Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
2015 Draft Prep Guide
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2013 Fantasy outlooks: Atlanta Braves

Michael Hurcomb
Fantasy Writer
  •  

With how aggressive the Braves were this offseason by cornering the Upton market, you would have thought B.J. and Justin's parents were running the Atlanta front office.

Yet, the mastermind behind bringing the Upton brothers to Atlanta was general manager Frank Wren, who signed B.J. to a five-year, $75 million dollar free-agent contract and orchestrated a blockbuster trade with the Diamondbacks to land Justin.

2013 Fantasy Outlooks
A.L. East N.L. East
Orioles Braves
Red Sox Marlins
Yankees Mets
Rays Phillies
Blue Jays Nationals
A.L. Central N.L. Central
White Sox Cubs
Indians Reds
Tigers Brewers
Royals Pirates
Twins Cardinals
A.L. West N.L. West
Astros Diamondbacks
Angels Rockies
Athletics Dodgers
Mariners Padres
Rangers Giants

Wren said the "most difficult part" of the trade with Arizona was parting ways with Martin Prado, but now the Upton brothers join Jason Heyward to form one of the most formidable outfields in the major leagues.

Most of the attention this season will be on the Braves' star-studded outfield, but the rest of the Atlanta lineup should not be overlooked. Atlanta is pretty solid from top to bottom, which includes shutdown closer Craig Kimbrel, who has finished in the Top 10 in the National League Cy Young race for two straight seasons.

A notable absence from the Braves' lineup this season will be long-time third baseman Chipper Jones, who is probably working on his golf game right about now. The Braves will try to replace his presence with the tandem of Juan Francisco and Chris Johnson, who came along with Upton in the trade from Arizona.

While the Upton brothers will help bolster the Braves' lineup, there are still some concerns. The most notable ones are slumping slugger Dan Uggla and catcher Brian McCann, who is coming off shoulder surgery. Both players possess the ability to be must-start Fantasy options, but Uggla is coming off a down year and McCann has durability issues, which are issues expected to deflate their Draft Day values.

One Braves' player who will be surging in Fantasy drafts this spring will be starter Kris Medlen, who become a breakout star in 2012 after he transitioned from the bullpen to the rotation in late July. Medlen went 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA and 0.80 WHIP in 12 starts last season. He also struck out 9.0 batters per nine innings in that span. Fantasy owners will certainly reach for Medlen in drafts, but he could be worth the gamble.

2013 projected lineup
Player Name Position
1. Andrelton Simmons SS
2. Jason Heyward RF
3. Justin Upton LF
4. Freddie Freeman 1B
5. B.J. Upton CF
6. Dan Uggla 2B
7. Juan Francisco 3B
8. Gerald Laird C
Bench Chris Johnson INF
Bench Jordan Schafer OF
Bench Reed Johnson OF

Kimbrel is obviously the star of the Braves' bullpen, but he's not the only Atlanta reliever Fantasy owners should know about. Jonny Venters is one of the top setup men in the majors and one of the better non-closers to own in Fantasy. Two other names that could help in deeper formats are Eric O'Flaherty and Jordan Walden, who was acquired from the Angels in exchange for starter Tommy Hanson and is looking to have a bounce-back season with Atlanta.

Atlanta, which has made the postseason in two of the last three seasons, is once again built to contend for the National League East crown.

Bust ... B.J. Upton, outfielder

We caution Fantasy owners to temper your excitement with Upton. Like getting a brand new car, there is obviously a lot of excitement regarding Upton joining a new team and league, especially if you play in an NL-only format. But much like when you're shopping for a new car, it's always good to check under the hood for flaws. Upton has his share. Fantasy owners will no doubt remember the second half Upton put together in 2012, hitting 21 homers and slugging .525 after the All-Star break. But he still hit .224 and struck out 86 times in his final 75 games. Not to mention he was motivated for a strong finish because of impending free agency. Upton has his mega deal, so he might be tempted to take his foot off the pedal. Also, keep in mind Upton is transitioning to a new league and will have to learn the tendencies of pitchers in the NL, so he could experience a slow start. Upton never had strong interleague numbers either, batting .256 with a .400 slugging percentage in 94 games. The potential for a letdown can't be overlooked.

