Description: Braves third baseman Chris Johnson is a 7-for-17 (.412) career hitter against Reds starter Mat Latos.
Insight: Justin Upton and Freddie Freeman also hit over .400 in their careers against Latos, so it could be a high scoring night for Atlanta. Jason Heyward also has a career average of .400 (4-for-10) against Latos. Any of them would be great starts. Johnson is hitting .274 with nine home runs and 53 RBI this season.
Description: Braves left fielder Justin Upton is a career .429 hitter against Reds starter Mat Latos.
Insight: Upton continues to swing a hot bat as he went 2-for-3 with two RBI in the series opener against the Reds on Thursday. Upton has now hit safely in 11 straight games and blasted five home runs with 19 RBI in his last 13 games.
Description: Braves starter Julio Teheran turned it around Thursday night with six shut out innings.
Insight: Nice production after posting a 1-2 record with a 6.05 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in his previous three outings. Just three strikeouts is a bit concerning, but he's nearing his career high for inning pitched in a season and may be getting tired.
Description: Braves starter Julio Teheran might be a guy to avoid Thursday as he's posted a 1-2 record with a 6.05 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in his last three outings.
Insight: Teheran has already thrown 176 2/3 IP and after Thursday's start will have matched last season's workload with more than a month to go. He may just be tiring and for that reason we don't recommend him.
Description: Atlanta starter Alex Wood took a shutout into the eighth inning Wednesday at Pittsburgh, but he allowed the first two men to reach base and Jordan Walden allowed both of them to score.
Insight: Wood walked away with two earned runs on four hits and four strikeouts in seven innings, plus a no decision. The 23-year-old left-hander is 9-9 with a 3.05 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP and 124 Ks in 130 innings this season. He's given up two earned runs or less in five straight starts.
Description: Braves right fielder Jason Heyward went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI Monday at Pittsburgh.
Insight: Heyward came into the game six for his last 35 (.171). He's hit 268 with 32 extra-base hits (10 HR), 47 RBI, 60 runs and 14 steals this season. Heyward's .157 average in 115 at-bats against left-handers is really dragging him down.
Description: Braves starter Julio Teheran struck out just one batter and walked three Saturday against Oakland, but he limited the Athletics to two runs on four hits in six innings to earn his 11th win.
Insight: Teheran allowed 11 runs on 18 hits in 13 1/3 innings his first two starts this month. He's been wearing down later in games lately, perhaps because he's not used to throwing this many innings in a season.
Description: Braves second baseman Tommy La Stella is out of the lineup Saturday against Oakland.
Insight: La Stella has gone 8-for-44 (.182) in August. He has one homer and two steals to go with a .274 average, 27 RBI, 21 runs and a .700 OPS this season, so he's not a good fantasy option. Phil Gosselin is starting at second base.
Description: Atlanta starter Alex Wood improved to 9-9 after tossing six innings of two-run ball against the Athletics Friday night.
Insight: Wood only struck out one batter after fanning 12 Nationals in 7 1/3 innings his last time out. The 23-year-old took his undeserved demotion to the bullpen in stride back in May and he's gone 4-3 with a 2.73 ERA and 57 Ks in 62 2/3 innings since he rejoined the rotation.
Description: Braves left fielder Justin Upton went 1-for-4 with a solo homer Friday. He's driven in a run in six straight games.
Insight: Upton left Thursday's game with a hamstring injury, but it was minor and he appears to be fine. He hasn't had a multi-hit game since July 30, but he's making his hits count (4 2B, 3 HR in August).
Description: Braves right fielder Jason Heyward is a career 7-for-12 (.583) against Oakland starter Jason Hammel.
Insight: Although Heyward is producing well below what fantasy owners (and Braves fans) think he should based on his talent level, he has batted .329 over the past four weeks to raise his average to a respectable .269.
Description: Braves starter Aaron Harang was knocked around by the Dodgers Thursday afternoon and left in the fifth inning.
Insight: Harang gave up seven hits, three walks and five earned runs, including a home run by catcher Drew Butera. Harang had pitched well in five of his previous six outings so hopefully this is just a small bump in the road.
Description: Braves starter Ervin Santana struck out nine and allowed two runs on eight hits in six innings Wednesday against the Dodgers to improve to 12-6.
Insight: With one of the lowest strikeout rates in baseball, Santana was bound to see his strikeout rate improve. He's struck out 40 batters in his last 34 innings and 137 in 150 innings on the year. The right-hander has won seven of his last eight decisions, including five straight.
Description: Braves second baseman Tommy La Stella is out of the lineup Wednesday.
Insight: La Stella was in the lineup Tuesday after leaving Monday's game with a hamstring cramp, so his absence Wednesday has more to do with left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu starting than any injury. La Stella is actually hitting .346 against lefties this season, but Fredi Gonzalez opted to get an extra righty in the lineup at second base.
Description: Braves starter Mike Minor alowed three runs on eight hits and struck out seven in 6 2/3 innings Tuesday against the Dodgers.
Insight: It was Minor's first start since Aug. 1. The Braves skipped him after he gave up 85 hits (12 HR), 44 earned runs and 17 walks in 54 innings (7.33 ERA, 1.89 WHIP) his previous 10 starts. He's still not trustworthy at this point.
Description: Braves starter Julio Teheran held the Dodgers scoreless through the first five innings Monday night, but he gave up three runs in the sixth and was charged with two more in the eighth.
Insight: Teheran gave up nine hits and walked two in 7 1/3 innings. The right-hander has recorded a 5.24 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP in his last seven starts. He had a 2.29 ERA on July 2 but is up to 3.06 after Monday's start.
Description: Braves second baseman Tommy La Stella left Monday's game with a cramp in his upper right hamstring, but he's expected to play Tuesday. SOURCE: Mark Bowman, mlb.com
Insight: La Stella (.284, 1 HR, 26 RBI) has no pop or speed and his range is mediocre, but he's provided the Braves with stability at second base after they dealt with bumbling Dan Uggla the past few years. His OBP is .366.
Description: Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons left last Tuesday's game with a left ankle sprain and while manager Fredi Gonzalez says he's feeling better he's shooting for a Tuesday return.
Insight: Simmons is a great glove man, but he's hitting .249 with five home runs and a .637 OPS, so he isn't a good fantasy option. Update: Simmons is not in Monday's lineup. Emilio Bonifacio will get the start.
Description: Braves reliever Jonny Venters threw a 15-pitch session last week.
Insight: A dominant setup man early in his career, the hard-throwing lefty hasn't pitched in the majors since 2012 after Tommy John surgery and a setback-filled recovery. He's hoping to return is September, but what fantasy owners could get from him is unknown, and probably not worth a roster spot.
Description: Braves right fielder Jason Heyward has hit a paltry .155 with 25 Ks and a .454 OPS against lefties this season and he'll face Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez on Sunday. He's 5-for-23 (.217) against Gonzalez.
Insight: Heyward has hit .388 with one homer, 12 RBI, 15 runs, four steals and a .969 OPS in his last 22 games, but his horrible numbers against left-handers and Gonzalez in particular make him a poor option Sunday.
Description: The Braves will skip Mike Minor's next start after he allowed five runs on nine hits in five innings Friday at San Diego. SOURCE: David O'Brien, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Insight: The Braves off days on Monday and Thursday this week allow them to skip Minor and still keep the other four starters on regular rest. In his last 10 starts, Minor has given up 85 hits (12 HR), 44 earned runs and 17 walks in 54 innings (7.33 ERA, 1.89 WHIP). He's allowed line drives at a 25.8 percent rate and a home run on 15.9 percent of his fly balls. At this point, fantasy owners should just move on.
Description: The Cubs have traded utilityman Emilio Bonifacio to the Atlanta Braves along with lefty reliever James Russell.
Insight: Bonifacio has hit .400 with four doubles, a homer and a steal since he came off the disabled list on July 22. He'll likely fill in at second and in the outfield for the Braves but won't play every day.
Description: Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel went the final inning on Monday and struck out all three men he faced.
Insight: It was the ninth time he's struck out the side in 44 appearances. He's also struck out two batters in an inning 17 times. It was Kimbrel's 32nd save of the season, lowering his ERA to 1.94 and WHIP to 0.888.
Description: Braves starter Mike Minor beat the Padres Sunday, but it wasn't exactly an encouraging start for the left-hander.
Insight: Minor allowed three runs on eight hits (2 HR) in 6 2/3 innings to the light-hitting Padres. The 26-year-old has given up 76 hits (10 HR) and 39 earned runs in his last 49 innings (7.16 ERA, 1.86 WHIP). Minor entered Sunday's start with a 26.5 percent line-drive rate and he now has a 15.2 percent HR/FB. It's safe to cut him in re-draft leagues.
Description: Braves catcher Evan Gattis is just 1-for-7 since his return from the disabled list, but has a favorable matchup Thursday.
Insight: Gattis was dealing with a bulging thoracic disc in his back. He's 5-for-7 (.714) versus Miami starter Henderson Alvarez. Gattis has a .286 average, 16 homers, 39 RBI and a .884 OPS this season.
Description: Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman came into Wednesday with one hit in his last 24 at-bats, zero homers since June 27 and three hits in 23 career at-bats against Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi, so of course he went deep off Eovaldi in the second inning.
Insight: It appears Freeman was "due." He'll try to keep it going Thursday against Henderson Alvarez (6-5, 2.64 ERA).
Description: Braves starter Ervin Santana struck out 10 batters and allowed one run on six hits over 7 1/3 innings in a win over the Marlins Wednesday night.
Insight: Santana (9-6, 3.87 ERA) has a career-high chase rate and a career-low contact rate, which have resulted in his best K/9 since 2008 (7.81). He's allowed just 0.66 HR/9 after giving up at least 0.93 HR/9 in every season in his career.
Description: Braves starter Mike Minor was roughed up again Tuesday against the Marlins. He gave up 10 hits and six runs in three innings.
Insight: Over his last eight starts, Minor has allowed 68 hits (8 HR), 14 walks and 36 earned runs in 42 1/3 innings (7.65 ERA, 1.94 WHIP). The 26-year-old was excellent last season, going 13-9 with a 3.21 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP, but nothing's gone right in 2014. He began the season on the disabled list with a shoulder injury and has gone 3-6 with a 5.32 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP.
Description: Braves catcher Evan Gattis (back) will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Insight: Gattis is dealing with a bulging thoracic disc in his back. He's expected to play 3-4 games in the minors before returning to the Braves' lineup. Gattis has a .290 average, 16 homers, 39 RBI and a .900 OPS this season.
Description: Braves second baseman Tommy La Stella had three hits and three RBI Sunday against the Cubs.
Insight: La Stella has batted .292 in his first 154 major league at-bats, but he has zero home runs and just two steals. While he's a huge upgrade over Dan Uggla and Tyler Pastornicky, he's not a good fantasy option.
Description: Braves right fielder Jason Heyward is 8-for-21 (.381) with a homer and six walks against Mets starter Dillon Gee.
Insight: Heyward went 3-for-4 Tuesday but has gone just 10-for-57 (.175) with two extra-base hits in his last 17 games and is hitting .247 with a .705 OPS on the year. He should only be used when the matchup is perfect, and Wednesday is one of those occasions.
Description: Braves catcher Evan Gattis (back) isn't ready to start baseball activities yet, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Insight: Gattis is dealing with a bulging thoracic disc in his back and is unlikely to be ready to return immediately after the All-Star break. He has a .290 average, 16 homers, 39 RBI and a .900 OPS this season.
Description: Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman walked three times and scored four runs Saturday at Philadelphia.
Insight: Freeman went 9-for-57 (.158) from May 30 to June 14 and watched his average fall to .272, but he's batted .370 with six doubles, a triple, two homers, five RBI and 13 runs in 13 games since then.
Description: Atlanta starter Alex Wood improved to 6-6 with Wednesday's win over Houston.
Insight: Wood kept the Astros off the scoreboard while only allowing three hits in seven innings. With Gavin Floyd (broken elbow) out for the year, Wood (6-6, 3.07 ERA) should be able to keep his spot in the starting rotation.
Description: Atlanta catcher Evan Gattis extended his hitting streak to 20 games Saturday in a win over Washington.
Insight: Gattis leads all big league catchers in home runs (16), is second in RBI (39) and would be third in batting average (.298) if he had enough at bats to qualify. Gattis has been a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing year for the Braves.
Description: Braves left fielder Justin Upton is back in the starting lineup. He's missed the last few games because of dizziness. SOURCE: Mark Bowman, MLB.com
Insight: Doctors found that Upton's dizziness was being caused by sinus pressure. Upton has had a rough go of it in June, batting .189 in his last 53 at bats. We'd be hesitant to start him today against the Nationals.
Description: Braves left fielder Justin Upton (dizziness) arrived to the ballpark Friday feeling worse than he had in the past couple of days. The Braves have sent him to undergo tests. SOURCE: Mark Bowman, mlb.com.
Insight: Upton (.276, 14 HR, 37 RBI) left Tuesday's game with lightheadedness due to an inner ear issue and has been dealing with symptoms over the past few days. He pinch hit Thursday but is now out indefinitely.
Description: Braves left-hander Alex Wood will return from the minors to start Wednesday against the Astros, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Insight: Wood had a 3.00 ERA and a 44/9 K/BB over 45 innings in his first seven starts this season, but the Braves moved him to the bullpen to accommodate Gavin Floyd. Floyd fractured his elbow Thursday night, so Wood will rejoin the rotation and should be added in all leagues.
Description: Braves starter Gavin Floyd has been diagnosed with a fracture of the olecranon (the bony point) in his right elbow.
Insight: He left Thursday's start with the injury. A close-up of Floyd's elbow revealed a swollen bump near the tip of the elbow. Floyd has gone 2-2 with a 2.65 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in May 2013. Alex Wood is likely to replace him in the rotation and should be added immediately.
Description: Braves left fielder Justin Upton sat out Wednesday's series finale against the Phillies, but hopes to be ready for Thursday's game against Washington.
Insight: Upton (.278, 14 HR, 37 RBI) left last night's game after feeling light-headed and still had symptoms on Wednesday. He's been much better at home (.333, 10 HR, 1.043 OPS) than on the road this season (.212, 4 HR, 10 RBI, .649 OPS).
Description: Braves starter Aaron Harang gave up 13 hits, three walks and nine runs (eight earned) in five innings Wednesday against the Phillies.
Insight: Harang (5-6, 3.83 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) has thrown 12 quality starts in 15 turns through the rotation this season but allowed 32 hits and 21 earned runs over 15 innings in his three worst outings. It's only a matter of time before the team brings talented young left-hander Alex Wood back up to replace Harang in the rotation.
Description: Braves catcher Evan Gattis is not in the lineup for Tuesday's game against kyle Kendrick and the Phillies.
Insight: Routine day off. Gattis is having a great season, adding a solid batting average (.296) to the power he showed us last season. He's blasted 15 homers in 189 at-bats this season and should easily top last year's 21 home run total.
Description: Braves catcher Evan Gattis homered for the fifth time this month Saturday night against the Angels.
Insight: We knew Gattis had power -- he hit 21 homers in 354 at-bats last season -- but he's exceeded expectations in that category with 15 jacks in 181 at-bats while also hitting .293. He caught 11 innings Saturday before coming out for a pinch-runner, so he likely won't start Sunday.
Description: Braves right fielder Jason Heyward (hand) is in the lineup Saturday.
Insight: Heyward left Friday's game after being hit by a pitch on his right hand. He has hit .296 with four homers, 12 RBI, 14 runs and an .888 OPS in his last 17 games, but he's still hitting just .254 with a .715 OPS this season.
Description: Atlanta left fielder Justin Upton is just 1-for-16 (.063) with 10 strikeouts against Colorado starter Jhoulys Chacin.
Insight: Upton returned to the lineup Wednesday after a hamstring injury forced him to leave Tuesday's game early. Thursday would be a good opportunity to give his hamstring additional rest. Update: Upton is not in the starting lineup.
Description: Braves starter Mike Minor gave up 11 hits and eight earned runs over four innings Tuesday at Colorado.
Insight: Atlanta gave Minor a 7-0 lead before he even stepped on the mound and a 10-6 lead going into the bottom of the fifth, but he couldn't stick around long enough to get a win. He went into Tuesday with a 3.07 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP, but he stands at 4.31 and 1.42 after Tuesday. There aren't many pitchers you want to use against the Rockies at Coors Field.
Description: Braves third baseman Chris Johnson has gone 6-for-9 in his last two games.
Insight: Johnson is still hitting just .267 with two homers, 16 RBI, 13 runs and a .622 OPS. He batted .321 last year but that was boosted by a .394 BABIP. He's hit .339 on balls in play this year and his strikeout rate is up from 21.2 percent to 24.6 percent. You can probably do better at third base in your fantasy league.
Description: Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman homered for the second time in three games Tuesday at Colorado.
Insight: Freeman has a line-drive rate of 34 percent, so while his BABIP of .317 is still above the league average he's actually been a bit unlucky. He's hit just .143 on grounders and .619 on line drives. The first baseman should be a .300 hitter in the long run, and he's also on pace for a career-high 28 homers.
Description: The Braves have optioned left-hander Alex Wood to Triple-A Gwinnett to stretch him out.
