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Old 02-11-2010, 03:07 PM
BRANDON BOND's Avatar
BRANDON BOND BRANDON BOND is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2005
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Default Braves in 2010 world champoins?

from the internet of course:

I think the Braves are gonna be pretty nasty in a few years if they can have an outfield of Schafer, McLouth, and Heyward. I think Heyward will probably start off in Gwinnett with possibly the plan to bring him back up like they did with Tommy Hanson, but Melky/Damon (I think they'll sign him) will prove to be insufficient and they'll call him up early knowing they still have a chance at the playoffs. I would love to see that young outfield I mentioned earlier at some point in the season. Speed and Power across the entire infield. Then hopefully trade Melky and/or Damon at some point in the season while having Diaz sharing time with the three. This can be a very good outfield both offensively and defensivel.y

The infield is a bit of, well actually a pretty big concern. Martin Prado has a lot of talent but will he be able to handle the everyday role at second? Troy Glaus is an overall question mark. Yunel Escobar is the only certain in the infield. Then there's Chipper... where to start... he's getting old and streaky. I wonder what this year is going to be like for him offensively and defensively. I honestly think you will see Omar Infante playing about 75% of the time filling in for Chipper or Glaus because I see them both struggling and having a difficult time producing both ways. Then you've got Brian McCann. I feel like he will be alright, coming out with another solid season.

The pitching staff- well, Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson should both have stellar seasons again. Derek Lowe, I believe will do the same as last season- start strong, struggle through the middle, and finish ok. Just my belief. Next is Tim Hudson. I don't even know what to think yet. I would love to read your comments about him because I didn't get to see him much at all at the end of the season. The stats say he did fine but that was short term and stats don't mean everything. Kenshin Kawakami is my pick for most improved or breakout player. He isn't going to be a dominant pitcher necessarilly, but if you remember, the biggest struggle for him was lack of offensive production from the team. He had many solid outings that would turn to be a loss because of shutouts or 1 or 2 runs being produced behind his effort. The offense may not be great, but I feel like his experience as a major league pitcher in the US, becoming comfortable in the enviroment and with his teammates, and having a full year in the MLB under his belt will help him be a more solid pitcher and I believe the runs will come.

Finally, the bullpen. To be honest, based off of last season, I just don't know what to think. We don't have Mike Gonzalez so I don't worry about blowing 7 or 8 run leads in one inning. Peter Moylan and Eric O'Flaherty should be a solid 1-2 combination. However, Bobby needs to let the starters go further than 6 or 7 innings sometimes when they are having a big game. I can't stress how frustrating it was to see that 2 of our relievers were in the top 5 in the MLB in innings pitched while struggling because of this stat, and seeing that we were last in complete games pitched by our starters, WHILE having one of the best rotations in the MLB. Kris Medlen really showed at times that he can be a solid contributor and be a good long reliever, as well as a 6th man in case a starter goes down. I believe with a good spring and a few games of solid contribution he could be up there with Moylan and O'Flaherty. All other relievers and the closers, I have no clue what to think there. Now your turn.

Rotation - A, no need to explain really...

Infield - B, Prado will be solid as an everyday player, yunel is a beast, mccann is a beast, aging chipper is still a hall of famer (just needs to stay reasonably healthy), Glauss is a giant ?... if he does well infield bumps to a b+, if not becomes a c+, i personally think it was a pretty good move, no reason to think he won't be a solid player again post-surgery. and infante is a capable back-up at any position on the field...

Outfield - B-, i REALLY like Diaz, i think he's one of the most underrated hitters in the game, granted he usually comes in against lefties, but HE IS STILL A CAREER .305 HITTER... and that ain't no accident. McLouth will be a pretty solid player, hopefully gets some more power going this year. Damon/Cabrera... i have no idea what to think... If we get Damon i'd like to see us unload Cabrera, even though Damon's a horrible fielder, he's a boost in power... i really want to see heyward become an everyday player by the end of the year. that hope is why i give us a b- instead of a c+, overall it's a solid outfield, but lacks power and speed... not terrible, but not a championship outfield.

Bullpen - ??? i have no clue... i like the saito pick-up more than wagner, i don't know why the heck they are spending 7 mil on him, unless they saw some potential in him to get some of his old stuff back... but i doubt it. but they are the big question marks and i think will be too important to the 'pen to rate it without knowing how they are going to be. not too sure how Gonzo is going to be either. the only two in the 'pen I'm very high on are O'Flaherty and Moylan. the White O-Dawg and the Aussie Wonder should be OUTSTANDING this year in the 7th/8th inning, i know Moylan was absolutely horrible at the beginning of last year, but he really turned it on, and O'Flaherty started out strong and faded towards average, but if they can get it working at the same time they should be lock-down. also as Smitty mention Medlen showed some real promise as a long reliever (but hopefully we won't have to use him too much.)

Overall, as you can see, i'm expecting a lot from this team.

I don't know if you should be blaming that much on Mike Gonzalez as he was a very solid reliever last year for the most part. He had a few rough patches, but he was very good for the most part. If it wasn't for his contract I wouldn't have minded him back, but I do for the most part like our additions to the bullpen.

Peter Moylan to me is still the key to our bullpen and as long as he isn't overused, he will be just about our best bullpen arm. O'Flaherty will be a good lefty that can be used as both a full inning guy or a lefty specialist at times as well. And I agree on the starters thing, we need them to go longer this year to shorten the innings we have to use our bullpen. I always hated when they would pull a guy in the 9th inning when he was rolling and had no sign of slowing down.

Kris Medlen will be a very crucial part of our bullpen as well as a spot starter for this team. Every team needs that kind of guy and Medlen is a very special pitcher that I could see turn into a starter on this team somewhere down the line.

I liked the additions of Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito as I see them as much of risks as bringing back Soriano or Gonzalez would have been with injury history. The reliever free agents class this year wasn't that great, but they are definitely the two I would most want. Wagner looked very strong in his return last season near the end. I remember him owning the Braves pretty bad in a game against the Mets in his first game back. He also did well in his short stint with the Red Sox as well. Saito has great career stats and his numbers last year continued to be very solid and unless something drastically changes, we really did help our bullpen out.
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