This has easily been the weakest part of the 2023 Braves. At the same time it was bad really early, and has been much improved over the last month. In late May I wrote about the Braves defense and dug into a lot of numbers that ranked at the bottom of the league.
To their credit since late May, they have been much improved. Catcher and Center Field have ranked among the best all year (thanks to Murphy and Harris II), but the other positions have seen a climb thanks to Orlando Arcia’s health and a better month from Austin Riley.
The defensive statistics took a big hit in Arcia’s absence as Vaughn Grissom had six errors and a -5 OAA in just 19 games played. Austin Riley started poorly but since the start of June he has a positive OAA.
Currently, the numbers aren’t the best, but after such a poor start we are trending in the right direction. Atlanta’s season defensive rankings are as followed:
- -1.4 fWAR (17th in MLB)
- -4 RAA (19th in MLB)
- -6 OAA (19th in MLB)
- -16.9 UZR (29th in MLB)
- 54 Errors (7th most in MLB)
The defense hasn’t been exactly costing them games so it’s hard to be too negative. We know that the team works extremely hard with Ron Washington and all of the coaches, so the turn around that’s already begun is very likely to continue. Still this is a first half report card, and the defense has statistically been the worst part of the team, therefore it warrants the only real blemish on an otherwise honor roll worthy showing.