Things are not looking great for the Braves. Well, they weren’t. Following an opening sweep of Miami, I’m starting to feel a little more hopeful, even though there are still 159 more games, even though there’s no more Kimbrel. I will admit I nearly cried in frustration as I texted my father with the news. It’s like President of Baseball Operations John Hart isn’t even trying. Sure, I was a little “Thank God” with the unloading of Melvin, formerly Bossman Jr., Upton, who now gets to rejoin his little brother in San Diego after an extremely short break from each other. Tossing Kimbrel to the West Coast left me heartbroken (though not nearly as devastated as 11-year-old Sarah Jean after learning Bret Boone and Ryan Klesko were being traded to the Padres in 1999, that was much more personal), but you know what, it’s the Braves’ 50th season in Atlanta so let’s make it weird as hell.
C: Christian Bethancourt
Bethancourt was signed out of Panama as a non-drafted international free agent at the age of 16 in 2008. He floated around the club’s minor league teams performing adequately and being known for his strong arm, getting some experience in the major’s in 2013 and 2014. After Gattis was traded to Houston, Bethancourt secured the starting catching position.
1B: Freddie Freeman
Freddie is the white savior that I’m happy to know. He’s best friends with Chipper Jones, the other white savior that I am happy to know. He’s 25-years-old and he’s an Atlanta fucking veteran.
2B: Jace Peterson
Jace is in from the Padres in the deal with Justin Upton. He performed well in Florida but I don’t know much about him. Good luck to you, Jace.
3B: Chris Johnson & Alberto Collaspo
Fredi is soft-platooning Johnson & Callaspo at third for the foreseeable future, with Johnson playing against lefties and Callaspo taking the rest. I think Johnson has proved himself since joining the Braves in 2012, though he fell off last year trying to hit for power and setting a career-high in strikeouts. I say give the guy a chaaaance. How can he shine if u keep him in the SHADE, Fredi.
LF: Kelly Johnson & Jonny Gomes
Left field is also a platoon situation between Johnson (Welcome back! Sort of :/) and Gomes, and honestly the whole thing is feeling a little sloppy and exasperating to me, but hey, if Fredi wants to pick his best 8 for every game, do the work, man.
CF: Eric Young Jr.
Well he’s not B.J., or Melvin. And thank god.
RF: Nick Markakis
I had this sea green sweater that was super soft and fuzzy. I was excited to wear it and after I bought it I noticed it fit really weird. The bottom ended a little higher than my waistband and make me look like a hamburger. My boyfriend said maybe it’s not the most flattering sweater I own. So then I kept it out of spite even though I hated wearing it. It was really ugly on me. It hated my body. But maybe I would like it again at some point. Last week I finally, begrudgingly, acceptingly threw it out. Anyway Jason Heyward is like this sweater.
Growing up religiously watching the Braves and then moving to Baltimore when I was 10, I always called the Braves my family and the Orioles my best friends. It was easy to cheer passionately for an NL team that was great and an AL team that was (until 2012) extremely horrible. Now Markakis has been traded to Atlanta, it’s like my best friend married into the family. Now he’s my brother-in-law. Heyward is still that sweater.
Gosselin always looks like he just sneezed and is really proud of it.
Will probably see a game a week, if not more, depending on how Bethancourt fits into his new starting position at catcher. I’ve always like Pierzynski. He’s like a goofy, crazy uncle that you’re a little embarrassed of, and will probably be Freeman’s BFF.
Maybin was acquired in the Kimbrel/Upton trade and could spend some time in Melvin’s former spot in the outfield based on Young’s performance. Either one is at least going to be offensively better than Upton, who batted a terribly sad and confusing .198 in his 2 seasons in Atlanta.
Terdoslavich is cute as hell but will spend the next few weeks on the DL with a sprained wrist.
All-Star Teheran had a shameful showing in his last spring training start against the Phillies, losing 9-2 and giving up 4 homers and 8 hits in just 4 innings, and the rest of his spring training wasn’t too strong either. Things are unlikely to follow in this pattern and Teheran is sure (is he?) to find his focus quickly and bring in better innings this season for the Braves.
Wood has a bunch of numbers that look good and I’m not gonna list them here. But his pitching mechanics are wild and he could throw himself into injury, activating any lingering pain from Tommy John surgery that he had in 2009 which caused him to miss all of 2010 and another arm strain caused him to sit out the beginning of 2011.
We acquired Miller through the Heyward trade with St. Louis. Miller’s gotten consecutively worse little by little over the past three years, but he’s strong and a baby and he’ll be fine. He pitched five scoreless innings in his debut with Atlanta to help the Braves sweep Miami, and it’ll be easy to see him in our rotation for a long awhile.
“He’s been a guy,” Fredi has said about Stults. “You need those guys.”
It’s improbable Minor will be back from the DL for a left rotator cuff inflammation before May, but he might make an appearance sometime late in April. Easy to see him as a weak component to the 2015 Atlanta roster, but it’s still too early to tell.
Alright, I’m over Kimbrel. We didn’t deserve him last year and now he’s gone and I will accept it. Grilli had 41 saves in Pittsburgh two years ago and a great spring training, so he won Kimbrel’s spot after Sunday’s late-ass trade. He’s 12 years older and who knows, he might not even see that many games depending on the bats this season. He’ll probably be fine.
Just kidding. Maybe. Johnson had a solid opening day, retiring 4 batters in a row before Grilli came out, but he has to prove some semblance of consistency before I can trust the ball in his hands for good after his horrid 2014.
After spending some time in Triple-A last season and generally making everyone straight up nervous when he’s on the mound–despite an amazing first two years in the MLB–Avilan will be a solid leftie in the Braves’ bullpen this year.
We got Vizcaino from the Yankees in 2010 and put him in bullpen late in 2011. He almost immediately had Tommy John surgery and was then traded to the Cubs in July 2012. For SOME REASON we thought, hey, let’s bring him back to Atlanta. SO we did. Turned out his elbow still hurt from the surgery and he missed the entire 2013 season. In 2014, he did slightly above average in 40 appearances at three Minor League levels. And now in 2015, he’s been suspended from the first 80 games of the season for testing positive for performance-enhancing drug Stanozolol. Or should I say StanozoLOL. We deserve this.
Everyone is saying this is going to be a rebuilding year for the Braves. A couple weeks ago I naively thought, Fuck that and all of your excuses. I wasn’t ready to admit that we might not have a very good season. Well now I am. Everyone that I loved is gone. Dad and Dad (Freddie & Andrelton) are trying to keep their shit together. I’m trying to act like everything is fine. The Braves are freaking out.