Chopcast: Braves rotation expected to be elite

With the infield and outfield previews in the books, the FOX Sports South team tackles the pitching rotation this week, one that looks like it could become one of the best in baseball in 2013.

With Kris Medlen, Tim Hudson, Paul Maholm and a host of young arms, Atlanta should be more than prepared to hold its own until the expected return of top-line starter Brandon Beachy from Tommy John surgery.

Of course, with so much talent littering the 25-man roster and the minors still stocked with quality arms — namely Sean Gilmartin and J.R. Graham — there’s plenty to discuss.

Here are the highlights from this week’s episodes:

1:45: Kris Medlen finished last season in historic fashion — going 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA after joining the starting rotation. What is to be expected of the 27-year-old ace this season?

3:00: Brandon Beachy’s impending return from injury could prove to be the X-factor for Atlanta, for if he returns to form the Braves’ ceiling is significantly higher. How will the Braves work him back into action and what could his presence mean?

6:30: Mike Minor could be poised for a breakout season.

10:15: Regardless of all the young arms and potential, Tim Hudson, 37, remains the stabilizing force behind the team’s rotation. Is the veteran still at the top of his game?

13:30: The No. 1 point of interest in spring training? The No. 5 spot in the rotation. Who are the contenders?

21:30: With all the new additions in the Braves’ outfield, the team is expected to be outstanding defensively once again in 2013. How does a quality defense affect a pitcher’s psyche?

23:30: Will the Braves feature more than four pitchers with 10 or more wins? Will Julio Teheran remain in the rotation all season? Is it difficult to pronounce “reliever preview?”