Insight: Wood had a 3.00 ERA and a 44/9 K/BB over 45 innings in his first seven starts this season, but the Braves moved him to the bullpen to accommodate Gavin Floyd. He's posted a 4.70 ERA in 15 1/3 innings as a reliever, though he actually won more games out of the bullpen than he did as a starter. It's unclear when he'll be back or whom he'll replace in Atlanta's rotation.
Description: Braves starter Ervin Santana had his best start in nearly a month Saturday at Arizona.
Insight: Santana (5-2, 3.69 ERA, 1.26 WHIP) gave up one run (zero earned) on six hits in seven innings. The right-hander had allowed 20 earned runs on 30 hits with 10 walks over 23 innings his previous four starts. Santana allowed more than 1.0 homers per nine innings in every season from 2009-13, but he's given up just 0.64 in 70 2/3 innings this season, his first in the NL.
Description: Atlanta relief pitcher Jordan Walden (hamstring) is throwing off a mound.
Insight: His fantasy value is limited as long as Craig Kimbrel is healthy, but he's always going to be a high strikeout-per-inning guy. He's got a 2.92 ERA. 1.14 WHIP and 19 Ks in 12 1/3 IP this season.
Description: Just promoted Braves second baseman Tommy La Stella will make another start on Thursday after going 2-for-4 in his major league debut on Wednesday night.
Insight: La Stella is a career .322 hitter with an .881 OPS and more walks than strikeouts in his minor-league career. He doesn't have much power or speed, but the Braves have received the worst production in baseball from their second basemen (.165/.253/.250).
Description: The Braves have promoted second baseman Tommy La Stella from Triple-A Gwinnett.
Insight: La Stella is a career .322 hitter with an .881 OPS and more walks than strikeouts in his minor-league career. He doesn't have much power or speed but could be a Matt Carpenter type of player. The Braves have received the worst production in baseball out of their second basemen (.165/.253/.250).
Description: Braves right fielder Jason Heyward hit a leadoff homer Tuesday against Boston but didn't have a hit in his last four at-bats.
Insight: Heyward had 27 homers and 21 stolen bases in 2012, but he has hit just 18 home runs and stolen 10 bases since then. He's batting .240 with a .670 OPS and four home runs and eight steals this year.
Description: Braves third baseman Chris Johnson was pulled in the third inning Friday against Colorado.
Insight: According to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, manager Fredi Gonzalez will address his decision to remove Johnson after the game. Johnson (.265, 1 HR, 9 RBI) struck out in his only at bat of the night.
Description: Braves catcher Evan Gattis (illness) is still not back in the starting lineup while dealing with an illness.
Insight: Gerald Laird will get another start. Gattis started the season strong, but has struggled lately and is batting .246 on the season with eight homers. Unfortunately, he's hit just one long ball and batted .178 since May 2.
Description: Braves catcher Evan Gattis (illness) is not in the lineup Wednesday, according to Mark Bowman of mlb.com.
Insight: Gattis hasn't had a good month. He's batted .208 with two homers and a .687 OPS after hitting .286 with six home runs and an .891 OPS in April and was scratched from the lineup due to a virus on Tuesday.
Description: Atlanta 3B Chris Johnson hasn't fared well against Milwaukee starter Kyle Lohse.
Insight: He's 2-for-16 against him with 2 K's. Johnson is just one for his last 17, dropping his average all the way down to .261. With Lohse throwing for the Brew Crew on Wednesday, Johnson's slump is only going to get worse.
Description: Atlanta left fielder Justin Upton has been pitiful against Brewers starter Kyle Lohse.
Insight: He owns a .100 batting average against Lohse in 20 lifetime at bats. Upton (.288, 12 HR, 25 RBI) has homered in three straight games for the Braves but we doubt he'll continue that trend Wednesday versus Lohse.
Description: Atlanta right-hander Julio Teheran threw his second shutout of the 2014 season Tuesday against the Brewers.
Insight: Teheran struck out eight and walked two in a six-hitter. It was a strong performance following his worst start of 2014 -- 3 1/3 IP, 5 R (4 ER), 7 H, 5 BB on May 14. The 23-year-old Teheran is 3-3 with a 1.92 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP this season.
Description: Braves catcher Evan Gattis was scratched from Tuesday's lineup due to an illness, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Insight: Gattis hasn't had a good month. He's batted .208 with two homers and a .687 OPS after hitting .286 with six home runs and an .891 OPS in April. Gerald Laird started at catcher against the Brewers.
Description: Braves right fielder Jason Heyward continues to disappoint fantasy owners.
Insight: Heyward's production continues to fall from a high in 2012 (.269, 27 HR, 82 RBI, 21 SB, .814 OPS). His current numbers almost make him a candidate to drop - .228, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 8 SB, .650 OPS. Where has all that "potential" gone?
Description: Braves left fielder Justin Upton has homered in back-to-back games.
Insight: He was 3-for-24 in his previous seven games, but he's reached base in five of eight plate appearances over the past two days. The strikeouts may catch up to him and cause his batting average to drop from .282, but he's provided 11 homers, 22 RBI and 24 runs this year.
Description: Braves third baseman Chris Johnson has gone 0-for-13 with five Ks over his last three games.
Insight: Johnson started off May 20-for-53 (.378) after hitting .230 in April, but his season average is back down to .261. The third baseman hit .321 last year, but it was supported by an insane .394 BABIP.
Description: Braves 1B Freddie Freeman had a productive outing Sunday against the Cardinals (3-for-3, HR, 3 RBI).
Insight: We've come to expect this type of production from Steady Freddie. The 24-year-old is hitting an impressive .314 this season with eight jacks and 27 RBI. He should be a lock for his second straight All-Star appearance.
Description: The Braves called an audible and kept left-hander Alex Wood in the bullpen while Aaron Harang started Saturday.
Insight: Wood was moved to the bullpen after starting on May 4 because manager Fredi Gonzalez wanted to keep Gavin Floyd on a set schedule following Tommy John surgery. He was initially expected to start on May 17, but the Braves had him throw 2 2/3 innings out of the bullpen on May 14. Wood has a 3.26 ERA and 52 Ks in 49 2/3 innings this year, so fantasy owners have lost a valuable starter for the time being.
Description: Braves starter Aaron Harang has allowed two earned runs in each of his last three starts and struck out 22 batters over 18 innings in that span.
Insight: Harang ended April on a down note when he gave up nine runs on 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings, but he's 4-4 with a 2.98 ERA, a 1.16 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 54 1/3 innings this season. Harang's career K/9 is 7.34, but it's 9.77 this year.
Description: Atlanta left fielder Justin Upton was hit by a pitch from Jeff Samardzija in his lower back during Saturday's game and had to exit, leaving him questionable for Sunday.
Insight: Upton would be a solid fantasy option on Sunday if in the lineup with a career .545 batting average versus Edwin Jackson. Upton leads the league in strikeouts, not good when you aren't a pitcher, but does have nine homers and 19 RBI.
Description: Braves starter Ervin Santana blanked Chicago over seven innings Saturday in his return from a bruised thumb. He struck out seven batters with one walk and is now 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP this season
Insight: Santana missed his scheduled start on Tuesday against the Giants with the injury, which he suffered when Reds starter Homer Bailey jammed him with a pitch during an at-bat on April 25. He's allowed two home runs in 40 2/3 innings, two seasons after giving up 39 in 178 for the Angels. The right-hander has allowed at least 21 home runs in each of his last eight seasons.
Description: Atlanta left fielder Justin Upton was hit by a pitch from Jeff Samardzija in his lower back during Saturday's game and had to exit. SOURCE: David O'Brien, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Insight: Upton hurt his back earlier in the night when he ran in from the outfield to help out with a long rundown and took the brunt of a collision, but he was able to stay in the game. Fantasy owners have to hope the HBP from Samardzija didn't cause any fractures for Upton. UPDATE: The Braves are calling Upton's injury a lower-back contusion.
Description: Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman is hitless in six at-bats versus Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija with three whiffs.
Insight: Freeman continues to improve so this small sample size would not make us take him out of the lineup. Just don't expect a lot on Saturday. He is batting .321 with six homers, 20 RBI and a career-high .930 OPS in 2014.
Description: Atlanta right-hander Julio Teheran tossed a gem Friday against the Cubs.
Insight: Teheran (2-2, 1.71 ERA, 0.81 WHIP) gave up just one hit (solo homer) and struck out nine in eight innings but took a no decision. The right-hander has been brilliant all season and he's started to bring his strikeout rate up after fanning just 13 batters in his first 28 innings. In his last 30 frames, he has struck out 29 batters.
Description: According to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Braves left-hander Alex Wood will move to the bullpen for a brief time but will start on May 17 at St. Louis. Manager Fredi Gonzalez will make a decision regarding the rotation following that game.
