Atlanta Braves: 5 Biggest Surprises Through First Half of MLB Season

Atlanta Braves: 5 Biggest Surprises Through First Half of MLB Season

Aaron Harang
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It has been a wild ride for the Atlanta Braves so far in the 2014 MLB season. Ups and downs have been so frequent that you might assume they are on a roller coaster instead of a MLB regular season schedule. Through it all there have been key surprises that have helped them keep towards the top of the NL East. Here is a look at the five biggest surprises for the season so far.

5 – Shae Simmons

Shae Simmons Atlanta Braves
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5 – Shae Simmons

Shae Simmons Atlanta Braves
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When the Braves called up their double-A closer to fill a role in the MLB bullpen, nobody knew exactly what to expect. The hopes were high but the bets had to be low considering Simmons hadn't spent time at the Triple-A level yet. When he arrived he did nothing less than shut down everyone he faced. The new has worn off now and he is clearly one of the team's top set-up men already.

4 – Tommy La Stella

Tommy La Stella Atlanta Braves
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4 – Tommy La Stella

Tommy La Stella Atlanta Braves
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When it became clear that Dan Uggla was not going to be able to improve this season, most Braves fans readied themselves for another season like 2013. That didn't happen though. Instead the Braves made the big move of calling up La Stella and he has been a breath of fresh air on both offense and defense since his arrival. His success could be called a surprise but the biggest surprise is that the Braves pulled the trigger on the call-up so early.

3 – Julio Teheran

Julio Teheran Atlanta Braves
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3 – Julio Teheran

Julio Teheran Atlanta Braves
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When everyone and their brother went down with injuries during the preseason for the Braves, panic almost had to start setting in for the starting rotation. There has been no such thing in Teheran however. All he has done is carve out a spot for himself firmly atop the Braves starting rotation. What is surprising is not that he has pitched well but rather that he has pitched so very well that he has made himself the Braves' unquestionable ace.

2 – Gavin Floyd

Gavin Floyd Atlanta Braves
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2 – Gavin Floyd

Gavin Floyd Atlanta Braves
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The injury to Floyd hurts the Braves in a couple of ways but nothing can take away what he was able to do in helping this team stay afloat. Once again this was a masterful move that paid off big for the front office. Of course, no one could foresee the injury but aside from that Floyd gave this team exactly what they needed and Alex Wood ample time to rest his arm in the minors.

1 – Aaron Harang

Aaron Harang Atlanta Braves
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1 – Aaron Harang

Aaron Harang Atlanta Braves
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It hasn't all been sunshine and roses for Harang this season but to think that he would be capable of putting up the throwback numbers he is throwing up is unbelievable. The Braves cut Freddy Garcia late in the spring and instead went with Harang who did not make the cut for the Cleveland Indians. The shocker of shockers is that he is still working his way through lineups with the best of them at the halfway point. Another masterstroke by the GM.