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Top 2012 Atlanta Braves Fantasy Stars: A Fan’s View
To say that the Atlanta Braves' 2011 season was a disappointment would be an understatement.
During the first and last months of the season, the top Braves' offensive weapons struggled as the team did. As the weather warmed, so did the team, as it made its push toward a playoff spot in the National League. Heading into September, it seemed that spot was a given, but a late-season collapse cost the Braves a chance at the World Series and cost fantasy GMs a chance at their titles.
In 2012, Atlanta will see a lot of players that could have fantasy value, but who are the best choices?
The NL Rookie of the Year for 2011, Kimbrel gives the team stability at the closer position, something the Braves haven't had since John Smoltz closed out games. He set a rookie record with 46 saves a year ago, while compiling a 2.10 ERA in 77 innings. He struck out 127 batters and walked 32, but many wonder if he was put in games too often, which could cause problems as his career progresses (Kerry Wood).
The hard-hitting first basemen had a great rookie year in 2011. He did so well that I doubt he will suffer through a sophomore slump like Jason Heyward did. He hit .282 with 21 home runs and 76 RBIs and a .300 average with 30 home runs and 100 RBIs shouldn't be out the question this season.
3. Brian McCann
When the Braves' struggles cost them a chance at the playoffs last year, it was McCann who took it to heart. Coming into August 2011, he was hitting .306 and saw his average drop to .270 by the end of the season. He has to be considered the best catcher in the NL, but he has often struggled at the end of the season, which hurts fantasy GMs when he is needed the most.
When Atlanta acquired Bourn prior to the trade deadline a year ago, he gave them something they have been missing for years— a speedy and reliable leadoff hitter. While he may not finish the season with the Braves, his average and ability to steal bases make him a great fantasy start each week.
5. Tim Hudson
The most experienced of Braves' starting pitchers, Hudson has been Mr. Reliable for Atlanta since he came to the team in 2005. A year ago, he won 16 games, marking the sixth time in his career that he reached the mark.
For access to Atlanta Braves season recaps from 1990-present, a look at trades that changed Braves history, or a look at the greatest award winners in team history, go here for easier access.
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Hobson Lopes has been a life-long Atlanta Braves fan, thanks to TBS, and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.
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