Thursday, March 7, 2013

MAKING THE PITCH: Atlanta Braves

Felipe M

We take a look at the projected starting rotations and closer situations of every MLB team.  Of course, this will come from a fantasy perspective.  All cited stats are based on 2013 projections. 

For our review of the Arizona Diamondbacks, click here

We'll take a look at the Atlanta Braves today.

PROBABLE STARTING ROTATION

  1. Kris Medlen
    • Good: Has been compared to Greg Maddux. Impressive down the stretch in 2012.  His projected numbers scream "ELITE!"
    • Bad: Very small sample size to go with.  Medlen is 28, so he's not a young phenom.  Questions loom regarding projected numbers being fact or fiction.
  2. Tim Hudson
    • Good: You know exactly what you're getting from Hudson at this point of his career.  He pitches to contact, and highly depends on defense to get him through his starts, but will not hurt himself by allowing too many hits or homers.  His BB/9 is a low 2.68.  
    • Bad: Very low K/9 of 5.86.  He will turn 38 in July.
  3. Mike Minor
    • Good: K/9 of 8.31. Keeps walks and hits to a minimum.  Pitched great in the 2nd half of 2012.
    • Bad: Homerun rate is a bit high (1.19), but as mentioned, hard to tell if this is a pattern with Minor, or if he can streamline late success from last season into 2013.
  4. Paul Maholm
    • Good: Might be a better pitcher than Hudson with a little bit of luck.  He has a slightly, higher H/9 (8.81) and HR/9 (.79) than the veteran Hudson.  6.20 K/9 is not too shabby.
    • Bad: WHIP of 1.26 might hurt Roto-leaguers, but it might drop if he can somehow limit the base-hits he gives up.
  5. Julio Teheran
    • Good: Has been described as the next Pedro Martinez. Will be given every chance to break camp as the 5th starter.  So far, has pitched better this spring than in 2012.  Solid K/9 of 6.45.  
    • Bad: Projections show a K/BB of 1.65 and a H/9 of 8.83, which inflates his WHIP to 1.42.  He's still worth a flier to fill out the rest of your rotation on potential alone.
CLOSER
  1. Craig Kimbrel
    • Good: Might be the best closer in baseball.  He's near unhittable, especially when it comes to home runs.  K/BB of 5.22 and a K/9 of 15.88 (incredibly high!).   He's expected to have a WHIP of 1.06. 
    • Bad: Very tough to figure out any weakness for this guy.  Perhaps the fact that hard-throwing teammate, Jonny Venters, can supplant him if Kimbrel stumbles.  However, the Braves are "listening" to offers from other teams for Venters.  
FANTASY ADVICE

The Braves have themselves a solid pitching staff.  They won't hurt themselves with too many mistakes and can keep their walks in checks.  Even the young, unproven Teheran is an intriguing option if he continues to impress in spring training.  

Oh yes; this list isn't even mentioning Brandon Beachy who should be back by late June or sooner.  Just be careful in overvaluing these guys.  Minor, Teheran, and Medlen are young and still unproven and may fall short of their projections.  Conversely, however, the opposite also holds true; they may super-exceed their projections this season as well.  

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