2013 rotation/bullpen
Player Name Throws
1. Tim Hudson RHP
2. Kris Medlen RHP
3. Mike Minor LHP
4. Paul Maholm LHP
5. Julio Teheran RHP
ALT Brandon Beachy RHP
Bullpen Breakdown
1. Craig Kimbrel RHP
2. Jonny Venters LHP
3. Jordan Walden RHP
4. Eric O'Flaherty LHP
5. Luis Avilan LHP

Breakout ... Mike Minor, starting pitcher

Minor quickly became a popular sleeper pick in drafts last year after he dominated hitters during spring training. Unfortunately, he got off to a terrible start and was a forgotten about arm until the final months of the season. Minor turned the corner in July and finished with a 7-4 record, 2.21 ERA and .193 opponents' batting average in his final 15 starts. He hasn't exactly been the impact arm the Braves or Fantasy owners envisioned he would be, but we saws signs late last season Minor might finally be ready to live up to the hype that followed him as a prospect.

Impact Prospect ... Julio Teheran, starting pitcher

Speaking of pitching prospects, Teheran has been considered one of baseball's best for a few years, but his development took a major step back in 2012. It all started after he was lit up for six homers -- not a typo -- in his spring training debut against the Tigers. Teheran's confidence appeared shaken and his numbers showed it. He had a 5.08 ERA at Triple-A and a 5.68 ERA with the Braves. The Braves have resisted the urge to deal Teheran amid his struggles and he's considered the front-runner for the final spot in the team's rotation while Brandon Beachy recovers from elbow surgery. The Braves' front office was pleased with how well Teheran finished the 2012 season in the minors and then were happy with the progress he made in the Dominican Winter League, so he might get the chance to showcase his immense potential in 2013.

Prospects Report

The Braves lost some quality prospects in Nick Ahmed and Randall Delgado in the Justin Upton trade, but the farm system is far from barren. Teheran is still the prized prospect, but some other arms on the horizon are Lucas Sims, Sean Gilmartin and J.R. Graham. While Gilmartin might be the closest to potentially helping the Braves, Graham is the fast-riser of the group. The 2011 fourth-round pick went 12-2 with a 2.80 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 26 starts between Class A and Double-A last season. Graham is quickly rising through the minors as a ground ball pitcher who attacks the zone. He might cap out as a middle-of-the-arm rotation, but he's now firmly on the radar. ... While the Braves appear flush with burgeoning arms in the minors, their weaknesses appear to be bats. The team doesn't appear to have any impact bats close to the majors, which is why it shored up its lineup this offseason with free-agent signings and trades. Catcher Christian Bethancourt is still considered one of the team's top prospects among position players, but he's a better defender than hitter and has marginal long-term keeper appeal. Evan Gattis and Edward Salcedo might be two of the best power-hitting prospects in Atlanta's system, but neither player is major-league ready and guaranteed to make a Fantasy impact anytime soon.

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

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Report: Orioles in 'continuous dialogue' for Chris Tillman's extension
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) The Orioles and pitcher Chris Tillman are reportedly engaged in "continuous dialogue" for a long-term extension and have been for the past several weeks, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Tillman signed a one-year, $4.315 million deal in January to avoid arbitration and the discussions for a new deal are still considered preliminary, according to the report.

Tillman posted a 13-6 record in 2014 with a 3.34 ERA in 34 starts.


Tigers bullpen decision coming down to Ian Krol, Kyle Ryan
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Tigers manager Brad Ausmus is running out of time to finish off his bullpen for Opening Day. The final bullpen role will likely be a left-handed pitcher and is expected to come down to Kyle Ryan and Ian Krol, according to MLB.com.

"If I'm there, hopefully it's a good situation, whether it's long or short," Ryan said. "For them to have enough confidence in me to go into Spring Training as a reliever, and actually for them to believe that I might be able to make the team as a reliever, that makes me proud."

Ryan has given up seven runs on seven hits in 11 innings of work this spring. 

"When he throws it right, it's good," Ausmus said of Krol. "He has a tendency to occasionally slow his arm down on his cutter and curveball. He did it a couple times today. But when he doesn't slow his arm down, it's very good."


Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson continues to make his case
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson still doesn't know what his role will be when Opening Day rolls around, but he's showing he belongs on the roster, reports MLB.com.

"There's always stuff I need to work on, and I need to continue to impress," Pederson said after launching his fifth home run of the spring Saturday, boosting his batting average to .373.

Manager Don Mattingly remains quiet on what he will do when the decision has to be made, but Pederson is doing what he can to impress.

"[Opening Day] is out of my control," Pederson said. "It's something you dream about as a kid, playing in the big leagues, and you do anything you can to make that dream come true."


Angels P Matt Shoemaker gives up three runs in loss to Dodgers
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) After pitching six scoreless innings in his last start, Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker struggled a bit in the team's 5-4 to the Dodgers, reports MLB.com.

