Originally posted on The Victory Formation  |  Last updated 3/27/12

Twenty-twelve was probably a year the Atlanta Braves would like to forget. Their late season slide that seemed to contain a Whitman’s Sampler of ways to lose. We’ve seen the story. It opened a spot for St. Louis, who went on to win the whole damn thing. Oh, what could have been Atlanta. But that is the franchise in a nutshell. What does 2012 hold?

The onus on last year’s rough September shifted at camp when Chipper Jones announced that he’d be hanging his cleats this offseason. That lasted about 3-4 days and then Chipper shredded his knee, and will be out for a couple of months. Look for Martin Prado to play 3B in his absence. Prado is as utility as it gets, and while his bat is nowhere near a sexy as Chipper’s sounds, he should be able to put up similar numbers. Prado’s outfield duties (where he saw the majority of his playing time in 2011) will be handled by some combination of Eric Hinske, Matt Diaz, and Jose Constanza (All three together = one hell of an awful player). The biggest thing about a missing Chipper? The presence he brings to a lineup and clubhouse. It will be tough to replace it while he’s out.

Yeah, there is more than an aging Chipper Jones on this squad! Pfffft. This guys named Jason Heyward should really improve on his numbers from 2011. He’s so ripe, young, and athletic with an incredibly high upside that makes the sky the limit. Elsewhere, Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla should both be better now that they have spent more time with the Braves. I really like Freeman, as long as Fredi Gonzalez doesn’t screw with the kid ala last September, he should be very good in the lineup and at first.

On the pitching side of things, Mike Minor has had a huge spring and looks poised to take the next step forward and could become one of the league’s best young lefty starters.  Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens are both very good pitchers if they stay healthy… healthy being the key term. Brandon Beachy is very underrated and can really miss bats with his stuff, he just needs some help from the bullpen. Somehow he started 25 games last year, and finished with 10 decisions. Then there is the ever consistent Tim Hudson, who is like 207 years old and the only guy remaining from the Frat House in Oakland (oh, you say Barry Zito still pitches? I call that batting practice. HAHAHAHHAHAHAH). Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado have big upsides, but they are still so young it’s tough to completely count on them for this year.

The Marlins really spent some money this offseason, but in the garbage known as the AAAA National League, the Braves should still be one of the top teams. Prediction: 90-72. Wildcard. *******.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bryce Harper has great response to $400 million contract question

Cavs discussed three-team deal that would net them Melo

Celtics reportedly discussing Kevin Love trade

New York Giants to pursue Matt Forte?

Joe Mauer to try wearing sunglasses to improve pitch tracking

Charles Woodson joining ESPN's 'Sunday NFL Countdown' team

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

A’s land Khris Davis from Brewers for prospects

Family of deceased Kyle Field construction worker awarded $53 million by jury

Chris Bosh to miss All-Star Game with calf injury, Al Horford to replace

NBA commissioner Adam Silver supports bringing sports betting in to the light

Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia becomes first player ever banned by MLB for PEDs

Eight bold predictions for NBA All-Star Weekend

Why the Virginia Cavaliers are a National Championship contender

Cardiff City owner tells team to shoot more, because ugly men can marry beautiful women

Report: American Pharoah will make $35 million as stud in 2016

City hosts Tottenham in Valentine’s Day clash

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Is there a place for Aaron Hill with the Brewers?

The market for forwards may shape the NHL trade deadline

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

The most intriguing NBA story lines for the rest of the season

Report: Timberwolves ‘lament’ Andrew Wiggins missing weight-lifting sessions

Kevin Durant to the Warriors makes little sense

City of Atlanta, Braves fighting over iconic Hank Aaron statue

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker