Atlanta Braves 2014 Season Preview: Staff Predictions

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Mar 14, 2014; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) against the Tampa Bay Rays at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Collazo

I’ve got a lot of thoughts about how this season is going to unfold, but like everyone else who puts together projections, they’re all probably going to be wrong. May as well get it over with, right?

As much as I love the Atlanta Braves and hate the Washington Nationals, I have to think that Washington will have the edge this season. Even before Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy went down, I felt like they had the more talented team, and there is no way they are going to disappoint like they did last year. The rotation is pretty deep and I think Bryce Harper (unfortunately) is going to have a great year.

With that said, this Atlanta club is still pretty strong. While I think they won’t win the division, I do have them getting a wild card and once your in the playoffs you never know what’s going to happen.

My team MVP this season is going to be Jason Heyward. I feel like this year could be his break-out season if he can stay healthy. He’s easily the Braves most talented player, he’s just got to put it all together. Simmons will be right behind him because of his terrific defense and Freeman will hopefully turn into the steady hitter that Brian McCann was to keep everyone moving along.

Justin Upton could really turn this team into a power-house if he’s able to get some consistency and a dash of 2011 going on, but even if he can’t do that, he’s a great addition to the lineup. I am concerned about the production we will get out of the catcher spot, and I’m surprised more people haven’t mentioned this. Sure, Evan Gattis was great a bit last year, but he really faded down the stretch and I’m not sure if his power will be enough to make him a great everyday hitter. Of course, he could be fantastic–but I’m going to need more convincing.

Team MVP – Jason Heyward

Top Pitcher – Julio Teheran

Nice Surprise – Alex Wood

Letdown – Evan Gattis