You be the manager: Pick the new Braves’ third baseman

This would be the left side of my infield: Mar-teen and Sea Bass. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

This would be the left side of my infield: Prado and Sea Bass. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Audience participation time. (Not that this audience is ever disinclined to participate, for which I thank you.) The Braves would seem to have three options at third base, and Bobby Cox articulated them yesterday: “We’ve got [Brooks] Conrad and [Omar] Infante and we should get [Martin] Prado back at the start of next week.”

OK, you be the manager. Pick one.

Being pushy, I’ll go first. I like the Prado option. I think Infante is better at second base than at third, and I think Prado can play either spot just fine. I’m not crazy about the idea of uprooting an All-Star second baseman, but it has to be said: Infante was an All-Star, too.

I’m less high on Conrad. He’s great at the end of games, less great when he starts them. He’s hitting .238, with more strikeouts than hits. (Both Prado and Infante have twice as many hits as K’s.) Besides, having Conrad in the lineup would diminish the full Conrad Effect: He’s the guy you need to pinch-hit with the game to be won. Indeed, he has more RBI’s as a sub than as a starter.

Oh, and since you asked: The notion of Troy Glaus as a starting third baseman was all but quashed by Frank Wren on Thursday. Said the general manager: “Based on the health of his legs, [I don't think] that makes a lot of sense to put him over there.”

There’s also the chance the Braves could try to swing a trade — Ty Wigginton and Chone Figgins are two post-deadline possibilities — but Wren also noted that the combination of Infante and Prado in the everyday lineup was powerful in itself. Quoth Wren: “I’m not sure we’ll find anything better than that out on the market place.”

Who should start at third base?

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Reality check: Wigginton is hitting .260 for Baltimore, Figgins .253 for Seattle. Infante is hitting .330.

My batting order would be this: Infante, 2B; Heyward, RF; Prado, 3B; McCann, C; Glaus, 1B; Gonzalez, SS; Diaz/Hinske, LF; Ankiel/Cabrera, CF. Brooks Conrad would be my DH in Games 3, 4 and 5 of the World Series. (Just seeing if you’re still reading.)

But I’ve never been known for my lineup-making dexterity (or for anything else, come to think of it), so I invite your input. Pick the new third sacker. It will make you feel better about the absence of Chipper Jones. It will enable you to get in touch with that feeling that rests within all of us — to manage, if only in this space, a big-league team. And I can assure you Bobby Cox will take the results of this poll to heart.

OK, I lied about the last part.

418 comments Add your comment

randallsdad

August 13th, 2010
9:25 am

Bittersweet being first talking about Chipper’s replacement.

Mark Bradley

August 13th, 2010
9:27 am

Randallsdad, I feel your pain. But kudos nonetheless

steve

August 13th, 2010
9:30 am

Its gotta be Prado at 3rd. And Mark, I’m sure Bobby takes your online poll into consideration since you are Atlanta’s best sports writer. By the way, where did Jeff Shultz go?

PMC

August 13th, 2010
9:31 am

Infante at 2nd and leadoff; Prado at 3rd in the 2 hole; Heyward in the 3.

TROTTINGHOME

August 13th, 2010
9:31 am

need more than conrad off the bench…who would that be

Jesse

August 13th, 2010
9:31 am

Let Terry Pendleton come back and play….

BravesfaninVR

August 13th, 2010
9:31 am

I think Prado should play 3rd but keep batting leadoff. Bat Infante 2nd and Heyward 3rd. I also really hope Chipper stays as involved with the team as his injury will allow. I think just having him around will be a boost to morale.

Michael

August 13th, 2010
9:32 am

Just don’t trade for one. It’s too early to tell how next spring will shape up. Even if Glaus isn’t available to switch, you have three viable candidates on the major league squad. Something will work out, and Freeman can come grab Chipper’s roster spot and get acclimated to the bigs. Situational insertion rather than steady playing time, but still… Prado at 3, Infante at 2, Conrad subbing and spelling. Why on earth would you give up assets to answer a 10 week question?

