Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Never too early Atlanta Braves Preview: Pitching

Pitching wins Championships

The first four starters listed (and maybe even the 5th) aren't really going to be in any particular order because anyone of them could be the #1 starter depending on who the Braves sign in the off season. If Hudson gets signed (and it looks like he will) then the Braves will either let go of Lowe or Kawakami. I would like to see them unload Kawakami as Lowe's dip this year goes against the rest of his career and I think he will be a front line starter again next year.

1. Jair Jurrjens: Jurrjens followed up an excellent rookie season with an even better Sophomore season. Jurrjens was great down the stretch as he won the NL pitcher of the month award in September. I've got to believe Jurrjens would have been a front runner for the Cy Young award if he would have gotten any run support at all. Nonetheless he posted 14 wins and had an ERA of 2.60.

2. Tommy Hanson: Can't say enough good stuff about this kid. He's got a really bright future and will front line this staff with Jair Jurrjens for a long time. These to kids will take the Braves to the playoffs like Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz did in the 90's. Hanson's season was definitely worthy of ROY honors with an 11-4 record and a 2.89 ERA. He would have benefited a lot from a little run support also.

3. Javier Vasquez: 15-10, 2.87 ERA. Great veteran leadership in the clubhouse to go along with his more than stellar season. One of three Braves starters with ERA's under 3.00. A little more support from the offense and he could have easily been in contention for the Cy Young Award also.

4. Tim Hudson: Right now there is no reason to believe Hudson won't be in a Braves uniform in April. Hudson looked really promising in his final starts of the season after coming off a year of being out from Tommy John surgery. Anyone would love to have this guy as there #4 starter.

5. Kenshin Kawakami/Derek Lowe: Although I would love to see KK shipped off and Lowe in a Braves uniform, I've got to believe that we'll ship Lowe to someone like the Yankees or Red Sox and keep KK as our 5th starter. Either way that is a heck of a 5th starter to have. If Lowe does end up staying all 5 of our starter could be aces on any other staff. WOW.
Outlook: The Braves have the best pitching staff in baseball, hands down. With or without Lowe. This team will win the division even if they don't change their lineup at all. They were one of the best team in Baseball post all star break and they will continue that trend next year. Predicted Finish: 1st

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Diaz still undecisive about going home.

Matt Diaz recently answered questions from reporters following the Braves devastating loss where Diaz was thrown out at 3rd base ending the game and the Braves bleak hopes of going to the playoffs. When asked about the vital decision the Braves outfielder said that he was still unsure as to whether or not he should run towards home plate or 3rd base. Diaz, who was just recently a hero in Atlanta's 5-4 loss on Tuesday night, was also having a hard time adjusting to his new role of "the goat". After speaking with reporters Diaz was injured in a collision with Martin Prado because he could not decide whether to exit through the front or back doors of the locker room.