Atlanta’s Youth Helped Braves Clinch NL East
The team that Atlanta takes into the postseason is very different from last year’s World Series champions. Michael Harris, Vaughn Grissom, Spencer Strider, and Kyle Wright all played key roles in helping the Braves clinch their fifth consecutive NL East title.
Harris is considered the front runner for NL Rookie of the Year. Strider, recovering from an oblique injury, probably will be the runner-up for the award. He recorded 200+ strikeouts in the fewest innings ever. Kyle Wright is the only 20-game-winner in baseball this year. Grissom filled in well for an injured Ozzie Albies at second base. The Braves do not have the second-best record since June 1st and overcome a 10.5-game deficit in the division without all of them performing beyond expectations.
Braves Bullpen Shows Championship Form
The youth may have bolstered the lineup and rotation, but Atlanta’s veterans keyed the bullpen. In the biggest series of the year against the New York Mets and Braves relievers proved to be the difference in the late innings. Atlanta now has the late innings set up with Raisel Iglesias in the seventh, AJ Minter for the eighth, and Kenley Jansen closing.
The bullpen keyed the team’s run to the World Series last year. Even if Kirby Yates is not healthy there is still plenty of depth. Dylan Lee, Tyler Matzek, and Jackson Stephens all contributed as well. Manager Brian Snitker will have plenty of options should his starters falter.
Braves Power Key To NL East Title
The depth Braves power is something few teams can match. Only the New York Yankees hit more home runs. Even with Ronald Acuna Jr’s issues with his knee injury and Albies being out, the team had more than enough bats to make up for them.
Travis d’Arnaud and William Contreras formed the best hitting-catching duo. Matt Olson and Austin Riley formed a dynamic tandem in the middle of the lineup. Harris showed excellent pop as well. One through nine every player can go deep on even the best pitchers.
Atlanta’s Postseason Outlook
The Braves’ opportunity to repeat as World Series champions come down to health. The time of they gained by securing the number two seed was much needed. Acuna has been better this season when he is rested.
Atlanta’s depth is better than last year. Its bullpen is just as good. Teams need good fortune to repeat as well. The Braves overcame injuries last year. The challenge to win again may be even greater, even fully healthy, given the competition.
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