Atlanta Braves All-time Team by WAR at Each Position
In this exercise, we’re taking the player who had the highest WAR at each position for the Atlanta Braves over their career and putting together an all-time team.
It’s always fun this time of year to take a look back at Atlanta Braves history and refamiliarize yourself with some of the greatest players in franchise history.
And we’ve seen all-time teams before, and a couple of years ago we ranked the top 10 players in Braves history by WAR.
But this time around I want to build an all-time Braves team by position — no cheating and moving players around to make the best lineup. Who accumulated the highest WAR at each position for the Braves.
That way we get to learn about some names a lot of us are probably unfamiliar with.
And I’ll be using FanGraphs’ WAR metric.
Catcher — Brian McCann
No real surprise here as B-Mac accumulated 43.6 WAR as a catcher with the Braves hitting 188 home runs. However, Joe Torre had a higher wRC+ at 131.
First Base — Freddie Freeman
Again, not much of a surprise here. Freddie is already the best first baseman in franchise history with 42.2 WAR. Hopefully he sticks around and makes it virtually impossible for another Braves’ first baseman to pass him.
I did want to mention Fred Tenney here who played with the Boston Beaneaters from 1894-1907 and then again in 1911. He’s second in franchise history at first base with 40.7 WAR.
Second Base — Bobby Lowe
Ozzie Albies will take this spot in the next couple of years, but for now, Bobby Lowe is the leader at 23.1 WAR.
Lowe played with the Boston Beaneaters from 1890-1901 accumulating 70 home runs and slashing .286/.342/.382 with 260 stolen bases.
Shortstop — Herman Long
Another oldie but goodie, Long played with the Boston Beaneaters from 1890-1903 and accumulated 38.5 WAR at shortstop during that time.
He slashed .280/.337/.390 with 88 home runs and 431 stolen bases in over 1,600 games.
Third Base — Eddie Mathews
This is the one that might get controversial, but at third base, Mathews has a higher WAR with the Braves at 94.3 than Chipper Jones at 84.6.
Mathews hit 493 home runs in 2,223 games with a .517 SLG and even a higher wRC+ than Chipper at 145.
Left Field — Hugh Duffy
Probably another name many of us aren’t familiar with, Duffy had 31.8 WAR in 1,152 games with the Boston Beaneaters from 1892-1900.
He hit 69 home runs in 1,152 games with 331 stolen bases and a slashline of .332/.394/.455.
Center Field — Andruw Jones
This one isn’t even close with the future Hall of Famer (hopefully) racking up 64.3 WAR in 1,761 games with the Braves.
Not only is he the best defensive center fielder of all-time, which plays into his overall WAR numbers, but he also hit 368 home runs, score over 1,000, drove in over 1,000, and stole 138 bases.
Right Field — Hank Aaron
The greatest to ever play the game easily earns the nod in right field with a massive 136 WAR. The all-time home run king went deep 733 times as a right fielder and hit .310 with a .567 SLG.
Starting Pitching Rotation — John Smoltz, Warren Spahn, Greg Maddux, Kid Nichols, and Phil Niekro
Not a bad rotation there as all of them had over 70 WAR. Smoltz cheats a little bit with his time as a reliever. He leads all Braves pitchers with 78.2 WAR.
Those five combined for 1,357 wins and nearly 20,000 innings pitched.
Tom Glavine is sixth on this list with 54.7 WAR.
Closer — Craig Kimbrel
Pretty obvious call here as Kimbrel was one of the most dominant closers of all time when he was with the Braves accumulating 11 WAR with 186 saves.
Gene Garber was pretty close at 9.9 WAR with 141 saves.
That’s your all-time Braves team by position. Hopefully, like me, you learned about some players you’d never heard of before. Those Beaneaters teams must have been good.
And will be cool to see who takes over some of those positions with this current Braves team down the road.