McLouth basically never looked like a professional baseball player last season. He started out with a catastrophic spring training in which he struck out in literally nearly every at-bat. When real games started, he didn’t strike out that much more than he usually does, but virtually never made solid contact, contributing instead a plethora of FB-9s. He got even worse when Jason Heyward leveled him going for a fly ball in June, causing a concussion. He hung around for awhile, went on the DL, came back, and finally was assigned to the suburbs, hitting .168/.279/.265.
He was called back up the day before roster expansion; playing part-time he hit .273/.359/.527 in 65 plate appearances in September and October. So there is reason for optimism, but he was still parked on the bench against the Giants, getting only two at-bats, a hit in one of them. If McLouth really has repaired whatever was wrong with him — and there was something wrong, don’t doubt it, it’s just not clear what — then he can be a valuable player in 2011.
A poor defensive player, but not a catastrophe; you’d certainly want a better one in center with a second baseman playing left. A fantastic base stealer with the Pirates but only a mediocre 19 of 27 with the Braves. It’s not clear if he slowed down (he did have some leg issues in 2009) or if they’re doing something different that’s causing it or if it’s just one of those things.