Similarly to the Cincinnati Reds (featured yesterday) the Atlanta Braves are in rebuilding mode. This organization probably has more to be excited for beyond 2017, but this season should provide some glimpses of the future while also reminding fans of why baseball is the best damn sport on Earth.
1. “Big Sexy continues to defy the odds”
Bartolo Colon is beautiful. The guy has a waist size like an offensive lineman, but the moxie of the crustiest veteran. Despite throwing fastballs 90% of the time (and they aren’t even that fast) he pitches to contact, allows the defense to work and eats up innings. The young Atlanta staff will learn a lot from Big Sexy as he continues to be an effective Major League pitcher in 2017.
2. “Newcomb proves to have the makings of a future ace”
Sean Newcomb, rated as the organization’s 6th best prospect by MLB.com, should debut at some point in 2017. The southpaw will turn 24 this June, and his time is coming.
Sporting a sizzling fastball and a plus slider, many cite Newcomb’s inability to locate only needs to refine his control in AAA before making the leap to the Majors. However, in 140 innings at AA last year Newcomb only walked 71 batters while striking out 152. The excuses may be more about controlling his service time clock than the reality of his control. Either way, expect Newcomb to join the Braves and show that he can be an ace down the road.
3. “Swanson to Albies to Freeman”
Tinker to Evers to Chance? So, this may be a little premature (maybe more appropriate for 2018) but I’m just too excited to see it. The Atlanta Braves are coming, and it starts up the middle with shortstop Dansby Swanson and second baseman Ozzie Albies. Swanson showed off his talents last year and will start the season as the team’s starting shortstop. Albies will start off in AAA, but it is likely that Brandon Phillips will be dealt at some point this season and when he is, Albies will be brought up.
Check back later today for “Three Headlines for 2017”, Cubs edition!