Okay, I'm not sure if this goes in the GT forum, or this one, so I decided to put it here. I wrote this in my blog
and figured this would stir up some discussion. Basically, what you do is try to figure out your team's 2010 lineup. Include trades, free agent signings, minor leaguers, etc;
I'll start off: Atlanta Braves
There hasn’t been too many rumors involving the Braves, so I decided to do a little thinking of what the lineup will look like come 2010. I will be constructing the lineup through trades, minor league promotions and free agent signings. Without further adieu, your 2010 Atlanta Braves starting lineup and pitching staff.
C: Brian McCann - This guy can’t keep hitting like this for long. He recently signed an extension leading me to believe he is the catcher of the future, not Saltalamacchia
1B: Kala Ka’aihue - If you haven’t heard of him yet, don’t worry, you are among many others. This guy has enormous power potential, and if he starts to make contact consistently, he will be a regular by ‘09.
2B: Kelly Johnson - Not the prototypical lead-off man due to his speed (or lack-thereof) but his .391 OBP and excellent eye will keep him in the lineup.
3B: Eric Campbell - While some (including BA) feel as though Van Pope will be the heir to Chipper, I think the Braves will go with the more offensive oriented player in Campbell. He has plus power, and in Low A had 22 HRs and 18 SBs; not too shabby.
SS: Elvis Andrus - Just 18 years old now, this guy’s potential is seemingly unlimited. He’s not much of an offensive threat, but he’s still very young. What he lacks with the bat, he makes up with his glove.
LF: Brandon Jones - This was a tough call for me. It was either Jones or Thorman. Jones is more athletic than Thorman and has tons of potential.
CF: Brent Lillibridge - A SS by trade, he played CF in college so I think he will move back to CF with Andruw leaving this year. He is a prototypical lead-off hitter, so Kelly can move into the two hole.
RF: Jeff Francouer - He will be the next Brave to get an extension. One of the best young power hitters in the game, there is no reason to believe he will be gone come 2010.
1: John Smoltz - He signed a three year extension (his options will get picked up) and will still be our ace. This will be his last year for the future HOFer though.
2: Rich Harden - A powerful punch of Smoltz-Harden will be in their last year. With Smoltz’s retirement coming after 2010, Harden can step up and be the new ace of the staff.
3: Chuck James - He still has 5 years left of service, and if he keeps up this pace, he will become a quality number three.
4: Matt Harrison - Compared to Tom Glavine, he should be called up this year, or at the very least next year.
5: Anthony Lerew - In the short time I saw Lerew this year, I liked what I saw. Sure, he had two bad outings, but that will change once he gets more experienced and develops more in the minors.
SU: Joey Devine - Many Braves fans (including me) cringe when they hear this name, but he still has great stuff. He would be the closer of the future (COTF) if it wasn’t for the two trades the Braves made this offseason.
SU: Mike Gonzalez - The only thing stopping this hard throwing lefty is that left elbow. If that could stay intact, he could fight for the closer’s role.
CL: Rafael Soriano - If you have seen him pitch, you’ll know why all Braves fans love to see him enter the game. He throws very hard (upper 90’s) and has COTF written all over him.
How Did We Get Here?
We trade Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jo-Jo Reyes for Rich Harden. This trade is done because we need antoher solid starter. Harden is one of the best pitcher in the game if he can stay healthy.
We decline Tim Hudson’s 12 million dollar option. I don’t think he will be the same as he was in previous years.
Chipper Jones retires. He has been so injury prone that I doubt he signs an extension. This will be a sad, sad day for Braves fans.
Thorman and Diaz will both be on the bench as a righty/lefty power bat.
Edgar Renteria will most likely walk after the 2009 season. This is offset by the younger Elvis Andrus.
Andruw Jones leaves unfortunately. JS is not known for signing huge contracts, and with Boras as Jones’ agent, there is no way we get him for less than 17 million per year.
The Baby Braves
Jason Heyward - Picked 14 overall this year, he will be a full time Brave in 2011. He will most likely take over in LF if Brandon Jones doesn’t cut it.
Cody Johnson - Picked last year, he is extremely raw, but has enormous power potential. If all things fall in to place, the Braves have two top 25 prospects in baseball.
John Gilmore - He may be the long term solution at 3B. He is yet another Brave with tons of power potential. He may play 3B over Van Pope and Eric Campbell.
As you can see, the Braves are going to have a completely new look. All the faces that we have grown to love (Chipper, Edgar, Andruw) will be gone either through free agency or retirement. It’s so hard to predict who JS will sign, but if the minors continues to produce players like in the past, there will be no reason to break the bank on some high end free agent. Our starting pitching will be pretty solid, and our pen will be the best in the majors.
Power: I think that the Braves will have plenty of power. With McCann, Francouer, Ka’aihue, and Campbell.
Speed: I think the Braves will have some decent speed. Lillibridge will steal around 25 bags, Andrus will have at least 20 and players such as Jones, Campbell and Johnson will add in around 10 each.
Okay, that’s it. That is the 2010 Braves lineup/pitching rotation/bullpen. If you have any areas where you agree/disagree, feel free to comment. Until then, Go Braves!!!