Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Braves At A Glance

2010 marks the end of an era for the Atlanta Braves. After nearly 2 decades this will be the last Spring Training that will be run by manager Bobby Cox. Cox is set to finish out the year and then retire as manager of the Braves. He leaves a legacy of excellence that will be difficult for the next person in line for sure. Tough to follow in a legends footsteps. The Brave are not regarded to win the East this year (which would have been a fitting send off for the man who guided the Braves to 14 straight division titles). The Phillies have the team to beat in the East but the Braves may just be dark horse for maybe a Wild Card. If the Phillies sputter maybe they can make a run. The Braves still have a decent rotation even after trading Javier Vasquez provided everyone stays healthy. The Braves are looking to throw out; J. Jurrjens, D. Lowe, T. Hanson, T. Hudson and K. Kawakami. Not a bad top 5, again only if they manage to hold up health wise.

For the first time in a while the lineup actually looks like it may be able to help out the pitchers with some run support every now and again. The addition of Milkey Cabrera and Troy Glaus are question marks but could provide to be nice surprises should they pan out. It will be interesting to see how long it will take for rookie sensation Jason Heyward to take over right field from Matt Diaz and he moves over to split time with Milkey in left. Heywood has been the talk of Spring Training throughout the league and in the media. I gotta say it is nice to have the number one prospect in baseball coming through the Braves system. Heyward was named the Minor League Player of the Year both by Baseball America and USA Today. This is a guy who seemingly has all the tools, offence - defence - and a head on his shoulders. This spring Heyward hit two notable batting practice home runs that garnered much attention. One hit and damaged a Coca-Cola truck in the parking lot, and another broke the sunroof of Atlanta Braves’ assistant GM Bruce Manno’s car in the same lot. People are having to move their cars from lots just to be safe. That is the kind of power that has been missing for years with the Braves. Between he and Glaus could help solve that.

Up the middle they look to have good defence with solid bats between Escobar, Prado, and Infante. If Brian McCann keeps up to his all star play they should be good behind the plate and if the table-setter Chipper can bounce back from a tough year last season he could once again be the straw that stirs the drink. The Future Hall of Fame member, Jones has said that if he can’t play at the level he is comfortable with he will retire. So selfishly I want my favorite player to keep playing so I can continue to watch him, and if he stays then he is producing and that can only help the team score some runs.

There would be nao better retirement gift for Bobby Cox then another trip to the playoffs. Well Maybe a World Series but even rose coloured glasses can’t make me see that.

1 comment:

Eazy said...

Love the baseball post! The Braves are looking good and Heyward is already looking like the once-in-a-generation prospect he's been touted to be. I am anxious to see if he can keep up the pace he's started the season with.