Mark Bradley

August 13th, 2010
9:32 am

I believe Mr. Schultz is on vacation.

Coach Cool

August 13th, 2010
9:32 am

No in-house candidate to get Braves past Philthy-delphia. Hit up waivers.

PMC

August 13th, 2010
9:32 am

Figgins is better than he’s played this year… but no one we can get through waivers is going to be worth the players we have that people want.

I mean.. sure, I’ll send you Brandon Hicks for Figgins… but that ain’t happening… even if we agree to include Marvin Williams ;)

bobby joe

August 13th, 2010
9:32 am

prado for sure. good defensive third baseman and that would allow you to keep infante’s bat in the lineup. lineup as I would like to see it: Prado-3B, Infante-2B, Heyward-RF, McCann-C, Glaus-1B (please call up Freeman), Gonzales-SS, Diaz/Melky-LF, Ankiel-CF

joe

August 13th, 2010
9:33 am

I’m with you Mark, but I would throw in Freeman at first base….. thoughts?

beauvighn

August 13th, 2010
9:34 am

Of course you insert Infante into the lineup when Prado returns…Duh…

Bruce Mac

August 13th, 2010
9:34 am

I can hardly believe it but I agree 100% except for the World Series comment. Mark, stop it.

Mark Bradley

August 13th, 2010
9:35 am

I was trying to deal in reality, joe. I don’t think we’ll see Freddie Freeman until September.

Jt

August 13th, 2010
9:36 am

I agree with you and Chipper. When Prado returns, Infante has to be in the lineup every day. That would lean towards Prado at third and Infante at 2nd. Prado is flexible enough that he could return to 2nd base and allow Conrad to get an occasional start at 3rd with Infante in the lineup. I do not want them to go outside to get a 3rd baseman. All of those listed by DOB yesterday had batting averages at .250 or lower. I personally prefer those who can hit for average over those who have some power but strikes out a lot and hits for low average. Also, it is time to platoon Ankiel. I wasn’t in favor of the trade to begin with- I preferred Blanco to Ankiel. Get Ankiel out of there against lefties for sure

yellarjacket

August 13th, 2010
9:36 am

Mark – I agree with you regarding Prado being the new third baseman. Keep Infante at second. It seems Infante and Gonzalez have become a nice little double play duo here lately. They seem to compliment each other well. Plus, I like Prado’s glove work better than Infante, which is needed when playing the hot corner.

Infante – 2nd
Prado – 3rd
Heyward – RF (time to step up in a power role)
McCann – C
Hinske – 1st Base
Diaz – LF
Cabrera/Ankiel – CF
Gonzalez – SS

Mike S

August 13th, 2010
9:36 am

MB – agree with your defensive lineup, but you need to flip flop Prado and heyward in the batting order.

Martin is a made to order #2 hitter. He does everything right, he can bunt, he knows how to move runners, he can hit for power, he can hit for averge. etc.

Chipper was basically entrenched at #3, but even he stated earlier this year that Heyward was a prototypical #3 hitter and it would be his spot in the future. Well, the future is now.

Infante 2B
Prado 3B
Heyward RF
McCann C
Glaus 1B
Gonzalez SS
Diaz/Hinske LF
Ankiel/Carbera CF

joe

August 13th, 2010
9:37 am

another question- is Chipper really liked in the clubhouse or is he the whiny little girl that he strikes me as???

Mark Bradley

August 13th, 2010
9:37 am

Chipper is liked and admired.

Grandpa Right

August 13th, 2010
9:38 am

The lineup is right, but we need Freeman platooning at 1B, Diaz playing everyday.

We will be fine- but we need Chipper on the bench still leading these guys-

John

August 13th, 2010
9:38 am

Need to bring Freeman up to replace Chipper on the roster. He needs to alternatate with Glaus to save Glaus’s legs and make him more productive and also be the defensive replacement with not starting. Freeman in the lineup and with his best friend Heyward there for advice of adjusting to the majors, he should be more ready for taking over next year as the full time first baseman. I think Freeman has proven everything he can prove in the minors.

