Atlanta Baseball: Hampton to DL, Reyes Called Up

nick oldCorrespondent IApril 3, 2008

Mike Hampton went back on the DL Thursday, this of the 15-day variety. Of course, it is truly frustrating that the Atlanta Braves, while paying Hampton's huge contract, haven't seen the former 20-game winner pitch in two years.

However, it is important to note that Hampton is far more frustrated than anyone else. One doesn't become a 20-game winner in the Major Leagues without being a competitor.

So, if it weren't absolutely necessary, Hampton wouldn't have elected to pull himself from the lineup just prior to his first scheduled start. Sure, it's disappointing that Hampton's much-awaited return is postponed another two weeks, but what is most disappointing is Atlanta's choice of call-up from the Minors.

Jo-Jo Reyes gets the call from the Bigs over other choices such as Buddy Carlisle. It is true that Carlisle isn't the most stable of candidates to fill in for a few starts, but neither is Reyes—especially Reyes.

True, Reyes fills the want for another left-hander to complement Glavine while we wait for the return of Chuck James and Hampton, but how important is this when considering Reyes was given extensive opportunities at the Major League level last season and posted a scary 6.22 ERA?

More than that, Reyes walked more batters (30) than he struck out (27), showing terrible command of his supposedly wicked stuff. All I've seen from Reyes is a decent fastball/slider combination. But guess what, these are the two pitches that get hit for the most home runs.

The top five teams in the Majors last season in pitches seen per at bat all made the playoffs. Jo-Jo Reyes makes Alfonso Soriano look like Placido Polanco he throws so many pitches. It is still beyond me why the Braves would continue to show so much faith in this kid (especially considering Bobby Cox loves strike-throwers).

Why not go with Carlisle, somewhat of a surprise in his strong late-season stretch with the Braves last season, over the young, immature Reyes? Carlisle posted a winning record and walked the same number of hitters while striking out almost triple the batters in double the innings that Reyes did.