MLB Season Preview: Atlanta Braves
The Atlanta Braves had a very successful 2013 season, breaking out with a 96-win season and a division title. The Braves owned the best pitching staff in baseball, allowing only 3.3 runs per game. Andrelton Simmons proved to be one of the best defensive players in the game from the shortstop position, and the youngster will look to have an even bigger impact in 2014.
The Braves also made a few moves in the off-season, highlighted by the following:
12/16 – Signed RHP Gavin Floyd
12/18 – Traded minor-leaguer Sean Gilmartin to Twins for C Ryan Doumit.
(The Braves also did not re-sign Brian McCann, Tim Hudson and Reed Johnson)
The loss of McCann to free agency (and eventually the Yankees) hurts, but a solid season from Evan Gattis can go a long way towards replacing McCann’s production behind the plate. Ryan Doumit will be a serviceable backup catcher (along with Gerald Laird), as well as spot-start for the corner outfielders.
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Justin Upton, LF
- Freddie Freeman, 1B
- Evan Gattis, C
- Chris Johnson, 3B
- Andrelton Simmons, SS
- Dan Uggla, 2B
- B.J. Upton, CF
Closer: Craig Kimbrel
Anything less than a division crown for this team would be a disappointment, as the Mets, Marlins and Phillies still look to be off the pace of competing in the NL East. Gavin Floyd and Alex Wood could be two key pieces as the season goes along and injuries start popping up. The Braves should win 94-95 games this season.