The Atlanta Braves Aggressive Offensive Approach Works

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 24: Matt Olson #28 of the Atlanta Braves celebrates with teammates after hitting a grand slam home run in the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game at PNC Park on August 24, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 24: Matt Olson #28 of the Atlanta Braves celebrates with teammates after hitting a grand slam home run in the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game at PNC Park on August 24, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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The Atlanta Braves have a very aggressive approach offensively often with quick at-bats, but they get the results and aren’t going to change. 

If you’re like me, when you watch an Atlanta Braves game you might often get frustrated at the quick innings the offense can sometimes have.

There are several times in a game when they will go three-up-three-down and only force the opposing pitcher to throw less than 10 pitches.

That leads to some pretty frustrating innings.

But that’s the strategy for most of this lineup, and more often than not, it works out for them.

Braves Numbers on 1st Pitch Swings

You might be surprised to know that the Braves have just the 8th most at-bats on first-pitch swings — it seems like they would be much higher.

Obviously, the more times you do something, the more opportunities you have for success, so saying the Braves have the 4th most hits and 2nd most home runs on first-pitch swings isn’t all that impressive.

But when you look at averages, the Braves have the 3rd best average on the first pitch of an at-bat and are 1st in slugging and OPS — they are doing damage on first pitches.

The slashline on the first pitch for the Braves is .364/.379/.667 for a 1.047 OPS.

Their aggressiveness is also why they have the highest swinging strike percentage in all of baseball and the second lowest called strike percentage — they’re getting their hacks in.

Something else interesting, when the Braves swing at the first pitch of an at-bat (whether the outcome comes on the first pitch or later in the at-bat), they have a higher OPS (.770) than if they take the first pitch (.754).

However, their OBP is significantly higher when they take the first pitch of an at-bat (.331) than when they swing at the first pitch (.290).

Braves Pitches Per Plate Appearance

The one thing you notice when playing a team like the Mets, is they work counts and make your pitchers throw a lot of pitchers.

While the Braves are capable of doing that, it’s not really a strategy for them.

I couldn’t find a site that shows pitches per plate appearance by team, but you can find it for each individual player on Baseball Reference under Advanced Stats.

Here are some of the numbers for Braves hitters:

Acuna: 4.10

Swanson: 4.00

Riley: 3.80

Olson: 4.12

TDA: 3.76

Contreras: 4.09

Rosario: 3.83

Grissom: 3.92

MH2: 3.72

Grossman: 4.04 (but it’s been 3.71 with the Braves)

Anything over four is really good.

Juan Soto leads the league in walks and sees 4.20 pitches per plate appearance.

The Braves only have three hitters that see over four pitches a plate appearance. And I didn’t include Ozzie Albies for when he comes back, but he’s one of the most aggressive hitters in baseball.

Braves: Does Their Aggressiveness Work?

To answer the question, yes, it obviously works. The Braves are one of the best in baseball and have some of the best numbers — specifically power numbers — on the first pitch of an at-bat.

It is highly frustrating from a fan’s perspective when it doesn’t work and you have innings where you don’t make the starter work and only see a handful of pitches.

But then you also have innings like they had on Tuesday when they batted around, scored 5 runs, and the opposing pitcher only threw 20 pitches.

There does need to be some adjusting. Something that seems to happen far too often is a pitcher is clearly struggling and you bail him out by swinging at a first pitch that isn’t really a good pitch to swing at and you pop out or hit a weak grounder.

And I think the Braves are capable of changing their approach. We saw in their last series against the Mets where they were much more patient and still had a lot of success.

Next. 5 Prospects Rising in 2022. dark

They’re never going to get away from that aggressiveness as it clearly works. Let’s hope it continues to work as they try to track down the Mets in the NL East and repeat as World Series champions.