Reasons the Justin Upton Trade Makes the Braves the New NL Favorites
As reported by MLB.com's Mark Bowman, the Braves will be receiving Justin Upton and third baseman Chris Johnson in exchange for outfielder Martin Prado, shortstop prospect Nick Ahmed and right-handed pitchers Randall Delgado and Zeke Spruill.
From the outside looking in, this is a huge move for the Atlanta Braves. While they lost Michael Bourn to free agency, the team managed to replace that production with the elder Upton, B.J., via free agency.
Now, through some considerable negotiations that led to the sacrifice of a versatile Martin Prado and prospects, the Braves have managed to get the (arguably) better Upton to play alongside his brother in the outfield.
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How does this impact the Braves?
First and foremost, the team has acquired a sensational talent in Upton. He is only 25 years old heading into the 2013 season and is already a two-time All-Star and Silver Slugger Award winner. Prado is 29 years old and has been an All-Star once in his career.
Lifetime against the Braves' NL East opponents, Justin Upton has played 115 games, posting a .305/.377/.489 batting line with 20 doubles and 16 home runs to his credit.
In comparison, Prado played 331 career games against the Braves' divisional opponents and posted a .296/.338/.460 batting line.
The addition of Upton gives the Braves an incredibly speedy and intriguing outfield consisting of both B.J. and Justin Upton as well as Jason Heyward. All three players have had at least one season in which they hit 20 home runs and stole 20 bases apiece.
From top to bottom, the Braves now boast a lineup filled with players who can hit double-digit home runs along with three legitimate stolen-base threats.
The team can play small ball or hit for power.
Atlanta's newly acquired combination of pitching, speed and potent offense has catapulted them to the top of the NL East, while giving the team arguably the best outfield in the game after the Braves added one of the most dynamic young players in baseball.
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