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Looking Back at 2005: The Kids

Ryan Langerhans, Kelly Johnson, Jeff Francoeur, Brian McCann, Pete Orr, Kyle Davies, Blaine Boyer, Macay McBride, and Chuck James. That's one heck of a group of rookies.

Who would have imagined that by the end of the season, so many first year players would have played such predominant roles in returning the Braves to the postseason? With the injury problems the Braves faced, John Schuerholz and company had little choice but to turn to their farm system. Sure, they could have explored the trade market, but the organization had such confidence in its youth movement that they didn't want to sacrifice their top talent for a quick fix.

Kelly Johnson and Ryan Langerhans provided help from the get go and together put up some solid numbers. Kyle Davies stepped in when the injury bug zapped the starting rotation and pitched admirably. Brian McCann took hold of the pitching staff when Johnny Estrada went on the disabled list and held together the rotation like a seasoned veteran. And Jeff Francoeur...well we all know the story of Francoeur whose energy and athleticism took Atlanta by storm on the way to putting up Rookie-of-the-Year type of numbers.

So, what does 2006 hold for this super group of sophomores? One can only imagine, but if 2005 is any indication of what these kids can do, the Atlanta Braves are looking at another run of division titles.