A full decade ago, the Atlanta Braves went 96-66 before losing to the Dodgers (3-1) in the NLDS. Now in 2023, they are playing like what the 2013 team was meant to be.
The 2013 Braves were dependent on the long ball. They had five players who hit 20+ home runs that season (Brian McCann, Freddie Freeman, Dan Uggla, Justin Upton, and Evan Gattis).
Atlanta has already surpassed this achievement in 2023, having six players hit 20+ home runs with 38 regular season games to go. Sean Murphy, Matt Olson, Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley, Ronald Acuna Jr., and Marcell Ozuna have blasted 20+ home runs. Eddie Rosario is just one swing away from joining this list. A few of these guys are on the heels of their 30th homerun and Olson is over 40.
Just last night, during the first game of their series with the Mets, Marcell Ozuna hit his 25th and 26th homers on the season. That gave Atlanta five players with 25+ homers in a season which is a franchise record.
The MLB record is six players with 25+ homers on a single team. Sean Murphy and Eddie Rosario are next in line to reach that milestone. Once again, the 2023 Braves offense continues to shatter records left and right.
The biggest difference that stands out offensively between the 2013 and 2023 Braves is the team batting average. In 2013, the team hit .249. As of today, Atlanta is hitting .274 as a whole. Granted pitchers did hit in 2013, but a near .30 point difference in average can be significant.
In the world of analytics and stats for everything, batting average oftentimes gets overlooked. However, the logic still remains simple and true. The more runners on base, the more chances to score runs. This is exactly what the Braves are doing in 2023 and taking advantage of it.
In addition to having a high-powered offense in 2013, Braves pitchers collectively posted a 3.18 ERA. This is lower than the 2023 pitching staff whose ERA currently sits at 3.85. However, this team is scoring runs at video game rates which allows a 3.85 ERA to play like a 2.50 ERA.
The biggest letdown for the 2013 team was the postseason stats. The team hit .214 with only 1 homerun. Atlanta was set down on strikes 42 times in their lone playoff series while only walking 14 times.
We know during the postseason, teams who rely on home runs typically do not succeed. The 2013 Braves are a prime example of that. 2023 could potentially change that narrative.
With everyone in the lineup 1-9 having the power to hit the ball out of the ballpark, this could be the year that home runs do in fact win in the postseason. For this formula to work, guys will need to continue to get on base like they have been. This was something the 2013 team struggled with.
After the 2013 team failed to reach its goal of bringing a World Series to Atlanta, the organization went through a few years of a rebuild. A decade later, the Braves are set to succeed for a really long time. We are now seeing what the 2013 team envisioned and it couldn’t be any more exciting to watch.