Ender Inciarte, Erick Aybar, Kelly Johnson, Jim Johnson
Andrelton Simmons, Cameron Maybin, Shelby Miller
In trading Andrelton Simmons and Shelby Miller it is clear what the Braves are doing. They are playing for the future. They are loading up their farm system, and if getting MLB players like Aybar and Inciarte out of the trades is just added help. Inciarte has a chance to be a thorn in the Diamondbacks side as he originally came as a throw in, but will get plenty of time to play and at age 25 has nice upside for the future.
Projected Playoff Lineup
- Ender Inciarte
- Erick Aybar
- Freddie Freeman
- AJ Pierzynski
- Nick Markakis
- Adonis Garcia
- Hector Olivera/Michael Bourn
- Jace Peterson
You tend to feel bad for Freeman. Inciarte and Aybar doesn’t put him in the worst situation, but there really is nothing to fear behind him. Pierzynski may platoon with Tyler Flowers, who definitely won’t hit cleanup and then what? The keys this year will be seeing how good Jace Peterson is and seeing what you can get out of Olivera. They should be willing to experiment in the lineup and while this would be something like what their playoff lineup will look like, they are not making the playoffs.
This year is a good year for them to develop their young pitchers and find out how high the ceiling is for 25 year old Teheran. His 2015 was a big drop off from his 2014, mainly due to location problems. He had an increasing strikeout rate from year to year but was worse in walks, home runs, and hard hit balls. Between Wisler, Banuelos, and Perez you are looking at three guys with an average age of 24 and 47 combine MLB starts. None have a high amount of prospect pedigree, but given the starts they can compete to earn a long term spot. Bud Norris is basically serving as an innings eater, and with what this team has around him he will be needed for this bullpen.
Their 7-8-9 of Jim Johnson, Arodys Vizcaino, and Jason Grilli is solid on paper, but all three have had a decent amount of questions recently. The rest of the pen seems to be similar to the middle of the Braves rotation where a lot of youth may be shuffling in and out this year as the Braves plan to strike in about two years.
The key is the Braves are a smart franchise, and it’s not that they want to lose, but they want to try things out. Young players are going to get their shots, and with their farm system coming they may be wheeling and dealing, especially Grilli and Johnson.
5th in the NL East