Insight: Aaron Harang will take Wood's place in the rotation on Sunday against the Cubs. Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez wants to keep Gavin Floyd in the rotation so he remains on a consistent schedule following Tommy John surgery last year, and he doesn't want to use a six-man rotation so someone will be the odd man out after May 17. The 23-year-old Wood has a 3.00 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP and a 44/9 K/BB in 45 innings this season, so fantasy owners would be losing a valuable starter if he's moved to the bullpen for an extended period of time.
Description: Braves lefty Alex Wood will officially be moved to the bullpen after Sunday's start against the Cubs, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Insight: Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez wants to keep Gavin Floyd in the rotation so he remains on a consistent schedule following Tommy John surgery last year. Wood has a 3.00 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP and a 44/9 K/BB in 45 innings this season, so fantasy owners will be losing a valuable starter. We expect the 23-year-old to be back in the rotation at some point because he's simply better than Aaron Harang and Floyd.
Description: For now, the Braves are going to go with a platoon of Tyler Pastornicky and Ramiro Pena at second base. SOURCE: Braves.com
Insight: That doesn't bode well for Uggla, who would appear to be out of a starting job. Uggla (.184, 2 HR, 10 RBI) has been a disaster for years now and it could be time for the Braves to cut their losses and move on from him. Pastornicky (.200, 0 HR, 0 RBI) and Pena (.229, 2 HR, 4 RBI) don't figure to be appealing fantasy options.
Description: Braves lefty Alex Wood will start Sunday against the Cubs, but he is the most likely candidate to be dropped from the rotation, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Insight: Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez wants to keep Gavin Floyd in the rotation so he remains on a consistent schedule following Tommy John surgery last year. Wood has a 3.00 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP and a 44/9 K/BB in 45 innings this season, so fantasy owners would be losing a valuable starter if he goes to the bullpen. We expect the 23-year-old to be back in the rotation at some point this season, probably in place of Aaron Harang.
Description: The Braves have decided to keep right-hander Gavin Floyd in the starting rotation. SOURCE: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Insight: Floyd pitched well in his season debut Tuesday against St. Louis, allowing just one earned run over seven innings. Manager Fredi Gonzalez says the decision is health related and that Floyd, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, would be better served pitching once every five days. Alex Wood (2-5, 3.00 ERA) is expected to be dropped from the rotation.
Description: According to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said that Ervin Santana (thumb) will start Saturday against the Cubs.
Insight: Santana (3-0, 2.41 ERA) missed his scheduled start on Tuesday against the Giants due to a bruised thumb. He suffered the injury when Reds starter Homer Bailey jammed him with a pitch during an at-bat on April 25 and dealt with swelling near the end of his start last Thursday at Miami. Gavin Floyd started in his place Tuesday.
Description: Braves second base prospect Tommy La Stella is batting .311 with three doubles and an 8/11 K/BB in 29 games for Triple-A Gwinnett this season.
Insight: La Stella is a career .327 hitter with an .888 OPS and more walks than strikeouts in his minor-league career. He doesn't have much power or speed but could be a Matt Carpenter type of player. Dan Uggla is on his last legs, batting .190 with two homers this season after hitting .201 with 40 home runs in 971 at-bats the past two years.
Description: Atlanta left fielder Justin Upton has never had a hit against Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright.
Insight: Upton homered Tuesday but has struggled to put his bat on the ball lately. In his past five games, he has gone 3-for-19 with 12 strikeouts. He's batting .296 this season, but with a 34.4 percent strikeout rate and a .403 BABIP, his average is sure to fall.
Description: Atlanta left fielder Justin Upton went 2-for-4 with a homer Tuesday after beginning May with a terrible slump.
Insight: Upton entered Tuesday's game having gone 1-for-15 with 11 Ks in his previous four games. The left fielder has a nine home runs, but his .296 average is sure to fall. He has a 34.4 percent strikeout rate and a .403 BABIP.
Description: In his first appearance since April 2013, Braves RHP Gavin Floyd limited the Cardinals to one run on six hits in seven innings on Tuesday.
Insight: Ervin Santana (bruised thumb) is iffy for Saturday's start, but even if he cannot pitch he isn't expected to miss more time than that. That means Floyd will only remain in the rotation long term if Aaron Harang (2.98 ERA, 1.16 WHIP) begins to struggle.
Description: Atlanta right-hander Ervin Santana is no longer wearing a wrap on his bruised right thumb, but he doesn't know if he'll make his next scheduled start on Saturday, according to Mark Bowman of mlb.com.
Insight: Santana (3-0, 2.41 ERA) missed his scheduled start on Tuesday against the Giants. He suffered the injury when Reds starter Homer Bailey jammed him with a pitch during an at-bat on April 25 and dealt with swelling near the end of his start last Thursday at Miami. Gavin Floyd started in his place Tuesday.
Description: Braves second baseman Dan Uggla is back in the lineup Tuesday.
Insight: After going 3-for-31 (.097) with 12 Ks from April 22 to May 4, Uggla took a seat Monday while Ramiro Pena started at second base. Uggla's been in a steep decline since 2012 but the Braves have stuck with him because he's signed through 2015 for $12.4 million per year. Fantasy owners don't have the same burden.
Description: Braves catcher Evan Gattis will take a seat Tuesday against the Cardinals, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Insight: With Gattis resting, Gerald Laird will catch Gavin Floyd in the right-hander's first start since last April. Gattis is hitting .267 with seven homers, 15 RBI and an .823 OPS this season, but he's hit .160 (4-for-25) over his last eight games.
Description: Gavin Floyd will make his Braves debut Tuesday versus St. Louis. SOURCE: David O'Brien, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Insight: He'll be making a spot start in place of Ervin Santana, who was just scratched with a thumb injury. Tuesday will be Floyd's first appearance in the major leagues since undergoing Tommy John surgery 12 months ago.
Description: Braves right-hander Gavin Floyd will be activated from the 15-day DL Sunday against the Giants. SOURCE: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Insight: Floyd hasn't pitched in the big leagues since undergoing Tommy John surgery in May of 2013. The starting rotation is full right now but it shouldn't be too long before Floyd gets a chance to contribute.
Description: Chris Johnson's new three-year extension is worth $23.5 million. SOURCE: ESPN
Insight: Johnson joins Freddie Freeman, Andrelton Simmons, Julio Teheran, Jason Heyward and Craig Kimbrel among the players that have signed extensions with Atlanta in the last couple months. Clearly, the Braves are in this thing for the long haul. Johnson has underperformed this season (.255, 1 HR, 4 RBI) but he did have three hits in last night's loss to Miami.
Description: Braves 3B Chris Johnson is close to signing a three-year contract extension. SOURCE: Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports
Insight: Johnson hasn't done much this season (.255, 1 HR, 4 RBI) but he's coming off an excellent 2013 campaign (.321, 12 HR, 68 RBI in 142 games). Obviously, it's only May and Johnson still has plenty of time to turn things around. He turns 30 in October.
Description: Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman is 5-for-9 with four extra base hits and a 1.822 OPS against Miami right-hander Henderson Alvarez.
Insight: Freeman continues to improve and through the first 26 games is batting .320 with six homers, 17 RBI and a career-high .965 OPS. Add in the wind blowing out tonight and you have a must-start candidate.
Description: Braves starter Aaron Harang came back to Earth Wednesday at Miami, allowing nine earned runs on 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Insight: Harang only allowed three earned runs in his first 31 2/3 innings, but fantasy owners should have known it wasn't going to last. His career ERA in nearly 2,000 innings is above 4.20 and he's never had one lower than 3.61 in any season.
Description: According to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Braves will activate Gavin Floyd from the disabled list later this weekend.
Insight: Floyd had Tommy John surgery last year and his 30-day rehab window will end Friday. He went 62-56 with a 4.12 ERA, a 1.27 WHIP and 754 Ks in 948 1/3 innings with the White Sox from 2008-12. However, the Braves don't currently have a spot in the rotation open -- Julio Teheran, Ervin Santana and Mike Minor (returning from DL Friday) are locked into spots, Aaron Harang leads the majors in ERA and Alex Wood had a 1.54 ERA and 35 Ks in 35 innings prior to getting hit hard by Miami on Tuesday.
Description: Braves right fielder Jason Heyward has a .400 lifetime average against Marlins starter Nate Eovaldi.
Insight: Heyward's monster potential makes him a player worth holding onto but not one you'd start everyday. Today, however, is a very favorable matchup that Heyward (.194, 2 HR, 7 RBI) should be able to take advantage of. If you have an outfield spot open, give Heyward a try.
Description: Atlanta third baseman Chris Johnson is not in Tuesday night's starting lineup.
