2012 Atlanta Braves Season Preview
The 2011 Atlanta Braves looked to be in a race with the Red Sox to see who could give up a huge Wild Card lead in September the quickest. In the end, they both gave up playoff spots on the final day of the season, and a year like that stays with a team if they don’t win again soon. The 2012 Braves intend to never look back. A few needed changes have been made by general manager Frank Wren, as he shipped Derek Lowe to Cleveland and decided to not re-sign shortstop Alex Gonzalez. Taking over will be 22-year old Tyler Pastornicky, who will be making his major league debut in 2010. Pastornicky hit .314 over 117 games between Double-A and Triple-A in 2011, and has the speed to steal 20-25 bases this season. Craig Kimbrel will return as closer after a 46-save performance in 2011, netting a Rookie of the Year award in the process. Kimbrel has a 1.75 ERA through 100 games in his short career, and looks to be a long-term solution at the end of the game for manager Fredi Gonzalez. The big story of the 2012 season will be the departure of Chipper Jones, who announced he will retire at the end of the year. This will be Jones’ 18th full season in a Braves inform, more than any other current player has played with a single team. Jones won the 1999 NL MVP and has been the face of the franchise for the last decade. The farewell is likely to pack away stadiums all season long as fans see Chipper take the field for the last time.
2011 Atlanta Braves Season Preview
Paced by a strong group of young players, the Atlanta Braves returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2005 season. Despite losing in the NLDS to the eventual World Series champion Giants, the year laid the groundwork for what should be a successful run through the NL East. Third baseman Chipper Jones is the veteran leader of this team. He's been with the club since the glory days of the mid-to-late 90s and experienced resurgence last year. After the season, he decided to return for what could be his last year. The Braves are also helped out by the acquisition of second baseman Dan Uggla, who has proven to be one of the best at his position in both leagues. Rookie sensation Jason Heyward broke out last year with his towering blasts and will certainly build on his 18 homerun, 72 RBI performance in 2010. As for pitching, the Braves have the tools once again to make a run for the playoffs. Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe offer plenty of experience, with both having an extensive post-season pedigree. Atlanta is also lucky to have youngster Jair Jurrjens in their rotation as well. The 25-year-old showed promise last year, and if he can stay healthy he will be a reliable starter. The Braves bullpen was also bolstered thanks to the addition of lefty specialist George Sherrill. With this reliable core of solid hitters and a stable full of both veteran and up-and-coming pitchers, 2011 is looking bright for the Braves.
2009 Atlanta Braves Season Preview
The mission for the 2009 Atlanta Braves ball club will be to return to excellence. The Braves were one of the top teams in baseball for the last decade, and their roster is strong enough so they should be able to earn back top team status in '09. The Braves will pitch Derek Lowe and Javier Vazquez in-front of a talented field lineup that includes Chipper Jones and Garret Anderson. If Atlanta Braves Manager Bobby Cox can squeeze out a little of his old magic from this team, then Atlanta fans should be doing the Tomahawk Chop this postseason.
2008 Atlanta Braves Season Preview
The Atlanta Braves are always one of the most exciting teams to watch in Major League Baseball, and one of the toughest teams to beat in the East division of the National League. While recent seasons have shown the Braves in a bit of a rebuilding mode, the team has made some important trades and is set to resume its reign at the top of its division, and make a tough run for the playoffs. Watch as fifty thousand fans fill Turner Field this season to support America's Team. You'll see franchise record holders John Smoltz and Chipper Jones continue their stellar careers and lead their team to another pennant.