The ajc’s Mark Bradley posted a really good summary of the current state of the 2011 Braves – 5 reasons to be concerned about your 2011 Atlanta Braves.
1. The defense could be deadly.
2. Nate McLouth is again projected as the center fielder.
3. Craig Kimbrel walks people.
4. There’s still no speed.
5. Magic might not be transferable.
I don’t disagree with any of these concerns, but obviously I think that poor defense and lack of speed will keep the Braves from being a serious Wild Card contender. I think it will be so bad that the great starting pitching will be nullified due to poor defensive play (and of course the ability for the defense to make some “just go and get it” plays behind their pitchers).
It has been a while since the Braves have had any sort of table setter up front; once again the 2011 Braves will be lacking any sort of traditional (or even non-traditional) leadoff talent.
The biggest gamble of all is the dependency on Chipper. I love the guy; one of the all-time great Braves and I certainly wish him no ill will. The front office is going all in, expecting this 38 (almost 39-year old) future first ballet Hall of Famer, to make a decent recovery.
Go Braves! Just don’t expect them to go deep into October.