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The Atlanta Braves 2012 Season Official Thread

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#1
HobnailedBoots

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Baseball holds so much of the past, pulls me back to it each year, to the soothing unclocked unrolling of the innings, to the sound of an announcer through an open car in May, the sweet attenuations of late summer afternoons, my father bringing us Ted Williams's autograph, my brother, his ear to the radio, suffering a late-season loss. The sound of cleats on an asphalt drive, a bat cracking a ball, delirious cheers for the team that's held me in thrall all my life, the raw power of its line-up, the charisma of the Green Wall. Batting averages, home runs, earned run averages, absorbed unwittingly over the seasons, call out to surprise me in easy conversation with strangers, in a southern city, in a stadium, in spring. - Gail Mazur, from "Spring Training in the Grapefruit League."

As February dwindles mercifully to a close, we faithful denizens of the great Tomahawk Nation who have bitterly tended our war wounds for nearly four long months now can finally put the anguish of what might have been behind us. It is February 20th, and Braves pitchers and catchers will get their first workout in today. For the 2012 Atlanta Braves, "next year" begins today.

For those of us in the navy and red, our off-season was highlighted by... silence. Whilst elsewhere in baseball the news was dominated by the Miami's and Anaheim's and Boston's, free agents, contracts and trades, all remained quiet on the Atlanta front. The Braves will look much the same on Opening Day as they did on the final day of the regular season last year. But, as we will no doubt discuss at length in this thread, that is not necessarily a bad thing. There is reason to believe that the series of late season events which we shall no longer speak of was an anomoly, and that we have all the pieces we need.

And so, without further ado, let us preview this 2012 Atlanta ball club.


Notable returning players: Chipper Jones, Michael Bourn, Jair Jurrjens
Notable losses: Alex Gonzalez, Derek Lowe :glare:
Key additions/call-ups: Tyler Pastornicky

Coaching changes:
Hitting coach: Greg Walker (formerly of Chicago White Sox)

Positions locked up (and 2011 stats)

Brian McCannn - C  (.270 AVG, .817 OPS, 24 HR, 71 RBI, 3 SB)
Chipper Jones - 3B  (.245 AVG, .814 OPS, 18 HR, 70 RBI, 2 SB)
Dan Uggla - 2B  (.233 AVG, .764 OPS, 36 HR, 82 RBI, 1 SB)
Freddie Freeman - 1B ( .282 AVG, .784 OPS, 21 HR, 76 RBI, 4 SB)
Martin Prado - LF (.260 AVG, .687 OPS, 13 HR, 57 RBI, 4 SB)
Michael Bourn - CF (.294 AVG, .734 OPS, 2 HR, 50 RBI, 61 SB)
Jason Heyward - RF (.227 AVG, .708 OPS, 14 HR, 42 RBI, 9 SB)
Tyler Pastornicky - SS (.365 AVG, .821 OPS, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 7 SB - AAA Gwinnett)

Starting rotation: Tim Hudson (in May), Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens, Brandon Beachy
Bullpen: Jonny Venters, Craig Kimbrel, Eric O'Flaherty
Bench: Eric Hinske, David Ross

Position battles:

SP (1): Mike Minor, Randall Delgado, Julio Teheran, Kris Medlen
RP: Cristhian Martinez, Anthony Varvaro, Arodys Vizcaino, Cory Gearrin, Kris Medlen, Jairo Ascencio, Todd Redmond, Robert Fish
Bench: Matt Diaz, Jose Constanza, Jack Wilson, Brandon Hicks, Christhian Bethancourt, J.C. Boscan


Thoughts: While we have said for awhile now that we're going into 2012 with the same team, in reality it's not.

For one, shedding Derek Lowe ends any possibility that he'll eat up a spot in the rotation for one of the younger and (at this point) more talented pitchers that were knocking on the door all last season. So the starting rotation will look slightly different.

We recently found out that Tim Hudson will not make his return until at least early May. That may be a factor early. It also means one more starting spot is available until Huddy is ready to go, and probably makes Hanson the unquestionable Ace of the rotation.

On the other hand, the "on paper" aspect of this club is very, very good. Obviously there's limited value in paper, but going into the season where your only question mark on the field is short stop, that's got to give you a pretty good feeling.

Who knows if the addition of Greg Walker as hitting coach will make a difference for the Braves, but with the guys in the line-up, there's no reason why this club shouldn't have an offense to match the caliber of the pitching we've gotten consistently over the past couple of seasons.

Keys moving forward to the beginning of the season -

1. Young pitching must live up to potential in the absence of more seasoned veterans to take the hill.
2. Pastornicky must play solid defense at short stop
3. Chipper staying healthy
4. Timely hitting, timely hitting, timely hitting



PREDICTIONS:

Opening day lineup

1. Bourn CF
2. Prado LF
3. Jones 3B
4. McCann C
5. Uggla 2B
6. Heyward RF
7. Freeman 1B
8. Pastornicky SS
9. Hanson P

Starting rotation: Hanson, Jurrjens, Beachy, Delgado, Minor
Bullpen: Kimbrel, Venters, O'Flaherty, Medlen, Martinez, Varvaro, Fish




Let's get it rollin', folks. First ST game is March 3rd, and the home opener versus the Brewers is April 13th.


[media=''][/media]

Edited by HobnailedBoots, 20 February 2012 - 02:56 PM.


