Looking into the Braves Centerfield Crystal Ball

I recently read an article writen by Colin of Braves Blast discussing the Atlanta Braves centerfield options for 2009.  It is an interesting breakdown of the Braves’ in-house options for the position.

Mark Kotsay has manned the position for most of this season, at least when he hasn’t been hurt.  I’ve always loved Kotsay’s all out play, he’s one of those true hustlers that you like to watch.  But it’s doubtful that his back will ever let him hit for a .800+ OPS again.  Anymore, he’s more of a fourth outfielder. 

His immediate replacements could inlude Gregor Blanco and Josh Anderson.  Blanco’s .369 OBP in his rookie year look promising.  But can he adjust to major league pitching to keep from hitting below .260 in his sophomore season?  Josh Anderson has had a great year at Triple-A Richmond, stealing 41 bases so far.  But would Bobby Cox let him steal that much in the majors?  Cox isn’t known to let runners steal at will that much.  He’s also never been known as an on-base machine, although he’s improved that part of his game, he’ll have to hold a .360 OBP or higher to be of real use in the majors.

Then there’s phenom Jordan Schafer.  Many critics are quick to point out that he’s hitting only .269 on the season after his suspension was lifted.  But much of that early slump could be connected to the suspension bearing on his mind, as he talks of in an interview with Ben Badler at ProSportsDaily.com.  Since June 24th, he’s hit .357/.400/.622 in 105 plate appearances since June 24.

I think that the Braves could leave it up to a spring training battle between Gregor Blanco and Josh Anderson, letting the winner play for the first couple months of the season.  This stance would allow the Braves to save money by not resigning Kotsay or some other veteran.  It would also leave center wide open for Jordan Schafer to push his way into the spot after a couple months of needed seasoning at Triple-A.

But it wouldn’t surprise me if GM Frank Wren were to kick the tires on someone like Willy Taveras during the off-season.  Frank will have a decent amount of cash to spread around and the Rockies have been rumored to want deal him away.  It also seems like Wren likes speedy outfielders with very light power, Taveras fits that mold.

Stay in-house Frank.

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One Response to “Looking into the Braves Centerfield Crystal Ball”

  1. Colin Says:

    I’d like to see us stay in-house too, but we HAVE to add power somewhere, whether it’s left field, second base, or somewhere else.

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