Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Long Reliever or Second Baseman?

Although Martin Prado has been excellent since replacing Kelly Johnson at second base (.403/.467/.567), the Braves have had a perfectly good, run producing middle infielder wasting away in the bullpen since the start of June: Kris Medlen.

While some of the Braves's relievers sit at or near the top of the NL in appearances (Moylan 1st, O'Flaherty 3rd, Gonzalez 5th), Medlen has had plenty of time to find his inner Little Pink Pony, making only 8 appearances since May 31st. Now it seems to me that you wouldn't want a prospect who averaged 10.4 K/9 with a 2.42 ERA in the minors to waste away in long relief, but the Braves refuse to send him back to the minors where he can get some meaningful and consistent work in. Luckily for the Braves, Medlen has other skills that the team has yet to harness.

Drafted in the 10th round in 2006, Medlen was primarily a switch-hitting shortstop at Santa Ana Junior College. A quick look at his hitting statastics as a professional player shows that he is a clear upgrade over Kelly Johnson. From June 2nd to July 2nd, KJ made 87 plate appearances. In those appearances, he managed 9 hits, 3 doubles, 13 strikeouts, and 2 stolen bases. His percentages over that month span come out to .122/.224/.162. In his minor league career, Medlen made 32 appearances at the plate, in which he hit .333/.355/.567. He scored 6 runs, drove in 5, had 2 doubles, a triple, a homerun, and 2 stolen bases. For those of you keeping track at home, in about a third of the plate appearances, Medlen hit more homers and more triples, scored more runs, drove in more runs, and stole the same number of bases as the Braves's starting second baseman.

Those numbers are all the proof I need that Medlen can make a Rick Ankiel-like transition to position player. With his middle infield history, he can probably play defense equal to KJ's. Plus, it gives us even more opportunities for goofy pictures of the kid.

Or, maybe we should just send him to the minors and let him pitch. What do I know?


  1. You have some excellent writing skills. I own and operate We are looking to expand into baseball and are looking for bloggers. If you are interested please respond for more info.

  2. Please take this picture off.It is not cool to show pitcures like this

  3. Ask and you shall receive, although I found that picture online so it was already out there.

  4. T Folk. Thanks buddy. A true Braves Fan