Atlanta Braves 2015 Preview

19
Mar

2014 Record – 79-83

Key Additions

SP Shelby Miller, OF Nick Markakis, RP Jason Grilli, RP Jim Johnson, C A.J. Pierzynski, IF Alberto Callaspo, IF Jace Peterson, OF Jonny Gomes, OF Eric Young Jr.

Key Departures

OF Jason Heyward, OF Justin Upton, C/OF Evan Gattis, IF/OF Emilio Bonifacio, IF Tommy La Stella, SP Ervin Santana, SP Aaron Harang, RP Jordan Walden, RP David Carpenter, SP/RP David Hale, SP Brandon Beachy

Projected 2015 Lineup

  1. RF Nick Markakis
  2. 3B Chris Johnson
  3. 1B Freddie Freeman
  4. LF Jonny Gomes
  5. CF Melvin Upton Jr.
  6. C Christian Bethancourt
  7. 2B Phil Gosselin
  8. SS Andrelton Simmons

Projected 2015 Starters

  1. Julio Teheran
  2. Shelby Miller
  3. Alex Wood
  4. Mike Minor
  5. Eric Stults

Breakdown

In the NBA, a 19-year-old player can be drafted and immediately change the franchise. First there’s a rookie of the year season, then the player develops even further. Eventually, you’ve got a superstar who can simply take over the game. Unfortunately for losing MLB teams, the process isn’t quite as simple. Draft picks can take years to reach the league, and even then, no one player can have that sort of impact. I guess question I’m getting at is, why are the Braves appearing to be in full on tank mode if it’s not going to help them all that much?

This was a tumultuous offseason for Atlanta, and that’s putting it likely. A fired GM, a new ballpark being built, and basically an entire new lineup. How are they going to fare this year? All indications point toward nowhere near as good as they did last year. Still, it’s important never to count out the Bravos, and with solid run from their rotation and a bit of offense, things could be better than first glance would indicate.

X-Factor – Chris Johnson

Johnson was one of the best hitters in the league in 2013, but then he returned to Earth in 2014. His bat is going to have a huge impact on the success of this lineup, especially when you consider how few options there are on offense.

Most To Prove – Melvin Upton

The outfielder formerly known as BJ has played absolutely terribly since joining Atlanta. Now, his brother is gone, and the starting spot in center field is somehow still his to lose. If last year was any indication, he will do just that and lose the spot, but if he’s somehow able to hang on, that could be the revival his career needs.

2015 Impact Prospect – Jose Peraza – 2B

Second base is actually one of the stronger positions for the Braves between Gosselin and Alberto Callaspo, but it looks as if Peraza could be the next big piece in the middle infield for this team, and if they’re sputtering at all, he’s likely to make the move up during the season so he can start getting used to the big league game before there’s a pennant race or something else of any significance.

Why They’re Worth Watching

As sad as it is, there are hardly any reasons to tune in for the Braves this year. Maybe just the ninth inning when Kimbrell is mowing down opposing hitters.

Best Case

Somehow the offense over performs, and the bullpen is as lockdown as it appears. 81-81

Worst Case

Tank mode is in full effect and they challenge the Phillies for the division basement. 69-93

Projected Record – 75-87

About the author: Alex Lowe

A former college athlete in a sport that no one cared about, Alex now spends most of his days being a furiously biased Bulls and Braves fan. When he's not busy with that, he still imagines his 5'7" self making an improbable rise to NBA stardom.