The Atlanta Braves have done a pretty good job at seeding the rosters of the 2011 World Series. The best-of-seven series, set to start Wednesday between the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals, has three notable former Braves.
The Rangers may have two of the more dynamic players in the entire major leagues, let alone the World Series, in the form of closer Neftali Feliz and Elvis Andrus. They also evoke more negative thoughts due to their acquisition in the now infamous 2007 Mark Teixeira trade.
Though he has only hit 11 career homers in three seasons, Andrus has just finished the most productive season of his young career. The Rangers shortstop finished the season fifth in the American League with 37 stolen bases, and his .279 average was the best of his career.
Along with the 37 steals, Andrus found more gaps with 27 doubles in 2011. He also set career bests in RBIs, runs scored, hits, stirke outs, doubles and on-base percentage. He also, however, set a career high with 25 errors.
Feliz saw his save total drop from 40 in 2010 to 32 in 2011. He also blew six saves this year as opposed to three last year. The interesting portion, however, is that his ERA was 2.73 in 2010. In 2011, it was 2.74.
However, Feliz struck out 17 fewer batters in only seven fewer innings, and his walk total nearly doubled. Feliz also tended to struggle at home this season.
The St. Louis Cardinals hold a player involved in fond memories for Braves fans in Rafael Furcal. The veteran shortstop played the first six seasons of his career in Atlanta from 2000-2005 and stole a team best 189 bases during his tenure.
In 2006, he then left via free agency for the Los Angeles Dodgers, for whom he played until he was traded this season to St. Louis. In recent years, he has seen his productivity and playing time hampered by injuries, including seeing his average plummet to .231 in just 87 games this season.
The World Series will start at 8:05 EDT on Wednesday in St. Louis.Tags: 2011 World Series, Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Elvis Andrus, MLB, Rafael Furcal, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers