February 05, 2011

2011 Braves OF: Best in the NL?

I cannot express how sick I am of snow and ice and winter in general; not to mention the fact I can barely lift my arms high enough to type this from shoveling. For the next few days (I hope) we have some better weather. Thank God for the weekend…

I rarely do much on Saturdays when my wife works, so I sit around all day watching MLB Network—if I watched any more, I may have to visit a support group. They love doing countdowns on that channel; top 9 collisions at home plate, top 9 All-Star Game moments… Well last week they did the top 10 left fielders in the game right now. Of course, it was led by Ryan Braun and Josh Hamilton, but #7 on that list (who all the guys think should have been higher) was Martin Prado; who has played exactly 3 MLB games in LF.

I found it interesting that they had him so high on the list when he hasn’t even played there—instead they’re just going with speculation. And you know what? They are right. Prado is better than Jason Bay, Carlos Lee and most others. I guess it never really hit me, but the Braves have a pretty darn good outfield. Now, I know what you’re thinking and I have to say this… I think Nate McLouth is going to be back this season. Call me crazy, but I have a hunch.

Let’s face it, McLouth can’t do any worse than he did a year ago, so he has no place to go but up (or AA). When the Braves acquired McLouth, he was introduced as a Gold-Glove-winning, All-Star centerfielder; a guy that the Braves could count on being a big all-around threat for the next few seasons—and at a bargain price.  He hasn’t delivered so far, but 2011 is a new year and McLouth’s last shot. He’s got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Add Jason Heyward to this mix and the Braves have one of the best outfields in the National League. The only other clubs that measure up are the Brewers (Braun/Gomez/Hart) and the Cardinals (Holliday/ Rasmus/Berkman). No one else has an outfield with three All-Stars; though I know many of you think McClouth isn’t even an AA All-Star anymore.

It could be the fact that pitchers and catchers report in a little over a week, or it could be the fact that the snow has managed to find its way into my brain, but the Braves outfield, the weakest part of the Braves from last year, is going to do A LOT of damage in 2011.

Until Next time…I hate snow.

Go Braves!



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