Everybody has their “power rankings”. I thought it would be fun to power rank our Atlanta Braves. This is a fluid list that will change as the season goes along. But from what I see so far, these players have made an impact on the Bravos so far in 2012.
- Michael Bourn – Bourn has been the table setter the Braves needed him to be. It’s such a simple formula, but it’s so hard to find. A player that knows how to get on base, put pressure on the opposing pitcher and get into positions that manufacture runs early in the game. He leads the team in hits and runs (he’s leadoff, so no shock there). Bourn also leads the team in steals. I love a man who steals bases. Lou Brock, Ricky Henderson, et al.
- Brandon Beachy – B2 has an ERA of 0.47 and a WHIP of 0.88. Those aren’t normal pitching stats my friends, those are breathalyzer readings. This kid may very well be Atlanta’s next great pitcher. With Jair Jurrjens 8.10 ERA and Tommy Hanson ability to sometimes look like Tom Glavine in the early innings (by the by…that’s NOT a compliment), we’ll need the young guns to carry the load on the mound.
- Freddie Freeman – Fab Five Freddie is heating up and I think all Braves fans like what they see. He’s leading the team in RBIs with 22, tied for second in hits with 17 and is hovering around 300 AVG. His strike outs are a bit worrisome, but you can’t hit it if you’re not swinging. And if Fredi with an “I” is going to bat Freddie with an “DIE” in the third hole more often, we need #5 swinging the bat.
- Jason Heyward – Jay Hey could have easily been #3 on this list. He is RAKING this year. I’m not a big “mind game” guy, but since Fredi sat Heyward that 4th game of the year, Jason seems like he’s out to prove to the world he’s “the man”. Heyward is tied with Freeman with 17 hits, is one of two players hitting over .300 as of today, second in OBP at .377 and his OPS is .904. Jason is tied for second in BB at 6.
- Chipper Jones – Chipper doesn’t have any gaudy stats on anything that really set him apart from the other everyday players (though calling him and everyday player is like calling Kim Kardashian “America’s Sweetheart”). His presence and leadership when it looked bad at 0-4 really kick started 2012 and put 20111 to rest.
- Mike Minor – WHY did we want to trade this guy? Minor has 20 innings in 3 games, a WHIP of 0.89, 19 strikeouts in those three games and ONLY 5 walks. Watching Minor pitch this year, he looks mad. I mean REALLY mad. He seems like maybe he’s one of those people that when they get angry, they channel it and start destroying all competition in their path. I kinda like that. Being someone that people tend to dismiss as an inferior athlete, I love nothing more than when someone who doesn’t feel valued takes that aggression out on the nay-sayers. I’ve always loved you Mike…really I have. Please stay angry, it suits you.
- Juan Francisco – Ok, this is weird to me, too. After that first game, I assumed he’d be on the first boat, plane or aqua-car back to the Dominican Republic. But in 12 games he has 8 hits, 7 RBIs, batting .286 AND has an OPS of 1.025. Not too shabby for a guy that looked like he never saw a baseball up close during his first game as a Brave. And his 20 total bases are a result of being tied for the team lead in HRs with 3.
- Jose Constanza – The Braves are 10-3 since the “Michael Jordan” of two weeks in 2011 was sent down. So thanks for doing your part, Jose.
- Craig Kimbrel – Kimbrel is the one back end closer I’m not too worried about. 5 saves in 6 games and he looked REALLY, REALLY good this weekend. 9 strikeouts and a .227 opposing avg in 6 games is ok by me. But that 1.67 WHIP for a 9th inning guy has me concerned. That means too many wild rides in that last 3 outs. But he was shaky at the beginning of 2011 and was lights out most of the year. He’s earned a bunch of patience from Braves fans.
- Eric Hinske – I know, what am I talking about? I think that whatever team this guy is on, he’s a positive and motivating influence. Tito Francona was talking about him over the weekend and spoke of Hinske’s time in Boston. He glowed about his unselfishness and willingness to do whatever the team needed. And was a huge presence in the clubhouse. And I’m a BIG believer that those types of people, in sports and in life, are vital to success. People want to work with people they like and they trust people who are willing to help them get better. Hinske, as well as David Ross, seem like that type of person.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the Braves power ranking! We’ll try to do this again around the All Star break. Feel free to let me know how stupid I am and where I went completely off the tracks.