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Atlanta Braves State Of The Union 2014: The Hitters

Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward are the future of this team.  Having said that, Freeman has displayed a little bit more consistency in his play to start their Careers.  In 1908 AB so far (about 3 full years), Freeman has a 3 Slash Line of .285/.355/.466 with 68 HRs and 280 RBI.  2013 saw him make his 1st ALL - Star Game, and finish 5th in NL MVP Voting by going .319/.396/.501 - with 23 HRs and 109 RBI despite missing 15 games.

Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward are the future of this team. Having said that, Freeman has displayed a little bit more consistency in his play to start their Careers. In 1908 AB so far (about 3 full years), Freeman has a 3 Slash Line of .285/.355/.466 with 68 HRs and 280 RBI. 2013 saw him make his 1st ALL – Star Game, and finish 5th in NL MVP Voting by going .319/.396/.501 – with 23 HRs and 109 RBI despite missing 15 games.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Braves won 95 Games in 2013, and the NL East was a runaway by 9 games over Washington.

This was done even though of paltry numbers posted by Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton, and a half year with Jason Heyward hitting underneath the Mendoza Line.

The game changer for the offense was a surprise performance by 3B Chris Johnson, who contended for the NL Batting Title for the better part of the whole year.

Evan Gattis and Brian McCann also hit near 20+ HRs each for just about a seasons worth of Plate Appearances out of the Catchers position.

Justin Upton charged out of the gates in April with 12 HRs, and then after going cold in the next 3 months. bounced back in August to take a run at it again.

The younger brother to B.J., had stretches were he carried the club. Read the rest of this entry

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Atlanta Braves Payroll in 2014 + Contracts Going Forward Part 1

It would be one thing if B.J. Upton were the only player on the Braves who had an abysmal season.  When you add the injuries and the season of Dan Uggla to Upton worst year of his career, it is actually amazing this team ended with 96 Wins.  With the club losing Brian McCann, Paul Maholm and Tim Hudson, they will need Upton and CO. to rebound for the team to contend again in 2014.  Upton has to get back to 20/20 years for powers and steals, and at least hit to 85% of his career 3 slash - to justify the contract doled out by the Atlanta Braves.  Uggla must correct his vision problems and get back to raking again.  These 2 guys are the #2 and #3 paid guys on the squad in 2014 behind Justin Upton.

It would be one thing if B.J. Upton were the only player on the Braves who had an abysmal season. When you add the injuries and the season of Dan Uggla to Upton worst year of his career, it is actually amazing this team ended with 96 Wins. With the club losing Brian McCann, Paul Maholm and Tim Hudson, they will need Upton and CO. to rebound for the team to contend again in 2014. Upton has to get back to 20/20 years for powers and steals, and at least hit to 85% of his career 3 slash – to justify the contract doled out by the Atlanta Braves. Uggla must correct his vision problems and get back to raking again. These 2 guys are the #2 and #3 paid guys on the squad in 2014 behind Justin Upton.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): & Jeff Kleiner (Org. Depth Chart/Payroll Expert)

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The ‘Tomahawk Choppers’ have 2 players that are killing them for Free Agent signings this winter.

B.J. Upton is only in the 2nd year of his 5 YRs/$75 MIL – and underachieving Dan Uggla  is still on the  books for 2 more years.

Between these 2 gentleman, they will bring down $26.25 MIL in 2014.  The Braves are hoping for more than under the ‘Mendoza Line’ Batting Averages – and an occasional big fly.

The Braves are also headed to Arbitration with Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward and Craig Kimbrel.  This is certainly bound to cost the organization a pretty penny.

In fact, those 3 players will likely exceed the amount of the B.J Upton and Uggla contracts.

Craig Kimbrel 2013 Highlights – Mature Lyrics Parental Guidance Is Advised:

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Cincinnati Reds State Of The Union: Is 2014 The Year?

The Cincinnati Reds are coming off of a heartbreaking season, losing in the one game playoff to the Pittsburgh Pirates. They finished third in the National League Central after winning the division in 2012. Manager Dusty Baker has been fired so the search is on for the next guy to take this team to the promise land. The Reds will most likely lose Shin-Soo Choo to free agency, and put Billy Hamilton in center field for 2014. Is 2014 the year of the Reds?

The Cincinnati Reds are coming off of a heartbreaking season, losing in the one game playoff to the Pittsburgh Pirates. They finished third in the National League Central after winning the division in 2012. Manager Dusty Baker had to be fired so a new manager could take this team to the promise land. Cincys will most likely lose Shin-Soo Choo to Free Agency, and put Billy Hamilton in center field next campaign. Is 2014 the year of the Reds?

BY Ryan Ritchey (Featured Baseball Columnist): 

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For the Cincinnati Reds 2013 ended in a disappointment. The Reds won 90 games once again, finishing 3rd in the National League Central, but couldn’t get past the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Wild Card.

