Happy New Year

As we acquaint ourselves with 2010 and prepare for the expected confirmation of the Troy Glaus signing later today, let’s make a few predictions about what this new year will bring. 

1) Chipper will bounce back:  If Glaus can remain healthy, Jones won’t be hindered with the undue pressure that he placed upon himself during the 2009 season.  The veteran third baseman hit .335 with eight homers and a 1.017 OPS through June 9.  Other than a slight decline in power, his numbers were basically identical to those he’d produced over the previous 2 1/2 seasons.

While, I can’t say there’s one particular reason why he was so miserable at the plate over the course of the next four months, I think it’s pretty safe to say his skills didn’t just evaporate overnight.

2) Heyward will begin the year in the Majors:  Some writers are already asking whether they should tab Heyward as their preseason NL Rookie of the Year prediction.    For now, I’m just responding with the belief that this 20-year-old outfielder will indeed win a roster spot coming out of Spring Training.  

Heyward will play right field on a regular basis.   When going up against a tough left-handed pitcher, the Braves will likely choose to start the versatile Melky Cabrera in right.

3) McCann will gain a fifth consecutive All-Star selection:
  Hey I needed an easy prediction just to increase the odds of getting something right.   Seriously, I basically threw this one out there to make the prediction that Mac’s batting average will rise above .300 again this year.

Considering that McCann hit .225 against left-handers last year, it may have been a minor miracle that he actually ended up hitting .281 on the season.  One year earlier, he had hit .301 vs. RHP and .299 vs. LHP. 

Last year marked the first time that these splits were considerably different for McCann.  Now with his glasses put away and his eyes powered by a second Lasik surgery, we’ll see him once again find the consistency that will push his average back up above .300.

4) Yunel Escobar will gain his first All-Star selection:  With Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowitzski, Jimmy Rollins and Miguel Tejada providing competition, it won’t be easy for Escobar to gain a spot on this club.   But there were plenty of nights last summer when I would have said Escobar was just as good as any of those other shortstops.

Offensively, he can’t match what Ramirez and Tulowitzki offer.  But when you factor defense, you can at least make the argument that Escobar is the NL’s most complete shortstop. 

We saw Escobar show some enhanced maturity down the stretch this past season and if his peers around the league begin to see that he can be a likeable personality, then you’ll see him start to get some of the attention he deserves when opposing players and coaches vote for such things as All-Star selections.

5) Tommy Hanson will be a 15-game winner: This prediction could also easily apply to Jair Jurrjens, Tim Hudson or Derek Lowe.   But seeing how Jurrjens is the “old” 23-year-old, it just seemed like this prediction about the “kid”  would stir more debate. 

Given that Hanson threw 56 more innings than he had during any previous professional season, there will be some who may predict that he won’t be as impressive as he was during his rookie season.  But after watching him limit opponents to a .191 batting average in his final six starts and allow one earned run or less four times during this same six-start span, I’m taking the opinion that the “kid” wasn’t battling any kind of alarming fatigue issues that will carry over to this upcoming season.

There were a number of other predictions I could have thrown out there. But I don’t see any need to make postseason predictions and all of that until we actually see what transpires during Spring Training.

 

18 Comments

I completely agree with every thing you said Mr.Bowman.I think since its Cox’s last year (So he says) Chipper will start hitting better all threw the season if he’s healthy…Heyward is a beast at the plate and I can’t wait to see what he can do at the Major League Level….Now that McCann can see better he should have a better start to the season then he did last year when his vision gave up on him,He’s a great hitter….I think Escobar possibly can hit 15-20 homers ,He’s getting better and better as far as I can see and has 1 if not the best arms at SS…..Hanson was nasty last year ,I could very easily seeing him win 15+ games for the Braves this year,I was thinking the Braves would prefer the same path they did last year when they started Hanson out in Triple A and bring him up in mid-season sort of,I think it was June .I was thinking Heyward would do the same but I’m more then happy to see him start off the year for us in RF.

Let Heyward bat against lefties! If he’s our guy for the future, he should learn to hit against them if he can’t already.

Re: Hanson

Since 1/3 of Hanson’s innings were in AAA, they weren’t as
“stressful” as those with the big club. You’re right; his arm should be just fine. 190 innings is hardly large.

However, Hanson needs to find a changeup to offset the big discrepancy v/v lefties [ BA > 50 pts worse vs lefties than righties .255 vs .195, WHIP 1.55 vs 1.10], and make himself less easy to steal on [ pickoff move], to win those 15 you predict. And to beat those 1st place Phillies that smacked him around last year 3x.

I’m counting on him taking that next step up!

Hey billreef, since you lobbied for Derosa, do you think the Braves should have jumped in at the price the Giants paid? Just wondering.

Glad to see Glaus passed his physical. I do think this might be the steal of the offseason. The only problem I have with it is that the Braves should’ve included a club option for 2011 in case he really returns to form. I know we have Freeman, but you never know.
I’ve read A LOT of comments on several Braves sites and probably 80% of them are negative. I really don’t know what people expected Wren to do with the money he had. I’m sure Wren would’ve loved to have had DeRosa, but not with a multi-year deal. Is Bay worth $16m a year for 4 years? Is Holliday worth $14m a year for 7 years? Even if you erased Lowe’s contract, I can’t remember this organization signing a free agent to a ridiculous contract like that, especially one with a no trade clause (correct me if i’m wrong).
I’m pretty happy with the guys we have. We’re still better than the New York Mess and their pathetic pitching staff (minus Johan of course), and better than the Marlins. I’ll also put our 5 starters against the Phillies’ any day. It’s probably all just overly wishful thinking, but I’m pretty excited to see how the pieces fit into place, especially Heyward and Glaus.

Yeah Drfill. I think the Giants got a reasonable deal on Derosa. And I think he would have been even more valuable to the Braves. You figure Troy and Chipper both only play 2/3 of the season. That leaves Derosa with 2/3 for a deal only slightly more costly than Glaus ($4M with incentives) with more certainty. He would also be a great experienced clutch hitter coming off the bench, a great role model for some of the younger guys, he also can easily play either corner outfield spot. He is also one more RH bat who can produce RBI’s and he might have given ATL a hometown discount. I mean if we were gonna dump Vazquez why not use some of the $9M net that we recovered(Melky gets about $3M for 2010). Derosa hits as many HR’s as anyone on the Braves, drives in as many runs and is extemely versatile. What’s not to like? As for a multiyear deal, why not? With a versatile player like DeRo you don’t have to worry about blocking anyone and we have two aging stars in our infield. What better way to supplement that than with a guy with a strong track record who could fill some if not all of those shoes if someone goes down for the short term or an extended stretch.

And Viva, I don’t think Glaus would have signed with an option. He thinks he is gonna return to form and sign a much healthier deal. Remember he is only 33. I am almost positive that he wasn’t interested in an option year.

Ok, so I just saw the Hinske signing. He is kinda like DeRo without the exp. or the avg. Kind of a typical Wren signing. Liberty must really have him on a short leash. Obviously they are putting that Vazquez money into a new corporate jet. It might really backfire on them if we struggle early again.

Yeah and Hinske will be a bench guy. Sitting behind Infante, who is like DeRosa in the fact that he can play every position and hits for average, but does lack power. If Chipper goes down, Glaus can move to 3B, Infante or Prado to 1B and vice versa (not Chipper). DeRosa has never hit more than 23 HRs in a season and hit .250 last year. How is Hinske a “typical Wren signing”? He’s a primary pinch hitter. He’s the guy replacing Norton! And you can’t assume Glaus will only play 2/3 of the season. He was out last year but just passed his physical, and the year before he played 151 games. “Remember he is only 33.” GOTTA STAY POSITIVE!!!

Hinske is a great signing for the bench. I mean, how much better does Hinske look than Norton?! Anyone would’ve loved to have DeRosa, but I’m not sure you pay a guy that much money to come off the bench and perhaps spot start when someone is down. I love both the Glaus and Hinske signing. The big question is can Chipper and Glaus both stay relatively healthy. Has anyone seen Kimbrel pitch? Does he have closer potential?

DeRosa wouldn’t have signed in a million years if he even had an inkling that he would spend part of either year on the bench. If it makes you feel any better, I predict that we get DeRosa as a bench utility guy for the 2012 season.

I don’t think Derosa would have ever sat down. We don’t have any insurance at this point. Someone is gonna be hurt and rather than having Omar, Diory, Melky, Hinske or Blanco try to instill fear in opposing pitchers, we would have a solid lineup still when Derosa would have played. He would also have provided insurance in case Heyward struggles in ST. Our problem last year was using Diory(et al) regularly really killed our run production. The point now is moot. We will go into the season praying that no one get’s hurt and that the next Ted William(JH) is ready. I hope so, I do love it when we win, I swear I do.

Yeah beta, we will sign him after his production drops off and his legs start to go. But we will get him for a great deal.

Well you usually don’t sign someone for $6m a year, assuming that your starters will get injured in spring training. And I seriously doubt the Diory will be on the club at the beginning of the season. Neither will Blanco. You’ll most likely see Infante, Hinske, Melky, Conrad, and Ross. Maybe that Mitch Jones guy if Bobby carries 11 pitchers.

Yes, DeRosa never would’ve signed to fill a bench role. That’s what I, erroneously, understood Billreef’s post to assert–that we could’ve used DeRosa to spell Chipper and Glaus when they were injured. I like DeRosa, but I much prefer Glaus. Perhaps I’m alone in that, but if he’s healthy he’ll do much more than DeRosa both on the field and in the box, and for a 1/3 of the price. And I think the Braves bench looks solid. Omar is great. Hinske is very servicable and has some juice, no pun intended, in his bat. Melky, if used as a 4th outfielder would also be solid off the bench and in late inning situations, hitting from both sides of the plate and providing solid defense. I really like the possibilites this team provides, IF they can stay healthy (which might be a big “if”). At the very least, I can’t wait to begin a year without Francoeur, G.Anderson, and Kelly Johnson (who I still believe will get it together).

Agree and hope all of them are true.

HERES A BOLD PERDICITION FOR 2010 THAT THE BRAVES WILL MAKE A DEAL TO BRING JOSH HAMILTON TO THE TEAM IN ECHNAGE FOR MCCLOUTH AND MEDLEN.

OFANTE IS ALOT LIKE DEROSA BUT OFANTE IS YOUNGER AND FASTER THEN DEROSA. HINSKE SIGNING WAS ALL BOUT BOBBY WANTING A VETERAN ON THE BENCH WHEN HE COULD HAVE BROUGHT UP SOMEONE THAT NEEDS TO PROVE HIM SELF LIKE FREEMAN OR HEWARD OR CARNINZARES AS A BAT OFF THE BENCH.

Agree 100%. I watched a couple of Brave games last year when hey were on ESPN and YES network and I really saw an upcoming star in Yunel. Great glove and arm and a very good bat. I can really see him moving up into that class with Hanley Ramirez, Derek Jeter, Troy Tulowitzki, Jimmy Rollins, Jose Reyes and Miguel Tejada very soon.

I will be expecting a big year from Yunel…
BK-
http://dtiggers.mlblogs.com/

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