Category Archives: Atlanta Braves

POLL: Who is the Face of the Braves?

For our Face of the MLB tournament, let us know who you think the face of the Braves is in the poll below!

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Rick Ankiel retires

Dan McLaughlin broke the news that pitcher-turned-outfielder Rick Ankiel would retire from baseball on the St. Louis Cardinals broadcast, and would like to join the front office.

Ankiel pitched in the majors from 1999-2004, taking 2002 and 2003 off due to arm injuries.  He attempted to resume his pitching career once more in 2004, but was unsuccessful with recurring injuries.

In 2005, Ankiel returned to the majors for the St. Louis Cardinals as an outfielder, for whom he had played with from 1999-2004.  Ankiel spent his outfield years with the Cardinals, Royals, Braves, Nationals, Astros, and Mets, before finally calling it quits.

Ankiel had made a name for himself with a cannon of an arm from the outfielder, and finished his career with a fielding percentage of 97.9%.

As a pitcher, Ankiel had a career 3.90 ERA in 242 innings.  He had a decent 8.1 K/9 and 0.9 BB/9.

In his 11 year career, Ankiel had a .240/.302/.422 slash line with 76 hom runs in 2115 plate appearances spread out over 653 total games.

NL East Rundown

The NL East will be an interesting race this year to watch. Here’s my take on what will happen:

Division Champion: Nationals

Division MVP: Bryce Harper

Division CY Young winner: Jose Fernandez

Predictions:

1. Nationals (91-71)

2. Braves (89-73)

3. Marlins (80-82)

4. Mets (76-86)

5. Phillies (71-91)

Nationals:

I think they have real potential with young stars such as Stausburg and Harper leading the way. Veteran leadership will be key to a playoff run so watch for Zimmerman or another player to step into that role.

Braves:

They too, have great potential with a powerful offense. The Upton brothers along with Heyward and Uggla should keep them contending along with their pitching staff of Medlen leading the way along with their shut-down closer Kimbrel.

Marlins:

This may surprise some people but the Marlins might be a team in the next few years to contend with. This may not be the year but watch out for last year’s NL Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez along with Giancarlo Stanton.

Mets:

Even without their star pitcher Matt Harvey for the majority of the season, the Mets have a decent starting rotation with rising star Zach Wheeler and Bartolo Colon. The Mets must hope that Colon can retain his 2013 success which included 18 wins with the A’s. They Mets lineup includes David Wright and newcomer Curtis Granderson.

Phillies:

The Phillies have potential if their players can stay healthy. Their pitching staff with Lee and Hamels  should carry them some if they can get run support. With an aging lineup, look to see the Phillies start the rebuilding process.

NL East Rundown

The NL East will be an interesting race this year to watch. Here’s my take on what will happen:

Division Champion: Nationals

Division MVP: Bryce Harper

Division CY Young winner: Jose Fernandez

Predictions:

1. Nationals (91-71)

2. Braves (89-73)

3. Marlins (80-82)

4. Mets (76-86)

5. Phillies (71-91)

Nationals:

I think they have real potential with young stars such as Stausburg and Harper leading the way. Veteran leadership will be key to a playoff run so watch for Zimmerman or another player to step into that role.

Braves:

They too, have great potential with a powerful offense. The Upton brothers along with Heyward and Uggla should keep them contending along with their pitching staff of Medlen leading the way along with their shut-down closer Kimbrel.

Marlins:

This may surprise some people but the Marlins might be a team in the next few years to contend with. This may not be the year but watch out for last year’s NL Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez along with Giancarlo Stanton.

Mets:

Even without their star pitcher Matt Harvey for the majority of the season, the Mets have a decent starting rotation with rising star Zach Wheeler and Bartolo Colon. The Mets must hope that Colon can retain his 2013 success which included 18 wins with the A’s. They Mets lineup includes David Wright and newcomer Curtis Granderson.

Phillies:

The Phillies have potential if their players can stay healthy. Their pitching staff with Lee and Hamels  should carry them some if they can get run support. With an aging lineup, look to see the Phillies start the rebuilding process.

Looking into Dan Uggla’s struggles

When the Braves traded utility infielder Omar Infante and pitcher Michael Dunn for second baseman Dan Uggla it was seen as a great trade for the Braves but questionable for the Marlins. 3 seasons later all three of those players have been average other than Uggla’s 30+ game hit streak. This was expected from Infante and Dunn but very few expected Uggla’s decline over the past few seasons. Uggla has always been a high strikeout/home run hitter but that was something “Braves Country” was fine with as long as he was hitting 35 home runs a season. As his power numbers have dropped we have begun to wonder if he is worth the risk anymore. It seems that every at bat was a strikeout last year. As the season began to wind down it was reported he had eye troubles. He never really cracked the lineup after getting new contacts. I think the Braves should give him one more full season with his new contacts and see if he can improve. If not I would look to make a move if I was GM of the Braves.