I know people have talked endlessly about how a trade for a power hitter is what this team needs to compete. BUT, until now I wasn't so sure about how well a power hitter really would fare in the heart of the Braves lineup. It dawned on me today that the Braves lineup is one of the most perfectly built lineups for a big #4 hitter as any in the league. Here is what I see
(1. The top three hitters all get on base at a good clip. Mclouth and Escobar both get on at a .350 and .360 clip respectively, and Chipper is getting on base at a Godly .443 clip. Chip and Esco are also two of the hottest hitters around as of late and have their averages up above .300. All these bodies on the base would provide endless RBI opportunities to the 4 spot. Of the top 5 RBI producers in the league, only Bay has a (slightly) better OBP group in front of him than what a potential 4 hitter would have here in Atlanta.
(2. Mclouth's speed. I know he isn't Carl Crawford out there, but his SB ability will give pitchers something to think about if he is on base while the cleanup spot is up. Even without the SB, Mclouth has the abilty to go first-home on any double.
(3. Great protection from the 5 spot. McCann is back to hitting like the All-Star he is, and is creeping towards the .320 average mark. He hits for good power (.533 SLG%) and has a .410 OBP. Mac would force the pitcher to throw good pitches to the cleanup hitter.
(4. Tuner Field. As Turner heats up, the power alleys become launching pads. A good slugger would have ample opportunity to float some balls through the humidity and into the bleachers.
All this adds up to the perfect recipe for a big bat to have a monster second half. I can honestly say that I think a top power hitter could easily drive in 60+ runs in Atlanta in just the second half of the season alone. The top and core of this lineup is actually VERY solid. All it is lacking is the last puzzle piece. A power hitter would have 1-2 runners on in front if him here almost 39% of the time, and Mac would always be behind him with the protection. For this reason, I think a big trade for a big bat like Bay/Holliday/Dunn/ etc.(just examples) would be worth all the trouble.
Pieces like Johnson/Vazquez/Gonzalez are all expendable at this time and could be dangled in front of a team desperate for their services. We would be giving up big pieces, but even Vazquez would be worth trading for a big time bat, especially since we have Medlen/Hudson to fill the void if need be.
Power is the biggest need, and not only would a big bat fill a big void in the lineup, I think a power hitter would absolutely thrive in Atlanta's lineup.