Atlanta BravesManager: Fredi Gonzalez
Stadium: Turner Field
2008 Record: 72-90 (4th in NL East)
Team Page | Roster | Schedule
-- Tim Kurkjian
HITTER TO WATCH:
Jordan Schafer makes the huge leap from high-A to the majors; he should provide good defense but has really struggled against left-handed pitching.
PITCHER TO WATCH:
Tommy Hanson didn't make the Opening Day rotation, but he should be the first one recalled when Tom Glavine hangs it up.
-- Keith Law, Scouts Inc.
Is Brian McCann the National League's best catcher? Is Chipper Jones the NL's top third baseman? Register your vote.
It's a bit premature to assume Casey Kotchman can't emerge as a helpful home run hitter. Kotchman hit 12 home runs in 100 games with the Angels before the Mark Teixeira trade, then did little with the Braves. He's 26, still capable of developing 20-home run power.
Atlanta's rotation would have been a mess without Jair Jurrjens' emergence in 2008, but be wary of a high walk rate, which contributed to a 1.37 WHIP, and a poor second half when his ERA jumped to 4.66. Jurrjens is purely a late-game starter in 10-team mixed leagues.
-- Eric Karabell
INJURY TO WATCH
Like that Energizer Bunny, Chipper Jones takes a lickin' and, well, minus a few days off here and there, just keeps on tickin' with remarkable consistency. Sure, he'll get banged up, but as a team leader, he's going to play through as much pain as he can. Last year's nagging quadriceps and hamstring strains finally forced him onto the DL in July, but he still finished the season batting .364. This spring an oblique strain squeezed him out of the World Baseball Classic, but fear not: Despite being 37 years old, he'll be back in the lineup come Opening Day. Yes, he remains an injury risk, but the Braves' willingness to extend his contract indicates their belief that the reward outweighs that risk.
-- Stephania Bell
PRESEASON POWER RANKINGS
No. 10 overall
No. 13 overall
No. 11 overall
No. 12 overall
No. 22 overall