Blog Entry

Homegrown Team: Atlanta Braves

Posted on: December 2, 2011 3:39 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 5:10 pm
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Elvis Andrus

By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

The Braves have seemingly always believed in developing talent from within and occasionally supplementing from the outside. It's a formula that's worked for many years and has become a blueprint for most of baseball. However, that doesn't mean they don't make mistakes from time to time, and if you're a Braves fan, you probably already rue the date July 31, 2007, already. On that day, the Braves sent Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Beau Jones to the Rangers for Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay. The Rangers have been to two World Series since the trade and the Braves none.  

Lineup

1. Elvis Andrus, SS
2. Martin Prado, LF
3. Brian McCann, C
4. Chipper Jones, 3B
5. Jeff Francoeur, RF
6. Freddie Freeman, 1B
7. Jason Heyward, CF
8. Kelly Johnson, 2B

Starting Rotation

1. Adam Wainwright
2. Tommy Hanson
3. Brandon Beachy
4. Matt Harrison
5. Mike Minor

Bullpen

Closer - Craig Kimbrel
Set up - Neftali Feliz, Jonny Venters, Matt Belisle, Julio Teheran, Charlie Morton
Long - Bruce Chen

Notable Bench Players

Adam LaRoche, Mark DeRosa, Rafael Furcal, Yunel Escobar, Wilson Betemit, Andruw Jones, Jordan Schafer, Tyler Flowers, Brayan Pena and Garrett Jones give this team an acceptable backup at every spot on the diamond and more. 

What's Good?

The depth is incredible -- in the pitching staff and the position players. Even if Wainwright weren't available because of his injury, the team has Chen, Morton or the rookie Teheran to step in, or they could move Feliz to the rotation without even having to look anywhere else for its closer.

What's Not?

Heyward is playing out of position in center -- it was between him and Francoeur, so I went with Heyward. Other than that? Well, Wainwright might still have been injured and the rotation is young, but talented.

Comparison to real 2011

There's no chance this team would have missed the playoffs, like their real-life counterparts did. The rotation is solid (even without Wainwright) and would have given first-year manager Fredi Gonzalez more innings, meaning he may not have run Kimbrel and Venters into the ground. The lineup has enough punch to aid that goal. Does this team win the World Series? Maybe. The rotation isn't a postseason killer -- yet, but there's certainly potential.

Next: Toronto Blue Jays

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Comments

Since: Dec 27, 2011
Posted on: December 28, 2011 7:18 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Atlanta Braves

The 2011 season for the has been a great success thus far, and Atlanta Braves tickets have continually been in great demand as the team looks for another postseason run. Their success can be attributed to many different things, and it all starts with the offseason moves that were made in 2010.

2010 was Bobby Cox’s last season as manager of the Atlanta Braves, and much speculation was made as to who the next manager would be. Some thought that the Braves should stay in-house and hire Terry Pendleton (who was the Braves’ long-time hitting coach) as manager, while others wanted the Braves to look elsewhere for solid leadership. The Braves appeased both sides by hiring Fredi Gonzalez, a former bench coach for the team under Bobby Cox with managerial experience with the Florida Marlins. The transition could not have come any smoother.
Going into the 2010 offseason, the realized after losing to the San Francisco Giants in the postseason that they needed more offense in their lineup. In November of 2010 the Braves were able to make a dynamic trade in which they sent Mike Dunn and Omar Infante to the Florida Marlins in exchange for Dan Uggla, a power hitting second baseman. They also resigned shortstop Alex Gonzalez, a veteran player who would mix well with the Braves’ young talent.

Young talent is also noticeable for the 2011 Atlanta Braves, in both pitching and hitting. Pitching is now one the Braves’ strong suits, with Brandon Beachy and Mike Minor in the starting rotation and Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters to close out games. As far as hitting, Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward have proven to be potential all-stars, and it is only a matter of time before the Braves are able to break through the National League and make it to the World Series once again. Hopefully that will be in 2011.





