As the season fast approaches the quarter mark, the Braves continue to linger around .500. This leaves many fans divided as to whether they think the glass is half full or half empty. Maybe I’m an optimist, but I believe the glass is half empty. With so many personnel changes, it seems the Braves are finally starting to find their rhythm. Coming into the season, all the experts suggested that the Braves were going to have a ton of trouble scoring runs. This couldn’t be further than the truth. New hitting coach Kevin Seitzer has implemented a small ball approach, and it has yielded immediate results. Last season, Atlanta finished 29th in the majors in runs scored and 26th in batting average. The pitching on the other hand was outstanding, but the team struggled to supply run support. As a team, the Braves had the 5th lowest ERA in all of baseball. The tables have now completely turned. The Braves’ offense has scored the 15th most runs and has the 10th best on base percentage in all of baseball. However, it’s now the pitching staff that has struggled. Ever since Roger McDowell has arrived as the Braves’ pitching coach, he has had fantastic staffs year in and year out. This past offseason, he saw his bullpen be dismantled by the front office. He has had a lot of new faces to work with, and many changes have been made. Atlanta’s team ERA of 4.11 is good for 19th in baseball, but it’s definitely been inflated by their bullpen ERA of 4.60.
So why am I so optimistic about the Braves? I know I am yet to see the best out of this pitching staff. Starters Julio Teheran and Alex Wood have gotten off to slow starts, and I know our frontline starters are capable of so much more. With the way Shelby Miller has been pitching, if the other guys start rolling our rotation could be one of the best in baseball. The Braves finally cut the cord on Trevor Cahill and Eric Stults as starters, and Mike Foltynewicz has impressed in his first few starts. If Williams Perez can just be somewhat effective as a fifth starter, this rotation will be very good. I’m not trying to say this team is the next ’27 Yankees, but they are yet to click on all cylinders and are still down just 4 games in the division and 3 games out of a Wild Card spot. There is seemingly a surprise team every season in the MLB Playoffs, why can’t it be the Atlanta Braves? The Braves have already exceeded many fans’ expectations, and there is still room for improvement. My advice? Keep chopping Braves fans. We may not hit the most home runs or have the sexiest names on our roster, but the game of baseball has changed and we have adapted to the times. Our team is fundamentally sound and can compete with a team any given series. If we can stay healthy, the Braves have a shot.