Poll: Are expectations for Braves too low, high or about right?

Braves pitcher (from left) Alex Wood, Shelby Miller, Craig Kimbrel and Braeden Schlehuber stretch as pitchers and catchers began workouts. (AP photo)

Braves pitcher (from left) Alex Wood, Shelby Miller, Craig Kimbrel and Braeden Schlehuber stretch as pitchers and catchers began workouts. (AP photo)

Braves pitchers (from left) Alex Wood, Shelby Miller, Craig Kimbrel and Braeden Schlehuber stretch as spring workouts begin. (AP photo)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell walked past me Saturday morning and wished me, “Happy New Year.” I thought maybe he was just seven weeks late until manager Fredi Gonzalez said later, “Non-baseball people say Jan. 1 is the first day of the year. But baseball people say It’s today — the day pitchers and catchers report.”

It could be more uplifting than next Thursday, when position players are scheduled to report. The offseason strip-down means the Braves are going to have to win games this season with pitching and “small ball” and projections have been less than optimistic. Las Vegas sportsbooks have set their over/under for wins this season at 73.5 — 12th out of 15 teams in the National League and 26th out of 30 in the majors.

“My expectation is, no matter what, to get to the postseason,” Gonzalez said. “Las Vegas makes those projections, but you never know what’s going to happen. A lot of good things can happen for us, and a lot of bad things can happen for other teams.”

Maybe. But a win total in the low 70s seems about right to me. I won’t vote in the poll to the left but you can.

With expectations so low for the Braves, it’s worth wondering how much latitude the club will give Gonzalez this season. Will be judged solely on wins and losses, or has the bar been lowered? I have a full column on that subject on MyAJC.com. Click here.

Gonzalez won’t give his annual start-of-camp speech until the balance of the squad arrives, although some veterans already are in camp, including Andrelton Simmons and Chris Johnson. B.J. Upton hasn’t arrived yet but his new name has. Upton’s uniform and name plate above his locker reads, “Upton Jr.” Last year, it just said, “Upton” on his and younger brother Justin Upton’s uniforms.

There’s a possibility the Upton formally known as B.J. will now asked to be known as, “Melvin Upton Jr.,” his birth name, partly to honor his father.

Something tells me Upton’s problems go deeper than his name, but we’ll let him explain when he gets here.

Some recent ramblings from the digital jukebox
— MyAJC: Will Gonzalez be given some latitude during Braves’ rebuilding?
— MyAJC: Falcons’ roster gutting could have big names
— AJC: Data show Falcons got least (10-22) from most ($279.3 million)
— MyAJC: Georgia shows why we still can’t assume success
— AJC: Are Hawks getting Ray Allen? Odds site makes them favorite
— MyAJC: Private agendas still at play in Hawks’ offices
— AJC: Tiger Woods seems in danger of missing Masters (again)
— AJC: Trade likely means Hawks are planning for something
— MyAJC: Kyle Shanahan, the coach’s son, has absorbed a lot of jabs
— AJC: Greg Hardy skates (and is he worth the risk for Falcons)?
— MyAJC: Hawks’ deadline move wouldn’t hurt chemistry
— AJC: Tech doing just fine, recruiting rankings notwithstanding
— MyAJC: Dan Quinn’s ascent to top job was years in making
— AJC: Forget trade talk — Dan Quinn wants Julio Jones on his team
— AJC: Falcons need players but Dan Quinn is a good start
— MyAJC: Tom Brady takes the air out of critics in Super Bowl
— AJC: Short takes: Brady rallies Pats but Seahawks bungle ending
— AJC: Another possible embarrassment for Falcons: Fake crowd noise
— MyAJC: There’s no confusion about pecking order on Super Bowl teams
— AJC: Dan Quinn could have final day on 53-man roster
— MyAJC: Blank speaks but remains vague on Falcons’ restructuring
— MyAJC: Tiger Woods’ problems aren’t just physical anymore

Reader Comments 0

18 comments
parabrave
parabrave

Well since we are stuck with him I hope that the new small ball approach will help him out, 

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

Expectations for the Braves is about right

Cousingeorgestone
Cousingeorgestone

Here's what will happen.   Spring games will start.  The scribes will start babbling about how improved Upton's swing is this year, just as they did last year.  Just as they did with Uggla last year.   Then someone will blow out their arm, oh yeah, that's already happened with Shae Simmons.  


