Fans of the Atlanta Braves have certainly enjoyed the first month and a half of the season, as they have been one of the top teams in baseball. Perhaps the only people more excited about the team’s start are those who own some of the red-hot players on the Braves in fantasy leagues. Here’s a look at the top three producers right now, and whether they can keep it up all season long.
While the older Upton brother struggles, Justin has made the transition from Arizona to Atlanta easy. He has been one of the best hitters in baseball up to this point, putting him in the top 10 overall as far as fantasy baseball production is concerned.
Upton is still relatively young, but his track record has been solid since his arrival at the big league record. Now that he has a bit more support in the lineup, he is poised to have a career year in 2013. He might cool off slightly with his power numbers, but with more protection, he is getting more pitches to hit (and players to drive in).
The Braves in the 1990s were built around pitching, and that ultimately led to most of their success. While no one is mistaking any of the pitchers on the Braves for Greg Maddux or Tom Glavine, Mike Minor has taken on the role of the ace pitcher so far this season.
At just 25 years old, Minor is thriving due to his location. Since he is not known as having great stuff, he must rely on keeping batters off-balance to have success. This pains some fantasy owners, since they will not get help in the strikeout category, but he is more than making up with it by keeping guys off base and picking up wins.
Being a premier, lights out closer in baseball year in and year out is one of the most difficult things to do. That is why many fantasy baseball players do not draft closers until late in the draft. Although Kimbrel is off to the worst start in his career, he appears to have things sorted out and is trending in the right direction.
His trouble to begin the year had to do with being wild within the strike zone. His hits per nine innings were up, and his strikeouts were down. Perhaps a rocky World Baseball Classic messed with his rhythm. He should get better and better as the season goes along.