Atlanta Braves - 3 Studs, a Dud and a Sleeper

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With the advice of my Korean confidant Min Kim, I'm rolling with the new Three Studs, a Dud and a Sleeper for the team previews.

That way you get a little bit of everything for each squad.

Get everything you need to know about the Braves after the jump...



Top 3 Braves


Brian McCann - C


Not only is the McCann the best hitting catcher in the National League, he may be the best in all of baseball. Add in the fact that he's only 25 and you can see why fantasy owners drool over his long term potential.

The Braves are going to lean heavily upon their catcher to deliver another season in which he hits around .300 with twenty-something round-trippers and about 90 RBI. He'll most likely be the first catcher taken off the board, and rightfully so.

Catcher is a tough position to fill with a dependable offensive threat, so don't wait too long after McCann to snag your backstop.



Chipper Jones - 3B


Don't let the injury prone tag on Chipper distract you from what he's been doing for fantasy owners each and every season.

Over the past three seasons, Chipper has averaged:

G: 124 AVG: .342: HR: 25 RBI: 87

His lowest OPS in that time span: 1.005

Still not impressed?

Only two players had a higher OPS than Chipper last year: Albert Pujols and Manny Ramirez.

Chipper produces regardless of how many games he misses. You've got to remember that the baseball season drags on for 162 games, so missing 30 to injury really isn't too big of an issue.



Javier Vazquez - SP


Those on the South Side know very well what Javier Vazquez brings to the table when he's taking the bump.

He may not be a big game pitcher, but remember that clutch performances don't earn you extra points in fantasy baseball. Consistent production does and Vasquez always delivers above average strikeout totals and WHIP.

Plus, he's switching over from the little league park that is U.S. Cellular to the albatross lovingly known as Turner Field. Altogether Vazquez is a fine fantasy option.


Bust

Derek Lowe - SP


Lowe's been using smoke and mirrors the past four years in Los Angeles and ended up with a fat four-year deal from the Braves this off-season because of it.

In the past six seasons, Lowe has averaged just over 200 innings and is a prime candidate for an injury plagued 2009. At 36, Lowe is dipping into the twilight of a decent MLB career and you don't want any part of that.



Sleeper

Kenshin Kawakami - SP


I'm going to let my man Min Joon Kim give it to you straight about Kawakami:

Yes, I know Tommy Hanson is supposed to be the real deal and if you are in a dynasty league, please do draft him. But with all the love being thrown his way all over fantasy-land, can you really consider him a sleeper?

I'm going out on a limb and saying that Kawakami will have a better year than Hanson.

Kawakami is slated to be the fourth starter in the Braves rotation. He has very good control and if the Braves defense holds up, Kawakami could pile up some wins in Turner Field.

But yes, I do love Tommy Hanson's potential.

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Matt Wood is a web editor for suntimes.com and editor of CenterstageChicago.com. He is also a contributor for satirical sports publication The Heckler. Have a fantasy question? E-mail him.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Olsen published on March 4, 2009 12:32 PM.

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