Anyone following the Atlanta Braves knows that for now they are solidly relying on the players they have to carry them through the 2013 year victoriously. That is risky for sure but specifically the infield could be shaky. With three young guys and another that had a down year, the loss of Chipper Jones to anchor the infield positions could be larger than we previously thought.
Freddie Freeman is a very promising young guy with a good couple of years on him. He should improve over last year’s numbers as he continues to adapt to life as a full time big leaguer and approach his prime years. First base could be okay from that stand point. Andrelton Simmons will be fine at short but there is guarantee how great he will be this year. If he struggles the Braves might tap the adaptable utility infielder Ramiro Pena for half of the time, making the team possibly unstable at short.
That could be okay though as long as Simmons isn’t asked to carry the load offensively in the infield spots. That should fall onto the second and third base positions. Here are the problems with that. First of all Dan Uggla had a down year. He is still in his prime and should bounce back but that isn’t a guarantee. The bigger issue and potential problem is at third.
Martin Prado at third would be a solid all around anchor for the right side with Freeman growing stronger on the left side. If Prado is at third it would probably allow for Uggla to relax into his former stride and have a plus year. Also Simmons would have less pressure and probably would come along fine. Problem? If the Braves don’t sign a solid outfielder to play left, Prado won’t be at third, he’ll be in left. That means that another very young player would try to anchor third.
Basically it could go either way as it usually could with the Braves. If they are able to land a solid left field player, the presence of Prado and Freeman should help the infield spots remain solid throughout the year. If they fail to sign a left fielder then more pressure will fall on young guys and the uncertain year that Uggla will have.
Shockingly enough the outfield position in left is so important for the Braves this year that it will have a large impact on the infield. Here’s hoping the Braves treat it as such and do what they need to in order to land a left fielder and plant Prado at third. The year could depend on it.
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