The Atlanta Braves have all but been awarded the NL East crown after the team brought in the slugger that they so desperately needed in Justin Upton. However, the grass is not all that green as the guys atop this Braves lineup have a lot to improve upon and if they can’t get on base troubles will mount.
Last season the team leadoff with Michael Bourn for 151 of the team’s 162 games–Bourn remains on the free agent market but, the Braves outfield has no room for one of the MLB‘s best leadoff men. In addition, the team will be without Martin Prado as he was sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Upton. Although he may not have the same clout as Upton, Prado batted second for the Braves in 140 games last season and made the top of the lineup scary with a .301 batting average and 17 stolen bases.
Atlanta won 94 games last year and the top of their lineup was a big reason why as they were consistent and generated runs for a Braves offense that needed a catalyst. The duo at the top will be completely new in 2013 as 24-year-old Andrelton Simmons will be leading off for the first time in his career come opening day. At the two spot the team is likely to turn to Jason Heyward who only spent four games their last year and 83 in the three hole.
No way this new one-two punch will match the production that Bourn and Prado had in 2012 but, with added power from both Upton’s hope is still alive in Atlanta.