The Atlanta Braves finished in second place in the N.L. East in 2012 with a 94-68 (58%) record, which got them into the Wild Card Game. The Braves lost the Wild Card Game to the Cardinals. Here is the players who made the biggest impacts for the Braves in 2012, in my opinion:
Team MVP: Jason Heyward - 23-year old lefty swinging RF Jason Heyward rebounded from a sophomore slump in 2011 with a big year in 2012. Heyward played in 158 games for the Braves last year and he was 158 of 587 (.269 avg, .814 OPS) with 93 runs scored, 27 homers, 82 RBIs and 21 stolen bases. He is back in the Braves’ good graces.
Best Pitcher - Craig Kimbrel - 24-year old righty reliever Craig Kimbrel is the best closer in the National League without a doubt. He pitched in 63 games (0 starts) for the Braves last year and he was 3-1 with 42 saves, a 1.01 ERA and a 0.65 WHIP. He only gave up 27 hits and 14 walks in 62 2/3 innings while whiffing 116 batters last year and those are eye popping numbers.
Biggest Surprise: Kris Medlen - 27-year old righty Kris Medlen started out the 2012 season in the bullpen for the Braves. But, when they put him in the rotation in the second half of the year, he really soared. Medlen pitched in 50 games (12 starts) for the Braves last year and he was 10-1 with 1 save, a 1.57 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. Medlen only gave up 103 hits and 23 walks while whiffing 120 batters in 138 innings for the Braves last year, which are amazing numbers.
Biggest Disappointment: Jair Jurrjens - The Braves expected 26-year old righty starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens to be a key to the rotation, but that didn’t last long. Jurrjens pitched in 11 games (10 starts) for the Braves last year and he was 3-4 with a 6.89 ERA and a 1.86 WHIP. Jurrjens gave up 72 hits (8 homers), walked 18 batters and he only whiffed 19 batters in 48 1/3 innings as he was really lousy for the Braves in 2012.