The Atlanta Braves were the cream of the crop through the 1990s and into the early 2000s, but the last few years have been a direct opposite of that success as Atlanta was dead last in the NL East last year.
All that said, the Braves are at least going in the right direction. They’ve accumulated a nice crop of prospects and have a large quantity of arms in the minors. That’ll help Atlanta in the future, but here in 2017, look for a better team thanks to some veteran pitching that’ll help the team transition into a new ballpark, but this team is still a ways away from being competitive in the NL East again.
2016 Record: 68-93
2016 Moneyline Record: +3.88 Units
2016 Over/Under Total Record: 82-69-10
Current World Series Odds: +13500
Current Odds To Win NL: +6500
Current Odds To Win NL East: +4354
Regular Season Win Total: 74.5
For a rebuilding team, the rotation sure is old. They cornered the market on old pitchers, bringing in 43-year old Bartolo Colon and 42-year old R.A. Dickey. Those two, alongside Jaime Garcia and Julio Teheran make a veteran top-four all with the track record of being at least a solid major league pitcher. That then leaves the fifth spot to the youngsters with Mike Foltynewicz likely getting the first shot.
Last year, the Braves had to go to guys like Matt Wisler and Aaron Blair when they weren’t ready. This year, they can keep those types of arms on the farm, let them develop and then let them force their way into the big league rotation.
While the rotation of ageless wonders doesn’t necessarily strike fear into the hearts of the opposing team, they’re major league arms and that’s more than can be said about the rotation last season.
In the bullpen, the Braves don’t have the most dominant guy in the ninth, but Jim Johnson does have a pair of 50 save seasons under his belt and was effective again last year with a 3.06 ERA. Setting up for him are Ian Kriol and Arodys Vizcaino, each of whom have very solid stuff. The depth of this pen is a question, but if the veteran arms up front give enough innings, the Braves have a good enough selection at the back end to close the door more times than not.
As for the offense, the team started to score runs at a much better clip in the second half last year and a full season of Matt Kemp should provide adequate protection for Freddie Freeman. Freeman had a monster season that went relatively under the radar nationwide. He hit .302 with 34 bombs and a .968 OPS. Kemp was a surprise, too, after much talk of his decline for a few years, he was very good in a Braves’ uniform with 12 homers in just 56 games. Atlanta’s missed pop the last few years and now with Freeman and Kemp back-to-back they’ve got a middle of the order to be feared.
Other solid veterans like Nick Markakis and Brandon Phillips aren’t exactly all-stars, at least not anymore, but they’re more than capable while Ender Inciarte only had a .732 OPS last year, but got on base more than 35% of the time. He’ll set the table for the mashers in the middle.
Going around the diamond, this team actually has answers at most positions. The biggest weaknesses are probably Tyler Flowers behind the plate and Adonis Garcia at third.
There’s enough here for this team to surprise people and flirt with .500, but the rotation is too dependent on guys that can be done at any moment given their age and the lineup lacks depth and could still be upgraded a few starting spots, too.
The true success of this team will depend a lot on how Dansby Swanson adjusts to a full season at the major league level and how well the young arms can produce when called up either midseason after trades or at any point due to injuries in the rotation or the pen.
April 3-6: at Mets
April 7-9: at Pirates
April 11-12: at Marlins
April 14-17: vs. Padres
April 18-20: vs. Nationals
April 21-23: at Phillies
April 25-27: at Mets
April 28-30: at Brewers
Despite having a brand new stadium in the south where it is noticeably warmer, Atlanta kicks off the season up in the Big Apple. The colder weather could be a shock after more than a month spent down by Disney World.
Nevertheless, we’re in for a very interesting series. We’ll get to see how the new look Braves’ offense fairs against one of the best rotations in the game, even with the recent injury to Steven Matz. On the other side, the Mets offense has a few holes that the Braves’ veteran hurlers may be able to exploit.
The Braves won’t see much of their new stadium in April. They’ll get to have their home opener on April 14 against the Padres and will host four against them and three against Washington, but that’s all the home games they’ll have in the month. Instead, they start the season with a four city road trip and play another three-city swing to close out April.
View this years MLB game match-ups with the complete seasonal schedule for all MLB teams. Each year we will be updating the season schedule with the current information including final scores, so bookmark this page.
The 2017 Major League Baseball season is tentatively set to begin on April 2, 2017, and feature three games, including the 2016 World Series champions Chicago Cubs facing off against the St. Louis Cardinals, which will be ESPN's first Sunday Night Baseball game of the year.
The 88th MLB All-Star Game will be hosted by the Miami Marlins and will be played at Marlins Park on July 11, 2017. It will be televised nationally on Fox.
|Major League Baseball Schedules By Month|
|MLB Betting Schedule||April||May||June||July||August||September||October|
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