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A Brave New Outfield


Thanks everyone for the warm welcome, it's good to be aboard here at BtB. Getting right to it.

When a Garret Anderson signing improves your team's starting outfield, suffice to say your team has some issues. It may not pose too much of a problem for the Braves; they're fielding a solid team in spite of their horrible outfield. Down on the farm, help is on the way, but it could take a little while.

Jason Heyward

The scouts say: He's already really good and is a ways away from reaching his ceiling. He is an impressive physical specimen, makes good contact and shows excellent pitch recognition. He has raw power, but hasn't quite tapped into it...yet.

The numbers say: 2008 season: .323/.390/.485,  +13 runs according to Total Zone.  2008 Low A Peak Translation: .308/.406/.537, PECOTA comps: Al Chambers - Chipper Jones - James Loney - Casey Kotchman - Jay Bruce

I say: Um, what the numbers and scouts said. By most rankings, he's a top ten hitting prospect, which needless to say makes him one of the most valuable assets in the game.  Al Chambers and Chipper Jones popping up 1-2 as his comps has to be the two most extreme outcomes one could possibly about boom or bust. I'd bet on the boom, although Chipper is a lofty comparison.

Jordan Schafer

The scouts say: His tools rate as average to above across the board. He has above average speed, surprising power and is a top-flight defender in CF.

The numbers say: 2008 season:  .269/.378/.471, Total Zone: -1.  AA Peak Translation: .274/.387/.508, PECOTA comps: Jimmie White - Louie Meadows - John Vander Wal - Richard Brown - Jim Edmonds

I say: John Vander Wal! Vander Wal's career splits versus lefties:  .204/.279/.269. Schafer's: .236/.310/.331. The scouting reports do not really match the stats when it comes to the leather. He struck out in nearly 30% of his plate appearances last season, but also walked 14.2% of his PA's. Despite some of his obvious flaws and saying nothing about his 50 game suspension for HGH, he's a very good prospect. Anyone who has Jim Edmonds' name pop up in their PECOTA comps is alright in my book.

Gorkys Hernandez

The scouts say: Line drive hitter with above average speed. Great range in CF and solid arm. Power is well below average an unlikely to develop.

The numbers say: 2008 season: .264/.348/.387, Total Zone: + 26 (!!!).  High A Peak Translation: .264/.353/.424. PECOTA comps: Carlos Gomez, Willie Canate, Desmond Jennings, Gregor Blanco, Alejandro De Aza.

I say: Iffy bat, but he's shown decent enough on base skills and has the speed to make you believe he might be able to hit near the top of the order in the majors. Just like Carlos Gomez. (oh, wait). Just an unbelievable glove; he's been +44 runs in two full minor league seasons.

It's nice for any team to have one Top 100 hitting prospect in their system, the Braves have three. Only Schafer may be of actual help this season, but if you're a Braves fan, it's nice to know there is some talent in the pipeline where it is needed most.