Atlanta Braves: Matt Diaz Deserves More Starts in Left Field

Chris StephensCorrespondent IIMay 26, 2012

ST. PETERSBURG - MAY 18:  Outfielder Matt Diaz #23 of the Atlanta Braves signs some autographs just prior to the start of the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on May 18, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

Injuries have been a cause for concern among the Atlanta Braves.

With injuries to Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman as of late, the Braves have had a patchwork lineup that has given every player on the Braves bench an opportunity to start.

After going through the numbers, I believe outfielder Matt Diaz deserves to be the everyday starter in left field, at least until Jones comes back from the disabled list.

By putting Diaz in left, you move Martin Prado to third, putting a guy in the lineup who you can confidently put in the No. 5 spot in the lineup.

Currently, Diaz is hitting .298 with two home runs and nine RBI, including three of Atlanta's four RBI in Friday night's loss to Washington.

In the 11 games he's started, Diaz is 11-for-34 with two home runs and eight RBI.

Although, he's mainly used as a starter against left-handed pitching, I believe it's time to give him a chance to be the starter and move Prado to third base.

Frankly, Juan Francisco isn't getting the job done in his starts at third base, and it's time for a change.

Francisco is hitting .200 with five home runs and 13 RBI, and doing it in the No. 7 spot in the order.

Yeah, he has five home runs, but he's really been hit or miss. And, his defense isn't better than Prado's at third base. So, why is he in there again?

He currently has four errors at the hot corner, while Prado has two total errors and Diaz has none.

So, we have a player who is not only superior at the plate, but also in the field, although the same position is not played.

While Diaz has been considered the left specialist in the outfield, I think it's time to move him to a full-time starter.

It's hard to think he'd do worse than Francisco.