Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A Preview A Day Keeps the Winter Away, #5

For the month of March I will be doing a season preview, with a new team each day, going in alphabetical order by team so I can save the Yankees for last, because I am, in fact, that devious.

As this is a Yankees' blog, the previews for AL East teams will be more detailed than those of AL Central and AL West teams, and any AL team previews will be more detailed than NL team previews, save maybe for the Mets. Each preview will involve consideration of how much 'threat' a team is to the Yankees, for fairly obvious reasons.

Up Today: The Atlanta Braves

It seems like just yesterday when you could pen in the Braves for an appearance in the NLCS, and an October appearance in New York at Flushing or Shea (and on one occasion, both), but those days are a long way gone now.

Sure, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Chipper Jones are still on the team (in Glavine's case having taken a brief hiatus in New York), but they are...how do we put it delicately...not young any more.

Okay, Smoltz packs a mean punch, and talking about rotation, Hudson's not half bad, either, but it's a far cry from the Maddox-Smoltz-Glavine combination of the nineties.

However, this isn't to say that Atlanta is a bad team. In fact, they're much more on par with the Blue Jays than, say, the Astros. In fact, they're like the Jays in that they really are a middle-of-the-division team, only, in the NL East, the Mets and the Phillies have more smoke and mirrors than a stranglehold on the division.

Mark Teixiera at first base is arguably Atlanta's most talented player, even if he's not the face of the franchise, and Jeff Francoeur will likely be around a while as well. Of course, Teixiera is a free agent at the end of the year, which means he'll likely have a very very good year because, well, that's the cool thing to do in your walk year.

Bobby Cox is still at the helm, which is just plain impressive. I mean, there's not much else you can say; he's like the Jaime Moyer of managers, not in terms of age, but in terms of longevity.

Threat to the Yankees: Green, Proceed Normally.

The Yankees and the Braves don't play each other at all during the regular season, and they don't play any AL East teams. The only possible impact the Braves could have on the Yankees outside of the World Series is if the Yankees lose in the Wild Card race to Anaheim or Seattle by one game...and yeah, you get the idea.

They're a much bigger concern to that other NY team.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that the Braves are much more of a concern for the Mets. Especially since the Braves always seem to have the Mets number.