I am sorry that I have not posted a blog on here in seven days. I was vacationing in NC and got back on the 28th, and my 18th birthday was yesterday, on the 31st. Anyway, I have not had much time to update this. But if you have blogs for me to add to the site, just send them to me in fanmail with the subject line: BLOGGERS DOMAIN BLOG. Now, this is mine, topdawgizalaw's, blog on how the trade deadline affected who is the best team in the National League.
Excuse me for sounding a bit biased and all, but with the additions of Mark Teixeira and Octavio Dotel added to the roster yesterday, the Atlanta Braves have now become the team to beat in the National League. Sure, they still trail the Mets by 3.5 games entering Wednesday, although they lead the Astros as I am writing this 7-1, and their starting pitching, specifically the back end, is a little mediocre. But these two additions, along with Rangers reliever Ron Mahay, make Atlanta the team to beat in the National League. The ironic thing is, it almost never happened. Prior to dealing Teixeira to the Braves, the Mark was reportedly offered an 8-year deal worth 140 million dollars, which Tex declined. This prompted a Rangers' executive to claim that Georgia Tech "apparently did not offer math." Anyway, below you will see the numbers I have collected to show how Atlanta's lineup, starters, and bullpen will look.
1. Willie Harris LF/ Yunel Escobar 2B- This is dependent on the platoon situation. Both are having good numbers though, and give Atlanta a great asset as a leadoff hitter, no matter which one is in the lineup. Entering Wednesday, Harris was hitting .323 with a homer and 3 triples, 19RBI, and an OBP of .395. Meanwhile, Escobar is hitting .314 with a homer, 12RBI, an OBP of .358, and a knack for hitting in the clutch.
2. Edgar Renteria SS- Assuming Harris and Escobar get on base a good percentage of the time, Edgar is there to help move them further on their journey through the base paths. Renteria is hitting .337 with 140 hits, 29 doubles, 1 triple, 10 HR, 52 RBI, and an OBP of .391, not to mention 11 steals in 12 attempts. (Harris leads the team in steals with 16 in 25 tries)
3. Chipper Jones 3B- This switch hitter is having a phenomenal season, once again. Despite a DL stint earlier this year, Chipper is hitting .340 in 83 games, 23 doubles, 2 triples, 17 homers, a perfect 5-for-5 in stolen bases, 56 RBI, 52 walks compared to just 48 K, an OBP of .430 and a slugging of .587, which brings his OPS above 1.000
4. Mark Teixeira 1B- Another switch-hitter, and a great glove, equals a great combination, especially for a team like Atlanta which has gotten absolutely nothing from their first basemen. Atlanta is getting a player who, at Texas, hit .297 with 13 homers, 24 doubles, 49 RBI, with an OBP of .397 and a slugging of .524. And he is only 29. Furthermore, this gives the Braves leverage on their negotiations with Andruw Jones, as Tex is not eligible to become a free agent until after the 2008 season.
5. Andruw Jones CF- Struggled all season, but at least he has managed a team-leading 20 homers, despite his .215 average. 102 K in 105 games scares people off, as well. Which is why Atlanta can and maybe should move him down in the order.
6. Jeff Francouer RF- More patient this year is Francouer, who has walked a career high 27 times this year. More importantly, Jeff has a .300 average and 12 homers, along with 27 doubles. A great arm, as evidenced by his 14 outfield assists. He has an OBP of .342
7. Brian McCann C- An Allstar this year, McCann has been solid for Atlanta. A .266 average for B-Mac, 26 doubles and 12 homers. His .316 OBP needs to go up, but we have him locked up in a multi-year deal, but he is solid and will only get better.
8. Kelly Johnson 2B/ Matt Diaz LF - Both great seasons, I do not have time to give numbers, but oh what the heck. Johnson hitting .295 with 12 homers and 55 RBI, Diaz is .339,5,25.
Summary: This lineup is the closest the National League has to an American league caliber lineup.
Note: I have to get off of the computer in a few minutes, so no more numbers while I briefly discuss pitching.
Summary: Smoltz and Hudson have been solid, a relief that Smoltz can still pitch at his age and that Hudson has regained his Oakland form. James has been average, winning about as many as he is losing. Carlyle has been a tremendous surprise, and Reyes still has work to do, but he has potential.
Notable Bullpen Arms
Paronto, Moylan, Yates, Soriano, Dotel, Mahay, Wickman
Summary: Paronto has been tremendous ever since he returned from his injury, while Moylan has been great all year long. Yates, Soriano and Wickman have struggled lately, most likely due to tired arms, but the additions of Mahay and Dotel sure up this bullpen for the long haul.
In short: The Mets better look behind their backs, because this move has made the Braves not only the best team in the East, but perhaps the entire National League.