FanPost

The Power of Pitching: 1995 WS Champs


Today at work I was waiting for samples to complete their preparation so I took a stroll down memory lane (via baseball-reference.com) to pass the time. I went through and looked at the individual stats for the Braves over the past few years just to refresh my memory of who did what and so on. I then stumbled upon the 1995 Braves, you know the 90 win WS Champion 1995 Braves, and something struck me. This 1995 Braves seem like the team, in some ways, that Wren has talked about trying to build; a team with an elite starting rotation, a good pen, good defense, and a offense predicated on a bunch of guys with 20+HR power but lacking that 'big bat' guy.

Just look at the sats (after the jump) and see for yourself that a team like the one we are building can win a bunch of games and win a WS.

Order

Postion Player G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1 CF Marquis Grissom 139 606 80 142 23 3 12 42 29 47 61 0.258 0.317 0.376 0.693
2 SS Jeff Blauser 115 504 30 91 16 2 12 31 8 57 107 0.211 0.319 0.341 0.660
3 3B Chipper Jones 140 602 87 139 22 3 23 86 8 73 99 0.265 0.353 0.450 0.803
4 1B Fred McGriff 144 604 85 148 27 1 27 93 3 55 99 0.280 0.361 0.489 0.850
5 RF David Justice 120 491 73 104 17 3 24 78 4 73 68 0.253 0.365 0.479 0.844
6 LF Ryan Klesko 107 381 48 102 25 2 23 70 5 47 72 0.310 0.396 0.608 1.004
7 C Javy Lopez 100 352 37 105 11 4 14 51 0 14 57 0.315 0.344 0.498 0.842
8 2B Mark Lemke 116 453 42 101 16 5 5 38 2 44 40 0.253 0.325 0.356 0.681

A few things jump out at me from this list:

- We had no 30HR hitters but we did have four guys hit 20+HR and only Mark Lemke, bless his heart, hit less than 10HR.

- We had only two players hit better than .280 (Klesko and Lopez) and those two had the fewest PA of any of the other regulars.

- Our #1 and #2 hitters (Grissom and Blauser) had OBPs of less than .320 and we only had one player (Grissom) that had more than 8 SB with 29 SB.

- Only one player (Kelsko) had a SLG higher than .500 and he had only 381 PA.

- Chipper's line was wholly unimpressive as far as what is expected from Chipper.

I'd be willing to bet that we could put a better offense than that out there this year especially at the top of the order. Of course our offense wasn't the reason we won the WS, it was the following pitching staff.

Player W L IP GS CG SHO K K/9 ERA WHIP
Greg Maddux 19 2 209.2 28 10 3 181 7.8 1.63 0.811
Tom Glavine 16 7 198.2 29 3 1 127 5.8 3.08 1.248
John Smoltz 12 7 192.2 29 2 1 193 9 3.18 1.235
Steve Avery 7 13 173.1 29 3 1 141 7.3 4.67 1.252
Kent Merker 7 8 143.0 26 0 0 102 6.4 4.15 1.406
Player W L IP G SV HR/9 BB/9 K/9 ERA WHIP
Mark Wohlers 7 3 64.2 65 25 0.3 3.3 13 2.09 1.16
Greg McMichael 7 2 80.2 67 2 0.9 3.6 8.3 2.79 1.19
Brad Clontz 8 1 69.0 59 4 0.7 2.9 7.2 3.65 1.35
Pedro Borbon 2 2 32.0 41 2 0.6 4.8 9.3 3.09 1.44
Steve Bedrosain 1 2 28.0 29 0 1.9 3.9 7.1 6.11 1.86

Now let me say this: no pitcher on the Braves staff or any pitcher in the entire MLB is going to do this year what Maddux did in 1995. I mean he was crazy go nuts, in your face, son of Thor, Einstein-Curie lovechild, man among boys dominant. He was 19-2 with a 0.811 WHIP in over 200 IP... holy cow. With that out of the way...

Comparing our two rotations (1995 to 2010): Though Hudson is a great starter 1995 Maddux would beat him any day of the week. It is entirely possible however and maybe probable that Jurrjens and Hanson can put in seasons very comparable in 2010 to 1995 Glavine and Smoltz as ~200 IP and a low 3.00 ERA is within their talent level. Lowe and Kawakami seem likely to be able to put in better seasons in 2010 than the Avery/Merker combo did in 1995. It looks like our staff could be deeper than it was in 1995 but without the absolute dominance at the top.

Comparing our two pens (1995 to 2010): Though the pen didn't rack up the saves like mad, Wholers, McMichael and Clontz were very effective workhorses putting up the innings and nice peripherals. Per usual, Bobby liked to use just a few guys and neglect the rest of his pen to a degree, which may have been a decent idea as the rest of those who put in innings were pretty uninspiring. We should have a deeper pen with the potential in Wagner and Satio to have a the same kind of late inning effectiveness as Wholers and Co. I would expect our pen to be nearly as good if not better than the 1995 version.

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By laying this all out I wanted for us all to remember the old Braves way of winning. As long as we have a dominant staff we can win no matter how 'powerless' our offense is.

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