .280 BA and the 2009 Braves all of the sudden have an advantage here.
Bench: I give the edge here to the 2009 Braves cause since they are platooning guys like Prado Diaz and Infante, that always leaves 1 of these guys on the bench and then another once Kotchman comes back. The only reason I would give the 95 guys any edge is because my memory is telling me that they were clutch in late innings but I've got nothing other than that to back it up. I do wish we could get Mike Mordacai to come play again.
Coaching: 1995 Braves. Same Cox same odd decisions but the 1995 Braves had Rockin Leo Mazzone and they were less Terry Pendelton as hitting coach. Those factors alone give the 1995 Braves a point here.

Overall most of the advantages went to the 2009 Braves so there is hope that they can turn out just like the 1995 Braves. First the Braves need to fix some of the majors chinks in the armour.
I think they are: Middle relievers to set up men, no power at 1B, consistency in the corner outfields. They have already began to fix the chink in right field and I think the platoon of Diaz/Church will work out well. I don't think you can fix Anderson but we could be ok there. Kotchman is serviceable at 1b and I don't see us with enough money to get anything there. As far as the middle relievers go I really think we have the talent to see something special. Moylen has some nasty stuff and so does Gonzalez. If they stop giving up runs in critical situations our bullpen will be lights out. And just in case you are down cause we are 6 games out at the all-star break, just remember the 1995 Braves were 5 back of the Phillies at mid-season. They went on a winning streak and ended up winning the division by more than 15 games.

Here's to a World Series Championship in 2009!


  1. This is the problem with just looking at numbers. Do you really think David Justice vs. Jeff Francoeur is a wash!? David Justice was probably one of the most clutch hitters the Braves have ever had. Plus he won the deciding game of the WS for them. Francoeur hasn't had a clutch hit since his rookie year.

  2. Justice "was" good, 1995 was a terrible year for him and fans were calling for his head during the playoffs as he was hitting under .200. Props to him for coming up with the game winning homer, in that aspect he turned out to be invaluable. The problem with not looking at stats is that you think that Justice in 1995 was even close to as good as the Justice from previous years.