LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Frank Wren believes that this is the best team he has had as general manager of the Atlanta Braves.
When you consider that the 2012 Atlanta team won 94 games and qualified for the postseason, that is a substantial endorsement. Wren, who earlier served the Braves as assistant general manager to John Schuerholz, has been the Braves GM since October 2007.
Much of the news regarding the Braves in this Spring Training has focused on the outfield acquisitions of the Upton Brothers, B.J. and Justin. And these two have added considerably to the Braves' talent base and provided a reader-friendly family angle. But an argument could be made that, like the best Braves teams of the past quarter century, this one will include pitching as a major strength.
After discussing those aspects Saturday at Champion Stadium, Wren was asked if he thought this was his best club as GM.
"I think so; yeah, I think so," Wren said. "Just seeing what their capabilities are, and they all have a track record that you can look at. I think it's by far the most athletic, the most speed, the most power, the most balanced. I think there's a lot of things to like about the team. Now, we've got to go play."
The rotation should be top-notch, with veteran Tim Hudson leading the way. Kris Medlen was superb after making the transition from the bullpen to the rotation in midseason. Lefty Mike Minor worked his way through difficulties and finished strong. Paul Maholm was impressive after coming over in a trade with the Cubs. Julio Teheran, the leading candidate for the fifth rotation spot, is regarded as one of the game's foremost pitching prospects. And for further potential excellence, Brandon Beachy, who was leading the Majors in earned run average when he was injured, is expected back from Tommy John surgery in midseason.