Ah, the series preview series of series previews. How I missed you….
The Atlanta Braves weren’t very good in 2008. Let’s all point and laugh at the 2008 Braves, a truly bad team. Hahaha, look at the 2008 Braves! They stunk! They had the same record as the Giants that year! Hahaha!
Great. I hope you got that out of your system, because the Braves are good again, and they probably will be for the next 18 years. They seem to "develop and acquire good players" at such a rate that when they totally screw the trickster coyote, like trading Elvis Andrus and Neftali Feliz for Mark Teixeria, they still come out on top. The Giants aren’t going to face Jair Jurrjens, but he was acquired for Edgar Renteria. Edgar Renteria! Not only that, but when the Braves had Renteria, he was awesome for them. Not fair.
The ultimate not-fair Braves story is Brian McCann, who was 21 when the Braves called him up. McCann had caught a total of 204 games since leaving high school, and while his offense was good for a teenager against older competition, it wasn’t that great. The Braves called up McCann without making a big deal about his pitch-calling, or how he handled a pitching staff. They handled it all weird and stuff. And then McCann went on to make the All-Star team every year.
When the Giants have a 23-year-old middle infielder in AA hitting .287/.336/.395, he ends up getting traded to the Red Sox for cash considerations. When the Braves have a 23-year-old middle infielder in AA hitting .264/.361/.346, well, obviously he becomes their franchise shortstop.
So screw the Braves and their creepy voodoo magic. Sure they can explain it away as "good coaching and player development", but that’s just a copout. And now they’re good again, dang it.
Hitter to watch
This Jason Heyward kid is somewhat limited – he’s like a Buster Posey who can’t play all nine positions. People are still impressed by him, though, and one scout described him as "Willie Mays making love to Mickey Mantle on a speeding comet that is passing through the orbit of Planet God before the comet crashes down in the past and eliminates the Axis forces, tearing a hole in the space-time continuum and warping into the future, where it blows up Cyberdyne Systems headquarters upon reentry." So watch out for this guy. You can’t miss him. He’s the future Hall-of-Famer who glows with a heavenly aura and shoots lightning bolts from his nipples.
Pitcher to watch
Tim Hudson’s kind of cool, though.
Once every five minutes, I’ll grit my teeth and bemoan the fact that 7/8ths of the Braves starting lineup is better than the Giants’ lineup. And before you counter with a starting pitching argument, please note that Todd Wellemeyer starts on Saturday.