Atlanta Braves 2013 Player Roster: State Of The Union
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.
Kris Medlen, the story of the final few months of baseball. As a starter (12 games), he posted an ERA south of 1.00, and struck out exactly 9 batters per Nine Innings. While it’d be too much to assume that he will repeat his success over a full season, he will nonetheless play a key role.
Brandon Beachy, who led the National League in the ERA for weeks before hitting the shelf, will be back at some point in 2013. When his presence returns to the Braves’ staff, that will be a pleasant shot in the arm.
So to reiterate the original question—yes, the Braves can replace Hanson for the present, and for years into the future.
The Braves’ offense wasn’t terribly strong in 2012. As a unit, they compiled the ninth best wOBA in the NL with a .310 mark, and also had the ninth best OPS. So at best, you can call them a middle of the pack offense. But here’s a fun fact: they had the fourth best OPS in the NL through April. As you can see, the drop was substantial.
Now, this same middling offense will be without their catalyst in Michael Bourn, who posted a team-high 6.0 WAR in 2012. Instead, they will run their luck with the brothers Upton, with the club hoping these guys finally live up to their potential.
B.J. Upton Outside of Upton, the Braves’ core should produce consistently.
Andrelton Simmons, Tyler Pastronicky or Paul Janish – SS
Chris Johnson – 3B
Brian McCann – C Fresh of a disappointing 2012 campaign stuffed with injuries, should be a good bet to return to All-Star form. His .698 OPS in 2012 was certainly an outlier compared to the rest of the samples on his track record. Gerald Laird will be his back up.
Dan Uggla – 2B hopes to follow the similar path after hitting just .220 this past season.
Freddie Freeman – 1B
Now, here’s the real strength of this Braves squad. A back-end consisting of Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters, Jordan Walden, and Eric O’Flaherty, essentially indicates that a close game heading into the later innings is over if Atlanta holds a lead. Christhian Martinez and Luis Avilan round out the depth chart to provide the depth past the first four. The Braves can win a lot of games in the later innings if they lead.
The one thing you notice from that group is the Lefty and Righty split. I’m no genius, but this should come in handy form time to time.
There isn’t much more to say, other than to warn opposing offense, of course.
Jake Dal Porto is a Baseball Writer with MLB reports and a student from the Bay Area. Jake’s favorite sports moment was when the Giants won the World Series back in 2010. He loves to use sabermetrics in his work. He thinks they are the best way to show a player’s real success compared to the basic stats such as ERA, RBIs, and Wins. Jake also enjoys interacting and debating with his readers. Follow him on Twitter:Follow @TheJakeMan24
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Posted on December 10, 2012, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis and tagged angels, Atlanta Braves, b.j. upton, brandon beachy, Brian McCann, craig kimbrel, dan uggla, freddie freeman, jason heyward, Jonny Venters, jordan walden, jorden walden, josh hamilton, kris medlen, martin prado, michael bourn, mike minor, randall delgado, tommy hanson, zack greinke. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.