Tag Archives: Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves: Is Andrelton Simmons the Next Extension Candidate?

In an offseason in which most teams handsomely rewarded mediocrity, the Atlanta Braves chose an alternative path. And instead of chasing the likes of Robinson Cano and Masahiro Tanaka, who signed for a combined $395 million, or re-signing Brian McCann, whom the New York Yankees eagerly gobbled up, general manager Frank Wren focused on extending the organization’s burgeoning, homegrown talent.

Since the 2013 season ended, Wren extended Jason Heyward (through his remaining arbitration years), Freddie Freeman, Julio Teheran and most recently, Craig Kimbrel. Even Wren himself was extended within the past 48 hours, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s David O’Brien.

The general manager’s sole dip into free agency, in fact, has just been signing ex-Chicago White Sox hurler Gavin Floyd to a one-year, $4 million deal. And Floyd, who is nine months removed from Tommy John surgery, is really just a Plan B for a rotation featuring all Braves-developed pitchers; pitchers with an average age of 25.4, too.

With an established organizational strategy in place, one has to wonder where Wren and the Braves will draw the line, if at all. Is it possible that the reigning National League East champion Braves could manage to retain most of their productive core players? Continue reading


Justin Upton Trade Already Haunting Diamondbacks

In 2011, Justin Upton emerged as an elite hitter in the major leagues. Upton, then 23 years old, already had a 26-home run season under his belt, but 2011 was different. His 141 OPS+ ranked just outside the top 10 in the National League, and his 31 home runs were tied for ninth. Upton’s maturation into one of the league’s finest hitters was not a surprise; success was always an expectation.

Upton was the first overall pick in the 2005 draft. After dominating at all levels in the minors, the Arizona Diamondbacks promoted the 19 year-old to the show — where he became a fixture in the Diamondbacks outfield for the next five seasons.

But after a rough 2012 season in which the hitter posted a comparatively mediocre .280/.355/.430 line and just 17 home runs, the formerly untouchable stud became expendable. Continue reading

Craig Kimbrel Could Be Even Better in 2012

Courtesy of CraigKimbrel.com

After posting a 0.44 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 2.50 K/BB in 20.6 innings last season, most people correctly assumed Craig Kimbrel would grab hold of the Atlanta Braves closer gig, and never let go. That has been more than the case in 2011. In just his second Major League season, the 23 year-old has become the best closer in the National League.

Kimbrel’s 2.03 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 4.28 K/BB, and 45 Saves speak to that point perfectly. Even though the righty’s control can be a little suspect at times (3.46 BB/9), his outstanding 14.81 K/9 more than makes up for the league-averague walk rate. Without a doubt, Kimbrel is a very dominant closer. However, as scary as it is to think, Kimbrel’s special 2011 season might just be the tip of the iceberg. Continue reading

Could Brent Lillibridge Be The New Michael Morse?

Courtesy of Zimbio.com

After two consecutive years of double-digit homeruns, Michael Morse of the Washington Nationals became a household name–at least in houses that participate in fantasy baseball. In just 266 plate appearances last season, Morse owned a .289/.352/.519 line with 15 homeruns, 41 RBI, and 36 runs. When the Nationals lost Adam Dunn to free-agency and Adam LaRoche to injury, Morse grabbed hold of the first base gig, and has swung to the tune of a .314/.365/.545 line with 17 homeruns, 59 RBI, and 47 runs. Teams are always looking for that player who (like Morse), if given the right chance, could provide a surprising level of production. We’ve seen Jayson Werth, Jose Bautista, and recently Michael Morse in the past few seasons–but it’s possible Brent Lillibridge could join their ranks soon. Continue reading