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Jake Dal Porto (Baseball Writer) Follow @TheJakeMan24
At 11-1, the Atlanta Braves can seemingly do no wrong. Fresh off a sweep of the Washington Nationals, the Braves can make a very good case regarding their status as the best team in the NL.
That spot was occupied by the Nationals in the preseason chatter. And I wouldn’t blame the pundits who circled them as the NL’s best team.
After all, they fixed their leadoff spot woes with the addition of Denard Span, further improved their bullpen with Rafael Soriano and probably most importantly, started the season with an improved Bryce Harper. On paper, they had minuscule flaws.
The Brothers Upton Both HR to win the game!:
Monday December 10th, 2012
Jake Dal Porto (Baseball Writer):
The Braves have been one of the most active teams during the offseason, but outside of the B.J. Upton signing, their additions and subtractions have pretty much flown under the radar. I guess that’s no surprise when the spotlight sits on Zack Greinke, Josh Hamilton, and the Dodgers. But it’s time to analyze what’s brewing in Atlanta.
The big headline here is the loss of Tommy Hanson. The 26-year-old has yet to fully reach his ceiling in the major leagues, after having such lofty expectations placed on him when he first broke into the league in 2009. In 2012, he took a few massive steps back, though, with mediocre numbers across the board.
To be specific, he posted a career-worst 4.48 ERA, yielded a career-high 27 HRs, allowed 9.4 hit per Nine Innings, and walked nearly four batters per Nine Innings. So in other words, he didn’t have much of a clue as to where the ball was headed when it left his hands. Still, he has the potential to be front of the rotation starter with the Angels.
Wednesday September 19th, 2012
Jake Dal Porto: Ever heard of a pitcher named Kris Medlen? By now, you should have at least come across the name. The Nationals were the most recent victims of Medlen’s dominance, as the unknown starter fanned 13 Nats hitters.
The Braves loss of ace Brandon Beachy was a void that supposedly couldn’t be filled. Medlen has seemingly done the impossible since being thrown into the starting rotation. But, with success comes higher expectations. And yes, going 7-0 with a 0.86 ERA is certainly a successful stint. Meaning, Medlen is the Braves X-factor for late season success, and barring a collapse, aka 2011, he is their X-Factor for a successful postseason run.
Friday August 17th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: As of today, the Atlanta Braves sit four games out of first place in the NL East. This division was supposed to be the strongest in baseball. The Nationals made moves in the offseason to acquire Gio Gonzalez, the Marlins signed three big name free agents to go along with the core of Hanley Ramirez and Giancarlo Stanton, and the Phillies kept their strong pitching staff intact. The Braves didn’t make any huge moves and stuck with what they had—a strong hitting lineup to back up a good pitching rotation. The Braves started the season with Tim Hudson, Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson, Brandon Beachy, and Mike Minor as their five-man rotation. Jurrjens was coming off a strong 2011 campaign in which he posted a 2.96 ERA through 152 innings. The Braves were hoping Jurrjens could replicate last season’s performance in order to give the team a better outcome and hopefully make the playoffs.
Unfortunately this was not the case for Jurrjens. He has been awful this year, going 3-4 with a 6.89 ERA. This isn’t the performance the Braves were hoping for, but somehow they are able to manage. Tim Hudson, the oldest on the staff at 36, has a 3.59 ERA to go with a 12-4 record. Tommy Hanson hasn’t been his best this year with a 4.29 ERA in 22 starts (his record is a bit deceiving at 12-5). He has also spent some time on the DL. The real story this year is Ben Sheets. After missing some of the 2010 season and not playing all of last year, Sheets joined the Braves midseason and has been fantastic. In his six starts this year, Sheets has gone 4-2 with a 2.13 ERA. In his 10-year career, Sheets’ best was 2004, when he posted a 2.70 ERA while going 12-14 with the Brewers. If he can keep his performance up, Sheets will have the best year of his career at age 34 (half a season, but still).
Monday June.4, 2012
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-We are going to bring you monthly power rankings every month of the season. There will be a few notes written for each team. Please feel free to let us know your thoughts. The Texas Rangers are the top ranked team yet once again, although teams are certainly gaining on the them in the last week. Look out for Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees to make their move towards the top this month.
June Power Rankings-Last Month Rank in Parenthesis
1. Texas-32-22 (1) The Rangers rode Josh Hamilton in the month of May-who enters today on pace for about 60 HRs and 170 RBI while hitting .354. Nelson Cruz is starting to heat up and the duo of Adrian Beltre and Ian Kinsler are steady as as ever. Yu Darvish is 7-3 en route to the leading the group amongst Rookie of The Year Contention. Joe Nathan is looking like his old self again out of the pen with an ERA under 2.
2. LA Dodgers 33-21 (5) Even with Matt Kemp out of the lineup again, the Dodgers are winning ball games with solid contributions from Andre Ethier and A.J Ellis on offense. The pitching staff has been anchored by Clayton Kershaw and a fast 7-1 start by Chris Capuano. Ted Lilly was 5-1 before a stint on the DL. It is too bad because Lilly is 125-104 since 2004.
3. Tampa Bay 31-23 (2) Hideki Matsui homered in two of his first 3 games back with the Rays. The team has had steady pitching to stay in contention. Carlos Pena has really struggled in the last month and will need to pick it up. Luke Scott with 35 RBI has good production numbers in spite of his .225 AVG. Fernando Rodney has converted 17 out of 18 saves to pace the club.
4. Cincinnati 30-23 (12) Joey Votto has hit .404 in the last 30 days and maybe the best all-around hitter in the National League right now. Jay Bruce has 12 HRs and 34 RBI and is living up to his all-star potential. Aroldis Chapman has 27 Strikeouts in just over 14 innings and has yet to yield a run while opponents are hitting a paltry .043 against him.
5. NY Yankees 29-24 (6) The Bronx Bombers have 6 players with 8 HRs or more, which is a good thing because with the exception of Derek Jeter, a lot of them are hitting under their career averages. The return of Andy Pettitte has helped the rotation with the loss of Micheal Pineda. Phil Hughes threw a complete game over the weekend and CC Sabathia is on pace for another 20 win season. Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday February 29th, 2012
Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports): The National League East is filled with many big name fantasy players, particularly the Philadelphia Phillies with their starting rotation and hitters like Howard, Utley, Rollins, Victorino, and Pence. However, this division is intriguing, because teams like the Braves have a plethora of up-and-coming players. Furthermore, scattered throughout the rest of the division are players who have potential to provide sneaky good value. Read the rest of this entry