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This past week, Pittsburgh Pirates CF Nate McLouth was dealt to the Atlanta Braves for three minor league players (SP Charlie Morton, OF Gorkys Hernandez, and SP Jeff Locke). The Braves are hoping to beef up their offense and make a charge in the N.L. East where they trail Philadelphia by 5.5 games. As it stands as of this writing, the Braves are 11th in the N.L. with 4.38 runs scored per game, 12th in HR, and are hitting .258 as a team. The Pirates were almost neck and neck with Braves for offensive futility by being 12th in runs scored (4.33), 10th in HR, and hitting .264 as a team.
Enough of the real world implications. We are here to see what impact, if any, that this trade has on Nate McLouth. When McLouth makes his debut for the Braves, he will already be the team leader in HR, RBI, and SB. Utilizing the offensive ability of McLouth is something that the Braves need to do in order to put runs on the scoreboard. I am afraid though that McLouth’s season is headed for a downfall.
Yes, I royally f**cked up with my Zack Greinke predicition. I admit it, I was wrong. Let’s get over it. In the case of McLouth, we all know I am right.
McLouth came to the fantasy forefront last season when he had a breakout year with 113 R, .276 avg, 26 HR, 94 RBI, and 23 SB. He was elected to his first All-Star Game and he won a Gold Glove. This season has not been as remarkable. So far in ’09, he is hitting .256 with 9 HR and 21 RBI, which is well off his ’08 pace. Combine his subpar numbers to his move to one of the most notorious, pitcher-friendly environments in Turner Field, and it spells doom for McLouth.
This season, McLouth has enjoyed the home field advantage a bit too much since his home and road splits tell us that he is batting .319 at PNC Park and an abysmal .176 on the road. Even worse is that he is a career .261 hitter at his new home, Turner Field. We are also sadly coming upon the month of June, which is statistically McLouth’s worst month where he has hit .206 in his career.
When you put all of these elements together, nothing good will come of it. Here we have a breakout player from last season who is not living up to expectations and is moving to a pitcher’s park in one of the worst run-producing offenses in the National League. Yeah, I think you know what to do with good ole Nate.
A big question about this trade was where McLouth would be batting in Atlanta’s order. Well, too ease your minds, McLouth was slated to bat 3rd in the Braves’ game on Thursday night against the Chicago Cubs. However, the game was rained out, so McLouth’s debut will be put off until Friday. Also, when a player gets traded to a new team, he usually has a small burst of offense when he first arrives. We have all seen it before countless times. So, if that is the case here, then you should jump on the opportunity and trade McLouth if he chooses to flash some offense in his first few days in Atlanta.
Also of note is McLouth’s replacment in Pittsburgh. The Pirates called up Andrew McCutchen to fill the CF spot. In the minors, McCutchen was hitting .303 with 4 HR. 20 RBI, and 10 SB. He won’t give you power, he is mostly your batting average and SB guy. In his debut on Thursday night, he went 2-4 with an RBI and 3 runs scored while batting leadoff.
I screwed the pooch on the Greinke prediction, but I am sure this time. Say goodbye to Nate McLouth as a valuable fantasy outfielder.