Finishing up with our series on the Atlanta Braves batting order, I’m going to discuss the seventh and eighth positions. So far I’ve agreed with Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez on batting Freddie Freeman third and Evan Gattis fourth. All the other positions we have differed.
I’d like to see Tommy LaStella start the season at second base and hit seventh. (Sorry Dan Uggla fans) LaStella has had a very good minor league career and is ready to play at the major league level. He’s a left-handed hitter, so he keeps my left/right/left going all the way to the end of the batting order.
I love having the lefty/right alternation as it makes it more difficult for the opposing manager to use his relievers, particularly those relievers who specialize in getting out hitters from one side of the plate. It can give you good match-up opportunities and preserve your bench for later in the game.
Last but not least, I’d hit Andrelton Simmons eighth. Simmons continued to develop as a hitter last season, but actually took a step back when you compare his 2013 numbers to 2012. Andrelton only had 166 at bats in 2012, so you could write off last season’s drop in production to the grind of playing every day at the major league level. I have high hopes that Simmons can continue to develop and improve his average (.248 last season) and on-base-percentage (.296 last season).
Gonzalez got very good results last season leading off Heyward and batting Justin Upton second. That is his plan again this season and I will be watching very intently to see if it works again. For some reason it just doesn’t feel or look right to me. Maybe I am too old school, but when I see Heyward and Upton at the top of the order, it feels like I am looking at an eye chart with one eye closed.
Here is my complete Atlanta Braves batting order:
Do you think my Atlanta Braves batting order is championship caliber or minor league at best?