2014 Fantasy Baseball Top Five: The Atlanta Braves

Fantasy Baseball 2014: The Top Five Atlanta Braves

Justin Upton Atlanta Braves
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The Atlanta Braves’ roster is full of good fantasy options across the diamond and on the pitcher’s mound, even though potential season-ending injuries to starting pitchers Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy have thinned the ranks a bit.

Here are my top five Braves for fantasy baseball purposes in 2014.

5. 1B Freddie Freeman

Freddie Freeman Fantasy Baseball
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5. 1B Freddie Freeman

Freddie Freeman Fantasy Baseball
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A fortunate BABIP (.371) helped Freeman hit .319 last season, but his home run total (23) was the same as 2012 with remarkably similar peripheral numbers. His batting average is virtually certain to drop some this year, but 30 home runs and 100-plus RBI are within reach for Freeman this year in the middle of the Braves’ lineup.

4. RP Craig Kimbrel

Craig Kimbrel Fantasy Baseball
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4. RP Craig Kimbrel

Craig Kimbrel Fantasy Baseball
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An injury-riddled Braves’ starting rotation may have Kimbrel’s stock on the decline in the eyes of some fantasy owner, and it’s probably safe to assume he won’t save 50 games like he did last year. But securing a top closer on draft day can be a distinct advantage, and even with some regression 40 or more saves with elite-level ratios is a reasonable expectation for Kimbrel this year.

3. C Evan Gattis

Evan Gattis Fantasy Baseball
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3. C Evan Gattis

Evan Gattis Fantasy Baseball
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18 of his 21 home runs last season came in three months (April, May and September), but Gattis is now a notable name in fantasy circles after being unknown at this time last year. He will now be Atlanta’s primary catcher with Brian McCann gone, and Gattis’ fantasy value is bolstered by multi-position eligibility (48 games in the outfield last season).

2. SS Andrelton Simmons

Andrelton Simmons Fantasy Baseball
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2. SS Andrelton Simmons

Andrelton Simmons Fantasy Baseball
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Simmons 17 home run outburst in 2013 was a surprise based on his minor league track record and may not be repeated, but better luck (.247 BABIP) and more stolen bases (six last year) would offset any drop in his home run total this year and make him a better all-around producer for fantasy owners. 2014 may not be a full breakout season for Simmons, but he belongs toward the top of any list of fantasy sleepers at shortstop.

1. OF Jason Heyward

Jason Heyward Fantasy Baseball
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1. OF Jason Heyward

Jason Heyward Fantasy Baseball
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Injuries (appendectomy, jaw, etc.) limited Heyward to 104 games and 382 at-bats last season and his numbers (.254, 14 home runs, 38 RBI and two stolen bases) reflected that. Fantasy owners that drafted him last year expecting a repeat of 2012 (27 home runs, 82 RBI, 21 stolen bases) may be hesitant to buy-in to a rebound in 2014, but last year’s issues were unique and Heyward is still just 24 years old and has significant upside.


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