Replacing a lengend certainly isn’t an easy task.
That’s going to be the spring training chore for Atlanta Braves third basemen Juan Francisco and Chris Johnson this season as they’ll attempt to succeed the recently retired Chipper Jones. I’m sure neither player expects to come even close to Jones’ worst season in this position battle, but both players are above-average options to take over Atlanta’s hot corner. The Braves have to love that both players are under 30 years old. It’s also a plus that the pair had their best seasons at the MLB level in 2012. Regardless of what Francisco and Johnson have done in their pasts, their future will probably be determined by what they do in 2013.
There’s a lot of speculation that this hot-corner duo will platoon for the Braves at third base this year. And while it would be nice to have a permanent starter penciled in on the everyday lineup, the fact is that these two players compliment each other quite nicely simply because Francisco bats from the left side and Johnson bats from the right. However, neither player can hit lefties very efficiently and their defense won’t win them any golden gloves soon. The question marks around both players are easily noticeable by one glance at their career statistics and their splits. That’s why I personally believe this will be a position battle. So who will emerge as manager Fredi Gonzales’ favorite? To truly understand the answer to that question, one must take a deep look into the pros and cons that Johnson and Francisco will bring to the Braves: (more…)