Will Braves Win NL East?

Brandon Beachy

Brandon Beachy

Before the injuries to Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy, I thought the Braves had a good chance to repeat as National League Eastern division champions.  With those injuries, my win projection on the Braves has changed.

The Braves won 96 games last season and looking at the roster and the competitive level in the National League, I was originally projecting 92 wins for the Braves this season before the injuries.  I now see the Braves as an 88 win team. While this year’s edition won’t set any regular season win records, I think the excitement level will be high as the Braves will battle all season to secure a wild card slot.

I hate to concede the NL Eastern crown to the Nationals, but when you look at their starting rotation and compare it to the Braves, it is hard to believe the Braves will be able to hang with the Nattitude gang.  I also think the Braves mindset will again be to stick with Uggla and B.J. long past their shelf life which will give away games.

My other concern is the Braves bullpen.  Not that they won’t be good, just that they won’t be as good as they have been, which has been the best bullpen in baseball.  Ian Thomas, deposed starter David Hale or Gus Schlosser, and Ryan Buchter or Atahualpo Severino don’t fill me full of confidence.  How many of you had even heard of Schlosser, Thomas, Buchter or Severino before this spring?

(Do you think the Braves announcers will be pulling against Atahualpo Servino making the team so they don’t have to try and pronounce his name?)

I think the Braves will be a good team in 2014, just not a great team.  How many games do you think the Braves will win this season?

Profile photo of Jim Hart About Jim Hart

Jim has covered the Atlanta Braves since 2008 for local and national broadcast news organizations. He also appears regularly talking Braves baseball on WCCP-FM in Clemson, South Carolina, and the ESPN Radio affiliate, 1420 Sports in St. Augustine, Florida.

Comments

  1. Atl59braves says:

    While you make a compelling argument and your facts speak volumes about the probability for 88 wins, I find is demoralizing to concede the East to the Nationals before the first game is played. I still think Atlanta has enough to win the division, it’s probably the lifelong fan in me, but until I know different…..I’m betting on the Braves.

    • That’s the same rotation for the nats as last year and we ate them up!!! Only difference is pfister but haren pitched well against the braves over his career so that’s a toss up… I say bring it Washington!

      • Washington had a lot of injuries last year, so far we are the ones that have been bitten. I just hope the Braves stay healthy from here forward and lets see what they can do.

      • Wayne Canon says:

        The Bravos have two additional factors working against them that hasn’t been talked about much:
        According to the ‘experts’ the Nats have the weakest schedule in all of baseball. (I don’t have a clue how they determined that..) and we play the Nats 6 times before our pitching staff will be up to speed.
        The Nats do have to play LA and St. Louis in April but they are not in the division.
        I pick the Braves to win 82-86 games this year, and it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a one game playoff for the NL wildcard.
        Gonna be an exciting season!

    • Despite being underdogs to the Nats, the Braves have enough firepower to win the division. They are decided underdogs, however. Makes for an exciting season when you aren’t expected to win anything and you come through. Looking forward to this season.

  2. JuanFranFan says:

    This analysis disposes too quickly of what I believe will be a correct and more mature offense.

    • I would love to see the Braves have a powerful offense this season! Seems like over the years, the Braves have a good, but not great offense. No matter what names are in the line-up. Offensive philosophy holding them back, perhaps?

  3. Al Simard says:

    The agent who got FW to sign the Uptons belongs in the agents hall of fame. These guys r poor fielders and BJ is an auto out. Other than April and sept last year, the lineup had 5 hitters and they still won 96 games

  4. NorthAlabamaGM says:

    Going to kick back and enjoy the.year! And hope BJ and Ugglabat .240+ with 20+ HR and 75+. RBI. we will have a good year

  5. NorthAlabamaGM says:

    .350 OBP would be sufficient!

  6. rogerheld says:

    Jim, do NOT be so dismissive of Ian Thomas and Gus Schlosser. I’ll bet you were dismissive of Luis Avilan when he was called up too. I think the views of Hale have been optimistic and Buchter still doesn’t have his control and Severino is a bum. I think Schlosser needs to be given the 5th starter job and I think he can ultimately push Harang to the bullpen. I told you a while ago that the Braves always keep a rookie surprise – this year there are two (last year Gattis, prior year Avilan). If everyone else of the position players revert to norm and BJ and Uggla continue their resurgence, the Braves WILL compete for the division. Teheran, Minor, Santana, Wood, and Schlosser are as good as anything the Nats can throw at us. With Floyd and Harang to fill the gaps, there is plenty of depth.

    • Roger, I like your optimism a lot, I just don’t share it at this point in time. Too many unknowns and question marks. I hope you are right about Ian Thomas and Schlosser ’cause the Braves NEED THEM to pitch well this season. The main problem right now is that there is little margin for error. Another injury or two could be the death blows. I doubt that Liberty Media is going to open up the wallet and pay out millions more after already going 14 million over the budget. Keep your fingers crossed that everyone stays healthy from here on out.

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