Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Projected starters

Here is what ESPN has projected the Braves lineup and starting rotation to be for the season

Catcher- Brian McCann
1B- Adam Laroche
2B- Marcus Giles
3B- Chipper Jones
SS- Edgar Renteria
LF- Ryan Langerhans/Kelly Johnson
CF- Andruw Jones
RF- Jeff Francoeur

SP1- John Smoltz
SP2- Tim Hudson
SP3- Jorge Sosa
SP4- John Thompson
SP5- Horacio Ramirez
CL- Chris Reitsma

Only a few problems. The closer will likely not be Reitsma, he didn't hold up last year after Kolb bombed and I doubt he will this year. Let him handle the eighth inning and give Blaine Boyer the ball in the last inning. He is young and has good stuff it is just a matter of control at this point but Reitsma has already proven he can't do it.
First base is a hole for the Braves. Laroche does not hit well enough to be the everyday first baseman, which is why the tandem of him and Julio Franco worked. But with Franco gone so are a lot of clutch hits.
And finally Renteria at short: I am just not convinced he can replace Furcal. The Braves now have two No. 2 hitters (Renteria and Giles) but no one to lead off. But I am willing to be pleasantly surprised.
Finally, while the rookie squad performed miracles last year they are young and they will be streaky, or worse, just not perform like expected. So lets hope McCann, Francoeur, Johnson, and Langerhans all live up to last years numbers. They will have to if they want to keep the Mets from biting at their heels, and their 15 NL East title.


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