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Fake Teams Interviews Talking Chop-SB Nation's Braves Site

Next up in the Fake Teams interview series is Martin Gandy from SB Nation's Braves site-Talking Chop. My questions addressed the closer by committee decision, Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman and Mike Minor, among others.

1. Fredi Gonzalez just announced a closer by committee with Craig
Kimbrel and Johnny Venters sharing the role. How long does this last,
and who do you think should get the job full time? I am a Kimbrel
owner, so please be kind.

Actually, the co-closer announcement came early in spring camp, and
Fredi hasn't changed his thinking since then. The Braves want Kimbrel
to be the closer, but don't want to put too much pressure on him until
he gets his feet wet as a Major League closer. Venters will get his
chances, especially early in the season, and especially against
left-handed heavy lineups.

Check out the rest of Martin's responses after the jump:

2. I also own Jason Heyward in two keeper leagues, but worry that he
is going to be injury prone. He had a solid rookie campaign. Does he
show more power this year now that the hand injury is behind him?

He's had injuries in the past, and missed some time in the minors, but
much of that was the Braves being extra careful with their phenom.
Don't be afraid of injuries with him; his upside is well worth the
risk. The Braves want Heyward to deliver more power, and that's why
they're batting him lower in the order, in the fifth and sixth spots.
Fredi thought he got too patient trying to get on base in the
number-two spot last year.

3. What can we expect out of Freddie Freeman this season? Will he
become a 25-100 type hitter, or is he more like a bulked up Mark

He added a TON of muscle this year, so more of those doubles ought to
turn into home runs. A 25-100 type guy is reasonable, though he
probably won't reach that for a year or two. 17-85 is more likely this
year, and I would expect him to be an extremely slow starter, but
really kick it into gear in the second half.

4. Dan Uggla-yes I own him in two keepers leagues as well-he seemed to
hit very well in Atlanta as a member of the Marlins. Can fantasy
owners expect an increase in power this season, or will he put up his
normal 30-90 season in 2011?

If you search Talking Chop you should be able to find the splits I got
on him that showed that he hits really well against Braves pitching in
Turner Field, but not very well against them in Florida. So while it's
a SSS, one could hope that he just really likes hitting at the Ted.
He'll be sandwiched between Brian McCann and Jason Heyward, and that
might be better than most of the lineups he was a part of in Florida.
He'll also probably be facing a lot of lefty relievers as teams try to
turn Chipper around in the three hole then pit the lefty against
McCann and Heyward. That could be a plus for him.

5. Who gets more starts as the Braves 5th starter this season? Mike
Minor or Brandon Beachy?

What I saw of Beachy last year I really liked. That's not to say that
Minor is a dud, but Beachy is a bulldog who will battle, and doesn't
fall into a lot of the traps that other young pitchers fall into. If
Beachy's doing good, they don't replace him, and he'll be the guy who
starts the season as the fifth starter, so it's his job to lose.

6. One more-can Tim Hudson duplicate his fabulous 2010 season, or was
that a career year for him?

I don't see why not. The defense behind him will be precarious, and he
relies on getting ground balls, but Huddy became a different pitcher
last year, and found a lot of success pitching to contact. I'd expect
a similar season, and with more offense in the lineup, he could turn
more of those no-decisions into wins.