January 13, 2012

The Cold Braves of Hotlanta

Sometimes in baseball you hear a GM or analyst say a player may benefit from "a change in scenery," and although it may be cliché it can sometimes hold some truth. Atlanta's Turner Field is considered by most to be a pitcher friendly ballpark. The vast majority of former and current players have enjoyed playing in Atlanta. It's not a place that has the media pressure of New York or Boston, the fans are supportive and it's a nice city with pleasant weather. Baseball has always been a sport where statistics can be inflated, bias-magnified and exaggerated. The Blue Jays are a hacking "swing for the fences" type team always near the top of the AL in homers. Would Jose Bautista hit 50 homers on an 'ABC baseball' type club? Would Derek Jeter be as big of a star if he wasn't a Yankee? No one really knows the answer, but it's a part of the sport that is what it is.

For whatever reason, the Braves recently have had guys that have been much better on another, less-successful club; whether it be coming in or heading out. Nate McClouth evolved from an all-star 25 HR/100 RBI player, to a huge dud knocking only 21 dingers in 2.5 seasons with the Braves. Alex Gonzalez and Kelly Johnson switched places as power-hitting, feared sluggers and Francoeur & Escobar's numbers have consistently improved in almost every offensive category. Here are the recent stat lines of these 5 guys, highlights in green and lowlights in red:

Judging by the numbers, it appears life isn't always good in the ATL. These recent Atlanta Braves have unfortunately validated that the grass may truly be greener on the other side.