With less than a week until Opening Day, the metro Atlanta area is highly anticipating one of the most talked about seasons in Braves history. With the awful, questionable call that sent our Hall of Famer Chipper Jones
into retirement, the Braves have a head full of steam coming to the 2013 season. With the additions of the Upton brothers and even Chris Johnson
, the Braves look to start where they left off in 2012. With the most dynamic bullpen in the majors, there are multiple reasons to countdown to the first pitch of 2013. The Atlanta Braves
have had to long of a World Series drought of eighteen years, and the time is now for Atlanta to take the Falcons motto and "Rise Up" to the occasion.
Spring training was a time of getting back into the swing of things and getting the old swagger back that every Atlanta fan loves. The missing idol of Chipper Jones was definitely noticed in Kissimmee during training. Personally, I attended the Houston Astros
and the Braves play in early February to see how the ball club would look in the upcoming season. Kris Medlen
was on the mound with a lineup that was given the day off. The only starters I had the privilege of watching were Freddie Freeman
, Juan Francisco
, and Dan Uggla
. The three starters were not unnoticed by the fans, as Freeman was making fantastic contact with the ball, and driving in the only run through seven innings on a solo shot to right field. The bullpen was tested when Gwinett pitcher and Florida State grad Sean Gilmartin
took the mound but ultimately gave up a handful of runs in one inning. My conclusion from the one game I attended in Orlando was the potential the Braves will have in 2013 when the full lineup takes the field at Turner for the first time. The bullpen will be as strong as ever with the leader Craig Kimbrel
The competition in the National League east will get ugly into the dog days of July and August. The rival Washington Nationals
will be poised for a repeat of the crown, but the major additions the Braves made during the off season should lead to the challenging for the crown in 2013. The starting rotation for the Nationals is not unbeatable, but is powerful. Strasburg is coming off a shut down in the previous season and will be poised for another outstanding year on the mound. The Braves starting rotation of Hudson, Medlen, Beachy, Minor and the current battle between Delgado and Teheran. The depth of the bullpen in the late innings will be the difference for the Braves against any other ball club due to the amount of strike outs and consistency of the pitchers. The east will be between Washington and Atlanta due to the amount of inconsistency the Phillies
have and the poor roster the Marlins
have. The only surprise that could catch every off guard is the New York Mets
due to the activity of small pick ups the front office had during the off season. My projection is too close to call, due to the dependency on how the new Braves outfield flows and how the Nationals rotation reacts coming off their first pennant win in a few decades.
There is a reason for Atlanta to be excited coming into this season. The new look Braves will have to find a new leader with the loss of the legend Chipper Jones, but the Braves will rise to the occasion. The city needs to get behind this ball club because they will need all the extra motivation they can get going into the summer. Finally, there is a sense of anxiousness in Turner Field as the Braves will look to contend for not only the pennant but the World Series title. Braves fans, believe me when I say 2013 will be a time to tell the nation "this is why we chop".
This FanPost does not express the views or opinions of Talking Chop.