They’re the feel-good team of the Grapefruit League. They’re the Atlanta Braves, and everywhere you turn someone else is gushing about them.
Buster Olney of ESPN.com picks them to finish second in the National League East and to win the wild card. (Link requires registration.) Writes Olney: “The Braves look tremendous this spring. Jason Heyward looks great; Tim Hudson looks great. ‘The two best teams I saw this spring — the two teams that looked the most crisp — were the Braves and Rays,’ one evaluator said.”
And here’s Albert Chen of SI.com giving his reasons why the Braves can finish ahead of Philadelphia:
The Braves can overtake Philly if 23-year-old starter Tommy Hanson establishes himself as one of the league’s elite pitchers; if outfielder Jason Heyward has the kind of rookie year Albert Pujols had in 2001; if the old guys (Troy Glaus, Chipper Jones and Billy Wagner ) stay