1. An actual starting rotation complete with pitchers, who can throw more than 4 innings!
-Hallelujah for Javier Vazquez, Derek Lowe, and Kenshin Kawakami! 200 innings, here we come!
2. The possible return of Jeff Francoeur
-Will "the Natural" ever recapture his rightful place on the throne next to Mickey Mantle? Probably not. Can he become a productive middle of the order hitter, who does not swing at every damn pitch he sees? Hopefully...the talent is there.
3. The incredible Larry Wayne "Chipper" Jones
-Does anyone realize that Chipper hit .364 last season? How incredible is that? This guy is truly one of the best "clean" players of my generation, and Braves fans should enjoy getting to watch Larry Wayne play as much as they can while he is still healthy and productive. Yes, I'm a bitter Mets fan.
4. The continued rise of Yunel Escobar
-Thank God the Braves did not trade Yunel for Jake Peavy. Escobar has the makings of a top flight shortstop in this league and I fully expect him to breakout this season by hitting well above .300 and setting the table for the aforementioned Chipper Jones with a .370+ OBP. Mark my words, this guy is a stud.
5. A healthy, deep bullpen
-Pray to whatever Gods you want to on this one, Braves fans. Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano are your meal tickets to meaningful September baseball and maybe, just maybe, the Braves will be able to hold a few damn leads this season.
So Braves fans, what are you looking forward to in 2009? Discuss.
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