John Smoltz will return to the Atlanta Braves as the closer. Assuming that his shoulder holds up, expect numbers in the 2.50ERA/1.00WHIP/25SV range for the last 4 months of the season. So what do you do with him on your fantasy team? Well if your team is in need of saves, you just got a good one. If you have depth at RP, then trade Smoltz and promote his 150+ saves in a little more than 3 years as a closer from 2001-04. I don’t know how well his shoulder will hold up and I expect him to not be able to work more than two nights in a row so banking on 2003 (1.12/0.87/45) is a little unrealistic. But I’d try to sell those numbers if I was to peddle him in my league.
Who fills his rotation slot? The Braves are trying to decide between Jo-Jo Reyes and Chuck James. Both will audition for that slot until the Braves decide to do something different. They have Mike Hampton on the DL (for 2-1/2 years and counting…). They are watching Anthony Reyes and trying to decide if they can help him reclaim his lofty promise. Or they could go the free agent route, but the pickings are slim and they had bad luck last year with Mark Redman. My guess is that Bobby Cox would prefer Chuck James’ experience and will lean that way.
With the Braves red-hot offense, you’ll want to pick up either if they are available and see how many wins they can rack up before the offense cools. In the meantime, avoid Peter Moylan and Mike Gonzalez and only go to Rafael Soriano if you need ratio help.