The Braves had a topsy-turvy week to say the least. The night prior to Opening Day, the Braves traded Craig Kimbrel to the Padres, leaving a sour taste in many fan’s mouths. But the Braves came out red hot and ready to prove the critics wrong. The Braves went 5-1 and stand atop the NL East after the first week of the season. The Braves have used their great pitching staff and their new hitting approach to wear out opponents. Let’s take a look at the results from this week:
(4/6): Braves 2, Marlins 1: W: Teheran (1-0) L: Alvarez (0-1) SV: Grilli (1)
(4/7): Braves 12, Marlins 2: W: Wood (1-0) L: Latos (0-1)
(4/8): Braves 2, Marlins 0: W: Cunniff (1-0) L: Koehler (0-1) SV: Grilli (2)
(4/10): Braves 5, Mets 3: W: J. Johnson (1-0) L: Montero (0-1) SV: Grilli (3)
(4/11): Braves 5, Mets 3: W: Teheran (2-0) L: Gee (0-1) SV: J. Johnson (1)
(4/12): Mets 4, Braves 3: W: Colon (2-0) L: Jaime (0-1) SV: Familia (1)
The Braves Bullpen
This section is usually dedicated to a single player who had a hot week, but it’s hard to ignore the bullpen’s success as a whole unit. The Braves came into Opening Day without their heralded closer, but the bullpen came out firing on all cylinders. At the back end of the bullpen are veterans Jim Johnson and Jason Grilli, who were acquired this offseason. Grilli has assumed Kimbrel’s role as the closer, and has been dynamic. Johnson’s control issues are clearly a thing of the past. Luis Avilan and Juan Jaime are the only returning members from last season’s bullpen. While Jaime has struggled with his control, Avilan looks like he may have back his great stuff from 2013. Rookies Brandon Cunniff, Cody Martin and Andrew McKirahan have been effective in their outings as well. The Braves bullpen only allowed a single run in the first six games of the season. This type of relief is what helps teams win games, and I have to tip my cap to a unit that many considered to be weak at the beginning of the season.
Also receiving consideration: Alberto Callaspo. Callaspo is 5-for-10 in his time thus far as a Brave.
Expectations were high for Peterson on Opening Day, and deservedly so. Peterson was red hot during Spring Training, hitting .324 in 68 Spring ABs. However, Peterson struggled last season during his brief stint in San Diego, and has gone cold to start this year in the Majors as well. Peterson is only 3-for-18 so far this season. While it’s a small sample size, he has really struggled so far. His .127 career average against Major League pitching is an alarming statistic. With Alberto Callaspo’s great play of late, Peterson will have to prove his worth with the bat if he wants to continue to receive starts, or stay on the 25-Man Roster for that matter. I will say that I am a Jace believer, and it could very well just be rookie jitters. It’s too early to jump to conclusions, but let’s hope Jace has a bounce-back week.
Prospect of the Week:
Acquired earlier this week in the Craig Kimbrel deal, Wisler immediately proved his worth on the mound this week. Wisler, who is currently pitching for AAA Gwinnett, made his first start in the Braves organization Sunday against the Durham Bulls. He made a great impression, as he pitched 5 scoreless innings, giving up only 4 hits. He also had 5 K’s to go along with 2 BBs. This type of outing is what makes Matt Wisler my top-ranked prospect in the organization. Wilser has a great fastball and has great control to go with it. Wisler joins Mike Foltynewicz and Manny Banuelos to headline a very intriguing AAA rotation. If he can continue to put up great outings, he could be in a Braves uniform sooner than many realize, and will continue to sit atop my prospect list.
Upcoming Week’s Opponents:
Miami Marlins (4/13-4/15)
Toronto Blue Jays (4/17-4/19)