With the acquisition of Justin Upton, the Atlanta Braves have changed the early look of the current and future NL East.
The Braves’ outfield will consist of the Upton brothers and Jason Heyward, making the trio one of the most talented, young group in baseball. B.J. Upton is the veteran of the bunch at 28 years old, with Justin at 25 and Heyward at 23. This could be an outfield for the ages if the Braves can sign all three (B.J. signed a five-year $72.25 million contract this offseason) to long-term deals.
Before the trade the Washington Nationals were the favorites in the NL East and possibly all of baseball. Having Stephen Strasburgh without limits (we hope) and Bryce Harper with a year of big league experience, the Nationals still might be the favorites, but the Braves sure look a lot more dangerous on paper right now.
Here is a proposed lineup for the Braves:
1. Andrelton Simmons SS
2. Jason Heyward RF
3. Justin Upton LF
4. Freddie Freeman 1B
5. B.J. Upton CF
6. Brian McCann C
7. Dan Uggla 2B
8. Chris Johnson 3B
The lineup could be different than I propose, but no matter what Freddi Gonzalez does, he certainly has a lot of options and versatility to play with. The balance of lefties and righties is superb in this lineup.
The Braves are young and will be fun to watch this upcoming season. The Uptons will be the only brothers on the same team in baseball and the first duo since 2010 when Jerry Hairston Jr. and Scott Hairston were on the Padres. This will also be the first time Twitter has gone bonkers with a hash tag involving Upton, since anytime Kate Upton does… well, anything.
The Braves will miss the versatile Martin Prado and young pitcher, Randall Delgado, but they certainly won in this deal with Justin Upton. His combination of youth, experience and skill-set is a rarity. The younger of the Upton brothers, can be a perennial MVP candidate, making him one of many MVP candidates for the Braves.
Really though, the best part of this trade can be how many Buster Bluth moments the brothers can have.