Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Help Fredi (and me) build a better Braves' lineup

Frustration at the plate? Say it ain't so. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Today's AJC offers a snippet of a discussion Fredi Gonzalez and yours truly had Wednesday regarding the maximization of what has been a minimally productive Atlanta Braves batting order. I suggested that Gonzalez, who makes out Ye Olde Lineup Card, might move the call-up Tommy La Stella into the No. 2 slot to maximize his singles-hitting skill.

Being a professional, Fredi G. identified the flaw in that thinking in a nanosecond. "Then you've got three left-handers in a row," he said.

And you would: Heyward, La Stella and Freddie Freeman. And not just three left-handed hitters -- the only three left-handed hitters in the Braves' everyday eight. So that's not what you'd want: All your lefties at the top and nothing but righties thereafter. (It would make the opposing manager's late-inning pitching decisions rather easy, would it not?)

That said, the Braves' lineup isn't working. Gonzalez himself conceded the point after Wednesday's 2-0 loss to Seattle, saying: "We've been shut out seven times, and we're a team that shouldn't be shut out because we've got so many talented offensive players."

I've spent a goodly part of the past few hours giving thought to how I'd reconstruct this (admittedly imperfect) batting order, and the fruits, such as they may be, of that labor will be revealed soon. But today brings your chance to lobby the electorate (meaning me). Tell me how you'd do it. Who'd bat first? Who'd bat eighth? Where should La Stella hit?

This much I'll tell you: Gonzalez's quibble notwithstanding, I'd still let the rookie bat second. And now the figurative floor is yours.

From A new low -- the Braves are outhit by the punchless Mariners.

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About the Author

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.