After a surprising come-from-behind win over the Cubs last night, the Atlanta Braves have all but locked up home field advantage throughout the 2023 playoffs. It was all smiles in the Atlanta dugout, but former Brave Dansby Swanson had to just watch as his former teammates moved one step closer to posting the best regular season we have seen out of them during this current run of dominance.
To Dansby's credit, he has been a big reason why the Cubs have done as well as they have in 2023. In fact, a lot of former Braves have played very well this season and that got us thinking about whether or not it was possible to build a playoff caliber team out of just former Braves players.
Building a playoff caliber roster out of former Braves players
The rules here are fairly straightforward. For a player to be eligible for this roster, they must both have previously played for the Braves in their career (former Braves prospects are eligible) and also must have been actively playing in the majors in 2023. The player must have also played a given position at some point as a professional, although slotting Freddie Freeman at third base here would break the spirit of the list even if it is technically true.
As it turns out, the following roster not only could probably contend for a playoff spot, but would probably give the top teams in the league this season some real problems. Also, this isn't a full roster, so know going that in there are only three starters and three relievers for the sake of brevity.
C - William Contreras
An easy pick here as most of the players that have played catcher for the Braves aren't active anymore including Kurt Suzuki, Tyler Flowers, and AJ Pierzynski. Not only did Contreras play this year, he has thrived in Milwaukee including being named an All-Star after the Braves traded him to the Brewers in the deal that brought Sean Murphy to Atlanta. In almost 600 plate appearances this season, William has slashed .289/.367/.462 with 17 homers and getting very high marks for his defense in 2023.
1B - Freddie Freeman
Freddie is one of the more obvious inclusions on this sort of list as he is one of the absolute best players to ever wear a Braves uniform. The drama surrounding his departure from the team was unfortunate (boy did his agent screw that up), but all of that is in the past now. If not for the otherworldly seasons from Mookie Betts and Ronald Acuna Jr. in 2023, Freddie could have easily won a second MVP award this season.