jason_schmidt_autograph

The 20 worst A-Braves pitchers: #9, Jason Schmidt

Jason Schmidt wasn’t as good as you remember. He was mediocre at best for the Pirates after they acquired him from Atlanta in the Denny Neagle trade. It wasn’t until he landed in San Francisco did he emerge as one of the league’s best starters,  twice finishing in the top 5 for NL Cy Young.

The beginning of his career was as bad as the finish, when he flopped as a free agent with the Dodgers. With the Braves he showed little ability to keep runners off base, walking 5.4 and allowing 10.3 hits per 9 IP. He pitched 22 games for the local nine, starting 13, and left Atlanta with an unsightly 6.45 ERA and 1.745 WHIP.

Granted, he was just 23 but the 20 worst does not distinguish between rookies and veterans.

gomez_19642_1

The 20 worst A-Braves players: #3 Luis Gomez

Luis Gomez was a poor man’s Rafael Belliard, at least at the plate. Like Raffy, Gomez was smooth, if unspectacular, defensively. But Belliard was a regular Barry Larkin on offense compared to Gomez, the only player on our list who was traded for another of the 20 worst Braves, Pat Rockett (part of the deal that brought Chris Chambliss to Atlanta).

The Braves knew what they were getting in Gomez, a utilityman who came to Atlanta with a career .216 BA. They probably didn’t think he’d do much worse, but he did, batting .192 in 156 games with the Bravos. Of Gomez’s 60 hits only 6 went for extra bases. He had no homers, triples or stolen bases. Didn’t walk much either, which accounts for his .249 OBP.

Pitchers Doyle Alexander and Preston Hanna nearly matched Gomez’s meager .451 OPS in 1980 while Knucksie had just one less double.

Baseball Reference compares his career to that of the infamous Mario Mendoza, although the final Mendoza line (.215 BA) was five points higher than Gomez’s.

The Phillies are coming! The Phillies are coming!

UPDATE: Never mind — the Phils just acquired Revere for Vance Worley.

UPDATE: According to DOB, the Braves are talking to Minnesota about Revere.

Jon Heyman says the Phils have been talking to the Twins about Ben Revere, who’s apparently available for pitching. I hope FW is on in this, because Revere, an Atlanta native, would be a perfect fit.

Revere, 24, hit .292 with 40 steals in 124 games last year. He’s gifted defensively and won’t be a free agent for four years.

I’d be willing to part with Delgado and Sean Gilmartin to make it happen.

The 2 best games by an Atlanta Brave

They belong to one player — not Hank, Chipper or Mad Dog, but a good ole’ boy with a  career 4.07 ERA.

They occurred during the Braves’ inaugural season in Atlanta, one in which Tony Cloninger would lead all NL pitchers with 116 BB. Overall, a forgettable year, save for those two games that are the envy of every Brave. Hell, Babe Ruth would be jealous.

The Braves tallied 17 runs in each. Of the 34 runs scored, 14 were driven in by Cloninger.

You’ve probably read about the second of those contests. Cloninger set three records that afternoon in San Fran, becoming the first National League player to hit two grand slams in a game and the only pitcher ever to do so. And no pitcher has ever driven in 9 RBI in a game, as Cloninger did that day.

The first game, roughly three weeks earlier, previewed what was to come. Cloninger, who started the night with a .121 BA, collected three hits, including two homers, driving in 5. He didn’t pitch badly, either, going the distance, just as he would on July 3.

To sum up:

10 AB, 4 homers, 6 hits, 14 RBI

18 IP, 12 HA, 4 ER, 2 wins