2010 for the Atlanta Braves can be a promising season. With a full season from Tim Hudson and a return of Derek Lowe, Jair Jurjjens, Tommy Hanson and Kenshin Kawakami their rotation is solid. The bullpen of Takashi Saito, Erik O’Flaherty, Peter Moylan, Jesse Chavez and Billy Wagner to close games out is also very solid. Their pitching will keep games close and present other teams matchup problems in the latter innings.
Their lineup has some questionmarks however. Nate McLouth batting leadoff with an OBP of .352 must get on base more. He did have laser surgery to correct his vision in the off season, so maybe he’ll become that guy they need to get on base. Chipper Jones can still contribute with the bat…when he’s on the field. You know their will be stretches this season that he will be nursing some injury and I dont know if the Braves can afford his absences. The projected cleanup hitter, Troy Glaus also missed practically the entire ’09 season and the Braves are hoping he’ll return to the 30+ home run hitter he has been along with switching from third base to first. Otherwise the bottom half of their lineup is quite good with Brian McCann, Yunel Escobar, Matt Diaz. Rookie Jayson Heyward is expected to make the team and play rightfield and bat eighth,as the Braves say bye-bye to Ryan Church who has never been the same following two concussions in a small period of time in 2008 with the Mets.
If Jones and Glaus remain healthy…look out! This team will be a force to reckon with. A solid full season from Hudson, a strong finish from Lowe and no sophomore jinx for Hanson will help this team contend to the end.
Projected Finish: 2nd Place NL East (88-74)**** National League Wild Card****