As part of this week's season preview, the Talking Chop staff will be making our season predictions roundtable style. First up is one of the most important questions of the season. How many games will the Atlanta Braves win in 2017?
What will the Braves final record be in 2017?
(Scott Coleman): 76-86. I know some would be disappointed with this outcome, but it’s really important to remember this team only won 68 games a year ago. A +8 win differential would be pretty impressive for a front office that did nothing to mortgage its future during the offseason. It would beat the computer projections and Vegas lines. My biggest concerns are the injury/age risks with the rotation and the overall depth of the roster. That said, you can certainly do worse as baseball’s No. 1 farm system continues to progress.
(Kris Willis): 75-87. I’d like to think that this team can reach the .500 mark but I’m not convinced that their starting pitching will hold up for a full season. If the Braves find themselves out of the race, then they may look to sell off some of their veterans which could hurt their final record. A seven-game improvement wouldn’t be bad, especially if they can avoid a slow start.
(Brad Rowland): 76-86. I have a feeling this will be a popular number but it is one that makes the most sense to me. In truth, anything between 73 and 79 victories wouldn’t actually surprise me in the slightest so, in safe fashion, give me the middle of the road answer. If everything goes perfectly (yes, perfectly), the Braves could post a win total in the low-80’s but that is an unrealistically high expectation to have. Lastly, the Vegas number has settled in the 74.5 range and, as we all know, the people in the desert are smarter than you and I.
(Ivan): 76-86. I think the existing projections are a little down on some of the position players on the roster, so a 77-win team rather than a 71-win team seems about right to me. However, the deadline selloff will probably take around a win away as late-season tryouts occur, so my target estimate is 76 wins. With that said, though, I would not be surprised if they won as few as 66 games: with a lot of downside and injury risk on the roster, but upside fairly limited aside from the position player adjustments I’m already thinking about it, the record could get ugly in a hurry if injuries or age-related decline take their toll.
(Garrett Spain): 77-85. The squad is going to make some major steps forward in performance, partially because it’s hard to go anywhere but up. The additions of Swanson and Kemp will make life easier on the offense, and will help boost an anemic offense nearer towards the top. Still, there are too many holes on this team with an old pitching staff and poor corner outfield, third base, second base, and catcher play.
(Matt Powers): 78-84. I was a little more optimistic prior to the spring about a winning record, but think they fall just short. The momentum from last September and the new additions to the pitching staff, along with full years from Dansby and Kemp will however make a difference in the actual record. That should have them pushing to just under .500 ball, even factoring in the potential trades of some of the veterans like Colon and Dickey as we approach the deadline and some of the young guys show that they're ready.
(Demetrius Bell): 76-86. I’ll say that 81 wins isn’t out of the realm of possibility, but I think that 76 is about right for this team. They’ll definitely be watchable and entertaining for a change, but that’ll mostly be due to the personalities than the fact that it’s a legit good team. But yeah, the holes in the lineup are too big and the team doesn’t have enough quality in depth to overcome any potential injuries. We’re clearly past the darkest point of the rebuild, but there’s still a way to go before we hit the promised land of .500 and above.
(Dillon Cloud): 77-85. Admittedly I’m a bit of a pessimist with regards to the current makeup of this team, as I have a hard time imagining a scenario where two pitchers over 40 years old can be healthy/productive for the entirety of the season. I think with the mix of veterans that are now in camp the lineup should be improved, but the pitching staff (at the major league level) is a little too thin for me to predict a .500 record just yet. The front office will likely err on the side of selling if there is a toss-up at the deadline as well, which could decimate the roster for the second half.
(Jeff Jones): 80-82. I just keep going back to the 2015 team and how bad they were outside of Shelby Miller and somehow that team floated around .500 until Jason Grilli went down and the front office started trading anyone with any big league time. This year’s lineup will be better at least 1-6, Flowers will inevitably regress and I don’t think Adonis lasts all season as the everyday third baseman. The rotation will be at the very least respectable, Teheran and Colon is a solid 1-2 and Garcia is going to trying to get paid next year, I doubt Dickey lasts all year but crazier things have happened, Folty is going to be at the worst league average and has the potetential to break out and be everything we all think he can be. The bullpen should be good and has a chance to be elite if everything goes right, Johnson, Krol, Vizcaino is a solid backend. They will definitely be active come July and I don’t think it will be in a total sell off. If they are hovering around .500 there will be pressure on Coppy & Co. to improve the club if only slightly.
(Eric Cole): 79-83. I think it is likely that the Braves flirt with .500 for most of the season with some variance up and down. I expect good seasons from Teheran, Folty, Freddie, Dansby, Ender, and possibly Kemp although I tend to put him towards a neutral effect on the team’s performance overall (with a chance that he is a net-negative as well). I liked the Dickey and Colon signings at the time as inning eaters, but I do question how effective they will be throughout the duration of the season and this spring has not been particularly kind to them. I am pessimistic about catcher, right field, third base, and potentially second base if Ozzie doesn’t come up and perform. This team is better than it was last year and there is lots of help coming...but I don’t see a playoff run in them right now.
(Kyle Parmley): 81-81. Call me the eternal optimist, but this team has the look of a team that could at least be in shouting distance of a playoff spot for the first several months of the season. If things go according to plan, the team should be competitive all year, but still a handful of pieces away from being playoff-bound. The lineup is solid, the rotation has a chance, and the bullpen should be OK.
(Gaurav Vedak): 96-66. You are all bad fans - Braves are winning at least 96 games. But if I had to be honest 77-85. The production at LF, RF, 3B, 2B, and C worry me a bit. Pitching wise - I love the depth in the pen, and how improved it will be compared to last season. If Folty has that chanegup working like I’ve seen during spring training I’m expecting huge progression in his development, and of course you know what you’re going to get from Teheran. I liked the Colon signing because we desperately needed the innings from our starters, and that will only help the bullpen later in the season.
You've heard from us, now let us know what you think in the comments section below.