As mentioned a time or two, the Atlanta Braves have changed. By design, they’re no longer Frank Wren’s team. At the minor-league level, this is surely an improvement. That’s the good news. The less-good: At the major-league level, at least for the here and now, they figure to stink.
Pitchers and catchers report to Lake Buena Vista on Friday, and already the analytic-based community has turned thumbs-down on the Braves. Baseball Prospectus has them going 75-87 and finishing fourth in the NL East and 25th in the majors. FanGraphs sees them finishing 71-91 and being MLB’s second-worst team, ahead of only Philadelphia. David Schoenfield of ESPN’s SweetSpot rates the Braves 28th and figures they’ll go 68-96.
David Purdum of ESPN offers the projected win totals of the Atlantis sports book: The Braves’ over/under is 73.5, which is tied with Houston for the fifth-lowest in the majors. Buster Olney, also of ESPN, figures the Braves won’t hit that mark because they’ll be dumping more players at the July 31 deadline.
In sum, this could be the worst Braves season since 1990, when the team finished 65-97. Shortly thereafter, everything got a lot better for a very long time. Maybe it’ll happen that way again. Maybe, I say.