The Braves are going young this season in the bullpen. 28-year old righty Rafael Soriano will take over as the full-time closer this season for the Braves. He pitched in 71 games (0 starts) for the Braves last season and he was 3-3 with 9 saves, a 3.00 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP. Soriano also whiffed 70 batters in only 72 innings which shows what kind of nasty stuff he has.
30-year old lefty Mike Gonzalez will miss the first couple of months while he recovers from elbow surgery. He pitched in 18 games (0 starts) for the Braves last season and he was 2-0 with 2 saves, a 1.59 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. Gonzalez might get some save opportunities this year but he will likely be the top set-up upon his return.
29-year old side-arming righty Peter Moylan was very effective for the Braves last season. He pitched in 80 games (0 starts) for the Braves last year and he was 5-3 with 1 save, a 1.80 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. Moylan will be the top set-up man for the Braves at least until Gonzalez is ready to return to action.
30-year old lefty Will Ohman will likely have an important role in the bullpen if he can throw strikes. He pitched in 56 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last season and he was 2-4 with 1 save, a 4.95 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP.
27-year old lefty Royce Ring will also be around again this season. He pitched in 26 games (0 starts) for the Padres & Braves last season and he was 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. He needs to tighten up his control a little bit as he walked 17 batters while whiffing 21 in only 20 innings.
27-year old righty Manny Acosta will get his chance this season to show what he can do. He pitched in 21 games (0 starts) for the Braves last season and he was 1-1 with a 2.28 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. Acosta whiffed 22 batters in only 23.2 innings which shows that he has pretty good stuff.
26-year old righty Blaine Boyer will be one of the first pitchers in the game when the starter is having issues. He pitched in 5 games (0 starts) for the Braves last season and he was 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA and a 2.06 WHIP. Boyer also pitched in 21 games (12 starts) in AAA ball last season and he was 4-3 with 2 saves, a 4.30 ERA and a 1.72 WHIP.
25-year old Chris Resop will also likely work early in ballgames for the Braves next season. He pitched in 4 games (0 starts) for the Angels last year and he was 0-0 with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. Resop also pitched in 27 games in AAA ball and he was 1-3 with a 4.57 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP.
27-year old lefty Jeff Ridgway was brought over in a trade with the Rays in the off-season. He will start the season in AAA-ball but he should get a chance to prove himself at some point in 2008 for the Braves. Ridgway pitched in 3 games (0 starts) last season for the Devil Rays and he was 0-0 with a 189.00 ERA and a 24.00 WHIP! Ridgway also pitched in 54 games in AAA ball last season and he was 2-3 with 4 saves, a 3.06 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE 2008 SEASON: C