The Atlanta Braves made a splash this past offseason by acquiring the Upton brothers: B.J. Upton through free agency and younger brother Justin Upton in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. They are in first place in the NL East with a 50-38 record, but you can easily find their flaws.
Their pitching staff has been remarkable, fourth in all of baseball with a 3.48 ERA. The problem has been the lineup, particularly in the clutch. They are 19th in batting average with runners in scoring position (.249) and 16th with two outs (.226). Freddie Freeman and Brian McCann are both hitting over .300 this year.
The rest of the big-name hitters have struggled. Justin Upton (.243), Jason Heyward (.229), Dan Uggla (.205) and B.J. Upton (.175) have all been major disappointments and are the reason the Braves have struggled so much offensively.
One player that could solve all their problems is Michael Cuddyer. Cuddyer is hitting .337 on the year with 15 home runs and 52 RBIs. He just recently had a 27-game hitting streak snapped, and he is 10th in the NL with a .358 average with RISP. The most important thing is that he is versatile. He can play the corner infield and corner outfield positions, with the ability to spell Freeman, Chris Johnson, Heyward or the Upton brothers if any of them continue to struggle.
The Colorado Rockies are starting to fade and may look to deal Cuddyer by the end of the month. If so, the Braves should be first in line to snag him up. The Braves’ lack of clutch hitting will be the kiss of death for them this postseason unless they can bring in someone like Cuddyer for the postseason push.