Atlanta Braves Offseason Outlook: Shin-Soo Choo and Other Outfield Options

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Atlanta Braves Offseason Outlook: Shin-Soo Choo and Other Outfield Options
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Shin-Soo Choo is an excellent option for the Braves to consider -- and a much cheaper alternative to the big names on the free agent market.

Well, folks, the Atlanta Braves have been doing some much-needed improvements to their roster and the results are starting to look nice.  Gone is the dead weight of guys like Rick Ankiel, Kyle Farnsworth, Melky Cabrera and a few more who weren't worth the uniforms they had on.  Also, Derrek Lee and Matt Diaz are now free agents and can test the waters. 

So, what does this mean for Atlanta?  Let's find out.

Atlanta already has their infield together, for the most part.  The only questions are about Chipper Jones' production and whether Freddy Freeman can come in and excel in a starting role.  I think Freddy will surprise us all and have a great year.  Chipper should do well, and, if he hurts himself or retires mid-year, we still have Brooks Conrad who can step in and produce.

The major issue is the outfield.  Matt Diaz is gone.  Nate McLouth couldn't hit sand if he fell off a camel.  They've brought in Joe Mather, but he is not a big producer.  Martin Prado will more than likely play left field, or center, if need be, which leaves a hole in either center or left.  This brings me to my theory on what the Braves should do this offseason: Pursue Shin-Soo Choo.

Let's take a look at Choo before we start talking about trades and the like.  Here is how Choo stacks up with some of the best in the league:

Player

Team

AB

R

H

HR

RBI

SB

CS

BB

K

AVG

OBP

SLG

S. Choo

CLE

550

81

165

22

90

22

7

83

118

0.300

0.401

0.484

C. Crawford

TB

600

110

184

19

90

47

10

46

104

0.307

0.356

0.495

C. Crisp

OAK

290

51

81

8

38

32

3

30

49

0.279

0.342

0.438

C. Gonzalez

COL

587

111

197

34

117

26

8

40

135

0.336

0.376

0.598

J. Hamilton

TEX

518

95

186

32

100

8

1

43

95

0.359

0.411

0.633

D. Jeter

NYY

663

111

179

10

67

18

5

63

106

0.270

0.340

0.370

A. Pujols

STL

587

115

183

42

118

14

4

103

76

0.312

0.414

0.596

J. Votto

CIN

547

106

177

37

113

16

5

91

125

0.324

0.424

0.600

When you compare these guys, Choo stacks up pretty well.  He had a much better year than Derek Jeter, compares well to Carl Crawford and, while his power numbers aren’t on the same level as a Votto or Pujols, they are where they need to be to be a solid power hitter. 

He is also a skilled hitter, averaging .297 in his career and hasn’t hit under .300 the past three seasons.  What I see could help him in a better system are his RBI totals and his runs scored.  He walked 83 times last year, third on this list behind Pujols and Votto, which means people respect him a bit.  He also has some decent speed, stealing 22 bases and only being caught seven times.  His strikeouts are a little worrisome, but Crawford is close to him, and Carlos Gonzalez and Joey Votto have him beat there.  He also is decent in the field, with a .982 fielding percentage, a good arm and good instincts.

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Choo would fit in well in this Braves system.  Let’s talk about trade options.  As you well know, the Indians, well, don’t have the greatest talent pool.  There are definitely some options, as the Braves could turn right around and ship Joe Mather to Cleveland, along with Nate McLouth, which would give Cleveland two solid outfielders.  If they need pitching, the Braves have that as well.  A deal could easily be made for Choo if the Braves pursued it.

Also, the Atlanta Braves are rumored to be pursuing Justin Upton.  If they were to get both of these guys, putting Choo in left and Upton in center, this would be a serious team, easily capable of stomping the Philadelphia Phillies

There are, indeed, options available.  They just need to pursue some excellent options and this team can go from good to great in an afternoon.

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