Labor Day weekend means the start of football season. It also means the end of an up-and-down year for the Gwinnett Braves. The Atlanta Braves AAA-affiliate has had a tumultuous season at best posting a 61-77 overall record heading into action tonight.
With only a couple games left in their 2012 season, the G-Braves have the 3rd worst record in the International League. They trail the South Division leading 18.5 games and were eliminated from the minor league post-season a long time ago.
At home in the friendly confines of Coolray Field, the G-Braves are playing .500 baseball posting a 36-36 record. After a double-header against the Pawtucket Red Sox, the G-Braves homes schedule will be finished.
Their season concludes with 4 road games against the Norfolk Tides. The G-Braves road record shines a light where they have struggled this year. Going into the weekend they have a 25-41 mark on the road this year.
Digging into the numbers, the pitching stats show a general problem with the overall team ERA. Gwinnett has a team ERA of 4.46, which is 3rd worst in the International League. The next glaring challenge is walks allowed. G-Braves pitchers have walked 536 batters to this point. That’s over 100 more than division leading Norfolk.
The trouble isn’t just with the pitchers. The offensive numbers show room for improvement, too. Gwinnett is 9th out of 14 in runs scored. Worthy of note, the G-Braves are second in the league in stolen bases. However, they are second-to-last in the league in home runs.
The trade off with speed is usually a lack of power. These numbers are not to be completely unexpected. On the other hand, this 2007 article on the value of a home run puts some numbers and data up against conventional baseball wisdom. Without giving away the punch line, it lends credibility to the obvious assertion that the G-Braves lineup needs more punch.
Thankfully, the Gwinnett Braves have a bevy of talent. Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado and Sean Gilmartin headline a pitching staff that underachieved this year. In the batter’s box, International League Rookie of the Year Ernesto Mejia packs the punch that the G-Braves need. Next year will be better for the G-Braves who have to be happy to see that it’s time for football season.