Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves (94-68) – 2nd Place NL East, Wild Card Berth

Today we begin our look at the playoff teams.  As always, the pitching staff led the Braves in 2012.  While they were not the second coming of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz, the Braves rotation, led by youngsters like Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen, propelled the Braves into the new wild card game, where they lost following a somewhat controversial infield fly rule call against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Atlanta fans were not happy following the controversial infield
fly rule call and decided to take it upon themselves to throw
anything they could find onto the field.

Pitchers-The Braves staff was phenomenal in 2012, finishing 5th in the Major Leagues with a 3.34 ERA.  The most ridiculous story this past season was Kris Medlen.  He was 10-1 with a 1.57 ERA in 12 starts.  The stat that sticks out the most is the amount of games.  At one point, the Braves won 23 consecutive games in which Medlen started, setting a new Major League record.  Brandon Beachy was also ridiculous prior to getting injured.  Despite a 5-5 record, he had a 2.00 ERA.  Tim Hudson was also very good, winning 16 games with a 3.62 ERA.  The Braves bullpen was among the league’s best for the 2nd year in a row.  Closer Craig Kimbrel had 42 saves in 45 opportunities, paired with a 1.01 ERA and 116 strikeouts in just over 60 innings.  Eric O’Flaherty was also fantastic for the 2nd straight year, with a 1.73 ERA.  Although he wasn’t as good as he was in 2011, Jonny Venters was also solid, with a 3.22 ERA.

The Braves streak of consecutive wins in Kris Medlen's starts
was absolutely ridiculous and may never be topped

Infield- You can’t talk about the Braves infield over the last 20 years without talking about Chipper Jones.  2012 was Chipper’s final season in the big leagues, and he will be sorely missed.  His final year was a great one, as he hit .287 with 14 home runs and 62 RBIs in just 112 games.  The shortstop to start the year, Tyler Pastornicky struggled, leading the Braves to bring up prospect Andrelton Simmons.  Before getting hurt, Simmons hit .289 in 49 games.  Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman struggled hitting for average, but they both hit for power, Uggla hitting 19 home runs, and Freeman hitting 23.  Catcher Brian McCann, despite having trouble with his vision, still managed to hit 20 home runs, but only to the tune of a .230 average.

Chipper Jones will go down as one of the best players of
this era and one of the best third basemen of all time

Outfield- Right fielder Jason Heyward had a great bounce back 2012 season following a sophomore slump in 2011.  Heyward hit .269 with 27 home runs and 82 RBIs.  He won a gold glove because of his great defense and he also added 21 steals, which was good for 2nd on the team to center fielder Michael Bourn, who had 42 steals.  Bourn also hit .274 and led the team in runs with 96.  Left fielder Martin Prado did what he does best in 2012, continue to hit for average.  Prado led the team with a .301 batting average to go along with 10 home runs, 70 RBIs, and 17 steals.  Perhaps the most impressive stat for Prado was his 42 doubles, which was good for 6th in the National League.

Jason Heyward is known for his sweet swing and his cannon 
of an arm in right field

Twitter Account of the Day- Chipper Jones @REALCJ10 Everyone take the time to follow this future Hall of Famer.  Let me leave you all with Chipper Jones' farewell speech, enjoy!

You can also follow us @TommyM44 @cniermann @WadeCArthur

Join us tomorrow as Wade takes on the first AL playoff team with the Texas Rangers