There’s no sugar-coating the 2016 Atlanta Braves. That was by far the worst Braves team since the first Bush administration. Batters were starved for points, basemen routinely missed their throws, catchers couldn’t hold onto the ball when it came their way, and when a pitcher from the bullpen had to get on the field, I knew the opposition was going to score.
Will 2017 be different? Unfortunately, probably not that different. I still don’t see much talent except for like four or five other players: Julio Teheran, Freddie Freeman, Nick Markakis, and one or two others. Look for another year of awful batting and flawed defense. That’s not a model for success.
I’m sorry. I’d like to believe that this can be a winning baseball franchise right now, but I’m just not seeing it. I don’t know how much better I can put it that this team is lacking talent. We’re in a rebuilding process, so it’s probably good that the front office kept Brian Snitker the manager instead of allowing the Fredi Gonzalez firing to be the beginning of a carousel.
That said, brighter days lay ahead. Or so I hope. According to the experts, we have an elite farm system, one possibly even rivaling the Yankees. It’s creating players that some even believe will transform this team into a contender. That’s how the dominant 1990’s Braves were created, might I add. But we’re still a year or two away from Mr. Miyagi sending these “karate kids” into the big time.
Some fans are probably thinking, “but the Falcons were supposed to finish under .500 too.” But a city’s teams are not going to all be of the same quality. Otherwise, Cleveland’s football team would’ve played in the AFC Championship. Sorry, got fanficky there for a moment. One thing that does give me pause, though: the Falcons did have several players unexpectedly break out. Who knows? Maybe the Braves’ younger stars will give us good play sooner than expected.
There is one optimistic development to latch onto: we did get hot towards the end, going 18-10 in our last 28 games. You could argue that this was because we were up against our rivals who we had done well against since Fredi was fired, but why would we have won a series against a fairly good Detroit Tigers team that had a playoff berth on the line?
So perhaps there’s a chance. Either way, I’ll be watching and chopping.