ATLANTA — Encouraged by September’s success and the offseason alterations made to a now much more seasoned starting rotation, the Braves are approaching 2017 with a sense of confidence that did not exist after entering the past two seasons prepared to deal with the painful portion of a massive rebuild.
Nobody is predicting SunTrust Park will host World Series games during its inaugural season, but the much-improved Braves can at least enter the upcoming campaign with legitimate hope to produce a winning record and further distance themselves from the frustration felt the past two years.
While the addition of the versatile Sean Rodriguez could prove quite beneficial, the Braves didn’t have to tinker much with an offense that truly took shape with the August additions of Matt Kemp and Dansby Swanson, whom MLBPipeline ranks as the club’s No. 1 prospect. A rotation that was plagued by the growing pains endured by Matt Wisler and Aaron Blair has been altered by the additions of three veterans — Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey and Jaime Garcia — who can provide immediate stability without significantly hindering the club’s future.
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There’s no doubt there will be reason for even greater optimism in 2018 and beyond, but ’17 could prove to be quite memorable for the Braves if they get the answers they are …