The Braves and the cold, hard numbers
- 8TH (4.1)
This is now arguably the strength of the Braves overall. In fact, things have continued to improve in this category over the past 5-to-6 weeks, so if there’s anything that can be ignored for improvements, this is probably it.
- 12TH (-0.6)
Okay, this is the number I understand the least. I was expecting something ranking in the 20’s. Regardless, we should recognize that the bullpen has certainly lost a lot of games that the team should have won, and proceed accordingly.
- 29TH (-2.1)
This is the worst score on the board. If you were wondering why Atlanta optioned William Contreras back to AAA, this is why. The addition of Jonathon Lucroy represents a bandaid on an arterial wound, but it’s probably the only available option now until Travis d’Arnaud returns… and that will only help for… 6 weeks at the most?
But we’ll take anything we can get right now.
- 9TH (0.2)
This, of course, speaks to the extent of Freddie Freeman‘s Spring slump. In recent weeks, though, he’s turned that around, so we’re good here.
- 8TH (0.9)
Pretty much the same thing here, except that Ozzie Albies has been doing a little better overall than Freeman for a little longer. Clearly, Albies has been pulling his weight… and more.
- 10th (0.7)
We had all hoped that Austin Riley would break out this season, but after an ugly start, it didn’t seem possible. Since then, though, something has definitely “clicked” and while streakiness is still involved, he’s really turning into a heck of a player — and one that probably should have gotten some additional All-Star support.
- 25TH (-0.9)
Here’s the first tough one. Dansby Swanson just isn’t getting it done. He’s still flying around the field like he knows exactly where to be for any fielding or backup fielding play, but it’s his work at the plate (.228 with a .706 OPS) that’s holding back his team.
If you think there’s a change to be had here, then Swanson actually would be an upgrade off the bench, but the trouble is this: can you find a shortstop that would improve over Swanson’s offensive production?
Before you shout “Trevor Story!!”, consider this: Story’s road games put him worse — much worse — than Swanson this year: .179 batting average and a .637 OPS…. about 250 points under his Coors Field numbers. Ouch.
I’ll lump these three positions together, but it’s pretty clear that one of them isn’t like the others:
- LF 28TH (-1.4)
- CF 28TH (-1.0)
- RF 1ST (1.7)
As of today, the Orlando Arcia Experiment has begun in left field, and the Guillermo Heredia Experience is hanging on in center.
As much as we do have to give Heredia some props for his work in center, the Braves do lose a bit defensively while his hitting (.154 in July) may be starting to fade toward his career norms (roughly .250 with little-to-no-power).
- 22ND (-0.7)