March 18, 2012; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike Minor (36) against the Baltimore Orioles during a spring training game at Disney Wide World of Sports complex. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Why the Braves are really really good


If you haven’t notices many different sites and sources are under the impression that the Braves are one of the weaker teams in the NL East. I suppose an epic collapse, a fired hitting coach, a silent off season, a rookie shortstop, and a slow start to the Spring may cause the casual observers to worry but the ‘experts’?

Come on, we had an epic collapse. A collapse means everything falls apart. The team played bad for a month. It is completely different from being a horrible team the whole year. For a huge portion of the season the Braves were one of the top 5 teams in the entire league.

We have made any moves because there was no need to make any moves. Dumping Derek Lowe and saving $5 million dollars counts as a ‘loss’ but it’s a gain in my book. Mike Minor is going to be taking his spot and that is like signing a stud pitcher. The kid has been on fire so far this Spring and leads the team in strike outs, ERA, and WHIP. He has improved upon last season and is looking to have a Branon Beachy type breakout year. It will do wonders for the team if he can stay healthy and go deep into games on a regular basis. Minor is arguably the best 4/5 pitcher in the game right now.

The offense has been doing well lately too. Dan Uggla is destroying the ball, Freddie Freeman is finding his groove, Martin Prado looks to be the player from 2010 again, and how about this kid? It seems like Jason Heyward is tired of people talking crap and he is back to shattering the ball (I did knock on wood before publishing don’t worry) like he used to. Michael Bourn is going to make a huge impact on the lineup now that he is here for a full season as well.

The bullpen could be even better than it was last year even with Arodys Vizcaino having Tommy John surgery. Kris Medlen is back to eat up innings wherever he is needed (starting, long relief, tight spots,) and Cory Gearrin is looking better than ever and I’m betting Yohan Flonde will manage to be more effective than Scott Proctor ever dreamed of.

Another bonus is that Frank Wren is now actively searching for a right handed outfielder/third baseman to help out which has really been our biggest need since October 2011.

Add all of this to the Phillies’ Phlethura of injuries and it’s a shocker no on has thought to put the Braves in the number 1 spot of their NL East predictions. But being the underdog is always fun and immensely satisfying when you win the Division. If you still need something get you a bit more hopeful for the Braves 2012 season… we play the Mets next Thursday to open the season.

If you need more than that:

  • we play the Mets on the 7th then,
  • we play the Mets on the 8th then,
  • we play the Astros on the 9th then,
  • we play the Astros on the 10th then,
  • we play the Astros on the 11th then,
  • we play the Mets again on the 16th then,
  • the Mets again on the 17th then,
  • we get tired of ten run ruling the Mets so on the 18th we let one of our minor league pitchers have a shot against them but we forget that our minor league pitcher is the best pitching prospect in baseball and he throws a no hitter against them and Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman hit homeruns and then,
  • we finish off the month with a brutally challenging four game series against the Pirates an everyone’s favorite outfielder, Nate McLouth.

I’m looking forward to the season, I hope you guys are as well.

Tags: Atlanta Braves Featured Frank Wren Mike Minor New York Mets Philadelphia Phillies Popular

  • FredOwens

    Just one minor quibble, Wren changed nothing because he was BROKE, not because he didn’t need to change something. I know that’s what he said publicly but would you really expect him to say, “Well out outfielders aren’t good but I can’t afford anything I want and don’t want what I can afford so we’re stuck with them”?
    Wren has been looking to steal a bargain all winter but was offered nothing worth having he could afford. When he asks about players like Seth Smith and Will Venable – both left handed bats – you wonder if he’s watching what’s going on. The best news is that he is now sniffing around Nady whom he could have had two months ago but ignored and who is now going to be the right handed outfield bat for the Nats until Morris returns. Day late and many $$$ short.
    If they broke camp today the Braves are significantly underpowered to win a championship. Best predictions I’ve see put them at 4 runs a game which is where they were last year and statistically a team needs nearer 5 to be a champ. Yes teams have done it with less but not often. Even David O’Brien predicts third place for the Braves behind the Nats.
    I love the Braves but we have a rookie at short an aging veteran with limited range and rebuilt knees at third when he returns and a super utility man there until then. In left we have two nice guys who play defense right up there with Garrett and that ain’t good. We won a lot of games last year on the backs of the pitchers and the three musketeers at the end of the game. By August all were exhausted or hurt and the bats didn’t help thus the collapse.
    Every stretch where we play   sub-500 teams means somewhere we will play a stretch contenders. The start is important and we should do well but the finish is the key. We will win a lot of games – 84 to 88 most project – and if the Fish implode the Phillies continue to get old  and player AAA infielders as 2nd and 3rd and the Nats as I expect start strong and fade we could sneak up on the division and win it.
    Now I’m off the breakfast and to Dark Star to look around Braves spring training to see what I can see help me finish my post and if there’s anything else to write about. :-)
     

  • Big Bad Bob

    I can understand the “experts” being excited about the Fish and Nats, but I believe that they really don’t understand the dynamics of the Braves.
    Yes, they suffered the “epic collapse” in September last year, but a lot of deadwood has been trimmed from the roster. How many games did the “Proctologist” cost us last year? Does anyone think that Flande could possibly be worse? What about Derek Lowe, McLouth, Shaffer, Linebrink or Conrad? Wouldn’t you rather have Livan Hernandez, Kris Medlen, Randall Delgado, Michael Bourne and Drew Sutton?
    I’ll not even mention down years by many players who hope to rebound.
    All in all, I think that the less scrutiny that the Braves face, the better. Let everyone talk about the Marlins (which I bet will implode) or the Nationals (who have several holes defensively). I think the Braves will surprise some folks.
    At least, I hope so! I love to gloat!!!

  • aryanspecial

    I am really optimistic about this season. But its really on part of what Bob said. The players who had the down seasons are key in making this happen for the Braves. Freeman can’t have a Heyward 2011 moment either. We are now part of a legitimately tough division. I expected and would’ve put money on us finishing 2nd last year. Harder to do this year.
    Seems there are a lot of people looking at both the Nats and the Marlins to have big seasons. If both teams pitch well, its gonna be really tough to hit consistently so pitching health will also be huge. Three of our starters are coming off injury so they have to find a way to hit the mound at least 30 something times this year.
    Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Strasburg, Zambrano, Jackson, Gio Gonzalez, Josh Johnson, Buerhle, Santana. Some quality starting pitchers in this division. I just hope our pitching is stronger from top to bottom and that our bats wake up.