Posted Under: State of the Organization
Major League News:
Another year, another brutal disappointment for the Atlanta Braves and their fans. The Braves were the first victim of the new playoff system, and the defeat could not have come in more controversial fashion. The Braves were done in by shoddy defense (shades of the 2010 NLDS vs. the Giants) and an infield fly call that negated the possibility for a big inning. Alas, the Braves were once again forced to watch another team end the season as World Series Champions from home.
Not all is lost though; Atlanta will return the majority of the team that finished 94-68. They have exercised team options on Tim Hudson, Paul Maholm, and Brian McCann, which leaves only two empty starting spots on the roster. Those spots though will be tough to fill.
Chipper Jones and Michael Bourn are the only members of the 2012 Braves that might not return. In Chipper’s case, he is definitely not coming back, seeing as he has retired as a professional ballplayer. Bourn on the other hand presents an interesting decision for the Braves. Michael Bourn was one of the best outfielders in the MLB on offense and defense. Bourn finished tied for 7th in the National League with a 6.0 WAR and will likely demand a high salary and interest throughout the league. It also should be mentioned that Bourn’s agent is the notorious Scott Boras.
Since the season is over, it is fitting to name the team’s MVP and Cy Young for the 2012 season.
Team MVP: Martin Prado
Martin led the Braves in batting with a .301 average and completed his slash line with a .359 OBP and .438 SLG. Prado also managed to be one of the most versatile players in the entire league. Prado played, and excelled at five defensive positions.
Team Cy Young: Kris Medlen
Medlen may have only started 12 games but his twelve starts may as well have saved the Braves season. Before Medlen started his first game of the season Medlen had pitched 54 innings with a 2.38 ERA out of the bullpen, impressive, but not exactly superb. What came out of his 12 starts was nothing short of incredible. In twelve starts Medlen has a miniscule 0.97 ERA and won two consecutive National League Pitcher of the Month awards.
What the fans are saying:
The biggest concern for the Braves and their fans here in the early stages of the off-season is how they are going to fill the voids at third base and center field. The Braves are going to go into next season with their entire rotation and bullpen in tact and fans feel like filling the holes on offense could be the key to getting this team back to the playoffs in 2013.
The feeling is that the Braves will not be willing to break the bank to bring back Michael Bourn, but the Braves do expect to have around $20-25 million to spend on just the two holes in the lineup. The Braves will also have the flexibility of moving Martin Prado to third base full time and search for two impact outfield bats, which are considerably more plentiful than impact third basemen.
Minor League Update:
The Braves have seven prospects in the star laden, hitter friendly, Arizona Fall League. Here is a run down of some impact prospects and how they are faring. (Through 10/31)
- Ryan Buchter, LHP: Buchter has appeared in seven games out of the bullpen with a 2.61 ERA and 9 K’s in 10.1 innings.
- Chris Jones, LHP: Jones has pitched in relief seven times with a 4.22 ERA in 10.2 innings.
- Zeke Spruill, RHP: Spruill has started four games and has compiled a 2.92 ERA in 12.1 innings. He has struck out 10 batters and walked five
- Edward Salcedo, 3B: Salcedo is struggling mightily with just seven hits in 55 at-bats with 4 RBI in 14 games.
- Nick Ahmed, SS: Ahmed continued his great work this season and is amongst the top hitters in the AFL. Ahmed is batting .350 with just seven K’s in 40 ABs.