Fans of the Atlanta Braves did not enjoy the 2015 season, especially during the stretch run. As a result, many are simply ready to look forward to 2016 with some sense of optimism about a return to relevance. Unfortunately, David Schoenfield of ESPN does not forecast such a bounce-back.
Schoenfield put together a "way-too-early" 2016 power ranking that was released this week, and the Braves slotted in at number 29 in the league, ahead of only the Philadelphia Phillies. Here is what he had to say:
They have a lot of young pitching, but most of it was bad. The offense was the worst in the majors. They went 25-48 in the second half. Yuck. The final year in Turner Field will not have a memorable send-off.
Sadly, Schoenfield isn't wrong about any of this. Atlanta was miserable down the stretch, and as currently constructed, this ranking is painfully accurate. Of course, it does not consider the possibility (or even likelihood) that the Braves will invest in the Major League roster over the Winter, and that must be noted.
Now, we look to another viewpoint on the ranks.
Braves are 29th in ESPN's way too early 2016 power rankings. That's too high.— Joe Lucia (@Joe_TOC) November 3, 2015
Joe's take on the situation was likely put forth with tongue firmly planted in cheek, but the fact that Braves fans and pundits cannot bash this ranking with any conviction is troubling in and of itself. The Atlanta Braves can certainly alter their public perception with shrewd roster management in the offseason, but until then, this is probably what Braves Country should expect to see from the national media.