MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – It is now baseball season. Pitchers and catchers have reported to Florida and Arizona, and for the next eight-and-a-half months we will have baseball.
The Braves will look to improve on a 72-win season in 2017, and in year four of the rebuild the realistic expectation should be another 7 to 12 wins. Let’s not be impatient and think the Braves are ready for the playoffs. More than likely, they are not reason for October baseball. But after four straight losing seasons, the fans want a winner. We just have to realize that what is being done now in the rebuild is for the next decade.
Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but since it is 2018 we have to look ahead to the roaring 20s. The Braves should be better this season, and then even better than that next year. But when this rebuild started the realistic expectation should have been that by the time the new decade arrives, the Braves will be in position to be consistent contenders.
They don’t have a big need for a free agent, and frankly they don’t have the financial flexibility to get one. But they do have the need to see more of these kids, to see more of these prospects who are ready or almost ready to contribute. Then, next winter, next offseason, the Braves will have somewhere near $65 million to spend on upgrades.
They could maybe bring back Craig Kimbrel, the best closer in the game, or spend money on another bat. Next year’s team might be more ready to contend that this season’s team, so it makes sense to simply let this be another evaluation year – especially for new general manager Alex Anthopoulos. He must see what he’s inherited, and I think when he realizes how much talent this best farm system in baseball will provide him, he will be thrilled he took this job.
The Braves do have more young talent – at the big-league level and in the minors – than any other team. They have the best prospect in baseball in Ronald Acuna and the best pitching depth in the minors. Just think when some of these players graduate to the big leagues and actually make this Braves team better. And that might be this season. The Braves will be better this season because of Ozzie Albies playing second base every day, and with the arrival of Acuna – and with A.J. Minter getting more save opportunities.
It will be fun to see these young kids, who are the core players for the Braves teams in the 2020s, to come up and contribute this year. And in a few years, we will know what we have been waiting for.
So, it’s time to hear the crack of the bat and the pop of the mitt. Baseball is back, and the Braves will be better this season.