The Braves finished 29th in the majors last season with 573 runs (3.5 per game), and scored none or one or 41 times (25 percent of their games). So the fact they've traded three of the players (Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Evan Gattis) who produced most of what little offense they had has led to predictably dire projections.
I spoke to team president John Hart Thursday, who said he feared that, "This club could’ve slipped into the abyss," if changes were not made. So he and assistant general manager John Coppolella have focused on changing the makeup of the team and switching from a home-run-or-strikeout, all-or-nothing approach to one with more contact hitters -- all of which sounds great if the roster is loaded with proven hitters.
Coppolella, the GM of the future and somewhat even today, is an interesting guy with a fascinating background. To read the full column on him, click this link.
I understand the Braves' approach for the long term. But I don't share Hart's and Coppolella's optimism for the short term. Las Vegas sportsbooks are probably a month away from coming out with official over/under win projections for each major league team, but I decided I couldn't wait that long. So I contacted pal Todd Fuhrman, the former oddsmaker at Caesars Palace who now works for Fox Sports.
His projection for the Braves: a win total in the "low 70s."
"Braves fans looking for big things this year might want to temper those expectations," he said. "Expect their win total to open in the low 70's with so many fresh faces being called on to produce. If the pitching doesn't hold up there will be major issues given an offense laden with more questions than answers."
That's what he thinks. What do you think?
You can comment below and/or vote in a poll. There is a chance the Braves will make at least one more move for a left fielder. But based on what you see now, how many games do you believe this team will win?
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