This a little video footage from Row 6 in section 109 at Turner Field. This is the first row behind the Braves dugout; footage is from the first spring training game of 2011 in Atlanta, Braves vs. Twins.
Here are 3 guys I believe are more hype than actual production. Don’t get me wrong these are all good players, but not worthy of the attention they receive IMO. #1 – Elvis Andrus, Texas RangersElvis is a great young shortstop, and the Rangers cleaned up in the trade involving Mark Teixeira several years back; Elvis Andrus was the center piece in the return deal to Texas. The 22 year old Venezuelan prospect made his first All-Star game in 2010 but check his stats on the year…588 AB-88 Runs-156 Hits-15 2B-3 3B-0 HR-35 RBI-.265 BA-.342 OBP-32 SB His big numbers come from stolen bases, which is important in the AL but gets a bit overhyped because of fantasy baseball. He was caught stealing a league leading 15 times, for a success rate of 68%, which is not awful but not spectacular either. His batting average ranked in the bottom half of all starting MLB shortstops and he is a one dimensional hitter with 0 homers this past season. Ian Desmond of the nationals had a higher batting average, double the RBI’s, 10 more home runs and 12 more doubles in 60 fewer at bats, which leaves you asking ‘Who the heck is Ian Desmond?’ – Exactly. #2 – Jayson Werth, Washington NationalsJayson Werth signed a 126 million dollar contract this offseason, despite never having a 300 batting average or 100 RBI season in his career. Werth has had the benefit of being in a lineup with Utley, Howard, Victorino and Rollins for the past 4 seasons and has only one 30+ HR/+85 RBI season in his career. Without much protection in Washington, I question his ability to remain a ‘star’ player or ever a consistent table setter in that lineup in 2011. #3 – Joe Mauer, Minnesota TwinsI think Mauer is a great catcher, but personally I don’t understand why both writers and fans salivate over him and overwhelmingly claim he is the best catcher in the majors. Throw out his 2009 season, which was fantastic and probably the best of his career when it is all said and done, and he is rather mediocre. His best numbers outside of 2009 would be 85 RBI’s and 13 HR in 2006, and he hit 1 home run in Target Field, the home of the Twins (and probably his home for the rest of his career), in 2011. Great hit-for-average catcher and great guy, but to be crowned one the best players in baseball is ridiculous to me, you may disagree.
Projected Stats: Starters 70 Wins 44 LossesDerek Lowe 14-9 3.70Tim Hudson 16-5 2.85Tommy Hanson 14-7 3.90Jair Jurrjens 10-7 4.20Brandon Beachy 9-8 4.76*Mike Minor 7-8 4.90 Relievers 24 Wins 24 LossesCraig Kimbrel 4-2 34 Saves 2.30 ERAJonny Venters 2-0 20 Saves 1.80 ERA Scott Linebrink 2-5 5.50 ERAChristhian Martinez 5-6 5.20 ERAPeter Moylan 4-2 3.20 ERAEric O’Flaherty 5-5 4.00 ERAGeorge Sherrill 2-4 6.80 ERA Lineup Martin Prado .281/13 HR/59 RBINate McClouth .263/8 HR/38 RBIChipper Jones .249/19 HR/79 RBIDan Uggla .244/32 HR/106 RBIBrian McCann .312/27 HR/106 RBIJason Heyward .290/27 HR/115 RBIAlex Gonzalez .270/21 HR/76 RBIFreddie Freeman .258/16 HR/68 RBI BenchDavid Ross .276/10 HR/42 RBIBrooks Conrad .240/8 HR/30 RBIBrandon Hicks .251/5 HR/24 RBIEric Hinske .293/13 HR/68 RBIMatt Young .292/4 HR/28 RBI NL EastPhillies 97-65Braves 94-68* Wild CardNationals 72-90Mets 69-93Marlins 66-96 Playoff PredictionsNL East: PhilliesNL West: RockiesNL Central: CardinalsNL WC: Braves AL East: Red SoxAL West: RangersAL Central: White SoxAL WC:Yankees NLDS: Braves over Cardinals, Phillies over RockiesALDS: White Sox over Yankees, Red Sox over RangersNLCS: Phillies over BravesALCS: Red Sox over White Sox World Series: Red Sox over Phillies