Then the regular season will start, Upton will strike out 200 times, the moron Fredi will mumble something about how great Melvins attitude is blah, blah, blah.  Freddie will get walked 150 times as pitcher's pitch around him with regularity, Chris Johnson will try his 9 iron swing and strike out again on a 12-6 curve that is scraping the dirt and so on and so on and so on... 

Poledawg83
Poledawg83

While I have not been impressed with Fredi G., I do respect Cox's opinion and he is firmly in Fredi's corner.  As long as that it he case Fredi will be around.  

ToeMeetsLeather
ToeMeetsLeather

Certainly no need for Upton to show up early, as we all know, his game is "spot on" right now.


Bottom line for me and the Braves in 2015. As long as he is on the roster, my wallet stays in my pocket. That is, unless a fund is being collected to provide some type of buyout of his remaining contract. It is painful watching him play the game, painful.



SunDropMan
SunDropMan

Fredi G's true and accurate mindset is exposed once again. He says his expectation is "to get to the postseason".  Really?  Bet 9 out of 10 managers, when asked, would say to win the World Series.  Just goes to show that FG only cares about mediocrity or average.  He always sets his goals way too low !  In other words what he is saying is that if the Braves just make it to the postseason, then lose, he will be happy.  Sad Sad Sad !

DrPhill
DrPhill

We could just call Upton "Moe" and wait to see who Larry and Curley will be this season. I have gone to Florida every spring in the last 15 years, and my first visit to the Braves' camp was 1967. I swore off Disney a couple of years ago but managed to catch the Braves at other parks. This year I am only going to one Braves' game at Tampa with the Yankees. I've got seats at Kissimmee for the Houston-St. Louis game, mainly to see Gattis and Heyward. The Braves' performance in recent years, the presence of "Moe" Upton in the lineup, and the Cobb stadium scam has really put a damper on my interest.

Wilbo
Wilbo

We don't need to call that guy "Melvin!" We need to call him an Oriole or a Giant or a White Sock....


I don't think there is any way this team wins 1 out of every 2. I believe this will be the year Fredi comes into clear focus as the useless boob he really is.


Too many years have been wasted letting this team degrade into bad shape, and I believe the slide will continue short term and take many years to turn around.


I'm hoping for about 68-94. It's going to take something like that for somebody to get the message it's long past time to clean house in both field and upper level management. If I were ownership, it would be my goal not to leave a recognizable face, and I'd have Booby Cox arrested for trespassing if he so much as showed his ugly mug anywhere near ANY Braves facility at any time for any reason. And Little General Jackarse Shurholtz--- I'd tell somebody in the Russian Mafia that arrogant jerk said their mom sold herself on the street every day for a bowl of borscht.

44
44

I like the whole "Melvin Upton Jr" thing. Maybe he'll play like a Melvin & not BJ. Unlike the Hawks whose says " If it ain't broke, don't fix it" ....... BJ needs to fix any & everything, from his name to his game..... LOL


58Supersports
58Supersports

Hope Melvin will have a great year, he won't have his big brother looking over his shoulder. Fredi is Fredi that won't change no matter how many they win, a joke!  If they win over 70 it will mean Hart and Coppy did a great job! Go Braves! PLAY BALL!

oledawg
oledawg

I can't see this team averaging more than 2 runs per game at the plate.  Hard to win with that. I will not attend a game until they cut Upton.  I refuse to help finance his salary!  He was a huge mistake and is just taking some younger players roster spot.

twentysixpointtwo
twentysixpointtwo

I'd call Upton almost anything he asks if he would put the ball in play.

DrPhill
DrPhill

Remember, strike outs are not all bad, according to Fredi.

FredMacmurray
FredMacmurray

We finished below 500 with the guys we traded.  We can finish below 500 without them. 

Stinger2
Stinger2

I believe Fredi will lead this team to a better record that last year`s 79 wins if the pitching is solid.

The offense will generate enough runs for 85-90 wins.

Termigator
Termigator

Simple; win more than he won last year and he is brought back for another year. Win less, fire him on the last day of the season.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

If Fredi takes this team to the playoffs he will be the Manager of the Year,  Manager of the Decade, and possibly Manager of the Century. Not sure we've seen that level of ability up to this point, certainly not in September-October.