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
 
 
 

2014 Fantasy Outlooks: Atlanta Braves

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

Having gone seven years without a division title, the Braves ended their drought in particularly convincing fashion last year, running away from a Nationals team that was favored to win not only the division, but the World Series. And just like during their 15-year run from 1991 to 2005, their starting rotation carried them.

This one was lacking in star power, though. Fantasy owners already knew of Kris Medlen because of his impossible finish to 2012, but even they underestimated the impact Mike Minor and Julio Teheran would have. Not that either's breakthrough was particularly surprising. Minor was nearly as dominant as Medlen to finish 2012 (though his overall numbers did a pretty good job of hiding it), and Teheran was long considered one of the game's top pitching prospects. Both are top 30 starting pitchers heading into 2014, with Medlen just on the outskirts.

2014 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

And there's more where that came from. Yes, Tim Hudson is gone, but that's a bigger loss for the clubhouse than for Fantasy owners. Brandon Beachy flashed ace potential when he first broke into the big leagues and should be fully recovered from Tommy John surgery this spring. Alex Wood has impressive ability but may have to wait his turn, especially if he hasn't claimed the role by the time Gavin Floyd returns from Tommy John surgery in May. Freddy Garcia and David Hale are also in the mix. The bullpen has long been one of this club's strengths, anchored by historically dominant closer Craig Kimbrel. He'll again be the first player selected at his position.

The lineup is a different story. Freddie Freeman emerged as the centerpiece with Chipper Jones retired, but Jason Heyward, who seemed a lock for that role just a couple years ago, can't decide how good he wants to be. He still has superstar potential, but Fantasy owners should know not to overpay for him by now. Justin Upton did fine coming over from Arizona and remains an early-round type with room to grow, but brother B.J. Upton completely fell apart with a .184 batting average, joining Dan Uggla to give the Braves two sub-.200 hitters. A first-place team never had it so good.

Apart from baseball's unpredictable nature, neither offers much hope for a rebound. For Uggla in particular, Fantasy owners are just counting down the days until he loses his job to Tommy La Stella, an on-base specialist with little to offer in terms of power or speed. Upton may be salvageable at age 29 -- he'll get every opportunity in light of his big contract -- but frankly, shortstop Andrelton Simmons and catcher Evan Gattis have become the hotter commodities in Fantasy. Both offer plus power for the positions they play but still have some refining to do.

Bounce-back candidate ... Brandon Beachy, starting pitcher

2014 projected lineup
Player Name Position
1. Jason Heyward RF
2. Justin Upton LF
3. Freddie Freeman 1B
4. Evan Gattis C
5. Chris Johnson 3B
6. Andrelton Simmons SS
7. Dan Uggla 2B
8. B.J. Upton CF
Bench Ryan Doumit C/OF
Bench Jordan Schafer OF
Beachy is a rare example of a player who doesn't make a clean return from Tommy John surgery, needing a second procedure to clear up discomfort in his elbow about a year after the first. Though it wasn't such a good thing for those who drafted him last year, it could be for those hoping to draft him this year. Another year out of the spotlight is another year under the radar, and the potential reward for investing a late-round pick in him is an ace, or at least close to it. Remember: This was one of the more exciting rookie pitchers in 2011, averaging 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings in 25 starts, and he followed it up with a 2.00 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 13 starts before his procedure in 2012. He wasn't quite as dominant during a five-start stretch late last season, but considering he was pitching with discomfort, he was more effective than he had any right to be. He's expected to enter spring training without limitations, and given his track record so far, that's a dangerous thing.

Bust ... Andrelton Simmons, shortstop

In a different time with a different player pool, Evan Gattis would be the choice here instead of Simmons. He exhibits more of the warning signs with his all-or-nothing approach. But given the current state of the catcher and shortstop positions, Fantasy owners are more likely to overextend themselves for Simmons than Gattis, who seems to be going in a reasonable spot for a player with his power potential. The mistake they make is one so many made with Starlin Castro last year: They bank on improvement. Granted, Simmons makes contact at a much higher rate, so he probably won't get worse, but with all the home run hitters in the Braves lineup, he's in no position to steal bases. His BABIP should improve if he doesn't elevate the ball so much, but then what happens to his 17 home runs? Maybe he gets stronger at age 24 and delivers the best of both worlds -- for an 11th- or 12th-round pick, it's a worthy gamble -- but if you select Simmons in Round 6, as happened in one of our recent mock drafts, prepare to be disappointed.

Sleeper ... Alex Wood, starting pitcher/relief pitcher

2014 rotation/bullpen
Player Name Throws
1. Kris Medlen RHP
2. Mike Minor LHP
3. Julio Teheran RHP
4. Brandon Beachy RHP
5. Alex Wood LHP
ALT Gavin Floyd RHP
Bullpen Breakdown
1. Craig Kimbrel RHP
2. David Carpenter RHP
3. Luis Avilan LHP
4. Jordan Walden RHP
5. Jonny Venters LHP
You wouldn't know it from the relative lack of hype, but Wood's career has mirrored Tony Cingrani's up to this point. Both were passed over in the first round of their respective drafts because most teams considered them relievers coming out of college. Both lack major league-caliber breaking balls but still managed to put up eye-popping minor-league numbers because of their deceptive left-handed deliveries. Cingrani of course did what he did last year. Wood had a 2.18 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings in his first seven starts, but when he faded over his next three, the Braves shifted him to the bullpen, removing him from the spotlight and casting doubt over his future role. But in doing so, they made him dual-eligible in Fantasy. Clearly, they want him starting long-term, but the surplus of fallback options will keep some Fantasy owners from taking the plunge. Still, Cingrani-like numbers out of the relief pitcher slot win championships in Head-to-Head points leagues. Even if Wood begins in the bullpen, it's likely just to preserve his innings for later in the year.

