The Braves are bludgeoning the Phillies thanks to the best roster depth in baseball

The Phillies were supposed to be an early season test for the Braves. They have been anything but that.

Atlanta Braves v Miami Marlins
Atlanta Braves v Miami Marlins / Rich Storry/GettyImages

If someone had told you that Max Fried would pitch less than an inning in his first start of the season, Austin Riley would have one hit in two games, and Sean Murphy would get hurt on Opening Day, you would probably think that the Atlanta Braves would have struggled through the season's first two games against the division rival Phillies. However, that honestly couldn't be further from the truth.

What would have been a disaster for most teams was seemingly brushed off by the Braves as they have outscored the Phillies 21-7 despite having to face Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola and getting some unlucky breaks along the way. The team that was supposed to give the Braves fits in 2024 ran their best lineup out there and had two of the better starters in baseball on the mound and Atlanta has made them look small so far.

How have the Braves been able to pull that off? Well, it all comes down to depth.

Braves' roster depth has made them a relentless, almost unstoppable force

The Braves' depth is honestly astonishing when you take a step back. The entire lineup is full of guys that do real damage against anyone, the starting rotation has at least two legitimate Cy Young candidates in it (three if you are feeling particularly optimistic about Chris Sale), and the bullpen is stacked with guys that can be trusted in almost any situation. Teams shouldn't feel this complete this early in the season, but here we are.

Just take the bullpen for example. Spencer Strider got his pitch count ran up late in his start, so he was only able to go five (very good) innings on Opening Day and Fried got screwed by the home plate umpire in addition to just not having it on Saturday. You would think that the Braves' bullpen would be completely used up, right? Well, Jesse Chavez is probably out for the final game of the series as he threw 46 pitches in long relief for Fried, but the only other Braves reliever to throw in both games was Pierce Johnson and he threw 27 pitches total in his two appearances.

What about the Braves' offense? Well, Austin Riley and Marcell Ozuna haven't done much yet, but Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, Matt Olson, Michael Harris II, Orlando Arcia, and Jarred Kelenic all have have an OPS over 1.000 through the first two games of the season. That sample size is incredibly small, but those games also came against two extremely strong pitchers and the Braves just didn't seem to care one bit. There just isn't anywhere for opposing pitchers to go for outs with this group.

Things won't always go this well, obviously. Atlanta is going to need Max Fried to go 6-7 innings more often than not, guys in the lineup are going to have their slumps, and the bullpen is going to looked gassed at some point. What is remarkable about this Braves squad is that it looks like it was built to weather almost any storm and have anyone on the roster be able to carry the load when needed. That is why the Braves are the best team in baseball to start the 2024 season and why that isn't likely to change anytime soon.

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