Leading up to the start of the 2010 Regular Season, Diamond Hoggers will preview each of MLB’s 30 teams. Today’s team is the Atlanta Braves. Stay tuned as Diamond Hoggers will preview every team division by division until the start of the regular season.
The excitement about the arrival of Jason Heyward is well warranted. The reads about Heyward this spring have been Bunyan-esque. And now it’s official, he’s Atlanta’s starting right fielder at 20 years of age to open the 2010 season. The Braves have had big prospects before. Andruw Jones was twice the minor league player of the year, but he arrived in the middle of a season and joined a team coming off a World Series title. Chipper Jones was a big deal, but he likewise joined a team grown accustomed to winning. Jeff Francoeur was the hometown hero, the Golden Child, but he arrived in midyear to bolster a team working on its 14th consecutive division title. Heyward is different. That’s why Jason Heyward is the grandaddy of them all. He’s the great Bobby Cox’s last blue chip prospect ever. He’s like the last Halas Bear–only from Atlanta where it’s warmer and there are even more hold-ups at gunpoint then in the ChiTown. Seriously, as a fan of baseball; I’m excited about Jason Heyward and the 2010 Braves. Like; wish they were still on TBS every night to give me something to watch when the Reds are getting plowed excited. As a baseball fan, I’d love to see the upstart Braves win the East this year and allow a couple of good old cowboys like Cox and Chipper Jones to ride off into the sunset like they rightfully should. Hell, let’s not forget this team took a chance on Billy Wagner to come out and be their closer after everyone and their brother thought the guy was done. This is a more likable Braves team then back in the day when they were fielding Jeff Blauser and Terry Pendleton and they were on TBS 5 nights a week. How fucking sick did you get of Charlie Liebrant? And Don Sutton? Yup, me too. But this Heyward kid could be really something. He’s a smart kid, flashy. He tweets. He can run, throw, and drop bombs. He’s got the build that once he learns the strike zone he could put up Ryan Howard numbers. If he does anything close to that this summer, Heyward-mania will ensue.
And if guys like Tommy Hanson can continue to develop and give this team some starting pitching depth behind Tim Hudson, Derek Lowe, and Jair Jurrjens; this team is going to be pretty good. They’re better than .500 for sure.
And let’s face it. There’d be worse things in the world then seeing this team win the Wild Card and giving Bobby Cox one more crack in the postseason wouldn’t there?