Atlanta Braves: 5 Bold Predictions for the Braves 2012 Season

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Atlanta Braves: 5 Bold Predictions for the Braves 2012 Season
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
The Braves sit in disbelief after dropping 2011's season finale to Philadelphia

Which Atlanta Braves team will show up in 2012?

The team that started out 80-55, good for the fourth-best record in all of baseball? Or the group that blew an 8.5-game wild-card lead by going 9-18 in September?

Atlanta GM Frank Wren believes it's the former.

Hopefully he's right because the Braves stood pat this offseason. Wren let aging shortstop Alex Gonzalez walk, effectively entrusting the duties there to prospect Tyler Pastornicky.

Pastornicky has done little to instill confidence this spring, while Andrelton Simmons—who, despite being a more highly-touted prospect, has never played above Single-A—has looked every bit the part of an everyday major league shortstop.

The Braves have little room for error this season. Miami added Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell. Washington's pitching staff will be much improved after the additions of Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson. Philadelphia, despite injury troubles, will remain tough.

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