Since: Sep 24, 2006
Posted on: December 22, 2011 11:53 am
 

Homegrown Team: Atlanta Braves

Uh....for starters Prado would not be playing LF.  He would be the 2nd baseman and Johnson would be riding the pine.  Also Francouer would be LF with Heyward in RF and Schafer would be the CF now because he has exceptional defense and his offense would be just enough to put in the 8 spot in the lineup.  If this was the 2011 team, they wouldn't have made the playoffs because Hanson was injured the last two months and Wainwirght would have been lost for the season.  The offense would have scored more runs and bullpen would not have been as taxed.  But the limited runs that Hudson and Jurrjens gave up during the season would not have been replicated by Minor (who struggled early with the team), Harrison, or any of the young pitchers that would have to have taken the place of Wainwright and eventually Hanson.



Since: Dec 23, 2006
Posted on: December 7, 2011 1:44 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Atlanta Braves

I don't agree that the Braves got nothing in the Javier Vazquez deal with the White Sox.  You might recall that he pitched really well for Atlanta (15-10, 2.87, 1.04, 238K, 219 IP) in 2009.  Granted, they traded him, in part, for Melky Cabrera, who was awful.  But they also got Mike Dunn, who pitched well enough in a short period with Atlanta to help acquire Dan Uggla, who hit 36 HRs last season for an offense that was dreadful overall.  Plus, they also got a good young pitcher from the Yankees in Arodys Vizcaino, who I think was one of the Yankees' top prospects at the time and has already debuted with the Braves at only 20 years old.

PLUS, lets not forget how awful Vazquez was for the Yankees in 2010.  And it's not as though Flowers and Lillibridge have set the world on fire for the White Sox.  And neither of the "2 decent minor league prospects" that the White Sox received have done much either...

Ultimately, I would say the Braves did pretty well there.  You definitely can't say that about some other deals Wren has made (Teixeira!!!!) since taking over...



Since: Aug 18, 2009
Posted on: December 7, 2011 11:02 am
 

Homegrown Team: Atlanta Braves

1 title in 5 dominant yeasr does not equal 1 title in 14 dominant years.  By the way, how'd your post season go?



Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: December 4, 2011 10:12 am
 

Homegrown Team: Atlanta Braves

And as many World Series titles (1) as the dominant Phillies in the past 16 years.  Can't wait to watch the Phils grow old and overpaid all at the same time and Citizen's Bank play host to half empty house and Philly malcontents.  BYW, how's Vick working out up there??



Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: December 3, 2011 10:16 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Atlanta Braves

They have as many home grown players on the team as people in the stands....



Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: December 3, 2011 10:39 am
 

Homegrown Team: Atlanta Braves

Besides Tyler Flowers, the Braves also traded Brent Lillibridge and 2 minor leaguers to the White Sox in that trade for Javier Vázquez (and the great Boone Logan). So the Sox got 2 potential lineup starters and 2 decent minor league prospects, and the Braves got nothing from that deal. Oh wait, they DID eventually trade for Melky Cabrera, and later Dan Uggla...oops.



Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: December 3, 2011 2:42 am
 

Homegrown Team: Atlanta Braves

Looking at all of that talent the GM in Atlanta hasn't done a very good job.  Aside from the Jair Jurrjens for Edgar Renteria trade he's made in the past year - seems he's thrown away a lot of legit talent for next to nothing.  Yunel Escobar trade last season to the Jays was a head scratcher - no matter how bad Escobar was struggling.  



Since: Mar 13, 2007
Posted on: December 3, 2011 1:07 am
 

Homegrown Team: Atlanta Braves

@Rikki,

Your post is actually pretty credible until your last bullet point, where then all the credibility goes by the wayside with that ridiculous statement.  Regardless of what happens to Bourn at the end of 2012, he'll have done more than Schafer would have ever done here (barring a season ending injury, knock on wood).  The Braves got an instant upgrade the moment he left town and Bourn entered.  I'm actually pretty happy he's no longer in Atlanta and that Houston has to deal with him now.  Schafer can't carry Michael Bourn's jock strap right now.  The talent level between the 2 isn't even close and never will be.



Since: Dec 13, 2009
Posted on: December 2, 2011 9:01 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Atlanta Braves

A fun post for sure.
I believe the point missing is how much a loyal athlete is missing from today's free agency.  Atlanta has a history of Smoltz, Murphy and Jones... and that in baseball (and most sports) is a lost feeling.  Elway played for the Broncos.  It looks like some other NFL players will be that loyal.  In MLB can we ever expect the same? 


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