Now it's time for the Atlanta Braves!
2015 Finish: 67-95 (Fourth Place in NL East)
So Long: Ross Detwiler, Edwin Jackson, Andrelton Simmons, Sugar Ray Marimon, Cameron Maybin, Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Minor, Shelby Miller, Christian Bethancourt, Joey Terdoslavich
Welcome: Reid Brignac, Erick Aybar, Nud Borris, Jim Johnson (again), Gordon Beckham, Jose Ramirez, Emilio Bonifacio, Dansby Swanson, Ender Inciarte, Tyler Flowers, Jhoulys Chacin, Kyle Kendrick, Alexi Ogando, Kelly Johnson, Jeff Francoeur,
Projected Lineup (via Rotochamp.com)
1. Ender Inciarte LF
2. Erick Aybar SS
3. Nick Markakis RF
4. Freddie Freeman 1B
5. Adonis Garcia 3B
6. Jace Peterson 2B
7. Michael Bourn CF
8. Tyler Flowers C
Starting Rotation: Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz (Injured), Manny Banuelos (Injured), Matt Wisler, Nud Borris
Setup: Jim Johnson
Closer: Arodys Vizcaino, Jason Grilli
Rap Lyric That Sums Up Their 2015 Season:
"FUCK YOU!"- Cee Lo Green, 'Fuck You'
Long an envied franchise in the majors, things have become a bit bleak in Atlanta these days. At 350-1 "favorites" to win the World Series, these ain't your dad's Braves! Wait. Actually they might be. See, your dad probably remembers the Superstation TBS days when if they weren't airing Sanford & Son reruns or Clash of the Titans, they broadcast Braves baseball. And from 1985 to 1990 that was some shiiiiiiiitty baseball.
The Braves are in a rebuild right now. Getting ready for a new stadium (About time! Turner Field is 2 decades old!), the team is gearing up for another run in a couple years. So until then, fans will get to sit by and watch their team get trounced in 2016. At least that race to the bottom of the NL East with Philadelphia will be fun to watch, right? OK, maybe not.
Reason To Watch: Freddie Freeman (1B) If there's one dude that's still underrated it's him. He's been in the majors for a while now but is only 26 years old. He had a down season last year due to injury but has always had a solid OBP and can hit for power. He should bounce back this season and with a contract that locks him in until 2022, he's a critical piece to the eventual renaissance in Atlanta.
Reason To Drink: Break out the moonshine because it's gonna be a long season. While there's going to be plenty of things to drink about, that bullpen may be the top one. Arodys Vizcaino could very well settle in as closer just fine, but I'll bet you Jim Johnson doesn't finish out the year in this pen, or even the team for that matter. Jason Grilli is another aging question mark as well. The good news is they might not have too many leads to preserve anyway, so...yay?
The Fans: I was gonna go all shitty stereotypical about Southern people here, but then I read this piece about the new stadium and lack of reasonable access to get there and I just felt bad. So on top of your team being shitty you could also die crossing a highway just to get there? Jesus, take the wheel.
|Proposed highway signage outside SunTrust Park|
Their Worst Contract: Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher. Last season the Braves traded Chris Johnson to the Indians for Bourn and Swisher and cash. While Cleveland is paying for $10 million toward their 2016 salaries this season, the Braves are still on the hook for another $19 million between the two of them. Would they be better off with Chris Johnson then? Probably not. Cleveland released him outright and will still owe him like $15 million to play baseball for another team over the next couple seasons. Both Bourn and Swisher have vesting options in 2017 but each needs to reach 550 plate appearances to get there. I have little faith either could reach that goal this season. Hell, is Nick Swisher even alive any more? Also can I just say fuck Chris Johnson? He'll get his TMS Most Wanted feature soon enough.
Fantasy Standout: Freddie Freeman. The down 2015 makes him a bit of a value pick at 1B, and if your league plays OBP instead of AVG, even better.
Fantasy Bust: No one. To say "Bust" would be to assume they were gonna be good in the first place, which they're not. Most of these guys range from shitty to cromulent to cromulently shitty.
The Pop Culture Equivalent To This Team Is: Seeing a popular 80s band now. Yeah everything sort of looks and sounds familiar, but it's just not the same and overall pretty depressing. Do you guys like the Doobie Brothers? Because the Braves got one of them!