Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2012 Fantasy outlooks: Atlanta Braves

  •  

Though they didn't get as much attention as the Red Sox, the Braves suffered their own late-season meltdown in 2011, losing the wild card to the eventual World Champion Cardinals on the final day of the season after leading by 8 1/2 games in early September.

Follow us, Like us, Join us
Want more? Join the discussion on our Facebook page and Google+ and follow us on Twitter for additional insight while interacting with a community geared toward Fantasy Baseball.

Yup, they were that close in a year when just about everything that could go wrong did. New acquisition Dan Uggla was a black hole in the lineup for the first three months. All-Star Martin Prado hit under .300 -- well under .300 -- for the first time in four years. Emerging face of the franchise Jason Heyward wasn't even good enough to keep his starting job. Tommy Hanson hurt his shoulder. Jair Jurrjens hurt his knee. Brian McCann hit only .180 after returning from a strained oblique in mid-August.

Add it all up, and you can understand why the Braves fell apart so quickly. You can also understand why they won't need much to get back over the hump.

Given their quiet offseason, they apparently feel the same way. But before you pencil them in for another second-place finish in an improved NL East, keep in mind that not all that went wrong for them then is suddenly right now.

The pitching staff, which has always been the foundation of the Braves' success, is the biggest concern. Jurrjens should be fine, but Hanson has to prove himself all over again after sitting with a torn rotator cuff. And Tim Hudson might actually be the most likely to begin the year on the DL following offseason back surgery.

Fortunately, the Braves still have an abundance of minor-league pitchers to step in for Hanson, Hudson or anyone else who can't take the hill, led by elite prospects Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado. They also have a shutdown back of the bullpen with young guns Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters.

Between the majors and minors, the pieces are in place for the Braves to return to prominence. All they need is the right mixing and matching and a little better luck.

Bounce-back player ... Jason Heyward, OF

OK, let's all just take a step back here for a minute. Yes, Heyward was hyped as a top-10 Fantasy outfielder last season given the expectation that he'd build off his All-Star rookie season, and clearly, it was an overreaction. But the bigger overreaction would be to assume he's a lost cause after he slumped to a .227 batting average last year. Granted, it was a miserable season -- worse than anyone could have imagined given his elite pedigree and impressive rookie showing -- but it's not without explanation. He developed numbness in his shoulder in spring training and, in an effort to play through the injury, altered his mechanics. His popout rate was through the roof, which is a clear sign his swing wasn't right. With an offseason of rest and the fresh perspective of new hitting coach Greg Walker, Heyward should be in for a bounce-back season. Expecting other-worldly numbers from him would, of course, not be prudent, but even a return to his rookie form would make him a top-25 outfielder.

Breakout ... Brandon Beachy, SP

Beachy went from being a nobody minor-leaguer midway through 2010 to a clear somebody as a rookie last year, leading all full-time starting pitchers with 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings. But his shortcomings ultimately caused him to rank outside the top 60 starting pitchers in Head-to-Head leagues, which is why Fantasy owners still regard him as more of a curiosity than an emerging star. He already has the important stuff down --- the high strikeout rate, the low walk rate and the low hit rate. He already knows how to dominate. The parts of his game that need refinement are the ones that can only come through experience, such as learning how to extend himself both deeper into games and deeper into the season. If he follows the usual progression for young starting pitchers, he'll approach 180 innings this year, which would mean more wins and a significant surge up the rankings. As long as his peripherals don't suffer in the process, Beachy has the makings of a poor man's Zack Greinke.

Sleeper ... Mike Minor, SP

Minor's progression may seem slow to those who have been hearing him hyped in Fantasy for nearly two years now, but keep in mind he's made only 23 starts in the big leagues. He bounced between the majors and minors last year, his full-time arrival delayed by the discovery of Brandon Beachy (hard to argue with that one now, right?), and never got a chance to find his comfort zone. Still, his strikeout and walk rates showed he has the skills to become a top-of-the-rotation-type pitcher, and with Derek Lowe banished to Cleveland, he suddenly has a rotation spot to refine them. The Braves' decision to clear that spot for Minor this offseason should give the 24-year-old a renewed sense of purpose entering spring training. If his performance during his final nine starts last year, when he posted a 3.83 ERA with more than a strikeout per inning, was a sneak peak at what he can do with a defined role, he'll be a late-round find on Draft Day.

