Atlanta Braves: 10 Reasons Their Rotation Will Be One of the NL's Best in 2011

Joey HnathCorrespondent IFebruary 3, 2011

Atlanta Braves: 10 Reasons Their Rotation Will Be One of The NL’s Best in 2011

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    The general consensus is that the Philadelphia Phillies have the best rotation in the National League.

    Though that may be the case, their division rival also has a great rotation.

    Coming off of the team's first postseason berth since 2005, the Atlanta Braves look to challenge the Philadelphia Phillies for the NL East crown behind one of the league's best rotations.

    Though teams like the Giants and Brewers have gotten more recognition this offseason, the Braves pitching staff as a whole is better.

    Here are 10 reasons why the Braves rotation is one of the league's best.

10. The Ted

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    The Atlanta Braves had the best home record in baseball last year.

    A large part of that was due to their starting pitching. 

    The 2011 projected staff of Hudson, Hanson, Lowe, Jurrjens and Minor went 34-18 at Turner Field in 2010.

    Expect much of the same this season.

9. Julio Teheran

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    The Braves' top prospect will most likely start the season in AAA.

    He may not stay there for long.

    Teheran has all the talent in the world, and if the injury bug bites the Braves rotation, Teheran may be called upon to make his major league debut this summer.

8. Fredi Gonzalez

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    The Braves' new manager is not afraid to go against the grain.

    In Miami, Gonzalez had a pension for going with rookies in the rotation rather than established veterans.

    This tendency bodes well for Mike Minor heading into Spring Training, and it makes Julio Teheran a name to look out for as a midseason call-up.

7. Tim Hudson's Veteran Stability

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    Though he may take a step back from 2010, Tim Hudson is one of the most underrated pitchers in the National League.

    After a strong comeback from Tommy John surgery, Hudson provides leadership and stability to the Atlanta rotation, which has proven to be invaluable.

6. Weak NL East Hitting

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    The Phillies have a decent lineup, but it's not one of the league's best.  The Mets, Marlins and Nationals all have one or two big names, but the rest of their respective lineups are not anything to worry about.

    With 18 games against each divisional foe, the Braves rotation will be feasting on poor hitting all year long.

5. Derek Lowe's Big Finish

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    After a shaky start to the season, Lowe finished 2010 very strong, going 5-0 in September.

    Lowe is one of the best big game pitchers in the league.  If he can carry his momentum from the big games of last September into 2011, Lowe could have yet another great season to add to his resume.

4. Jair Jurrjens' Re-Emergence

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    Hobbled by injuries in 2010, JJ looks to bounce back and have a big 2011 season.

    Jurrjens was a beast in 2009, winning 14 games and posting a 2.60 ERA.

    There is no reason to believe that he won't return to the pitcher he was two years ago.

3. Mike Minor's Development

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    Mike Minor,'s 21st-ranked prospect heading into 2011, looks to be able to hold off Brandon Beachy and Rodrigo Lopez to secure the fifth spot in the Braves rotation.

    Minor has a huge upside and already has some major league experience.

    Though he was shaky at the end of last season, some of those bad outings can be chalked up to arm fatigue.

    After a whole offseason to rest, Minor should be good to go for 2011.

2. Tommy Hanson: 2011 NL Cy Young

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    2011 is the season when Tommy Hanson joins the National League's elite.

    After a great rookie season, Hanson's sophomore campaign was solid and better than his 10-11 record indicated.

    Hanson will take the next step in 2011, becoming the ace of the Braves rotation and a contender for the NL Cy Young.

1. Depth

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    Hudson, Hanson, Lowe, Jurrjens and Minor look to be the starting five for the Braves in 2011.

    Brandon Beachy, Rodrigo Lopez and Kenshin Kawakami all have major league experience.

    Julio Teheran continues to dominate the minors and may force his way up to the bigs.

    The Atlanta Braves have by far the deepest pitching staff in 2011.  And with how common injuries are for pitchers, this depth will be crucial for the Braves' 2011 postseason chances.