PMC

August 13th, 2010
9:38 am

For the record, how fortunate are we that the Braves have 2 guys who can pretty much play anywhere in Infante and Prado and do it really well.

Shawn

August 13th, 2010
9:39 am

Off topic but playing Houston forced me to realize that Philly traded Jay Happ for Oswalt. That was a mistake for Philly. I love them weakening their team to please the fans. Oswalt is on his way out and Happ is on his way up. Here’s to not having to face that kid as much in the future!

Hankie Aron

August 13th, 2010
9:39 am

Not until the rosters expand to 40 will we see Freddie Free-man

WonderDawg

August 13th, 2010
9:42 am

Mark, I just read that Prado’s pinky is still extremely sore and it may take another couple of weeks before rehabbing it at Gwinnett. You heard anything like that?

Nope

August 13th, 2010
9:42 am

I vote Terry Pendleton…..But who am I to say?

Mike S

August 13th, 2010
9:42 am

I agree with Hankie. Freeman will not be brought up until September. Until then we will see Glaus and Hinske working at 1B. The Braves may bring Canizares up as a backup to take chipper’s roster spot.

gotigers72

August 13th, 2010
9:42 am

Hinske at first base and hitting behind McCann against RHers. Switch Prado and Heyward. Bench Ankiel, he has been a horrible player. Play Melky in CF or better yet, bring up Matt Young and play him in center and bat him 8th.

Hankie Aron

August 13th, 2010
9:42 am

Mark,
It definately hurts talking about who will take Chipper’s place at 3B. It’s like a gut punch because that amazing defensive play just might be the last we have seen of him. I don’t know how you guys feel but that really really hurts me

Voice of Reason

August 13th, 2010
9:43 am

My EVERYDAY lineup:

1. Infante 2B
2. Prado 3B
3. Heyward RF
4. McCann C
5. Gonzalez SS
6. Hinskie 1B
7. Diaz LF
8. Cabrera CF

Will this ever happen? No. Because we are too committed to the platoon. But Glaus and Ankiel are strikeout machines. And we’re simply a better team with Hinskie at first and Diaz and Cabrera in the OF.

Zach

August 13th, 2010
9:43 am

I kinda like Sea Bass in the two hole. So my lineup is Infante, Gonzo, Heyward, McCann, Prado, Glaus, Hinskey/Diaz, Ankiel

mountain_jim

August 13th, 2010
9:43 am

Why is the front office so disinclined to bring Freeman up and sit Glaus, who is hurting us on offense and defense? Financial? If he is a september callup, does that also use up one year of the Braves contractural rights over him?

Yes to Prado at 3rd.

Idiot Wind

August 13th, 2010
9:43 am

Although I like the idea of starting Infante at 2nd with Prado at 3rd, I am really bothered by how much that weakens our bench. Is there a utility player available through waivers that can remedy this?

CJ

August 13th, 2010
9:44 am

Prado is probably the most valuable player on our team this year. Why would you want your most valuable player playing out of position? Infante would be a good bat to add to the lineup everyday, and so far him and Gonzalez have produced nothing but errors trying to turn double plays. Obviously they don’t have timing or chemistry. Keep Brooks on the bench for the late game pinch hitting heroics.

WonderDawg

August 13th, 2010
9:45 am

The bad thing about starting our utility players is that we then no longer have utility players . . .

Supes

August 13th, 2010
9:45 am

Mike Greenberg just payed an awesome compliment to Chipper on Mike/Mike ESPN radio. He said he’s the greatest ATLANTA Brave, more so than Dale Murphy and Greg Maddux (or any of our future HOF pitchers) – pay attention people…ATLANTA Brave, not all time great franchise BRAVE (which clearly belongs to the Hammer)

He also said Chipper could be arguably the 2nd greatest 3B (from a hitting standpoint) after Michael Jack Schmidt.

But they also said his career can not END like it did. I truly believe if he can have a successful surgery and physically recover he will come back in the 2011 season to finish out his career the right way and walk off the major league field under his own power not being helped by trainers/team mates.

