NL East Update: Nats have Strasburg, Braves have Heyward, but the Marlins have Stanton

With highly touted prospect Mike Stanton dominating in Class AA Jacksonville, Marlin Maniac takes a look at the recent history of 20-year olds getting the call to the show.

Although the Marlins have said there are no plans of calling up the young outfielder until the end of the year, the success of the Braves Jason Heyward is making people wonder if this is indeed the right decision. As you can see on the spreadsheet, the chances of a 20-year old prospect turning into the next A-Rod or Manny are just as good as him becoming the next Austin Kearns or Benji Gil. The issue I have with bringing up players who aren’t even old enough to have a drink is that they need to have a special type of maturity to succeed in the league as well as being able to handle all of the distractions that come off the field. There is no reason for Florida to rush him to the show because their outfield is already set with Chris Coughlan, Cameron Maybin, and Cody Ross. Expect Stanton to be the talk of spring training in 2011.

Braves Blast has seen enough! Listen up Bobby Cox, its time for some lineup changes in Atlanta.

Well there isn’t much to say about the Braves recent slide. Not even Jason Heyward can get fans excited anymore. In all my years in watching Atlanta play I have never seen them play this poorly. Even when they were a mediocre team from 2006 to 2009 visiting teams still feared playing at Turner Field, but now everyone wants a piece of this struggling team. I like the idea of benching Melky and Glaus for a week because they literally haven’t contributed anything to the team in April and have only been making matters worse for the Braves. Maybe Glaus is washed up, maybe Melky isn’t the type of “core” player Atlanta thought they were getting, but one things for sure…with this much talent on the roster, 9-game losing streaks are unacceptable. It is time to give other players on the roster a chance to make an impact like Matt Diaz and Eric Hinske. Having made an appearance in the past three World Series; 2007 with Boston, 2008 with Tampa Bay, and 2009 with New York, maybe Hinske can bring his World Series luck to Atlanta…or at least help them win one game.

Will the real Cole Hamels please stand up?…that is the question on everyone’s mind in Philadelphia, including The Good Phight.

Analysis: I guess since Donovan McNabb in now in Washington the city of Philadelphia needs to find another high profile athlete to constantly criticize and critique. I understand why Phillie fans are getting uneasy with Hamels as of late. The MVP of the 2008 World Series set himself up for a 2009 season with incredibly high expectations, but his success did not follow as he went 10-11 with a 4.32 ERA. The reason the city has been so hard on him is because they know he has the ability to consistently win 15 games every year. Its tough love, but lets just hope it doesn’t get to the point that it did for McNabb, where he basically got run out of town. With Roy Halladay now on the roster, maybe he can take some pressure off of the young lefty.

Amazin’ Avenue breaks down Jeff Francoeur’s enormous strike zone, which seems to have shrunk in the early parts of 2010.

There is no hiding the fact that Francoeur likes to swing, and his aggressiveness at the plate is largely the reason why he is in the big leagues. Unfortunately for Jeff, his trigger happy mentality at the plate led to his demise in Atlanta where he got caught up in some bad habits with his swing. Since arriving in New York, Francoeur has surprisingly shown incredible plate discipline which we had previously seen absolutely no signs of in previous years. Instead of swinging at anything remotely near the strike zone, Francoeur changed his mentality to swinging only at pitches he knows he can hit, while taking the pitches he probably would have hacked at earlier in his career. The 26-year old right fielder is already in his sixth year in the league, meaning that he has a lot of good baseball years left in him, and if he continues to learn and improve his basic hitting mechanics, who knows what type of hitter he will become in years to come.