This article is part of our MLB Team Previews series.
Braves 2015 Team Preview: In With The New
Coming off a 96-win 2013 campaign, a season in which the Braves won the NL East by 10 games over the preseason favorite Nationals, expectations were generally high for Atlanta. Most assumed the Nationals would finally get it together and win the division, but the consensus seemed to be that the Braves would at least push for a Wild Card spot.
How quickly hopes and expectations can go out the window. Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy blew out their elbows on consecutive days in spring training, forcing the team to turn to the likes of Aaron Harang and David Hale to fill rotation spots. After a 17-7 start, the Braves began to slowly unravel, as their free-swinging tendencies finally caught up them. Dan Uggla hit .175 over the first two months and mercifully lost his roster spot, while B.J. Upton's downward spiral continued. Justin Upton swung away at career-high rate and Jason Heyward and Andrelton Simmons struggled offensively, resulting in the Braves finishing 29th in runs scored with 573.
Chris Johnson and Mike Minor both regressed significantly, with the former posting a .263/.292/.361 line after finishing as the runner-up for the NL batting title in 2013. Minor battled shoulder issues in spring training and failed to ever get going, as he couldn't keep the ball in the park or retire lefties with much consistency. While Atlanta still managed to finish tied for second in the division with a 79-83 record, the