Insight: Johnson batted .321 last season with an .816 OPS, but is off to a slow start hitting just .241 through the first 23 games. Lightly-used Ramiro Pena (.235) will get the start at the hot Corner.
Description: Atlanta right-hander Julio Teheran matched Reds ace Johnny Cueto pitch for pitch Sunday at Turner Field.
Insight: Teheran (2-1, 1.47 ERA) allowed just three hits across eight shutout frames. The Braves should be embarrassed with the lack of run support they've given Teheran over his last three starts. Despite a 0.38 ERA during that span, Teheran is only 1-0 with two no-decisions.
Description: Braves starter David Hale looked dominant Saturday in a win over Cincinnati.
Insight: Hale allowed just two hits and one run in eight solid innings. Despite an impressive 2.31 ERA in 23 1/3 innings, fantasy owners have to be at least a little concerned with Hale's mediocre strikeout to walk ratio (15 to 11). Even more concerning is the fact that he'll probably lose his rotation spot when Mike Minor returns from a shoulder injury.
Description: Braves 1B Freddie Freeman is hitless in eight at bats versus Reds right-hander Mike Leake.
Insight: Freeman has become a fantasy and real life star. He's batting .357 with five homers, 14 RBI and a 1.058 OPS. He exploded onto the scene last year, posting a .319 average with 23 HR and 109 RBI. This is a poor matchup.
Description: Atlanta third baseman Chris Johnson should be avoided on Friday due to an extremely unfavorable matchup.
Insight: Johnson is just 1-for-12 (.083) with seven strikeouts versus Cincinnati starter Homer Bailey. He's off to a slow start batting .256 through te first 20 games after hitting .321 last season with an .816 OPS.
Description: Braves starter Aaron Harang pitched well in a no-decision Wednesday against Miami.
Insight: This wasn't the gem he threw last week against the Mets (7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 5 K's) but Harang (3-1) was still plenty effective, racking up a season-high 11 strikeouts and allowing just one run over six innings. His 0.85 ERA this season leads the National League.
Description: Though it hasn't kept him out of the lineup yet, Braves 1B Freddie Freeman admitted he's been struggling with dry eyes. SOURCE: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Insight: It's an issue Freeman has dealt with on and off throughout his career. He said he cleaned his eye lids out and should be back to normal by Friday. The issue hasn't affected Freeman's performance (.346, 5 HR, 14 RBI) so fantasy owners have no reason to be concerned.
Description: Atlanta right fielder Jason Heyward had an encouraging afternoon Sunday against the Mets.
Insight: Heyward finished 3-for-6 with a double and two singles as the Braves fell 4-3 in extra innings. Prior to Sunday, Heyward had just one hit in his previous 16 at bats. Even after Sunday's three-hit performance, Heyward's average is still only .171.
Description: Atlanta starter Mike Minor is expected to rejoin the rotation Saturday against the Reds, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Insight: Minor (13-9, 3.21 ERA in 2013) underwent a urinary tract operation in late December and experienced shoulder soreness early in spring training after being unable to throw for a month. He threw 80 pitches in his final rehab start on Saturday.
Description: Braves starter Ervin Santana allowed a run in the first inning Saturday but held the Mets scoreless for the next six innings.
Insight: Santana (2-0, 0.86 ERA, 0.81 WHIP) gave up six hits and two walks while striking out seven in seven innings. He's enjoyed the NL East so far, but he'll have to pitch against a non-division opponent for the first time this season versus the Reds in his next start.
Description: Atlanta right-hander Aaron Harang tossed seven no-hit innings Friday in a win against the Mets.
Insight: Harang's pitch count got to 121 so Luis Avilan relieved him in the eighth. It's the second time this season Harang (7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 5 K's, 6 BB) has taken a no-hitter past the fifth inning. He's off to a tremendous start (3-1, 0.70 ERA) and should probably be owned in most formats.
Description: Atlanta starter Alex Wood (8 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 7 K's, 1 BB) was a tough luck loser Thursday against the Phillies.
Insight: The only run he allowed came on a Ben Revere RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning. Pitching dominated this series as Atlanta and Philadelphia combined for just two runs in the final two games.
Description: Braves starter Julio Teheran triumphed Wednesday in an epic pitching battle with Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee.
Insight: Teheran (9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 4 K's, 0 BB) and Lee (9 IP, 11 H, 1 R, 13 K's, 1 BB) both tossed complete games. Teheran's was the first of his career. He hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in any of his four starts this season.
Description: Braves RF Jason Heyward has struggled against Cliff Lee of the Phillies.
Insight: Heyward is 3-for-22 (.136) against Lee, who will start Wednesday against the Braves. The 24-year-old is batting .160 in the early going, though he does have two homers, four steals and 10 walks.
Description: Braves closer Craig Kimbrel wasn't available on Monday due to a sore shoulder, but hopes to be ready for tuesday, weather permitting.
Insight: Kimbrel pitched Friday and Saturday which might have been the cause of his soreness. He's the best closer in baseball and a fantasy stud. He's earned five saves this season with a 1.59 ERA, 0.706 WHIP and 12 Ks in 5 2/3 IP.
Description: Braves catcher Evan Gattis, he of the two-home run night on Monday, is 0-for-6 versus Phillies ace Cliff Lee with four strikeouts.
Insight: Gattis has gone 5-for-9 with three extra-base hits and four RBI over his last two games and is hitting .303 with three round-trippers this season. Amazing what two good games in a row can do for your numbers, but the statistics say it ends on Tuesday.
Description: Braves starter Ervin Santana struck out 11 batters and allowed one earned run on four hits in six innings at Philadelphia on Monday, but the Braves squandered a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth.
Insight: Santana took a no decision. The right-hander has 17 strikeouts, two walks, a 0.64 ERA and a 0.64 WHIP in his first two NL starts after spending his entire career in the AL.
Description: Atlanta third baseman Chris Johnson will sit out a second consecutive game.
Insight: He's off to a slow start with just 11 hits in his first 45 at bats. Manager Fredi Gonzalez says he'll be back in the lineup on Tuesday, Ramiro Pena (.231, 1 HR, 3 RBI) will get the start at third base, according to David O'Brien of AJC.
Description: Braves RF Jason Heyward went 1-for-4 with a double, a walk, one RBI, three runs and a steal Sunday against the Nationals.
Insight: Heyward is off to a slow start for the second straight year, though he already has three steals in 12 games after swiping just two in 2013. The 24-year-old had 27 homers and 21 steals in 2012.
Description: Atlanta second baseman Dan Uggla isn't in the starting lineup for Sunday's game versus the Nationals. SOURCE: Mark Bowman, MLB.com
Insight: Uggla's low batting average becomes a lot more tolerable when he's producing good power numbers. However, that hasn't been the case this season as he's now homerless in 41 at bats. Tyler Pastornicky will draw the start at second base.
Description: Braves starter Aaron Harang struck out nine batters in six innings Tuesday against the Mets.
Insight: He allowed just two hits, walked four and gave up one run to take a tough-luck loss. The 35-year-old has given up only four hits and one run in his first 12 2/3 innings this season. He's unlikely to keep it up.
Description: Braves catcher Evan Gattis (flu-like symptoms) is questionable for Tuesday's game against the NY Mets.
Insight: Gattis has missed the past two games while dealing with a flu bug that is going around Atlanta's locker room. After last season's 21 HR production in just 354 at-bats, a lot is expected on him.
Description: Aaron Harang took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in his Braves debut Wednesday at Milwaukee.
Insight: The Braves picked up Harang in late March and had to put him in their rotation due to numerous injuries. He had a 5.40 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP in 143 1/3 innings last season and isn't worth adding in fantasy.
Description: Braves 23-year-old left-hander Alex Wood allowed one earned run and struck out five in seven innings Tuesday against the Brewers to pick up his first win of the season.
Insight: Wood gets a lot of ground balls and allowed just three home runs as a rookie last year. He had a 3.54 ERA, a 1.45 WHIP and 54 Ks in 56 innings as a starter and finished with a 3.13 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP in 77 2/3 innings.
Description: Braves outfielder Jason Heyward went 2-for-5 with a homer and two RBI Tuesday against the Brewers.
Insight: Heyward has gone 3-for-8 in the first two games after batting .323 with homer homers this spring. The 24-year-old is looking to get off to a better start in 2014 after hitting .142 with two home runs in 31 games over the first two months last year.
Description: Braves pitcher Ervin Santana is tentatively set to start April 9 against the Mets, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Insight: Santana signed late and only threw five innings this spring. He'll start Friday with Triple-A Gwinnett. The right-hander has posted an ERA of 3.92 or lower in four of the past six seasons but had one above five in the other two during that span. The NL East is lacking in offense so Santana should be able to have a second straight solid season after posting a career-best 3.24 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP with the Royals last year.