Right after the season the Reds manager Dusty Baker was fired. I could write a full post just on Dusty Baker and how many things he did right/wrong but I won’t get into that.

Billy Hamilton steals 4 bases in his 1st four Games

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The Atlanta Braves State Of The Union – Fall 2013: Part 1

2013 was not an easy road traveled either. The Braves suffered so many injuries and set backs this season that I think a lot of us almost forget about the ones that happened earlier on in the year. Johnny Venters never even threw a regular season pitch this year and he has been our premiere set up man. Eric O’Flaherty threw his last pitch somewhere around the middle of May against this very Dodger team at Turner Field.

2013 was not an easy road traveled for Atlanta. The Braves suffered so many injuries and set backs this season that I think a lot of us almost forget about the ones that happened earlier on in the year. Johnny Venters never even threw a regular season pitch this year and he has been our premiere set up man. Eric O’Flaherty threw his last pitch somewhere around the middle of May against this very Dodger team at Turner Field.

By Bob McVinua (Special Guest Braves Writer – visit his website here):

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At the point after Eric O’Flaherty went down, many of us Braves fans began to panic and wonder how Fredi Gonzalez would get the ball to arguably the best closer

in all of baseball Craig Kimbrel. What happened after that? The Braves would still go on to post the best bullpen ERA in all of baseball and on top of that set a franchise record for the same mark.

Jason Heyward missed significant time as did Brian McCann. Freddie Freeman spent a couple of weeks on the disabled list and still drove in over 100 runs on the season.

BJ Upton and Dan Uggla struggled throughout most of the 2013 season and BJ was one of the players expected to make a huge impact when he signed with the Braves this winter and it just never happened.

Other players stepped up and young players assumed roles that were well beyond the original expectations of them in 2013.

No one panicked and no one quit and as a fan I am appreciative of the heart and effort this team always put forth.

The Dodgers Celebrate winning the NLDS Series versus Atlanta (At Turner Field)

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The Braves Win The NL East For The 1st Time Since 2005: The Team Is Way Different From Early 2013

The Braves won 14 straight Division Titles from 1991 - 2005, that culminated in 5 World Series Visits, with cashing in for the Trophy in 1995, however other than a Wild Card Berth (2010), and a Wild Card Play In Game (that they both lost), the club has not seen playoff success for the past 14 years.  The Bravos will have a full NLDS Series to claim another chance at a NLCS Pennant, for the 1st time since 1999.

The Braves won 14 straight Division Titles from 1991 – 2005, that culminated in 5 World Series Visits, with cashing in for the Trophy in 1995, however other than a Wild Card Berth (2010), and a Wild Card Play In Game in 2012 (that they both lost), the club has not seen playoff success for the past 14 years. The Bravos will have a full NLDS Series to claim another chance at a NLCS Pennant, for the 1st time since 1999. Atlanta is still duking it out with the Dodgers and Cardinals for overall home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and have a 0.5 Games Lead over St. Louis (2 game lead over Los Angeles) with just 5 games left.  This would be extremely ‘vital’ to the club – as the team sports a (MLB best) record of 53 – 23 at Turner Field – compared to 40 – 41 on the road this season.

By Hayley Howell (Featured Baseball Writer + Braves Enthusiastic Fan)  

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The first fourteen years of my life (1991-2005) the Braves won consecutive division titles (the best run in MLB to date). They were the first team in the NL to go from last place to first place the next year (“Worst to First”).

They went to the World Series. (1991 was the first time that the home team won all 7 games of the World Series-too bad Atlanta wasn’t the home team).

On my first trip to the local library after moving downtown twenty minutes from home I quickly discovered there were only two Braves books in the whole four floors:

The Miracle Season and a book by John Smoltz that I wish I could remember the title of because I read that thing like it was a holy canon that summer.

I know the Braves beat the Astros 6-5 a few hours after I was born, and I think, in baseball astrology terms, that meant I was destined to become a Braves fan.

The first World Series I was alive for was the Braves and the Twins, not as if I could remember it, but I know that people still argue over the bad call that supposedly caused the Braves to lose, as if one call among thousands could determine a game much less a series.

And for fourteen years consecutively the Braves won their Division (of course the 1994 Season was cancelled, negating the only time the season ended, without them atop the NL East Standings – Montreal was leading that year).

Braves Clinch The NL East

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Someone Should Take A 30 AB Flyer On Rick Ankiel: (Even For A 40 Man Sept Roster Spot)

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Sunday, June.30/2013

Rick Ankiel has hit for 76 HRs and a Slash Line of .240/.302/.724 in 1858 Career At-Bats.  Ankiel is the 1st player to win at least 10 Games a Pitcher and hit 50 HRs in the Major Leagues since Babe Ruth.  Ankiel could be used in any of the Outfield Positions as a PH/defensive replacement even if he is not in the starting lineup, Ankiel would help just about any MLB Team.  This year the man hit .188/.235/.657 - but had 15 XBH (7 HRs, 1 - 3B and 7 2B - with 18 RBI in just 128 AB).

