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head-to-head matchups - braves v. cardinals

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I think it's a safe-ish bet that the braves are - after the phillies - the next team most likely to make the postseason from the nl east. the team calling card is the rotation below.


Name

FANS WAR

Name

FANS WAR

Chris Carpenter

4.7

Tommy Hanson

4.6

Adam Wainwright

5.4

Jair Jurrjens

4.1

Brad Penny

2.1

Derek Lowe

3.9

Kyle Lohse

2.2

Tim Hudson

3.4

Jaime Garcia

0.7*

Kenshin Kawakami

2.3

Total

15.1

Total

18.3

i confess a brief jealousy every time i read through that rotation. if that's not the best rotation in baseball, it is darn close; certainly the best in the national league. a team that can trade a pitcher like javier vasquez in the offseason, because a pitcher of his caliber is so much unneeded strength in a stacked rotation, is definitely in fine shape in the rotation.

if that's not bad enough, the braves boast a fine bullpen, headlined by billy wagner and takashi saito. 

the rotation only serves to make a decent set of position players look paltry in comparison.

Name

CHONE WAR

Pos

Name

CHONE WAR

Yadier Molina

3.5

C

Brian McCann

4.7

Albert Pujols

7.2

1B

Troy Glaus

1.7

Skip Schumaker

1.6

2B

Martin Prado

2.3

Brendan Ryan

2.7

SS

Yunel Escobar

4.7

David Freese

1.8

3B

Chipper Jones

3.8

Matt Holliday

4.9

LF

Matt Diaz

1.0

Colby Rasmus

3.4

CF

Nate McLouth

2.8

Ryan Ludwick

2.0

RF

Jason Heyward

1.1

Total

27.1

Total

22.1

the cardinals come out ahead in the field, but the braves are not in bad shape here, either. several players are wild cards here. troy glaus is a familiar face. he could have real value at first if competely healthy, but could also lose a lot of time to injury if not. 

injury is the real bugaboo if you are a braves fan. there are a lot of older players on this team who muct deliver high-value performances to keep the braves in the race. glaus, chipper jones, billy wagner, saito, all top-flight older players who have missed time for injury. should the injury bug bite here badly, the brave s season will b more painful. 

the outfield is an obvious weak spot. jason heyward is the matt wieters of 2009 at least as to the degree of hype greeting his arrival, but braves fans should hope he doesn't hit like matt wieters in 2009. i expected a better projection than 1.1 WAR for him. mclouth belongs in a corner. watch for jordan schafer - former next big thing in the braves system, he had wrist surgery last year after a disappointing debut. nevertheless, jordan is a very strong defender. if he can ge his hitting on track, he'll be doing what he needs to do to stick in the majors. i think there's a lot of  room for mclouth to move out of center and have schafer take over in center. mclouth is not a long-term defensive solution in center field. the braves bench has some other nice options - hinske, melky cabrera, omar infante.

the braves have a well put-together ball club. should they stay healthy, they could be a truly great team in 2010.