The MLB regular season kicks off Sunday April 3, with the Atlanta Braves kicking off their farewell season at Turner Field the following day with a mid-afternoon start time of 4 o’clock.
Quick Recap of 2015
The Braves finished last season with an abysmal record of 67-95, which put them in fourth in the National League East, only ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies who finished with a 63-99 record.
The four important things to come out of last season would be:
- The team worked on progressing their young or inexperienced talent (Matt Wisler, Mike Foltynewicz and Adonis Garcia to name a few),
- Fredi Gonzalez was given a one year contract-extension, through the 2016 season,
- Shelby Miller proved to be a great return when the Braves traded away Jason Heyward last season, and
- Freddie Freeman had his first real injury-plagued season, suffering with a broken wrist throughout the majority of the season, which really hampered him.
Other than that, it was mostly just a disappointing season, something that as Braves fans we are still really not accustomed to, and hopefully we never will be.
Quick Recap of the Off-season
A LOT happened this off-season, so here is a quick, short recap:
- The biggest thing to know about the Braves’ off-season is the trading away of Miller to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Miller was only with the franchise for one season, and it was a good one. You wouldn’t know that by his W-L record, but it is hard to win games when your offense struggles like the Braves’ did last season. Even though the Braves still had a lot of control left for Miller, this trade was a great one for the Braves. They received Dansby Swanson (the #1 over-all pick from last year’s draft) who is expected to be the Braves shortstop of future, 23-year-old Aaron Blair (a pretty highly-touted pitching prospect) and Ender Inciarte, the new Braves’ center-fielder and presumably the CF of the future. Easily a fantastic trade for the Braves.
2. The reason that Swanson will be the SS of the future would be because the Braves traded away slick-fielding shortstop Andrelton Simmons to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for Eric Aybar (who will play shortstop for this upcoming season) and the Angels top-two pitching prospects-Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis.
3. The other major news from the off-season would be the recovery for Freeman. He says he is healthy and is ready to have a great, full season.
What to Expect from this Season
The Braves are not expected to be anywhere close to a factor this upcoming season, and many feel like they will not be a factor next season either. Personally, I think the Braves will have a much better season next year; they have a lot of really talented, young prospects that should be either on the MLB roster, or at least really close to breaking through to the Majors next season.
But as for this season, this one looks like it will be another tough one for the fans. There will, however, be reasons to watch: final season at Turner Field, Freeman, Inciarte and all of the young talent will get to (or at least hopefully will get to) play in the majors, such as: Wisler, OF Mallex Smith, Swanson, Blair, OF Hector Olivera (not all that young in age, but in MLB experience he is young), P Tyrell Jenkins and P Lucas Sims. Seeing the team of the future grow and improve in front of our very eyes is always exciting.
And Frenchy (Jeff Francoeur) is back with his hometown Braves!
3 Bold Predictions
- Julio Teheran will finish in the top 5 in the NL Cy Young voting. Teheran has had his ups and downs throughout his career, but I am predicting a truly break-out season this year for Teheran, turning him into a true Ace.
- Freeman will play at least 155 games, hit 30 HRs and drive in over 100 runs. Freeman had his issues with his wrist last season, but I think he bounces back profoundly this season.
- The Braves will finish 3rd in the NL East. This may not seem like much of a big prediction, but the Braves are widely considered to have had a good season this year if they do not lose 100 games. So my prediction is that they will finish ahead of the Miami Marlins and the Phillies.