Monday, March 12, 2012

30 Teams in 30 Days: Atlanta Braves

2011 Record: 89-73

Key Additions: None.

Subtractions: Derek Lowe, Nate Mclouth, George Sherrill, Alex Gonzalez, Scott Linebrink

2012 Outlook: September 2011 is a month the Braves will like to forget, and they will need to if they want to be able to compete in the NL East again this year. After having a monumental collapse late last season, the Braves did nothing in the off-season, and will have to rely on their abundance of young arms to help them get back to the postseason in 2012. Leading the pack of young talent in the Braves system are Pitchers Julio Teheran,Randall Delgado, and Arodys Vizcaino. Teheran, #4 on's top prospect list, is a 6'2" RHP who has three above average pitches, and a fastball that is still improving, but is already in the mid 90's. Teheran has been struggling so far this spring, as he has given up 6 HR's, and 8 ER's in just 5 innings pitched. It is still early, and spring games are meaningless, but 6 HR's in 2 games is a little worrisome if your a Braves fan. Teheran also did not pitch well in his brief stint in the Majors in 2011, so there is a little fear that his stuff is still not good enough to get major league hitters out, and that he is going to have to spend some more time in the minors before making it into the rotation for the Braves.

Vizacaino,'s #36 best prospect will join what is already a very strong and young bullpen this year, and hopefully soften the workload for the other pitchers in the Pen. Craig Kimbrel, the NL's rookie of the Year in 2011 was amazing for 5 months last year, but he ran out of gas in September, and struggled to a 4.76 ERA for the month. The same was the case for fellow reliever Jonny Venters, who had a 5.11 ERA in September, compared to a 1.45 mark the rest of the year.

The Braves offense was in the bottom third of the league last year when it comes to runs scored, and that is going to have to change this year. Jason Heyward had a disappointing year in 2011, and needs to return to his 2012 form if he is going to anchor the Braves offense along with Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman. Freeman, the Braves young power hitting first baseman cannot go into a sophomore slump like Heyward did, but instead, he will need to improve on his power numbers. The way to do that, stop striking out. Freddie struck out a whopping 142 times last season, and only drew 53 base on balls. If you are striking out almost once a game, you are limiting your chances of contributing to a lineup that doesn't have a real threat. To make matters worse for the Braves, Chipper Jones is turning 40 next month, and he can not be counted on again for 70 rbi's, especially f the players in front of him don't get on base. The one bright spot in the Braves line up, that can be counted on for solid production, is out of the Catchers spot. Brian McCann is almost due for an extension, and you know he is going to be playing the best baseball of his career as he enters his prime years of 28-31. Anytime you can get 25 HR's and 70+ rbi's out of your catcher, you have to be happy, even though his numbers have dropped in the past couple of seasons. Atlanta's season will rely on there offense, and there starters ability to work a lot of innings, but if both of those things happen, the Braves will be a force to reckon with in the NL East.

Projected Finish: 88-74
Atlanta's season will rely on there offenses ability to stay stable throughout the year, and there starters ability to work a lot of innings, but if both of those things happen, the Braves will be a force to reckon with in the NL East.

Follow me on Twitter, @gideonturk, follow @Bluejaysplus on Twitter, and Like us on Facebook.

No comments:

Post a Comment