Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Atlanta Braves Season 21 Outlook

Season 20
Won/Loss (place in division) & Playoffs:  100-62 (1st), lost the NLCS in 7 to Pittsburgh
Offense:  798 runs (2nd)
Pitching:  3.29 ERA (2nd)

Major ChangesFA Departures:  SS Pete Simpkins, RP Claude Smith, SP Reggie Hardy, SP Hades McDermott, OF Bo Hines, IF Damaso Baez, OF Brian Blair

FA Signees:  OF Dan Bailey, OF Julian Guerrero, OF Fernando Sosa,  IF Wilson Burns, RP Arthur Howell, SP Dennis Forest, SP Calvin Langston, SP Denny Sullivan

Rule V: C Alex Seelbach (#31)

Promoted:  2B Alex Sugawara (Sea 16 IFA)

Season 21 OutlookOK, the Braves lost a lot of offensive production in free agency:  Hines (.313/26/104), Baez (.300/32/106) and Blair (.293/14/42) gave them some great numbers at RF, 3B and CF.  Who's stepping into those shoes this year?

Looks like Jumbo Bravo will slide over to 3B this year, with rookie Alex Sugawara taking over 2nd.  Sugawara's a capable player, but he won't approach the power output Baez provided.  CF looks like maybe a Bailey/Sosa platoon...some pop there, probably a push from last year.  Guerrero replaces Hines - he could certainly have a big year even at 36, but I doubt he's got 26 homers and 104 RBI in that aging bat.

Looks to me like the offense is likely to be down at least a little, even if they get a repeat of Erick Green's career year (103 RBI...previous best 68).

The staff lost about 365 mostly quality innings with the departures of Smith, Hardy and McDermott.  Can Howell, Forest, Langston and Sullivan replace that?  Maybe, but I think the bigger question is whether the entire staff can even come close to last year's remarkable performance.  They had only 1 pitcher with an ERA above 4.25 (Al Jose) - and he only pitched 34 innings.  That's incredible, you just don't see that.  The better Mets' staff had 3 guys over 4.25 who pitched significant innings.

This is still a solid staff, especially the front 3 of Plata, Ruffin, Roque.  They'll do their parts.  But you have to expect that some guys are going to revert to career norms and you'll have 3-5 guys in hte upper 4's and 5's in ERA.

Expect some backsliding from the 100-win mark this year, but Atlanta could still win what will almost certainly be a more competitive division

And this from Atlanta's GM, shakazulu5:
"Atlanta's Outlook: **** poor. I really have nothing good to say about my off-season moves (or lack thereof).  Tore up my knee playing flag football, had to have surgery, excuses, etc, but the Braves' GM basically **** the bed this off-season... that's all I got, hopefully you give my team a good chirping, we deserve it. And awesome work on the blog bro, thanks!

Hope the knee's feeling better...had an ACL myself some years back.  No fun.

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