Atlanta Braves: 5 Reasons Why They Are Already a Postseason Lock

Jonah P DAnalyst IAugust 14, 2011

Atlanta Braves: 5 Reasons Why They Are Already a Postseason Lock

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    Recently, the Atlanta Braves have been experiencing difficulties.

    They are currently suffering from the injuries of many important players, and they are slipping farther back in the division race.

    However, along with the negative events the Braves are experiencing, there have also been a few positive happenings.

    The following slides will explain the five main reasons the Atlanta Braves are already a lock for the postseason.

5. Calling Up of Arodys Vizcaino

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    For most of the season, the Braves have been overusing their most reliable relief pitchers, Craig Kimbrel, Eric O'Flaherty, and Jonny Venters.

    Because of the injuries to Peter Moylan and Scott Linebrink, Kimbrel, O'Flaherty, and Venters hardly ever get a day off.

    In the past, the reliever turned to in desperate situations was often Scott Proctor, who has a 6.44 ERA, and was not at all reliable. Fortunately, Proctor was recently released, and Arodys Vizcaino was added to the Braves bullpen.

    This is a great improvement for the team. Vizcaino has a 2.91 ERA in four seasons in the minor leagues, and was ranked as the 16th best prospect in baseball.

    The addition of Vizcaino should take much weight off of Kimbrel, O'Flaherty, and Venters.

4. Best Pitching Staff in Baseball

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    The amazing depth of the Braves' pitching staff makes it the best in baseball.

    Currently, Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson, the two most consistent starters on their pitching staff, are suffering from injuries.

    Even with these two unfortunate injuries, the Braves continue to display amazing starting pitching.

    Jurrjens has been placed on the DL, and Mike Minor has taken up his starting duties for a while. While Jurrjens is the ace of the Braves, his loss is less of a blow because of the depth of the pitching staff.

    Also, Brandon Beachy has been pitching great, and Tim Hudson has recently been pitching as well as an ace. A quick return from Jurrjens and Hanson is likely.

3. Offense Heating Up

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    Since the All-Star break, the Braves offense ranks among the best in baseball.

    Their greatly improved offense, along with amazing pitching, should easily lead the Braves to a playoff spot.

    Michael Bourn has been playing just as well, if not better, than expected. Since joining the Braves, he is hitting .308, with a .364 OBP, and has stolen three bases.

    Another great addition to the Braves is Jose Constanza, who is currently hitting .413.

    If Freddie Freeman continues to hit as well as he has been, he will be nearly guaranteed the Rookie of the Year title. In the second half of the year, he is hitting .356, bringing his batting average all the way up to .294.

    Also, Martin Prado and Dan Uggla have been contributing great numbers to the Braves.

    Once Brian McCann returns from his injury, the Braves offense alone should guarantee them a playoff appearance.

2. Resurgence of Dan Uggla

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    Since the beginning of the season, the performance of Dan Uggla has been a huge disappointment.

    Finally, the Braves have the consistent producer of offense they were hoping for when they traded for Uggla.

    Since the All-Star break, he is hitting .353, and .400 in the month of August, which provides an amazing contrast to his average of .185 before the break.

    Along with this, Uggla is currently on a 33-game hitting streak, which is the longest streak this season.

    If he continues to hit anywhere near as well as he is currently, the Braves will have a very consistent offense, and an impressive lineup.

1. Overall Situation

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    While the Braves' chances of winning the division are slim, they have very good chances of winning the wild card.

    Currently, they have a five-game lead over the San Francisco Giants, who are the second place team in the wild card race.

    They are the second best team in the National League, behind only the Philadelphia Phillies, which is a reassurance for its chances of winning the wild card.

    They are playing great, even with as many injuries as they have.

    Once their injured players return, the Braves should play even better than they currently are, which should guarantee them a spot in the postseason.