Rick Ankiel has hit for 76 HRs and a Slash Line of .240/.302/.724 in 1858 Career At-Bats. He is the 1st player to win at least 10 Games a Pitcher and hit 50 HRs in the Major Leagues since Babe Ruth. Ankiel could be used in any of the Outfield Positions as a PH/defensive replacement even if he is not in the starting lineup, he would help just about any MLB Team. This year the man hit .188/.235/.657 – but had 15 XBH (7 HRs, 1 – 3B and 7 2B – with 18 RBI in just 128 AB).

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

Rick Ankiel was DFA’d recently by the New York Mets.  Since he is one of my favorite players – I nicknamed him “Mr. Mission Impossible” – because he always seems to self – destruct after 30 – 35 AB with a new team.

Cast as one of the biggest underdogs/inspirational stories of ALL – time in the game of baseball I am here to give him his due.  I don’t even care if he never plays another inning in the field….or has another AB in the Majors.

The former Pitcher has had a flair for some dramatic moments in his 13 year career as both a hitter and a pitcher.

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Rick Ankiel Has Another Shot To Stay In The MLB: The New York Mets Claimed Him

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Tuesday May.14/2013

Rick Ankiel had a dubious beginning as a Met last night, misreading a baseball and having it bounce in and out of his borrowed glove (Jon Nieses's) hit by Ty Wigginton that led to 3 runs. Ankiel went 0 - 3 with a walk in St. Louis.  Despite the poor game, I like the move and it should enable Ankiel to be a starting Outfielder for a stretch.  If he can hit, he may be a good late season defensive acquisition/Pinch Hitter for a contending ball club

Rick Ankiel had a dubious beginning as a Met last night, misreading a baseball and having it bounce in and out of his borrowed glove (Jon Nieses’s) hit by Ty Wigginton that led to 3 runs. Ankiel went 0 – 3 with a walk in St. Louis. Despite the poor game, I like the move and it should enable Ankiel to be a starting Outfielder for a stretch. If he can hit, he may be a good late season defensive acquisition/Pinch Hitter for a contending ball club.  Rick Ankiel hit for a 3 Slash Line of .194/.231/.715 with the Astros this year prior to being Designated For Assignment on May 5th.  The former Astro did have 5 HRs and 11 RBI in just 62 AB.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

There are certain players in the MLB that you cheer for more than others.  For me, Rick Ankiel exemplifies this.

I always check for his stats in the boxscores early into my perusal of any baseball website.

His story is one of inspiration and dedication to the game of baseball.

I was disappointed when he was released by the Houston Astros – but completely understood why the change had to occur,

The Mets have the weakest Outfield in the Major Leagues and are actually one of the teams I suggested for Ankiel as a landing spot in my post 2012 year write-ups.

It is obvious that the Wilpon’s continue to look for cheap alternative options to patrol their grass.

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Rick Ankiel Earns A New MLB Life Yet Again

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Sunday, March.31/2013

Ankiel could be used in any bf the Outfield Positions as a PH/defensive replacement even if he is not in the starting lineup, Ankiel would help just about any MLB Team.  Ankiel only batted .236/.292/.377 with the Nats in 2 years but was slugging .411 this year 17 XBH (5 HRs, 10-2B and 2 3B ) in just 158 AB.  Injuries plagued him from 2009-2010. At age 34, does he have any baseball left?

Ankiel could be used in any of the Outfield Positions as a PH/defensive replacement even if he is not in the Starting Lineup for the Astros, Ankiel only batted .236/.292/.669 with the Nats in 2 years but was slugging .411 – with 17 XBH (5 HRs, 10-2B and 2 3B ) in just 158 AB during the 2012 campaign.  The Nats released him near the end of June after Jayson Werth returned to the lineup and Bryce Harper was called up. Injuries has plagued him for the majority of the 2009 – 2010 years. At age 33, does he have any baseball left?  The Astros fans will soon find out.

By Richard Perez (Astros Correspondent visit the StrosBros Website here):

In his tenth overall MLB season, Rick Ankiel is on his fourth MLB team after struggling to stay in the Majors since 2010, being designated as a back-up outfielder with the Royals, Braves, and finally the Nationals. As a Non-Roster Invitee, Ankiel has found a home with the Houston Astros organization.

It seems clear that with his explosion towards the end of Spring Training that he could potentially earn a spot on the Astros 25 Man Roster. More than likely we will see Ankiel be platooning with J.D. Martinez in Left Field, with the former Starting Pitcher taking the Starting job, and having the young and inexperienced Martinez under him and learning from the ten-year veteran, Ankiel.

Don’t Run On Rick Ankiel – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is Advised:

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