Atlanta Braves


Moylan Down, Acosta Is Next

Manny Acosta is next in the closing pecking order for Atlanta - Pete Moylan just hit the DL.  Go get Acosta if he's still out there.

I should add that Blaine Boyer could easily sneak into the closer role.  Consider him the consolation prize.  Even Will Ohman could get chances in lefty-heavy ninth innings.



MLB Free Agents 2006: Rafael Furcal

Ah, Rafael Furcal.  Overrated, underrated, or somewhere in-between?  How should you handle this man when it comes to 2006?

Furcal is playing almost exactly on par with what Baseball Prospectus's PECOTA projection system expected.  BP thought Furcal would hit .274 with 12 HR and a .337 OBP.  In fact, he's currently hitting .276 with 11 HR and a .341 OBP.  Not bad. 

The only area in which Baseball Prospectus missed the mark was stolen bases.  Furcal has 38 swipes and could get that number up to 50 if he really wants to.  What PECOTA didn't take into account is that 2005 is Rafael Furcal's contract year.

Furcal will easily set a career high in steals this year, and that can only help in the dollar sign department.  After 2004, Edgar Renteria was coming off a .287-10-72 year, adding 17 steals to the equation.  Unlike Furcal, Renteria does have an awesome season under his belt - he hit .330-13-100 with 34 steals in 2003. 

Since Furcal is three years younger than Renteria, he can be expected to match Renteria's four year, $40 million dollar deal.  The players' defense is probably comparable.  It also doesn't hurt that Furcal has been on fire since July. 

So which team will pony up the cash for baseball's third-best shortstop?  The Diamondbacks and Cubs seem to be the most likely suitors.  The Cubs' interest obviously hinges on the Nomar Garciaparra situation.  We just can't see Dusty playing Ronny Cedeno every day, so the Cubs should end up with one of the two. 

What kind of year should you expect out of Furcal in 2006?  With Ray Durham circa 1999 high on his comparables list, an uptick in power is not out the question.  Think maybe 20 homers on the high end.  We expect Furcal to back off on the thefts and end up with 30 steals, tops.

Unfortunately there are only a handful of 20/30 threats from the shortstop position, and Rafael Furcal is one of them.  If he starts be a more selective, consistent hitter, he may be able to hit .300 as well.  Be ready to go up to $20 on him in your auction this spring.   

Check out all the Roto Authority MLB Free Agents 2006 articles.  You'll find speculation and rumors concerning Johnny Damon, A.J. Burnett, Trevor Hoffman, Brian Giles, B.J. Ryan, and more.   





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