The Braves would be smart to just give Matt Diaz the starting job in left field and let him run with it. After all, he hit .356 against lefty pitchers and .318 vs. righties. The 30-year old righty swinging Diaz played in 135 games last season for the Braves and he was 121 for 358 (.338 avg, .865 OPS) with 44 runs scored, 12 homers and 45 RBIs. He also was very solid in the field as he only made 2 errors in 95 games in LF for the Braves last season while showing above average range.
If the Braves decide to platoon in LF Diaz’ partner would be Josh Anderson. The 25-year old lefty swinging Anderson brings speed as his biggest asset. He played in 21 games for the Astros last season and he was 24 for 67 (.358 avg, .816 OPS) with 10 runs scored, 11 RBIs and 1 stolen base. He also played in 132 games in AAA ball last season and he was 140 for 513 (.273 avg, .666 OPS) with 64 runs scored, 2 homers, 43 RBIs and 40 stolen bases. Anderson was primarily a CF for the Astros last season as he played 15 games there and he made 1 error while showing poor range. But, LF is an easier position so he shouldn’t have much of a problem adapting.
24-year old lefty swinging Brandon Jones is one of the best prospects in the Braves’ minor league system and he’s close to being ready. He played in 5 games for the Braves last season and he was 3 for 19 (.158 avg, .401 OPS) with 4 RBIs. Jones also played in 138 games in AA+AAA ball last season and he was 158 for 535 (.295 avg) with 84 runs scored, 19 homers, 100 RBIs and 17 stolen bases.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE 2008 SEASON: B-