Spring training report: Atlanta Braves

Braves begin a voluntary camp on Monday. Pitching Coach Roger McDowell handles the two-week camp year in and year out.  It’s a camp to build up endurance for spring training that starts in less than 26 days. Yes, it’s that time of the year again. Finally.

Among those expected to participate in this year’s camp are: Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Peter Moylan, Eric O’Flaherty, Craig Kimbrel, Brandon Beachy, Mike Minor, Scott Linebrink, George Sherrill, and Cory Gearrin.

With that in mind, let’s analyze the rotation and bullpen that the Braves plan on, as of now, going into spring training with.

My counterpart, fellow writer, wrote about the amazing Phillies rotation and the possibilities of other great rotations that could challenge them. He sure left out these braves, so I thought I would present an argument next.  Let’s face it; the National League East has some great arms this year. Ranking the team’s rotations:

  1. Phillies – Hands Down.
  2. Braves – Will challenge.
  3. Nationals – They are young with a mix of good veterans.
  4. Marlins – Something tells me they just won’t live up to the expectations.
  5. Mets – yeah.

Let’s start with the Braves rotation, which seems solid. Will break down the rotation in several articles leading up to spring training. Here is my projected rotation:

  1. Hudson
  2. Lowe
  3. Jurrjens
  4. Hanson
  5. Minor

That looks solid to me. Jurrjens and Hanson could be flipped, but those two as #3 and #4’s!! Any rotation would be happy to have them there, they would be easy #2’s on most rotations.

Hudson pitched to a 17-9 record with a 2.83 ERA last year. There’s not much to debate about him. He’s an ace, and always has been. His worst year in his 12 year career was in 2006 with the Braves when he posted a 4.86 ERA. Two good years later, he comes down with Tommy John. (It’s like a disease now, and the press treats it like that too.) At his age (then 33) there was doubt about whether he could produce.  He pitched the following year, in September, to a 3.61 ERA in 7 games. Confident, the Braves saw him post incredible numbers the following year, 2010. Here is what Tim Hudson did in spring training last year: First 20 innings, 1.35 ERA with an astonishing 17/3 K/BB ratio. He claims that feels stronger than he has ever felt (every pitcher says that) but he backed it up. He has a friendly team salary and the greatest attitude a player could have.

Tune in next for the rest of the rotation



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