Some Good News?

Right now the Phillies are losing. Their pitching is just dreadful and they are keeping everyone in the division race when they could have been putting everyone out of it.

The Mets are having to adjust to their giant new park, Citi Field, and trying to make up for the injuries in Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran, and Jose Reyes. This leaves David Wright to try and keep his team in it. The starting pitching is not to great either.

Now look at the Braves. We have a great starting rotation and a very good bullpen. Once Tim Hudson comes back we will have the best rotation in the National League, and maybe the Majors and our bullpen will be even better because Kawakami will replace JoJo.

Martin Prado is terring the cover off of the ball lately and will most likely have a great season and continue to start at second. Brian McCann is always consistently hitting the ball and if runners get on base, Chipper is going to drive them in.

In tonight’s game against Philly we are winning 9 to 1 in the 6th inning without Nate McLouth and Yunel Escobar (who is leading the team in RBI and Runs). Once those two come back then the lineup could actually start scoring runs. Nate McLouth, Yunel Escobar, Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, and the new Martin Prado does not seem that bad to me and it actually sounds pretty good once you consider another big bat is inevitably on the way.

Casey Kotchman also consistently puts the ball in play and Matt Diaz is batting in the higher .200’s

This means that Jeff Francouer, Kelly Johnson, Garret Anderson, and some young pitching could be used as trade chips (some people say Yunel could be to, but I really think we should keep him considering he is a beast and we don’t have another everyday shortstop). We have the pieces to land another bat without giving up any of our (contributing) starters.

So Atlanta is easily one move away from taking this division by storm.

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Martin Prado

Well its official. Bobby Cox said that Martin Prado would be the starting second baseman. After you consider that Martin is doing really really good, and Kelly is doing really really not good it makes sense. I think that Prado should be Atlanta’s second baseman for years to come and Kelly should be traded.

But you have to wonder how Johnson’s market is now that he is hitting .216. The good thing is that he is a second baseman and middle infielders are often the hardest things to fix, so teams would still want to get him because of the postition he is capable of playing.

Atlants has been very fortunate in having three capable everyday middle infielders in Escobar, Prado, and Johnson.

Kelly should be traded while he still has a market (preferably to the St. Louis Cardinals for one of Rick Ankiel or Ryan Ludwick). Prado has been very good in the clutch and will turn into a great everyday player. This is going to be like last year’s Renteria/Yunel deals but with Kelly/Martin. Also having a Cuban/Venezualen duo sounds pretty sweet to me.

It also doesn’t hurt that the guy puts a lot of heart into his game.

 

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Red Hot Rays

Ever since the beggining of last year people continuosly count out the Tampa Bay Rays, and they continuosly prove everyone wrong. I will admit that I didn’t think they would be able to go to the playoffs this season but they have won 7 games straight and are 4 games back from the division leading Boston Red Sox.

I still think that the Red Sox are going to win the division because they have done so well with many things going wrong.

  • David Ortiz started the season off terribly, and while he is doing better, he has still not started playing like the 08 Big Papi
  • Dice K is struggling on the mound and who knows when he will bring it together
  • The Red Sox have still not found a shortstop solution

The Red Sox have perhaps the best starting pitching depth in the majors and that is one of the reasons that Dice K’s misfortunes have not seriously hurt them. Jason Bay has been on fire and he has made up for David Ortiz’s poor offensive contributions. The Red Sox have the pieces to get a shortstop and by the end of the season when they go into the playoffs they will have one.

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Now back to the Rays. The Rays only major flaw is pitching. Their bullpen and rotation both need some work and if they land a few arms they could grab the wild card and be in the playoffs for the second time. If they had not traded Edwin Jackson they would probably be in second place right now.

The Rays still do not have a legitimate closer and they are going to need one.

There has been talk of the Braves trading either Rafeal Soriano or Mike Gonzalez and the Rays might be interested in aquiring one of these two players.The Braves also have starting pitching depth and need to start some offense so hopefully Frank Wren will try to make a big deal with the defending AL Champs.