2012 Atlanta Braves Fantasy Outlook
Projected Lineup Pos. Projected Rotation
1 Michael Bourn CF 1 Tim Hudson RH
2 Martin Prado LF 2 Tommy Hanson RH
3 Chipper Jones 3B 3 Jair Jurrjens RH
4 Brian McCann C 4 Brandon Beachy RH
5 Dan Uggla 2B 5 Mike Minor LH
6 Freddie Freeman 1B Alt Randall Delgado RH
7 Jason Heyward RF
Bullpen Breakdown
8 Tyler Pastornicky SS CL Craig Kimbrel RH
Top bench options SU Jonny Venters LH
R Jose Constanza OF RP Eric O'Flaherty LH
R Eric Hinske 1B/OF RP Arodys Vizcaino RH
R Matt Diaz OF RP Kris Medlen RH
Rookies/Prospects Age Pos. 2011 high Destination
1 Julio Teheran 21 SP Majors Triple-A
Teheran is the best of the Braves' pitching prospects, drawing comparisons to Pedro Martinez. A year younger than Delgado, he'll probably be second in line for a midseason callup.
2 Randall Delgado 22 SP Majors Triple-A
Delgado's numbers exceeded Teheran's in a late-season trial last year, and the Braves think he's ready for a rotation spot now. If Hudson's back holds him out, it's a possibility.
3 Arodys Vizcaino 21 RP Double-A Triple-A
Vizcaino probably has a higher ceiling than Delgado as a starter, but the Braves seem committed to using him in relief right now. He could factor in NL-only leagues.
4 Tyler Pastornicky 22 SS Triple-A Majors
The projected starter will get plenty of attention on Draft Day, but his lack of pop could make him no more than a slightly speedier Ryan Theriot. He's not the best long-term choice.
5 Andrelton Simmons 22 SS Class A Double-A
This would be the Braves' long-term answer at shortstop. Simmons still has a bit of a climb ahead of him and, like Pastornicky, lacks power. But he's a high-upside player.
Best of the rest: Sean Gilmartin, SP; Edward Salcedo, 3B; Christian Bethancourt, C; Anthony Varvaro, RP; J.J. Hoover, RP; Ezekiel Spruill, SP; Matthew Lipka, SS; Joseph Terdoslavich, 1B; Brandon Hicks, 3B; Adam Milligan, OF; Todd Cunningham, OF; Jaye Chapman, RP; Erik Cordier, SP; Todd Redmond, SP; Mauro Gomez, 1B; Cory Harrilchak, OF; and Mycal Jones, SS.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott White at @CBSScottWhite . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Edwin Encarnacion suffers setback while swinging
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:22 am ET) Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion suffered a setback in his recovery from a quad injury Saturday, manager John Gibbons told SportsNet.ca.

Encarnacion, who has been out since July 5 with a quad injury, felt a twinge while swinging recently and will be shut down for the next few days. At this point, no set timetable is known for his expected return.


Heyman: Jake Peavy heading to San Francisco
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:18 am ET) The Giants have acquired pitcher Jake Peavy from the Red Sox, CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman reports Saturday.

Further details on the trade are not yet known, but numerous reports earlier had indicated talks were heating up. Peavy has disappointed this season with the Red Sox, posting a 4.72 ERA in 124 innings, and has a $15 million player option on his contract for the 2015 season, though it is unlikely to vest, given that he is unlikely to record 400 innings pitched combined between 2013 and 2014. 


Cardinals add A.J. Pierzynski to active roster
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:10 am ET) The Cardinals added catcher A.J. Pierzynski to the active roster Saturday, after signing him to a deal Friday.

Pierzynsky was cut by the Red Sox earlier in July, after hitting .254/.286/.348 with four home runs in 72 games.  


George Kottaras gets the boot
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:07 am ET) The Cardinals designated catcher George Kottaras for assignment Saturday, following the acquisition of A.J. Pierzynski.

Kottaras appeared in for games for the Cardinals, picking up one hit in five at-bats. 


Dee Gordon scores twice in blowout win
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:03 am ET) Dodgers infielder Dee Gordon put together a strong performance Friday, as he sparked the offense in an 8-1 win over the Giants.

Gordon went 3 for 5 with two runs scored from the top of the lineup. He added a triple and an RBI, along with a stolen base in the win.

Gordon is hitting the ball well since the All-Star break, raising his season average from .292 to .298 in that span. He is hitting .367 with four multi-hit games in his last seven.


Denard Span records second straight 4-hit game
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:59 am ET) Nationals outfielder Denard Span continued his absurdly hot hitting Friday, in a 4-1 win over the Reds.

Span put together his second four-hit game in a row Friday, as he went 4 for 5 at the top of the lineup. Span scored once and drove in one run, his second game in a row with an RBI as well.

Span now has seven multi-hit games in his last 10, and is hitting .387/.446/.440 in the month of July. 


Hanley Ramirez produces in return to action
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:53 am ET) Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez put together a solid performance in his first game back from injury Friday, in an 8-1 win over the Giants.

Ramirez went 2 for 5 in the game before he was pulled for a defensive replacement late. He drove in one run with his eighth-inning single, one of his two singles in the game. He also struck out twice, and scored once.

Ramirez was out of the lineup for four days due to a hand injury. He is hitting .303/.465/.394 in the month of July. 


Salvador Perez helps early and late in defeat of Indians
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:45 am ET) Royals catcher Salvador Perez got his team off on the right foot Friday night against Cleveland with a solo home run in the first inning to provide a 1-0 lead. He helped complete the victory with a single and run scored in the eighth.

Perez, who managed his first three-hit game since Independence Day, now boasts a solid .285/.326/.434 stat line.


Mike Moustakas hits Mendoza Line with homer Friday night
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:42 am ET) Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas has pretty much struggled against every team but the Indians this season. He slugged his sixth home run against their AL Central rival in 2014 on Friday, a solo blast in the second inning.

Moustakas is now on a season-high five-game hitting streak to raise his batting average to .200 for the first time this year. He is 7 for 18 during that stretch.


Embattled Billy Butler blasts off to play hero in victory
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:36 am ET) Royals designated hitter Billy Butler has lost his full-time starting job, so he took out his frustration on a baseball in the eighth inning of a Friday night win against Cleveland.

Butler ripped a John Axford pitch an estimated 455 feet into the left field seats for his fourth home run. The two-run rocket broke a 4-4 tie and proved to be the game-winner. The pinch-hit gave him just four hits in his last 24 at-bats.


 
 
 
Rankings