First off I would like to say I sadly missed the debut of starting pitcher Julio Teheran Saturday night. From what I seen he fared pretty well against a team like the Phillies. He was recalled for a spot start because of the double header played by the Brewers and Braves this past week. I expect to see more of him come September.
The Braves (20-16) have an off day today so what better time to share some of my thoughts leading into the three game series against the Washington Nationals (16-18) tomorrow night.
– Transferred left fielder Martin Prado has shown his worth defensively in every position he has played, rather it be first, second or third base. He has made a smooth transition to the outfield and has proved to be an asset to the Atlanta Braves. He is the glue to this Atlanta line up leading off, the Braves offense goes wherever he goes.
– Catcher Brian McCann leads the Atlanta Braves in batting with a respectable .307 average. Brian has been an offensive force for the Braves over the years however I can’t help but notice that his home run numbers are down. He has only two home runs so far this year. The problem I have is that his eyes have been corrected and he can see well for the first time in a couple years. I can’t really complain he’s been one of the most consistent Braves the last few years and his home runs should climb in the coming months.
– In just 36 games this year shortstop Alex Gonzalez has hit 5 home runs including a two run bomb in last night’s game against the Phillies. He is second only behind Rockies Troy Tulowitzki for the home run lead for short stops in the majors. Not only is he capable of hitting close to 20 home runs this year, he is currently the best rated fielder at his position with a .994 fielding position. Out of the games I’ve watched so far this year if it wasn’t for his timely defense the Braves would have lost some of their closer games.
– I feel that the Atlanta Braves have the best backup catcher in the league, that being David Ross. Every time he is written on that line-up card for Brian McCann he comes in and fills his role perfectly. Ross has hit three home runs and is batting .333 in just 27 at bats, that’s one home run better than McCann. David could easily be a starter for many ball clubs in the majors it’s almost a shame that he doesn’t get more of a chance. However he’s been professional about it and continues to perform strong.
– Speaking of bench players how about the play of Eric Hinske. He’s made the playoffs with four different teams in as many years. He brings a positive influence wherever he goes and a strong bat. He’s been primarily used as a pinch hitter for most of this year and has not disappointed. He’s hit three home runs, two of them coming off the bench including last nights no doubter off of Michael Stutes. He has nine runs batted in, in perspective that’s two off of starter Dan Uggla who has had 102 more at bats than Hinske.
– It appears that pitcher Jair Jurrjens is back to his 2009 form before all the injuries occurred. In 5 starts this year he is 4-0 with a superb 1.50 ERA and has also collected his first career complete game on May 2nd against the Milwaukee Brewers. He’s not generating a lot of strike outs but he never was a strike out pitcher. The most important thing he is keeping the runners from scoring and continues to win games. Atlanta has the best rotation ERA in the National League and Jurrjens is one of the reasons why.
Those are some of my random thoughts of certain Braves today. I’ll be back again for another breakdown of players good or bad.