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Well, the reason the Rays have been doing well is because they are supposedly the most athletic team in the american league. Jason Bartlett and Ben Zobrist have contributed just as much offensively as defensively which is saying alot, especially in Bartlett’s case.

Speaking of Jason Bartlett. He is turning into an amazing shortstop but still nobody is talking about how good he really is. Probably the best defensive shortstop in the entire American League and he is also hitting .366 with seven homers and 36 RBI. Thats pretty good. He should definitely be an all star with the seaon he is having.

Zobrist has come out of nowhere and with his .624 slugging percentage he leads the american league. He also has 16 long balls and 46 RBI. So much for The Rays not having an everyday rightfielder.

With BJ Upton and Carl Crawford the Rays easily lead the league in stolen bases.

So as you can see the Rays are solid on everything but pitching, which happens to be a pretty important part of the game.

Maybe the Rays will be willing to part with Zobrist to get a pitcher from Atlanta or anything that can help the Braves amizing outfield.

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The Trading Starts Now

Well its official, One of the most sought after players, Mark Derosa, is out of Cleveland and the plans of many other teams that were interested in his services. This trade makes perefect sense (for the Cardinals at least). They get a mega-utility man that can also help out their offense. The Cardinals infield is extremely thin and he will probably be playing third base for now, and when Troy Glaus comes back he can help out the middle infield. Also, if the Cardinals are going to trade Rick Ankiel or Ryan Ludwick for pitching than he can play in the outfield. This is a steal for the Cardinals unless the player-to-be-named is Albert Pujols.

Since many teams were hoping to get Mark Derosa they will have to start looking for alternatives quickly and don’t be surprised if you start hearing about a lot of trade rumors. The Cubs in particular have to get something done quick, and the Red Sox will inevitably make a trade but it would be better for them to wait a bit and get teams to bid against each other for Brad Penny, so that they can get the most out of him. Tampa Bay will need major bullpen help also.

Now to the Braves. If we are planning on contending this year Francouer needs to be moved down to Gwinnet and we need to make another trade. One outfielder who could help us is Baltimore outfielder Luke Scott. Scott has 14 home runs and 38 RBI while playing in the AL East which arguably has the best pitching in baseball. Put him in the NL East where he will be hitting off of Mets Marlins and Nationals pitching, and those numbers go up.Baltimore will probably be looking to trade many of their players and Scott will probably be one of them.

Another player who could be possible is Adam Lind. Toronto can not rely on the pitching that they have for the entire season and might be willing to make a trade if we can give up the pitching that they would want. They might even take a bit less pitching and take a gamble on Francouer or less pitching and also Anderson. These last two options sound much better to me and I think Atlanta has the pieces to make a deal happen. Adam Lind has a .310 average 15 home runs and 52 RBI. He will come cheap but he hits in the DH role alot and his defense might not be great.

A name that keeps popping up is Jermaine Dye but with his high salary I don’t see this one happening.

Every one knows that the Rangers need pitching desperately and Atlanta has some pitching to offer. Maybe we can make a trade with a ML ready pitcher, a mid level prospect, and Francouer for Josh Anderson. Anderson about to come off the DL and he is a guy that consistently drives in runs. They might need pitching more than Anderson and we could definitely use a good RBI guy.

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There are definitely options out there to help the Braves if they decide they want to compete this year. All we have to do is make some moves, and considering Frank Wrens decisions since this offseason, I am pretty confident that something will happen.

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Thoughts on Red Sox @ Braves 6/27

My brother yelled at me BRAVES ARE ON!!! and i busted into the living room and turned on the tv to see Atlanta play (which rarely happens). Ever since the Braves aren’t on TBS I haven’t been able to watch much Braves baseball.