#2
GoldenRebel

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Some thoughts:
- Our lineup looks better on paper than it does in my head
- At least we get Huddy back for the toughest part of our schedule
- I expect a lot out of Beachy this year
- The recent health of our rotation worries me...Timmy, JJ, Big Red
- Our pen gives me a woody
- Can't wait to see feel that cool Atlanta breeze on opening day

#3
MCD

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"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again."

[media=''][/media]

[media=''][/media]
Posted Image

#4
UAdan

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Glorious....just....glorious.

Posted Image

Posted Image


ALABAMA FOOTBALL 2014


4-0 (1-0)


Next Game: @ Ole Miss Rebels

Vaught-Hemingway Stadium

Oxford, Mississippi


#5
UAdan

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I will post my thoughts on the outlook for the season here shortly, but in the meantime....a video tribute to those who wish to relish in the nostalgia of our passion for the Atlanta Braves.



Here's to another season!!!! BASEBALL IS BACK, THANK GOD!

Posted Image


ALABAMA FOOTBALL 2014


4-0 (1-0)


Next Game: @ Ole Miss Rebels

Vaught-Hemingway Stadium

Oxford, Mississippi


#6
UAdan

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View PostMCD, on 20 February 2012 - 03:29 PM, said:

"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again."

[media=''][/media]

[media=''][/media]

The first video...when Skip shouts, "The Atlanta Braves have given you a championship!"..... just BONE-CHILLING.

Posted Image


ALABAMA FOOTBALL 2014


4-0 (1-0)


Next Game: @ Ole Miss Rebels

Vaught-Hemingway Stadium

Oxford, Mississippi


#7
CrimsoNation713

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My memories as a Braves fan. Seeing Murph hit a granny. The Braves being so bad that you could buy a general admission ticket and sit anywhere. Remembering Biff Pocoroba catching. Watch Bob Horner hit a HR with the most compact swing I've ever seen. Staying for a weekend at the Holiday Inn that used to be on top of the hill next to Fulton County Stadium. Standing in the spot where Hank Aaron beat the Babe. Riding around Atlanta and going to Lenox Square Mall and hopefully catch one of the opposing team players in there shopping and getting an autograph {got lucky one day and got Ozzie Smith and Willie McGee). Riding down Peachtree and just checking out the sights. Walking in The Ted and first thing I saw was John Schuerholtz and Skip Carey talking and got to shake their hand. Hearing Skip say"Run Sid Run"!! Going to the Chop House and watching a game from there and smelling the polish dogs,onions and peppers cooking. Its THAT time again fellas.

Great to be a Braves fan.

Edited by CrimsoNation713, 20 February 2012 - 04:21 PM.

"Whenever I see those crimson jerseys and crimson helmets, I feel humbled to have played football for Alabama. Other players in the NFL talk to me about their schools and their traditions. I just smile knowing the immense love Alabama fans have for our school and its football program. I'm proud to be a part of that Crimson Tide heritage."

-- Derrick Thomas

#8
StallingsBaldSpot

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RIP Skip....RIP
Twitter: @country_cookin

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Formerly known as vandyfan84

#9
HobnailedBoots

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You know we could really Posted Imageing rake if our guys are hitting this year. I still look at that lineup and see murderers row. Seriously... I think we might have the most potential of any team in baseball this year. The Braves just look like a powder keg, waiting for a spark to ignite them.

Honest question - what holes do you see? The number of answers you can come up with to that question should tell you a lot about what our chances are.

#10
StallingsBaldSpot

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Honestly, I don't know enough about Pastornicky to call him a "hole" at short, but we are relying heavily on a guy that's never played in "the show" much like we did Freddi...guess we're hoping for the same result.

Chipper's health concerns me, and if he goes down that leaves us with an even bigger gaping hole in LF. Say what you will about Prado, love the guy, he's just not a LFer

EDIT: Uggla getting off to a hot start could really be that spark we need to set off the fireworks

Edited by vandyfan84, 20 February 2012 - 09:35 PM.

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#11
GoldenRebel

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We have one hole and its at SS.  And maybe a half hole for Prado in LF.  Pastornicky just worries me.  His defense is not good and doesn't have a strong arm.  He can hit for average and steal some bases though.  If he can up his defense working with Wilson, then he won't be much of a liability to us this year.

#12
Tider27

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Shortstops are a rare breed these days it seems, at least in the full package kind of sense. Would of been nice if we could of traded some young arms for a young SS, or shore up LF and move Prado to 3B when Chip inevitably goes down. You sometimes have to risk it to get the biscuit. At the same time I'm proud of the pitching depth they've hung on to without the bone head moves, it may save us in some slumps at the plate this season.

I like the overall look of the lineup, I'll touch more on it in the coming days.

Those videos are awesome, pumps me up for some Braves baseball.

Edited by Tider27, 21 February 2012 - 04:44 PM.

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#13
Tider27

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Dusty Baker said Aroldis Chapman will be tested as a starter this spring, yeesh.

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#14
CrimsoNation713

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View PostTider27, on 21 February 2012 - 02:55 PM, said:

Dusty Baker said Aroldis Chapman will be tested as a starter this spring, yeesh.
no :lanekiffin:  way....
"Whenever I see those crimson jerseys and crimson helmets, I feel humbled to have played football for Alabama. Other players in the NFL talk to me about their schools and their traditions. I just smile knowing the immense love Alabama fans have for our school and its football program. I'm proud to be a part of that Crimson Tide heritage."

-- Derrick Thomas

#15
Ocho

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Thank God! It is time!
....Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation....