3 Braves make Jim Bowden’s early All-Star team

MLB: AUG 23 Mets at Braves

The Braves sit in a similar place through 62 games as they did last year, but there’s a much different feel to it this season.

Atlanta has dealt with countless injuries, specifically to the club’s best players in Ronald Acuna Jr. and Spencer Strider, but it’s the lack of offense that has Braves fans screaming that the sky is falling.

Even without Strider, this is the best rotation Alex Anthopoulos has put together, but it’s the bats that continue to hold the team back. The lineup has one person performing over expectations, and that is Marcell Ozuna. The rest is underperforming, specifically the All-Stars from a year ago.

Now, nobody should’ve expected Orlando Arcia to turn in another All-Star campaign, but that isn’t the case for Austin Riley, Matt Olson, and Ozzie Albies. Sean Murphy gets a pass because of injuries, but the other infielders are holding the offense back to this point.

If it weren’t for an outstanding rotation and the Big Bear, the Braves wouldn’t be close to eight games over .500. Ozuna, Chris Sale, Max Fried, and Reynaldo Lopez have been the standouts through the first couple of months, two of which made Jim Bowden’s early All-Star team, along with Marcell Ozuna.

Reynaldo López, Braves (2.0 WAR, 1.73 ERA, 57 1/3 IP, 55 SO)
Chris Sale, Braves (1.6 WAR, 3.06 ERA, 67 2/3 IP, 82 SO)
Marcell Ozuna, Braves (2.2 WAR, 17 HR, 53 RBI, 181 OPS+)

It’s not easy to pick between Ohtani and Ozuna for the DH starter, but based on their performances to date, I gave the edge to Ohtani because of his speed and base-running ability. However, Ozuna leads the league in home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage and OPS and deserves serious consideration to start.

Ohtani is going to be the DH starter for the National League, even though Ozuna has better numbers than him, because he’s the MLB’s heartthrob, so don’t get yourself too worked up over that.

Sale and Lopez are deserving of All-Star honors, with the latter earning his first bid potentially, but Max Fried going unmentioned is a travesty. There are not many pitchers going out and doing better than Atlanta’s southpaw.

Unless we see some big turnarounds from Albies, Riley, and Olson, we could very well be talking about Fried, Sale, Lopez, and Ozuna as the only Braves getting All-Star recognition after sending eight last year.

John Adams/Icon Sportswire



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