Description: Atlanta starter Mike Minor will make a minor league rehab start with Double-A Mississippi Thursday, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Insight: Minor (13-9, 3.21 ERA in 2013) underwent a urinary tract operation in late December and experienced shoulder soreness after being unable to throw for a month. If he can avoid a setback, he'll be back before April is finished.
Description: According to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Braves pitcher Gavin Floyd will make a minor league rehab start Thursday with Triple-A Gwinnett.
Insight: Floyd had Tommy John surgery last year and will miss all of April while he works his way back. He went 62-56 with a 4.12 ERA, a 1.27 WHIP and 754 Ks in 948 1/3 innings with the White Sox from 2008-12.
Description: Braves outfielder Justin Upton has not had much success against Milwaukee starter Kyle Lohse.
Insight: Upton is a career .118 hitter (2-for-17) against Lohse with one RBI. Fantasy owners are hoping for another quick start from Upton. He was the best hitter in baseball last April, pounding out 12 HR and 19 RBI with a 1.136 OPS in 26 games. He was 1-for-3 with a walk in his season opener.
Description: Braves third baseman Chris Johnson faces a tough matchup Monday versus Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo.
Insight: In 11 at bats, Johnson has just two hits against Gallardo. Four of those at bats have resulted in strikeouts. Johnson (.321, 12 HR, 68 RBI) was great last season but we wouldn't recommend starting him on Opening Day.
Description: Braves pitcher Ervin Santana will begin the season with Triple-A Gwinnett.
Insight: Santana signed late and only threw five innings this spring. He'll get stretched out for a mid-April debut. The right-hander has posted an ERA of 3.92 or lower in four of the past six seasons but had one above five in the other two during that span. Last year, he finished 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP and 161 Ks in 211 innings with the Kansas City Royals. The NL East is lacking in offense so Santana should be able to have a second straight solid season.
Description: The Braves have signed right-hander Aaron Harang to a one-year deal. SOURCE: Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports
Insight: Harang was released by Cleveland less than 24 hours ago. He's actually pitched pretty well this spring with two wins and a 2.00 ERA in four appearances. The Braves really just need a healthy body now that Kris Medlen (elbow) and Brandon Beachy (elbow) are both out for the season.
Description: Braves starter Brandon Beachy (elbow) will head to Los Angeles for further evaluation, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Insight: Beachy began experiencing tightness in his right elbow and biceps earlier this month and visited with Dr. James Andrews Monday. He'll seek another opinion from Dr. Neal Elattrache. The right-hander may have to undergo his second Tommy John surgery since June 2012.
Description: Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman exited Sunday's game against the Yankees with a thumb injury. SOURCE: David O'Brien, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Insight: It's just a bruise. Freeman (.319, 23 HR, 109 RBI) might sit out a few days as a precaution but we'd expect him to be ready in plenty of time for Opening Day. We have him at No. 8 in our latest first baseman rankings.
Description: Braves starter Brandon Beachy may need Tommy John surgery, according to Mark Bowman of mlb.com.
Insight: Beachy had Tommy John back in June 2012 and threw just 30 innings in 2013 due to complications. He began experiencing tightness in his right elbow and biceps last week and will visit Dr. James Andrews Monday.
Description: Braves catcher Evan Gattis hadn't caught consecutive games this spring until Thursday because he underwent knee surgery in October, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Insight: Gattis revealed Friday that he had arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone chip that had been "floating around" in his right knee since 2006. Gattis will be the Braves everyday catcher this season after producing 21 homers and 65 RBI in 105 games as a backup catcher/part-time outfielder last season.
Description: Braves outfielder Jason Heyward is batting .355 this spring with three homers and a 1.057 OPS.
Insight: It's Heyward's best spring yet. Just remember, however, in 2011 he batted .356 in the spring with a 1.020 OPS and it was the worst regular season of his career (.227, 14 HR, 0.708 OPS in 128 games).
Description: Atlanta starter Kris Medlen (right elbow) will se Dr. James Andrews on Monday. SOURCE: Dave O'Brien, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Insight: We hope Dr. Andrews is offering the Braves a group discount as he'll be joined there by Brandon Beachy. Medlen is expected to need Tommy John surgery, Beachy is expected to miss just a start or two at this point.
Description: Atlanta starter Kris Medlen believes he'll need Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. SOURCE: Dave O'Brien, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Insight: We assumed that was the case when the Braves forked over $14 million for Ervin Santana on Wednesday morning. If it happens, this will be his second Tommy John surgery in the last four years. Medlen has thrown 512 2/3 innings at the big league level with his most coming in 2013 (197 innings).
Description: The Braves have signed righthander Ervin Santana to a one-year, $14.1 million deal. SOURCE: Mark Bowman, MLB.com
Insight: Santana isn't going to be ready for the start of the season but he should be in the rotation by mid-April. Signing Santana (9-10, 3.24 ERA last season with Kansas City) could be an indication that Atlanta thinks Kris Medlen's elbow injury is serious.
Description: The Braves are calling Kris Medlen's injury a forearm strain, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Medlen left Sunday's spring training start with the injury. He'll still need an MRI to determine the extent of his injury.
Insight: Medlen grabbed his elbow after throwing his next-to-last pitch, then hopped off the mound toward the dugout immediately after the next one. He's not out of the woods yet, as forearm soreness can sometimes be indicative of a problem with the elbow. Medlen already has one Tommy John surgery under his belt, which came back in August 2010.
Description: Atlanta starter Kris Medlen suffered an apparent elbow injury during Sunday's spring training start against the Mets.
Insight: Medlen grabbed his elbow after throwing his next-to-last pitch, then hopped off the mound toward the dugout immediately after the next one, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. We're awaiting updates from the Braves.
Description: Braves left-hander Mike Minor (shoulder) threw his first bullpen session of the spring Wednesday and will throw every other day for at least another week before progressing to live batting practice. SOURCE: mlb.com
Insight: Minor felt soreness in his shoulder when he reported to spring training, the result of a month of inactivity following a urinary tract procedure on Dec. 31. "My mechanics are obviously not all there," Minor said. "My leg was coming out, and I was leaning back more. That's not something I want to do. I want to be more compact and get back to what I was last year. But for this being the first time, I think it went pretty well." He hopes to be back by the second or third week of the season.
Description: Braves left-handed reliever Jonny Venters (elbow) will throw a limited mound session Wednesday, according to Mark Bowman of mlb.com.
Insight: Venters missed all of 2013 after undergoing Tommy John surgery and is trying to make it back by late May or early June. He was one of the top setup men in the majors in 2010-11, posting a 1.89 ERA and 189 strikeouts in 171 innings.
Description: Atlanta has reached an agreement with shortstop Andrelton Simmons on a new seven-year contract extension. SOURCE: Braves on Twitter
Insight: Are there any Braves left that haven't gotten an extension in the last week? Simmons' new deal will be worth $58 million. Simmons is coming off a productive season (.248, 17 HR, 59 RBI) and should have an even better one in 2014.
Description: The Braves signed reliever Craig Kimbrel to a four-year contract extension over the weekend.
Insight: Kimbrel's new $42 million deal includes a team option for 2018 ($1 million buyout). He's the best closer in the game right now and though $10.5 million a year is a lot to give a relief pitcher, Kimbrel should be worth every penny.
Description: According to MLB.com's Mark Bowman, Freddie Freeman's new contract will pay him $135 million over the next eight seasons.
Insight: Looks like Atlanta won't have to worry about first base for the next decade. While his $16.9 million annual salary is far from a bargain, if anyone deserved a new contract it was Freeman, who hit .319 with a career-high 109 RBI last season. Expect the 24-year-old to be equally productive in 2014.
Description: Freddie Freeman has agreed to a contract extension with Atlanta though terms of the deal have not yet been released.
Insight: Jon Morosi of Fox Sports hears the deal could be worth as much as $125 million over eight seasons. If that's the case, Freeman will be under Braves' control until 2021. Freeman (.319, 23 HR, 109 RBI) finished fifth in NL MVP voting last season and will be one of the most sought-after first basemen in fantasy heading into the 2014 campaign.
Description: Minnesota dealt utility man Ryan Doumit to the Braves on Wednesday. SOURCE: Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports
Insight: Doumit's greatest asset is that he's still eligible at catcher though he spent the majority of last season as a DH. The jack of all trades has also started at first base and both corner outfield positions. He'll be a low-risk, high-reward fantasy option in 2014.
Description: Former White Sox righthander Gavin Floyd has agreed to a one-year deal with Atlanta. SOURCE: Jerry Crasnick, ESPN
Insight: He'll earn $4 million next season. Floyd is likely to miss the first few months while he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Fantasy owners would be wise to use a wait and see approach with the 30-year-old.
