Monday, March 05, 2007

Endy in the Outfield's Atlanta Braves Preview

Atlanta Braves' Preview
By Endy in the Outfield

Offseason Additions - RP Mike Gonzalez; RP Rafael Soriano; RP Tanyon Sturtze; 1B/OF Craig Wilson; SS Chris Woodward
Offseason Losses - RP Danys Baez; 2B Marcus Giles; 1B Adam LaRoche; SP Chris Reitsma; C Todd Pratt
2007 Preview - Was last year a small bump in the road for Atlanta? Or the end of 14 years atop the National League East? With Mike Hampton and Chipper Jones back, the Braves will need them to remain healthy to compete with the Phillies and Mets for the NL East. Atlanta is also hoping for Tim Hudson to return to his previous all star form after sub-par seasons with the Braves. Their offense looks to be better this year as they've added 1B/OF Craig Wilson to provide more power alongside Andruw Jones as he looks to hit more than 40 HR's for his 3rd straight year. The only sure thing with this Braves team this year will be John Smoltz, perhaps the most underrated pitcher of his era.
Prediction - 84 wins 74 losses; The Braves are asking just a bit too much if they want to win another division title. In order for that to happen Mike Hampton, Larry Jones, and Tim Hudson will need to stay healthy and look like themselves in years past. Looking to have all three regain that form is definitely a pipe dream for the Atlanta Braves. While they'll improve from their dismal season in 2006, they still won't be able to get past the Phillies and the Mets.

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