By: John Wickham
We know the Braves have started the season 13-5. We knew coming into the season the Braves were going to be down their All-Star starting catcher in Brian McCann and also 2012 1st half Cy Young contender, Brandon Beachy. Paul Janish a valuable defensive replacement has been coming along slowly from his shoulder surgery and should be starting his rehab assignment within the next week. Shortly before the season began the Braves lost a member of their vaunted bullpen in Jonny Venters and who knows if he will be back this season. Since the season has began the Braves lost Freddie Freeman who had started the season on a similar hot streak as Justin Upton. And another member of the bullpen in Christian Martinez with a shoulder strain. (What is it with the Braves and their players dealing with shoulder injuries?) An almost scary injury was apparently averted by Luis Avilian.
But somehow even with all these injuries the Braves have raced out to the best record in the MLB. They have gotten contributions from the most unlikely of sources. A 26-yr-old catcher in Evan Gattis. A backup middle infielder in Ramiro Pena, who before this season was a career .233 hitter and now is hitting .364. Venters going down allowed a 23-yr-old pitcher with a career total of 30 innings pitched to takeover in high-pressured situations. An early DL trip hopefully will allow for Freddie Freeman to fully come back healthy and not let a nagging injury affect his play. But in his absence Chris Johnson’s ability to play 1st has allowed the Spring Training 3rd base battle to continue in the regular season.
This is what happens when you are a good drafting team and make savvy moves in free agency that supplement your other needs. You find diamonds in the rough and can field a complete team with plenty of depth in case of injuries. Case in point your 2013 Braves. Now hopefully they can get these guys back from the DL and can play up to pre-injury form and keep this good time rolling.