The Projected 2012 Atlanta Braves Lineup (Shaking off 2011′s Collapse)

Big hack by Freddie Freeman.
Welcome back to our team lineup projections. This time, we’re taking a look at a team that has got to be hungry after last season’s horrific finish.

No team has as many question marks from big name players as the Braves. So, taking a look at the team’s website and our Draft Kit, let’s see what we can expect from this team in 2012.

AB Runs HR RBI SB AVG
1 Michael Bourn CF 616 100 2 50 59 .289
2 Martin Prado LF 550 85 16 74 5 .293
3 Brian McCann C 471 77 22 78 3 .274
4 Dan Uggla 2B 564 83 33 91 1 .255
5 Freddie Freeman 1B 559 80 23 84 3 .304
6 Chipper Jones 3B 390 55 15 60 2 .277
7 Jason Heyward RF 548 79 19 81 17 .266
8 Tyler Pastornicky SS 402 48 4 39 19 .259

 

A few names here are money. Brian McCann is about as solid as you can get at catcher. Freeman’s average is on the optimistic side, but he’ll be a good player. This is especially true in deeper leagues, where you have to reach at first base.

There are a few other names to look at, jumping right off of the page.

The first is Dan Uggla. Know what you get when it comes to him. If he stays healthy, Uggla will hit more homers than any second baseman in the league. Even guys like Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler, and Dustin Pedroia don’t have his power.

The problem is that he is one of baseball’s streakiest players. When this guy slumps, he can go a solid week or two at about a .140 clip, which drags things down. The average won’t be great. If everything comes together, we’re talking about a .265 hitter.

On the other side of the fence, you’re talking about a guy who can get you around 35 (or more) homers. Just beware of the risks and inconsistent play. Don’t get too high in a hot streak, don’t get too low in a slump.

Another name to look hard at is Jason Heyward. He started his career on fire, but has cooled off a lot over the last year and a half. He has a lot of power, but the swing still has a lot of holes, which big league pitchers can expose.

Heyward is a good guy to go after, but like Uggla, don’t even consider him unless you have a few reliable average guys to bring up that end.

The last name to look at is Michael Bourn. He is the opposite of both Uggla and Heyward in that Bourn will steal a lot of bases and score runs, but don’t expect the power to be there. If he hits six homers, a great season has been had.

Go for him all you want, but only if power is not a concern.

I have two major concerns with this lineup. One is that Turner Field is a nice park for pitchers. It takes an awful lot to hit home runs there.

I also worry about late innings, when teams are bringing in relievers. This team Bourn, McCann, Freeman, and Heyward are all lefties. Left handed specialists can work their way through the lineup, especially if righties and lefties aren’t staggered.

As for Atlanta’s young pitchers?  That’s for a whole series of posts.

Topics: Atlanta Braves, Jason Heyward, Lineups, Michael Bourn, Team Projections

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