It was a great Summer for the Atlanta Braves in 2012 as they cruised to win 94 games and made the MLB playoffs with lofty expectations. Unfortunately, the St. Louis Cardinals ended their playoffs hopes before they even started with a win in the NL Wild Card Game. This was the first season that the MLB adopted another Wild Card team and it didn’t benefit the Braves whatsoever.
Now, the Braves spent the offseason to gear up as the NL East is turning into one of the best division in the league. To sum up the offseason for the Braves the perfect word would be Upton. No, not Kate Upton.
After eight years with the Tampa Bay Rays the Braves signed center fielder Justin Upton to a five-year deal worth upwards of $75M. With third baseman Chipper Jones retiring the team felt they had to bring someone into the fold that could hit for power which B.J can definitely do as he smashed 28 dingers in 2012. His bad attitude was a cause for concern, however the change of scenery should make Braves fans forget all about Michael Bourn.
Justin Upton also made the family trek to Atlanta as he was dealt from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Braves on January 24th. The two will become the first brothers to ever patrol the same MLB outfield. Justin is no slouch as he is just one season removed from a season with 31 home runs and 21 stolen bases. 2013 saw a big dip in Justin’s power productivity as he notched just 17 home runs with 67 RBI.
Pitching wise the Braves may struggle as they are without Tommy Hanson this season and have a starting rotation that is very weak in the back-end. Tim Hudson remains the team ace, but at age 36 I can’t promise he will be healthy for the duration of a grueling 2013 season.
I think the Braves are going to win 94 games yet again, but they won’t be victorious in the NL East as the Washington Nationals are simply too talented.