The first run of fourteen straight games is now over. So will the real Atlanta Braves offense please stand up?
Before this season began, we looked up and down the Atlanta Braves lineup and declared “here’s a roster than can produce 20+ homers from every single position”.
After 14 games, though, only 54 runs have been scored… an average of just 3.85 per game.
Don’t forget, too: there was a 16-4 victory amongst a spate of otherwise anemic hitting. Throw that game out and the average is a mere 2.92 runs per game.
For every good stat, the Braves have another stat that shows just how bad things are going offensively:
- GOOD: Matt Olson leads baseball (tied with Wander Franco) in hits and has more walks than strikeouts.
- BAD: Among roughly qualified hitters (40 PA and up), Dansby Swanson has the 3rd highest strikeout rate… and only a pair of rookies are worse.
- GOOD: Marcel Ozuna has 4 homers and is hitting .291 while backing up Olson.
- BAD: 15 of the 16 Braves homers are solo shots.
The Braves have 106 hits as a team… with Olson, Ozuna, and Austin Riley accounting for nearly half — fifty — of that total.
That’s nice for that trio, but not nearly good enough for the rest of the roster that truly needs to be getting on base ahead of them:
- Swanson: 7 hits
- Rosario: 3 hits
- Albies: .218 average despite 5 homers
Adam Duvall somehow has 10 hits, but clearly (a) he’s not getting the ball elevated as we’re used to seeing (no homers yet), and (b) nobody behind him is driving him in… he’s scored just 5 times.
Hopeful signs ahead?
Pick your favorite excuse for this lack of hitting… but a lot of the possibilities are going away as we start a series with the Marlins this weekend:
- The short Spring training
- The long first stretch of 14 straight games
- The West Coast trip (though a 3-4 finish there was certainly respectable)
- The pomp and celebration of the first home series… new uniforms, new rings, new awards (basically a distraction for everybody)
- Starting pitching getting the team behind and demoralized early.
- Good pitching from the opposition… or in some cases, pitching that the team had never seen before.
- Cold-ish weather making a lot of balls die on the warning track
Combine that with a Braves team that is driving balls with an exit velocity that’s still 3rd best in baseball and you’d have to believe that at some point, things will turn around.
Maybe that “some point” begins with the Marlins series… except they have some pretty stout pitching, too.