As far as the 3B option I agree with you Mark, out of the options listed Prado would be best…but with his throwing hand injury not sure if he can make the longer throws from 3B to 1B when needed like a healthy Omar.

mark

August 13th, 2010
9:45 am

It’s time for Heyward to assume the #3 slot where he will be for a LONG time. Switching him and Prado around would be silly.

Hankie Aron

August 13th, 2010
9:47 am

CJ, Prado at 3B is not out of position. He has filled in for Chipper very admirably in the past at 3B before he really got his bat going the last 1 1/2 years. People just didn’t pay attention to him

Supes

August 13th, 2010
9:47 am

Off topic but playing Houston forced me to realize that Philly traded Jay Happ for Oswalt. That was a mistake for Philly. I love them weakening their team to please the fans. Oswalt is on his way out and Happ is on his way up. Here’s to not having to face that kid as much in the future!

************************************

I think you maybe onto something, but only when it pertains to the Braves. Braves in their limited time facing J.A. Happ have not been able to hit him at all…(granted u have a 2 year sample not even that of games), while they have been able to put runs on the board against an ACE like Roy Oswalt.

Is Happ as good as Oswalt right now…no way, is he against the Braves…yes.

Mr C.

August 13th, 2010
9:47 am

Kind of surprised that neither u nor Jeff had an opinion on Chipper Jones injury on the morning paper. Or don’t u all still sell papers? We might have seen Chipper’s last game and i would have thought u guys would have written extensively on it.

BTW, Where’s Schultz? Did he resign? The personnel at AJC is looking bare everyday. When is ESPNAtlanta opening up?

Kentavo

August 13th, 2010
9:47 am

What about Hinske at 3rd – can he still do it?

Let's Go

August 13th, 2010
9:48 am

Prado at third and Omar staying at second probably make this team better overall since these two seem to be the only players that have not gone into a slump this year. A slump for these two seems to last 2 days where as everyone else goes into these 2 week slumps. Then there is Troy who goes into 2 month slumps. Speaking of Troy, from watching the games last week it appeared he is starting to make better contact with the ball. He did strike out a few times but he looked to be swinging better and hitting the ball hard most of the time. He got some singles and the 1 home run so maybe he is breaking out again.

Baseball Fan

August 13th, 2010
9:49 am

I definitely agree with Infante at 2nd and Prado at 3rd. MB has got the line-up correct too, you have to go righty lefty as much as you can in the line-up to either creat better match ups or make the other team use up more pitchers. You can’t have 3 lefties in a row in the lineup.

Hankie Aron

August 13th, 2010
9:49 am

Kentavo, I don’t think physically he can handle all the ground balls like he could when he was a rookie in Toronto.

Angus

August 13th, 2010
9:50 am

I think it’s imperative that Wren do what he can to bring in a bat off of waivers. Losing Chipper’s presence in the lineup is going to make it tough unless Glaus returns to May form – McCann very well may not see another strike for the rest of the season (OK, slight exaggeration).

Aside from catcher, there’s not one position on the field that cannot be changed if it means a good bat.

Supes

August 13th, 2010
9:50 am

BTW, Where’s Schultz? Did he resign? The personnel at AJC is looking bare everyday. When is ESPNAtlanta opening up?

********************************

U are aware he’s got his own blog right? He’s also on FB and Twitter.

Probably never, ESPN dislikes ATL sports teams in general. They’ll have an ESPN Portland before they have one for Atlanta.

Andy

August 13th, 2010
9:53 am

I really wish people would stop talking about bringing up Freeman. It’s starting to really get on my nerves. It’s not going to happen until at least September and maybe not until the last week or two of the season. Chipper’s injury has no effect on how soon Freeman makes it to the majors. Glaus and Hinske are our first basemen. Deal with it people!

Tim L.

August 13th, 2010
9:53 am

Doesn’t look like our AAAA minor leagues teams in KC or Pittsburgh have much to offer. If we wanted more pop and could somehow clear waivers – Kelly Johnson could probably be obtained from AZ.