29 February 2012

2012 Fantasy Baseball Preview: Atlanta Braves

Over the next month, we will be previewing all 30 MLB teams for the upcoming fantasy season.  We'll go over everything from which players are new to the team, to which ones have left. Who should you draft, who should you avoid, who should you heckle, who should you stalk and send a lock of your hair to, who should you want to throw a baggie full of your own urine at.  You know.  All the important shit to prepare you for your draft.


So what about last year? It's really the tale of two seasons. The Braves rode a pretty competent pitching rotation and a solid, if unspectacular offense, to a fantastic 5 months. Then they went 2-53 in September and missed the playoffs, opening the door for the Cardinals to win the World Series. This places the 2011 Braves as one of my least favorite teams of all time. The 2012 team is pretty much the same. They're banking on a Jason Heyward rebound and some steady improvement from Freddie Freeman.

So who's playing where? Projected lineup courtesy of Rotochamp.com. Stats are from 2011.  RNK is the player's ranking at that position from our fantasy rankings.

1Michael BournOFHOU/ATL6569425061.294.349.38621st
2Martin PradoOFATL5516613574.260.302.38545th
3Chipper Jones3BATL4555618702.275.344.47025th
4Dan Uggla2BATL6008836821.233.311.4538th
5Brian McCannCATL 4665124713.270.351.4663rd
6Freddie Freeman1BATL 5716721764.282.346.44817th
7Jason HeywardOFATL 3965014429.227.319.38935th
8Tyler PastornickySSATL(Minors)----------.---.---.---32nd

Who do I draft? You know what you're getting from Bourn and McCann. Their floors and ceilings aren't too far from each other. Outside of a terrible first half to 2011, the same can be said of Thuggla. I'm really high on Freddie Freeman. He's built for power, and it can show up as early as this season. Don't let his knee injury scare you off. As someone that's dislocated his kneecap many times, he'll be good in about a week.

Who do I avoid? Chipper Jones may seem like a solid option (especially to those in OBP leagues), but you'd better not go into the season with him as your main option at any position. Tyler Pastornicky is an all-glove, not-much-hit SS that can steal a few bases and easily hit in the low .200's. Red flag!

Who do I keep an eye on? Jason Heyward is the real wild card. Will he put up high-20's homers and an OBP north of .380? Or will he continue to be plagued by injuries and stay at the Nick Markakis-esque 17 HR/10 SB levels of 2011. I'm betting on something in the middle. Put him down for 80/24/80/10/.290 this season.

So who's in the rotation? Projected lineup courtesy of Rotochamp.com. Stats are from 2011.  RNK is the player's ranking at that position from our fantasy rankings.

1Tim Hudson INJSPATL215.016103.221.141585645th
2Tommy HansonSPATL 130.01173.601.171424626th
3Jair JurrjensSPATL 152.01362.961.22904459th
4Brandon BeachySPATL 141.2733.681.211694631st
5Mike MinorSPATL 82.2534.141.49773082nd

Who do I draft? Ummmm...I'm probably staying away from all of these fuckers, as I'll explain...now!

Who do I avoid? All of these fuckers. Hudson's old and has back problems (and doesn't strike anyone out anyway). Hanson's throwing motion just SCREAMS constant shoulder problems. Jair Jurrjens weighs about 130 pounds and got hurt reading this sentence. Beachy made quite a splash last season, but when I watch him on TV, I feel like his fastball is wayyy too straight and might have some home run problems on the road.

Who do I keep an eye on? Mike Minor, but not because he's good specifically. Whoever nabs the #5 spot in the rotation (Minor, Delgado, Vizcaino, Grizzly Bear) will have some talent to work with.

Who the hell is closing?
Craig KimbrelRPATL77.043462.101.04127321st

What if that asshole gets hurt or starts to suck? Obviously Johnny Venters is the handcuff here, but he also threw about 850 innings of relief last season, so keep an eye on any of the seven other relievers the Braves had check in with a sub-2.00 ERA last year.


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