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Atlanta Braves news: Is a “sneaky good” year on the way for the Braves?

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Another fantasy preview has come out with a focus on the Braves and this one is bullish on Atlanta’s chances to be kind of good this season.

Cincinnati Reds v Atlanta Braves Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

BRAVES NEWS

Atlanta signs re-ups with Sam Freeman

One of the Braves’ reliable relievers from 2017 will be returning to the club for at least one more season. Sam Freeman was eligible for arbitration but he and the team came to an agreement that will see him making slightly less than what he was projected to earn in a potential arbitration case.

FanGraphs: Braves could be “sneaky good” when it comes to fantasy

Earlier this week USA Today covered the Braves from a fantasy baseball perspective and now FanGraphs took a swing at it on Thursday. The most interesting thing here is the fact that Paul Sporer had a glowing recommendation for Ozzie Albies.

He improved in his second go of Triple-A at age-20 – which is incredible, by the way… second time through AAA at 20! – and earned a 57-game debut after an August 1st promotion.

*They adjust their list all season and he graduated off it, so you’ll just have to believe me!

He had a career-best power output at .171 ISO with 6 HR, 5 3B, and 9 2B across the 244 plate appearances. He showed off his great bat-to-ball skills with a 15% strikeout rate and keen eye with a 9% walk rate. He wasn’t just being pitched around down in the order, either. Albies had two walks in 17 PA out of the 8th spot while sitting at 10% (14 in 146) in the 1st and 2nd spots in the lineup.

Documentary on 90s Braves is coming soon to MLB Network

February 13 is going to be a fun day for a few reasons. For starters, pitchers and catchers for the Braves will report on that day and MLB Network will air a documentary on those great Atlanta Braves teams from the 1990s as well. Joe Lucia of Awful Announcing had the details and got to speak to the producers as well. The future of the Braves is very bright but let’s be honest here: You are not going to pass up hearing Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz talk about their first-hand experiences during that time, are you?

Allard excited to get 2018 underway

One of the reasons to be excited about Atlanta’s future is due to their incredible depth in pitching talent on the farm. Kolby Allard is a prime example of that talent and he spoke with Mark Bowman about how he’s raring to go and ready to show further improvement for the 2018 season.

The 20-year-old southpaw overcame challenges as one of the youngest players in the Southern League last summer, and he’ll likely open this season with Triple-A Gwinnett.

”I’m a completely different guy this year,” Allard said. “I can’t give enough credit to [Braves director of player development] Dom Chiti and [Double-A Mississippi pitching coach] Derrick Lewis. I learned more about myself this year than I did during any previous year. That’s kind of what pitching is, knowing your strengths and weaknesses and ultimately going out and getting outs. If you can execute and know who you are, that’s the ultimate.”

MLB NEWS

Mets ownership nixed trade for Kipnis

Despite being one of the few teams to actually do something interesting this offseason, the Mets wanted to do more. The crew over at Amazin Avenue shared the news from Jon Heyman that the Mets and Cleveland apparently had a deal in place that would have seen Jason Kipnis joining New York. However, Mets “higher-ups” (a.k.a. ownership) put the kibosh on the deal and it may have been due to the fact that Kipnis was coming off of a poor season (.232/.291/.414, 12 home runs, 82 wRC+, 0.7 fWAR) for his standards.

D-Backs are in “persistent” pursuit of Machado

The Orioles are still rumored to be trying to move Manny Machado in a trade and it appears that the team who wants him the most at the moment is the Arizona Diamondbacks. Our friends over at MLB Daily Dish passed on word from Ken Rosenthal that the D-Backs were being “persistent” in trying to acquire the star third baseman.

Arizona acquiring the 25-year-old third baseman would be ”fascinating” because he would team up with Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock and Jake Lamb, who are in their prime years as position players, and could play at shortstop — a position he said he wants to play this season — for a year for a team that is ready to win now before he hits free agency at the end of 2018. The Dbacks could get him at a bargain rate in terms of money, as he is projected to make over $16 million, which Rosenthal says would be ”more logical” for them to pay than try to sign a big-time free agent like J.D. Martinez to a massive contract.