2011 MLB Predictions: Atlanta Braves Secure NL Wild Card
2011 MLB Predictions Have Braves and Cardinals Competing for Wild Card
The Atlanta Braves won 91 games last season, captured the National League Wild Card, and could have easily beaten the world champion San Francisco Giants in the divisional round of the playoffs if it weren't for injuries, some bad bounces and a guy by the name of Brooks Conrad (sorry Brooks, had to at least mention it).
They did all of this with an emerging star in Jason Heyward and two emerging starters in Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens.
Two of these guys have a chance of being even better this season, with apologies to Jurrjens, who I and the Braves don't have much faith in.
Hanson is already being talked about as a possible National League Cy Young candidate.
Notes David Brown of Yahoo! Sports, "The pitching, while not knock-you-out like Philly or San Francisco, will get the job done. Especially the starters: Tommy Hanson and Tim Hudson have been diagnosed with Cy Young Syndrome."
But, in addition to all of this, the Braves also added Dan Uggla from the Florida Marlins, one of the best power hitting second baseman in the game.
On the other side of the coin, you have the St. Louis Cardinals, who still have a guy by the name of Albert Pujols and a rising player in Colby Rasmus, no matter how many times manager Tony La Russa looks at him funny.
But the big hit to this team is their ace Adam Wainwright out for the season after undergoing reconstructive elbow surgery.
That in itself does it for me, not to mention I don't expect Jaime Garcia to have as good a year as he did last season.
For Ethan Norof's MLB predictions for 2011, go here.
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