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braves-watch-2008-kristis-pick | March | 2008 Articles

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Braves Watch 2008: Kristi's Pick

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This is the first in a series of four articles here at Chop 'n Change that will highlight a player projected to be a surprise standout this season for the Braves.  Each of us here at Chop 'n Change have made a pick and will post on that player, with me being the first up.  My pick for surprise standout in 2008 is Josh Anderson. Josh Anderson is a 25-year-old outfielder who was acquired by the Braves in November from the Houston Astros in return for Oscar Villarreal.  In 2007 with the Astros, he appeared in 21 games and recorded 67 at-bats with 24 hits, 11 RBIs and one stolen base for a .358 AVG and a .413 OBP.  Before his appearance in the Big Show last year, he had an impressive career in the minors.  In 2004, he led the minors with 78 stolen bases.  In 2005, he led the Texas League with 50 stolen bases and was 11th overall in the minors.  He was the MVP of the 2006 Texas League All-Star game and racked up another 43 stolen bases.  Before heading up to the Big Show in 2007, he tacked on another 41 stolen bases in Triple-A ball.  I'm assuming you get the point now - this guy is fast. Not just that, but he's powerful at the plate and in the field.  Baseball America rated him as the best defensive outfielder (and fastest baserunner) in the Texas League.  And while he was originally thought to have been acquired by the Braves to play centerfield (before the acquisition of Kotsay), he's seen almost as much time in right and left in the minors.  He's strong at the plate too, with a career .290 average in the minors and a .337 OBP.  In Spring Training this year with the Braves, he has batted .375 in 24 at-bats with 9 hits (two of which were doubles) and 6 RBIs.  And not to harp on his speed, but he leads the team in Spring Training with two stolen bases already.      My prediction is that he'll leave camp as the Braves fourth outfielder.  While the acquisition of Kotsay removed him from the forefront of everyone's mind, I think his speed and his bat will make us all sit up and take notice this season.  He was certainly the one player who stood out to me when I attended a Spring Training game against his former team last week.  And thus, he's my pick for surprise standout in 2008.

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