One of the Braves best surprises of the first half has been the performance of starter Kyle Wright
One of the Braves best surprises has been the performance of starter Kyle Wright Todd Kirkland/ Getty Images

Braves Best Stretch Still Going

The Atlanta Braves held a team meeting when the team was four games below .500. Manager Brian Snitker told the team they had plenty of talent and were capable of much better. Immediately after Atlanta went on a 14 game winning streak, their longest in 22 years. The turnaround started June 1 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Since then the Braves are 33-11, cutting the New York Mets lead from 10.5 to 2.5 games at the All-Star break.

AJ Minter has been the best of a solid bullpen
AJ Minter has been Atlanta’s best reliever so far this season IMAGE CREDIT: USA TODAY SPORTS

Best Pitchers: Fried, Wright, And Minter

Atlanta’s pitching staff ranks seventh in ERA and ninth in WHIP in baseball so far this season. Max Fried and Kyle Wright lead the Braves starters with ten wins each. Fried, who recorded his 50th career win Saturday, has not been as sharp as usual in his last two starts, but he is still a Cy Young candidate. Wright stepping up as a starter has been needed with Ian Anderson and Charlie Morton’s rough stretches in the first half. Wright consistently goes deep in games, logging 110.0 innings in 18 starts. He averages almost a strike out an inning, leading the team with 107.

The Braves bullpen ranks fifth in ERA and WHIP, and third in strikeouts in MLB. AJ Minter leads the way for the teams relievers. Normally someone who sets up Kenley Jansen, Minter closed while Jansen was on the IL with an irregular heart beat, recording all five of his saves this season. His 0.92 WHIP and 1.83 ERA prove how well he has pitched. Should Jansen fall ill again the Braves can feel a little better knowing Minter has stepped into his role before.

Swanson And Austin Riley Lead Offense

Austin Riley and Dansby Swanson made the All-Star team for the first time this season. The Braves best hitters have been solid at the plate and in the field. Riley 27 home runs and 61 RBI leads an offense that is first in the NL, and third in MLB in runs. Swanson’s batting average has dipped below .300, but he is still posting a career best slugging percent and OPS in the first half. Both players are in discussion for the NL MVP as well. Swanson and Riley both may need strong second halves as well, especially if Ronald Acuna Jr. continues to struggle at times.

Micheal Harris Leading Candidate For NL ROY

In Michael Harris the Braves may have found their CF for the next ten years

The Braves search for a long term centerfielder led them to call up Michael Harris May 28th. Since getting the call the Braves best young player has shown all the tools. His strength is his defense, but he has shown excellent speed and solid power as well. With the DH in the NL this year Harris, batting ninth, has 19 extra base hits, and is ten for ten in steals. If both Acuna and Harris stay healthy then the Braves outfield will be an exciting one to watch for years to come.

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