It's no secret that the Braves' outfield has been pretty bad for some time now. We're lucky, after the Francoeur mess, that Heyward has come to save the right field position for us. Now with Dan Uggla as our new second baseman, Martin Prado will man the left field spot while Nate McLouth gets another crack at being our center fielder. Just below I've shown where the Braves have ranked in OPS from each outfield position in the past five years. It's not pretty. Also I don't know how to make a proper table, if there is a way to do that, so this isn't the neatest way to present the information.
'10 '09 '08 '07 '06
Left Field: 25 25 17 16 19
Center Field: 25 25 29 20 28
Right Field:-- 7 26 30 21 28
Martin Prado had an .809 OPS. That would have ranked as 13th among left fielders with a minimum of 400 plate appearances last year. The Braves' left fielders last year gave us a .687 OPS. There's the fix we needed in left.
I'm not sure what most people here at Talking Chop think of Nate McLouth, but in my mind it's extremely unlikely that he's even close to as bad as he was in 2010. Our OPS from center field last year was .669. The Major League average was .731. If McLouth, who's career OPS is .775, plays to his capabilities, this will be the best Braves outfield in the past six years.
Now, there's always the question of whether McLouth will actually bounce back or not. I suppose there could also be an argument made that Prado might not repeat his performance from last year, though I don't believe that at all. Also, as far as defense is concerned, I know McLouth does not rate well with defensive statistics, and Prado is an unknown. I'm more excited about their potential offensively than I am in regards to their defense. Still, I pose the question, how good is this Braves outfield?