  • Anyways i came in in the top of the second and the first thing i noticed is that Javier Vazquez gets ahead in the count on almost every batter. His outside fastball is dirty and it sets him up for his curve and inside slider. 4 strikeouts in the first two innings. Not bad at all.
  • Brian McCann got walked in the second and made me laugh on the basepaths. Jeff Francouer came up to bat and on the second pitch from Wakefield, the speedy backstop stole second! It was his fourth stolen base of the season and the first one i have ever seen him make.
  • Its the top of the third and I have always known that Tim Wakefield had a nasty knuckleball, but it is amazing at how much the ball dances. You can clearly see the movement even on TV. Hopefully the steller Atlanta offense can pick up on it… I also think that Wakefield should definitely be in the All-Star game. He has never been in one and he is 9-3. Why not? He is one of the most fun pitchers to watch and isn’t the All-Star game just to draw fans?
  • But, one of the negatives of a knuckleball pitcher is stolen bases. If he throws the knuckler then almost any runner can steal succesfully (ala Mr. McCann) Gregor Blanco took advantage of this in the top of the third and also swiped second base.
  • One thing that made me mad about this game is that i can’t get to watch Nate McLouth or Yunel Escobar. These two players are always fun to watch. And i will keep saying that Yunel needs to stay with Atlanta because of the high energy that he plays with. He is probably the best shortstop in the NL East right now.
  • In the top of the fourth Big Papi singled on Vazquez’s first pitch and then fanned Mark Kotsay for his 6th K in 3 1/3 innings. Then Jacoby comes up and grounds into a DP. So far so good…
  • Garret Anderson came up in the bottom of the fourth with two outs and crushed one to deep right… but it went foul and the next pitch he pops up to the first basemen. Just great.

So in the top of the fifth the commentators started juan_pierre.jpg

talking about the Dodgers and i thought struck me. Juan Pierre is going to be sitting on the bench when Manny (ugh) comes back. Will LA trade Pierre to get some more pitching? They definitely will need some if they are going to go to the playoffs. We have pitching to offer and we also do not have a legit leadoff batter unless thats where McLouth will be batting. If we could get Pierre I think that Atlanta would be much better. There is no speed in the Atlanta lineup after you take Nate out (he isn’t even exactly a speedster). So Pierre could hit first and McLouth would bat second. He could probably have great success batting second in front of Chipper and Pierre has 17 stolen bases. We definitely could use a few of those. So should Atlanta look into getting Pierre from the Dodgers? I think they should

 

  • Back to the game, its the bottom of the fifth and the Braves just got their SECOND hit form Diory Hernandez. So we once again have no run support when our pitcher is doing good.
  • Vazquez throws alot of strikes. He has the highest percentage of swing and miss strikes in the majors and he has 8 K’s in 5 2/3 innings. I wonder how good Atlanta would be if their hitting was as good as their pitching?
  • Somehow i only just realized that Jason Bay is not in the Sox lineup. Thats great for Atlanta but Bay is also a guy that I like to watch play. Also I think Bay has a great shot of getting the AL MVP but I am still pulling for Miguel Cabrera to get it along with the Tigers going to the World series. They could probably use another arm and bat if they want to get that far though. If Magglio was hitting they would only need an arm but he isn’t and he usually drives in a lot of runs so they are going to have to find a replacement.
  • Vazquez just walked two back to back batters but all of his pitches were still very good along with a curve ball that I thought should have been strike three on Big Papi. Vazquez now has three walks and eight strikouts in 5 2/3 innings… but mark kotsay just singled to left and drove in the first run of the game. Jacoby Ellsbury grounds out to Casey Kotchman and Vazquez gets out of his longest inning of the game.
  • Its looking good in the bottom of the sixth as Gregor Blanco leads off the inning with an infield single and his second hit of the game.
  • The Braves are obviously not used to being able to steal because they are trying to bunt and move him over instead of STEALING on a KNUCKLEBALL PITCHER. Why not steal, and then bunt him over to third if you really want to bunt. that would make much more sense but anyways Blanco is at second after a ‘successful’ bunt and Chipper is at the plate. Lets cross our fingers… and Chipper lines out to Pedroia. Briann McCann is now up with two outs and a runner in scoring position. Something Needs to happen this inning… but it doesn’t. Ground out to first for out number three.

Well I have to go now and as you can see the Braves offensive woes continue and something either needs to be done or we should just start looking forward to next year. The pitching is still good though so thats something we can look forward to. Also if Tim Wakefield doesn’t go to an All-Star game i will be dissapointed and I can only imagine what Red Sox fans will feel like.