Shoemaker gave up three runs on four hits in six innings, striking out two. One of the hits he surrended was to Joc Pederson on a two-run homer.

The 28-year-old completed last season with a 3.04 ERA, 124 strikeouts and only 24 walks.


Reds third baseman Todd Frazier feels ready for Opening Day
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Reds third baseman Todd Frazier feels his swing has come back and is ready to tackle the long haul ahead of the regular season, reports MLB.com.

"It comes quick, like usual," Frazier said on Saturday morning. "I get goose bumps thinking about it right now -- another year, it's crazy."

Frazier struggled early in spring training, but has rebounded to go 8 for 23 in his last seven games.

"I hit in the Minor Leagues for about 10 at-bats [on Friday], just to try and feel it back-to-back. I do, and I feel really well," said Frazier, who is batting .262 in 14 games this spring. "I feel like if I had to play tomorrow [in the regular season], I'd be ready to go. It's all about preparation, and offseason stuff. I feel like it's so far, so good."


Angels OF Mike Trout homers in loss to Dodgers
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Angels outfielder Mike Trout homered in Saturday's 5-4 loss to the Dodgers, reports MLB.com.

Trout, 23, robbed the Dodgers' Alex Guerrero of an extra-base hit in the first inning, making it a successful day for him, despite the loss. 

This spring he has a batting average of .477 with four home runs and 14 RBI. 


White Sox hope to have David Robertson, Jake Petricka back by Opening Day
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Two key members of the White Sox bullpen are working their way back from forearm injuries, but manager Robin Ventura is confident he'll have both back by opening day. 

Closer David Robertson is scheduled to pitch on Sunday. 

“We’re trying to make sure we’re extra careful with him,” Ventura said, per Comcast's Dan Hayes. “He doesn’t seem to be concerned about it as much as we do."

Setup man Jake Petricka isn't as far along as Robertson. He played catch on Saturday for the first time in five days.

The Sox are taking it slow, so that the team will have both pitchers for Opening Day as well as the rest of the season. 

"You’re just making sure you’re cautious enough that you feel good about when (they go) out there that there won’t be any setbacks,” Ventura said. 


Indians pitcher Zach McAllister fans nine in outing Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Indians pitcher Zach McAllister went five innings Saturday against the Brewers, allowing two runs on six hits with nine strikeouts. McAllister, who is expected to make one more start before Opening Day, touched 97 mph with his fastball in the appearance, according to Cleveland.com.

"He's been impressive and he's been doing it all spring," said Francona. "He's not just throwing strikes, he's down in the zone when he wants to and then he can elevate with some velocity. I think his hard work is really paying off."

McAllister has felt he always had the added velocity.

"Throughout my career I've always felt I've had a little more (velocity) in there if I could maintain it," said McAllister. "For whatever reason, whether it's being more consistent with my delivery or my arm action, I'm just trusting that when I let it go it's going to go where I want it to go. I'm not trying to place anything."


Pirates Pedro Alvarez looking to stick at first base
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Pirates first baseman Pedro Alvarez is hoping to stick at his new position after converting from third base, reports triblive.com.

On opening day, Alvarez will be the team's 54th first baseman in its 129-year history.

“It's a matter of getting used to seeing the field from that point of view,” Alvarez said. “I need to get the reps in so the responsibilities that come with playing that position become second nature to me.”

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington talked about the team's past efforts of platooning the position.

“You can't develop something you don't have. You can't buy something you can't afford,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “That's why we've tried to platoon. Over the last couple of years, we've realized that's a challenge for a National League manager. Platoons are much harder here than they are in the American League, especially with a one-dimensional player who can only play one position.”

The hope around the organization is that they can get quality production from Alvarez.

“Our hope that is between Pedro Alvarez and Corey Hart, we'll get quality major league production,” Huntington said.

The 28-year-old is batting .306 with two home runs, nine RBI and eight strikeouts this spring.


Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton can't find a rhythm Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton tossed six innings Saturday against the Blue Jays, allowing six hits, including two home runs and no strikeouts. Morton, who is fighting for a spot in the starting rotation, is still recovering from labrum surgery six months ago.

"Physically, Charlie is in a good place," manager Clint Hurdle said to MLB.com. "He is trying to make some mechanical adjustments in his delivery, but we don't have any health concerns about him."

Morton isn't worried about fixing mechanical issues just yet.

"Now is a tough time to put a lot of emphasis on mechanics," said Morton. "I gotta go pitch, adjustments or no adjustments."


 
 
 
Rankings