Veteran Jim Johnson (R, 2-6 W/L, 3.06 ERA, 20 SV) will be the closer and the mentor for a young bullpen. Mauricio Cabrera (R, 5-1 W/L, 2.82 ERA) is a youngster whose pitches average over 100 mph. Arodys Vizcaino (R, 1-4 W/L, 4.42 ERA) is in training as closer while Ian Krol (R, 2-0 W/L, 3.18 ERA) could serve as setup man. As noted, this group has a way to go before they can become effective.
Hitting and Fielding
Shortstop Dansby Swanson (.307 BA, 3 HR, 17 RBI), a former number one overall pick and fine player, comes to the Braves this season in a trade with the Diamondbacks. That is an amazing deal for Atlanta. Jace Peterson (.254 BA, 7 HR, 29 RBI) and a few other players will move in and out of second base. First baseman Freddie Freeman (.302 BA, 34 HR, 91 RBI) is a young, thriving talent, while at third base, Adonis Garcia (.273 BA, 14 HR, 65 RBI) is a decent fill-in player. Tyler Flowers (.270 BA, 8 HR, 41RBI) won’t produce much offense, but he is one of the best catchers at framing pitches and controlling the game.
Ender Inciarte (.291 BA, 3 HR, 29 RBI) also came from Arizona in the Swanson trade. He’s yet another great deal, as the Gold Glover he can cover a lot of territory in center, and he can hit. As of late, left fielder Matt Kemp (.280 BA, 12 HR, 39 RBI) has not been very effective at the plate. In right and at the plate Nick Markakis (.269 BA, 13 HR, 89 RBI) is known for being overall sound but nothing extraordinary and that’s a problem for the Braves.
Coaching and Management
Kudos go to GM Coppolella for making such a beneficial trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Swanson deal has added a potential star player to the roster. Coppolella has a lot more work to do, but he seems capable. A longtime member of the Braves’ organization, Brian Snitker, was brought in as interim manager last season when manager Fredi Gonzalez was let go after compiling a 9-28 record. Snitker did well as the Braves played right around .500-ball under his tutelage. He’s back for his first full season at the helm.
2017 Atlanta Braves Preview Final Word
We expect to see Atlanta improve modestly this season. What does that mean? We think a fourth place finish is possible. This should be an interesting team to watch, as the Brave’s front office continues its rebuilding efforts. In our 2017 Atlanta Braves preview, we see this club being a contender is a few more years.