4. The 2003 Braves, (101-61)
This Atlanta Braves club provided one of the most powerful lineups in league history, finishing the season first in the NL in runs (907), hits (1608), BA (.284), and HR (235). The club’s home run total was the most in franchise history.
Led by Javy Lopez (.328 BA, 43 HR, 109 RBI), the Braves had six players with 20+ home runs, and four players with a batting average over .300.
Gary Sheffield and Andruw Jones both came close to the 40-homer mark. These two sluggers, along with Lopez and Chipper Jones all eclipsed 100+ RBIs, and Sheffield finished top-5 in NL MVP voting.
However, this Braves rotation did not nearly stack up against its predecessors, as it consisted of aging arms opposite of what Braves teams were traditionally known for.
While Greg Maddux led the way in his final season in Atlanta, the arms behind him consisted of Russ Ortiz, Mike Hampton, Horacio Ramirez, and Shane Reynolds. None of these arms ended the season with an ERA under 3.80.
Despite injuries slightly limiting John Smoltz, he set a major league record with 35 saves tallied before the All-Star Break. His 45 saves by year’s end were enough to finish second in the majors, and he provided a stellar 1.12 ERA from the closer role.
The Braves finished 10 games ahead of the second-place Florida Marlins to claim their 9th consecutive division title.
Heading into the postseason, this club looked poised for a World Series run tied for the leagues highest win total, but two dominant outings from Chicago Cubs starter Kerry Wood helped eliminate the Braves in the NLDS (3-2).