5 best Atlanta Braves offenses in franchise history

The Atlanta Braves are on a historic offensive pace. Here is a look at the best Braves' offenses of all time.

Chicago White Sox v Atlanta Braves
Chicago White Sox v Atlanta Braves / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
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To say that the Atlanta Braves are a good offensive team grossly understates what the Braves have been able to accomplish during the 2023 season. They lead all of baseball with 29.6 fWAR from position players which is nearly 2 fWAR better than the second place Rangers. Their team wRC+ is 124 which is five points better than second place. Their 715 runs scored is tops in the league and the Braves' +212 run differential leads the league by a wide margin.

Just to put things in perspective (and switching over to Baseball-Reference's WAR calculation), the 2023 Atlanta Braves' production from their offense through 123 games would be the 13th best mark in franchise history for a season. That is absurd. However, that does make one wonder what were the best offenses in Braves history and that requires a little more digging.

Here is a look at the 5 best Atlanta Braves offenses in franchise history

For this exercise, Baseball-Reference is going to be the WAR measure of choice mainly because it is the easiest database to search. WAR is not a perfect metric as it doesn't always compare well across eras, but it is probably the best option available and is certainly better and more complete than just ranking teams by runs scored.

Anyways, enough of the rules. Let's look at the 5 best Braves offenses in franchise history while remembering that this 2023 squad has nearly 40 games to pass all of them.

5. 1961 Milwaukee Braves - 35.6 WAR

You are going to sense a familiar theme with this list as any offense that has Hank Aaron on it is generally going to be pretty good. The 1961 Milwaukee Braves finished the season 83-71-1 and was loaded with offensive studs. If they had some better pitching other than Warren Spahn who put up a 3.02 ERA in 262.2 innings, they could have really done some damage.

Leading the offense predictably was Hank who posted a 9.4 rWAR season, but Eddie Mathews held his own with 7.3 rWAR as well. Frank Bolling chipped in with 4.2 rWAR and even a very young Joe Torre made a nice contribution with 3.4 rWAR. All in all, just a very solid offensive team led by two of the best hitters to ever wear a Braves uniform.

4. 2003 Atlanta Braves - 36.3 WAR

Jumping ahead several decades, we have the 2003 Braves offense with 36.3 rWAR for the season. This team won 101 games and won the National League East, hit 235 home runs (a franchise record at the time), but ultimately lost in the the NLDS to the Cubs 3-2. If you ever want to know one of the several reasons why Braves fans don't remember Mike Hampton fondly, you should go look at that series.

This was a fun offense that included five players that made the All-Star team in Marcus Giles, Javy Lopez, Gary Sheffield, Rafael Furcal, and Andruw Jones and that is also the same order they finished in WAR with Giles' 7.9 leading the way. Of note, Chipper Jones did exist, but he didn't make the All-Star team that year. However, he did still put up 4.4 rWAR in 2003 and obviously things turned out well for him and the Braves overall.

3. 1964 Milwaukee Braves - 36.9 WAR

Heading back in time again, the 1964 Milwaukee Braves take home the bronze here with 36.9 rWAR. They went 88-74 in their second to last season in Milwaukee and again, this team was loaded. Unfortunately, pitching proved again to be a problem as Warren Spahn was at the end of this Hall of Fame career, Tony Cloninger was the only starter that really put up decent results, and Phil Niekro was just a rookie that didn't even make a start that season.

Hank Aaron led the way with 6.8 rWAR and was followed very closely by Denis Menke's 6.7 WAR season. This was a very well-balanced lineup as Joe Torre, Rico Carty, and Eddie Mathews all put up 4.6 WAR or better for the season.

2. 1998 Atlanta Braves - 37.3 WAR

The Braves teams of the 1990's are far more well-known for how insane their pitching was and for good reason, but the 1998 Atlanta Braves' offense comes in as the second best in franchise history with 37.3 rWAR. It is not a coincidence that this is the Braves team that won 106 games and cruised to the NL East division title before eventually losing to the San Diego Padres of all teams in the 1998 National League Championship Series four games to two.

This lineup was loaded with four All-Stars in Chipper Jones, Andres Galarraga, Javy Lopez, and current Braves bench coach Walt Weiss. However, it was a young centerfielder by the name of Andruw Jones that led the team in WAR at 7.4 during the 1998 season. Chipper was second among the position players with 7.0 WAR of his own with Galarraga placing third with 5.0 rWAR.

When you put that level of offensive production with a starting pitching staff that has three Hall of Famers in it, it is more surprising that they didn't just waltz to the World Series. However, anything can happen in a short series and the Padres got hot at the right time.

1. 1957 Milwaukee Braves - 38.4 WAR

Finally, we come to the best offense, by WAR, in Braves' franchise history in the 1957 Braves. Unsurprisingly, this was a squad that was able to finish the job and take home a World Series title 4-3 over the Yankees after they finished the season 95-59-1. There were no issues with the pitching staff here as Warren Spahn was at the height of his powers and the team's ERA for the season was 3.47. That'll do it.

However, the offense is the focus here and again it was Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews leading the charge. Aaron put up an 8.0 rWAR season where he hit 44 home runs and posted a .978 OPS. Mathews wasn't far behind him with 7.4 WAR and 32 dingers of his own. Johnny Logan and Red Schoendiest each put up around 4 WAR and made it to the All-Star Game as well.

What is crazy to think about is that here you have a lineup with two all-time greats in Aaron and Mathews plus a bunch of great production throughout the lineup. If the 2023 Braves can just keep the pace they are on right now, they will pass this squad and officially become the greatest offense in franchise history (and maybe in league history)...although just barely.

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