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Braves should sell

A lot of Braves fans are thinking about the same question:

Should Atlanta try and gring some people in that can help them win this year, or should they give away some guys that will give the Braves people that will help them win next year?

Well first of all the Braves are four games out of first place. They should be even further back but everyone in the NL East has been losing lately. Don’t expect that to continue much longer. The Braves made a trade to get Nate McLouth but that is not nearly enough offense. We need to do something about the lack of a run producing lineup.

Our pitching is great but the numbers dont show it (because of the lack of a runprodusinf lineup). We have pitching depth and that is what we need to trade (along with maybe Kelly Johnson and Jeff Francouer) to get some offense. The best trade chip that we have right now is probably Javier Vazquez. He has the stuff to be a top of the rotation guy for most teams (although for some reason i don’t think Colorado would have interest in him).

 

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The Rays need to do something about their pitching and we also could have some relief that they need and they have prospects that we could grab in return.

Another team that needs pitching is (obviously) Washington and Adam Dunn is definitely a guy we could use.

The Rangers have always and will always need pitching so something could happen there although i have no idea what.

The mets could use pitching but this one probably will not happen because Vazquez would make them a much better team and they and the Phillies are the two teams that we have to get better than and the Mets do not have anything that they would be willing to give up that would help Atlanta much. Unless they wanted to trade Beltran (haha).

The Indains also could use pitching but Mark Derosa wouldn’t exactly fill our offensive needs.

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So as you can see there are teams out there who could use some pitching so we should make Vazquez available and see who comes running. He is even more valuable to teams because he is under contract for this year and next. We could get something extremely benificial from Vazquez and it wouldn’t hurt our pitching. Look whos coming back next year.

 

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Thats right, Tim Hudson. And I would have to say that Hudson is even better than Vazquez and will most likely be our ace next year.

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Jeff Francouer

Everyone is dying to have Francouer traded but what could we Really get back for him? Is trading him the best thing to do? I don’t know. The only teams that have any interest at all are apparently the Red Sox and Royals. I still think that we could get something that could help us more than he is but we would have to make a deal soon. If we don’t do anything soon then send him to the minors and hope that he re-develops his swing and plate discipline.

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Yunel Escobar

Escobar is hands down my favorite player. He plays with passion and he loves the game. We definitely do not need to trade someone like him. Chino Cardina seems like he can have a great impact on Esco’s mentallity and maturity. If it means benching him for a few games or even sending him to the minors we should do it. He will get more mature and when he does he will be a heck of a ballplayer. He has this entire season to get it right and next season he will be fine. We don’t really have any people to play short everyday and Yunel should be our shortstop for a long time. Its about time somebody with a little passion is on the team.

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Good Fielding for Francoeur?

It’s blatantly obvious that Jeff Francoeur is providinf no offense for the braves. So wouldn’t it make sense to trade him before his market value hits rock bottom (if it hasn’t already)? Both Kansas City and Boston have looked into making a trade for the Atlanta native so hopefully something will happen soon, very soon.

If we can’t get another outfielder who is capable of starting we could move McLouth to left or right (where he is a much better fielder) and bring Jordon Schafer back up. Schafer is doing as good as Francouer at the plate but he is a steller centerfielder with great range and a great glove. Plus more time in the bigs could prove benificial to his batting blunders.

I like this option much better because although Schafer has been dreadful in the majors he Will get better and he can only do so by getting more and more Major League at bats. He could start for most clubs simply for his defense (ala Jason Bartlett for the 08 Rays).

A trade will also be benificial to Jeff Francouer who could easily prove to be the player he once was, but for another team. If he gets a fresh start in a new town he could turn things around.

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Also, when I think of outfielders, and trading, and Kansas City I immediately think Coco Crisp. While the Royals obviously would never trade Crisp for just Francouer, I can only wonder what it would take to get him. He is a great defensive outfielder with speed and could leadoff to put McLouth down the line-up where he could drive in more runs.

Well the point of this whole thing is, that Francoeur has got to go. ASAP. There are not to many options out their but we should get what we can out of him before its to late.

