Atlanta Braves - PlayerWatch
LHP Mike Minor was on the verge of arbitration last year when he signed a one-year deal and could go the same route. It is unlikely the Braves will offer a multi-year deal unless Minor shows he can rebound from this year's 6-12 season.
1B Freddie Freeman was probably the most consistent hitter again this year, but his production fell from .319 with 23 homers and 109 RBIs to .288 with 18 homers and 78 RBIs. Freeman also struck out 145. Freeman set a team record for innings played. But Freeman is one of the top fielders in the league and is likely a centerpiece for the team going forward.
LHP Jonny Venters (left elbow) underwent a third Tommy John procedure in September. He is not expected to return in 2015.
LHP James Russell didn't get left-handers out with the effectiveness hoped for, but is still expected to have a part in the bullpen makeup.
RHP Brandon Beachy (right elbow) had a second Tommy John surgery on March 21. He could be able to return by June.
RHP Julio Teheran established himself as a top-of-the-rotation guy in his second full season with the club. Teheran (14-13, 2.89) made 33 starts, 26 of them quality starts, and led the team with 221 innings pitched. He struck out 184 and walked 51. Teheran is considered the only untouchable member of the starting rotation.
RHP Cory Gearrin (right elbow) had Tommy John surgery on April 16. He could be able to return by July.
C Christian Bethancourt showed why he's considered the franchise's catcher of the future. Big and strong (6-2, 205) the rookie has a rocket arm and proved to be an adept game manager during his two tenures with the Braves. Bethancourt, 22, continues to improve as a hitter and should be adequate in that department. He should be the starter in 2015 or at least share the duties. He hit .248 with six doubles in 31 games.
SS Andrelton Simmons continued to show himself as the best fielding shortstop in the league, but he regressed at the plate. Simmons hit .244 with seven homers, seven fewer than in 2013. His numbers dropped in every offensive category and he hit into a team-leading 25 double plays. He hit only .209 after the All-Star break. The team would like to see him work with driving the ball to other parts of the field and making more consistent contact.
C Evan Gattis suffered through an injury-plagued season, with back issues putting him on the disabled list and strep throat and a kidney stone keeping him sidelined for most of September. "El Oso Blanco" hit .263 with 22 homers in 108 games. While he is immensely popular, it is believed the club will try to move him to an American League team.
LHP Alex Wood established himself as a starting pitcher once he got a chance when Gavin Floyd was injured. Wood went 11-11 with a 2.76 ERA and struck out 170 in 171 2/3 innings. The University of Georgia product won fans with his tenacity and could start the 2015 season as the No. 2 man in the rotation.
RHP Shae Simmons (right shoulder strain) is expected to be OK for spring training.
3B Chris Johnson signed a three-year, $23.5 million contract in the spring based on last year's .321. While no one really expected Johnson to
C Gerald Laird was a strong presence in the clubhouse and could return in the backup role he's played for two years. Bonifacio can play all three outfield spots, second base and shortstop and could be a nice piece for the bench.
OF B.J. Upton completed a second straight subpar season and set the franchise strikeout mark with 173. He hit .208 (24 points higher than 2013) with 12 homers and 20 stolen bases. There's no doubt the team would like to move him, but his massive contract will make it difficult.
RHP Ervin Santana has said he would like to come back to Atlanta, but he earned $14.1 million on his one-year deal and the Braves may not want to pay -- or more -- again.
LF Justin Upton had a great April and a great August, but was otherwise mediocre at best. He wound up hitting .270 with 29 homers and a career-high 102 RBIs. But he also struck out 171 times and disappeared in September. No one would be surprised to see him moved during the offseason.
OF Emilio Bonifacio can play all three outfield spots, second base and shortstop and could be a nice piece for the bench.
RHP Kris Medlen (right elbow) had a second Tommy John surgery on March 18. He could be able to return by June.
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