It's time to wonder if the Braves are simply a bad team without Strider and Acuña Jr.

Losing your best players will hurt any team, but it felt like the Braves were better equipped to handle this tough situation more so than others. Has this past month of poor baseball proven that thought to be naive?
Oakland Athletics v Atlanta Braves
Oakland Athletics v Atlanta Braves / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages
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The Braves have been very unlucky

Austin Riley
Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

The maddening thing about baseball is that you can do everything right and still not be rewarded. Hitting in particular can drive you crazy if you continuously run into tough luck. No team in baseball has been more unlucky than the Atlanta Braves.

The Braves lean into the philosophy of trying to hit the baseball hard as often as possible. It's a sound philosophy considering hitting the ball harder has a direct correlation to accumulating more hits. However, in 2024 the Braves have seen those hard-hit balls converted into outs at an alarming rate.

Entering the weekend, the Braves were sixth in baseball in total barrels. However, 36% of those barreled baseballs have found the glove of the opposing team. For comparison, just 23% of their barrels from last season were converted into outs.

On the flip side of that, Braves pitchers have seen the least amount of barrels converted into outs. In particular, Matt Olson and Austin Riley have been two of the unluckiest hitters in baseball. Both sit in at least the 85th percentile in hard-hit percentage.

But to be fair, this isn't just a Braves problem. Offense is down across the league, and baseballs just aren't traveling as far as we've become accustom to.

We know the history Major League Baseball has with changing the baseballs, so the dead baseball type things can never be ruled out. However, as the summer months roll in and the year rolls on these luck-based results tend to balance themselves out. If it takes broken bat infield knocks, and bloopers that find outfield grass to get the Braves offense going then so be it.

The Braves aren't who we thought they were...but they're still good

Sean Murphy
Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

In conclusion, maybe the Braves have simply taken a step down from the offensive powerhouse they were last season. That's ok! They still are a good baseball team. Despite the loss of Strider, the starting pitching will keep them in plenty of ball games. The bullpen is about as deep as you'll find in baseball.

We're seeing the emotion and passion to fix the offense from guys like Jarred Kelenic and Marcell Ozuna. It's just a matter of time before the Braves figure this thing out. Too many of these hitters are proven for anything else to happen.

If guys like Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley, Michael Harris II, and Matt Olson struggle for an entire 162 game season then sure the Braves may be a bad team. But that's quite literally something that has never happened in any of their careers yet.

Big picture thinking tells us that we've still got nearly 100 games left in the season. And although the numbers may not be the same that produced a historic 2023 season, we have to imagine they'll be good enough to grant the Braves another chance at playoff baseball. When you lose your two best players that's still a good outcome.

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