Description: Atlanta C/LF Evan Gattis was told that he would be the everyday catcher in 2014 by manager Fredi Gonzalez, according to a report by Kevin McAlpin.
Insight: Gattis starrted 38 games at catcher and 47 in the outfield last season, but with Brian McCann jumping ship, he'll get the first chance at the job behind the plate. Gattis batted .243 with 21 HR and 65 RBI last season, but most of the damage was done in the first half of the season. His first half OPS was .873 vs. .678 after the break.
Description: Free agent catcher Brian McCann is close to joining the Yankees.
Insight: Dallas Morning News beat writer Evan Grant says the two sides are "on the verge" of an agreement. Obviously no details will be released until it becomes official but it's likely McCann will get nine figures in the deal.
Description: Numerous teams have shown interest in right-hander Tim Hudson so expect him to sign and start at the ripe old age of 38-years-old this season.
Insight: Hudson suffered a devastating ankle injury in July and wasn't able to pitch again over the remainder of the season. Hudson (8-7, 3.97 ERA, 1.19 WHIP in 21 starts) pitched well before the injury. However, he doesn't strike out enough batters to be a big-time fantasy asset.
Description: ESPN's Andrew Marchand is hearing that Brian McCann could get a six-year, $100 million deal in free agency.
Insight: That could be out of the Braves' price range. McCann didn't have a great season (.256, 20 HR, 57 RBI in 102 games) but the 2014 free agent class is one of the weakest we've seen in a long time. Expect someone to overpay for McCann later this offseason.
Description: The Braves would like to retain Tim Hudson in free agency this offseason. SOURCE: David O'Brien, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Insight: Hudson suffered a devastating ankle injury in July and wasn't able to pitch again the rest of the season. Hudson (8-7, 3.97 ERA in 21 starts) pitched well before the injury, however, and doesn't have any plans to retire. Returning to Atlanta for another season makes plenty of sense for the 38-year-old righthander.
Description: Braves left fielder Justin Upton is 5-for-11 (.455) with a home run and a 1.418 OPS versus Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke.
Insight: Upton (.263, 27 HR, 94 RBI), has struggled mightily against Dodgers lefthander Clayton Kershaw and did again last night, but has a much better history against Greinke and should be in all lineups on Friday.
Description: Braves left fielder Justin Upton made the cover of Sports Illustrated a few days ago. Unfortunately for Upton, that's probably going to be the highlight of his week as Thursday's Game 1 against the Dodgers presents a difficult matchup.
Insight: Upton has struggled mightily against Dodgers lefthander Clayton Kershaw in 29 at bats (just three hits). Overall, Upton hit just .115 in the regular season against the Dodgers, which means that if the Braves hope to advance to the NLCS, someone other than Upton will have to do the heavy lifting.
Description: Braves righthander Freddy Garcia will get the ball for Game 4 of the Division Series, assuming a fourth game is necessary.
Insight: Garcia struggled earlier in the year but he's looked much better since the Braves acquired him from Baltimore in late August (1.65 ERA in 27 1/3 IP). He owns a 6-3 record in ten career postseason appearances.
Description: Despite a solid regular season, Braves starter Paul Maholm was left off the team's postseason roster.
Insight: He was replaced by Freddy Garcia, who, as manager Fredi Gonzalez notes, has more postseason experience. Maybe it's for the best as Maholm struggled to a 1-3 record after the All-Star break (5.73 ERA in those starts).
Description: Braves second baseman Dan Uggla will not be on the team's NLDS roster, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com. Elliot Johnson will be the Braves' starting second baseman against the Dodgers.
Insight: Uggla underwent LASIK surgery in mid-August but it did not help him at the plate. He went 8-for-60 (.133) after returning from the procedure and 10-for-101 (.099) with one home run in his last 36 games of the season. In his last 235 MLB games, Uggla has gone 140-for-772 (.181) with 279 strikeouts and is likely done as an everyday player even though he has two years left on his contract with Atlanta.
Description: Braves third baseman Chris Johnson isn't in the lineup Sunday against the Phillies.
Insight: Johnson (.321, 12 HR, 68 RBI) was leading the NL in hitting for a while in August but now he's dropped to second behind Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer. Elliot Johnson is starting in his place on Sunday.
Description: Atlanta catcher Brian McCann could play Sunday in the regular season finale. SOURCE: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Insight: McCann (.256, 20 HR, 57 RBI) strained an adductor muscle in his groin on Thursday night and hasn't played since. Even if he doesn't play Sunday, McCann should be ready to go for Game 1 of the NLDS.
Description: Atlanta starter Kris Medlen two-hit the Phillies over eight scoreless innings Friday night to win his 15th game of the season.
Insight: For the second straight year, Medlen (15-12, 3.11 ERA) has been brilliant down the stretch. He went 5-0 with a 0.84 ERA over his final six starts this season after going 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA in his last 12 starts last year.
Description: Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman is batting .373 with six homers, 18 RBI and a 1.095 OPS in his last 21 games.
Insight: Freeman is wrapping up a career year in style. The first baseman has been one of the most consistent producers in fantasy, hitting above .300 in five months and .291 in his lowest one. He has provided an OPS of .834 or higher in all six months.
Description: Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman is getting a breather Monday against Milwaukee.
Insight: Freeman went 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBI Sunday in a win over the Cubs. Freeman (.314, 23 HR, 105 RBI) probably won't see as many at bats now that the Braves have clinched a playoff spot.
Description: Atlanta left fielder Justin Upton has been nearly perfect against Cubs starter Edwin Jackson, going 6-for-8 (.750) with two doubles and a home run.
Insight: Most of Upton's numbers this season were accumulated in April and August. He's hitting .224 with two home runs and three RBI in September and hit four home runs combined in May, June and July. However, his matchup Sunday should not be ignored.
Description: Atlanta starter Kris Medlen failed to win his fifth consecutive start Saturday against the Cubs, but he did provide fantasy owners with 7 1/3 innings and six strikeouts while allowing one earned run on six hits.
Insight: Medlen has had another late-season surge. Since dropping to 6-10 with a 3.78 ERA on July 28, he has gone 8-2 with a 2.31 ERA. That includes a 4-0 record and a 1.01 ERA over his last five starts. Saturday was actually his first no decision since May 24.
Description: Braves right fielder Jason Heyward has been activated from the 15-day disabled list and will start Friday's game against the Cubs.
Insight: Most people didn't expect him back this quickly, but after a successful batting practice session on Wednesday, it looks like Heyward is good to go. The star right fielder missed about a month after breaking his jaw.
Description: The Braves and Nationals have been told to stay away from Nationals Park this morning because of the shooting close by at the U.S. Navy Yard.
Insight: There is a possibility that tonight's game between Atlanta and Washington could be postponed, so starting anyone on these teams will require fantasy owners to pay attention to the news throughout the day.
Description: Atlanta righthander Kris Medlen won his fourth straight Saturday against the Padres.
Insight: Medlen is quickly becoming the ace of this staff. During the win streak, he's carried a 0.98 ERA with a 26 to four strikeout to walk ratio. He's lowered his ERA from 3.74 to 3.32 over that stretch.
Description: Atlanta left fielder Justin Upton is in the starting lineup Thursday afternoon against the Marlins.
Insight: Upton fouled a ball off his knee and had to exit Tuesday's game, but he was in the lineup Wednesday night and is back in there again Thursday. That should tell fantasy owners he's feeling good.
Description: Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy (elbow) said his elbow is still giving him discomfort. SOURCE: David O'Brien, Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Insight: Beachy played catch earlier this week after being shut down for 10 days, but said he's not where he wants to be. The right-hander has had multiple setbacks after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012 and likely won't pitch again until 2014.
Description: After giving up 11 earned runs on 11 hits over his last two starts, Braves rookie Alex Wood will be skipped Thursday, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
Insight: Atlanta will start veteran Freddy Garcia against the Marlins. The Braves want to get the 22-year-old Wood some extra rest after he threw 132 1/3 innings combined between the minors and majors this season, up from 52 2/3 last year with High-A Rome.
Description: Atlanta C/LF Evan Gattis bopped two homers Sunday in a loss to Philadelphia.
Insight: His first home run of the day, a solo shot to center field in the second inning, was particularly note-worthy. Not only was it the longest home run hit in the major leagues this season at 486 feet, but it was also the longest homer in the nine-year history of Citizen's Bank Park. Ryan Howard held the previous record at 473 feet.
Description: Braves second baseman Dan Uggla is 4-for-28 (.143) with eight walks and seven strikeouts since returning from LASIK surgery.
