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Martin Prado had a very strong season.
The Braves had an up-and-down year from their lineup in 2012. The unit scored more than they had been expected to, but remained a group that could frustrate fans and management. Overall, however, the unit was solid.
Catcher Brian McCann had a career-worst year due to his shoulder injuries, but backup David Ross played like one of the best backup catchers in the game. The two combined for 29 homers and 90 RBI on the season.
At first base, Freddie Freeman showed flashes of becoming a run producer, but an eye injury suffered in May continued to bother him for the rest of the season. Still, his .259/.340/.456 line was a solid total.
Dan Uggla was disappointing at second base yet again, as he was even less consistent than last season. Overall, Uggla hit just .220 with 19 homers and 78 RBI on the season.
At shortstop, the Opening Day starter was Tyler Pastornicky, who hit an empty .243 before being replaced. His replacement was Andrelton Simmons, who was able to hit .289 with a .751 OPS, but only played in 49 games due to a hand injury. Paul Janish was a liability with the bat that got a chance to play everyday because of his glove.
At third, Chipper Jones proved that he still had something left in the tank as he hit .287 with 14 homers and 62 RBI in 112 games. Juan Francisco hit .234 with nine homers in 205 plate appearances.
In left field, Martin Prado had a huge season. He hit .301/.359/.438 with 10 homers and 70 RBI. He did a great job at the top of the lineup and also came through with numerous clutch hits for the team. Reed Johnson hit .270 off the bench after coming over at the deadline.
In center field, Michael Bourn has an All-Star because of his big first half, but he struggled a bit during the second half. Still, he managed to hit .274 with nine homers and 42 steals in his contract season, and those nine homers were a career-high.
Jason Heyward had a bounce-back season after struggling badly in 2011. Heyward hit .269/.335/.479 with 27 homers, 82 RBI and 21 steals over the course of the season.
This group had some disappointments, like Uggla, McCann and the shortstop position, but there were some positives as well. In addition to a big year from Chipper, the Braves got some quality production from the top of the order duo of Bourn and Prado, while youngsters Heyward and Freeman had strong seasons. Overall, the unit receives a "B" grade.