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Strasburg in DC?

The Washington Nationals have got the first pick of the Draft (if you did not know this then i am going to tell you that your reading a baseball blog so you might as well stop reading now). So anyways most people think that they will take Stephen Strasburg number 1. Strasburg is (unfortunately) represented by everyone’s favorite agent, Scott Boras. Boras will obviously be fetching Strasburg a nice little contract and many people are comparing it to Dice-K’s. I have no idea why they are doing this because the two are completely different pitchers. Anyways Strasburg is obviously a great pitcher and will do well in the Majors but how big of an effect will he have in Washington?

As everyone in the great circle of baseball knows, Washington is not exactly a ‘supurb’ team. They are downright terrible. So does one phenom pitcher immediately fix the team? No. thy can’t happen. The Nationals pitching is terrible, and most people is probably don’t know any of their starting pitchers but one pitcher doesn’t fix that. It’s not like you can throw one guy on the mound day after day. And even if Strasburg pitches it doesn’t mean that Washington is going to win. You have to actually score runs to win some games. Now if the object to win games was to bring in the least amount of fans than the Nationals would be the first team in the history of the game to go undefeated. But its not, and until the Nationals create a line-up it doesn’t really matter who is pitching.

Now speaking of bringing in fans, that is probably the thing that Strasburg will help out with most. I wouldn’t be surprised if on the days that Strasburg is on the mound, the attendance skyrockets. Washington desperately needs to get some people in their ball park and Stephen will help that to happen.

stephen_strasburg.jpgBut could trading him be more beneficial to a team like Washington? He could bring back at least three guys that could start for Washington and make the team better on an EVERYDAY basis. Not just 1 out of 5. They could keep him until the trade deadline where the Nationals will be out of a division race (surprise, surprise) and could trade him away to a contending team that needs another pitcher.

It would be pretty interesting to see a multiteam trade, like the one with Bay and Manny, and the Nationals need much more than one excellent pitcher to improve a not-so-excellent team.

 

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Detroit Tigers in the World Series

The Tigers are my pick to go to the World Series. I have no idea who it will be in the National League but the Tigers have great pitching and defense. They have offense too but it hasn’t really heated up yet. Granted, they do have they worst record of any division leading team but that is with Magglio Ordonez batting 280 with only 2 homeruns and 21 RBIs. Last year he was a key part of this offense and when (if) he gets going the Tigers will be dominant.

Curtis Granderson is proving to be a better RBI guy with 34. He also has 13 long balls and 10 stolen bases. Granderson is probably a bit underrated and deserves more credit than he is getting.

Adam Everett and Brandon Inge are probably the best defensive SS and 3B duos in the majors. Everett has a .973 fielding percentage with just 4 errors and Inge has a .966 fielding percentage and 5 errors.

The Tigers starting pitching could be the team’s strongest point with Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson, Rick Porcello, Armando Galarraga, Dontrelle Willis(?), and Nate Robinson is about to come back.

The Tigers look like a well rounded team led by Slugger Miguel Cabrera (who i am predicting to be the AL MVP) and could have a shot at the World Series.

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Good Thing that Glavine is Gone.

First of all I am not saying that Tom Glavine is not a great baseball player because he is. I am just sick and tired of everyone whining because another old guy is gone. Sure, he did contribute a lot to the Braves organization but can he really help them out now? Can he help them out more than Tommy Hanson? And before you say ‘oh but Tommy Hanson gave up six runs’ he was perfect through his first three innings until Ryan Braun hit a homerun in the fourth. This was his debut and you can’t expect a young pitcher not to think anything of giving up his first hit and homerun. Tommy Hanson will be better for us than Tom Glavine.

So the main reason I am glad Tom Glavine is gone is because he is the last Braves player that has been with Atlanta for a long time (excluding Chipper who actually contributes and helps the team win).

Now i won’t have to hear all the complaining ‘fans’ when some old player has been ‘mistreated’ by their team. The main objective for any team is to win games so that they can win the division so that they can win the world series.

Its perfectly ok to get attached to players but you have to realize that they can’t play forever and that there is a time to let them go.

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