Hello again everyone from balmy Michigan where it may even hit 40 degrees today!
One aspect of the team that the Braves hope will be significantly improved relative to the past couple of years is the power output of the team. In 2008, the Braves totaled 130 home runs, raanking them 14th of 16 teams in the National League. 2009 was much the same, with their 149 homers ranking the team 10th. Last year, the power output actually declined, with injuries taking their toll. The 139 homers they hit in 2010 ranked them 11th in the NL.
To compete with Philadelphia, the Braves have to hit some home runs. Hitting homers is the best way to offset the complete lack of speed the team is likely to possess. Homers negate the need to have three hits in an inning to score. Homers are good! So how good will the 2011 Braves be in hitting homers?
Well, the addition of Dan Uggla is bound to help. The maturation of Jason Heyward, and his recovery from his thumb injury, is bound to help. Freddie Freeman at first base should help offset the complete lack of production that position provided in the second half of the year. Brian McCann will hopefully be able to see the whole season, and is purported to be in great physical condition as well. Hopefully this will help him recover from the bit of an off-year he himself had. Let’s all hope that we get 20+ homers from a full year of Chipper. Shortstop and the rest of the outfield are big question marks for me. The good news is that they are not likely to be worse than what we got last year (remember McLouth and Melky sucking the whole year, Diaz battling injury, Escobar taking the first half of the year off, and Gonzalez being no better than servicable after arriving via trade?). All-in-all, I can see this group pushing 180 homers in total, if the cards fall just right, but surely reaching 170, barring major injury. This would likely put them in the top half of the league in homers. Let’s see what you think, via this poll.