Louisville Slugger has nominated the Atlanta Braves as finalists for the first-ever Sliver Slugger Team Awards. The award has been created to recognize an overall team's excellence offensively.
Decision-making is based on various statistical categories and a fan vote will be provided to determine the winner. The voting is open from now until 11:59 p.m. ET, October 1, the last day of the regular season.
The Braves have been nominated alongside the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, and Philadelphia Phillies to hoist the award for the National League. On the American League side, the Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays, Houston Astros, and Seattle Mariners will battle it out in a much closer race.
Atlanta currently has the best offense in baseball, posting a wRC+ that is 24% better than the MLB average. They also lead the league in Home Runs, Slugging Percentage, RBIs, Batting Average, Hits, and Runs.
Frankly, they lead every stat by a wide margin. Matt Olson leads the league with 53 homers, while five other players have hit 30. Furthermore, Ronald Acuña Jr. is on pace for the first 40/70 season in history, which will cement his MVP campaign.
Outside of Olson and Acuña, the Braves bats' depth separates them from the pack. Atlanta has by far the best 7-8-9 hitters over the course of the year. Michael Harris II at the nine hole has a top-five average since June.
Orlando Arcia has continued to rake after becoming an All-Star, and both catchers have delivered to expectations. Even the resurgence of Ozuna has turned him from an automatic out to one of the best hitters over the last three months. Each player feeds the next, which is why pitching wears down so quickly. There is not an easy out anywhere in the order.
Come October 1st, there should be a clear favorite for the Braves to win the first Silver Slugger Team Award. However, it is a fan vote, so winning is not guaranteed. It will be interesting to see any case put forth by the other teams. The Dodgers have a potent lineup, with two MVP potentials and consistency from top to bottom. They place in the top five major statistical categories, including OPS, Slugging, Runs, and RBIs.
The Phillies, on the other hand, have a pesky group yet can go hot and cold quickly. Their strength is generally never being out of a game. That said, while they do place in the top ten for many offensive categories, there is not one stat that showcases an anomaly of performance.
Lastly, the Padres are similar, with a deep lineup and some flashy players. Yet they are out of the wild card race and have struggled to overcome a multitude of defensive and pitching difficulties.