The MLB season is under way and it feels great to get back into baseball mode. It is a very long season and although it has just begun, I want to zone in on the National League East Atlanta Braves and the success they have had thus far.
The Braves’ NL East competitor Washington Nationals were given the upper hand to win the division, but the first two weeks are a testament that the Braves will not go down without a fight and reclaim the division that they dominated in the 90s.
The Braves started out the season 11-1 with a 10-game winning streak before it was snapped by the Kansas City Royals. They have had the help from their new acquisition Justin Upton, who leads the majors in home runs with nine and slugging percentage with .761. Upton last year did not hit his ninth homer until August 3, 2012.
Atlanta has been successful at the beginning of the season without its starting first baseman Freddie Freeman and All-Star Brian McCann, who both are on the DL.
When they get those two guys back into the lineup, pitchers will have an even harder time getting outs. The Braves were at one point second in slugging percentage but have since dropped to eighth with .437.
If I were to say that the Braves were to be first in the NL East division and have the second best record in MLB, you would call me crazy. But they have shown what they are capable of. Without McCann in the lineup, Evan Gattis, a pick up the Braves got over the off season, has been filling the hole nicely during the DL stint of McCann.
Gattis has shown that he can be a great attribute to the ball club. He is only 26 years old, which adds young depth to an already young core to the Atlanta ball club.
Let’s not forget about the pitching, which is one of the best and deepest in the league. In Atlanta’s first 13 games they only allowed 26 runs while scoring 68 runs. The pitching will be key for the Braves to go deep into the playoffs and have a chance to contend for the Commissioner’s Trophy.