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by user Timothy Moreland

What happened to the Braves rotations of the 90's. John Smoltz is still around but he is no longer #3; he is the ace. A lot of people expected Smoltz to breakdown last year after converting from closer to starter again, but he showed he can make it the whole year. I would expect a small jump in ERA but nothing major. Hudson is a solid #2 but he is not nearly the pitcher he used to be. His K's are falling, he is letting up more homeruns, his walk rate is rising, and he is letting up more hits. That is not a formula for success. I don't think he will collapse but I would brace yourself for a drop. I actually like Thomson's chances of pitching like a #2 better than Hudson's. How did Horacio Ramirez ever manage to end up with a 2.39 ERA in 2004. I know it was only 60 innings but still. He had only 4.7 K/9 and a high walk rate of 4.5 BB/9. This is probably why his ERA jumped back up to 4.63 last year and I see it getting worse. Jorge Sosa was the 2004 version of Ramirez last year and I am seeing him being more like the 2005 version of him this year. The Braves are going to need the top 3 starter to carry them because the bottom two are far from solid and their bullpen, even their closer, contains no one I would be too scared to face. For the first time in a long time, the Braves weakness is in their pitching staff; the whole thing.

Projected Rotation

SP John Smoltz

<stats> Player=John Smoltz Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>

SP Tim Hudson

<stats> Player=Tim Hudson Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>

SP John Thomson

<stats> Player=John Thomson Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>

SP Horacio Ramirez

<stats> Player=Horacio Ramirez Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>

SP Jorge Sosa

<stats> Player=Jorge Sosa Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>

I actually think the Braves offense is just as good as the Philadelphia Phillies and better than the New York Mets. Marcus Giles is the best leadoff hitter in the game. I like a man with a .365 OBP/.461 SLG as his lowest line in the last three years batting leadoff. Plus, he has 20 SB potential. Edgar Renteria is nothing special with the bat but it is out of a weak hitting position. For some reason, Renteria's defense has gone down the tubes, fast; he committed thirty errors last year with bad range. Wilson Betemit, a slightly better hitter and terrible fielder as well, will take some at bats from Renteria and could increase if Betemit gets hot/Renteria gets cold. Speaking of terrible fielders, Chipper Jones is still the best hitter on this team, but I don't see him playing the whole season. His games have decreased from 153 to 137 to 109 over the last three years. Andruw Jones is a solid cleanup man who will slug over .500 again this year and for many years to come. After this front four, there is a dropoff to #5. Adam LaRoche has a low OBP and little power for a 1B, not to mention he is another below average fielder. The lineup bounces back for the final spots. Jeff Franceour's OBP percentage is only decent looking because of his high average. Although, he has some major power potential. He will get to 30 HRs this year and has a possibility of getting to 40 some day. Kelly Johnson will take quite a few at bats away from Ryan Langerhans. Overall, Kelly Johnson is a better player because of his superior defense, but Langerhans is a slightly better hitter. I chose Brian McCann as the starting catcher for my NL Team of the Future so you know how I feel about him. This is a very young lineup with an average age of 27 .

Projected Batting Order

2B Marcus Giles

<stats> Player=Marcus Giles Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

SS Edgar Renteria

<stats> Player=Edgar Renteria Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

3B Chipper Jones

<stats> Player=Chipper Jones Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

CF Andruw Jones

<stats> Player=Andruw Jones Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

1B Adam LaRoche

<stats> Player=Adam LaRoche Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

RF Jeffrey Francoeur

<stats> Player=Jeff Francoeur Type=Batting </stats>

LF Ryan Langerhans

<stats> Player=Ryan Langerhans Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

C Brian McCann

<stats> Player=Brian McCann Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

Projection: 87-75 2nd in the NL East...I think the race will be tight between the Phillies, Braves, and Mets; however, the Mets have the best pitching, mainly from their bullpen, so I have to give them the nod. The Braves find a way to win it every year so nothing would surprise me.

Other Moreland Previews
NL East Mets Preview Braves Preview Phillies Preview Nationals Preview
NL Central Brewers Preview Pirates Preview
NL West Diamondbacks Preview Rockies Preview
AL East Yankees Preview Blue Jays Preview Orioles Preview
AL Central Indians Preview White Sox Preview Twins Preview
AL West Athletics Preview Angels Preview Rangers Preview


Fri 03/10/06, 9:35 am EST

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