5 Most Exciting Atlanta Braves Players to Watch in 2013 MLB Playoffs
5 Atlanta Braves Players To Watch in 2013 Playoffs
The Atlanta Braves have one of the most exciting teams in the majors. With a good number of salty veterans and even more young but outstanding players, the mix and chemistry this team has is just right. It’s a team that always had familiar faces in the past, but has shed most of its classic players for younger home-grown prospects in recent years who have taken their places at a much more affordable rate.
Who could overlook what Chris Johnson has done to replace the hole Chipper Jones left behind, or how Freddie Freeman has taken the middle of the lineup by storm? Even more impressive though is that through all the hardship and injuries, many unexpected players on the team had the opportunity to step up and do their part. When Tim Hudson went down, Alex Wood stepped up and when Jason Heyward went through various injuries, Jordan Schafer provided the Braves with long periods of sustained production. When Dan Uggla struggled, Tyler Pastornicky took his place and when he was injured, the Braves signed Elliot Johnson, who's done exactly what he's been expected to. All of the injuries that the team endured and the acquisitions Frank Wren made gave fans many exciting players and new faces to enjoy throughout the season. But of all of them, only a few stand atop the crowd.
The whole team is exciting, and picking the top five is no easy task, but of all the great pieces that make up the 2013 Braves, my top five most anticipated players to watch in the postseason are as follows.
5. Kris Medlen
Kris Medlen will likely be starting Game 1 in the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. While he doesn’t have exciting velocity or an attitude that strikes fear into batters, he puts them down with deception and movement, and there’s no stopping him when he's on. He’s got one of the nastiest changeups in the game and when his command is there, batters are completely baffled. Seeing him go up against the Cy Young favorite Clayton Kershaw could be one of the most exciting matchups of the playoffs this year.
4. Andrelton Simmons
Andrelton Simmons has been shocking fans and analysts alike all season long. With spectacular plays and defensive numbers that put every other player in the league to shame, there has never been a more exciting time to watch Simmons than in the postseason. In front of massive crowds and national broadcasts, Simmons will be putting on a defensive clinic that people haven’t seen in a very long time.
3. Evan Gattis
At this point, most people are aware of the inspiring story that took Evan Gattis from the life of a janitor to the life of a big league star. His batting average is low due to a long midseason slump. Of late, he’s been hot and his power numbers are as high as ever. I can’t wait to watch this guy drop bombs into the outfield seats of the Ted next month.
2. Jason Heyward
Jason Heyward was more of a disappointment than an exciting focal point when discussing the Braves earlier in the season, but since his move to the leadoff spot, he’s become a critical piece of the Braves’ lineup. After his gruesome injury and return to a slow start, questions about if he’d be able to really produce for the team in the playoffs began to surface, but after a 5–for-5 night last week, the anticipation to watch Heyward play in October is off the charts.
1. Craig Kimbrel
There’s nobody like Craig Kimbrel. Watching him pitch in the last few years has truly been a blessing; he’s as good as it gets, but he has yet to get his chance at a save on the big stage. Now with the looming NLDS, Kimbrel will finally get to do what he does best against the best in front of the whole world.