Last week, I wrote an article about Austin Jackson and Phil Coke and how they’ll fit into their new team in Detroit. Another place that former Yankees landed in the ’09-’10 off-season is Atlanta. Three (technically four, but A-Viz is too far off to count) 2009 Yankees have been acquired by the Braves and will call Turner Field home in 2010.
User gondeee of Talking Chop recently mused on what he thinks the Braves 25-Man Roster will look like. Each of the three former Yankees–Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn, and Eric Hinske–are included on gondee’s provisional 25-man roster.
As expected, neither Hinske nor Cabrera is in the starting lineup. The former is blocked at first by new acquisition Troy Glaus at first base, all-time-great Chipper Jones at third base, and both Matt Diaz in LF and ultra-prospect Jason Heyward in right. Cabrera is blocked at the corners by those same two players and in center by Mike Francesa’s favorite, Nate McLouth. Gondee on Hinske and Melky’s spots on the bench:
With Heyward in the everyday lineup and Melky and Hinske on the bench I really like how strong our bench becomes. Both strong and extremely flexible. Flexible not only in the positions that can be played, but also in the combination of power and speed and good defense. This could be the strongest bench the Braves have had since the days of Gerald Williams.
I agree with Gondee’s assessment here; we’ve all always said that Melky is a perfect fourth OF–he can play all three positions and has (at least) the skill to not embarrass himself completely at the plate–and his status as a great fourth OF won’t change just because he’s changing leagues. Despite a respectable .749 OPS against RHP last year, Matt Diaz’s career OPS vs. RHP is only .722, so if he continues to struggle, Melky could get a chance to start again. It’s worth noting, though, that his OPS vs. RHP is only .730. As for Hinske, he represents corner flexibility and good pop off the bench for Atlanta. I think most of us would take a bench player with a career .336 OBP and a .184 IsoP
All in all, Hinske and Cabrera should do very well for the Braves’ bench in 2010. They may not put up monster numbers, but they’ll be among the better bench players in the National League.
Interestingly enough, the author has Mike Dunn making the Braves out of Spring Training. He would join Billy Wagner and Eric O’Flaherty to be third LHP out of the bullpen. As the third lefty–and seventh man overall–Dunn probably won’t get much action, at least early on, but I’m not sure if starting Dunn in the Majors is a great idea. Like Austin Jackson on the hitting side, Dunn probably needs another half of a season in AAA.
A converted outfielder, Dunn needs to work on his control. In a very small sample size in ’09, Dunn walked five batters in just four innings and has a career BB/9 of 4.0 in the Minors. The latter is not that bad, especially considering the 9.4 K/9 in the minors (as well as five ML K’s in ’09), but he could still use some work. One has to wonder if getting consistent work for Atlanta’s AAA affiliate for the sake of polish would be better than infrequent work for Dunn, even if it is at the highest level.
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