Yeah, it's early. But here are 3 guys that Braves fans had little faith in, yet have been solid contributors early on. While most of you probably do not care, I like and have liked all three of these guys since becoming Braves. While all 3 of them could dud out at some point and the Frediot posts could return in full force, I have to take my chance to pat them on the back while I can.
When the Braves traded for J-Up and CJ, many fans discounted Johnson's ability to contribute to this team. While his defense is still a concern, he is error free to start the season and has been a viable while not overwhelming replacement for Freddie at first. The guy has started the season hitting .405 with a .949 OPS. At 28 years old, he is entering the prime of his career and I still feel that Johnson will have his best season of his career as a Brave in 2013. He seems to fit in well in the clubhouse and is proving to be a quality piece to this team, even when he goes back to platooning at 3B when Freeman returns. Very happy with this pick up so far.
While most people liked the addition of Maholm last season, he seemed to be the subject of "odd man out" in the scenario of Beachy returning. Maholm will we 31 in June and I think he's also in the prime of his career. While some suggested that he could/should be traded for a 3B before the trade deadline, all Maholm has done is pitch 20 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings, walking 5, striking out 20, while allowing opponents to hit .153 against him. His 0.79 WHIP is extremely solid and while those numbers aren't expected to continue, Maholm has been dialed in to start this season. There's no way I trade him this season, even if he begins to slump. He could be a big piece to a title run. I expect around 200 IP, with a WHIP around 1.15, and a top 20 ERA. He shouldn't go anywhere, as he is the type of guy the Braves have been looking for the past few years to keep the bullpen well, in the bullpen.
And how about a little credit for Fredi? Overall, I like how he has handled the lineup and the bullpen so far. He's been pretty ballsy at times. I like how he tried Gattis at first to leave his hot bat in the order. I also like how he's bringing Gattis along at catcher. He seems to be making better decisions so far, as I will say that he has made some head scratchers in the past. Most managers do, so I guess that explains why I don't hate the guy as much as some.