The bullpen has one of the game's most dominant closers in Craig Kimbrel, who saved 51 games, but was almost useless in the final month because of the lack of save situations.

This offseason, it's up to Hart and his hand-picked GM to save the Braves from that unfamiliar losing feeling. The leadoff spot is a priority as is second base and overall depth.

"It's a different feeling. I don't like it," Gonzalez said. "Hopefully we don't get very many more years like this. It's the worse feeling in the world."

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MLB Team Report - Atlanta Braves - NOTES, QUOTES


RECORD: 79-83, tied for second place in National League East

TEAM MVP: RHP Julio Teheran established himself as a top-of-the-rotation guy in his second full season with the club. Teheran (14-13, 2.89) made 33 starts, 26 of them quality starts, and led the team with 221 innings pitched. He struck out 184 and walked 51. Teheran is considered the only untouchable member of the starting rotation.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: 3B Chris Johnson signed a three-year, $23.5 million contract in the spring based on last year's .321. While no one really expected Johnson to duplicate those numbers, few expected him to fall off as dramatically. Johnson hit just .263 with 10 homers and 58 RBIs. Johnson got off to a poor start, got his average up to .280, but swooned like the rest of the club and wound up hitting into 23 double plays. He did lead the N.L. with a .400 average against left-handers. He's expected to bounce back, but could be part of a trade since he's contractually tied at a reasonable price.

TOP PROSPECT: Christian Bethancourt showed why he's considered the franchise's catcher of the future. Big and strong (6-2, 205) the rookie has a rocket arm and proved to be an adept game manager during his two tenures with the Braves. Bethancourt, 22, continues to improve as a hitter and should be adequate in that department. He should be the starter in 2015 or at least share the duties. He hit .248 with six doubles in 31 games.

PLAYER NOTES:

--1B Freddie Freeman was probably the most consistent hitter again this year, but his production fell from .319 with 23 homers and 109 RBIs to .288 with 18 homers and 78 RBIs. Freeman also struck out 145. Freeman set a team record for innings played. But Freeman is one of the top fielders in the league and is likely a centerpiece for the team going forward.

--SS Andrelton Simmons continued to show himself as the best fielding shortstop in the league, but he regressed at the plate. Simmons hit .244 with seven homers, seven fewer than in 2013. His numbers dropped in every offensive category and he hit into a team-leading 25 double plays. He hit only .209 after the All-Star break. The team would like to see him work with driving the ball to other parts of the field and making more consistent contact.

--LHP Alex Wood established himself as a starting pitcher once he got a chance when Gavin Floyd was injured. Wood went 11-11 with a 2.76 ERA and struck out 170 in 171 2/3 innings. The University of Georgia product won fans with his tenacity and could start the 2015 season as the No. 2 man in the rotation.

--C Evan Gattis suffered through an injury-plagued season, with back issues putting him on the disabled list and strep throat and a kidney stone keeping him sidelined for most of September. "El Oso Blanco" hit .263 with 22 homers in 108 games. While he is immensely popular, it is believed the club will try to move him to an American League team.

--OF B.J. Upton completed a second straight subpar season and set the franchise strikeout mark with 173. He hit .208 (24 points higher than 2013) with 12 homers and 20 stolen bases. There's no doubt the team would like to move him, but his massive contract will make it difficult.

--LF Justin Upton had a great April and a great August, but was otherwise mediocre at best. He wound up hitting .270 with 29 homers and a career-high 102 RBIs. But he also struck out 171 times and disappeared in September. No one would be surprised to see him moved during the offseason.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's a different feeling. I don't like it. Hopefully we don't get very many more years like this. It's the worse feeling in the world." -- Manager Fredi Gonzalez, about not going to the playoffs.

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MLB Team Report - Atlanta Braves - ROSTER REPORT


No one expects the Braves to stand pat after such a disappointing season.