According to FanGraphs, the only team in the major leagues projected to finish worse than the Braves (71-91) are the division rival Phillies (68-94). Don’t tell Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, though. Despite a new-look team now bereft of productive veterans such as Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, and Evan Gattis, Freeman still thinks his team will end up being competitive in 2015. He even went as far as to say, “I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people.”
“It’s going to be different than what I’m used to, but it’s exciting,” Freeman said. “We’ve got a whole different team. Obviously as a person and a friend, it’s tough to see your friends leave — especially with Jason leaving. We’ve got Shelby [Miller] here now and we’ve got a lot of young talent. I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people.”
Aside from the Nationals, the NL East is not particularly strong, so inter-divisional play against the Phillies, Mets, and Marlins could inflate their win total more than we might expect. But even that’s a generous interpretation of the Braves’ chances.