Insight: Uggla may be able to see the baseball better but he still isn't getting his bat on it. He shouldn't be in any lineups Sunday against Phillies starter Cole Hamels, a pitcher he has gone 9-for-60 (.150) with 20 strikeouts against.
Description: Braves left fielder Justin Upton is a career .417 hitter against Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick with a pair of home runs.
Insight: Upton has had such an up-and-down season that it is really hard to predict how he'll finish up. He has had two big hot streaks, posting a 1.136 OPS in April and 1.023 OPS in August. He's currently in a deep valley batting just .150 over the first week of September.
Description: Braves left fielder Justin Upton is a career .412 hitter against Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee.
Insight: Upton has had such an up-and-down season that it is really hard to predict how he'll finish up. He has had two big hot streaks, posting a 1.136 OPS in April and 1.023 OPS in August. He's currently in a valley batting just .188 over the first week of September.
Description: Braves starter Kris Medlen has gone 6-2 over his last eight appearances to improve from 6-10 to 12-12.
Insight: Medlen nearly lost his spot in the starting rotation earlier this season but injuries prevented that from happening. He struck out nine, walked none and allowed one earned run on seven hits over seven innings Tuesday against the Mets and owns a 2.76 ERA and a 43/6 K/BB over his last 49 innings.
Description: Braves catcher Evan Gattis returned from the minors and went 3-for-3 with a solo home run Tuesday against the Mets.
Insight: Gattis was demoted at the end of August after going just 20-for-93 (.215) with one home run following his return from the disabled list in mid-July, but he was quickly recalled. He was a nice story earlier this season but is unlikely to have any fantasy value going forward.
Description: Braves left fielder Justin Upton went 2-for-4 with two walks and three runs scored Monday against the Mets.
Insight: Upton has had such an up-and-down season that it is really hard to predict how he'll finish up. He has had two big hot streaks, hitting .302 with 12 homers over his first 23 games and .413 with seven home runs from July 30 to Aug. 16. In his other 86 games, he has hit .227 with five home runs.
Description: Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons is 15-for-46 (.326) with five doubles, a triple, a homer and seven RBI over his last 13 games.
Insight: Simmons is a fantastic defensive shortstop but he really hasn't done anything special with the bat this season. Even with his recent hot streak, he's hitting .249 with 12 homers, 47 RBI, five steals and a .670 OPS.
Description: Braves outfielder Jordan Schafer went 4-for-5 with two runs and three steals Monday versus the Mets.
Insight: Schafer was forced into the starting lineup following Jason Heyward's injury. He entered play Monday with 10 strikeouts and two hits in his last 17 at-bats. He's now hitting .275 with 20 steals.
Description: Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman drove in five runs Monday against the Mets.
Insight: Freeman went 2-for-5 with a double and a homer. The first baseman came into Monday's game 2-for-21 over his last seven. He's hitting .307 with 18 home runs and 93 RBI in 530 at-bats this season.
Description: Braves pitcher Julio Teheran will not start again until Sept. 10, according to beat writer David O'Brien.
Insight: Atlanta is skipping him to limit his innings in his first full big league season. He has 161 1/3, up from 137 1/3 last season. Teheran has been one of the top rookies in the NL this season, going 11-7 with a 3.01 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.
Description: Atlanta center fielder B.J. Upton used to face Mets starter Daisuke Matsuzaka all the time when Upton was on Tampa Bay and Matsuzaka pitched for the Red Sox. Usually, it didn't work out in Upton's favor.
Insight: He's just 3-for-18 in his career against the man who invented the gyroball (supposedly). Five of those 18 encounters ended with Upton striking out.
Description: Braves righthander Freddy Garcia has been promoted to the major leagues.
Insight: Garcia, who was acquired from Baltimore a little over a week ago, allowed eight runs in 3 2/3 innings August 26th in his only start for Triple-A Gwinnett. He probably won't fare much better in the big leagues.
Description: X-rays on Justin Upton's left hand came back negative and he is questionable for Friday's game against Miami.
Insight: It's just a bruise. Upton (.265, 24 Hr, 64 RBI) got beaned with a 92 mph fastball from Ubaldo Jimenez. Given the big lead the Braves hold in the division race, they could opt for the conservative route and Upton could miss a game or two.
Description: Braves starter Kris Medlen held the Indians to six hits in seven scoreless frames Thursday at Turner Field.
Insight: Medlen was about to lose his spot in the starting rotation a few weeks ago but injuries to Tim Hudson and Brandon Beachy prevented that from happening. Since then he's been on a roll, allowing just five runs in his last 23 innings (1.96 ERA).
Description: Atlanta left fielder Justin Upton exited Thursday's game against Cleveland after getting hit by a pitch. SOURCE: Mark Bowman, MLB.com
Insight: The ball struck Upton on his left hand. Freddie Freeman pinch-ran for Upton and is now playing first base. Joey Terdoslavich has taken over in left field. Upton, who was 2-for-2 before leaving, is headed for X-rays.
Description: Dan Uggla will bat sixth and play second base Wednesday in his return to the Braves lineup.
Insight: Uggla, who was activated from the DL earlier today, had LASIK surgery to improve his eyesight. The hope is that if Uggla (.186, 21 HR, 53 RBI) can see the ball better, it will increase his production.
Description: Atlanta second baseman Dan Uggla is expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list for Wednesday's game against Cleveland.
Insight: Uggla vision has improved to 20/15. He went 2-for-4 in his latest rehab start and is hoping to return to the lineup on Wednesday. Perhaps now he can get his batting average over the "Mendoza Line."
Description: Braves rookie Alex Wood walked four batters Tuesday against Cleveland, but he didn't give up a run on five hits over 5 2/3 innings to improve to 3-2.
Insight: Wood has gone 3-0 with a 1.46 ERA and a 35/10 K/BB in 37 innings over his last six starts. With Brandon Beachy going back on the DL with elbow inflammation, Wood will remain in the Braves rotation and should be owned in deeper mixed leagues.
Description: Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy will be shut down for 10 days before visiting with Dr. James Andrews to check on his surgically repaired elbow.
Insight: Beachy was placed on the disabled list last week with right elbow inflammation. He returned from Tommy John surgery rehab on July 29 and made five starts, going 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA. With Beachy and Tim Hudson on the disabled list indefinitely, Alex Wood will remain in the rotation.
Description: Atlanta 3B Chris Johnson is questionable for Tuesday's game against Cleveland due to turf toe.
Insight: Johnson suffered the injury Saturday and missed Sunday's game. He's had an excellent season with the bat, hitting .331 with 10 HR, 57 RBI and an .836 OPS and making himself into a fantasy-worthy asset.
Description: Atlanta 3B Chris Johnson is questionable for Tuesday's game against Cleveland due to turf toe.
Insight: Johnson suffered the injury Saturday and missed Sunday's game. Turf toe is a much more common occurrence in football, so it is unclear how long Johnson will need to sit out, but the injury does have a tendency to linger.
Description: According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, Chris Johnson is out of the Braves starting lineup Sunday due to turf toe.
Insight: Johnson suffered the injury Saturday. Turf toe is a much more common occurrence in football, so it is unclear how long Johnson will need to sit out, but the injury does have a tendency to linger.
Description: Baltimore traded pitcher Freddy Garcia to Atlanta on Friday.
Insight: With Brandon Beachy headed to the DL, the Braves needed some pitching depth. Garcia has been assigned to Triple-A Gwinnett but we wouldn't expect him to stay in the minor leagues for very long.
Description: Braves left fielder Justin Upton is hitless in 10 career at-bats versus Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright.
Insight: Upton apparently only plays well in months beginning with an "A". He batted .298 with 12 HR and 19 RBI in April and is batting .349 with eight homers and a 1.240 OPS in August. In between he wasn't very productive. He probably won't be productive in this unfavorable matchup.
Description: As expected, Atlanta right fielder Jason Heyward will miss the rest of the regular season. SOURCE: Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports
Insight: Heyward underwent surgery to repair a broken jaw on Thursday. His recovery timetable is said to be 4-to-6 weeks. If that holds true, there's a chance Heyward could miss some postseason games as well. Justin Upton will play right field while he's out.
Description: Braves starter Brandon Beachy won't pitch Sunday against the Cardinals. SOURCE: David O'Brien, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Insight: Beachy is feeling renewed discomfort in his surgically repaired right elbow and is scheduled to meet with Dr. James Andrews on Monday. Mike Minor (12-5, 3.06 ERA) will start Sunday in Beachy's place.
Description: Braves lefthander Paul Maholm has officially been activated from the 15-day disabled list.
Insight: Maholm will make the start Thursday against the Cardinals, a team he is 4-7 against for his career (4.06 ERA). Maholm, who was out with a bruised wrist, hasn't pitched in the major leagues since July 20th.