Five Big Questions for the 2016 Atlanta Braves

Media Credit: Brett Davis - USA Today Sports

Media Credit: Brett Davis – USA Today Sports

What will Hector Olivera bring to the table?

Perhaps no player in the Braves organization has more questions than Olivera, heck we could devote all five questions in this piece to Olivera. Expectations are high for the player acquired last season from the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 30-year-old player from Cuba is a key offensive piece for the Braves rebuild. Olivera was hampered by a hamstring injury most of last year, and upon making his Major League debut in Atlanta he produced a less than inspiring .253 average with two HR and 11 RBI in 79 at-bats.

His primary position has been third base, however the Braves are attempting to transition him to left field. This winter he was assigned to the Puerto Rican League to hone his skills in the outfield. Unfortunately Olivera was released, amid conflicting reports, after just 18 games. During his short stint in Puerto Rico, Olivera hit .275 with no HR and two doubles. While the Braves have not entirely given up the idea of him still playing third, it’s clear they prefer his skills in the outfield. Olivera is a lean 6’2”, 220 lbs and according to scouts has solid gap-to-gap power; the Braves are counting on him to be a force in the middle of their lineup for the next several seasons. 2015 was a whirlwind year for the Cuban, as he had to adjust to life in the United States, battle injury, and handle being traded to a new clubhouse. Olivera will have a very long leash to prove he can excel in the Major Leagues, but early indications are he has work ahead of him.

5 Responses

  1. fleiter69

    The only real question for this Braves team is: Is it possible to lose every game in a an MLB season?

    Reply
    • Adam Piede

      If it weren’t for the 18 games vs the Phillies I would say yes. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
    • Wayne Canon

      I don’t know….but we’ve got a damn good shot at it.

      Reply
  2. John Sheets

    I sure hope Perez is not in the rotation, let alone on the team. His WHIP and K:B ratio are all you need to see. His starts were tough to watch last year. Same with Folty. Neither will succeed until they can learn to locate there fastball on the inside part of the plate, which I don’t think they will. I don’t mind moving Folty to the bullpen where he can do what he does, just throw hard. I’d like to see Blair in the rotation to start the year if he has a good spring. It’s annoying when teams wait to call up a kid for an extra year of control. These boys are going to need all the big league experience they can get if we want to compete in 17, 18.

    Reply
    • Adam Piede

      Of Banuelos, Folty, and Perez…Banuelos looked the best when healthy, but I don’t know if he can be counted on. I doubt either Blair or Newcombe start in the Bigs for the very reason you disdain, the extra year of control. I don’t necessarily like it but for a team like the Braves it makes sense. Why burn a year over 6 weeks of pitching for a team that goes no where. No IF the Cubs were burned last year by not bringing up Bryant, now that is a different story.

      Reply

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