Prospects Report

Tommy La Stella isn't the only rookie knocking on the door in 2014. Christian Bethancourt may eventually split catching duties with Evan Gattis, especially if an injury creates an opening in the outfield, Gattis' secondary position. Bethancourt is considered a better prospect than La Stella, but mostly because of his defensive prowess. Neither is a safe enough bet for mixed-league consideration, but a big spring would give La Stella fringe sleeper appeal. ... As usual, the Braves have no shortage of pitching in the pipeline. David Hale is first in line and opened eyes in two spot starts late last season, but Lucas Sims is the real prize. A first-round pick in 2012, he dominated lower Class A last year, but the Braves won't rush him at age 19. J.R. Graham should hold them over in the meantime. He missed most of last season with a shoulder injury, casting doubt over his long-term role, but he can hit 97 mph with his fastball and is nearly a finished product at age 24.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott White at @CBSScottWhite .

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
Athletics could shut down SP Jesse Hahn for 2015
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:46 pm ET) Athletics starter Jesse Hahn, who has been sidelined for a month with a forearm strain has yet to resume throwing and could be shut down for the year, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The team is avoiding rushing him back considering he has already undergone Tommy John surgery.

If Hahn is indeed done, he will end the season 6-6 with a 3.35 ERA.


Cubs designate Yoervis Medina for assignment
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(2:43 pm ET) The Cubs designated pitcher Yoervis Medina for assignment on Sunday, per the Tacoma News Tribune.

Medina had a 7.00 ERA in five relief appearances for the Cubs. He'd been optioned to Triple-A earlier in the week, but the DFA move takes him off of the Cubs' 40-man roster. 


Indians 2B Jason Kipnis (shoulder) might be headed to DL
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:32 pm ET) Terry Francona has declared that Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis could land on the disabled list with right shoulder soreness that forced him to have an MRI on Sunday, per MLB.com.

Francona added that he wanted to talk the situation over with the medical staff and general manager Chris Antonetti before a decision is made.

Kipnis was on one of his many hot streaks this season until arriving for the team's current series in Oakland. He is 1-for-12 against the Athletics, but still boasts a slash line of .326/.401/.477 on the year.


Padres 2B Cory Spangenberg to launch rehab Monday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:23 pm ET) Padres second baseman Cory Spangenberg will begin a rehab assignment Monday for Double-A San Antonio, per U-T San Diego. He has been on the disabled list for five weeks with a bone bruise in his left knee.

Spangenberg will return with a slash line of .254/.304/.356 and 44 strikeouts in just 177 at-bats.


Pirates SP A.J. Burnett will decline surgery if recommended
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:18 pm ET) Surgery is not an option for Pirates starter A.J. Burnett even if doctors tell him he has torn elbow ligament. He would rather pitch through it than undergo a season-ending procedure.

He went on the disabled list Friday with what was described as right elbow inflammation, but an MRI scheduled for Monday could reveal it to be worse.

"I'm prepared for (being told) it just needs some rest and if it's ... the worst (outcome)," Burnett told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "It's a matter of doing enough treatment and building up some pain tolerance so I can stay on mound in the stretch run."

That might be difficult considering how poorly Burnett has performed since the All-Star break. He has surrendered 18 runs on 32 hits in 16 innings and has lost his last two decisions.


Next start for Orioles P Chris Tillman slated for Friday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:07 pm ET) An ankle issue has the next start for Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman pushed back to Friday against the host Angels, per MASNSports.com.

Tillman was scheduled to pitch Monday.

He hopes to perform as well Friday as he has in his last four outings, during which he has allowed just three earned runs in 29 2/3 innings to drop his ERA to 4.35, its lowest point since his second start of the year.


Back issue keeps Giants 2B Joe Panik out of Sunday's lineup
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:59 pm ET) Giants second baseman Joe Panik was held out of Sunday's lineup at Texas because of an ongoing back issue, reports The San Francisco Chronicle.

Panik missed time last week because of the back issue, but he is considered day to day. Panik will undergo tests Monday if the issue persists.


Indians RF Lonnie Chisenhall in leadoff spot for first time Sunday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:31 pm ET) The absence of Jason Kipnis in the Sunday lineup for the Indians in Oakland has hot-hitting right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall in the unfamiliar leadoff spot for the first time in his major league career.

Chisenhall homered Saturday for the team's lone run. He is 4-for-11 since his recall from Triple-A Columbus.


Indians 2B Jason Kipnis out of lineup Sunday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:29 pm ET) Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, who has been used three times as a designated hitter in the last five games, is out of the lineup Sunday in Oakland.

There has been no revelation of an injury to the team's best hitter. But he has struggled in the series with just one hit in 12 at-bats.


Twins to promote SP Tyler Duffey for Wednesday start
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:03 pm ET) The placement of Tommy Milone on the disabled list will allow the Twins to promote Tyler Duffey from the minors and start him Wednesday in Toronto. It will be his major league debut.

The 24-year-old Duffey has been lights-out at the Double-A and Triple-A levels this season, compiling a 2.66 ERA and allowing just 118 hits and 30 walks in 132 innings with 117 strikeouts.


 
 
 
Rankings