2015 Atlanta Braves
2015 Atlanta Braves / Franchise: Atlanta Braves / BR Team Page
Managed by Fredi Gonzalez
History, Comments, Contributions
After undergoing a complete roster overhaul in the off-season, the 2015 Atlanta Braves surprised everyone by starting off the season with five straight wins. Among the players gone from the 2014 season, when the Braves played poorly over the second half and missed the postseason, were OFs Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Melvin Upton, C Evan Gattis, IF Tommy La Stella, starting pitchers Aaron Harang and Ervin Santana and closer Craig Kimbrel. That left 1B Freddie Freeman as the big offensive star, and Julio Teheran as the mainstay of the pitching staff. Newcomers were OF Nick Markakis, Carlos Quentin, Cameron Maybin, Eric Young and Jonny Gomes, IF Alberto Callaspo, C A.J. Pierzynski and Ps Shelby Miller, Eric Stults, Trevor Cahill, Jason Grilli and Jim Johnson. To complete the overhaul, a number of yougsters also made the opening day roster, such as C Christian Bethancourt, 2B Jace Peterson and Ps Juan Jaime, Brandon Cunniff and Cody Martin, the latter two with no major league experience. There was one early hiccup, as one of the off-season acquisitions, reliever Arodys Vizcaino was suspended for 80 games for testing positive for a steroid before the start of the season. With all of those changes, sportswriters joked that everyone needed name tags on opening day, and no one was quite sure how the new group would jell.
In spite of all the changes, the Braves played well over the first part of the season, leading the NL East for the first ten days of the campaign. and then settling around a .500 record. They were 40-41 at the halfway mark and would be at .500 one last time three days later at 42-42, but a five-game losing streak before the All-Star break began to show the cracks in the foundation. P Shelby Miller was the team's lone representative at the 2015 All-Star Game, having started the season well even if wins were few and far between; he was 5-5, 2.38 at that point, but emblematic of the team's budding problems, had not won since a May 17th shutout of the Miami Marlins had made him 5-1. At the end of August, he was still stuck on five wins, and the Braves were in a free fall. They lost their first four games in August then lost 12 of 13 at the end of the month to fall to 20 games below .500. The losing streak included losses of 15-4 and 20-6 to the New York Yankees as they were swept at home on August 28-30. Tragedy also came calling in that series, as a twenty-year Braves season-ticket holder fell to his death from the upper deck at Turner Field during the game of August 29th.
The losing continued into September. When the Braves were swept in a four-game series at home against the New York Mets on September 10-13, it was the first time since 1989 that this had happened against the team from the Big Apple, and it gave the Braves 12 straight losses at home, most for a Braves team since 1931.
Awards and Honors
- All-Star: Shelby Miller
- Mike Bauman: "Braves in contention after 'reset': Club proving doubters wrong after offseason manipulations", mlb.com, June 10, 2015. 
- Anthony Castrovince: "Braves better off than many believe: Expectations low after busy offseason, but club still has core, improved farm system, payroll flexibility", mlb.com, March 18, 2015. 
- Anthony Castrovince: "Jump on Braves' bandwagon, even if it's unpopular: Fans understandably didn't want to see Kimbrel dealt, but Atlanta's plan the right one". mlb.com, April 7, 2015.