It may have seemed like a doomsday scenario for the Atlanta Braves in 2005. Despite a bunch of players with question marks, the season was cruising along, but in mid-May Kevin Gryboski and John Thompson get injured, here come rookies Frank Brooks (1) and Matt Childers (2). A couple of days later Eddie Perez gets injured, here comes rookie Brayan Pena (3). The next day Mr. Glass goes on the DL, enter rookie Kyle Davies (4). At the end of May, rookie Kelly Johnson (5) replaces the failed Raul Mondesi experiment. In early June, Chipper Jones gets hurt, and the long awaited debut of rookie Andy Marte (6). A few days later Johnny Estrada gets run over by Jackass-McDumb-Hustle, and here comes rookie Brian McCann (7).
In mid-June, rookies Blaine Boyer (9) and Jorge Vazquez (10) take the place of rookies Roman Colon (11) and Brayan Pena. July rolls around and Brain Jordan gimps off the field to the tune of rookie Jeff Francoeur (12). Macay McBride (13) arrives a couple of weeks later. In mid-August, Joey Devine (14) makes his grand entrance. And the last full measure of clearing out your farm system comes in mid-September when Chuck James (15) is called up. Oh, and don't forget that rookies Ryan Langerhans (16), Pete Orr (17), and Wilson Betemit (18) spent the entire season on the roster.
And what might happen this year with all the players the Braves have signed who have question marks...
It starts off innocuous enough, with Bobby Cox impressed in an Orrian fashion with spunky non-roster infielder (and rookie) Luis Bolivar (1). Brooks Conrad (2), still a rookie, and Mike Dunn (3) also make the team out of spring training. An injury to Billy Wagner in mid-May heeds a call to the minors for rookie Luis Valdez (4). Shortly thereafter, Kenshin Kawakami goes down and rookie starter Todd Redmond (5) gets the call. A few days later pinch hitter Eric Hinske goes down (I'm speculating here, folks) and rookie Mitch Jones (6) gets the call. A blister forces Derek Lowe to the disabled list and forces rookie Jonny Venters (7) into action.
In mid-June calamity strikes and in the span of a few days as Chipper Jones and Troy Glaus both go on the DL. In their place the team calls up Brandon Hicks (8) and Freddie Freeman (9). Rookies Jeff Lyman (10) and Lee Hyde (11) replace the ineffective Luis Valdez and Kris Medlen in the bullpen. In early July to add more offense, the team answers the long-awaited call for outfielder Jason Heyward (12), who takes the league by storm, prompting his very own Sports Illustrated cover with the eerily familiar tag line, "The Natural."
More bullpen switch-a-rooing in August, and an injury to Takashi Saito, leads to the debuts of rookies Juan Abreu (13) and Stephen Marek (14), then more rotation troubles lead to Jose Ortegano (15) and Kyle Cofield (16). Desperate for bullpen help, the Braves finally turn to Craig Kimbrel (17). To complete the repeat of history, when rosters expand the team calls up still-rookie James Parr (18) for depth. Eighteen rookies!?!
And that's how the 2010 season could turn into 2005. But hey, we make the playoffs! Right?
Think that's crazy? I was going to have David Ross and Clint Sammons get injured and call up J.C. Boscan, but then I thought, naa.