The Atlanta Braves have a lineup of RBI hunters

Atlanta Braves outfielder Joc Pederson likes seeing ducks on the pond. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Braves outfielder Joc Pederson likes seeing ducks on the pond. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

Batting averages in the low 200’s or less?  Not to worry, for these new Atlanta Braves rake when their bats are most needed.

After the initial euphoria subsided about the haul of outfielders that the Atlanta Braves gleaned at the trade deadline, there was a lingering question about most of them:

Are they gonna hit?

Indeed, it gives one pause when looking at Adam Duvall‘s stat line and seeing a “.196” for his Atlanta batting average over the past month.  I mean… Ender Inciarte was hitting .215, and he was released.

But there was another stat that the Braves were looking at beyond that… and it matters a bit more than just a vanilla batting average:  it’s the batting average with Runners in Scoring Position (RISP).

There was a reason, too:  here’s what Alex Anthopoulos had to replace:

  • Ronald Acuna, Jr.:  .173 with RISP (despite hitting .283 overall)
  • Ender Inciarte:  .217
  • Guillermo Heredia:  .234

Marcell Ozuna was doing the best with a .286 RISP clip… but…

The Atlanta Braves and Runners in Scoring Position

So when the trades were made, it wasn’t just about the slugging that these new players exhibited… though that was clearly a part of it.

What’s now been evident during August is how well they hit — almost all of them — with runners in scoring position:

  • Adam Duvall:  .319 for the full season; .269 as a Brave
  • Joc Pederson:  .298 overall; .364 as a Brave
  • Eddie Rosario:  .296 overall; .500 as a Brave (his Sunday triple)

Only Jorge Soler is lagging a bit in this category (.210 to .220), but he’s still driving the ball well and has 20 homers on the year overall, and 7 of those came in August with Atlanta.

Oddly enough, he’s hitting better with nobody on base:  .302 as a Brave.

Taken together, this fearsome foursome — which finally just became a foursome — has produced 41 RBI in August… and Rosario only has 2 of those so far.

With the “original” regulars as hot as they are, that makes for a fertile ground of potential runs to be driven in, and run-scoring is now up by nearly half-a-run per game in August (5.38) over the full-season average of 4.92.

So no:  while these trade deadline acquisitions were certainly about slugging and the potential for the long ball, it’s now apparent that having hitters that can smell a pitcher in trouble — and then do damage — was part of the goal.

Next. Building the perfect lineup. dark

Then again, the Atlanta Braves have already had someone in their lineup proving the worth of such situational hitting:  Freddie Freeman is hitting .344 with RISP.  The more, the merrier.