Unrelated, yada yada

1) I spent most of today in orientation for my new job. The entire day consisted of taking computerized tests about what seemed to me to be common knowledge… even if I didn’t already know that racism is bad, working off the clock is dumb, and swimming in toxic waste isn’t the smartest idea in the world, being told once would have been enough, you know? Instead I was at it for a full 9-to-5 day. By the end I was keeping myself awake by mentally correcting the spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors. Old habits are hard to break.

2) The Braves won two games in a row! Yay! Against the team that eliminated them from the playoffs last year, even.

More encouraging is that the bats seem to be waking up. I told myself that if the Braves didn’t start out absolutely red-hot they’d probably have a rough April, as their schedule is incredibly tough… but predicting it didn’t make the reality any easier to stomach. Any signs that they might be coming off it relieves my worry a little.

3) Speaking of the Braves (kind of), we all know that Kyle Davies is awful, but I hadn’t really realized just how awful. There’s some iffy stat-juggling in there, but the bottom line — that Davies is the worst pitcher ever to be a full-time starter — is quite grabbing even if it isn’t strictly speaking true. The fact that he’s the pitching equivalent of Jeffy Francoeur is one thing. The fact that he’s done it without being demoted to the bullpen is quite another.

If you’re ever curious about how the Braves fell into decline during the late aughts, you can probably look to the fates of their top pitching prospects during that period. The Braves were always believed to have a strong farm system during that period, but… look at the names: Horacio Ramirez, Jose Capellan, Dan Meyer, Kyle Davies, Macay McBride, Jake Stevens… it’s a goddamn litany of also-rans and never-weres. The one with the best career was Adam Wainwright, but they traded him away before he’d pitched a major league inning. Despite their reputation as being long on pitching, the Braves didn’t develop a single worthwhile starting pitcher in between Kevin Millwood and Cyborg Tommy Hanson. (Jair Jurrjens doesn’t count, because he was more or less a finished product when he came over from Detroit.) You can heap a lot of abuse on Frank Wren for overpaying for Derek Lowe and Kenshin Kawakami during the 2008-09 offseason, but consider that he was coming off a season in which Jorge Campillo was his number one starter and you start to see the problem. The Braves have something of an embarrassment of riches in that department these days, but you only have to look at the history of Braves pitching prospects to see just how ephemeral that kind of thing really is. There are loads of hard-throwing Latin arms in the system — but I wouldn’t be dreaming up a Jurrjens trade just yet.

Ironically, the Braves have produced more hitters over that period, despite never seeming particularly strong in that department. This is partially because hitters are more reliable to develop, and partially because you only need so many hitters, while you can never have enough pitching…


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