• Exclusives

    2012 Official Lineup Projections

    By Kent Covington

    Braves will benefit from a full year of CF Michael Bourn on the basepaths.

    With the 2012 season officially underway, we’re officially late in releasing our 2012 lineup projections. Better lat than never.

    The new lineup looks a lot like the old one. Many Braves fans find this fact distressing, given the poor performance of the ’11 lineup.  While its true that Tyler Pastornicky and a full season of Michael Bourn are the only changes to the everyday lineup as compared to last year, we believe the offense has an opportunity to be substantially better in 2012.

    NOTE: The following projections assume 500 at-bats from each hitter, with the exception of Chipper Jones, whose projections are based on 400 at-bats.

    Bourn .278 2 60 39 .343 58
    Prado .296 14 66 36 .339 5
    Chipper .277 16 60 29 .368 3
    McCann .286 23 85 32 .361 4
    Uggla .268 38 108 31 .351 3
    Freeman .285 27 96 35 .350 3
    Heyward .280 24 87 33 .367 13
    Pastornicky .264 3 50 21 .322 24
    TOTAL .279 147 612 256 .350 113

    Since our pre-spring projections, we have added to our projected power numbers for Freddie Freeman after he led the Grapefruit League in homeruns with 7. Sure, it’s only spring. But the kind of power he displayed to the opposite field in March cannot be discounted.

    Could a career-best homerun total be in store for Dan Uggla this year? We think so.

    We have also edged up the projected power numbers of Dan Uggla a bit. The notoriously slow starter appears poised to hit the ground running after a torrid spring.

    As for Heyward, if he bounces back—and most analysts predict that he will—I find it difficult to limit him to 20 or 21 homers. When he’s right, there’s simply too much power there to envision a homerun total not at least in the mid-20’s range.

    We expect the Braves lineup to rebound from its epic underachievement in ’11 to finish top-5 in the National League in runs scored, as they did two seasons ago.  The Braves led the NL in on-base percentage in 2010 and finished 5th in runs. This is a more talented lineup than that ’10 team featured, and even with stingier pitching in the NL East these days, this offense should be expected to get the job done.

    Also, before you go, check out the Lineup Card on the BravesWire homepage with headlines from over a dozen Braves news/opinion sources.

    Did you miss our 2012 season preview podcast? We’ve posted it below (part-1).