So 2009 wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be for Atlanta finishing 86-76, and missing the post season for the fourth consecutive season. A new year means new hope across the league, and for the Braves it’s no different. With Bobby Cox in his 25th, and final season managing the team you better believe that the buzz around the club house is to the tune of ” Win one for Bobby”. Cox is currently ranked 4th all time in Major League Baseball in wins with 2,413, and ranked 1st as we all know in ejections with 151. How can you not respect a guy whose ejections nearly total an entire 162 game season? Atlanta’s last World Series championship came under Cox in 1995 over the Cleveland Indians.
Atlanta has made all the right moves in all the right places to enter the 2010 season. Key pitching acquisitions made by Frank Wren in the offseason include veteran flame throwers Scott Procter, and closer Billy Wagner. The Braves also extended ace pitcher Tim Hudson’s contract 3 years worth 27 million dollars. Other newly signed factors for Atlanta are 1st baseman Troy Glaus, and outfielders Melky Cabrera, and Eric Hinske.
One topic I’ve been dying to touch upon all offseason is Atlanta’s #1 prospect Jason Heyward. Heyward was drafted in the 1st round 14th overall back in 2007. The 20 year old 6’4″ 245lb monster lefty is an absolute freak of nature. Watching Heyward hit 450 foot home runs, and damaging parked cars in the process has been truly electrifying. It’s not just about the sheer power this kid possesses, it’s also about the way he uses his hands to stay inside the baseball. For a 20 year old kid he shows extreme poise, and patience in every at bat utilizing the entire field. Most left handed hitters his size tends to have a very long swing with a lot of holes in it. A prime example of this is Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies. Don’t get me wrong Howard is one heck of a “power” hitter in this league, but the amount of strikeouts tend to make him a liability down the road in big situations. Jason Heyward has the potential to be as big a name as any in this league, and has the kind of talent most people can only dream about.
The Braves have had a hot spring posting an 11-7 record (2nd best) in the Grapefruit league only behind the Rays. With only 12 days remaining until opening day against the Chicago Cubs, the Braves look to finalize their roster within the week. My projected lineup for April 5th, 2010 is the following:
2. 2B Martin Prado
3. 3B Chipper Jones
4. C Brian McCann
5. 1B Troy Glaus
6. RF Jason Heyward/Matt Diaz
7. SS Yunel Escobar
8. LF Melky Cabrera
9. P Derek Lowe
About the Author
Written by Bill Furey
My name is Bill Furey, and I am from Chelmsford, Massachusetts. I am 25 years old, and a complete baseball guru. This will be my first year blogging for major league baseball, and I am really looking forward to both voicing my opinion as well as covering games. As a former 3rd basemen for the University of Massachusetts-Lowell I got the amazing opportunity to compete, admire, and most importantly learn from some of the most talented players, and coaches this great game has to offer. Growing up in New England I have always been a die hard fan of the Sox, Pats, Celts, and Bruins. My love, understanding, and respect for the game of baseball takes major precedent in my life. I currently coach one of Massachusetts best 13 year old baseball teams. Teaching the game of baseball to young talented players is something I truly look forward to every time I take the field. The relationships I built from this wonderful game are better than any home run, stolen base, or any winning season. Baseball has given me life lessons I couldn't have learned anywhere else in the world. A baseball quote that best describes my passion for the game is this: "You see, you spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." Jim Bouton, Ball Four, 1970. I look forward to covering the Atlanta Braves this season, and getting some great feedback from my followers. Play ball.