Starting on Friday, February 24th I will be previewing each team in Major League Baseball. I will start with the San Diego Super Padres and end on April 5th with the Boston Red Sox.
I will tell you each team’s 2011 record and place in their division, along with my 2012 projected record and projected place in division. If they are lucky enough to make the playoffs I will tell you how far they will go. I will then briefly summarize the team’s overall talent.
Each preview will consist of the projected 2012 defensive line up, the top 3 starting pitchers and the top 2 relief pitchers. A comment about each player stating my view of whether they will be good, bad or the same.
And now the 2012 Atlanta Braves.
Projected 2012 Record:78-84
2011 Division Place:2nd Place
Projected 2012 Division Place:4th Place
Overall the 2012 Braves look good, like a solid second place team behind the Phillies. So why do I have them finishing 4th? The Marlins and Nationals are better. The race for the NL East title could be spectacular this season and should be spectacular in 2013. I just don’t feel it for the Braves in ’12. Something seems to be hanging over their heads like a black cloud, but if they are ahead in the 8th the game is over could be a saving grace for their season.
McCann has been the best catcher in the game since 2006. His consistency is what has kept the Braves offensively competitive during the Phillies dominant stretch.
How does Freeman respond to his second year in the league? A .280+ average and 20+ home runs would match his rookie campaign, but the Braves are hoping for a little maturation from the 22 year old.
Uggla has 5 straight 30+ home run years, but last year his OPS was below .800. That would seemingly be hard to do, but not when 28.57 % of your hits are those 36 home runs.
Chipper was once great, then he was very good, now he is past his prime and while I’m sure he still commands the clubhouse, his production is down so much it might be time for him to ride off into the sunset.
Pastornicky will make his major league debut in ’12. Expectations for ’12 are tempered for the 23 year old, but they do expect a some very good numbers from Pastornicky as he matures in the bigs.
Bourne is crazy good on the bases. Should provide plenty of opportunities to score while also providing great CF defense.
Prado’s OPS dropped a lot in ’11, damaging in a lot of ways his value as a 2 hitter. If he bounces back batting behind Bourn his RBI numbers could jump up nicely.
Injury destroyed ’11 for Heyward. Reports are that he is back and that is good news for Braves fans.
More homers given up in less innings is a bad trend. For the Braves to compete Hanson has to be the ace, in innings and production.
Sure Jurrjens Win/Loss from ’11 looks great, but he needs to pitch more and pitch better. 150 innings isn’t enough for a Major League #2.
A very good first full season effort from Beachy. His K/9 is great for a starter and with enough inninngs can easily be a 200K guy. Needs to give up less few hits and cut his walk rate by a slight margin, about 1/2 a walk per game, and he can jump into the elite class of young NL starters.
Its going to be hard just to match Kimbrel’s rookie of the year campaign of ’11. If he gets close that will be an awesome season.
A plus arm with closer potential for the very few days that Kimbrel can’t go. Great tandem for ends of games.