94-68, 2nd in the NL East, 1st Wild Card
Lost in the Play-In Game
The Braves had a great season after a disappointing end to 2011, and in any other season, would have made the playoffs. Unfortunately, the new rules sent them into a one game playoff against the Cardinals to earn a spot in the postseason. In this game, a very questionable infield fly was called, and their last shot at a rally was killed.
But losing a coin-flip game shouldn’t dampen the success of the 2012 Braves. The Braves outfield of Heyward (6.6), Bourn (6.4), and Prado (5.9) was all-world in WAR and played superb defense. Uggla (3.5), Jones (3.0), Simmons (2.2),Jones (3.0), and played superb defense. Prado at a rally was killed.
a spot in the postseason. In this game, a v McCann (2.0), and Freeman (2.0) showed what a complimentary starting lineup looks like. Every single Braves position player hit the 2.0 starter threshold, and some did so in less than a full season.
The pitching was strong too led by a bonkers-good Kris Medlen (3.9) in the second half. Hudson (2.6), Minor (1.4), and Hanson (1.0) made a full season of starts to varying success, but found good outings from the rest of the piecemeal rotation in Beachy (1.5), Maholm (1.0), and Delgado (1.0).
The bullpen was taking names in 2012 as well. Kimbrel’s 3.6 WAR was an incredible mark for a reliever and the rest of the group posted solid numbers.
In sum, this was a very good club. The offense was great and the starters were solid. The bullpen was lights out. The Braves ran into the poor fortune of having a good season in the first year of a silly new playoff format. They were six games better than the Cardinals during the season but were thrown into a coin flip game to generate fake drama and it cost them. Who knows what would have happened if they had earned a real playoff spot under the old system.
But 2012 was Chipper’s farewell season and most Braves fans will remember that as well. They’ve parted with Bourn and added BJ Upton, so the 2013 Braves should be equally as competitive.
2012 Grade: B
Early 2013 Projection: 91-71