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looking-back-at-2007-braves-predictions | March | 2008 Articles

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Looking Back at 2007 Braves Predictions

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When Alex posted about the things he's gotten wrong so far, I found it funny because I'd been planning a post about the things I've gotten right. I was looking back through our speculations last year and thought it would be fun to take a look at two of my favorite players, Kelly Johnson and Matt Diaz, who turned out to be as good or better than I predicted. Kelly Johnson: In this post last March, I predicted that Kelly Johnson would be successful both as a second baseman and as our leadoff hitter. First, let's take a look at his work at second. If you take a look at stats alone, he had a fielding percentage of .978, accumulated 14 errors, 227 putouts and took part in 83 double plays. He's not the best second baseman in the Majors, but he definitely plays a solid second base. I took a look and most fantasy league rankings have hime somewhere between #11-#15 amongst second baseman. Not bad for a guy going into only his second year at the position. Taking a look at his year at the plate, KJ hit .276 in 2007 with a .375 OBP and .457 SLG. Personally, I'm not obsessed with stats like some folks, but OBP is really what I deem most important. In that department, especially when you consider that KJ's probably not best suited to be a leadoff hitter, I think KJ did great. I certainly think he did better than most expected. I like that he improved his .241/.334/.397 line from 2006. In last year's post, I predicted that "...by the All-Star break, KJ fever will sweep the Braves nation and there will no longer be any lamenting of the loss of Giles." I think I hit that nail on the head - I don't remember hearing one person moan and groan about Giles being gone once the season started. Overall, I think KJ had a really good first season at second and I'm anxious to see how he does this year. Matt Diaz: one of my favorite players last year, I think Matt Diaz surprised everyone with his amazing year at the plate. I caught a lot of flack at the beginning of the season for being unwaivering in my support of him. Last May on Mets Today, I was asked who I'd send to the plate if it was the bottom of the ninth, two outs and we needed a base hit to win (with Chipper being taken off the table) against the Mets. I didn't even have to think twice - I picked Matt Diaz. At the time, he was leading the National League with a .467 average in pinch hitting situations and was hitting .352 for the season. By the end of the season, he had an impressive (and I think surprising for most) line of .338/.368/.497. Although he platooned most of the year, he saw just shy of 400 at-bats. Add to that the fact that he ranked 14th in the Majors for pinch hits and led the National League with a .484 average during interleague play and it's hard to argue that he wasn't one of our strongest batters in 2007. As far as fielding goes, I think he improved his defense, posting a career-high .988 fielding percentage with only two errors over 694 innings played. Can't wait to see what he can do as an everyday player this year. And for the record, I predict both KJ and Diaz will do as well or better this season as they did in 2007.

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