Freddie Freeman is “more confident than ever” that he’ll be ready to play next week against the Nationals after taking his first batting practice Wednesday since his May 17 left-wrist fracture. (AP file photo)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Braves rank seventh-best among rebuilding teams

The Atlanta Braves landed at the No. 7 spot on ESPN’s list of rebuilding teams in Major League Baseball on Thursday.

In  Bradford Doolittle’s “Ranking the rebuilders,” Doolittle rates nine of the League’s teams that have been rebuilding since the beginning of the season, analyzing team age, level of payroll, recent changes in payroll and buy/sell behavior at the trade deadline and during free agency in the offseason.

Doolittle first addresses the issues with the Braves’ pitching rotation. 

While veterans Jamie Garcia and R.A. Dickey and newcomer Sean Newcomb have become reliable recently, he calls Bartolo Colon “a disaster.” Doolittle also points out Julio Teheran’s struggles on the mound at SunTrust Park.

“Still, things could be a lot worse for the Braves, who continue to hover around .500 despite the extended absence of franchise star Freddie Freeman,” Dolittle wrote. “Unfortunately, with Washington running away with the NL East and three strong teams residing in the NL West, a .500ish record doesn't translate to playoff contention for Atlanta the way it would in the AL, which puts the Braves squarely in sell mode as the trade deadline approaches.”

Freddie Freeman took his first live batting practice Wednesday since fracturing his left wrist 6 weeks ago. (Video by David O'Brien)

The positives Doolittle pointed out on the Braves roster are rookie Dansby Swanson’s steady improvement and the talent Ender Inciarte brought to Atlanta’s batting rotation this season.

Along with Atlanta’s roster, Doolittle mentions the Braves success in the minors with outfielder Ronald Acuna and and Triple-A All-Star second baseman Ozzie Albies in his justification for why the Braves are ranked seventh out of nine rebuilding teams.

Doolittle’s full explanation for the Braves’ progress and compete MLB rebuilding rankings can be found on ESPN.com.

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