The past two seasons the Braves had problems at the top of the batting order. Lacking a true lead-off man, or number two hitter, Fredi Gonzalez was forced to try and pound square pegs into round holes. Sure, Jason Heyward did a pretty good job batting lead-off, but he certainly wasn’t prototypical in that slot. It also seemed to have an adverse effect on his power numbers.
When Nick Markakis was acquired, the Braves floated the idea that Markakis would lead off. The former Oriole doesn’t have great speed, but he does get on base at an adequate pace. Think about it, though, do you want a guy coming off neck surgery leading off and trying to steal some bases and running the bases like his hair is on fire?
Eric Young, Jr. is going to start in center and will bat lead-off. Young has the blazing speed you want and is a prototypical lead-off man. He stole 30 bases last season in 280 at bats and was caught only 6 times.
The only problem is that he doesn’t get on base enough. His on-base-percentage was only .299 last season, although his OBP is .320 career. If Young doesn’t bat lead though, who will?
Based on his minor league stats, Jace Peterson could potentially lead off. But it also appears he has the potential to be a prototypical number two hitter and if he doesn’t hit number two, who will? Andrelton Simmons? Until Simmons proves that he’s not going to try to jerk everything out of the park, he needs to hit low in the order.
I actually think Young leading off and Peterson batting second will be an upgrade over the past two seasons, if for no other reason than the Braves production at the top of the batting orders sucked the past two years. How is that for expert analysis?
Freeman will bat third, after that you could guess who will win the Democratic nomination for the Presidency in 2036, before you could guess the Braves batting order on Opening Day.
What are your thoughts on what Fredi will do with the batting order?