Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Atlanta Braves Season 37 Preview
Season 36: 92-70. Lost the final three games of the season to miss out on the division, and ultimately the wildcard as well.
The Braves lost three major players from the previous season: 2b Cy James ($82 million to the Dodgers), RP extraordinaire Wayne Counsell ($100.5 million to the Reds) and 3b Hal Hernandez (traded to the Cardinals mid-season). Defensive SS Blake Neal was traded to the Diamondbacks to replenish the bullpen, and 4/5 starter Hyun-Jin Dong was traded to the Yankees for Michael Judd, to replace Neal. Free Agency resulted in Elvis Snow manning Center Field, and Alvin Phillips beefing up the rotation.
Atlanta scored more (727) and allowed fewer (571) than the division and world series-winning Cardinals, and had an Expected Winning Percentage 34 points higher than the rest of the division (foiled by a just-bad-enough 30-26 record in 1-run games). The team expects to absorb the losses of Hernandez and James pretty easily, but Counsell hurts. The Braves have little depth and will need to be injury free. If the new bullpen can be almost as good as last year, the rotation should be much improved and better equipped for a playoff run. The Braves, as always, expect to win the division.