24 Oct

oh, to be young

Three former Mississippi Braves made Baseball America’s All-Rookie team for 2011, a group headed by closer Craig Kimbrel, who stands a good chance of winning the National League’s rookie of the year award. Kimbrel had 46 saves and a 2.10 ERA, despite some well-chronicled late-season hiccups. The Braves’ collapse had more to do with their lack of offensive punch than bullpen breakdowns, which are always magnified. Freddie Freeman made the BA team at first base. He hit .282 with 20 homers and played outstanding defense, though he, too, seemed to tire down the stretch. Right-hander Brandon Beachy, picked for one of the five rotations spots on BA’s team, was a revelation, going 7-3 with a 3.68 ERA in 25 starts. With better run support, he would easily have won in double figures. Also on the BA chart is ex-Itawamba Community College outfielder Desmond Jennings, a late July call-up by Tampa Bay who hit .259 with 10 homers and 20 steals. Atlanta may have more rookies — and ex-M-Braves — in key spots in 2012, with Tyler Pastornicky a viable option at shortstop, Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado up for jobs in the rotation and Arodys Vizcaino a strong bullpen candidate.
P.S. The Philadelphia Phillies will not pick up the option on Roy Oswalt’s contract for 2012, but, according to mlb.com’s story, will consider re-signing the former Holmes CC right-hander. Oswalt had a tough, injury-marred 2011 campaign, going 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA. He also got roughed up in the postseason by St. Louis as the Phils fell in the division series.

Mike Christensen

Mike Christensen

A long-time sports fan and 30-year newspaper veteran muses on all things baseball in Mississippi. Contact: mwchristens@gmail.com
Mike Christensen

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