The Upton brothers, Justin (left) and B.J. (right), will play alongside eachother for the first time since they were kids. (Image Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

2013 MLB Preview: Atlanta Braves

Entering the 2012 season, the Braves were under a fair amount of pressure to make up for the collapse they suffered from at the conclusion of the 2011 season. Considering Boston’s collapse was slightly worse, the Braves fall is not often discussed but it’s far from forgotten. The Braves needed to prove that it wasn’t the norm and that this team could still compete in 2012, which they ended up managing to do. The team finished at 94-68, 2nd in the NL East, before losing the Wild Card playoff game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Atlanta’s made some improvements this offseason. Brothers Justin Upton and B.J. Upton will play alongside one another for the first time in the Braves outfield. Some of the organization’s young stars (Andrelton Simmons, Evan Gattis, Julio Teheran) finally seem slated to take on bigger roles. The Braves have always won behind strong pitching and that is what will need to carry them once again if they are going to reclaim their place atop the division.

With the start of the 2013 Regular Season upon us, it seemed like the ideal time to check in with each of our team sites here at FanSided MLB and check out what our experts have to say on the upcoming season. Let’s check in with Tomahawk Take and Editor Jeff Schafer, and see what he had to say about the team’s best and worst case scenarios, as well as what’s most likely to happen.

Best Case Scenario

The best case scenario for the Atlanta Braves in 2013 is coach Fredi Gonzalez uses the platoon at third base with Chris Johnson and Juan Francisco perfectly, the Upton brothers push each other to preform at their highest level as major leaguers, the youngsters of Jason Heyward, Andrelton Simmons and Freddie Freeman all have career highs statically, Dan Uggla and Brian McCann come back healthy to help our already loaded lineup, and the pitching staff stays in tact and healthy.  Best case, a World Series Championship is in the future for the Atlanta Braves in 2013.

Worst Case Scenario

The worst case for the 2013 Braves would be another collapse in the late months of the season.  2011 ended so poorly with the fall out in September to not making the playoffs and then in 2012 losing the Wild Card game to the Cardinals.  Another failure from the Braves and skipper Fredi could and probably would lead to changes in management.

Most Likely to Happen

The most likely case for the Braves would be another solid season with many All-Stars and guys bring in some individual hardware at seasons end.  I see the Braves winning 95 games or more and making a run at the World Series title.  I may be a little bias but I predict them taking the WS trophy, for the first time since 1995, back to Atlanta!

Behind the Upton brothers and a new crop of young stars there’s a chance the Braves will indeed fight for the division crown. Pitching will, of course, be the key to whether the team’s able to succeed. Atlanta is also going to be taking the field for the first time without Chipper Jones in the starting lineup. His retirement wasn’t a surprise, but his legacy won’t easily be filled. Atlanta will be a tough challenge for opposing teams to overcome.

Tomahawk Take has you covered for all things Braves, all season long.

Tags: Atlanta Braves

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