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91-game-thread-say-hello-to-our-little-friends | September | 2008 Articles

2008 Archives

9/1 Game Thread: Say Hello To Our Little Friends

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So it's September, which means that we'll get to see a slightly expanded roster: Hi, Brent Lillibridge, James Parr, Corky Miller, and Jeff Ridgway! (Ridgway makes me unaccountably mad these days: he's been terrible every time he sniffs the big leagues, and of course the guy we got him for, Willy Aybar, who couldn't clean himself up when he was on our team, is producing for a first-place team.) Miller, obviously, is a travesty of a baseball player, one who doesn't deserve a spot anywhere in the organization, and certainly not on the major league team, which he killed for about four months; Ridgway isn't a prospect either, just crappy organizational filler we got in exchange for a recovering addict. Parr is a prospect, and I'm looking forward to seeing how he does. This year was sort of a breakout for him, as he started in AA, where he put up a 3.69 ERA, went to AAA and pitched even better with a 3.23 ERA, and has earned himself a ticket to Atlanta. His real asset is control: he's only walked 2.2 batters per 9 innings, and with a K/9 near 7 he has a fine K/BB of 3.1. He's a bit of a fly ball pitcher; 47.3% of his outs this year are flyballs, while 39.5% are groundballs. His career minor league marks are right around there. Limiting walks is a wonderful skill to have, and I hope he can convince Jo-Jo Reyes of the value of first-pitch strikes (and second-pitch strikes, and third-pitch strikes...). The key will be to see whether he can keep his strikeouts up without seeing too many of those flyballs leave the yard. Lillibridge is still a prospect, but despite the fact that he looks like he's 12 he's actually a couple weeks shy of 25. And he seems to be stagnating. This year he has been simply terrible in AAA, witnessing the disappearance of his OBP -- his stock in trade in the low minors -- his slugging, and stolen bases. His stolen base percentage didn't go down much, but he's stolen about half as many bases this year as he did last year. And he looked mostly lost at the plate during his callup earlier in the year. This is pretty much a lost year for him, and he'll be well served to write it off mentally if he can. On the basis of the numbers, he doesn't really deserve to be called up, but it's a sign of the Braves' weakness in the upper minors (and poor feelings toward Diory Hernandez and Barbaro Canizares) that he's about all that's left after the best prospects are shipped to the Arizona Fall League. We're facing the Marlins again, Josh Johnson against Mike Hampton, reprising their meeting last week. Hopefully our end of the stick won't be quite as short this time.

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