MLB Team News NL East — 04 April 2010

2009 regular season record: 86-76, Third place, NL East

Major Offseason Acquisitions: Billy Wagner (BOS), Takashi Saito (BOS), Troy Glaus (STL), Eric Hinske (NYY), Jesse Chavez (TB), Melky Cabrera (NYY)

Major Offseason Losses: Garret Anderson (FA), Rafael Soriano (TB), Javier Vazquez (NYY), Kelly Johnson (ARZ), Adam LaRoche (ARZ), Mike Gonzalez (BAL)

Projected Lineup (2009 stats):

1. CF-Nate McLouth (.256 BA, .352 OBP, 20 HR, 70 RBI, 19 SB)

2. 2B-Martin Prado (.307 BA, .358 OBP, 11 HR, 49 RBI)

3. 3B-Chipper Jones (.264 BA, .288 OBP, 18 HR, 71 RBI)

4. 1B-Troy Glaus (.172 BA, .250 OBP, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 14 games)

5. C-Brian McCann (.281 BA, .349 OBP, 21 HR, 94 RBI)

6. SS-Yunel Escobar (.299 BA, .377 OBP, 14 HR, 76 RBI)

7. RF-Jason Heyward (minor leagues: .323 BA, .408 OBP, 17 HR, 63 RBI)

8. LF-Matt Diaz (.313 BA, .390 OBP, 13 HR, 58 RBI)

Projected Starting Rotation/Closer (2009 stats):

1. RHP Derek Lowe (15-10, 4.67 ERA, 194.2 IP)

2. RHP Jair Jurrjens (14-10, 2.60 ERA, 215 IP)

3. RHP Tommy Hanson (11-4, 2.89 ERA, 127.2 IP)

4. RHP Tim Hudson (2-1, 3.61 ERA, 42.1 IP)

5. RHP Kenshin Kawakami (7-12, 3.86 ERA, 156.1 IP)

Closer: LHP Billy Wagner (1.72 ERA, 0 saves)

2010 outlook: Atlanta finished 10 games over .500 in 2009, but that was only good for third place in the NL East.

Coming into Bobby Cox’s final season as manager, they appear to have one of the more loaded rosters in all of the National League.

They added Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito to the back end of the bullpen, making the loss of fireballer Rafael Soriano easier to deal with.

When healthy, the rotation is strong 1-5, and the lineup has proven big-league hitters just about all the way through.

Two top prospects will also be on display in 2010, in Jason Heyward and Tommy Hanson.

Hanson came up last season and was stellar, posting a 2.89 ERA.

With just about a season of major league experience under his belt, the Braves are hoping he’ll become the ace of the strong staff.

Starting right fielder Jason Heyward, just 20 years old, comes into the season as Baseball America’s no. 1 overall prospect.

The lefty is regarded as a legitimate five-tool player, and Bobby Cox and company believe he’s ready to contribute already.

Chipper Jones suffered through an injury-plagued 2009 season that wound up being one of the least productive seasons of his Hall-of-Fame caliber career.

Fortunately, he’s looked great in Spring Training so far, hitting a robust .343 with a .458 on-base percentage.

With the Phillies in their division, the Braves have their work cut out for them.

However, with all the talent they have, they might just be up to the challenge.

2010 Prediction: 91-71, Second place, NL East

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Taylor Smith

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